May, June, July, August'04

About time you say! And I agree with you. But I have some good excuses this time (plus a little ‘writer’s block’ & laziness).

In July I started to update the site and started having puter problems. Couldn’t hardly navigate the web. Kept getting “error reports” and then IE would restart. Searched the net and puter help forums for weeks. Lots of frustrations there with the shutdowns constantly happening. Finally found an answer: it was from an update from MSN and it was causing quite a few problems across the net. AND they had no solution for it. Someone suggested I switch to FIREFOX as a browser, I did and am not looking back. Once I got used to it, it is great. But my puter was still acting up some and other suggestion were to erase everything and reinstall 98SE. I wasn’t ready to do that yet. My screen has been acting up also. Been fading slowly so we broke down and bought a new laptop---SONY PCG-K27. Really nice.

New laptop arrived on 23 Aug, which is my birthday, so that was nice. 2 days later my satellite internet dish quit. Now no internet connections. Fought that for 2 weeks and Kay called DirecWay and got the usual runarounds you get from the tech companies lately. Finally got a tech, he talked us thru a bunch of stuff and nothing worked. Moved up to a higher level. This went on for over a week. Then they said they would have to send someone out to check it out. Only problem was—the scheduling center was in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl and they were shut down for Hurricane Frances. I hooked up to my Bro-in-laws phone line but 26,400 was too slow. Got a wireless internet router but it wouldn’t reach the MH so I had to get some Ethernet wiring move the router to his garage. No place in town sold it. Finally got that working and it is FAST. WOW! Been on satellite for so long I didn’t realize there was that much difference. Finally someone from DirecWay came out and we got my sat back working 2 days ago. Overall Kay spent over 20 hours holding on the phone to get this fixed. The ‘tech help’ situation in the puter industry SUCKS!

Now I can concentrate on my website. (Except I’m still trying to transfer files from old puter to new). So here goes. But it’s probably boring as we have been stationary for awhile.

Not much happened when we got to Rantoul except for the “Lincoln’s Challenge Vets Recognition” event & visiting my brother, Tony.

We weren’t there long as my summer long VA dental appts were about to start. In the last year I’ve had 3 teeth pulled and now they are going to fix me up. Crowns, partial & a night guard as I find myself clenching my teeth at night. Not grinding but clenching. As I don’t remember dreams I’m not sure whats causing it. I haven’t woke up in a sweat in a long time but I knew what that was.

My niece Allison (Tony’s daughter) graduated from law school so we headed to Chicago to celebrate with her. Really proud of her!! On the way I could see that the battery wasn’t charging and the truck was running strictly on the battery. Hoping it would last til Champaign where I could borrow my brothers car and leave the truck to be fixed. It didn’t. Quit about 15 miles from his house. Wrecker time! While waiting I looked under the hood and noticed that the ‘idler tensioner’ for the serpentine belt was lopsided. Ah-hah! But I didn’t have time to fix it as we needed to be in Chicago that evening. Dropped it at the dealership my brother deals with and headed out. They called me the next day and said it’s been running for 2 hours with no problems. I told them to check the idler tensioner and that’s what it was. (Should I have been charged for MY diagnosis time?) BUT it took the alternator with it. Total=$525.00.

Allison’s party was at a sports bar—I mean a real sports bar—they had volleyball courts, basketball courts, bowling lanes, darts & pool tables. Had a good time celebrating and meeting her fellow classmates. Next day we went to her apt for lunch & pics. Next day we headed home. It was a Sunday but we had made arrangements to pick up the truck and we would pay them the next day over the phone.

10 days later we headed to DC for the Memorial Day dedication of the WWll memorial. I’d been reading the paper about the dedication and it hit me that I would not be able to deal with that big of a crowd both there and on the Metro. Rather than agonize about it we talked and decided that I wouldn’t even try to go. I was the dog sitter. Campground was nice (no sewer hookups) & clean. It also was about a mile from Don Beery’s place—he was the one that bought my Corvette. So I got to visit my car! Actually I enjoy visiting Don and his family (Jill & Jonathan). They always make me feel at home. I brought my nephew Jared with me (forgot my camera--actually I brought it but left it in the truck when Kay dropped us off--Don always has a keg tapped in his basement bar and I don’t drink and drive). Enjoyable evening.

Most of Kay’s family made it to DC and they took Jerry to the afternoon dedication. Only thing was they didn’t have the memorial open during the dedication. Wouldn’t open it until 7PM that evening. They all came back, took a nap and went back that evening to see the memorial. I think it is great that they finally did something for those guys. There were some disappointed vets cause they wouldn’t be able to come back that evening when it was open. One bunch said they flew in that morning and had to fly back late that afternoon. Kay said that Sam’s Club & Wal-Mart were there handing out free bottles of water which was a very nice gesture. 

