Monday, August 30, 2010

Doyle's End of the Trailer....


OK, I know all you Guys out there are sayin' "Enough of the Girlie Stuff, what's Doyle going to do with that Garage?"

Well, we have a canvas 40X40 kitchen to haul, along with all the things that go along with making great food so he spent his "spare" time building free standing NSF shelving to hold it all.

He and his Nephew J.C. built it so that it is strategically bolted to the floor and then braced so it doesn't touch or mar the walls.

They used masonite board to cover the walls and doors.








Here is my last view out the beautiful glass door before they covered it with board to protect it from accidental shifts in cargo... I'll miss the light, but safety first!








































They also used the board to cover the windows and other places they felt needed protecting...the great part being that with the new mirrored windows, you can't see the board from the outside!

And here's the final result, the trailer being almost fully loaded. Future plans call for the rebuilding of the shelves to allow access from the side door, but with being on the road and far from home we didn't have the plasma cutter and welder with us so we had to make do until we have the right tools and time.





Customizing our Road Warrior 361 On The Fly!



In between and during our Event at Ahlman's in Morristown MN....

My first change in the interior was to turn the dining table and place it ag
ainst the wall, (carefully re-screwing it down in place).

We then added two beautiful leather executive chairs.

Not that we did not like the layout as is with the beautiful dining chairs, we nee
ded this change because we both use laptops to do our small business office work so we needed desk space and of course we choose to do it with style.

We used the dining chair strap downs to secure the chairs when in motion.

We also added a Faux Mink fur blanket on top of the couch, as our owner "The Ca
t" has taken this spot as her favorite perch and we dast not cheeze off the boss...

One of my great surprises today was reading the manual for the stereo system I found out I can hook up my ipod and play it through the speaker system! All my favorite playlists at my fingertips! Could it get any better than this?

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend Loading up a New!






We pulled into Noble RV Friday in our Forest River Work and Play and began a day long transfer of our worldly goods from our old trailer into our new 2011 Road Warrior 361.

Here are both our trailers side by side for the first and last time.

Thanks to the folks from Noble RV we got our new 5th wheel hitch installed in the bed of our truck and they were very accommodating about allowing us the time and space to get all the work done, they even lent us a hand with some of our moving!

They gave us a very thorough walk through, explaining everything we needed to know about taking her down the road, and helped us hitch up right the first time so we knew what to do on our own.

We can't say enough good things about the Folks at Noble RV, they worked around our busy schedule and made sure we got everything we needed to make our purchase a memorable one.

As I've said before, with these folks it's not about the sale, it's the beginning of a long and happy relationship. When we thanked them for all the special treatment we received they said, "We just like to help good folks like you".

They made my husband feel like a kid buying his first car...he drove away with confidence feeling like a king. Still hasn't stopped smiling!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Our New Home is Delivered!


Here it is, just one week old from being custom built in Elkheart Indiana at Heartland RV! We got the call from Noble RV of Owatonna today!

They really went the extra mile for us since we were only going to be in the area this week. Kudos to these great folks and the incredibly efficient friendly business they run!

As you can see there have been new changes to the Road Warrior 361, bigger windows and new cabinetry to name just a couple of amazing improvements, these are the latest and greatest exclusive pics of the 361 and their newest happy customers!








Tuesday, August 17, 2010

All About Bears and Living With Them


Bear Attacks Campground Closures in Yellowstone Country
I read this story from a link on RVnetwork
about bears attacking people in a campground near Yellowstone national Park. The following was my reply to concerns about bears eating people and how to act in bear country.

Being from black bear country, one has only a false sense of security in a hard side camper, a determined bear can open any structure it wishes to. I have seen houses, trailers and cars opened up like cheap cans.

Case in point: Bear eats car on Youtube and another. these bears had no respect for a locked hard shell.

The best advice is to avoid bear areas that have become used to people being careless with food. Wild areas with little human contact don't present the problems places like Yellowstone has, where the bears have become used to handouts. I recommend avoiding camping in these areas.

Knowing this is not entirely practical, keep your camp and garbage policed for trash of any sort, keep food odors down in your camper by venting well and cleaning the inside walls and ceilings with bleach compounds when entering bear areas for extended stays. This kills the food odor trail. Never keep your trash inside. A loud pet, (inside), is often enough to scare off even the most curious of bears.

I used to cook at a lumber camp as a girl, Fall was the worst time as bears were stoking up for Winter and would even eat canvas tarps suspended over cooking fires. Adolescent males bears who have just been chased off by mom are the most bold and dangerous. Early Spring has it's challenges too as bears emerge and forage.

We cooked outside the Dining Hall under canvas, (which the bears ate one year), and I scrubbed the floors of the barracks and dining hall daily with Lime and bleach, some of the boys wouldn't listen and stashed a bun or two in their bedrolls, only to be awakened to a face to face with a hungry juvenile. One bachelor lumberjack cooked in his log cabin for the Summer, late Fall he found his entire back wall of his kitchen area chewed off, bacon grease being the culprit here....

