Saturday, April 30, 2011

Getting Ready to Leave RCC

Yep, that is what we are up to-taking care of the little things before we leave Rock Crusher Canyon on Wednesday.  We’ve been here at our winter home since November 28th. Starting with today and working backwards, here’s what has been happening with us. After our usual Saturday morning breakfast at Kim’s Cafe in Homosassa, we came back to the “Castle”  and began the process of emptying, reorganizing and repacking the basement storage area. We have never really packed it completely since we bought the 5er in late January. Remember, we really have not taken any trips in it other than to take it over to Ocala and back for the warranty work and a couple of add-ons. I’m really surprised that we have more room left than I thought we would. All that remains to be loaded are the lawn chairs, the grill, rugs and those items involved in unhooking from the utilities.

Dodge Alpine Small Web view

Yesterday, Barbie weeded the planter box in the front of our site. It needed to be done before leaving for the summer. Hopefully it won’t look too bad when we return in November. We were surprised how good it actually looked when we returned this past November. Last evening we dined at Mr. Wang, a Chinese restaurant in Homosassa, one last time. We’ve decided that was our best “new” find this winter. We finally decided to try this place out this year. And, we found it to be excellent and very reasonably priced.

Thursday, we were up and on the road at 7:00am to be at Tampa Spring Company in Ocala for our 8:00am appointment to have a “leaf” added to our springs on both rear sides   of our Dodge pick-up. When we took the “Castle” to Suncoast RV a couple of weeks ago, their tech thought that since our hitch weight is a tad heavy at 2235lbs, some extra support may be in order. So I contacted the manager at Tampa Spring described my truck, the “Castle” etc and he explained the options and costs for each, then recommended adding the leaf to the springs. Knowing nothing about the matter, I went with his recommendation. He said we could re-address it when we return to RCC next winter if I wasn’t satisfied with just that being done. I’m good with that since this was the least expensive fix and this is the fix he has used in the past with success on a Dodge 3500.  He also suggested we have the u-bolts re-torqued in 500 miles, so we’ll have that done in Lakeland at their sister store next Friday morning.

So, Wednesday morning we’ll head out of here and head south on I-75 then east on I-4 to Lakeland where we’ll spend the night at Sanlan RV Park. Thursday morning we’ll have the “Castle” at  Quadra Manufacturing where we’ll have the Bigfoot Auto-Leveling system put on the “Castle.” They’ll keep it until midday Friday so we’ll spend Thursday evening at our stix-n-brix home in Valrico before picking up the 5er Friday about noon. We’ll then go back and spend Friday and Saturday nights at Sanlan before starting the trek north  a week from tomorrow. These plans etched in jello then include overnight stops in Lake Park, GA and Perry, GA before arriving at River Vista in Dillard, GA for a good portion of the summer. We are hopeful that the weather that has terrorized the southeast this past week is history with no repeat in sight.

To all of our followers and friends, be safe in your travels!

‘Til next time…….

Friday, April 22, 2011

Warranty Work & Time w/Friends

Last weekend we spent some time cleaning and rearranging “things” in both the cargo trailer, aka “The Prince”(that we use for storage) and in the 5er as we got ready to take the “Castle” to Suncoast RV in Ocala to handle some warranty issues and a few add ons we wanted. Somewhere around midday on Sunday, our blogger buddy, Carolyn, rolled in and parked in the site next to us. She had left her winter base at Citrus Ridge in Davenport a few days earlier and had spent a couple of free nights at Chassa Oaks, a few miles south of Homosassa, before arriving here at Rock Crusher Canyon.

Chassa Oaks RV Resort Clubhouse

Chassa Oaks is one of the newer ownership parks in Florida. Carolyn had been inquiring about their sales prices etc as she enjoys this area of the state. After RCC, her plan was to leave RCC Thursday and move on to visit her son as she works her way back to Tennessee where she’ll workcamp some during the summer. After she got settled in she suggested we go to “The Freezer” for some steamed shrimp and cold beer. The Freezer is one of the locals favorite haunts in this area for sure. There is an indoor area that is truly the inside of a huge old freezer unit and there is an attached outdoor tiki hut area.

FreezerThe back Tiki porch of “The Freezer”

The steamed shrimp there is awesome and the beer is always cold. People watching is also fun there. You see all kinds of folks there for sure. Check out their website to see all they have to offer.

