Welcome to our travels and adventures

Welcome to our travels and adventures

A Home Coming…

It doesn’t take long to get into the swing of the happenings here at the Plantation. After having a restful day on Saturday, we found some energy and washed the rig after a summer of neglect. It was incredibly filthy and took some extra elbow grease to get’r clean again. I guess we didn’t have time to look after it this summer – go figure. Anyway, once that was done and all the tools put away, we were off to Ann & Bill’s for happy hour then onto the ice cream social at the club. We shook hands, hugged and spoke to many friends here at the Planation – it was a warm home coming for us.

Like I said, back in the groove already and off to the Original Oyster House for an Escapee chapter lunch with Bill & Ann and about 100 other Escapee’s from the park. Lots of hugs and hellos, chatter and fun. We had to leave the park at 9:30 – what for lunch! – yes, we have a shortish meeting then lunch and we’ll be gone before the lunch time crowds descend on the restaurant. So maybe it should be called a brunch but without breakfast items. And, who doesn’t want a feed of seafood at 11AM? That (Monday) evening is the annual Christmas concert provided by the Baldwin Pops, our local concert band. It was 90 minutes of great Christmas entertainment and all for the price of a toy for the Toys for Tots pro1412003 Dec 09 Barb Hanging Garlandgram here at the Gulf.

Tuesday morning, Barb made her first appearance at the clubhouse with the regular ladies for the sewing and quilting fest every Tuesday morning. I found other stuff to do around the rig but most importantly, we planned to decorate the rig for Christmas so I brought the bins in from the shed. I also made an emergency booze run – you can’t decorate properly with out a rum ‘n eggnog in hand.

The rest of the week was of usual stuff, dinner at the clubhouse, happy hours, craft and quilting and I attend the computer group meeting on Thursday morning. A couple of the guys say they only go for the entertainment but sometimes you actually learn something too. It’s always good fun here no matter what your interests are. You can be as busy as you want to be or not, it is entirely up to you on what you get involved in.1412017 Dec 13 Deciding On What To Eat

The highlight of the week was we – about 16 – went out for dinner at Lulu’s and to watch the Christmas boat parade. We went somewhat early in an attempt to get a table at the rail, overlooking the Intercostal Waterway where the boats will sail by. But, it was a hit and miss chance, the place was packed – everyone doing the same thing. The 1412033 Dec 13 Celebrating Dicks Birthdayhostess said some people had been there since 11AM! It was also Dick’s 74th birthday and we all celebrated as he shared his brownie sundae with us. Again, it can’t be legal to have this much fun!

1412006 Dec 09 New Decorations Under The Tree

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year where ever you are….

Give Us Some Heat

What a flurry of activity in our last couple of days in Ontario. Sunday sees Barb cleaning up and getting the house ready for our departure and I’m in the attic – try to picture my 6 foot frame in a small space where I can only kneel on 2x6 ceiling joists while trying to connect flexible ducts to the air vents and the air exchanger. Ouch… Anyway, I finally get the holes cut in on the outside and on the interior walls for the air vents and the wire is run for the wall control. We turn the unit on and surprise, surprise, it is running, blowing air out where it should! Now to do the WiFi thermostat so we can monitor the house temperature and make adjustments if need be.

We had to return the tables and chairs on Monday morning, pickup some much desired Canadian cheese for our friends at the Plantation and get our prescriptions filled for our stay in LA. I also had a low beam out on the passenger side and of course, waited until the cooler weather to change it. It appeared to be a simple task of just reaching in from under the hood to remove the old bulb and insert the new one. Well, removing the old bulb was not a problem but inserting the new one was a different story. I just couldn’t get enough room for my hand and arm to push the new bulb into the light. Out comes the battery and the battery box so I could get enough room to push the bulb in. Once in and all connected, all was good, low beam working again. Now the bad news – since I upgraded the bulb to a brighter model, I had to do the drivers side too. Again, a simple task to remove the old, perfectly good bulb but again, could not insert the new one. So, out comes the battery and the battery box and was able to get the new one in, replace the battery box and battery. Now, I know enough that I can not put any body oil on the bulb and I wore latex gloves but did not notice the grease on the gloves from removing the battery etc. I didn’t think I touched the bulb but must have because within a few minutes, the blub exploded in the light lens. Off to get another bulb and try again. Out comes the battery and box and old bulb. Inserted the new one and turned on the lights. What? The lights are on but on high beam and I could not switch them off. Put the old low beam in and all is good except now the low beam does not work but at least they are not on high beam now and can be switched. Don’t know what I did but the parts guy suggests it may be a defective bulb so make the exchange and tried again with the same results – high beams on and can’t be switched off! I’ll wait until we get south and have a professional look at it down there.

