This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Monday, 6 June 2022

I skipped May

Yes, we are still alive and well in case anyone wondered what happened. The truth is we immersed ourselves with all kinds of jobs and chores around the house, garden and boat. At the end of every day I managed to produce dinner and then collapsed being too kaput to even think about writing a blog.

After a wet start to spring things have dried up and we’ve been hoping for some rain for some time now. It seems the systems mostly bypass us to the north or south so I’ve been carrying the water cans and garden hose around the yard but still had to mow the lawn every week. Last Saturday I harvested the first zucchini from my garden that was planted a couple of weeks ago. The tomatoes and pepper plants will take a while yet to produce veggies of course.


Now that we have a functioning deck (yup, I sanded and stained it again) and the new gazebo up, we enjoyed several meals outside on windless and sunny days that were really pleasant. Hopefully we get many more occasions like that this summer. 


Benno’s boat hobby work is ongoing and on occasion it required trips for material or equipment he needed and my presence was requested and appreciated, so that took me away from my own work. But hey, we help each other out all the time. By the way, we are still waiting for the spring delivery of the elusive engine for the boat. The company in England gets not enough of this particular four cylinder engine from Kubota Japan because of the heavy demand on this type of motor which is fitted all over our planet into construction equipment or what you may call it. Hopefully the delivery materializes soon.  


From time to time we have raccoons roaming about during the night, which requires me to take in one of the hummingbird feeders, or the rascal will help himself to the sugar water. However, this fella appeared to be very sick that hung around our place and the neighborhood in the morning. It had a large wound on its neck and would not eat any of my food offerings. It got captured and was transported away by the dogcatcher. 


On one of my walks with our dogs along the shoreline I noticed three goldfish in the shallow water in the runoff of Lake Erie. That was the first time for me to see those here in our area and I had to use my cellphone to take these photos. And then this morning as I was weeding one of my berms, this cute little guy poked its head out. I almost didn’t see him. 

So with the exception of grass cutting, trimming, watering of shrubs, flowers and vegetable plants the work outside should ease up for me and I am looking forward to more relaxed days this summer. Stay with me and I will see if anything interesting will be happening in my world. Thanks for dropping by!


Monday, 2 May 2022

Things that keep us busy this spring

I have been so happy that we are now into spring, but the weather has been rather disappointing down here in southern Ontario. Every so often we get a teaser of warm temperatures lasting a whopping whole day only to be chased off by rainy and cool days that put a damper on my gardening ambitions. Would you believe it but it was snowing again a couple of weeks ago for crying out loud. 


April 18th

Nevertheless, Benno serviced the John Deere lawnmower, exchanging the oil and air filter, greased the wheels, and even gave it a wax and polish, ready for me to use. The blades are still in reasonable state. Because of the wet conditions here I used the weed trimmer instead to cut some of the uneven and long grass patches so it will be more manageable once the grass dries enough to use the lawnmowers. 


Ready to start mowing

Once again I am delighted to see all our birdhouses being occupied with nests seeing birds hopping in and out. Even a Grackle built a nest in one of the cedar trees next to the boat. It had five eggs in it when I checked and mama bird is now nesting ignoring Benno’s noisy hammering and banging inside the boat. I noticed Hummingbirds already a couple of weeks ago at our feeders and this morning one of them sat and poked its bill into the feeder over and over lasting a good five minutes. Maybe it had just arrived from a long flight, but it sure was very thirsty.


A bumblebee finding food in our daffodils

We were busy with rearranging things from the garage and my garden shed into the portable shelter once it was covered and ready to be used. Because of the wet ground here at the moment and to keep the boat and Benno’s workshop reasonably clean, we purchased some long 2x6 planks and built a walkway from Benno’s workshop to the boat.


Soggy ground

On the boat front you might be interested in the ongoing boat renovation projects Benno is undertaking. (Did I mention just how much he enjoys his hobby?) Just the other day he opened both diesel fuel tanks, pumped out the old stored diesel from the two tanks, removed some muck and wiped the tanks clean with rags. A messy and smelly job for sure. But there are a lot of technical things going on and from time to time I might be enlightening you with some of them. As an example, Benno was sawing a rectangle block of aluminum into smaller pieces with the table saw in his garage. That made quite a mess of tiny aluminum glitter that clung to his clothes and everywhere else.


OMG what is all that down there?

Once that was cleaned up, they ended up on his workbench in his workshop. He then transformed these pieces on his lathe into these collars to hold fittings. 