Monday morning we hitched up the 5er to our Dodge 3500 pick-up (for the first time) and made the hour drive over to Ocala to Suncoast RV. We started getting ready to leave at 7:30am and after unhooking utilities, closing slideouts, hitching up and all else it takes to prepare to leave, we finally pulled out at 9:00am. Remember, we had Suncoast deliver the Alpine to our site at RCC initially so that was our FIRST time preparing to leave, hitching up etc. Whew, what an ordeal! Anyway, we had a couple of warranty issues we wanted Suncoast to take care of that developed or we discovered during the 10 weeks we’ve had it. These issues included: replacing an ill-fitting basement utility door, a back rinse fill connection leak under the rig, a leaky valve behind the toilet, a squeaky floor under the bathroom and they replaced some grommets under the stove grates. The new add-ons they took care of were: adding slideout awnings over all four slideouts, putting two maxxair vent covers on the roof over the fans in the bathroom and kitchen,  installing a ladder mount for our Winegard Carryout antenna and wired it directly into the 5er. We can leave it there on the ladder hopefully 95% of the time but it still can be disconnected easily when we are parked under trees and we can locate it to a clear view of the southern sky to get the signal. It’s the best of situations. They kept the “Castle” overnight Monday and Tuesday, so we picked it up Wednesday after our two night stay in Valrico. They did a great job and we’re pleased with what was done. As we were hitching up to leave we told them about the difficulty we had hitching up Monday so Chris, the service manager, watched and after having difficulties again, he took the “head” off of the PullRite hitch and noticed some metal shavings and worn metal. He said the head must not have been correct so he put a new head on it – no charge-and it works perfectly. They had put the hitch on originally about a month ago for us. When we got back to our site at Rock Crusher the fun began. Of course I was driving but after trying 30 minutes myself with Barbie directing, we switched roles and I guided her in as she was behind the wheel. It was a bit frustrating as our paved driveway is only about 12 feet wide coming off the road, so turning the 39ft Castle with the big Dodge into the driveway while dodging the recently trimmed tree limbs laying on the edge of the road where we needed to turn made things difficult. But, once we got backed in on the site, we leveled and hooked up in a relatively short time.

While in Valrico, we took a drive to Lakeland to visit  Quadra Manufacturing, who manufacture the “Bigfoot” Leveling Systems. There are two locations, the home location in White Pigeon, Michigan and Lakeland, Florida. I had been researching leveling systems for 5ers. I don’t like having to use wood to level side-to-side. The  manager was awesome. He gave us a tour of their facility and wouldn’t you know it, they had just finished putting the automatic system on a new Montana, so he demonstrated it for us on the spot. Bottomline, on May 5 & 6 we’ll have the Quad Fully Automatic System put on the Castle. It will make leveling a breeze AND no wood! So our departure date for heading north will be delayed a week but well worth it!

Finally, late yesterday afternoon old friends, Bob and Betsy Lindsay, pulled in across the street from us to spend a week at RCC. We met Bob and Betsy probably ten years ago when we were both members of the Roamin’ Rigs, an FMCA Tampa Bay, FL area chapter. They headed west somewhere around 2004 and we hadn’t seen them since. Our only contact was through rv forums or Facebook. It was great to see them and we look forward to spending more time with them this coming week.

Before I forget, everyone have a Happy Easter!

‘Til next time….

Friday, April 15, 2011


The past week has been filled with us “Taking Care of Business.” We’ve done some work in the 5er, around our site and taken care of some odds and ends before we take the 5er to Suncoast RV in Ocala on Monday to have some additions put on it and have a couple of warranty issues taken care of before we head north. For the new additions, we are going to have slideout toppers put over all four slideouts, maxxair vent covers put over two fan areas on the roof, and add a ladder mount where we can place our new Winegard Carryout minidome. Barbie has been busy getting her driver’s license renewed and putting that slip-stop stuff in all the remaining cabinets in the 5er. She has measured and cut alot of that stuff for sure. Nothing will slide around in those cabinets. We also managed to give the remaining 19 landscape timbers we had that have been sitting on our site since we finished our projects this time last year. We gave nine to one of the workcampers here at the park and the remaining  ten to one of the maintenance workers here in the park. Speaking of the maintenance guys, we asked them to trim some of the trees around our site and they took care of it the same day. They are in tree trimming mode now as they go in and trim trees as the folks leave for the season and head out. And I must say RCC has cleared out significantly since April began. Now most of the new rvers coming in are the weekenders for 3 days or so. It is a little deceiving as it appears to be more rvers here than actually are and that is because RCC is now allowing the seasonal folks to leave their rvs stored on the same site they occupied for $50 a month until they return next fall. Most of the northerners and Canadians pay $40 or more per month at their home areas we’ve been told so leaving them here for $50 a month made sense as they would save gas money as well as wear and tear on their rvs traveling. 

