Friday, September 15, 2017

Short Stop and Off We Go

Our time in Tennessee is always too short.  While there we were able to see family and neighbors and friends.  And we completed a project with Roadrunner Builders.  Mike had been saving the back porch so we could work on it.  He wanted some insulation in the walls and ceiling and a couple of windows trimmed out.

He had the insulation done and we got to do some of the rest.  He insisted on leaving the painting for him and since we ran out of time, that was OK with us.

We worked in the middle of 'errands' we had to do at Wiegel's and Hammer's in  Halls.  We also drove over to Powell's and picked up some things at Lowe's.  Our basic workday M-W was about 9:00 ish to 4:00 or 5:00 in the evening.
The insulation is all in place along the wall and also up top in the ceiling.  Our job was to cover up the walls, finish work on the ceiling and hide the seams.
 The first order was to cut and precisely size the sheet rock for a good fit.
 Next, Pam mudded over the sheet rock screws and taped the seams.
 We added 3" PVC trim under the ceiling where the wall joined.
While that was being done, I added 2 1/2" strips over the seams on the ceiling to cover them and the screws.  Mike's brad nailer came in handy for that.
We also took our time trimming out the windows and adding window sills.  All in all, we had a lot of fun humming along working on the back room.

The next day we headed out of town and found a gem of a overnight stop in Buena Vista, VA.  We're on our way to the Fairfax area to see out son and wife.  We hate paying $40 plus for an overnight stop. And there were quite a few of those within 30 miles of where we wanted to stop for the night.

Even among those expensive places, there is no guarantee that we would get open access for our DirecTV.  That would be frustrating.  But we found a place in Buena Vista, VA.  We checked out reviews for the Glen Maury City Park campground and they were pretty good.  Nothing great.  But we were looking for one night.

I called and asked and was assured we would be able to get an open site with satellite access.  Sure enough, we arrived, paid our $19.48 (with Passport America) and parked in the open field.  We had 30 amp service (which was fine since we did not used the A/C) and water.  Perfect.
It was a tad cloudy for a while but it was a terrific evening.  We had windows and the front door open and enjoyed the fall-like day.  We slept with the windows open and thoroughly love this place.  The cell phone service was great and we had no issues at all with our DirecTV access.  And best on all the  free wifi was excellent!  What?  I can't remember when that was the case apart from the Navy bases where we've stayed.

We will definitely keep this campground on our favorites list for next time.

It was a great time seeing Mike and Joan and all in Tennessee and getting to work on their place.  Always too short, but fun to get some work done with the Roadrunner Builders.  And we look forward to a few days seeing Adam and Melissa.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Our Time in Red Bay

We arrived in Red Bay on Monday, Labor Day.  If we had been planning a little better we could have gone to the Coon Dog Cemetery Annual Celebration like we did last year.  That was a hoot.  But we we glad to arrive safely.

We left a nice overnight stop in Forrest City Arkansas.  While packing up, our Driver Side (DS) slide did not want to retract.  I got a couple of neighbors to help me push it in while Pam pressed the 'In' button.

We pulled out and I thought better about it and we stopped in the big parking lot nearby and we cut up a piece of 2" x 6" that I had and used it for blocking.  That prevented the slide from moving out as we drove down the road.  Not sure we needed it, but we felt better with the preventive safety steps.

Once in town, we found the spot we had reserved was occupied so we went over to Downtown RV Park and called Vickie.  She indicated or favorite site #3 was open for a couple of nights and we took it.  We had learned earlier friends Bob and Marty were at the park and we ended up right beside them as we had done last year about this time.  Turned out great.

Our satellite dish worked fine and we enjoyed some U.S. Open tennis.  The matches this year on prime time have been really good.
We enjoyed happy hour together and were missing some friends from last year who were here - Steve and Karen and Dave and Nancy.
 We got up early on Tuesday morning and had the Roadrunner over at Bruce Deaton's shortly after 6:00 AM to get our window replaced.  Next, we drove over to Mississippi and had breakfast at Sparks Restaurant.  It's a local hangout and has good food.

That done, we went by Deaton's and the Roadrunner was finished.  That was quick!  I am guessing it may have taken then less than 30 minutes to change out the window.
 The old one was discarded waiting for someone to carry it off to disposal.
 We are quite pleased to have that checked off the list.
Tiffin customers waiting for service can be at one of the five or six campgrounds in Red Bay.  Part of the check-in process is to have Jason or Norris come to your campsite, verify the work you are needing.  You are either scheduled to be seen by Tiffin RV maintenance folks in one of two vans who come to do the work at your site; or you will be called by the Express Bay where your work will be done by two technicians is a three hour window.

