Sunday, August 22, 2021

Hurricane Henri

We've been parked at our favorite driveway for a little over a week now. It's Located on LBI. (Long Beach Island) New Jersey. During that week it's been hot, cool, sunny, cloudy, and now it's a hurricane.
Just the outer bands of the tail end of a hurricane, but it's a pretty good storm. I'm lying here awake at 3 in the morning, listening to the rain on the roof of the van and feeling the wind rocking us just like if we were driving down the road. The occasional bolt of lightning lights up thru the Windows and I count the seconds before the thunder - CRACK - that one was instant. It was close!



In all the years we've been coming here in august (nearly 20) we've never had predictable weather. Unless you call a little bit of everything predictable. It can go from suffocating heat without a breath of air at noon, to windy and cool at 2, to perfectly gorgeous for the sunset at 8, to a hurricane at 3am.
I feel close to nature here. Maybe too close.😁


Morning after Henri - The ocean has calmed down but there's good surf!

Our spot


Monday, August 16, 2021

Staying cool

It's been hot this summer. From Texas to Wyoming, Utah to New Jersey, it's been in the 90s. When we camped at 10,000 feet, it cooled off at night but most places-not. It's been a struggle this year to stay cool.
Living in an RV means you can follow the weather; north in the summer, south in the winter. That didn't work this year. It was SO hot on the Jersey shore that we almost left after just a couple of days. Luckily it cooled off a little, and we managed. We ended up staying a couple weeks.

The best way to stay cool is to get wet


How to create a breeze

One of the boondocking tricks we learned early in our RV lifestyle is how to get air to flow thru the RV. First to make sure that all the windows are closed, that's right, Windows closed. Then turn on the vent, called a 'fantastic' fan, that is in the middle of the RV. This acts like an exhaust fan, pulling air from inside the RV and pushing it out. Now you can open just the windows in the bedroom area. Voila! You get a breeze from bedroom thru to the vent. This is normally enough to keep us comfortable at night in warm weather. Not this year. 

Grateful for air conditioning, but...

Our roadtrek is equipped with ac and are we ever grateful for that! But I still have complaints. 
1. It's noisy. Hurricane strength noisy! My Apple Watch tracks my sleep and one of the data points is noise level. Without the ac my normal night time noise level is about 35-40 decibels - a quiet library. With the ac running, it records 70-75 Decibels - a loud vacuum cleaner
2. It draws a lot of electricity. We need to be plugged in to a good source of electricity for it to work well. It will work when we're on generator power, but it doesn't take long before the stress shuts it down. It will work when we're plugged in to a household 20 amp circuit, but if that's the same circuit as the houses ac, we might trip the breaker in the house. There goes not only our ac, but our friends as well. I hate when that happens.
3. The thermostat is flaky. Sometimes the ac stays going until it's so cold I have icicles on my nose. If we adjust the thermostat to a warmer setting, it may not come on at all. And other times it just keeps going on and off, on and off, with all the noise changes keeping us awake.

We'll be home soon and I am looking forward to reliable, quiet, central ac. I just hope the power company is able to handle the regional demand. 

It's really hot in Florida right? This is what people ask us as we travel. We just crossed over the Florida state line and it's the first time in quite a while that our outside thermometer has registered under 100. Florida is one of the cooler places we've been this summer!

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Two more stops on the Friendship Tour

 We visited so many friends along the way on this trip, we've dubbed it "The Friendship Tour." So, when we noticed that western Pennsylvania was along the route, we decided to visit with our Toastmasters friend, Aleta. We even worked it out that we were there on Thursday morning so we could appear in our Earlybird Toastmasters meeting. We surprised everyone by showing up at Aleta's


Aleta lives in a very rural area and always has trouble with Internet. It's true - she has satellite that barely works, Verizon was almost non-existent. Our AT&T hotspot was OK. She was happy to have the Geeks' confirm that Internet is a struggle at her location.
Aleta's house in rural western Pennsylvania


Check out this little movie that shows more detail about just how rural she is.

