Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Special Dinner

Monday night we went to our dear friends, Dick and Diane's, for dinner. Poor Diane had just had a knee replacement and was a little wobbly, so Dick decided to cook steaks on his Weber grill. Diane had baked potatoes and bread and an apple crisp dessert was in the oven. It's always fun to catch up with them, and now that Dick has retired, he has been playing nurse for Diane. He's doing a pretty good job so we hear. Diane has to have her other knee replaced in 6 months and then she'll run circles around Dick for sure!

Well, let me tell you, we couldn't have had a better steak in a steak restaurant!  They were fabulous!  Thanks so much, friends!  Can't wait till we see you again.

Meanwhile, our fridge continues to work fine, except for the water leaking out below the fridge.  Called Mario and he is booked until Thursday - the day we're supposed to leave for SC. 

Jeep called.  They want to replace the clutch assembly and redo the transmission.  I'm getting a little tired of this.  It's one thing to have to fix things, but to have to refix things gets a little annoying.  We hope the Jeep is ready by Thursday, too.

We will probably be delayed a day leaving for SC.  Bummer.  Keep the lights on for us, CC, we're coming! :)


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bella's Surgery, etc.

We have been bothered by a 15 second long cranking issue for almost a year.  Right before Christmas last year, we were towed twice with a fuel pump issue.  A freightliner dealer in Tampa fixed her, kinda under the gun and for a small ransom.  It has taken her 15 seconds to turn over ever since.  That has been bothering us, so we decided to get Bella looked at by CAT in Clayton.  We brought her in on Sunday night, hoping we could get her back into the State Park for another week before leaving NC for good.  The CAT parking lot has two RV spots with water and 50 Amp - nice, for a parking lot.  It was well lit, with security cameras.  Gary slept with his Bursa next to his head.  It was quiet.

Monday morning she went into her bay, and they started the procedure.  Here she is with her hospital gown on:

Curious minds want to know what the procedure actually entails:

Rod was kind enough to explain everything, even taking us over to another engine to demonstrate further:

They did an cocoon-otomy, which was, unfortunately, not the problem:

It took a whole day to determine what the illness was, and the diagnosis was a faulty solenoid and bad HEUI pump [the same pump we had installed in Tampa last December].  This is the second re-manufactured part that has had to be replaced within a year.  More on that later.

Meanwhile, we let Pete do his job, kissing Bella good bye for a couple days.

Off to Mandy's, for a couple night's stays.  Joe had a company picnic and roast pig BBQ at Durant Park for his division, and we were invited.  They had kid activities like painting pumpkins and wild animals to pet.

Ainsley and her pumpkin

Just a Milk Snake, brave girl
And here is our beautiful daughter, Mandy:

After the bouncy house ritual, Gary and I drove past our old house in North Ridge Estates:  It looks pretty much the same except for the cars.  Sure glad we don't have that expense anymore...

The next evening it was Halloween Party night.  Gary had his cowboy outfit on, and Ainsley wore her NC State Cheerleading outfit.  It was her best friend, Rena's, party and they had gone all out:

The next day was the last day of the NC State Fair.  It was a gorgeous day in the low 80s and there was plenty to eat, drink and do!  Jack conquered his fear of heights and rode the largest ferris wheel at the fair with us.

Yep, that's a brave face!  He actually liked it when we stopped at the top.  We had our picture taken by a considerate person in the giant adirondack chair in a little spot in the garden area.

Joe and Jeff left for Michgan to go kill innocent little ducks and geese Tuesday at 3:30 am.  Crazy.

Later in the week, we went to Pullen Park in downtown Raleigh.  Richard Pullen founded History Pullen Park on March 22, 1887. Once farmland, Mr. Pullen donated the land as a gift to the City of Raleigh to be used as parkland.   Through his visions, Pullen Park became the first public park in North Carolina.  This is a special park for us, as during our dating period in 1991, Gary and I carved our initials P&G into this tree.  We looked and looked, but twenty some years disguised our small token of love.  Fortunately we are still able to remember, you know how that goes...