While we waited to be seen by Jason or Norris, we had time to replace the water heater anode rod.  That is a fairly simple process and needs to be done about every 12 months.
Once the old one is out, it is best to flush the area out with a pointed spray tool.  The residue washed out and I gently twisted the new anode rod into place.
It was good to get another one checked off the list.

We were up at 5:30 AM and rolled out shortly after 6:00 AM.  Early yesterday morning we drove from Red Bay to Simmons Tire near Tuscumbia AL.  It is about 35 miles away and we wanted to be there when they opened at 7:00 AM.

We bought our Michelin tires through the FMCA Advantage program and saved some money there which was nice.  Got our paperwork all squared away, left the keys and then found a Cracker Barrel for breakfast in Florence a few miles away.  Some nice friends gave us a gift card and this was the perfect time to use it.

After a leisurely breakfast, we made a stop at Aldi and then also one at Publix (home of that incredible Key Lime pie).
We went back to the tire store and they were finishing up.  We got out of there by 10:30 and made it back to Red Bay by noon.

We wanted to stay at Downtown RV Park but the only space available was #2.  Our Winegard Trav'ler was not locking on.  The large tree was in the way.  So we packed up and moved over to Deaton's RV park and set up and it all worked.

I ran out to Brannon's for a couple of parts and on the way back I got a red light on the dash indicating the Electrical System was not charging.  Uh oh.

We thought about what to do and talked with Deaton's and they suggested Red Bay Body Shop.  Really?  I did not know they had a garage.  Sure enough.  They jumped on it
and in 10 minutes I was told I needed a new alternator.  Yikes!  What are the chances I could get one for a 2009 Honda CRV any time soon?

Chances turned out to be good in fact!

They ordered a part and said it would be there at 9:00 AM on Thursday.  I went over this morning at 8:30 and it was already there.  I left the car and William worked on it for a couple of hours.  It was a beast to remove.  We were in no rush so we told him not to hurry and we'd pick it up before they closed.

Meanwhile, shortly before 11:30 we were notified to report to Bay #10 for our Express Bay Service call.  We were told by the mobile maintenance the slide gears were slipping and we'd probably need a new motor.
After the lunch hour was over (which currently is 11:20-12:00 for the workers) we pulled into the bay and met Charles and Mo.  They checked out the slide and determined a pin was missing causing the gears to turn and not engage.  We wandered off while they worked on it.
When we returned 20 minutes later the slide was fixed.  They checked the wipers as a recall item and replaced those.  Total bill:  $48.97!  I couldn't believe it.  What a surprise! That was a welcome result.

We drove the Roadrunner back over to our spot at Deaton's campground and then I walked over and picked up the car.  William did a fantastic job.  24 hours after being 'out of airspeed and ideas' -- we had a fixed car!  Not only that, William and used Purple Power degreaser on the whole engine and it looked like a new car under the hood.

And the total bill for a new alternator:  $246.98.  Another nice surprise!  I was expecting $400-$500 but didn't quibble over that bill either.

So that means we're done this time in Red Bay.  We got to see some friends who work in different places around town.

And we also had the good fortune to meet up with Linda/Bill, Bob/Marty and Carlene.
We walked over for happy hour at the Downtown RV Park and spent a little time with them before we said our goodbye's.

Its been a quick four days, but we got everything done and time to move on down the road.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Wrapping Up Another Great Time in NM

A week in Albuquerque flew by quickly.  We lifted our jacks and hit the road about 7:30 AM heading east on I-40.  We made great time and got over 1 mpg more than we usually do.
 We are at a very nice overnight stop at Sayre, OK at their self-serve city campground.  What a great stop!  Might be our favorite city campground ever!
Level sites, long pull through, on a golf course, 50 amp and water.  And - $12!  After all the Mexican food we've been eating, I thought it would be a nice change to have a steak.  I looked around for some options and Yelp! had good things to say about Rodriguez' Steaks and More...
We split a juicy 10oz Ribeye that was cooked to perfection.  It was just what we needed after a long day on the road.

Looking back over our week in NM, it seems like we ate a lot of Mexican (aka New Mexican) food.  We got to see some friends and family, and we also did some work with Reid (both at his office and house).

