Monthly Archives: April 2012

The party’s over, my friend


The party’s over
It’s time to call it a day
No matter how you pretend
You knew it would end this way

[Written by Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Jule Styne]

Our airstream club’s Region 3 Rally at Ocean Lakes Family Campground has ended. A few folks pulled out yesterday afternoon, hurrying off to other opportunities, obligations and obsessions. Most of the airstreamers will hitch up this morning and join the big beach exodus through Conway back to points west and north and south.

This period of a rally is one of our favorites — no expectations, no schedule, everything’s done. We’ll watch the parade of departures, wave to friends and acquaintances. Some, we’ll wish we had more time to visit with but can’t fix it today. Next time, old friends.

Until then we can enjoy the memories from this week-long rally. The week has brought new acquaintances and friendships, renewals with old friends, lots of sharing of ideas and experiences. The weather was widely varied with a could of hot days, a couple of cold days, bothersome winds and dead still mornings. We dodged a hailstorm or two — they passed 30 or 40 miles north of our resort — a very good thing.

We’re heading to Kannapolis NC to visit with family there and in Charlotte over the next few weeks before we start for Alaska and other travels following.

Jim and Deb
The dreamstreamrs

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©2007-2012 Dreamstreamr

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Battery Watering at the beach

Every time we visit Myrtle Beach we seem to hit the same set of locations: Sea Captain’s House, Sara J’s, Tanger Outlet, and Camping World. We enjoyed great meals this week at our oldest favorite, Sea Captain’s House in Myrtle Beach and at Sara J’s in Murrells Inlet. We stopped by Tanger for some plates for someone and went to Camping World at least twice.

Camping World had a nice deal on some parts we wanted and they had the battery watering system to match the one we installed on our lower battery bank. We bought the second set so we could maintain the upper pair of batteries without removing the cover or handling the battery caps.

I can now check and maintain the water levels in all four batteries in about 30 seconds. The water levels will be uniform to within 1/8″, and I have eliminated contact with battery acid from the cells or caps.

I know, I know, we’ve been handling battery caps for years without many incidents. But there have been just enough injuries with hazardous materials, like battery acid, to maintain an industry in safety products like this watering system. I remember in the 1980s when we stopped hand applying water treatment chemicals and went to injection feeds instead.

We reduced risk of operator contact with the hazardous materials. Why wouldn’t we want to do the same thing for ourselves on one of our most hazardous RV chemicals, the battery acid? This was such an easy install, requiring less than fifteen minutes. And I won’t spend that long watering the batteries in the next ten or twenty weeks.

Quick connect

I justified the Flow-Rite Pro-Fill RV 6v battery watering system for the lower batteries because they were buried under the upper battery box. After using the Flow-Rite one time last week, I decided it was worth installing on the upper bank as well. Both battery boxes have an easily accessed quick-connect for the fill tube, and I use the same squeeze bulb for the pair.

The parts seem well made, assemble easily, and install in minutes. Camping World offers a different kit each for 12v batteries and for 6v batteries. The kits do NOT include a squeeze bulb with the quick-connect fitting — you buy it separately. This is helpful since you might not need more than one filler bulb whether you buy one, two, or more battery kits.

what's in the box

I think the battery project is now complete. . . Until something else comes up I should do to improve it.

Jim

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©2007-2012 Dreamstreamr

Will paint stick to an aluminum RV?

We try to keep a sharp eye peeled for things to share with you.  It is a little tougher some times than others.  Here are a couple of shots we’ve taken over the past week, thinking of you.

While we were working with NOMADS the past three weeks at Lake Junaluska we learned a little more about painting.  It’s bound to happen when we spend 24 hours weekly for three weeks doing little more than painting – you might hope we would learn something, eh?

Painter One (Tim) was our main man.  He told us where to paint, what not to paint, and he brought us the stuff to spread.  Tim always brought us first-rate paint and tools.  The primer we applied in several situations was a Valspar latex bonding primer Tim told us would prime a glass windshield for latex finish paint.

He’s right!  Consider how well it might stick to our airstream, just a five gallon kit of the primer and a few gallons each of these colors and you too could change your RV’s exterior color scheme with ease.

NHTSA might want to work with RVIA and RVSEF on this answer to the hazards of so many dull metallic gray campers on our highways.  Recall how you read about ships accidentally colliding in the high seas?  What color are the ships?  Dull gray.  This could be the next big thing:

 

Meanwhile, here’s our boring old dull metallic gray airstream as seen this afternoon. Today was a beautiful bright breezy bracing beach day. Chilly all day but gorgeous. Weather guessers are calling for warmer days before the week ends — we hope so. At least it’s still great to see.

