Still Hangin' Around Blueberry Hill
Well, we were really wanting to get out and do some sightseeing, but the weather isn't cooperating. It seems we can have the weather cool and sunny or warm and cloudy, but not warm and sunny. But at least the cool days aren't as cold or as frequent as they were a few weeks ago. The redbuds are blooming, the deciduous trees are starting to leaf out, and the grass is starting to green up so we're hoping the weather will continue to improve.
We occasionally run some errands, but mostly we are continuing to hang around the motor home due to the "iffy" weather. We are spending time watching the Olympics, but we're also taking advantage of our down time to take care of some maintenance items. We had new tires put on the Saturn, and Paul installed new brakes. The campground discourages mechanical work on vehicles; but the brakes are pretty easy to change, it doesn't make any noise, and there's no mess so Paul went ahead and did the work himself.
In the motor home, we noticed the seam binding on the edge of the carpet along the living room slide was coming loose, so Paul got out a needle and some thread and sewed it back on. Molly supervised.
When we first got the Saturn Vue for use as a toad, we bought a Protect-a-Tow shield, which is a skirt that goes between the motor home and the car to help protect the car from road debris when towing. The Protect-a-Tow worked fairly well, but it was a little too short for the length of our tow bar setup. Also, because of the long overhang at the back or the motor home, the hitch sometimes drags on uneven pavement such as driveway entrances. When that happens, the pavement puts tears in the fabric of the tow shield. Over the years, the tears had gotten to be pretty plentiful, so last year we decided it was time to replace the tow shield.
We got a remnant of 80% shade cloth (blocks 80% of the light) last year at Beasley Manufacturing in nearby Center Hill, FL, and we made a replacement fabric skirt for our Protect-a-Tow. Beasley sells shade cloth remnants at very reasonable prices. We were able to make the shield a little bigger to better suit our tow bar setup, and we were able to reuse most of the mounting hardware that came with the original Protect-a-Tow.
Unfortunately, over the course of the past year we found the 80% shade fabric for the tow shield was a little too porous, and we also seemed to get a lot more tears in the fabric. Therefore, we picked up some 90% shade cloth at Beasley when we got to Bushnell this year in order to sew up another new skirt.
On one of those warm, but cloudy days we got out Margery's Singer Feather Weight sewing machine and started on the new shield. The 90% cloth is denser and stiffer, and it was a lot more difficult to sew than the 80% fabric we used last year. As you can see, Margery had to hold her mouth just right.
Margery's sewing machine had to work its little heart out to get the job done, especially at the corners where we had four overlapping layers, but it handled the job well. Getting the tension adjusted properly for heavier fabric is always difficult, but Margery persevered.
Margery has put the time hanging around the motor home to good use by spending many hours researching our summer travels. A lot of people travel by the seat of their pants heading in a general direction and moving at will. However, that is not the Zeller way. Our motto is, "if you plan for nothing, you achieve nothing."
The other reason we feel the necessity to plan is when we want to stay in more crowded tourist areas or over holiday weekends. For example, we wanted to return to Trailer Village at the Grand Canyon this year which requires reservations made fairly far in advance. As we have said before, we don't like to be tied down by reservations, but we dislike being inconvenienced by not having a place to stay even more.
Using our mapping software, Margery maps a route to our farthest destination and then back to our planned stop in the east placing via points as we decide where we want to visit on our way. This gives us an idea of the mileage and number of four-hour traveling days we'll need. By dividing the total number of days in the travel period by the number of travel days needed, we get an average number of days we have per stop. This gives us an idea of whether our plans are doable.
Here's a map of our anticipated 2010 travels, God-willing.
Then, Margery begins extensive research evaluating campgrounds along our route as well as things to do and see in the areas through which we will be passing. This enables us to have a better sense of how much time we will need in any one area also allowing 'down' time to catch up on laundry, shopping and relaxing.
At this point, we make reservations only at the places we know for sure we want to visit and where getting a site could be problematic. We have now made broad brush strokes on our travel canvas. Here is where our flexibility kicks in. We try to leave as much wiggle room between our reservation stops as we can so we can make schedule adjustments as we go. Margery is currently researching the leg between Kansas City and the Dayton area where we plan to spend Labor Day Weekend.
Our other project has been doing the final editing on a book of our first year of Living Our Dream blog. There is no way to back up our blog so 'slurping' it into book form will be our backup as well a memory book in hard-copy form so we'll be able to browse through in the years ahead.
So that's about it...not much sightseeing but we're getting a lot of other things done. We have friends visiting us here next week, so we'll be sightseeing rain or shine. We'll let you know where we go.