This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Tuesday 27 February 2018

Our coffeemaker gave up the ghost

So our coffeemaker went on the fritz and of course it happened at breakfast time. Murphy’s Law, I guess. Well, yesterday afternoon was the last time I used it and it seemed fine brewing our coffees. Right afterwards I wanted to use the toaster and it didn’t work. Puzzled I checked the GFI breaker and discovered that it had popped. After a reset the toaster worked ok. So this morning our coffeemaker steamed and gurgled but no water was dripping out. Benno figured that the heating element shortened out. We’ll have to shop for a new coffeemaker, as this one was a very inexpensive brand. It also proves again that cheap is not always a good investment and you get what you pay for.  Just read on at the end of this post!

When I had packed the travel trailer in Canada I had contemplated taking the plastic Melitta coffee filter along which is useful when you have no electricity. I ended up packing it because it takes little space and is lightweight. All I had to do was to heat up some water and to pour it onto the coffee grounds in the paper lined coffee filter and that is what I did.  Coffee tasted great and it saved the morning ;-).

Yesterday we were on a mission. Benno discovered that his beloved sandals were in the process of developing a hole.  He had bought them at West Marine couple of years ago. It is a boating supply chain and since there is a West Marine store in Orange Beach, AL, that is where we went. The trip turned out to be successful, but the new footwear gave him a blister when he was going to wear them right away. Guess he needs to break them in slowly.  Passing through Foley on our way home we stopped at Piggly Wiggly. I just needed some half and half coffee cream and thought I check out the store. Many years back when we cruised with our sailboat there were many of this supermarket chain all over Florida, but now this is the only Piggly Wiggly I know of around here. I would compare it to the Publix supermarkets with its merchandise. Our family in Germany might find the name to be funny and that is why Benno took the picture.

Today we drove in the other direction toward Mobile. There is less tourism but lots of upper class clientele.  Thus you find in Mobile “The Fresh Market” delicatessen supermarket with all its wonderful foodstuffs and many very nice stores to window shop.  Across on the other side of the highway there is the Bass Pro Shop. Going in there is always a trip into the wilderness as the stores are created with indoor waterfalls, large aquariums and all kinds of displays that replicate being somewhere in the woods. We had fun browsing and Benno posed around a bit for the camera.

While we were in a kind of shopping spree, I spotted a "Ross" store. In there I found a little top that I could not live without it. Then onto "Hobby Lobby" where these couple new funky garden ornaments wanted to come home with me. They were 40% off just like the last time I purchased some at around this time of year.

In-between visiting malls I took the dogs for walks so they could also explore other lawns than the ones in our RV Park.  At home they were pooped out and needed a rest before they enjoyed more of the outdoors.

We haven’t found a replacement coffeemaker yet, so I guess that is what we are going to do tomorrow. 

And here is more about the topic of cheap. While driving down from Canada a week ago we needed to use our Honda generator at the overnight stops. While Benno was packing away the Honda generator in Birmingham, AL, he almost spilled his morning coffee when his eyes rested on the newly installed hour meter of the Honda generator. He noticed in shock that the reading showed 90 hours. That could not be and had to be badly wrong. Maybe 9 hours would be more like it and the realization struck that this meter was a flop. Yes, a bad “el cheapo” a no good “patron” a terrible dud.  Find out what the replacement is by clicking  here or find it on our technical posts sidebar.

Thursday 22 February 2018

The good life

Yesterday we drove to a shopping area at the outskirts of Pensacola, FL along the Old Spanish Trail. It is the Hwy 90, which runs basically from the back of our RV Park here in Robertsdale, Alabama.  The country site is rural with some sporadic houses along the way, bordering a Seminole Indian Reservation, cattle fields and forested areas.  Not much traffic there and very relaxing. Along the way we crossed the state line into Florida. Most people take the I-10 driving into Pensacola and that highway is actually very nice, but there is usually more volume both ways.  We just wanted a change of scenery and next time we take this road again I will take more pictures. The sales tax over in Pensacola is 7.5% and here in Alabama it is 10% and all food items are also taxed here.  

On our way back we stopped at a little bakery “Lickin Good Doughnuts” that is apparently famous for its apple fritters here in Robertsdale. Benno likes apple fritters but so often he is disappointed when there are no apple pieces in them and they turn out to be just greasy doughnuts. The apple fritters were almost sold out but they had one lone apple fritter left. We walked out with that trophy and one apple filled doughnut for me. Don’t ask how much I paid for that delicacy, because I could have bought two-dozen similar ones in the grocery store for that price. Did Benno think it was worth the price?  After our afternoon coffees with those sweets we agreed that we could (but not have to according to Benno) live without them.

Today Benno needed to check out the Harbor Freight store in Foley. I guess it was a must do or just an excuse to get out for a bit and the dogs and I came along. Our inner clocks have not adjusted yet and by 7:30 we were done with breakfast, dishes and ready for everything. The morning was overcast and foggy so a drive into town was a good way to spend the morning hours. Benno got his Harbor Freight fix and I checked out other stores like Ross, Family Dollar, and a quick stop at Wal Mart for a few things.  There was also a Pet Smart store at the same plaza. Elsa and Reggy were pretty happy to come along into the store and got excited seeing the baby Guinea Pigs behind the glass. Here in the States we can purchase deworming medication for the dogs at Pet Smart. In Canada we have to go to the veterinarian and pay for the visit and the meds.  I wanted also to get some flea deterrent for them, but those were too expensive at that store.

