The Good Samaritan

Every trip is an adventure. This week end we are traveling to Hattiesburg Mississippi, so that my son-in-law can help work a marathon. Our son-in-law will be assisting with his Ham Radio, to help with communication from station to station.   

We started our journey at eight-thirty Friday morning.  

I love traveling by Class A Motorhome. The view is amazing. The captain chairs are comfy, and I have a desk. Hubby drove and I completed three water color paintings.

We stopped for lunch at a rest stop, ate lunch without incident and scurried back on the road. Approximately, an hour after lunch, our daughter announced, “Hey, we lost a tire!” I’m slow.. my initial thought was, “Where did it go?”  Hubby said, ‘Can you hold on. There is a side road off of the highway just ahead.

Luckily, just off the highway, this country road had two close-together pull-offs big enough for a 34 ft Class A Motorhome and a truck pulling a 32 ft Travel Trailer.

The hubs and son-in-law, immediately went about the business of changing the spare, while I lounged around the motorhome. After twenty minutes, I went to investigate the progress and actually saw no progress. They did not have the right tools to remove the lug nuts. I went back to the Motor home, to collect and walk the dog. When I retuned to the scene of the crime, there was a Sheriff’s car pulled up near the flat tire. The sheriff offered to drive my Son-in-law to get a proper tool.

The sheriff had placed his hat of the roof of his vehicle and when he drove away with our Son-in-law, his hat blew into the middle of the road.

Meanwhile, while son-in-law and sheriff were away, the rest of us hung out in the RV listening to music. After a while, I ventured outside to photograph our pretty little country road. I was met by a yellow butterfly and beautiful spring wildflowers.

When the Sheriff returned, there was a truck driving directly in front of the sheriff who stopped as well. This Good Samaritan, in the truck, was a Contractor who had a truck full of tools! In no time, the tire was fixed an we were back on the road. Thank you, Mr. Sheriff and Good Samaritan!  You know who you are!


The Trade

Well, we did it. We traded our 17-year-old Class C Motorhome.

Our baby, the Bouncy, is gone.

Our girl the Bouncy was a good girl. However, she was an old lady. A very old lady by RV standards. Her colors were a little faded and to be completely honest, she leaked a little. But, in her defense, you might leak a little too if you needed a new roof. Her engine was sound and oil pressure good, but we were uncertain as to exactly how many years she had left in her long and glamorous life. Did you know that her previous owners took her all the way to Alaska?

Our adventure down this road began a year or two ago. We knew that we wanted to upgrade to a Class A Motorhome. But, which one? We looked at camper, after camper, after camper. Then we met the Bounder. Priced at the high end of our price range, the allure of her beauty was breathtaking. She did not have the outside kitchen that we wanted in an RV , but she did have a drop down loft, L shaped couch, fireplace, and four TVs.

This year, a dealership in Texas had a big end of year sale. The clearance sale put her cost well below what other dealers were selling pre-owned later model coaches for. But, our negative equity, made her cost soar to the top of my comfort zone. We were faced with a dilemma- to trade or not to trade. We decided that we would at least give it a try. So, we contacted the dealer, told them about the tiny down payment we had and filled out a Credit Application. Surprisingly, the bank accepted our offer. Our next question was what was going to happen when the dealer actually looked at our trade in person? We knew all of the Bouncy’s issues and were as honest as possible on the front end. But still, what if when they took a look at her they said, “Sorry folks, there is no way we can give you money for this coach. In fact, ya’ll have to pay us to take her.”

So, with much apprehension, we began our ten-hour drive to Alvarado, Texas. Halfway to Texas, it began to rain, on and off. Halfway to Texas, I began to pray. “Lord Jesus, Please let the patch job on the roof near the bathroom please hold. Patch job, Ple-e-e-s-e hold!” This was my prayer because, when the roof leaks at the bathroom, it trips to the breaker on the bathroom outlet and takes out the kitchen outlet also. Then we have no power to those outlets until the wall dries out. I could see myself explaining to the sales rep, “It’s ok. She’ll be alright once the leak dries up!” Well, thankfully we never had to have that discussion.