We rode the carousel and paddleboats, eating lunch at the cafe, and enjoying the last rose of indian summer:
 We left from there to pick up Bella who was all ready.  As we pulled into the parking lot, we saw her parked at the front door, and Pete was coming down the steps.  She sounded great, but when I went inside, she smelled terrible!  Unfortunately, Gary forgot to lock the fridge doors, and when Dave pulled around the corner, the door opened and a beer fell out and broke.  So we had a clean up job before we could leave.  Then, the bad news:  the bill.  Dave went through it with me.  I asked if the new pump was a remanufactured part, because I couldn't tell from the part number.  The answer was yes, which was supposed to be better than a new part.  Huh?  Well, the faulty parts are taken apart, fixed and tested before ending up back on the shelf, unlike a new part. Well, then, how come the last reman pump was faulty?  And do they make new parts intentionally faulty?  So, a reman part is supposed to be better than a new part?  Couldn't answer that one. 

At least the pump was under warranty, which helped a little.  The guys were great by taking us in for service right away, and apparently are always busy with RVs being the only place within miles that did work on RVs.  But, as always, you are at anyone's mercy when you can't fix it yourself. 

We drove separately back over to the fairgrounds which was re-opened to anyone as most of the carnies had left.  We chose a nice level spot near the back of the park, dropped anchor, and proceeded to clean the floors of beer and grease. I use a great carpet cleaner called Resolve Dual Spot Cleaner with Oxi Clean and it got all of the grease spots off the rug and the beer smell came up too.  Even though there were lots of floor covers, the guys don't really care.  We don't either, we want our engine to work great.  We used cherry scented ZEP hand cleaner for the grease on the steps, and that got it all.  Vaccuumed, then sat down for a cool drink. 

Friday Gary had a date with a bunch of old work buddies of his, so I did a little window shopping at the mall.  When he came to pick me up, he said Mesa was sick.  Oh, no.

I started her and pushed in the clutch which was really, really stiff.  We have 142,000 miles on her, and don't believe the clutch was ever replaced, s-o-o-o-o we limped over to Jeep and just as we pulled into the parking lot, she started squealing.  Of course it was Friday afternoon, and it would be Monday before they could get to her.  So we called our daughter, who came to pick us up and because her husband is away for 10 days hunting in Michigan, we got to use the new VW Jetta instead of the old huge Suburban.  It seems we're in the right place at the right time.

We had some dinner at the house, then headed for home.  Hurricane Sandy is on its way up the coast, so we were surprised to pull up to our house and notice a new neighbor!  As we got closer, we recognized a red Jeep - could it be Rick and Gail???  Yep!  We knocked on the door, but no answer.  Gary emailed Gail while I was working on the blog, and received the answer to come to Terri and Mike's spot for some blueberry pie.  It turns out that they and Dee and John (all RV-Dreamers) were evacuated from Cedar Point on the coast of NC because of the impending storm.  Well, we are having a mini Carolina Clan Rally!  Check Gypsy Turtles blog for photos of all eight of us in Mike's fifthwheel. 

Terri's blueberry pie was fabulous, thank you, Terri!  We ended staying way later than 'RV Midnight', which, according to John, is 9 pm.  I think it was close to 10:30 before we got home.  Sandy is supposed to hit us this weekend with wind, but not too much rain this far inland.  The major impact is expected further north, so we will see when we start heading down to South Carolina.  Maybe this will be a caravan event.

Sorry this is so long, but that's what happens when you're having fun with family.  More on the sagas of the Moores later (and hopefully not so long)!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Time to Go

I can't believe it's almost been a month since we arrived in Raleigh.  Time flies when you're having fun.  We've spent nearly every day with the family at soccer games, BBQ's,  Granny's birthday dinner at Kanki and playing with the kids. 

It's also fun to see the changes in the city we lived in for 15 years.  Raleigh was recently voted the second fastest growing city in the nation, and we definitely saw evidence of that.  Traffic has increased and so has the speed of cars.  Or are we just getting older?  Saw too many vehicles running red lights, though.  We caution our kids to drive carefully every time they get in their car.  Everyone in a hurry.

Here we are in site 75 at the Fairgrounds:
Hay mulch for the new growing grass and not much else esthetic-wise.  But 50A, sewer, water (if not broken, like ours - we had to use neighboring site's water) and spotty wifi.  I give it a 2 on the "it factor" scale.  Twenty-five a night, and no parking during the month of October.