George from "Our Awesome Travels" made a comment on our blog that he had dinner in Foley at the famous  "Lambert's Cafe" (home of the “throwed rolls”) That restaurant is on the main road and was on our way so we checked it out.  It looked really interesting and we went in to have a look.  However, it was too early for lunch for us but we will go back there to taste their food.  Hey, my birthday is coming up next month and maybe that would be also a good place to celebrate.

The day turned out to be just beautiful. It was 26C/79F but felt much warmer with a cloudless blue sky and just a light breeze. I relaxed in my chair outside the camper and the dogs spent some time rolling in the grass, sniffing all around the trailer and lazing in their little dog shelter on the lawn.  

Even Benno went to join me outside in the shade and we both had a small glass of “O’Donnells Irish Country Cream” which we enjoy.   I could get used to this life.

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Two and a half days of travel and we have arrived

Sunday morning Benno and I were busy doing our last minute chores before rolling out of our driveway. The truck had been washed and polished the day before but we had a light dusting of snow overnight so that clean appearance lasted just until the next intersection, where road salt and slush played their game. Oh well.  At least there was no more precipitation. There was not much traffic going to the Ambassador Bridge at the border but I found there were more cars waiting to pass through than it is usually the case for a Sunday morning. Monday was a holiday for both USA and Canada so that was probably the reason. We had a 45 minutes waiting time before it was our turn. 

Waiting in line at the border for our turn

After a brief inspection of the inside of our trailer (I don’t know what the border inspector looked at) we were given the go ahead and to have a nice day. It turned out to be a pretty good day and the driving was good. Not so much the roads though. The winter weather caused even more potholes to the already beaten up roads and highways in Michigan and Ohio. 

For travel we make sure to secure everything inside the trailer in case we bounce around and this time we really shook the trailer as we hopped along I-75. When we stopped in Sidney, Ohio to fill up with gasoline, I went into the trailer and found one drawer open and several bottles from the bathroom cabinet had fallen out and were lying in the sink. Also the two levers that adjust the horizontal blinds in my kitchen had sprung off the hooks.  They always come off and I should just give up and unhook them before we drive anywhere.  Benno had made some notes where we would fill up with gasoline on our way south. The gas prices vary quite a bit and by using gasbuddy we find the lowest prices in any state.  At the Murphy Gas Station in Sidney, OH we filled the tank of our truck and all of our jerry cans for US 2.039/gal. That lasted us until we filled up again at “Circle K” in Pelham, AL where the price was $2.079/gal.  I noticed price variations from $2.03 to $2.45. The further south we went the more the gas cost.

Georgetown, Kentucky

Sunday night we spent parked at the Camping World parking lot in Georgetown, Kentucky.  It is right next to the Interstate but traffic noise calms right down at night. Most Camping World stores have complimentary overnight parking for their customers and in the past we have had good experiences doing so. We were tired and called it an early night after eating my precooked dinner. It rained during the night but the rain stopped before we got up. Next morning we were hitting the road at 7 a.m. but I had made us breakfast first and did the dishes while Benno walked the dogs and stored the Honda generator.  We always eat an early breakfast and I made a pot of filtered coffee in the coffeemaker, toasted a sesame bagel for me and warmed up a third of a French baguette for Benno in the toaster oven. Those we eat with either cottage or cream cheese, smoked ham, imported Cherry marmalade and Guava jam. In addition we each have a small bowl of fresh fruit that is in season.

Monday’s travel day turned out just as long as the day before and the weather was good too with sun and no rain but lots of traffic. Along the way we made a few pit stops for a bit of shopping and to stretch our legs. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, we left the I-75 and rolled along the I-59 to Birmingham, Alabama to meet the I-65. For the night we ended up at Camping World in Calera, AL. close to Birmingham. The Camping World stores are usually located close to the Interstates so you can spot their super large flag flying next to the store. We needed a newer edition of the Good Sam RV Road Atlas and an entry doormat. After doing our purchases we asked to stay the night and were told that we could pick one of the full hook-up spots (power, water and sewer) if we wanted to, as they are complimentary to transient “Good Sam” members. Yep, what a service, right! There were quite a few rigs parked already and we thought it wasn’t worth the effort to back the trailer into the middle and to ask for the neighbors to move their cars so we would fit in.  There were enough level spaces in the parking lots and that suited us fine.

 Some of the parked RVs at Camping World

We parked along the large parking spaces

This morning after another good breakfast to start our day we got moving to our destination. The nice thing is that we gained an hour when we crossed the Alabama state line so we had some extra time this morning.

The drive was fine, lots of sunshine and the air-conditioning running in the truck with an outside temperature of 25C. We got to the RV park at "Hilltop RV Park" in Robertsdale, AL and are now parked at the same spot we had occupied a couple of years ago. In the afternoon when we were done with the hook-up chores we got a little sprinkle of rain, which made the air very humid so we ran the air conditioner in the camper to dry out. 

Stay tuned for some pictures to come from the park and our site and thank you all for your nice comments and wishes that made our day when we checked into our blog. We appreciated them.