This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Friday 29 November 2019

Bad roads or bad luck

Wandering Oaks RV Park, Ocala, Florida

I can’t believe we have to purchase another tire for the travel trailer. Anyone reading my blog will remember last year’s disaster with the broken springs and us having to replace all tires for the trailer. These tires don’t even have three thousand miles on them and look what we discovered today.

The roads and Interstates are pretty bad in some areas with potholes and uneven pavement. However, this damage looks like a sharp object caused it. Neither one of us remembers driving over any metal, but then at night we do not see what is on the pavement. Regardless, we have to tackle this and it’s too bad we discovered the damage just now while Benno was checking the tire pressure, because it’s our last day here in the Wandering Oaks RV Park and tomorrow is moving day for us.

Yesterday was America’s Thanksgiving and it could not have been a nicer day with balming sunshine at 83F/27C. We enjoyed staying around the trailer and for a while I sat outside under the awning in my chair with both dogs by my side. Although the management of the RV Park cooked a turkey with a potluck contribution from the RVers, we opted for a steak dinner instead. Somehow with the warm weather we did not have an appetite for turkey. 

Apparently today was one of the biggest shopping days here in America. It is called Black Friday and people were out in droves to do their Christmas shopping as just about every store had some kind of deal or discounted merchandise going. We really didn’t need anything, but who can resist a deal, right? I had an item to return to the Gander/Camping World store and so we joined the crowds. Actually, it wasn’t that bad there but the parking lot had more cars parked than previously. I did my return and found another item they were out of previously and that was it for me. Meanwhile Benno went next door to the Northern Tool store where he found a 24ft self-retracting air hose on a reel for his air compressor in his shop back home. 28 bucks!
We then drove over to the Harbor Freight store. It is located at a plaza that also houses a Publix supermarket and a Dollar Tree discount store. While I grabbed a couple of items in the supermarket and two new lipsticks and nail polish at the Dollar Tree, Benno went to his favorite store to see what they had on sale. There was lots of stuff discounted, unfortunately Benno as already enough of this, but then he spotted a tie down ratchet to tie down his jerry cans on the truck and a small grease gun that would come of some use. Also the pack of 24 AA batteries was heavily discounted and you can never have enough of those. Hey $20 well spent. 

At noon Benno washed the travel trailer down because we had some road grime on it already and afterwards checked the tire pressures. That is when he discovered the rip on the curbside tire. We get that tomorrow taken care of before driving on to our next park.

For dinner I used up the rest of the asparagus I bought for Thanksgiving. I made us each a cheese omelet and filled them with steamed asparagus and green beans. They were very good.

Hopefully tomorrow will go smoothly and no more surprises. Wishing everyone a nice weekend and I am going to report when we are set up in the next RV Park. Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday 27 November 2019

A beautiful day

Wandering Oaks RV Park, Ocala, Florida

While half of the country is battling extreme winter conditions, this area was fortunate enough to enjoy 27C/80F+ temps today and a gorgeous blue sky. With no plans to do anything specific all day we took our two pooches for some exercise. First Benno led them around the park first thing in the morning and after breakfast I walked them to the fenced-in dog area where they romped around. Now it’s the time to dig out shorts and t-shirts for sure and because it was such a nice day we extended our walking into the woods. Reggy and Elsa had a blast running through the forest and we tried to keep up with them. Coming back to the travel trailer we were all hot and sticky.

Back in Canada, just before we were leaving, the Surge Guard got delivered. This gadget was on our agenda because we’ve had bad connections at power posts before and 2 years ago we lost the trailer’s converter to a power surge and had to replace the unit. So to avoid any damage to our plugs or trailer we wanted to add this to our inventory. We have it plugged in here at the park, but I’m sure the connections are fine.

I wanted to mention that this RV Park has “dish” sat which gets fed into cable television and we were given a sheet with the available channels. The first couple of days we watched some of the programs but the picture quality was really poor. In addition, when I was looking for the CBS channel so we could watch “Madam Secretary” last Sunday, which is one of our favorite shows, it wasn’t there. “Oh no,” Benno talked with a neighbor and he said he would get CBS only sporadically. In short order Benno disconnected us from the cable hook up and raised our Winegard Sensar TV Antenna that came with our travel trailer. We had purchased from Camping World in 2016 the add-on Wingman accessory to get the High Definition TV signal. The picture quality is fantastic, actually crispy sharp and we have all major channels with it. We get CBS here fine on antenna and enjoy “Madam Secretary” and “Seals” while having a bowl of “Tillamook” ice cream. Of course we do not get the special channels that are only available on cable, but honestly, these HD channels are enough for me anyway.