It continued to rain on and off for most of the afternoon and into the evening. It was still raining when we arrived in Alvarado around six pm. We pulled in a small parking lot as we tried to locate our RV park. The parking lot was tiny and we found out it was much too tiny to get our RV turned around. For folks that do not know, one can not back up an RV with a towed car attached. So, in the pouring rain and bitter wind, we had to disconnect our car. We decided that I would drive the car the short distance to the RV Park and follow along behind my husband who knew the way. No problem, right? So, I get in the car and rev up the engine without a care in the world, or a cell phone for that matter. All is well until… I noticed that the trailer hitch lights were still mounted on the top of the car and the cord for the light kit was dangling down my windshield and lodged under the wiper blade exactly where it was supposed to be. This would not have been a problem at all if it had not been raining. But, the minute I tried using the wipers the cord went tha-unk, tha-unk, as it was whipped around by the wiper blade. “Ok, I will just have to do this without wipers,” I thought. Well, that worked for about a minute and a half until I could no longer see the road through my rain-streaked windshield. In my mind, I had three choices. Choose one- Stop the car and remove the lights. Not a good option at all. What if hubby didn’t notice that I was no longer following. Bad choice, especially cause I didn’t even have one breadcrumb! Choice two- drive without the wipers. I tried it for a little while. But if you are only going 20 miles an hour and you still can’t see. Well….. So I went with the third choice. Put the wipers on just long enough to clear the windshield and then turn them off. It worked great for the first three rotations of the wiper blades then my tha-unk sound turned into one humongous ca-thump sound and I no longer had to worry about the light cord hanging over my windshield. Actually, I doubted very seriously that I would ever have to worry about that set of lights again. Because I thought they were gone! When we finally got parked, one light was still attached to the roof and the cord was dangling off of the driver’s side. When I yanked on the cord, thankfully, the other light was still attached. And, those lights will live to see another adventure.

After, parking and settling in, we needed some supper. I had planned on shopping for the trip after arriving at our destination. But we were too tired to go out a fight the rain again looking for a grocery store in the dark. So, I scrounged dinner together with what we had on hand….spaghetti noodles, Progresso tomato soup, Hunts tomato sauce and some spices. I threw it together, tasting it along the way, hoping I could create something at least edible. It turned out ok. However, I don’t think I will ever make it again on purpose.

The next morning we got up early to prepare for our meeting with the dealer. The Bouncy has never been cleaner! I cleaned and recleaned every square inch. Mostly, I was just trying to get rid of nervous energy. Finally, ten am rolled around and it was time! We had been told that the first order of business was that they would inspect every inch of ours, while we inspected every inch of theirs. Then we would know if we had a deal. They wouldn’t let us bring our dog into theirs on accounta that they were skeptical of ours. But, they liked ours well enough and we found ourselves with a new twenty-year mortgage. End of story. Well almost.

When we bought the Bouncy, it did not take us long to fill her with stuff. We had all of the comforts of home. I learned yesterday afternoon we had all of the comforts of home plus some. It took four hours to just reach the point that the Bouncy was empty, and then we worked until after supper putting things away in their new homes. Dog tired we slept well in our new bed.

This morning we finished packing up. Around ten am we were ready to move our new coach and hook up our car. While we were hooking up the car, the power awning decided of its own accord to extend itself. We stopped the engine, retracted the awning and started the engine again. Once again as the engine started the awning felt the need to unfold. We thought that we were going to be stuck in Texas another day because this kept happening over and over again. Then it just gave up and decided to behave itself. We don’t know why.

We have been on the road for about three hours and all is well. Driving and riding in a bus instead of a truck is really different. But, that is a story for another day.

Ps- our new girl still needs a name. Any suggestions?

The Game

Sitting here soaking up the rays of the rare, warm, January sunshine, I contemplate “The Game.” The Game is the reason I am able to sit in the warm sunshine. After a wet and rainy Fall, my eight year old grandson is able to play his first flag football game of season. As I Look to my right, I glance at the person who came to observe the game kicking and screaming. He wasn’t literally “kicking and screaming.” But figuratively, every fiber of his being said, “I don’t really want to be here. Can we go home now. The sun is too bright. I am hot.” Etc. Etc. Then I look to my left, and I glance at the person who is here by design. He willingly chose to embark the journey and decided to embrace it willingly.

Then I think about me. And I think how so often in the game of life, I am so much like both the person on my right side and the person on my left.

She I see my grandson practice with his friends. They are good. They practice like they were ready for this their whole lives. They should be. The first game of the season was supposed to happen weeks ago, but it kept raining and raining and raining. Finally, after weeks of notifications saying “the game is canceled-again” we are finally here and ready to play the game.

Well, perhaps, they are not as good as they appeared to be. I am embarrassed to admit how badly they are losing the game. My last count was 40 to zip, and then I lost count. Who wins or looses is not that important. All the kids who are playing go to the same school.

The entire game gives me pause for reflection. In life, there is always someone more skilled….wiser, smarter, etc., and that’s ok.

When I huddle determined to form a fool proof plan, I usually end up the one fooled. Things hardly ever go exactly as I have planned, and that’s ok.

What is important is that in life, I play a good game, a fair game….that I run a good race. It’s not in how much stuff I collect, or how talented I am, but it’s how much I love and care for others.

I am not perfect at loving and caring by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. However, like my grandson’s team, I am a work in progress!

2019 – A Walk in the Woods

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New Year’s Day-2019

The alarm dutifully began to blare at 7:30 am. Me, gritty-eyed from going to bed after midnight the day before, begrudgingly pulled myself from my warm, soft covers.

DSC_0331After a quick cup of coffee, the morning was a rush with packing! Eight family members (nine if you include the dog) scurried through the house gathering up necessary essentials. We packed  hot soup, sandwiches, cocoa, and chips for our big hiking adventure. We even prepared lembas bread!  The goal was to leave the house by 9 am for the hour-long journey to Village Creek State Park. At nine-thirty, precisely on the nose, the cars were packed with more than we needed, and the people tumbled out of the house layered in long johns, coats, boots, hats, and scarves.