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 
 

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©2007-2012 Dreamstreamr

shagging in Myrtle Beach SC

We arrived early this afternoon to Myrtle Beach South Carolina, the fabled Atlantic Ocean beachside home to the Gay Dolphin gift shop, the boardwalk, shagging (dancing on sandy plywood panels to great beach music), and some of South Carolina’s best beaches.

the weather outside is frightful

The weather wasn’t especially welcoming today in Myrtle Beach.  At least it waited until we unhitched and set up our utilities.  No sooner did we complete our set up than it started raining, lightly at first and then a downpour.

The Airstream club’s Region 3 Rally is this week at Ocean Lakes Family Campground.  We’ve been here four times in seven years with our club and have enjoyed every stay.  Lots of streets to walk without venturing onto the highway, nice beach, good kite flying, and a couple of nice swimming pools too.

We have a mixed bag of weather for the coming week.  We’ll just hope for some warm sunny days, and take whatever comes.  Hopefully we can find a place to do a little shagging, too.

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©2007-2012 Dreamstreamr

Washing in the rain

Jim washed the truck in the rain this evening as soon as we returned home from work. The easiest way to start any project is to pretend he is just going to do a little bit. This evening he was only going to scrub bugs off the windshield. Rain is forecast for tonight so he wouldn’t even need to rinse the windshield.

It started raining as he scrubbed. Quickly he washed the side windows, the back windows, then one door. Kept going to the front fender. What the heck, a quick pass on the hood. Here’s the other front fender, might as well. Not raining too hard yet, another door, a couple more fenders, the tailgate, then the chrome. Raining hard now, starting to come down pretty hard.

That’s the easy way to get a chore done. Before he knew it, the truck was washed and looked much much better. He would start trimming a holly in our backyard hedge the same way — plan to trim one or two bushes and realize two hours later he had trimmed and cleaned up around a dozen bushes. Just pretend it isn’t a chore and won’t take much time. Otherwise we might not want to start the chore.

We’ve been so busy these past ten days there’s scarcely been time to write. We’ve been doing volunteer work at Lake Junaluska Assembly with NOMADS. Jim’s main preoccupation each evening has been compiling and completing the twenty-page newsletter for our amateur radio club, WBCCI ARC. The newsletter takes a lot of evenings.

And Debbie needed to take another swipe at our tax returns before we finalized them. This post is in celebration of completing those things. We sent in the taxes Saturday and sent the newsletter to the printers yesterday. It feels like our time is a little more our own again.

early dawn picture at Lake Junaluska

This is a beautiful place. We stayed at Lake Junaluska Assembly ten years ago for a few days. We’re here for three weeks this time. The longer stay this time allows us to see more and in different ways. We probably weren’t out of bed by 06:30 a single morning last time. This time we’re out of bed by 06:30 most mornings, even some weekend days like for this early dawn lakeside picture.

How many children needed to retrieve 10,000 eggs?

A few hours later we walked down to the Harrell Center and looked upon the lawn beside the Stuart Auditorium to see one of the many waves of children searching for candy-filled plastic easter eggs, 10,000 eggs. Staff designated different sections of lawn around the several buildings for specific age groups of children. It all seemed very well-organized to us and still we were perfectly happy just to watch from afar.

Easter sunrise service at Inspiration Point

Another early morning (the very next one) we dressed as warmly as we could for Easter service at Inspiration Point overlooking Lake Junaluska. Not the coldest morning we’ve had but the temperature throughout the service was under 40 degrees. We most felt sorry for the brass quintet trying to keep their mouthpieces warm between songs. The sunrise service filled the amphitheater and was nicely done.

Part of this period's NOMADS crew

Last Thursday our NOMADS crew participated in the annual Lake Junaluska Beautification Day. One hundred staff members, residents and other volunteers met for a breakfast kick-off then divided into a dozen supervised work crews. The teams tackled high-impact visual improvement projects around the lake and Assembly buildings. Our team spent the day between spreading hundreds of pine straw bales under the Rose Walk’s 350 rose bushes and picking up trash around one of the hotels. At day’s end a brief slide show illustrated to all the workers what diverse things had been accomplished on this huge conference center. It was rewarding to see our part in this big effort.

