14-18 April, 2015; Moving North, Good Friends, Snow and Improvements

What a fun week it has been…snow and all!  We hit the road early on Tuesday morning, knowing we had over 400 miles to go, and we would be going over a couple of larger mountain passes than what we had seen in the Smokey’s in the past.  What a great day for traveling!  The winds were down, the sun was out, and the drive was spectacular.  The Coach handled fabulously over both Goleta  and Raton passes.  I love the Jake Brake on this thing!  Never touched the brakes but once coming down Raton pass.  Something odd did appear though…the ATC light came on for the first time…Auto Traction Control.  So I asked Terri to grab our handy instruction book to help determine why this may have come on.  We were not slipping or spinning, just going up and down a lot.  Apparently the ATC on these Coaches does not necessarily apply to the wheels slipping, but the computer sensing the engine adjusting for the conditions.  The ole Cummins must have determined some issue on the way down Raton.  After we got through the pass, we stopped for fuel, and when I re-started, the light went off, which the book said it should…hmmm…more stuff to learn.

We got to our former home from 1986-1990 and again from 2001-2002 about 4:00 PM.  We were worried about there being “room at the Inn” so to speak, but there were plenty of spots to choose from, and we ended up in #87 at the Peregrine Pines FamCamp on the US Air Force Academy (where we actually lived from 86-90.)  This place is really nice, although more costly than most military RV Parks we have stayed at.  The price is $24 per night for 50 AMP full hook-ups, no break for weekly or monthly stays.  We will be here until May 12th, so we were hoping for a bit of a break.  Oh well, the price you pay to live for a bit in another one of this country’s paradises.

All set up, and gorgeous weather.  In the low 70's with temps at night in the high 30's.  But wait...that will change!

All set up, and gorgeous weather. In the low 70’s with temps at night in the high 30’s. But wait…that will change!

We spent the rest of the afternoon laying in groceries and the like, and then we took a ride around the Academy, took pictures of our old house, the hospital Jason was born in and Ashley’s first grade school.  We also Face Timed with Mandi to show here the changes since we’d left.  We then ventured downtown to take a picture of the house we were in from 01-02.  Things still look real good around here; however, this place has exploded in population once again.  It’s real hard to get your bearings if you haven’t been here for a while.

We were fortunate in that most of my colleagues from work and our dear friends Trase and Shonna were in town for the National Space Symposium, which I had attended many times in the past for work.  We caught up with the gang at a nearby restaurant and had a great time.  We were headed home early, as Terri and I were headed to the Symposium on Wed.  The company was nice enough to get Terri a visitors pass.

We headed out in the morning, and Terri and Shonna I think were the hit of the symposium, talking to all of the vendors, learning a lot, and of course getting some swag!  We went to one of my favorite restaurants for lunch, The Golden Bee, which is located on the Broadmoor property.  It is usually fantastic, but for some reason they were not on their game.  Two hours to get fed, and it wasn’t very good.  I’ll give them a pass this time, as they have always been superb in the past.

Eatin at the Bee!

Eatin at the Bee!

Wednesday night is the night that a lot of the companies at the symposium host many parties, or social’s if you will.  The weather was turning colder, and we decided it best just to stay close, so Trase and Shonna came over to the Coach for a bit and we then went back to their hotel and ventured out to eat with them and a few other folks.  Again, great times catching up.  I was going to go to the symposium again on Thursday, but really had no meetings or anything to do there, so decided to hang with Terri for the day.  This is what we awoke to:

My oh my, winter is back!

My oh my, winter is back!

Good thing I didn't wash the truck...Terri was spot on about that.

Good thing I didn’t wash the truck…Terri was spot on about that.

It was a wet snow, and the forecast was for snow all day, so Terri and I thought what a great time to head to the Garden of the Gods!  One of our favorite places, and we knew it likely would not be crowded.  The Garden of the God’s was given to the City of Colorado Springs in the early 1900’s with the stipulation that it would always be open and free to the public.  It is about 450 acres of some of the most incredible rock formations you will see.

You can just make out the Kissing Camels in the upper left.

You can just make out the Kissing Camels in the upper left.

Another shot that I like for some reason.

Another shot that I like for some reason.