Use common sense. If there are bear warnings, regard them seriously and move on...guns are a last resort and the chance of someone being seriously injured trying to use a firearm with little practice can cause a lifetime of regret, I never felt the need to use one in bear country because I followed the "no scent" rule, but it doesn't mean I didn't have a gun and the training it takes to use one effectively. Pepper spray is a joke as far as I'm concerned, I've heard many a story about the bear wanting more...the operative rule here is to just avoid close encounters entirely, then you wont have to play dead.

Just a note to add about bear repellent, I had several large bird feeders in my yard for several years that one day the young male bears discovered and for a short while I fought a vain battle in driving them off before just giving up on the bird feeders. It was effective for short term bear removal.

I lived way out in the woods where the only human contact you have with bears is the occasional bear rambling across your property, true wild bears aren't interested in your garbage or other foods, therefore they had no interest in me or my feeders until there was a lean year for forage, (the blueberry crop failed and the patch was in my front yard, we peacefully coexisted even during picking time until the year the berries just failed altogether).

My effective non lethal weapon of choice was a roman candle. This is one of those fireworks you hold in your hand, while it shoots several fireballs out the end. You can direct these fireballs at any given target, in my case, the butt of the retreating bear with my $80.00 bird feeder tucked neatly under it's arm. The fireballs strike the bears in the rump, singes some hair and sends them scurrying in great haste, (yet not enough to get them to drop the bird feeder, which I never found).

If I was to be foolish enough to wander bear country without a weapon, I would carry at least two roman candles and a sure way to light them. One for Shock & Awe, the second for reinforcement as needed. I would also by several in a batch and pretest a few to make sure I didn't have a dud bunch. I also would not use this weapon in a fire danger area, starting a forest fire may drive bears away, but it could have worse consequences.

Again, I say just pass up bear country where they have become accustomed to human food, but if you really need something that works, the roman candle can be your best friend.
Another note, honey is not a bears favorite food, despite what Winnie the Pooh says, since bears have discovered peanut butter there is no going back. If all else fails, toss an opened jar of Skippy's at them and they will forget all about you, you will have several hours to get away as they go for it like catnip and spend ages licking every trace of it out of the jar.

Oh, and one more note, clanging pans and shouting just amuses them.

After making these posts I reread the article and a few others I googled, it seems incredible to me that after a lifetime of communing with bears, (essentially leaving them alone), that these attacks were possible, these are not the bruins I know....
Well, it didn't take long to find out that there are two such horrific attacks on campers in the Yellowstone area where the bears run through camp attacking any and all.

Both involved bears who had been captured and relocated.

It seems to me that the bears were acclimated to humans and their food, then were enough of a threat to be shot full of tranquilizer, caged, examined and then transported to an area and released.

Could it be that once used to being "Beggar Bears",(as we called the dumpster diving bears in our day), that they forget how to forage in a wilderness environment and then return to human encampments seeking food only to be rebuffed and then enraged?

Could it be Payback? Tests have been done on mammals where one animal is given consistently more food in the presence of another. It doesn't take long for the slighted to feel neglected and for them to take retribution on the one who receives special treatment. Even rodents have a sense of justice and fairness.

These are questions that must be addressed.

Until then be smart about bear behavior and stay off their turf, there are plenty of places to go without intruding on their very limited habitat.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our New Home on it's way..






This the new interior of our Road Warrior 361.

It is being built in just a few days and will be delivered in a couple of weeks.

Our Trailer will not have the dinette, it will have the dining room set and a different decor, but the floorplan is otherwise identical.

The latest build improvements include Cherry stained cabinetry, wood paneled fridge door and bigger windows in the slide out. There are many more new features that were added.

We chose this model because of it's homey interior, (many are admittedly decorated to cater to the weekend sportsmen), this has the appeal of a Northern Cabin on the Lake. It has a 14 foot garage to put our kitchen equipment in, and is well laid out and appointed.

HeartlandRVs has gone out of it's way to provide a luxurious feel to it's line of Traveling homes, and the solidly built chassis doesn't hurt it's reputation either.

This is going to be our full-time home, so we needed something that had plenty of storage and a roomier feel. This model suits us just fine.

We would like to thank NobleRV of Owatonna, Mn for ordering it for us. Court Fink is a great guy to deal with, he went out of his way to get us our home the way we want it and we are truly grateful. The Rootbeer is on it's way Guys!

We are so excited!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When a Great Warrior and Worthy Adversary Passes...We Salute You Jon Eldeen


I have known the one and only Jon Eldeen of the Hang Around Cafe for four years. My husband, Doyle has known John for many decades, back to when Jon cooked Fry Bread on an open fire, and Doyle hadn't even conceived of his own kitchen yet.

There was a friendly rivalry that existed between them, and yes, even friendship. They used to shop together for Events and shared many an after hour evening together shooting the breeze, and sometimes almost each other.

My experiences with Jon were casual and to the point, he often questioned my taste in men, and I often questioned his taste in fashion and decorum.

My favorite event to do with Jon was Dade City Withlacoochie Park Rendezvous in Florida, At this Event John set up directly across from us and we couldn't avoid eye contact, or tossing a few barbs at each other. He was a man I loved to hate, and looked forward to the next engagement when we would lock horns again.