We excel at taking work breaks

Bob and Linda are first-time NOMADS. We enjoyed working a lot with them last week at the west gate building (guess where it’s located?) scraping, priming, and painting the wrap-around porch ceiling. Four of us spent three days scraping, moving drop cloths, cutting in and rolling, and putting the light fixtures and signs back into place. It was nice work and mostly very nice working conditions although the wind was stout enough to require anchoring the drop cloths securely or they would flip over onto us.

We accidentally found First Methodist in Waynesville our first week here and have enjoyed attending two worship services there. The music program is wonderful, the church was gorgeously rebuilt after a devastating fire years ago, and every third member seems to be a retired pastor or bishop. Great programs, and we enjoyed visiting.

As we write this the rain pours down. The rain started over five hours ago and the weather-guessers predict up to 3/4″ accumulation. Tomorrow they think we might get almost 1/2″ of rain. We’re painting indoors on old plaster so maybe it’ll dry well anyway. It’s a good thing we like painting. There’s not a lot else on the work list for this week. We’ve had wonderful weather these three weeks and aren’t about to complain about a few days of rain — as long as we have good weather next week at the beach.

Friday we drive through Marion NC (stopping at the SKP-ACRE rally for lunch with Herb and Lois) then to Belmont NC to pick up Jerry and Ann and caravan with them to Myrtle Beach SC. If we don’t talk with you before then we’ll try and share some pictures from sunny Myrtle Beach!

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©2007-2012 Dreamstreamr

NOMADS in Western North Carolina

A different kind of pretty from our Arizona parking site

We have a nice campsite directly across the road from Lake Junaluska Assembly. The Assembly operates this campground for conference attendees and volunteers, like us. Volunteer work with NOMADS (Nomads on a mission acting in divine service) affords us comped RV parking. We full-timers feel like it’s a holiday from paying rents. The campground is nicely arranged and allows us to park together while allowing other RVs to park in nice spots close to or remote from us.

Big raindrops are hitting our RV and drum beat is resonating especially on our skylight. Most polite, though, this rainfall waited until we returned from this week’s final work shift. We stepped in our door to the sound of raindrops popping on the roof and the weather alert radio sounding off with its lout mechanical voice, “large hail can be damaging to buildings and especially cars. The National Weather Service recommends . . .”

Weeks and weeks pass without our weather alert radio sounding off. These past three days it has alarmed at least three times for severe weather in our county or the surrounding ones. We leave this radio in our RV in the on position at all times. The alert tone is so startling and sharp it changes our heart rate and posture instantly if we’re inside. And we’re generally not used to the alarm. Thankfully it is silent most of the time.

This week we’ve seen heavy duty thunderstorms a couple of times and lingering rains a couple of times. No hail yet, and no tornadoes. We’ll hope it stays so throughout out visit at Lake Junaluska.

We’ve worked Monday through Thursday, four six-hour shifts. Our group of twelve NOMADS meets each work morning at 8 for devotions, singing, and coffee. We hear briefly from our team leader and from the liaison from Lake Junaluska Assembly. And we march off to work — primarily painting.

This week our work included moving over 10,000 pounds of new thru-wall air-conditioning units to 100 rooms in the Terrace Inn for installers to replace the existing units. We painted two washrooms in the Jones Dining Hall and re-installed a bunch of chairs in the Stuart Auditorium. And our team prepped and painted eleven hotel rooms in The Lambuth Inn, a 100 year-old hotel on the highest point in the Assembly.

The hotel rooms painting reminds me of paint commercials from the late 1960’s — maybe you remember them? He leaves for work and she gets out a roller and a brush and some paint. Before he returns from his day at the office she has painted the entire living room. But wait — did she remove the drapes and pictures and mirror, and all the switch and receptacle cover plates? Wow! Fast worker.

A little bit of wall repair before painting

We remove drapes, linens, mattress and box, headboard, bedside table, desk, straight chair, arm chair, lamps, and cover plates. We mask the wall lamp, baseboard, and any other trim we must paint against. Only the television armoire remains in the room, moved toward the middle. We brush and roll two coats of paint. And can, with eight or ten of us, complete eleven rooms in four days. Many hands make light work.

I think our pace will pick up too. We’ve developed improved methods throughout our first four days. We understand who likes to do what and what works best for our team. We’re not in a hurry, it’s just easier and smoother for our team this way. Eleven rooms down, sixty or another hundred to go.

rocking on Lambuth Inn's front verandah

NOMADS time at Lake Junaluska Assembly isn’t only about our work assignments. We take breaks throughout the work day. And last night Debbie and I walked an hour in a few of the many residential streets above the lake. We might not be able to finish walking them all in our three weeks, but we’ll probably try. We’ve played tennis and will try to play at least three times weekly.