Tuesday and we are putting things away, tiding up the garage, picking tools etc that will go with us to LA – they might come back too. We decided to hook up in the morning but brought the slides in so we wouldn’t have snow to knock off. Barb made sure the inside was secured for morning.

Wednesday, we are on our way, planned to cross at Buffalo and take the NY toll road after we looked up the toll costs online and realized it was not that expensive and shaved 2+ hours off our trip. Our first stop was duty free. We were sitting on a downward slope as I remembered to call Visa to let them know of our plans. So, we’re sitting at near freezing temps, the heater blower on, the trailer running lights on and holding the brakes to keep us from rolling downhill. We were like that for about 25 minutes talking to Visa and I smell burning rubber but there was a highway bus next to us and it could have been him. Ok, so we’re ready now and we start up, pulling around to the ramp to the bridge when our alternator gauge goes to zero! The check gauges alarm comes on! Great, we’re on the bridge, no where to pull over so we have to keep going. There was no delay so we pull right in to the guard gate and switch off the engine with our fingers and toes crossed that we will be able to move out without the hook! Our stay was brief and soon ready to roll. I asked the guard if he knew of a place nearby that could look at our problem and he did not so now what? Our decision was to kick it up and see where we get to, there has to be something around if we need help – after all, isn’t that what ERS is for? We start up ok, the alternator starts reading about 10V and by the time we were on the freeway toward I90, the alternator was reading full at 14V – yippee! We were still on edge that the problem might come back and of course it would at the worst time.

By the time we were approaching Cincinnati, it was getting dusky and we had to turn on the running lights so I was a bit nervous in case the alternator would not carry the extra load but we were good! Soon we were at the next chasm and that was the headlights - or should I say headlight, anyway I turned them on and the alternator continued to work fine. I will have to get it checked when we get settled in LA. we stayed the night at the FlyingJ in Walton, Ky. It was close to our turn off to I71 to Louisville and we could get some dinner since we do not carry much when we cross the border.1412001 Dec 04 Rigsbys Last Trip From Ontario

Thursday and the alternator issue is still on our minds but after fuelling and heading to I71, all was good so we sat back and enjoyed the sleet, snow and rain that we drove through on our way to Louisville. Once we were clear of Louisville and head’n south on I65, the skies cleared and the temps started to rise – it must be an omen for us that this is going to be a terrific winter for us. We stopped at the Walmart in Clanton, Al for the night and to restock our groceries. It was wonderful, sleeping with the windows and vents open, one of the best sleeps lately.

On Friday, we were up and at’m early, we were both anxious to get to the Plantation, get the jacks down and kick back. Bill & Ann had us in for dinner so we don’t have to cook, what a treat. Our site looks so different as our Eucalyptus tree had died and was taken out during the summer. It did make it easier to back in without it stretching out into our parking space. As we were setting up, Bill & Ann came by to welcome us back. We went to there site soon after and caught up on the news and gossip – along with a few beverages.

Saturday was a wind down day, we checked in at the office, stopped and chatted with some friends along the way and made our way back to the rig. Whew, who wants to cook – no one put their hands up so we asked Ann & Bill and they didn’t want to either so hello O’Charlie’s.

That was our trip for this week, we hope all is good where you are and wish you a Merry Christmas…..