Our prize student, Chuck

Next up, just over the river in New Jersey, was Chuck. He's been a Geeks on Tour member for many years, and he is a Roadtreker. We've met up at many places all over the country and he gives us an open invitation whenever we're near his home.
It's always a treat to visit with him and his 'first wife' :-) Nadine.

And, here's another little movie - what a trip he is getting out on his bicycle to lead the way!
 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Wine, yoga, drive across Indiana

Sleepy Creek winery, we've stayed here before. It's a harvest Hosts location. The first time was in 2014
Sleepy Creek Winery


This time we noticed a new building when we drove in, apparently for hosting events. 
We got parked and then went in to the winery for a tasting. I saw a sign that said Yoga class at 5:30. Well - can I take a glass of wine with me? Sure!


Ahhh - we had a very relaxed evening! Got up the next morning and back on the road. We stopped at Sunnyside Dispensary, then I drove across Indiana to Ohio.


We found a special little RV park near Columbus. Kind of like Chloe's Big Mill B&B, this place - Alton RV Park - was a family farm that been passed down for several generations. 2-3 generations ago, they turned it into an RV park.



Monday, August 09, 2021

Two wenches and a president

We haven't seen our old RVing friend Lynne in several years. She moved from Oregon to Minnesota last year and she said if we come anywhere within a day's drive, she'd get out her RV and come meet us. Well alrighty then, that sounds like a plan. We plotted our course east to use Highway 80 and found a campground just north of Iowa City. It turned out that we would be meeting over a weekend, so I had to make reservations rather than just trusting our luck. This was a COE (Corps of Engineers) park and they are very popular local destinations for weekend travelers. The reservation system (Recreation.gov) showed about 80% of sites were open and available during the week, but I snagged the last 2 sites open for Saturday night. Lynne would be arriving sometime on Friday night, we took advantage of the firewood for sale (6 pieces for $5) and started a nice fire in the campsite's fire ring - we had marshmallows now! This took a bit of doing because we had no kindling - nothing to get a fire going. We dug in the trash for some cardboard and it finally took.


As much as we were looking forward to seeing Lynne, anticipation was even greater for her beautiful dog, Finn. We've been seeing photos of him on Facebook for several years now and couldn't wait to meet him. What a joyful pup he is. I'm so glad that Lynne has him as a companion.



Jim's long-lost brother? They have the same mustache!

Saturday morning with our coffee, we asked Lynne if she'd be interested in visiting the Herbert Hoover Presidential museum which was only about a 20-minute drive. She said, "Sure!" So, off we went. Jim and I are big fans of Presidential museums - we've been to every Official Presidential museum, and Hoover's is one of our favorites. 
We left Finn in his air-conditioned RV, unplugged our van and drove it the 20 minutes to West Branch, Iowa, and the Herbert Hoover birthplace and museum. Little did we know that it was "Hoover Days" - Aug 6-7. What a treat. The streets were blocked off and there were tents, booths, and exhibits all thru town. The first item of business was lunch. We found this great bar/restaurant called The Downunder, because it was in the basement. Very cool ambiance with the old brick, good beer and great food. 



If you scan this code you'll get a video overview of Herbert Hoover's life

After a full and very interesting afternoon, we headed back to the campground to take Finn for a walk and relax. 

Lynne has always referred to family and friends as Pirates and Wenches. I'm not sure where that came from, but it's fun. 

We settled in for a quiet evening and wanted to build a fire. We had plenty of good firewood, but still no starter pieces. Lynne had an ax and tried to split some wood into smaller pieces, but it wasn't working so great. At one point, we both bent down and started blowing on the same spot of hot coals - voila! the fire took off,

Who needs fire  starter? All it takes is two wenches to blow..

What a great weekend. I love how RVing allows us to stay connected to friends. I was reminded about why we are friends with Lynne. Not only is she beautiful, talented and accomplished, she is also crazy smart. It was so fun exploring some history with her at the Hoover museum as she added some local Iowa farmer perspectives. We had non-stop conversation well into the night. And, marshmallows over the fire were pretty good too! We Love you, girl! err I mean wench.


After she left on Sunday, we stayed on and did one of our "What Does This Button Do?" shows. Episode 217 - prepare to be offline