This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Wednesday 23 December 2020

Merry Christmas

Regardless of the unusual circumstances we all face this December, Benno and I would like to wish everyone a joyous and most importantly healthy Christmas and throughout the New Year. With the bright sun shining into our windows today, a green lawn surrounding our house and a day temperature of 8C/46F I find it really difficult to feel Christmassy. Perhaps tonight my mood will change into a more romantic state when our little Christmas tree is lit. Although in the past we have spent several Christmases in exotic places where my attire consisted of a skimpy bikini on Christmas day with no longing for a white Christmas and I was fine with that. Looking through the picture archive I found a couple of pictures of Santa all puffed out and lit up standing on our crow’s nest on our yacht “Diesel Duck” waving to the dolphins down below in the ocean while we were cruising in the Bahamas at Christmas time.
Another picture I found that brought back some nice memories is of our small Christmas tree sitting on the dining table in the little 19-foot travel trailer back in 2015.
So this year is different and we are at home alone on Christmas because it is the prudent thing to do. We had somewhat of an early nice Christmas surprise because the property next to our house that we had bought in 2018 has found a buyer. For the past couple of years we put a lot of effort into cleaning up this land and making it presentable to look at. Now it will go to a new owner. The sale might surprise some of you, but recently there were several houses for sale in our area that sold quickly and that gave us the idea to put this property also on the market because we really don’t have a use for it other than to keep it neat. We had only listed it with a local real estate broker at Benno’s birthday on the 27th of October. 

A nice bottle of wine from our real estate broker to celebrate

Some days we like to reminisce and talk about our years on the water and the cruising life and today was one of them. To fix my nostalgia I took a little stroll across the road to the public beach to look over Lake Erie enjoying the view. Here is what I saw. 

Benno has been looking into Google Maps making plans for future southwest destinations should that become possible for us snowbirds sometimes soon. We sure hope that will be the case and our new travel trailer will take us to new destinations. We have to stay positive and hope for the best. 

Wishing all of you a great Christmas and a very happy Birthday to our son who was born Christmas Eve! 
Marlene and Benno

Monday 14 December 2020

Reggy’s 5th Birthday

If you own a dog, do you celebrate their birthdays? Our dachshunds give us many enjoyments most days and throughout the year and of course we spoil them – to a certain extent. Today is Reggy’s 5thbirthday as per his documentation papers. Not that he would care even if he knew what it meant. But he certainly was aware that today was special and so did our Elsa, the other dachshund in our family. The fun part was that Benno and I watched them gobble up each a real first class wiener sausage that I had warmed up for extra flavor to celebrate this occasion. I made them beg for it by sitting up before I gave it to them. Also a couple of chewing bones were awarded for the party, but those they have occasionally as a treat.  So the birthday party was really as much fun or us as it was for the dogs and we might do it all over again on the 6thof January when our Elsa turns 5 years old.

Reggy is working on the ribbon

Never mind the ribbon I just go at it

Please can I have the wiener?

I'm being good

Now don't take it away again!

Meanwhile Elsa is waiting patiently

As a follow up and answer, in case you remember my blog post from October 30thwhen I was asking about entrance door key locks, especially the upper key of the door handle that has an “M” punched next to the key hole. The “M” stands for master key and the master key is a key that all RV dealers and RV salesmen keep handy to open most RV doors. Of course criminals specialized in robbing RVs could have them too to open the RV doors. I was asking in my post for a solution and Bill, from "On Our Way" mentioned that " could sell us new lock cylinders for different keys. So we ordered new lock cylinders for the entrance door and the luggage doors with the same key number (your choice which numbers you want.) This means that now only one key will open all doors and eliminates having the clutter of several keys kicking around. Benno was able to change the cylinders of the luggage door locks and the dead bolt of the entrance door. For the “M” cylinder in the door handle he had to remove the whole lock and take it and the new cylinder to “Leisure Trailer Sales” in Tecumseh where we purchased our RV. To remove the door handle cylinder you need a special cylinder removal yellow tool key. This key is only sold to service dealers. The cost of the removal of the “M” cylinder and the installation of our new cylinder was CDN $10 at the dealer. 