Tristan and his girlfriend, Tracy, arrived on Thursday, the 4th and we met up with them at Mandy and Joe's house.  We haven't seen Tristan and Tracy since April and they were looking wonderful.

The next morning the boys played golf at 9 am.  It was two 26 year olds, a 35 year old, and Gary (old as dirt).  The younger team played the older team, and that's all I'm allowed to say about that...

We celebrated Tristan's 26th birthday on Saturday with 60 pounds of wings, hamburgers and dogs.  About 30 people were there and we had a ball.  Sunday we had a smaller dinner party with Ron, Donna and their son, Paul and wife, Holly to introduce them to Mandy and Joe.  Since they moved into the area recently, Mandy and Joe know at least a million people and you can't have too many friends.  Hopefully they'll see each other again.

Monday was Tristan's birthday and he wanted to - are you ready for this? - watch the Wizard of Oz.  But before we did that on a rainy, cold day we had to go to the Shops of Southpoint to shop a little.  Then we watched the movie.  I practically know the words by heart, but I notice new things each time it airs. One of the best of all time classics.

Then it was time for them to fly back to their homes:  Tristan to Brooklyn and Tracy to Miami.  We squeezed them and their luggage into the Jeep and brought them to the new terminal at RDU.  Hugs and kisses all around with promises to see each other again at Thanksgiving.  Done.

Unfortunately, Tracy's flight was delayed out of RDU, so she missed her connecting flight to Miami at Atlanta and had to spend the night at the airport.  Hate that for her.  She did make it home early the next morning.

We realized that we had to move on Wednesday out of the Fairground campground because of all the carnies coming in for the state fair.  That meant the State Park at Rollingview was going to be our new home for the next two weeks.  We love the park, but the annoying thing is that they lock the gates from 8 pm to 8 am.  People who have early morning appointments have to park their cars outside the locked gates and walk half a mile to the entrance.  The good thing is that Gail and Rick (GypsyTurtles) were going there, too.  They got an early start and cased the CG for spots for us.  Rick also gave us an alternate route up Miami Blvd. to enter from the opposite direction instead of going near town. 

We said goodbye to Ron and Donna and their neighbors, Nan and Wayne who would be moving out also in a couple of days.  Ron and Donna were going to spend the weekend in their son's house, but park their rig at the park.  Nan and Wayne decided to go back to South Carolina for a bit. 

We arrived, unhooked our toad, and drove in to find Rick and Gail.  They had a great spot and we drove around a little to find one near them we liked.  A great number of them were reserved, but we found a walk-in unreservable spot, B23 that we liked.  Drove in and set up in about 30 minutes.  Ahh, trees and peace and quiet.

Thursday I was to go on a field trip with Ainsley to the Prairie Preserve on a beautiful cool morning.  Lots of discoveries for a five year old!
Gary stayed home with Mario, who was finally repairing our new fridge with the new cooling unit installation.  It was still under warranty, so Dometic wanted the old unit back (probably to refurbish it again and give it to some other unsuspecting victim).  Next time this goes out, it will be gone for good.  We will replace it with a residential one.  Hear that, fridge?

Friday, Donna and Ron moved their rig into their spot behind us and left for their son's.  We wouldn't see them again until  Sunday night.  Meanwhile, our fridge is down to 34 degrees, so we can take our groceries out of Mandy's fridge and bring them home.  Dometic calls lost food "incidentals" on page 9 of their warranty and will not replace or reimburse anything.  That makes me burn a little.  Good thing we had her fridge to save some stuff.  So we celebrated by having happy hour or two in their driveway where all kinds of wonderful neighbors stopped by.  What fun!

Saturday Jack had a soccer game and Granny was going to visit a friend in her hometown of Dunn who was celebrating her 100th birthday!  Granny, you're almost there!

Go for it, Jack!
Joe getting his ducks in a row for his hunting trip
Brutus knows what's going on
All ducks in the boat
We had to be inside our gate by 8 and cut it close, gulped down some dinner and walked over to Rick and Gail's site for a campfire.  They had a warm one going, and we needed it, as it was in the 40's.  We talked about the Carolina Clan (a bunch of north and south Carolinians that will be having their second rally together at Huntington Beach SP in SC in early November.  We haven't made reservations yet, so when Gail told us a few couples had canceled, I promised to check out the website tomorrow.  A few hours later, we said good night, walked 25 yards home and fell into bed.