This evening our group is going to a favorite pizza joint in nearby Waynesville Saturday morning we’ve volunteered to help with the Assembly’s Easter egg hunt for children. Sunday afternoon Debbie and I will shop for a nephew’s wedding present and browse historic downtown Waynesville. Sunday we plan to attend Sunrise Service at Inspiration Point by Lambuth Inn, high above Lake Junaluska.

Looking south just before the storm

And whenever we get a chance, we like to stop by the lake and look. Today, amidst all the clouds, we saw sunshine onto the colorful trees across the lake from our spot. The entire area is at least this pretty. We’re lucky and happy to be here.

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©2007-2012 Dreamstreamr

3 Best Things About Mesa AZ

A really neat thing about full-time RVing is our ability to live in our RV anywhere on the continent for however long we want (more or less). There are, we think, more places to try than we could sample in thirty-five years or more. In fairness we might need to try and stay a shorter time each place, maybe like Rob and Jan did in their very cool tour of 50 national parks, the original Sprinter Tour.

We do our best and find ourselves sticking down roots for weeks and sometimes months in favorite places. Gosh, before you know it we could up and buy a lot and find a builder and start roughing in utilities even! Nah! Been there, fooled that already. We really do want to keep sampling around and are excited about all the places we haven’t even seen.

Two and one-half years ago we tried TowerPoint Resort in Mesa AZ upon invitation from full-timers Bob and Faith. We knew them from attending WBCCI “Internationals”, airstream annual meetings. We’d had fun with them and accepted their invite to try out this place in Mesa for a month.

A month turned into six weeks so I could compete on the club’s team in the East Valley tennis league. A year later we committed for three months of winter at TowerPoint. Between flying back east for a wedding then a high school reunion then family Christmas we only spent six weeks at TowerPoint.

This year we committed for five months. Wow, that’s a big deal for us. We hadn’t stayed anywhere five months since we started on this odyssey almost five years ago. And we did get itchy feet midway and towed our home into the desert at Quartzsite AZ. Worth it, preserved our sanity and maybe our reputation for being travelers still.

Even after five months stay, we do love Mesa and the resort. We promised to tell the three best things we’ll really miss about the West and why we’ll look forward to getting back there this autumn. The following are not in any particular order, they are the top three favorite things we think about Mesa AZ.

Number 1
We’re still eating avocados, oranges, and grapefruit from Mesa AZ. We had these freely available all winter and they keep well too. Avocados are between $0.33 and $0.88 all the time for nice-sized ones. Oranges and grapefruit were free to us throughout most of March but were between $0.25 and $0.35 each at the stores. We’ve not eaten better ones either.

We’ll look forward to all the fresh produce at Superstition Ranch Produce across from TowerPoint Resort, the fresh veggies, bulk foods and fun lagers at Sprouts Supermarkets, and the general groceries at Fry’s.

Number 2
Our friends. Sure, we are lucky to make friends everywhere we go. We have found true what so many others also learn about resort community life. We share so many activities on daily basis, whether playing tennis or learning a foreign language or just enjoying the weather together.

The always sunny and almost always warm weather has a lot to do with how this works at TowerPoint Resort — we have countless opportunities to meet and greet and talk with our friends and neighbors. We enjoy it and can see in the faces of so many people how much they enjoy it too.

Number 3
Winter tennis in the southwest can’t be beat. There are more opportunities to play than anyone can take advantage of. The weather is incredibly cooperative — one of our sixteen weekly matches was rained out and we rescheduled and played it four days later. Yes, sixteen weeks of matches and we had one rain-out for my team.

Our courts are lit so we can play until 10pm if we want. We have two hundred members in our resort’s tennis club and thousands in our East Valley tennis league. Finding a game is always a cinch. Even easier is finding enjoyable tennis to watch — our club has scheduled team matches every morning Monday through Friday November 10 through March 10.

We try to play tennis year-round. But this is like living at the tennis club — our house, when we’re parked at TowerPoint, is less than 100 yards from the tennis complex. Tennis doesn’t get any more inviting or easy to engage in. We’ll look forward to the nice tennis club, the facilities, and the great people not only in the tennis club but in the entire resort.

There are many more reasons to love living in Mesa AZ. If we told you more than these three reasons then you would want to move there and it might get crowded. Besides, I’m already over 750 words. Good night.

Jim and Deb, the dreamstreamrs
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©2007-2012 Dreamstreamr