Most of our Florida rving “blogger buddies” have left Florida now-only a few of us remain. It certainly is interesting reading about everyones travels. We really enjoy reading about the places visited and the things done. To all of you , we wish you safe travels and fun times as you continue the lifestyle we all so love. We look forward to each of your “next” blog postings.


’Til next time……

Friday, April 8, 2011

Procrastination, Taxes, Satellite TV


the act of procrastinating; putting off or delaying or defering an action to a later time .


Well, that is exactly what I HAD done with regard to 1) completing and filing our 2010 tax return AND 2) deciding and purchasing the satellite system I wanted to get for the new 5er. I’m pleased to say both situations have been completed/resolved the past few days.

First, let’s talk taxes. Yes, I had been putting off doing the taxes for weeks…months. I guess I knew that 2010 being the year both of us officially retired and with the incomes decreased plus less deductions than past years, we’d take a beating and have to pay more taxes and not get a refund. Barbie had gathered all the documentation and forms and had them ready for me for weeks but…… So after going to Valrico for my make-up dental cleaning appointment Wednesday, I told her Thursday was tax day. So yesterday I loaded up the Turbo Tax once again on the laptop and dug in. Barbie had everything we needed so the PAIN was over in 2 hours and 15 minutes. The dull pain still lingers on a little because yes, we did have to pay more. But, bottomline, we e-filed, sent the return and the payment and it was received and accepted in less than 24 hours. Guess the Feds needed our money bad…but not enough to settle the budget woes. :-)~  I’m trying not to be too distraught! I’m not talking taxes any longer.

Moving on to satellite tv. We had a Winegard Roadtrip Minimax stationary antenna on the motorhome and we have used the DirecTV receiver from our bedroom at the stix-n-brix home for the past 2 years. The system worked wonderfully. You see, prior to getting the Minimax, we had to hand crank the dish up, then manually set the dish to find the satellite. That was tough AND frustrating at times. When we got the Minimax, we just added power and the rascal found the satellite within 3 minutes every time. On the new 5er I knew I wanted the automatic search again but I didn’t want to permanently mount any antenna to the roof. If you can’t get a clear line of site, you’re out of luck with a permanent roof mount. I’ve really been in no real hurry, can you say procrastination, since we have a great 60+ channel free cable system here at RCC and we have used it all winter. We did need to get the new system in place by the end of April when we head north though. So after tossing all the options around, we finally decided to get a Winegard Carryout Automatic Portable antenna.



carryout-tripod-tn Carryout with tripod ground mount

gm3000Carryout on a ladder mount

It is essentially the same unit as the Minimax we had. It automatically finds the satellite(s) by itself, but it is not mounted permanently on the roof. It can be set on the ground, on a picnic table, there is a ground mount and a latter mount. The portability is a great feature when you get parked around trees. Just move it so you have a view of the southern sky and you are in business. We do plan to add a ladder mount but since the unit weighs only 13.5 pounds, it is easy to move. And, the automatic satellite finder is awesome. So Wednesday, on our way back from Valrico, we stopped at the Camping World at Lazydays in Seffner, and got the Carryout. We also bought a new DVR receiver so we can tape and watch shows as well. Well, this evening after taking Kozmo to Hardees for her bacon and a burger dinner, oh yes her Mommy and Daddy grabbed a bite as well, I decided to test out the new temporary set-up. It took no time at all to set the Carryout on our firepit, connect the power cord and cable and VIOLA…we had DirecTV. Seriously, the only thing that took time was that for this test, I hooked up the old SD receiver we had used previously instead of the new SD dvr receiver. Well, since we hadn’t used the receiver since November, I had to call DirecTV to “reauthorize” it. Once I got off of hold after 10 minutes, it took all of 3 minutes to be receiving the signal. It’s a beautiful thing. So when we take the 5er to Suncoast RV in a little over a week we’ll have them add a ladder mount and we’re good-to-go.

So my friends, ‘til next time……..