Sawed pieces of aluminum

Next step

Working on the lathe

Only some of the aluminum shavings

The finished collars

The two saddle diesel tanks in the boat did not have provisions on the bottom of the tanks to drain out settlement or condensed water from the humid air coming in via the tank vent which turn over time into water droplets and sink to the bottom of the tanks. These collars are used as a tank opening with ball valves to feed via hose a diesel-polishing unit with electric pump to fill a future day tank with clean diesel for engine and generator.


Installed collar with ball valve on one diesel tank

View of the starboard tank with open inspection lid

The sealant used around the collars

And of course there happened to be a bit of cooking going on in my kitchen during these past wet and cold days. Thanks to our nice neighbors we benefit from some fresh caught fish from time to time. We feasted on a big plate of beer batter deep fried small pickerel/walleye with some onion rings to use up the leftover batter. If you are looking to ever wanting to charter a fishing trip, we can recommend our neighbor David, who is running a professional fishing charter “Mainstream Fishing Charters.” He is hugely successful in catching fish!


Deep frying the perch

We couldn't eat it all in one sitting but made a good dent ;-)

Thanks everyone for dropping in again.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Lots of accomplishments this week

Since we came home we have been on the go. All that saved up energy we stored up the last four months sure helped us now. And yes, the furnace got fixed, although it took a bit longer than we thought it would. It turned out that it was not the switch that our heating/air-conditioning technician had ordered. It was to our bad luck the exhaust blower motor that was not in stock and he had to order that in too. We finally moved back into a warm house on Wednesday evening, three days after returning from the USA. 


The usual trips between the travel trailer and the house took place the next day and the washing machine and the dryer had their workout. Then there was the grocery run to the local supermarkets that had me look twice at the adjusted price tags from four months ago. No surprise here, but still needs some getting used to.


Benno has a lot of jobs planned and he jumped right into them. Of course our Canadian weather at this time of year is not very reliable and outdoor activities have to be scheduled for doable conditions. Last fall we tried to purchase a new gazebo when a fierce storm had broken some roof panels and took off with them from our gazebo, but there were no new gazebos available for purchase. It turns out that they are a hot commodity and still difficult to come by. We snatched one up in the size and model we wanted at a Home Depot store in Sarnia, a two hour drive one way, because the stores in Windsor and two others in the neighbourhood were sold out. The sales associate we talked to said that as soon as the gazebos came in they were sold the same day and he concluded he could sell a hundred of this model if he could get them. Wow, we got lucky. 


Getting the 362-pound gazebo box off the truck required us to open it up on the truck bed and taking piece by piece off onto the garage floor until we are ready to install the new gazebo. In the meantime Benno dismantled the old one in freezing conditions.


There were a few more trips to and from Home Depot for items that we ordered online and in the store and twice we had to make another trip to return the defective items. That is such a waste of our time, extra gasoline and it is disappointing. 


We decided to erect another portable shelter (Shelter Logic) where we previously had one set up a couple of years ago for the Kioti tractor. With the additional storage space we can transfer some stuff over to make room in our garage and garden shed. It needs assembling and Benno got the framework already together. But of course it is raining today and will be raining tomorrow also so the final cover will have to wait.  There is a berm with evergreens and two very tall Zebra Grass shrubs next to it and I had to snip all those tough grass stems off before the new shoots come up and to have more room to maneuver around the new shed. My hand still hurts from that.


There are more projects on the go right now so I’ll snap some photos for my next update. Thanks for dropping in again.

Monday, 4 April 2022

We are home, but still living in the travel trailer!

As per our plan, we left the Wandering Oaks RV Resort last Friday morning, the 1stof April. Packing up took a bit longer because it had rained the night before and hoses and pads were muddied up. Benno took his time to clean everything up before stowing the whole kit and caboodle in the chaps. 

Traffic was like this most of the day

Heading north on I-75 we sighted throughout the day at least a 100 RVs of all kinds leaving the state and migrating north. The traffic was heavy at times that had us crawl along at 30mph, but no accidents, it was just congestion. We never really know ahead of time where we will spend the night when traveling, as there are too many variables that could quash your plans. Years ago the Walmart parking lots were open to overnight parking, but many do not allow that anymore. Also some of the Lowe’s, Home Depot and Bass Pro Shops have discontinued that courtesy. Truck stops don’t appeal to us either, because the big trucks come and go at any hours and run their engines or APUs (Auxiliary Power Unit) for the reefers, which could wake up the dead if they are pulling up right next to you. 