In other news, I discovered that there were some 4-inch tall shoots of spring daffodils in my flowerbed. That cannot be good. We now have freezing temps at night so the chances are these flowers will not survive. Luckily I remembered that I still have a bag of some leftover turf builder dirt stored in my shed. That came in handy and I used some of it to cover up these sprouts. Hopefully that will stop any frost damage. We’ll see what happens but we sure had some wonderful warm and sunny December days here in our area to screw up Mother Nature. 


Thanks for dropping by again. I leave you with some small Christmas decorations at our house.

Wednesday 2 December 2020

Introducing two new blogs that I follow

Yesterday’s 1st snowfall of the season for our area turned somewhat into a real mini blizzard. The wind driven snow quickly piled up in corners around our house, sheds, and in front of the garage. It was a day to stay home, as we had no pressing business to exchange our slippers for snow boots and mess around with snow shovel or snow blower to clear off the driveway. It could wait until the front moved on and the snow stopped falling. Benno stretched out on the sofa in the guest bedroom with his iPad and soon was immersed in the story of the latest book he’d downloaded.


A day ago I had received an email from Liesbet Collaert, a cruising acquaintance telling me that she had just published her first book, “Plunge” and that it was now available for download from Amazon. She also writes a blog, “roaming about” that I have been reading off and on over the years so I know her writing style is entertaining.  With the click of my mouse I ordered the book to be downloaded into the Kindle app on my iPad, snuggled into the couch and started reading while the snow kept falling outside. Good thing I had precooked cabbage rolls that only needed warming up for dinner because I could not put that book down. Excellent writing.


Now let me introduce you to two new blogs that I have included in my side bar list of “Blogs we follow” and that my readers might find also interesting. 


Roaming About 

Around Christmas 2009 in St. Thomas, USVI, Benno and I purchased a USA made wifi signal booster or extender over the Internet from the states for our yacht Diesel Duck. The name of it was “Wirie.” It afforded us to pick up enhanced wifi signals from shore onto our boat that we otherwise would not have been able to receive. This device was the brainchild of Mark Kilty, who cruised with his wife Liesbet Collaert on the catamaran “Irie.” Later in January 2010 we sailed on to the British Virgin Islands and after that to the island of St. Maarten (St. Martin), there we spotted their boat in the famous “Lagoon” anchorage and said Hello. Mark made some modifications of our “Wirie” in boosting up the power, as he had made more technical advances to the “Wirie” units in the meantime. We were very happy with the unit. Liesbet wrote articles for cruising and boating magazines that we read and now could put a face to the writing. Things change and over the years I have kept up with their lives via the blog “roaming about.” You might find it interesting too as they sold their catamaran and are now RVing in Arizona.


The blue rectangle box with the white antenna is the "Wirie"
mounted on our boat "Diesel Duck"

Just A Little Further

In 2008, at the Shelter Bay Marina, just in front of the Panama Canal in Panama, we met Marcie and David Lynn with their sailboat “Nine of Cups.” We became friends, spent many hours exchanging cruising information and stories with the promise to keep in touch. In Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador we met again, touring the town, museum and beaches. We both sailed off in different directions but met again in Puerto Montt, Chile. We kept in touch over the years and while we were renovating our house 2012, Marcie and David came by car to visit us but stayed with us on our boat in the local marina here in Leamington, Ontario. Marcie and David both contribute to their blog and have published several books. Their writing is very entertaining as well. Again things change over time and they too, sold their sailboat and are RVing Arizona with their modified, livable Ford van at the present time. 


I leave you with a photo of our local bird population that I decided to treat to some birdseed today while the ground is still covered with snow.

Thanks again for dropping by.

Wednesday 18 November 2020

No November blues but there is not much going on

It is already the middle of November and if it were a normal year we would be planning our trip south by now or perhaps we would already be underway. When I started this blog several years ago my intention was to capture our travels with pictures of our trips, destinations and interesting places we visited. Since this is not happening right now and most of my travels are done between our house and the grocery stores in town, how about I take you along my stroll along the Lakeshore Drive to the Hillman Marsh and to the end of our cul-de-sac street to the cornfield that has been harvested today. 