With not much on the agenda today, I added some more pictures to the “Najade” side bar that I scanned from old photos. In the old days we took slides and photos and those were left sometimes too long in the camera so the film turned pink. Regardless, it brings back some nice memories.

Wishing all our American friends, and of course Canadians too, a very happy Thanksgiving tomorrow. 

Monday 25 November 2019

Does it get cold in Florida?

Wandering Oaks RV Resort, Ocala, Florida

Let us be honest, apparently it does. Last night we dropped down to 2+C/35F and it was not in the forecast. We had our propane furnace set on thermostat and really didn’t notice the cold. For the morning dog walk Benno had to double his sweaters, but by the time we were done with breakfast the temps were already up to 12C/53F and later on it warmed up to the point that Benno donned his new shorts.

Today I wanted to get some Yoplait yoghurt cups from Walmart. This brand is reasonably priced, has lots of real fruit bits and does not contain food colorings. Walmart’s parking lot here in Ocala now also has security cameras. We’ve noticed the signs of surveillance cameras in use at other WM locations but here they put the new “Lot Cop” movable units throughout the parking lot, picture below. It sure helped to keep the bums away and made us feel so much safer parking our truck there. Benno talked to a security guard who patrolled on foot the parking lot. The cameras are monitored off site and the guard is being informed via his radio, if there is something going on. That makes us appreciate how lucky we are in Canada, as it has not come to the need for these units yet.

The "Lot Cop" has cameras, motion detectors, automatic controlled spotlight, 
night vision and speaker

We are parked right next to the "Lot Cop"

Next on my agenda was a little shopping at the ALDI store. There is one located next to Walmart here in Ocala. It is a German supermarket store chain but obviously does not carry as many German items here as they do in Germany. However, they had our favorite German fruitcake, i.e. Stollen filled with Marzipan and Cherries and some other great Christmas chocolates and Lebkuchen, which we love to eat.  Aldi is known for basic food items usually at a lesser price than other food stores. In addition they carry two aisles full of all kinds of merchandise at a reduced price. The products change constantly and you never know what they carry next week. So I filled my shopping cart with the cold cuts, Artisan bread, fruits, vegetables and fresh meat I came here for and a pair of Merino wool socks for Benno and a Motion Laser Light Projector for Christmas that was priced at $19.95.

Marzipan, Cherries and dried fruits filled Stollen

Yummy chocolates!

Christmas is only a month away and this time I did not pack any Christmas decorations or our mini Christmas tree. With two dogs in the travel trailer and only the table to put it up on I thought there was not enough room for it. Instead I think the colorful lights shining onto our trailer will be sufficient to put us into the Christmas Spirit. 

A good price for this unit

It comes with a stand and stake

We tried different lights and motions

Tomorrow promises to be another nice day here and perhaps we will just stay put and relax. Thanks for dropping in again.

Tonights dinner
homemade coleslaw, homemade hash browns, green beans
 slices of pork loin I breaded in flour, egg and Italian breadcrumbs

Sunday 24 November 2019

Sunday at the RV Park

Where are we now?
Wandering Oaks RV Park, Ocala, Florida

Last night we had a little bit of rain and I think a slight spit during the night. Today’s temperatures were forecasted to be only 18C/64F but our outside thermometer showed 22C/71F in the shade this afternoon. No complains about that. 

While I was preparing our dinner last night our next-door RV neighbor came by with a bag full of dog goodies including food samples, poop bags, promotional items and two new toys. She said that those were all gifts from Pet Smart and their dog would not eat, use or play with any of them and she was wondering if we wanted them.  No question about that as Elsa already had her nose in the bag and even Reggy, who is not usually into squeaky toys, took off with the yellow toy. That was a nice gesture from our neighbours and we appreciated the gifts.

Two new squeaky toys

This morning we drove over to the local Gander store, which is now called Camping World, Gander, Overton’s. I wanted to purchase a double bar for our refrigerator to prevent items falling out of it when I open the door after a rough road trip. (Yep, had half the contents fall into my lap) They had the single bars but were out of the double bar. However, we walked out of the store with a new pair of shorts for Benno since it was the kind he had been looking for and the store had a sale on for 25% off all merchandise. I might go back there next Friday when they are also offering great deals and to check if the item had been restocked.

At the Flea Market

On our way back home we swung by the big Flea Market they have here alongside the I-75. The parking lots were pretty full already and we ended up parking on the grass fields. The stalls in the buildings were mostly open and outside there were many tables set up with all kinds of things. Lots of people milling about looking, just like us, but we left empty-handed.  

These two little doggies were huddled in a chair at the Flea Market
I thought they were cute

Back at the trailer we spent a leisure afternoon and a walk around the park with the dogs. I took some more pictures to show what it looks like here.