Final Inspections Mark an End

1411200 Nov 23 Sump Pump Not WorkingWell, after the last snow fall, we had a melt and when we looked out the RV window this morning, we saw puddles of water laying on top of the weeping tile that goes around the house foundation! What is that about now? There should never be water laying on top of the weepers! When there is water standing on top of the weeping tile, we know there is water in the crawl space! My first thought was the pump outtake line was frozen so I proceed to take the line apart – thank goodness I installed a union so it would be easier to maintain the pump – and plugged the pump back in and let it spray out onto the road for a few minutes to ensure the pump was ok. I reconnected it to the out line and it also worked. Then I noticed the electric wires hanging in the way of the pump float. Oops, the float is supposed to float upward and turn on the pump to drain the water in the1411201 Nov 24 Barb Making Tree Skirt sump tank but it could not because of the wires that power the pump tangled with the float and held it down. So, a quick re-route of those pesky wires and all is good and the puddles are gone. That was enough excitement for Sunday, we have to get ourselves and the house ready to host our family Christmas this coming Saturday.

Now that we have the tree up and decorated, Barb builds a tree skirt to finish it off. We 1411203 Nov 24 Terry Starting Kitchen Handleshave created the menu but since we have not prepared a meal for this many in 14 years, we were little unsure of how much to prepare. Like many other things we do, we decided to go big, better to have too much than have to little. In the mean time, with Barb working on decorations, I start installing the handles on the kitchen cabinets. None of the doors or drawers are pre-drilled so it wa1411211 Nov 25 Handles Finished In Cook Areas a bit nerve wracking for me to not screw it up – we don’t want extra holes.

On Tuesday Nov 25th, we had our final building inspection – we were confident that we would pass this one and we wanted it done before we headed south. The inspector arrived on time and started his walk through. We have had good experiences with our inspectors and appreciated their tips and information. It was interesting that he looked under each sink to see if there was any water leaks – as if we would leave anything leaking – and then he checked in the crawl space to make sure the water meter and water shut off were accessible. Again, who wouldn’t make these things available but he deals with all types of DIYers. The next area he checked was in the kitchen and he thought the cook top was too close to the microwave and he says we may have to raise the cabinets to increase that space but he was not sure and will check the code when he gets back to the office! What? There is no room to move the cabinet up or to drop the cook top down. We followed the manufacturers instructions and exceeded the space requirement between the cook top and the nuke! This kinda sent us into a tail spin for a few days. A couple of days later, he requested the installation manual so we sent it email and waited. We still did not know the permit status when we left for LA and it played on our minds as we thought about solutions. The easy one would be to remove the cabinet over the nuke and raise the nuke up, have another inspection and once passed, lower the nuke back down and replace the cabinet back where it was originally. Seems like cheating but it was the easiest and a better solution than redesigning the kitchen to the inspector.

The next day, we had our final electrical inspection. The inspector was a little late but, he did his walk through with his little test unit and kicked off the GFCIs, made sure lights came on when he operated switches and then checked the load centre. Oops, we had a higher breaker for the air conditioner than what is called for – both Barb & I are sure the HVAC folks told us 30A was needed but reality says it is 20A. When the inspector left, he kindly agreed that he would accept a picture of the change since he was not expected back in our area for a week. That day, we picked up the breaker and had it replaced and the picture in his email by the next morning. He contacted us and said he would pass us and close the permit. This gave us some peace of mind that we had one permit out of the way before we hitched up.

1411213 Nov 27 Ready To Install Air EXchange UnitNow with the colder weather here and the furnace working, we have some moisture on the windows which surprises us. We have been running a dehumidifier for a couple of weeks now but it is not getting better. We spoke with the insulation folks and their explanation suggests that with spray foam, it seals the house like none other and we should consider installing an air exchanger to bring dry fresh air from outside and exhaust moist stale air. Apparently, new construction and we have had lots of new wood put in, and new drywall and paint brings in lots of moisture and a house takes more than a year to dry out. So, another expense we did not plan on and off to Lowes again. Since we know nothing about air exchangers, we asked for assistance and they sent over the most knowledgeable rep. We asked a few questions and he said yep to each including which installation kit we needed to complete the job. We left with confidence that we could get this in before our Christmas. After our inspections, we crack open the boxes and get ready to install the unit in the attic in the back half of the house. Now we have all the parts out, we realize the Lowes rep knew nothing – he sent us home with the installation package of a bathroom, not a whole house – now we have to go back to Lowes and exchange this for the whole home installation kit. Now, for the price we paid for the unit, one would think that the manufacturer would include all the parts required but I digress. The Lowes customer service 1411214 Nov 28 Barb Setting Up For Christmas Dinnerperson was very generous and courteous with our return and complaints – we left happier than when we came in. Unfortunately, this side trip put me behind and could only get the unit installed in the attic but not connected to any ducts or vents so we did not have it for our Christmas dinner.1411216 Nov 29 Barb Making Vegetable Dish