I would often stage impromptu puppet shows at the counter, just for his benefit and chagrin. I would make obscene shapes out of wet bar towels and wave them at him menacingly. I would often pretend to walk down invisible steps to the basement, disappearing behind the counter, only to raise the finger of defiance at him, which often got him to crack a smile and to shake his head at the crazy woman across the way.

He liked me, and I liked him. But it was more fun to pretend we didn't and put on a show for the rest of the camp. We were competitors and it was better for business to not get along so folks would be walking by on the chance the sparks would fly and they'd get a free peek. It was also more fun and a great way to pass the long slow days when the public was a no show.

I really used to get his goat at camp meetings, I would make faces at him as he gave, "The Speech", as I used to call it, his long winded rambling at the end of the Event, that was all about what the promoters of the Event should do to make the Event better, he was right, but I had heard it so many times I always took the opportunity to make faces at him, when only he could observe me doing so, to try to throw him off. He never lost stride and always stayed on point, but his face would betray a certain irritated amusement.

He never acknowledged these childish "fits" of mine, or made any allusion to my bad manners. He didn't want it to stop. It was like a kid Brother and Sister, elbowing each other at the Saturday Matinee and the show wasn't the same without the ritual pot shots.

My last encounter with him was at our Kitchen when we hosted a Camp Feed and he passed through the food line, grumbling as he went, at having to enter our "Sad little Enterprise". He had cooked his favorite rice pudding to share and I contributed garlic fry bread rolls. We alternately wrinkled our noses at each others attempts, but we ate each others offering, and liked it secretly, rejecting it openly. Never would a compliment pass between us, never a kind word and we revelled in it.

I was relating to another buck skinner how my Father was raised on Isle Royale. Jon's head snapped around and his eyes lit up. Turns out he knows much about the place I was born.When he came abreast of me, we talked like regular people for the first time. We promised to swap Isle Royale history the next Event we met. Our relationship was finally warming up to a civilized future. We were going to sop kidding around, (for a short while), and become real compatriots.

But it was not to be.
Jon passed today, and I am feeling the loss. I can't imagine a Rendezvous without him, major crabby old curmudgeon that he was. Life without his caustic remarks will be all the blander for it. Now I will never know the knowledge he had to share about my homeland. I am lost, for a while, in hole he has left, for he took what he knew with him and it will never return.

Jon was many things, Father, Husband and Incredible Historian. "He also cooked a little".
He will be sorely missed and my prayers go out to his family in their time of sorrow.

The portrait photo provided is from Professional Photographer Ava Francesca, and the picture was taken at Dade City Rendezvous 2009. Thank You Ava!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Afforable Wireless Security, You Can't Live Without it!

How many times have you been rousted from your chair by a unexpected knock at the door of your RV? Usually it's just a park manager or neighbor, but what if it's not? Most RV doors have frosted glass, so you can't see who's out there if they hang close to the door.

What if you hear strange noises outside at night? Are you just going to charge out there with a flashlight?

You know you need a security camera, but until now, it's been beyond the financial reach of the average full timer. Systems start at $500 and can add up fast when you start adding cameras and monitors.

We just stumbled on a great bargain in the area of remote video cam surveillance, the Uniden UDW-1003. We stumbled on it a Sam's Club, where it's being offered at the low price of $129.87.

For this you get one camera that works in daylight as well as darkness,(infrared), a remote monitor with control, and cords to attach it to your TV, (RCA adaptors), or computer, (USB). It also has sound capturing that is remarkable considering it's small size. It has video out as well as USB to hook up to your PC and record video. If you have windows Vista or XP, it has software to control it also. (Windows 7 coming soon, mac users are out of luck at this point).

It's very small and portable, the camera range is about 300 ft from the base, if there is no real blockage from trees or buildings.
Both camera and monitor have a lithium battery for completely wireless use, 10 hours for the monitor, 4 hours for the camera. You can buy up to 4 additional cameras for both outside and inside use to hook up to one monitor, you can split the screen four ways or have the monitor cycle through each camera at a preset rate.

We currently have the indoor camera installed under the canvas canopy above our front door, the canvas protects it and we remove the camera easily for travel by unscrewing it from the base provided that swivels and tilts like a camera tripod. We then have the monitor hooked up to the TV so we can view it picture in picture or by going to video input 1 when we want to check something out.

The night vision in infrared is awesome, turns the night into day, (as the snapshot of the monitor above shows). Really nice for when you are in those less than desirable camping areas with a lot of activity going on outside. When I walk the dog at night, I take the portable camera with me so my husband can keep an eye on us. It's a great way to keep an eye on kids playing in the yard, your pet in it's play yard. We park our truck under it's watchful eye also.

You don't really need extra cameras unless you want to cover a lot of territory, our doors are on one side without slide outs, so we can train the camera down the side and watch both doors at once. When we are just stopping for the night and don't hook up to electricity, we place it in the bedroom window looking out and down, viewing the door area, the monitor goes on the bed table next to us.

We give this security camera a thumbs-up and for the price, you really cannot afford not to have one!
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