We hit the ground running with New Mexican food (which was known Mexican food when we grew up in the state) at:
If you are visiting Albuquerque or Santa Fe, there are some recommendations.
We never got a bad meal and somehow managed not over eat.  :) We could have, but exercised some restraint.  Yum.  We love the red and green chile and the enchiladas, beans, rice, sopapillas, huevos rancheros, burritos, the world's best green chile cheeseburger, tacos, tamales etc.
 You will not be disappointed!

There was just not enough time to see everyone we wanted to, so we did what we could. While in Santa Fe, we got to see Steve and Karen for our day trip there.  On Sunday, we saw some friends at church, then went out to cousin Linda's and saw husband Jim, their son and girlfriend (Seth and Amanda), and grand baby Carter.  (No pictures again??)
On Monday Reid and I were able to have lunch with junior high school friend Patty whom I hadn't seen in 20+ years.
 There are so many more people we would have loved to see but we ran out of time.

While in Albuquerque, we always try to work on a project or two at Reid and Amy's house.  This time we tackled repairs and painting to some fascia on his shed and house, stucco repairs and painting  on the soffit and put up a 28' gutter.
We like going over to his office and seeing the changes they have made since our last visit.  Their new signage on the outside looks great.  Inside, the new ceramic tile and carpeting through out the building really look great.
In one office, he wanted a cabinet shelf removed.
Then I got some OJT (on the job training) from Dan - their ace Operations Manager - on how to use the backpack vacuum cleaners the company uses.
The shelf removal turned out to be a smaller job than anticipated but I still needed to clean up the saw dust and wood chips.

That's a quick update on some memories of our NM visit this time and our overnight stay at a great little campground.

On to Oklahoma!  Thanks for checking in on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  BTW - love your comments!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

How To Spend a Great Day in Santa Fe

We are staying in Albuquerque out at the Kirtland AFB FamCamp.  It is a great stop for us.  Very convenient getting into from the Eubank Gate and we like the big gravel sites.  We always try to go up to Santa Fe at least one time during our time here and yesterday was the day.

We started off the day with breakfast at Frontier Restaurant on Central.
Its right across from UNM and one of the premier places to eat and people watch in the city.  Not to mention we like the food.
You can't go wrong with a breakfast burrito with green chile or Huevos Lite with red chile sauce, coffee and one of those dietary sweet rolls (heated).

The drive to Santa Fe on I-25 took about 55 minutes.  The speed limit is 75 but we got passed frequently.  Before you know it you are on top of La Bajada Hill and looking down into Santa Fe against the backdrop of the Sangre de Christo mountains.

We took the exit for Cerrillos (suh-REE-yos) Road.  It is always amazing to me to see how this end of town has grown and changed so dramatically.

We were a little early to meet up with Steve and Karen, so we got picked up some tourist maps and info at the Santa Fe Outlet Stores.  We weren't sure if the stores were open (they weren't at 9:30) but they did have a self service tourism kiosk where we were able to pick up a couple of city maps and tourist info.

This was the inaugural effort of Roadrunner Tour: Santa Fe, so we wanted to do it right and have some handouts.  Santa Fe is known as "The City Different" for its blending of some many cultures,  and for its art, architecture and chiles.  It was founded in 1610 by Spanish colonists and the oldest church in the United States (San Miguel) still stands.  It continues to be a record setting city with attractive vistas and a popular tourist destination.

Besides that, it's my hometown and I love to come back for a visit when we can.  And yesterday it was fun to share it with good friends.

I always love a good map and find them useful to get oriented.  Here are some I found:
We still had some time and went to one of the many Car Washes on Cerrillos Rd.  First one cost $19.  Oops wrong one.  Next one was $9. Better (similar to the $3 car wash we go to in Virginia Beach, but hey-- you are in Santa Fe!)

After the tour limo (our Honda CRV) was cleaned and vacuumed, we went to the Santa Fe Skies RV park and met Steve and Karen.  I think the last time we saw them was over a year ago in Red Bay.  Good to see them again.

Off we went for the first stop which just off Cerrillos Road and a drive by of my old house where I grew up.  I keep hoping that the broken down appearance and cars (in the front yard) would be replaced by some owners with a sense of pride and orderliness.  Nope -- still in a needy condition and no where near the grass lawn and shade trees and flowers that we worked hard to bring about in the 1960's and 1970's.

Next, we continued on toward downtown past the old Kinney Shoe Store, St. Michael's College, El Rey Motel,

Ashbaugh Park, and the Indian School (owned by the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico and serving 700 Native American Indians in grades 7-12).

After the passing the School for the deaf and crossing St. Frances Drive, we continued on and turned left to go by the The Railyard District.