Saturday arrives and most of the dinner is already cooked. We did the turkey in the oven in the rig since we were unsure how to do it in the new microwave/convection oven. We were out yesterday and rented tables and chairs for 1411217 Nov 29 Terry Cooking Potatoesthe day and once back, we washed them down and set everything up and set the tables. It was exciting for us, taking us back to our Christmas’ when we had a house. Our ‘guests’ start to arrive 1411223 Nov 29 Alex Tiana Dawn In The Kitchenand the island kitchen gets a workout, it was perfect – great designing Barbie! Once everyone is here, we pick up our past traditions and soon we’re all seated for dinner – all 19 of us – it was noisy but fun. The kids – all the kids – are excited to open gifts and 1411252 Nov 29 Jess Opens A Giftwe asked Mackenzie to do the Santa job for us – small tree means to far down to retrieve the gifts. Anyway, he did a fantastic job and everyone was happy. The wonderful celebration soon came to an end as Dawn had a 5 or so hour drive home. It was a great time and so good see everyone for our little family Christmas.



1411206 Nov 25 Mack Football Quilt1307026 July 08 My Completed Carol Doak Quilt1411204 Nov 25 Jessicas Pink Candy Quilt

1411577 Nov 30 Dawn Sends Pic Girls In Hoodies










Barb & I wish you all a Merry Christmas and the very best throughout 2015…..

We have to Make a Decision….

We should be done by the time we head south in early December. We have to make a once-a-round to make sure we are ready for our final inspections. There are a few small jobs that we’ll get done but our focus is now on the family Christmas celebration we are hosting for the first time in 14 years. Needless to say we are more than a little anxious, we’re having 19 people sitting for dinner and we have not done anything like this in a long time.

1411167 Nov 16 Terry Working On ClosetOne of those small jobs is to pick up and assemble another cabinet for the mud room. Originally we were building a walk in closet for coats and boots and something to accommodate laundry supplies. On one of our several trips around Ikea to complete our kitchen, we found a cabinet that will do the job and is much easier than building something. It came in 3 heavy boxes – and awkward too without handles. We were a bit apprehensive about putting it together, how will we be able to carry it assembled and manoeuvre it though the house, it was too big to put it together in the mud room. We winged it as usual, assembled it in the great room and then put it on a blanket and dragged it down the hall to the mud room. A few tips here and a swivel there and we had it in place and put the doors on. Such a small, simple task took us most of the day!

1411160 Nov 15 Nailing Up First WallBecause of the sink in the island, we have a vent 1411177 Nov 18 Barb Painting Kitchen Baseboardpipe running up the inside of a wall and Barb has designed a cabinet to cover it up as well as giving it functionality. We started installing the pieces – this is our own design and built from scratch – so we could finish the baseboards in the kitchen. Barb is just about tired of painting trim so I don’t want to delay so long that I have to do the painting. We get the main pieces fastened in but we are running out of time so once the baseboards are cut, nailed and filled and painted, we decide to tackle the large sliding door separating the great room from the study.

1411183 Nov 19 Our Idea Of A Barn DoorWe picked up the sliding doors, fastened them together with steel straps on the top and bottom and then attached the barn door track 1411182 Nov 19 Terry Screwing Up The Rodhardware to the six foot door. Getting the track in place was an interesting chain of events. The track is 12 feet long that had to be thread into a 3 inch slot where the door will slide into. One of us had to go high while the other went low to manoeuvre it into place so we could fasten it to the wall and hang the door. It all went well but not without some 1411188 Nov 19 Barn Door From Studydoubt – you remember my error when I built the rough stud opening for the bedroom door – well, we were both wondering if I made the same mistakes with a small opening for this large door. Well, this went together just like I had planned it except,1411190 Nov 19 Barb At Dividing Door I did not account for the bolt heads protruding from the door hardware so much and we could not get them into the 3 inch slot in the wall! So, off to Lowes one more time to find something what will do the same job with a more flush finish. Success, we found some furniture bolts that will work perfectly and now the door works and looks fantastic!