Thanks for visiting. I'll keep everyone updated on our next visits and adventures.

Saturday 23 November 2019


Where are we today?
Wandering Oaks RV Park, Ocala, Florida

Just a few days after my last blog post where I had said that we were snow free, we got dumped with our share of the white stuff.  It looked pretty outside while the snow was falling and we contemplated if it was worth our while to get the snowblower out of the shed. In the end we decided to wait a day to see if there was more to come or if it would melt. The latter seemed to be a good decision as the temps rose and a week later we were practically snow free except for a few piles in the shade.

When I opened the door, that is what it looked like

This year our plan had been to leave at the end of November to head out with our travel trailer but with the recent surprise of an early snowfall we didn’t want to risk another surprise when it would be time to leave, so we packed up to get going last Wednesday morning.  All went like clockwork, no hassles and we rolled out of our driveway shortly after 8 a.m. The traffic was light and as we got into Windsor around 9 a.m. We had another 15 minutes drive to the border crossing at the Ambassador Bridge and Benno asked me, “You got the passports?” me: “Check”, Benno: “Got the US money?” me: “Check”, Benno: “Dog papers?” me: “Oops!” Benno: “Shit!” Neither one of us had thought about the vaccination documents as we always have to have them together with our passports and trailer documentation when we pass the booth of the custom and border control into the USA. I contemplated if the dog tags would be good enough but we didn’t want to risk being turned around so reluctantly parked and unhooked the travel trailer at the large shipping and receiving truck parking lot behind the Target Store in Windsor and I drove back home to fetch those darned papers!

An hour and a half I was back and we headed for the Ambassador Bridge. There was not much traffic at the border crossing and only one car ahead of us. The nice custom and border Inspector wanted only to see our passports, NO mention of the dog papers, but had a quick look into the RV and then wished us a nice time during our winter travels and we were free to go.

Driving conditions were good. At home we had scouted on the internet the Gas Buddy website for cheap gasoline, so in Bowling Green, Ohio at the I-75 we filled up for $ 2.16 gal and rolled on to Middle Town, Ohio for the night stop at a Walmart Parking lot. We enjoyed “Seals” on antenna TV, hit the sack about 10.00 p.m., and almost managed to close our eyes when a truck horn next to us got us quickly out off bed. Benno barefooted opened the door. Hey there was a huge tow truck and a friendly driver, “Sorry mate, I like your spare tire wheel cover, but here is no RV parking permitted at Walmart, you have to move or I have to tow you away, but you can park at Lowe’s close by, no problem there”. Christ, we had to move on in our Pajamas, but we did and ended up at the Lowe’s parking lot just over on the next block. Only problem was, their parking lot was sloped. Its funny when you have to walk uphill or downhill inside the trailer but with an extra pillow to level our sleeping position we made do with the situation.

After a good breakfast the next day we resumed our drive along the I-75 when Benno mentioned that he felt a jerking on the truck. He even pulled over to check everything but found nothing and thought it was perhaps the uneven pavement. Then a short while later the jerking was more noticeable and in the rearview mirror Benno noticed that the trailer’s electric brakes came on and jerked the trailer, so he pulled over again. All the brakes on the trailer where hot. They were actually too hot to touch. These are larger brakes than the original ones, which were replaced last spring when we had the trailer’s axles under warranty replaced by the manufacturer. They upgraded the 3000-pound axles to 4400-pound ones, which included larger brakes too. After a short brain storming Benno came to the conclusion that the  Hayes Sway Master, the after market electronic sway controller, could be the only culprit, which activates the trailer brakes. The bugger must be faulty. By pulling the trailer plug out of the Sway Master and plugging it straight back into the truck fixed the problem.  Today, after a search on the Internet, we found that The Hayes Sway Master has been on recall since August of this year. We have to investigate this further.

Thursday night we spent at one of the Cabela’s stores own dedicated RV parking spaces just off the I-75 at exit 353 in Georgia. They also provide a dumping station with water next to the parking lanes. (Jim, from "Jim and Barb's RV Adventure"  had mentioned the overnight possibilities at Cabelas stores in their blog posts and that is why we knew of it.) Late in the evening when we were already dozing off we heard a diesel bus pulling alongside next to us. Benno looked out the window and said that it looked like a prison bus with barred up windows. I thought I would take a picture of it next morning but it had already left when we got up at 6 a.m.