The Railroad Yard was established about 15 years ago and now is the terminus for the  Railrunner and host to a number of trendy cafes, art stores and the local Farmer's Market and Art Market.  The Farmer's Market is open daily and the Artist Market is open during the summer on Saturdays.  We recommended Tomasita's Restaurant.  We have eaten there and like it.

Moving through the area, we drove past the Old Capitol building (with the Territorial style buildings) on Don Gaspar, then turned on DeVargas and past the Oldest House and Oldest Church.  We continued on our windshield tour over to Canyon Road and up the art mecca area of the city.  100's of galleries along this famous road.  We continued on the back streets going around the city on Paseo de Peralta and found a city parking garage on Marcy Ave.

From the garage we went over to Sena Plaza and ate at The Shed.
That was a treat!  It never disappoints.  We all had chile with our meals.  Growing up there, I remember green chile being the hotter of the two.  Over the years though that seems to have changed.  Most places in where we eat, they said the red chile is the hottest.  Our waiter took a different approach and said, neither.  They are the same.

More correctly I think is the response, "It depends".  Sometimes the green is the hottest, sometimes its red.  Lately it seems to me that the red is the hottest.  Steve had the red, Karen had the green and Pam and I had red.  Karen and Steve grew up back east and thought the chile is spicey.  I thought it was flavorful.  No matter though -- it added to the burrito, combination plate and Carne Arvado plate that Pam and I shared.  It was simply excellent!
After lunch we stolled along the Plaza, looked at the jewelry from the Indian vendors under the portal of the Palace of the Governors.
Then we continued down Palace Ave past the Georgia O'Keefe Museum.  We walked up Burro Alley, saw the Lensic Theater and the rest of the shops along W. San Francisco Ave.  We went a few blocks to where I remember Woolworth's was and the famous frito pie.  Now the Five and Dime sells it.

Going on past the opposite side of the Palace of the Governor's I noticed how nice the Plaza is these days.  There a plenty of park benches and the green grass and those wonderful shade trees.  It is all a lot nicer than I remember years ago.  There was something was going on at the Bandstand but we kept walking and strolled through the lobby of the La Fonda Hotel.

La Fonda is such a landmark and interesting place.  We walked around for a few minutes then went back out onto San Francisco to the St. Francis Cathedral.  It was built by Bishop Lamy and completed in 1886. What a beautiful cathedral.
We looked around and took a few pictures and then went a couple of streets over to the Loretto Chapel and Miraculous Staircase.
The Staircase was a $3 entry fee but completely worth it. As the story goes when the chapel was being built, the nuns needed a way to get to the choir loft high above. They were at a standstill and there was not enough space in the small church to build a standard staircase.  So they prayed.  Later a mysterious man who was an expert carpenter showed up and figured it out.  Without nails or supports, he completed the task with a circular spiral staircase.  Without fanfare or formal notice he left and told no one.  He was never paid for his work.

On previous visits to the chapel, I don't remember a recording with speakers providing the history and story.  It was a nice way to accommodate the visitors while they wandered around the ornate chapel.  Some stood and looked at the staircase, others sat and listened to the story or gazed upon the beautiful  stained glass windows on one end and the white altar on the other.

That was the last stop on the Roadrunner Tour: Santa Fe and we walked to the Plaza toward our parked car.  As we were moving along we saw a few people gathered and went over to see country and western star Randy Travis enjoying his celebrity with some friends.  The person with him asked if anyone wanted a picture so I accommodated.
A fan was telling him how she won a talent contest in school by singing one of his hits:  "Forever and ever Amen!".  It was released in 1987 and became his third number one single.

We took a drive around the Scottish Rite Temple and around what was Santa Fe Mid-High School.  Back in the day 9th and 10th grades were in the old high school and the new Santa Fe High was built on the edge of town on Yucca St. 

We drove past the old high school, the Government building and Post Office and then out past Rosario Cemetery and De Vargas Mall and took St Francis Drive down to Cerrillos Road and out to the Santa Fe bypass (Highway 599) to Santa Fe Skies RV park.

The few hours went quickly and it was a fun filled day with our good friends Steve and Karen.  Hopefully, you can see our approach to spending a few hours in a place where a week is really not enough to take it all in.  Still, there are some memorable and interesting things to do in only a few hours.

We never tire of seeing Santa Fe and spending some time there.  It was a beautiful day in a beautiful city with beautiful friends.

Thanks for joining us to day on the Roadrunner Chronicles.