grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Monday, February 29, 2016

15-26FEB16 - Sultan, WA (father & son ski trip)

Monday, 15FEB, & Tuesday, 16FEB, were spent dealing with sick grandkids; & Dan getting ready to go on a ski trip w/Joe on Wednesday.

Wednesday late afternoon Corrie took Dan & Joe to the New Orleans airport to catch Air Alaska to Seattle so they can go skiing.  The last time they made this trip was JAN/FEB of 2012 (see below BLOG link).  Their intention was to do it every year.  But because of different factors (Dan’s injury, bad snow years, Joe’s job), this is only their second time.  By the time they get to house in Sultan, WA, & open it up, it was 1AM.

Thursday, 18FEB, morning Joe & Dan rented ski equipment & purchase a few equipment items they don’t have (like a helmet for Dan).  Then it was off to Dan’s cousin Steve & wife Bonnie’s in Kittitas, WA, for the next two days.  Why?  Because the closest ski area to Sultan (Stevens Pass) has lots of snow but is now experiencing rain.  So after Dan checked the ski area reports & the highway patrol reports, he believes that the White Pass Ski Area & the Mission Ridge Ski Area will not have rain for the next two days.  Since Bonnie & Steve’s house is outside of Kittitas, it is centrally located between White Pass & Mission Ridge; what better time to visit relatives (ie freeload)?  See below BLOG link for our last visit with them.

Early Friday morning Dan & Joe made the drive to White Pass for their first day of skiing.  Even though Dan skied for many years in western WA, this was his first time at White Pass.  No rain but it snowed the entire time, & every now and then the wind would kick up making the chair ride pretty brutal.  All-in-all a great first day skiing.  Then back to Steve & Bonnie’s for home cooked meal.

Saturday morning if was off to Mission Ridge Ski Area outside of Wenatchee, WA; a ski area they skied during their trip four years ago.  Luckily they got one of last parking spots!  The place was so crowded, that it took 45 minutes to get on the first chair.  But after that the crowded lift lines disappeared.  Fantastic day - beautiful sun, beautiful snow.  As they did last ski trip, they tried to hook-up with niece Tessa Morris; but she was working ski patrol & couldn’t get free.  Late in afternoon Joe hooked up with nephew Dash Morris for couple of high speed runs on the back country slopes (ie out of bounds, w/no ski patrol).  Then it was an exhausted drive back to Sultan.

Sunday, 21FEB, they took a break from skiing (good timing – cold, cloudy & windy).  The day started with breakfast at the Sultan Bakery.  Joe then took off to hike at Wallace Falls State Park outside of Gold Bar, WA, where Dan & Rebecca hiked back in 2009 (& Dan across a bear).

Dan used his day of rest to straighten out numerous small evergreen trees that appear to have been blown over by some high winds on the property?  That evening they met Dan’s brother Shawn & wife Cindie (last visited with 11OCT15) for dinner in Lynnwood.

Monday morning it was off to Stevens Pass Ski Area to ski with cousin Sheila Harris & beau Alan.  Since Alan had a morning dental appointment, Sheila hitched a ride with neighbor Hans.  Skiing started out great w/Sheila & Hans taking Joe on black diamond runs thru the trees; while Dan stuck to the blue runs.  Around 11AM heavy snow started falling & they end up skiing in white-out conditions – not fun.  Eventually Alan shows up & conditions improve.  The rest of the day was spent w/Dan sticking to blue runs, while everyone else challenges death on the double black diamonds.

Tuesday & Wednesday were more days of rest.  Dan stakes & ties more evergreens blown over by the wind this winter.  Dan also spent time doing battle w/invasive blackberries on the property.  Wednesday Joe went day & night skiing solo at Stevens Pass.

Thursday, 25FEB, last day for skiing for both.  A beautiful & great day at Stevens PassJ!

Early Friday AM they secured the house & make the drive to SeaTac airport.  For some reason Dan gets a red X on boarding pass & gets to keep shoes on & skip scanning (maybe it was his military ID?).  Flight is overbooked & even though we checked in 24 hrs ago Joe does not have an assigned seat.  Everything works out, & we make it back to Houma, LA; back together w/Corrie & in the RV at Rebecca & Raymonds’s.