1411192 Nov 19 Closet Doors InstalledWhile shopping for the door solution, we picked up sliding closet doors for the study and got them installed too. We are just zipping along, preparing for the final building and electrical inspections. As some of you know, we bought this little ‘hobby’ as an investment, Just a little something that we could flip maybe or rent. Barb & I have been kicking the decision around most of the summer but more intensively in the later stages of the re-build as the house is coming together. Neither one of us really wanted to give up the full timing RV lifestyle so we thought we could easily come to terms with the sell or rent decision. Once we could see how cute this little place was, we started talking about maybe moving in and commuting to our winter home in LA. But one day we were sitting back in the great room in our lawn chairs having a little happy hour and looking over the kitchen and our accomplishments. A little discussion around what we want to do while we admired our handy work. Barb plainly stated how much she loved her kitchen – the words just hung out there and soon we were laughing and saying that our decision has been made.

1411199 Nov 22 Barb Puts On The StarTerri and Mark dropped off the travelling Christmas boxes that contain the ‘family’ dishes and ‘the tree’. We set about decorating the tree but there doesn’t seem to be enough 1411173 Nov 17 Our First Snow Fallornaments but that is always fixable and it was. Now we’re pretty much ready for the family Christmas celebration in our new home. We even had our first snowfall to get us more in the mood – not telling you what mood.

Until next time, we hope all is good where you are….

It’s Looking Like a Home Now

1411086 Nov 09 Painting Bedroom BaseboardsIn the last blog, I left you as we were doing 1411087 Nov 09 Starting Kickpanels In Kitchenbaseboard and nothing changed come Sunday, we’re still doing baseboard.


1411089 Nov 09 Terry Chauking Hallway


1411097 Nov 10 Gravelling Finished To Air ConditionerFor a little break on Monday and we were in a 1411103 Nov 11 Barb Raking Gravellittle warm spell and still had some out door work to be done so we shifted our focus to those tasks. Some areas of the weeping tile bed had sunk down some and we needed to pick up some gravel to top those areas up. So, off to the local landscaper where they loaded about a yard into the truck – the bad news, they would not follow us home to unload it. So, between us, we 1411093 Nov 09 Terry Screwing Together Frame For Islandunloaded and dumped and raked the gravel and made the weeping beds look much better. One yard was enough for today so back into the house and – yes, more baseboard. Our counter top was coming soon so we had to build a base for the island to sit on and it has to be fastened to the floor so it does not move. We had that done and wired by the end of the day too.



1411100 Nov 11 Terry Winterizing Sump PumpWe woke Tuesday to another beautiful warm day and went and got another yard of gravel to finish the weeping bed. We needed to install a 1411096 Nov 10 Screwing Down The Cupboardsplumbing union on the sump pump so it can be serviced easier. I also installed a water trough heater so the sump pump does not freeze. While I was ‘playing’ with the pump and stuff, Barb raked and bagged leaves – one of the joys of home ownership again. After such a beautiful day, we went inside and installed the kitchen cabinets on the island frame and installed the dishwasher. We’re on the down side of the hill now and it is really coming together and looking great.1411106 Nov 11 Terry Attaching Hydro To Dishwasher






When the counter top installer came by to take the measurements, we told him we were gett1411111 Nov 12 Door Frame All Leveling our sink from Ikea. He stopped measuring and gave us a look – he said they are the most difficult sinks to install and if we were doing the install, we would be better to buy one from one of the big box stores. So, since we were going out for more supplies today, we picked up a sink too. We also wanted a WiFi thermostat so we could monitor the house temps from LA. Our counter top was ready so we went by there too – a busy day but we have been known to put in some long days and today was not too different – Out for supplies and we hung the bedroom door which was no easy task. Some dumbie built the rough stud opening 1411114 Nov 12 Bedroom Door Finally Hungabout an inch too short and we had to cut out some of the header and drywall to install the door frame. What a mess! There may have been an easier way but I just went ahead the the reciprocal saw and cut it out, drywall dust everywhere! I should have been more surgical about it. Anyway, we got the frame in and it is le1411120 Nov13 Barb Painting Back Of Islandvel and plumb! With the bedroom door hung, we call it a day, albeit a late one. Once in the rig, we look at each other, I asked what was for dinner and who was cooking. No one put their hands up so we went out!