Once on the road, the plan was to meet up with the rest of the family, for a big family outing, at a rest stop in an undisclosed area. But, because of logistics, we decided to meet at the park instead.DSC_0364

After arriving at the park, we hit the trail. On the trail, we were Hobbits, searching for Rivendell. Well, maybe not Rivendell, but, we were searching for a picnic pavilion about halfway along the trail. Up and down the ridges we went, whilst my hips and thighs screamed in agony. But persevere we did with nary a picnic pavilion in sight.

DSC_0373Finally, after what seemed like hours of hiking, we climbed up out of a ravine and lo and behold there it was! The most beautiful picnic pavilion and rest facilities known to man. After feasting, on hot soup, sandwiches, lembas bread, and cocoa, we hiked to the rest facilities only to see an ominous sign which read, “Facilities closed for the season!”

So, with much disappointment, we decided to travel back to our vehicles via the road most traveled (the paved camp road), in hopes of trimming distance from our long sojourn. Once we arrived back at the Visitor’s Center, our senses were assuaged by the smell of baking bread. The Rangers were baking fresh buttermilk biscuits in a Dutch oven. ”They are almost ready, ” the rangers said. ”Do you want to stick around for a quick bite?” Yum! What a perfect ending to a perfect day! Wishing you a wonderful 2019!

Sofia M Sachs Butterfly House, Chesterfield, Missouri

If you like Butterflies, this is the place for you. ‘Nuff said. 

No, actually, there is much more to be said about this butterfly sanctuary.  The whole museum can be visited in about and hour. It‘s a nice little side trip, to any day’s adventure, in the St Louis area.  The museum is located in Chesterfield, Missouri inside of Faust Park.

We found out, the hard way, (via Google) that the St. Louis Area has two Butterfly Houses. One in the Zoo (which we did not want to visit this trip), and the one in Chesterfield. So, as a word of caution, if you want to visit the one we saw in Chesterfield, you will need to include Chesterfield in your search parameters.  Unless, like us, you want to take the long scenic route, on the highway, first to the Zoo, before seeing the butterflies in Chesterfield!

Inside of the Butterfly House is a Conservatory.  To me, (much to my dismay) the Conservatory did not appear to be climate controlled. It was beautiful, but hot!  …like Sauna Hot!  The day we visited Chesterfield, it was 98 degrees outside. It felt much hotter inside of the Conservatory!  When we visited once before in the spring of the year, the temperature was nice inside of the Conservatory.  None the less, even though it was really hot, the Conservatory was beautiful. Here are some photos of our adventure.

Grant’s Farm- St Louis, Missouri

DSC_0755 (2)In my opinion, Grants Farm is one of the best attractions in the St Louis area. People always talk about the Arch, but if I had to choose between the two excursions, I would choose Grant’s Farm every time. Here are the top ten reasons I like Grant’s Farm-

10. It was the family home of President Grant.

9. You can enjoy pretty horses, and not worry about needing to feed them!

8. You can let someone else do the driving.DSC_0705

7. It’s a fun place to see deer crossing the road, and they won’t mess up your car.DSC_0721  

6. They have Elephants who can paint.

5. There are a lot of goats and cute kids!

4. There was pretty scenery on the tram ride.

3. It was reasonably priced-Like free!free-10[1]2. If you are 21, they will give you free beer.DSC_0823

1. You can let Parakeets decorate your hair or your hat!

The only charge, for the park, was a thirteen-dollar parking fee. (and lunch, naturally!) We chose to visit on a really, really hot day. The only place in the entire park, that was air conditioned, was the rest rooms. So, I promise you, if you choose to visit on a really hot day and you are a wicked witch, you will melt! (You might melt, even if you are not a wicked witch!)

So, anyway, wicked witches beware, and everyone else, I look forward to hearing about your very wonderful adventure at Grant’s Farm.

370 Lakeside, St Peters, Missouri

Traveling to St Louis, can provide a wonderful family vacation experience. But, if you are RV enthusiast, like us, finding an RV Park, located in a safe area of the city or suburbs, might present an interesting problem.  We searched for weeks before our anticipated trip trying to locate a good place to stay. Safety was our first concern and the ability to navigate tight city streets with a 37 foot pull behind (that our son-in-law would be pulling) was our second concern. So, we didn’t want to stay in downtown St Louis, nor did we want to park our very vulnerable rig, in a high crime district.  Finally, after scouring the Internet, we found 370 Lakeside Park in St Peters, Missouri.

When I called, luckily, they had two spots available. The cost is reasonable. We paid 37 dollars a night for full hookups.  The cost for a premium site, meaning one next to the lake is 42 dollars. Believe me when I tell you, paying 5 more dollars a night to be closer to the lake is not worth it! A premium spot is not a private lakeside access point. 

The park is clean and well maintained. We would stay here again.

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