Friday, February 19, 2016

01-14FEB16 - Various Florida (visiting friends & rv service)

Monday, 01FEB, we started prepping the RV for departure tomorrow. The RV toilet has been giving us trouble the last couple of days & Dan tried to fix it one more time without successL  So he had to jerry-rig a temporary fix.  To add to all the things we need to get done during the day, Dan made pulled pork BBQ for Joe, Rebecca, Raymond, Jaxson, Mason & Joe’s roommate Travis.

Tuesday morning we dump sewage & head east to get RV maintenance done in Tampa & visit friends in Florida.  As usual we stay at Keesler AFB FamCamp (now they take reservations?).  See below BLOG link for our last visit to Biloxi.  For dinner it was off to Mary Mahoneys Old French House – as our BLOG from 09-13OCT13 said - “Enjoy an upscale and elegant meal in one of the South's most unique restaurants, centered around one of the oldest homes in America.  Dine in an elegant New Orleans style courtyard under the canopy of a centuries old live oak, where for 50 years, presidents, dignitaries, celebrities, and millions of others have experienced the rich history and legendary cuisine of Mary Mahoney's.”  Followed by a little lite gambling at the Palace Casino (no smoking)J

Severe weather rolls thru during the early AM hours Wednesday morning delaying our departure.  Finally we get on road to visit our friends the Guldenschuh’s in Navarre, FL.  As we usually do, we stopped at the FL state welcome bureau on I-10 for free orange or grapefruit juice.  A couple of years ago they added a computer set-up where you take you picture against a computer generated background (like a giant alligator).  So we had ours taken with Captain Citrus.  We deal with off & on rain the entire drive, with a real downpour on our arrival.  Early afternoon the rain lessens & we head over to Chuck & Anneke’s house for reminiscing & a delicious dinner (see BLOG link for our last visit w/them).

Thursday morning the rain has stopped & sunny skies (even if it is cold & breezy).  Dan made a parts run to Camping World w/no joy.  Late in the morning Guldenschuh’s come by to pick us up for lunch.  On the way we stop at Open Road RV to check their parts supply.  Open Road is one of those vanishing businesses that carry a huge (& often old) inventory to insure that almost anything you are looking for, they have.  Dan was looking for a replacement lock assembly for one of our RV cargo hatches.  These locks haven’t been made for over a decade; & if we found one, the key wouldn’t match the other cargo holds.  One of their employees looked at our lock & stated that the lock wasn’t bad, we just had wrong key (even though our key worked for nine years?)!  From behind the counter he pulled out boxes & boxes of keys & found the “right” one.  Amazingly it worked & no new lock was needed (& the “new” key does work in all our remaining cargo hatches?).

After that it was lunch at McGuires Irish Pub – where there is a millions of dollar bills on the ceiling & walls.  The original McGuires is in Pensacola & started in 1977.  Then it was back to the Guldenschuh’s for our favorite game - Mexican Train Dominos; before saying our good-byes (so they could head to one of their grandkid’s b-day).

Friday morning we start making our long drive to Lazy Days RV in Seffner, FL.  Why visit Lazy Days?  Because we have several items on the RV beyond our capability to repair & we want to see if they can provide better service than Tiffin Motorhome factory in Red Bay, AL.  It seems every year the RV needs a few repairs that have required us to go to Red Bay & wait days (if not weeks) waiting for service; since they do not take reservations.  Lazy Days is the biggest RV dealership in the USA & supposedly is one of the top five most visited attractions in FL by out-of-state visitors.  Since we bought our RV from them; because they take reservations; & they have over 150 service bays, we decided to try our luck there.  Rather than drive the entire distance in one day, we decided to drive halfway & spend the night in Perry, FL (not Perry, GA).