In previous posts I mentioned the location of our house to be near Lake Erie. Here are a couple of aerial views of our house showing the proximity to the lake taken about a month ago. There is a little public beach visible at the top left of the first photo and about the top middle of the next photo where kids like to play in the summertime and I find interesting pieces of driftwood. The town has just recently added a lot of large boulders at the corner of Fox Run Road and Lakeshore Drive next to the beach to prevent erosion from Northeasterly winds. 


Walking along Lakeshore Drive toward the Hillman Marsh I took these photos of the lake. 


These beach photos are of the public beach at the Hillman Marsh that is about a 15-minute walk from our house or half an hour if I take the dogs as we make frequent stops along the way!!


This aerial view was taken about a month ago of our house and the cornfield at the end of our street. The next aerial view Benno took today and you can see me standing patiently at the end of the road waiting to take pictures of the harvest that was in progress today. (Our aerial pictures are taken with a DJI Mavic Mini drone that Benno got last Christmas. You don’t need a pilot license to fly this drone because it weighs less than 250 grams. For anything above this weight class, a drone pilot license is required here in Canada to fly drones). The driver of the corn combine waved to me while he was passing with this huge machine. They are done with this field but a few others are still waiting to be harvested.

Most trees in our area have now shed their leaves and Benno and I have made a couple of trips to the local Leaf and Yard Depot site to drop off leaves from our property. We have a sweeper that we tow behind our John Deere lawn mower to gather the leaves and it is fairly easy but I had to use additional bags for the amount of leaves to add to the already full utility trailer to haul it all away to be composted.


In other news, our two Dachshunds were very sick for a few days and required a trip to the veterinarian to get shots and medication. I suspect, or I am almost certain, that the culprit of their diarrhea and vomiting were the dried chicken breast pieces I fed them as a treat and had purchased at Food Basic. After calling customer support I was told they were imported from China (but not posted on the bag and no complete barcode to show origin) I will not purchase those again. The good new is, they are now doing fine and today played a game of tug-of-war with Elsa’s squeaky toy that Reggy likes to snatch away from her.


Thanks for dropping by again.

Friday 30 October 2020

So many nice additions to our travel trailer

Here is my promised blog update about the modifications on our new travel trailer that we thought were important to us. Of course everyone has a different view of what makes your travels great. Driving to a nice area with lots to see and explore is on top of our list as well as warm or nice weather conditions, but we also like our creature comforts and that is what we, or mostly Benno, were working on in the past weeks. For a link to the products just click the highlighted words.

To start off, a new mattress was required. The trailer came with a new FIRM mattress, I mean extreme firm like 2x4 wooden studs, the mattress was made in the USA with 2 rounded corners at the foot end, nice looking but boy we slept one night on it to try it out and were almost looking for a chiropractor next morning. Benno and I are side sleepers and we found something more suitable and softer for our needs. I advertised the mattress on the local Marketplace and it quickly found a new owner.


Meanwhile Benno crawled around in the basement storage compartment where he installed two additional group 31 AGM batteries side by side additionally to the outside tongue group 27 AGM battery and he wired up an extra disconnect battery switch that he had purchased for those batteries. This gives us a bigger battery bank with more stored amp power for our convenience and for the times we are boon docking. To be able to monitor our state of charge of this battery bank he fitted a digital voltmeter onto the panel next to the entrance door and while he was at it, he also mounted a 120 V AC meter above the existing 12 V DC meter. This way we can view the hooked up electrical power coming in from a power post, which can be inconsistent at some RV Resorts.


For our water hook up we supplement the system with an extra filter housing with a water filter stand to house a carbon filter to improve the water quality wherever we are. I don’t like the taste of chlorinated water and it is terrible for making good coffee or tea.