Lots of solar power fields next to the highway

Typical traffic on I-75

Looking out my side window
notice the "Along the I-75" book on my lap in the reflection of the window

So on Friday evening I started searching to see where we could spend the night as we were approaching Atlanta. A few years back we stayed at the Camping World of Macon, located in Byron, GA. When we drove up, their large property was full of new RVs as well with a spillover of new RVs in the adjacent fields. When I inquired, I was told that they unfortunately had no space at all for us. Next, we checked out the Walmart and Lowe’s In McDonough, GA but they had signs up of the towing companies that would tow any vehicles parked there overnight. I might add that pulling a travel trailer makes you think twice before you drive into a parking lot or road to make sure you can turn around if you have to. Benno walked up to the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel Restaurant that was next to the Lowe’s to see if they had any parking available for us, because they do let their dinner guests’ park there overnight. Benno came back to the truck to report that they had one large spot left for a bus or RV. So we hurried up and drove around the corner and just as we approached the parking lot, a 5thwheel pickup truck took that parking slot right in front of us, Christ!


scenery along the way

Noticed a model airplane just landing
and quickly snapped a photo as we sped past them

Scenery becomes more interesting

A little closer to the mountains

Close to the highest point elevation of 2,247
 between Florida and Michigan

We've been using this annual guide for years and recommend it

Well, back to square one, or rather the I-75. In my trusted book “Along the I-75” I found another Cracker Barrel in Morrow, Georgia, just 15 miles further north on I-75 off exit 233, where we got lucky and found a spot. The designated parking lot was jam-packed full of RVs and commercial trucks. Well, I did not have to cook dinner, we were eating out. Hurrah!


Friday night special: deep-fried Haddock

Saturday was another nice weather day and the I-75 was not too bad but of course there were delays also where we sat in traffic without moving. When it came to the issue of where to park for the night we drove to the Camping World and RV dealership in Georgetown, Kentucky, also adjacent to the I-75, exit 126. We got there at 5:30 p.m. just before they close at 6 p.m. We were assigned a parking spot right next to the service department, which would close shop at 7 p.m. and not open on Sunday. As a member of the “Good Sam Club” that entitles you to discounts to the merchandise, we also get to park for free at most Camping World locations and as a bonus they provided us with courtesy shore power. That was wonderful because the temperature dropped down to 5C/41F during the night and we were able to use our electric heater to keep us warm. 


One of the many fuel stops
Even using the GasBuddy App, it still hurt at the wallet

Somehow we both woke up early on Sunday and after breakfast and cleanup got underway at 7 a.m. An hour later we passed by the Cabela Outdoor/Sporting shop where we had thought to try for an overnight location. I doubt it would have worked out as they now also discourage overnight parking. Since we were so early underway we thought to make a stop at the IKEA of Cincinnati store along the I-75, exit 19 in Ohio and visit their displays and marketplace. They weren’t open for another hour so we had a snack while we waited for the doors to open. 


Hanging out at IKEA

Approaching Cincinnati, view of downtown

We got our IKEA Store fix and hit the now busy I-75 Sunday traffic. There were several fuel fill up stops and breaks during the day until we got to the Canadian border at the Detroit, Ambassador Bridge crossing early evening. Wow, what a traffic jam! Hardly any cars or trucks seemed to move through the inspection booths for a long time. When it was finally our turn, surprisingly we were processed very quickly and sent on our way with a “Have a nice drive!” Just so you know, it is now mandatory to fill out the “”ArriveCAN” online App before crossing into Canada and it has to be done not before 72 hours of crossing. It requires scanning of your passports, downloading or picture taking of all your Covid vaccination certificates including all dates and answering other questions. I was wondering if every traveller had done so while we were waiting for our border crossing.


Many, many cars waiting to get through the border

So, we came home last night expecting a warm toasty house to greet us, since we had changed the “Nest” thermostat setting from the low 9C/48F to 22C/71F via Internet access (also free wifi at Camping World Georgetown in Kentucky) on Sunday morning. However, it was very cool in the house and the furnace would not respond to any setting. 


We are camped at home - free of charge :-)

Thank goodness we have a full hook-up next to our house where we are parked on the concrete driveway. The truck is in the garage and the house is heated with one little electric heater, but we spent the night still in the travel trailer and that is where we are right now, warm and cozy while its raining outside at 5C/41F, waiting for the furnace technician to come and find out what the problem is.


I hope to have better news on my next blog. Thanks for dropping by again.