Sunday, February 27, 2011


When our various jobs provide full hook ups, and most of them do,  we tend to go total electric. It saves on propane cost and the associated time and labor to go get it. For example our 100 pound propane tank cost $67 to fill in Campbellsville Kentucky, along with an hour’s time and the expense of a 18 mile drive.

Our Coleman is a 30 amp service fifth wheel. Which is a plenty, until we try to save a bit on propane.

If we put the refrigerator, hot water heater and the interior heat on electricity, using after market heaters, we get an occasional breaker trip. And then, something will have to be turned off in order to run high current draw appliances such as the microwave, electric skillet or toaster oven.

This much appliance use is right up there at maximum capacity. Should we be in a Winter work situation like we are for Amazon’s CHRISTmas rush season in Campbellsville, and turn off one heater, the interior temperature drops while we are cooking with the hot plate.

We needed a simple fix, a way to add electrical capacity, inexpensively.

Many campground electrical services look like this:

20-50amp-2 or this:  50AMP1-2 so, we decided to simply add a extra 20 amp circuit that could just plug into the service with a drop cord.

We ran the cord through the regular power port’s compartment, then through the basement and permanently mounted it by the stairs that go to the sleeping loft. Here is a look:

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For safety this extra circuit is in a metal box and well grounded. Betty says that now she doesn’t have to worry about turning something off before using the electric skillet.

Even after a year in SPF-60, we are still finding small ways to make things more comfortable.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Betty’s crochet corner:


Today is a drizzly overcast kind of a late Winter day here in the Ouachita Mountains.

After breakfast we decided that it was likely too wet to be trucking a load of stuff over to the docking port.

Betty has been knitting some team color scarf’s for various family members. Here is a look:


Our Jack Russell Terrier Patch has taken over my recliner and Poco seems to be saying, “ Come on ma’, I need my chair back !”

Here is a rare look at the living room with the chairs empty !


Here is one of the completed children’s scarf’s.


The snow depth gauge near our campground at Trujillo Meadows currently has 73, yep, that’s seventy three inches of snow covering it today.

Man ! Are we ever ready to go jug fishing !

Monday, February 21, 2011


As we get ready to put our house on the market and go full time RVing we felt the need for a place to be able to drop anchor at any time. A docking port was what we needed. Here is the plan as we see it now. Many members of Betty’s family have lived in the old home place but it is vacant now and we will build a docking port for our fifth wheel there. Electricity, water and sewer are readily available and there is a fairly easy way to make a pull through parking place, with a bit of dirt work. The photo below shows the driveway entrance that will need the dirt work .


The white stakes mark the start of the driveway.


Arkansas one call has came out and marked the various utilities that are buried nearby to insure that we don’t get into then with the bulldozier.


City water, Natural gas, optical fiber telephone lines and so forth are all marked and ready for the dirt work.

Here is a look at the other end of the driveway:


The old home still has all utilities on and we will be able to use it for storage.


This is where the RV’s Docking Port will sit. It will be close to the lakes and boat ramps.

Friday, February 18, 2011


It is that time of the year again, and as we sort through the receipts, categorizing them into the various expense areas, we get a very good look at the year just past.  Expensive is the word that comes to mind.

Our first year of workamping as migrant workers was the toughest of the two we have done so far. Our 17’ fiberglass camp trailer and Jeep tow vehicle were ever so cool, but working out of them for many months was pretty physically demanding on us. We traded our Jeep in for a one ton dually and traded the fiberglass camper for a fifth wheel trailer. Life became much easier, but expenses went up. Then we traveled thousands of miles more this year as we worked East of the Mississippi River, just South of Indianapolis Indiana in Campbellsville Kentucky.

We made a little less in the way of income this year, but, and that’s a big BUT, we spent way more on fuel and maintenance on the dually. However, physically,  life got easier.

This year, since fuel is so expensive, we will tow our 25 MPG Nissan to use as a daily driver, hoping that will reduce cost somewhat. That change in it’s self, cost twenty two hundred dollars to purchase a tow dolly to pull it with. I added some extra safety options to the dolly, LED Lighting and a surge brake system with disc brake rotors. Which ran the cost up a bit. Maybe with the adjustments we are making we will stop going in the hole and start to make a little bit for a change !

Our tax preparer is a friend that always goes the extra step to insure that we understand every thing and get the maximum refund. Here is a note that she sent home with us :


We had w-2’s from four states last year, so she sent a note home with us to help us keep it straight. Note the nice single envelope package that is easy to store in our fifth wheel, each envelope is a different year’s tax return.

Thanks Lori Wright, and all of the Mena H & R Block crew, for taking the extra steps, and for being such good friends.


Now for a second cup of coffee while we plan our trip to Lake Greeson for Jugfest2011.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


When we went shopping for our next boat, we looked at many options, but went back to the full service dealership that we had used back in 2000. Some here may remember HARM’S WEIGH that we bought at Bradford Marine. Great boat, excellent service. In this age of buy outs and corporate raiders, customer service often falls by the wayside. Eleven years had passed since our last purchase at Bradford and the customer service was still exemplary ! Our sales man, Jerry Jewell was most gracious and extremely knowledgeable about the various model’s. Jerry’s input insured that we got the boat and motor package that was just right for us.

We have walked into other dealerships dressed as we usually dress, you know, brogan shoes, blue denim bib overalls and a camo tee shirt and observed the sales staff take a look at us and try to out wait each other to see just who would have to take care of that looser. That didn’t happen here. Jerry met us at the door with his hand out in a firm handshake while introducing himself.  We almost never buy upon the first look at something, yet there was no high pressure sales pitch. It was days later that we returned for a second look. Thanks Jerry for your courtesy, help and friendship !