Saturday, 07FEB, we finished the drive into Lazy Days in big time rain.  Even though it is a weekend, it was extremely bad traffic because the FL State Fair just started.  To make matters worse the road into Lazy Days is all torn up due to construction, & there is terrible signage for Lazy Days.  If you miss the signs (we didL), you end up on residential streets not meant for RVs.  In fact, most of the trees in other residential streets are pruned for vehicles up to 14 feet.  This neighborhood had major oak limbs at 11 to 12 feet!!!  Our RV is 11-1/2 feet tall & we often had to drive in the wrong lane to get out of the neighborhood.  Owners of the new taller RVs would have had to back out!

Finally safely making it to the Lazy Days campground we discovered the rates at RV park had been jacked up due to State Fair.  After setting up camp (camp is ok, but it is older & not really adequate for today’s bigger RVs w/multiple slides) we headed to their parts department - not very impressive.  Next stop was service department check-in desk, where we were handed old information & brochures for January?  All & all, not a very impressive start for Lazy Days.

Sunday late morning we head out to Big Top Flea Market; followed by the Hard Rock Casino.  Parking hard to find at the casino due to the State Fair right next door.  We were not impressed with the casino & left without gambling.  Late that afternoon it was off to Jim & Mary Spence’s for dinner & the super bowl.  Jim was Coast Guard Academy friend & classmate of Dan’s, & they served together on CG Cutter MUNRO in Seattle back in the mid 70s.  As you will see from the below BLOG link, we also visited them two years ago (also during Super Bowl).  A great, but too short time, visiting & catching up with old & good friends.

Early Monday morning we moved the RV from the camp ground to the Lazy Days service facility.  Two nice things about the camp park were – 1) you get a newspaper each morning, 2) & you get meal tickets for breakfast & lunch each day.  We spent the rest of the day twiddling our thumbs waiting to hear what portion of the repairs our aftermarket insurance would cover, & what we would have to pay for.  At the end of the day we learned:

---repair part for toilet is covered but will take three days to arrive; but if we pay $100 extra we get entire new toilet right now, but it won’t be white.  We opt to pay the $100.

---our roof top AC/heat pump is no longer manufactured; new model will take five days to get here, insurance will pay for new unit but not the $400 to modify it to work with our thermostat.  We opt to pay for the new thermostat.

---cabinet work is not covered by insurance; carpenters will hopefully look at cabinet tomorrow so we can have an estimate.  Cabinet is “falling” from ceiling, repair must be done.

Tuesday more twiddling of thumbs with no progress.  Wednesday, 10FEB, progress being madeJ!  Toilet installed; slide & levelers serviced; carpenter provides estimate on cabinet repair; AC/heat pump is enroute.

Thursday morning not much happens.  Turns out today is start of President’s Day “sales event” for Lazy Days.  For the next five days they will have free hot dogs (aka Lazy Dogs), chips & sodas.  In fact, these sales events are known by certain resident of the community on a fixed income – they come by for a free meal & take two hot dogs to go!  The AC/heat pump arrives after lunch & installation begins; late afternoon AC/heat pump installed; & it turns out the technician has seen the compatibility issue between the new unit & old thermostat, & knew how to solve the problem!  $400 dollars saved!

Friday not much done in AM; more free hotdogs for lunch.  Cabinet repair done early afternoon.  Rather than hit the road we moved back over to Lazy Days campground to do some small maintenance & get RV & Toad repacked for two day drive back to Houma, LA.  That evening Jim Spence dropped by for a quick visit & more reminiscing.

Was it worth it to have repairs done at Lazy Days vs the Tiffin Motorhome factory in Red Bay, AL?  Yes.  Lazy Days uses reservations; & even though you know they can’t get all the work done in one day, they need to finish you as soon as possible to keep system moving & service bays full.  At Tiffin you can wait days/weeks after arrival to even start; & then Tiffin might fix one thing & you wait days/weeks for next item.  The camp ground at Lazy Days although tight for room, is much better than Tiffin’s (& you have all of Tampa/St Pete for things to do).  In addition, many manufacturers have “classes” at Lazy Days (eg – Dan took the RV driver class).

Saturday (Rebecca’s birthday) morning was an early departure to make the long drive to Houma, LA, in two days.  We overnighted at a small RV park in De Funiak Springs, FL.  The park had only two pull thru spots (we got one), when these are full the exit road is blocked?  Sunday we finish drive to Rebecca & Raymond’s driveway.