1411128 Nov 13 Counter Tops Installed


Thursday was a fun day – besides installing the bedroom door trim and more baseboard, our counter tops were installed today and Zeke did a great job. He even installed the sink and the 1411133 Nov 13 Island Back Finished Under Countergas cook top. Now you can see a real kitchen and a cute home.


1411135 Nov 13 Installing Hydro In The Island







1411141 Nov 14 Medicine Cabinet InstalledFriday sees us finishing the baseboards in the mud room 1411143 Nov 14 Glueing Pipes Togetherand installing the rest of the kitchen cabinet doors and drawers. Some had to be left off so the counter tops could be installed. We also hooked up the water and drains for the kitchen sink. Wow, a working kitchen now, it is getting more and more exciting but we soon have to make our decision, sell or rent.



Saturday was a little slower, now that the baseboards are done, the kitchen installed, now just a few more small tasks that we need to work on. Barb peels the protective covering off the bedroom door and I puttered around. We also did the first load in the new dishwasher.1411155 Nov 15 Barb Loves Her Door1411158 Nov 15 A Closed Bedroom Door1411164 Nov 16 Back Of Island Completed










We had a great week and a summer. The project is mostly done now and we love the way it turned out. We hope all is good where you are….

It’s Close Now

1411020 Nov 02 Terry Mark Installing First CupboardI have been more than a little slack at up dating our 1411022 Nov 02 Installing Next Cupboard Railingblog! In the last posting, we were working on the flooring and Terri & Mark came up to help out again. It is Sunday, Nov 2th and Barb & Terri are finishing the flooring in the living room and the front study. Now that the ladies have finished the kitchen, Mark & I start to hang the wall cabinets. Have I mentioned how much we love the Ikea kitchen cabinets? Well, they are 1411023 Nov 02 Terri Looking For Small Piece Of Flooringeasy to assemble and they provide all the hardware to securely fasten them down or1411025 Nov 02 Barb Terri Finishing Study up on the walls. In short order, they are in place and level! Barb & Terri managed to get all the floor down except for the bedroom – we bought all the store had at the time so we have to go back for more when it arrives. It was a very productive weekend and we really appreciate their help.


Monday was a day off for us or was it? Off to Ikea, Costco, Home Depot & Lowes for more supplies and more flooring for the bedroom.

1411046 Nov 04 Barb Still Building DrawersOn Tuesday, we continue with the kitchen cabinets, Barb assemb1411048 Nov 04 Barb Laying More Bedroom Floorling the drawers and mount the hardware and install and adjust – what an assembly line we had going. No more drawers to put together so Barb starts putting down the flooring in the bedroom – the last to be done but not the least, there is still lots of cutting to do and at the end of the second day, a great job done. Way to go Barb, the flooring looks 1411050 Nov 04 Drilling Hole For Pluggreat. Now that the upper cabinets are up and secure, we can finally get our microwave/convection oven out of the box – we’ve only had it since early June.

Now that the floors are down, you know what 1411065 Nov 06 Using The Coping Sawthat means – yes, the baseboard can go down, filled. sanded and painted. This is the tedious parts of a reno, the finishing work. It goes so slow with hardly any show of progress but looks great when all done to finish off a well 1411061 Nov 05 Last Piece Of Bedroom Flooringdone job. I would measure and cut and fit and barb would nail and fill the nail holes. I would caulk the top and corners and soon Barb would paint – another assembly line, what a team! The first few lengths of base, we tried cutting 45 degree cuts on the inside corners but it’s an old house so 1411071 Nov 07 Barb Laying Down On The Jobthat didn’t look great so I tried my hand at using a coping saw and cut the corners to fit and that worked out much better. It took longer but a better job for sure. While I am taking my time with the intricate cutting, Barb finds other tasks to do, like assemble more drawers!

1411072 Nov 07 Barb Painting In BathroomThe rest of our week was baseboard and more baseboard. In our spare time, we installed more lighting And painted baseboard! That was another week of this adventure but it is really coming together now. We are confident that we will be done before we head south that we have asked if we could hold our family Christmas celebration here to Christen the house and our 3 daughters all agreed so now we really have to git-r-done!

Hope all is good where ever you are….