UPS knocked on the door last evening and I remembered again why we used that dealership. Our registration package arrived in this box.


The custom designed registration numbers for the boat are going to look good. I got a pleasant surprise when I found the trailer registration and license plate.

The dealership had upgraded the trailers license plate from the standard tag that must be renewed periodically to a permanent tag ! Way to go !

As much as we are on the road, renewing tags can be a bit of a pain and this was much appreciated !


They even included the bolts to put the license plate on.

In the top photo you might notice that the rolodex is open. Yes, the crew,  at Bradford Marine in Hot Springs Arkansas, got a thank you call !

Danny spent considerable time going over the many details, insuring that everything was to our satisfaction. Thanks Danny Keesee, for being such a friendly, competent professional, it is a pleasure indeed to call you friend.

At pick up time, a couple of weeks later, we had stuff going on and had to wait a bit, Ron Kolb, the rigging and Demo Manager, went over our new purchase from stem to stern, with us. Nothing went unexplained. Ron’s Knowledge and expert delivery to us, will extend the service life and pleasure of using our boat for many years ! Ron gave us many tips, gleaned from years of experience, you know the kind of tip that can save a problem on down the road somewhere.

You know, I guess that top notch service like what we got at Bradford’s in Hot Springs, is in the small details.

Thanks guys, for making this, our second in eleven years, such a great experience !

Monday, February 14, 2011


While at the sugar beet harvest we bought a second flat panel television for the bedroom.

The idea was to have DirecTv send a installer to put in a DVR and hook up the bedroom tv. That tech didn’t understand how Rv systems work and couldn’t do it with out disabling either the batwing antenna or the Winegard Roadtrip dome. He just didn’t get it. He was a “sticks and bricks”, home installer and didn’t want to mess with our RV’s systems. We told him thanks, but no thanks.

To be able to have satellite TV in our office slide as well as the bedroom, in our constantly changing environment, we went with a low tech solution.


We added an extra cable from our tripod dish. There were no modifications necessary at the dish feed horn end, just add the extra cable. This way there are two cables running to the RV from the tripod dish


The install was quite simple. Remove two screws, slide the feed horn off and attach the second cable.


Here is a closer look at the feed horn end. Each television has it’s own receiver and remote. They only share the signal at the dish it’s self. Each TV can watch anything that is available, independent of the other.

And our internal systems, the dome and the batwing, remain un altered.

The only negative is that this low tech solution requires the use of a flat cable to pass through a nearby window. Here is a look:


Saturday, February 12, 2011


Some states have lighting requirements that will not allow any part of a vehicle to extend more than 5’ beyond the tail lights. Our Nissan 4x4’s pickup bed and rear bumper will be more than 5’ beyond the tow dolly’s tail lights. To make sure that we stay legal in those places, we spliced in a plug for a set of magnetic lights to go on the Nissan’s rear bumper. Note that the splice is soldered and heat shrink sealed against moisture intrusion. It is located near the surge brake on the tow dolly’s tongue, by the ball hitch. The magnetic light plug in, is located at the center of the spare tire.


The magnetic lights are rolled up and sitting on the fender in this photo.


Here we are, nearly a year after we switched to a fifth wheel trailer, and we are still making adjustments to the way we operate, to make things easier, simpler and safer.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Last year as we left out for Colorado, we had on hand a couple of those oil filled radiator looking heaters. So, we took them and a fan to put behind one of them to move more air. They worked ok, but, they weren’t very efficient. Here is a look at the old set up:


It isn’t hard to see just how much room this system took up, then there was the power consumption and the noise.


They they sure enough  took up quiet a bit of space and made more noise than we would have liked. By the time we had traveled sixteen thousand miles, the plastic wheels had broken. It was time for a change.

Here is the newer, more expensive, quieter and much more efficient electric heat set up.


The Vornado Model VH 103.


Smaller, quieter, lighter and 25% more efficient !

These heaters will make life in SPF-60 easier yet !

Saturday, February 5, 2011


At the completion of six weeks at the Arkansas K9 training center, Dillon and I certified as a team in detecting four major categories of narcotics. Dillon was eighteen months old.  By this time we were the very best of buddies.

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We rode together for eight and a half years, wearing out several patrol units. Adventure after adventure unraveled for us over the years.


One dangerously cold night during a manhunt after a jail break, we nearly drowned while crossing a log jam. We took care of each other.

When Dillon retired, I still had to work for several years. After I retired, Dillon traveled thousands of miles with us as we workamped around the USA.

However It was at the Lake that Dillon discovered boat riding and cat fishing. Dillon really knew how to kick back at the lake.


Manhunts, drug raids and getting ran over on the highway didn’t get him. The projected life span of most working dogs seems to work out at around ten years. At ten years of age Dillon went home with us, and retired from life as a working dog.

We buried my buddy today.  Dillon was a few months over seventeen years of age, when he passed away in his sleep.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Our last post was about our boat having a SHEET of ice on it. Today’s post is about that same boat having a BLANKET of snow on it. Here is a look:


How deep is the snow ?100_2506

We didn’t actually measure, but we are guessing that at this point we have four inches of snow. Here is a few pix:


Poco said, oh, no, not me ! I see all that snow out there.


Living room slide.


Spare tire on the back bumper.100_2504

Solar light by the front door.100_2506

Another view of the boat.


Even in the carport the Kawabunga truck got a good layer of snow.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


As we look at the sheet of ice on the boat cover,


We pause to think, was it just a few short days ago that we were cruising local lakes, putting on “break in” hours on the new boat ?

I think that this is a good day to sit by the fire working on getting the jugs ready to fish !