There are paved walking trails through the entire area.  If you are ever in the area, this is a must see.

There are paved walking trails through the entire area. If you are ever in the area, this is a must see.

The snow added to the majestic nature of this place.

The snow added to the majestic nature of this place.

One more shot from the overlook just for good measure.

One more shot from the overlook just for good measure.

It was late afternoon by this point, and Trase and Shonna were done at the Symposium, so we headed over to meet them in downtown Springs for a bit, then decided to take a drive.  We drove through the Garden of the God’s once again, then landed in Manitou Springs, where I almost took a job as a Police Officer in 1989.  The place is really nice and has been spruced up quite a bit.  We also headed up the pass on 24 for a bit, just to give them a good feel for this great area.  About the time we got back to Manitou, I realized I was missing my credit card…oh crap!  The last place I’d used it was at The Bee, so I gave them a call, and they transferred me to security, and they had the card!  I checked the account real quick, and there were no funny charges on it.  They gave me a lost item number, and said I could drop by any time and the security folks would run it out…wheww…heart rate back to normal!

When we got back to Manitou, the snow was coming with a vengeance.

When we got back to Manitou, the snow was coming with a vengeance.

I need to get some covers for the bikes...they don't like this much snow.

I need to get some covers for the bikes…they don’t like this much snow.

We were to bed quite early, as we were planning to head to Canon City in the morning and take the railway through the gorge.  Things transpired overnight that changed our mind however.  We awoke to this:

A bunch more snow!

A bunch more snow!

Tech Tip:  Snow is an awesome and most times a beautiful thing, but when in an RV, there are things you need to pay attention too.  The weight on the roof is one thing.  I swept the roof off twice on Friday morning.  The first time I got done, the snow started all over again, and within about two hours there were another 3 inches up there.  I got the slide covers cleaned off as well.  The other thing we do in colder weather is only hook up electric.  I don’t hook up water except to fill the fresh water tank.  We usually operate on the tank and pump anyway.  I also do not hook up my sewer lines until I need to dump.  No need to freeze those stinky things!  Poopsickle anyone??

In typical Colorado fashion, the sun came out about 10:30, and the day turned awesome.  We had some home chores to do such as laundry, and Terri needed to start packing for her trip to Wisconsin, so we had a leisurely morning getting things done.  We had planned to meet Trase and Shonna downtown in the early afternoon, after Terri and I made a quick trip to the Broadmoor to get my credit card.  True as they stated, I pulled up and the security folks headed out, checked my ID, and I had my card back in hand.  This is a critical card folks…Cabela’s!  You don’t want to lose that thing…too many points to get and as usual, it is a card that a lot of normal recurring payments are attached to.

We met the “Traveling Travers'” downtown and had a great afternoon/evening, and a great meal.  We also played some “speed read” crossword:

The gang at The Antlers.

The gang at The Antlers.

It was an awesome time, and we are so blessed to be able to catch up with friends wherever we seem to go.  The best plans at times are those not made, and this really wasn’t in the plan at all, but worked out magnificently.  After saying our “see you soon’s” we headed back to the Coach so Terri could finish packing.

We were up early this morning so everything could be checked and double checked, as we were headed to Denver to drop Terri off at the airport to head to Wisconsin to watch Toby for a week…I’m already jealous!  She got off in good form and made it to WI with no issues.  I had a nice drive back to the Springs, and contemplated on the different projects that I need to get done while she is gone.  I took a good bite out of some of them today.

Tech Tip:  You are living in a house that moves down the road, over humps and bumps and such, so things will break, come loose, fall off, etc.  The other day when I opened one of the storage bays, a rivet fell out.  At the top of each bay after you open the door, there are several rivets holdings two parts of the inner and outer portions of the storage area in place.  What to do when the rivets fall out?  Find something better to fix them with.  I stopped at Home Depot on the way home and grabbed some self tapping screws, got back to the Coach and went to work.

You can see the outer strip of metal at the top of the pic where I've replace some of the rivets with screws.

You can see the outer strip of metal at the top of the pic where I’ve replaced some of the rivets with screws.

Some of the broken rivets needed some help getting out so I could get the screws in.

Some of the broken rivets needed some help getting out so I could get the screws in.