The next day, we made reservations, and sure enough, there were a couple sites open.  Booked one, then looked at an email from Nancy describing reserved sites and by whom.  It turns out we were parked right next to - Gail and Rick!  Ha.  We're excited!

Sunday we replaced some groceries and decided to have a BBQ that night.  Gail and Rick were free and Donna and Ron were saying goodbye early, so we all got together for some brats and sides.  It was much warmer than the other night and we were probably the only ones awake so late.  Good fire and good times!

Tuesday we had Granny's birthday dinner at Kanki - oooo, delicious.  And a show to boot.  I was proud of Joe for catching the piece of "flying" chicken that Chau tossed to him from the griddle.  We ate till we were stuffed, and Granny heard Happy Birthday in Japanese sung to her! 

Gary had an eye doctor appointment on Wednesday morning.  Great Doctor who basically said to keep removing those pesky ingrown eyelashes, but not to wear contacts until some new ointment healed his cornea a little more.  He's got such great vision for his age - which is good, because I still am a little nervous driving Bella.  A lot, actually.

Thursday we drove to Clayton where a CAT dealer works on Motorhomes.  We talked to Rob about our turn-the-key-and-wait-15 second start time, and made an appointment for Monday morning.  Since we can't get out of the park before 8 am, we will drive there on Sunday and stay at one of their two 50A/water sites overnight so they can get started at 7 am.  That'll be a long day.  And hopefully not too expensive. 

Only a couple more nights left and we will be moving again.  We're ready.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

First Week in Raleigh

Ron and Donna arrived while we were standing outside our rig talking to a neighbor.  They parked and unhitched with no problem.  It was good to have them back safely.

As we were talking, an employee of the Fairground Safety Patrol drove up.  Gary was surprised to see it was an old workmate of his, Shirley!  Unfortunately, she was there to ask us to move our rigs as the front of the campground was supposed to be reserved for the carnies (people that work at the State Fair beginning Oct. 11).  We didn't have to move for a week, but other rigs were already arriving, so we wanted some good spots.  Drove down to pick out two spots, went back, closed up everything and moved 100 yards to our new spots.  We are now facing the woods where I can hear the birds even better. 

Saturday and Sunday it rained, and I worked again on Christmas presents.  Also a happy birthday to Donna on Saturday! 

Sunday we noticed that our fridge was getting a little on the warm side.  I always turn it off to move, and did so on Friday.  But it kept getting warmer and warmer little by little.  Time to make a call.  We checked all the Dometic things - level, ventilation and power sources were all OK.  That's all they could do.  Then we made a call to a local RV Service Center - Plemmons.  Since they don't do mobile service, they suggested Mario, who will arrive on Thursday morning.  You might remember that our Norcold fridge was replaced December 1, 2011 with this new Dometic.  Hmmm.

Meanwhile we packed up all our groceries and frozen food and drove over to Mandy's to use her garage fridge and freezer.  I hope this isn't a big fix...

Tuesday, Granny (Gary's mother, who turned 89, not 90 this year [my mistake]) needed some serious dental work, so we drove her over to the dentist and left her gently sleeping in the chair.  I worked some more on Christmas back at Donna's place, then they went to visit their son and daughter in law.  I fixed some pasta and meatballs from the freezer. 

Wednesday we needed to go to Burlington and Donna and Ron decided to go with us.  We had fun shopping while the boys had fun sitting in the truck.  At Belk's we found just what we had been looking for for about two months, and while we were discussing the price discrepancy, Donna mentioned what we were about to use these for, which included our lifestyle.  The salesgirls were fascinated, and we talked and talked.  Suddenly we got a text from the boys "HUNGRY".  So we said our goodbyes, and wished them luck on their dreams.

Tomorrow, my son and his girlfriend come into town for his birthday on Monday.  We haven't seen Tristan and Tracy since the spring in Miami.  I am also getting to visit my former hairdresser, Barbara, who has done my hair beginning with our wedding twenty years ago until we moved to Florida.  Looking forward to catching up with her!

Still raining and drizzling which makes our hay-covered red dirt really messy.  At least the grass is growing.  Colder weather is coming our way which will be a pleasure.  Tired of humidity and rain, doncha know.