We were invited down to a bay on the Delaware River (can't remember the name) by Gregg & Lisa Nelson. They are close friends of my sister Jean and her hubby Mike. They have a getaway place there and it's a possible retirement place for them. BEAUTIFUL!! Again--good food, cold beer, good friends--what more could you ask for.

When we left there we headed to Gaffney, SC with an overnight in Raleigh, NC. I had made a ‘net’ friend—Bruce Morris—thru one of the Rving forums I visit and we had talked about connecting. This was the first opportunity for us as it was almost on the way. Parked in his driveway with electric. BS’d a lot, ate supper with them and he helped me get my wi-fi card working correctly. He and Sherry are very nice people and we will visit them again. Bruce had just gotten over some surgery and wasn’t getting around the greatest.

Next day we headed for Gaffney to the Freightliner factory to get a pinion seal replaced. It was a slow leak but our extended warranty was about to run out. We left early as the factory has 6 RV hookups right outside the gate and we wanted to arrive early enough to get one. We didn’t! Get a space that is—we did arrive early.

Everything fixed and off to Effingham again. Interstate near Nashville was backed up for miles due to construction and we were stopped/creeping for a couple of hours til we came to an exit and went thru the country. GPS systems are good for these situations. As we got into Nashville town traffic we decided to stop for the night on the north side so Kay got up to get the campground directory. As I rounded a blind turn there was a stoplight and cars backed up. I hit the brakes and Kay went flying. Usually she doesn’t get up in town traffic but this was going to be the exception. Bet it is the last time. She hit hard and I couldn’t help her up til I found a place to pull over which is not easy in town traffic with MH & pickup measuring at least 60’. Meanwhile a cookie jar broke on the floor by my feet and LZ was busy trying to scarf them up. I had to stop him as he would have eaten them all if he could. AND they were MY cookies! :>) Finally got pulled over and helped Kay. She was sore and had big bruises on her arm & legs. Found a nice campground and stopped for the night. Made it back to Effingham the next day.

When we were in Rantoul I twisted my ankle on a step but figured it would be OK. WRONG! Finally went to the VA hosp and I had torn the ligaments so I ended up with a brace on my ankle for about 6 weeks. Will probably be longer as I keep forgetting to put it on and aggravate the injury.

We made an appointment at a Cummins Coach Care facility in Collinsville, Il to get a couple of small oil leaks fixed on the engine. Remember—our extended warranty was about to run out. Got there the night before and our friend Nancy & her beau—Joe—came over for a visit. First time we had met him and he is a real nice guy.

From there we went to the Harrisburg area for the 4th July. Stayed at a horse campground. We were on the end of one of the far rows and wasn’t bad at all. For the 4th we were invited to Saline Landing. This is a place on the Ohio River that a bunch of people have trailers, cabins, etc and party almost every weekend. Some of the cabins are quite decorative. For the 4th they had a community cookout. Then back to Effingham. Rest of July was uneventful as we hung around Eff, did the VA appt thing, worked on the MH—washing & waxing—and Kay went with her dad to his Dr visits.

Aug—Our friends Bill & Norma flew from Ca. to Effingham  for her mom’s birthday so we got to visit with them a couple of nights. They stayed at his brother’s house so we got some rousing Pitch (cards) games going. Bob & Donna had bought a house in Edwards, Mo (Near Warsaw) area near the lake. House is not on the lake but they do have their own boat dock. They said they were not going to stop RVing, just wanted a place to stop & regroup once in awhile. So we loaded up Kay’s dad and headed there for a week. They have a nice place. It needed very little work when they moved in. They bought a pontoon boat and are going to sell the 18’ boat they bought last summer. Looking forward to visiting there again. Bob put in electric & water and is planning on putting in a sewer hookup later. Bob, Donna, Kay & Jerry went for a boat ride. I decided to stay back and get some things done. When they were heading back the sky broke loose and they got drenched. Rain was coming down sideways. I was sitting in the MH all nice and dry and chuckling to myself. When they got back they looked like they had been swimming. Should of got the camera out. Speaking of the camera—for some reason I have been forgetting to take pics. Even when I have the camera with me. Gotta take more pics or no one will come to my site. :>)

We found out that Branson, Mo is having "Operation Homecoming for Vietnam Vets" Click on title to go to their page.

Well I think I have rambled on long enough. Time to get this posted.