Easy as all that!  A trip to your local hardware store will usually find you what you need.

Easy as all that! A trip to your local hardware store will usually find you what you need.

We have found over the months that you don’t need to spend the money on “RV Specific” parts.  Do some research, see what others have done, and then see if you can cobble together what you need from your local home improvement or hardware stores.  But wait…there is more!!!  While I was at the “Depot” I was looking at the cordless drills.  My DeWalt gave up the ghost before we left Florida, so I have been without a drill this whole time, and I needed one for my next project.  I had picked out a nice Ryobi drill, when one of the Depot workers came by and said that I needed to check out the Milwaukee Drill special they had going on today only.  I usually never look at the Milwaukee stuff, as it is outside of my price range….however, they had a 20V Lithium drill/driver on sale for $99, marked down from $174!  Add in my 10% Military discount, and….sold!!

A new toy that is sure to please!  It's got a headlight and everything!!

A new toy that is sure to please! It’s got a headlight and everything!!

So…what is the project you had to do that you so desperately needed this drill Ron?  Well….if you remember ways back when, I mentioned that we had removed the old tube TV from the bedroom, and were just using the space it had occupied for storage.  When we were in SC with Jason and family, I had ordered a TV mount that was on sale for $12 and holds a TV up to 35 pounds…well…none of the newer ones weight that much!  Here is a shot of the “gaping hole of it really doesn’t look too good and you need a new TV there!”

It actually didn't look this bad...Terri had it all full and "nice" up, and I had run my weather radio power source into the "gaping hole."

It actually didn’t look this bad…Terri had it all full and “nice,” and I had run my weather radio power source into the “gaping hole.”

Jason and I tested all of the connections in November, and had everything set to just “hook stuff up.”  So what next?  I need a TV.  Off to the stores I went.  I’ve been researching TV’s since November, and finally settled on the 24″ Vizio “SMART” TV.  Believe it or not, this L’il guy is 1080P, and calls itself SMART?!?  What next?

TV mount...check!

TV mount…check!

Tools and fun stuff...check!

Tools and fun stuff…check!

Now…I only have to hands and two arms…who would have thought??  I mounted the TV to the TV mount first, and held all in place with one had, while I marked the position inside the cabinet to secure the mount with the other hand…I really could have used two more hands!  But all worked out fine.  This particular mount is usually over $50, so I’m happy I snagged it on Amazon near Christmas time.  It tilts, bends, swings, and other such stuff.  How does it look you may ask??

Quite well I think...the guy missed that put by the way.  I really should take all that plastic and paper stuff off...

Quite well I think…the guy missed that put by the way. I really should take all that plastic and paper stuff off…

You can see Terri’s engineered necklace holders, the weather radio, and that marvelous box that will make you dumb apparently.  One of the things you have to make sure of when going down the road is make sure that things don’t move around.  On the back of the right side, I attached some super-duper will hold a small child velcro.  When I push the TV in, the two “mate” if you will, and presto…secured.  There is also room for all of the stuff behind the TV that Terri had in there before, and it is now not always visible.

The park WiFi is real good here, so I decided to see just how SMART this thing is.  Well, I hooked right up to Amazon Movies!  How kewl is that?  There are all kinds of other apps that you can use as well...like instant weather!!

The park WiFi is real good here, so I decided to see just how SMART this thing is. Well, I hooked right up to Amazon Movies! How kewl is that? There are all kinds of other apps that you can use as well…like instant weather!!

I do have some sad news to report…my trusty little electric space heater that I bought in early October decided it doesn’t want to play anymore.  It was such a good little heat producer!  So…back to the stores I went, knowing this would be an easy search, and I’d likely get something really cheap as the stores want to get rid of them before summer…WRONG!  After stops at Home Depot, Wall Mart, Big R Supply and Bass Pro…no luck!  Apparently all of the vendors of these things have taken all of the remaining stock back until next fall…wut??  The search will continue tomorrow.  Good thing the Hurricane Heater is working…but it is much nicer to heat off of electric rather than my fuel!

By the way, my prof reader and editor is not here, so I apologize in advance for any boo-boos.

That’s it for now folks!  As always, we hope you are Happy, Healthy, and Living Your Dreams!!!!!

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