A funny thing happened though. We were testing our water system and water heater plumbing, bleeding the lines of air, testing bathroom shower and vanity etc. of the new camper and there the water was coming out fine, but somehow we could not get any water, hot or cold coming out of the kitchen faucet. We pulled out all drawers to view and follow the water piping, looking for a missed shut off cock or so. Benno went even underneath the trailer with a flashlight to see if somehow there could be a problem. I took a mirror and looked behind the gas furnace where the blue and red PEX water tubing from the kitchen faucet disappeared “Nada – Nada” no luck, no water hot or cold. Benno went to his shop to get more tools; we had a serious problem here, no water at the kitchen sink. I was just looking at the faucet and my eyes were resting on the faucet lever and I noticed that the lever body was curved on the bottom, a hot flash shot through my brain like don’t tell me we have to pull that damned thing and then turn it!! I did it and “voila” we had water. Shit, Benno and I smirked and he said: “Don’t mention this in your blog, or everybody thinks we are too stupid to operate a kitchen faucet!”


There was nothing wrong with the company installed roof vents, but we decided to cover them with vent hoods so they can stay open in the rain and upgrade the electrical Heng vent fan in the bathroom with the Heng Vortex II Fan unit, which runs on three different speeds and will also reverse airflow if wanted. The install went fairly easy, however I overheard several not so nice expletives from Benno, when some tiny factory supplied screw kept slipping off his screwdriver and repeatedly fell to the floor until Benno finally got fed up and used a different screw from his own supply.


Free Wifi is offered in most RV parks and if there are repeater towers throughout the park you can get it inside your RV. However, if you are surrounded by tall RVs, or if you don’t have a line of sight, the reception might not be good. A Wifi extender mounted onto the roof of your RV will amplify the incoming signal and you’d be amazed at the bars on your device. It has its own router and you need to set it up which is outlined in the easy to follow instructions. In the inside of your RV you need to find a suitable spot where to mount the router and connect the wires with the outside antenna. We’ve had good experience with all of the Wifi extenders on our previous RVs and got one for our new travel trailer. This one is the newest model from (here is the Canadian link to Wifi-Camp-Pro2) version 2. (USA link: Wifi-Camp-Pro2) the TSM-B1&TSM1 stainless mount: Accessories & Blue Sea Cable Clam Of course it works also wherever free wifi is offered and you get a good signal even when sitting in a parking lot. The antenna folds down when you travel.


Our new travel trailer came with a flat screen TV as most RVs do. What good is it if you hardly get any channels? The Jayco trailers were equipped with the crank up Winegard antennas and we were very happy with them. When we turned on our TV at this new travel trailer we only got a handful, if at all, stations after running a scan. How disappointing. The on the rooftop mounted Winegard Air360 sat next to the air-conditioning unit and it is very low. The decision was made to order a Winegard Wingman type antenna and to remove the one that came with the camper. Easy said but more problematic to do. The roof mounted Winegard Air 360 had to go as it was plugging up the roof Real Estate and we needed room for the new Winegard Sensar IV wingman antenna, because when cranked down it needs a 4-foot space lengthwise. Removing the Air 360 was a bitch, it was screwed and glued down with tons of Dicor. To remove Dicor it is advised to do it above 80F and to use a heat gun. Right, coming Sunday is the 1st November and we are up in Canada. Benno made the decision to use the Dremel Multi Max oscillating tool to slice the Air 360 off right above the mounting ring. With some shims and the heat gun he managed to lift a small section of the still left mounting ring from the roof membrane without damaging the membrane. The Dremel Multi Max tool then cut that section of the mounting ring out, which gave enough space to install the new Winegard wingman antenna. If and when it warms up again Benno will remove the rest of that mounting ring. My poor hubby was all frozen from being up there on the rooftop in the wind and cold temps. But the best news of all is, that after completing a new scan we had 50, (that is FIFTY!) HDTV channels broadcasting at that time and most of them with an excellent picture quality. I think this new antenna was a truly good investment!


And finally I would like to ask my fellow RVers if you have made any changes to your RV entrance door locks. We had added a deadbolt on our Jayco travel trailer, but those will not fit our present travel trailer door. As you know almost every RV can be opened with the so-called master key, (if there is an "M" punched next to your door's key hole) carried by all RV dealers and their salesmen and who knows who else. Any suggestions?


 There might be a few more personal additions to our RV, like the mirror I wanted next to the entrance and I'll post them once a while.

Thanks for dropping by again.