Friday turned into another good driving day. We took the bypasses at Atlanta and Macon avoiding the rush hour traffic. Not knowing how the driving would go we had not made a plan where to spend the night. The further south we went, the warmer or milder the night would be so we drove until sundown. The Walmart Superstore in Lake City was of interest and we got off the Interstate to have a look. My goodness, the place was a zoo. Friday night all of the surrounding area population was shopping there. It took us a bit of time to get out of there and back to the I-75. I checked our catalogues for RV Parks close by and came up with one that said rural setting and horses welcome and Passport America member discount. By the time we drove through their gate it was already pitch dark and the place was deserted. We just parked at a level spot but didn’t unhook being just too tired. In the morning we didn’t like the looks of this park, as it seemed to be circling the drain and have seen better days a long time ago, so we moved on.

Three years ago we spent some time at the Wandering Oaks RV Resort in Ocala, Florida and had liked it. That is where we are now for one week. The place looks immaculate. The lawns are all expertly cut. There are lots and lots of open green spaces and I think our Reggy and Elsa remembered their fenced-in dog running space as they headed straight for it. 

A trip into town got us the needed coax connector Benno needed for the Cable TV and of course he had to have a look at the local Harbor Freight store just because it was on the way too. Hope everyone back home stays warm. We had temps here in the 80ths today. Just saying. Thanks for looking in again

Saturday 9 November 2019

Man, it's cold out there

Man, its cold out there. Our weather all of a sudden dropped well below the norm for this time of year, namely the beginning of November. While so many of our friends and acquaintances are already on the road to a destination south and warmer temperatures and others already set up at their winter domiciles, we are still sitting here at home. As retirees we are free to chose when and where to travel but there was no real rush for us to head out in October while we still enjoyed beautiful weather. However, parts of Ontario have already had their first snowfall and soon we will be blessed with this cold and wet stuff that we all dread. So I guess we better get organized and start packing.

We added a new "friendship" spare tire cover

This annual chore is somewhat a routine but not the same every year. On our first trip down to the southwest we packed a lot of unnecessary stuff that we never used. But also we learned a few expensive lessons by not having certain things. So for that reason we have on order a Surge Guard for our shore power connection, when we are hooked up to a power post in an RV Park. Hopefully it will get here in time (it better be!) Reading too many suggestions of should haves and must haves and not having had any experience ourselves in the first year of RVing we just packed everything.  Over time in the following years we realized that what is needed really depends on weather you stay in a RV Park or choose to boondock most of the time because you keep moving around. Now we have become a little smarter, I hope, but nevertheless we probably still end up with a few unused things that just travel with us to and from. 

Who else washes their travel trailer in the rain?

So in anticipation of a soon to be departing date Benno decided to turn our travel trailer around for easy hook-up, because should we get snow before then, this exercise would be a bit messy. For this task we have a power dolly, which we store in our crawlspace underneath the house.  There is not too much of a space for our truck to maneuver from the garage to the stored trailer and the power dolly really is ideal to tackle this job of moving the trailer out to the road. We wrote a post about the dolly on Nov. 7th2016 blog  "He did it!“  

Hooking up the power dolly

Benno attached the cable from the dolly to the battery of the trailer that sits behind the propane tanks and started moving.  It’s an easy thing as you walk slowly steering the trailer down the driveway. He made it down and turned the trailer onto the road. He then reversed the dolly, pulled the trailer a few feet and then toggled the dolly switch to the forward position, but to his surprise nothing happened. After a few hectic pushes on the switch with nothing happening to the dolly, panic set in. The trailer sat on the road blocking all traffic so nobody could pass. It now dawned on Benno that the dolly was on the fritz and he came chasing up the driveway in his crocs to get the truck out of the garage in a hurry. Well, the truck with Benno behind the wheel got the trailer where it was supposed to go. The dolly he pushed up into his shop where he pronounced a short while later that one of the two relays was defective and needed to be replaced. (Ordered two relays of higher contact rating, got shipped, Benno replaced both relays, now all-working again!) 

A couple of days ago he torqued all the trailer’s wheel nuts and what is left to do in this department, the checking of the tires’ air pressure will be done on the departure day in a couple of weeks or earlier. We carry a little 120 Volt tire inflator or air compressor with us. Jayco provided on the White Hawk trailers two outside 120 Volt receptacles conveniently close to the wheels position, which comes in handy for the tire inflator. In case we are on the road and not plugged into shore power we could use our portable Honda Generator fired up to give us the 120 Volt power to run the tire inflator. We use the gen set anyway while traveling after a night stop for breakfast preparation and afterwards Benno can quickly run a tire check before hitting the road again.

The 120V receptacle, one of each side of the trailer

So what is left to do is packing what we think we’ll need for a few months away from home. Not a big deal but a chore nevertheless. In the meantime I am roasting some back ribs for supper, suitable for this miserable cold weather.

I hope you are all staying warm and cozy and I thank you for dropping in again. Next posting should tell you that we are underway!