Thursday, October 29, 2015

We've moved!!!

I bet you thought we fell off the face of the earth, didn't you?  Well, we're still here!  We had a little computer trouble (my 5-year-old laptop died unexpectedly one day), and although we were able to get it revived enough to get all the pictures and files off it, it died again a few days later!  So, we ordered a new Windows 10 laptop, and I'm still getting used to that.  One program I was not able to get back was LiveWriter, so I am back to composing blogs in Blogger . . . we'll see how that goes!

So, to catch you up on what we've been doing . . . we left MI in this . . .

and arrived in Charleston in this!

So, let me back up a little.  When we were on our way north from Georgia in August, we stopped at Day Bros. RV Sales in London, KY to look at a few motorhomes.  Maybe it was the truck fiasco, and maybe it was the blown tire on the RV, but we were ready to make a move!  We found this 2006 Monaco Dynasty Diamond IV, and it was very promising -- just needed a few fixes.  We put a $1000 deposit on it, and left them with a list of repairs that we were looking for when we returned.

When we arrived last week, most of that list was complete, plus a few more items that they found along the way.  We spent the weekend checking it out as best we could, and had a new list of "fixes" when the dealership re-opened on Monday.

We spent the next several days with the technician, going over the various systems in the coach - learning about them and making sure they worked correctly.  We also discovered a few more problems -- water problems -- so those had to be taken care of right away!  One was a leak in the shower valve, and there was no access panel to the back of the shower!  The tech was all ready to remove the shower stall when Tom suggested that he just cut an access hole behind the escutcheon, and make a new cover for it out of stainless steel.  Voila - an access panel!  That turned out to be a fairly simple fix, but the bigger problem was the kitchen drain that travels in the slide-out.  It had a tendency to get hung up as the slide was coming in and put stress on the joint, causing it to leak.  It looked like it had been fixed once, and our tech fixed it again . . . and a couple more times before the week was over!

Tom kept hanging out at the coach while the tech worked on it, and he and Bryce took care of some of the smaller repairs . . . trying not to get in the way, or be too much of a distraction.

We made good progress, and by Wednesday evening felt comfortable enough to start moving in!

They moved the motorhome over to the site next to our camper, and the work began!

Let me tell you . . . we had a LOT of space in that toyhauler!!! 

Tom and Bryce kept carrying stuff over to the motorhome, and I was trying to figure out where to put everything . . . I thought I was doing pretty well . . .  I still had empty cupboards in the bedroom . . . but then I started in the kitchen, and it soon became clear that I had TOO MUCH STUFF!!

 There was still so much work left to do!  We gave up at midnight and went back to the X-Aire to sleep, but we were back at it first thing in the morning!

We continued to move stuff over and find places to put it all away, and the inspector from the Extended Warranty company arrived and started going through the RV with our technician.  Since we had been through everything pretty thoroughly, we left them to do their thing without us.  We did go on the test drive with them, though, and it was while putting in the slides that we discovered that the kitchen drain on the slide had broken . . . that was going to keep us from getting out of there on Thursday as we had planned!

The test drive itself went fine, although I found out the importance of making sure that the refrigerator doors were latched . . . Tom made a sharp left turn and most of the contents of the refrigerator ended up on the floor!  Luckily, we had no broken glass or exploding pop cans, but I did have a plastic container of spaghetti sauce all over the floor, the frig, and the cabinets across from the frig!  Lesson Learned!

Back at the RV Dealership, we got a passing grade from the inspection and after a quick lunch, we continued moving.  Our technician consulted with a few other techs on how best to fix the drain so that the movement of the slide would not overstress the fittings.  While we all worked, Casey relaxed in her crate!
 Slowly, but surely, we were getting things put away . . .  

By the time the drain was fixed and we finally finished moving everything over, it was too late to get on the road, and we never did get around to signing the papers to purchase the motorhome!  We would stay one more night, and try to get an early start in the morning for our 460 mile drive to Charleston.

We took one more look through the toyhauler to make sure we hadn't left anything behind, and then went to Steak & Shake for a celebratory dinner.  The dealership had agreed to let us take our mattress and recliners from the X-Aire, so with those items moved, we were officially "home".

The next morning we signed all the paperwork to trade the Silverado and X-Aire for the Monaco, they topped off our propane and diesel (half tank of diesel - even Tom couldn't get them to fill it all the way!), and we were ready to go!

It was a beautiful day for a drive, and there wasn't much traffic for a Friday.  

Tom was cool and collected behind the wheel!

We took I-75 south to Knoxville, where we picked up I-40 through the Blue Ridge Mountains, enjoying the view the entire way.

I've got a great view out the front windshield!

We picked up a little traffic in Columbia, SC, which delayed us some, but we finally made it to the Navy base by 7:30pm, where Nicolas was waiting to check us in, and check out the new RV!

We've got a few projects to take care of, and then it's just getting settled and making this into our new home!  We're getting there!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A birthday party and a campus visit

Sunset_October 1

As our time here is winding down, we’ve been checking things off from our “To-Do” list – doctor appointments, dentist appointments, and Casey had a spa day.     20151005_154500









She looks like a new dog!

We’re still not sure of our destination when we leave here next week – we’ll spend several days in Kentucky, and then a week or so with Nicolas in Charleston.  He survived the torrential rain without any trouble, and it looks like our route will be clear to get there.  From there, we’ll stay in northern Florida for November and December, and then head further south after the holidays. 

Las weekend, we celebrated Bryce’s birthday with my family. 



My mom made his favorite dinner – ham – and I made a cake . . .


 and Jaxon brought bat cupcakes for the party.



Jaxon also thought that Bryce needed a birthday hat . . . and in case he didn’t have one, he brought his for Bryce to wear!






It was a fun day with the whole family – we had a good dinner, played some cards, and Tom got his “baby fix” with Graysen!









This weekend, we headed to the west side of the state for one more college visit – Grand Valley State University.

Grand Valley State University

Clock Tower

In addition to the undergraduate program that Bryce is looking at, GVSU also has a Physical Therapy doctoral program, and we wanted to check that out, too.

A beautiful fall day in Michigan


The Open House was very well attended, with hundreds of high school students and their parents.

We started with continental breakfast and a presentation by Admissions, followed by an information fair with the various colleges and departments.  We got some good information on both Athletic Training and Physical Therapy.

The morning ended with student-led tours.  It was a beautiful day for walking around campus, but pretty quiet for a Saturday – either all the students had gone home for the weekend, or they were still sleeping!

A beautiful day for a tour


On the lawn











The campus is in a beautiful location west of Grand Rapids, and has a lot of open space around some very beautiful, brand-new buildings.


GVSU Library



Almost 90% of students live on-campus, and there are multiple housing options for students to choose from – including traditional dorms, suite-style dorms, and apartments – and many of them are new. 

It almost feels like a huge apartment complex more than a college.  In comparison, there aren’t many classroom buildings.  Many of the colleges are building their academic buildings in downtown Grand Rapids.  So, the students live out on the main campus, but go to many of their classes downtown.

It was a pretty campus, but it just didn’t have the “college feel” that Bryce is looking for . . . and it just isn’t Michigan State!