Thursday, April 28, 2011

Weather or Not??? :)

This weather is becoming a major pain.  We're at the near-finished stage of having our camper done, but the rain is really holding us back.

I have to change the tires, which I can't because of the wet grounds where the camper is.  I need to paint the stripe around the camper, which I don't want to do because of the massive winds and ridiculous amount of rain, and I still need to carpet the inside, which I can't do because of the ground being wet.  I might be able to work around that part though.  There's an empty storage bin, right next to our bin.  We store our camper directly across from our bin.  Not a bad deal.  100 bux a month for the bin and the parking area.  So I might ask them if it's okay to use the bin next door to lay my carpet out to make my cuts.  At least I can still get some production done this way.

We've got a few minor fixes that need to be done on our van.  Sadly, I am NOT a "gear-head".  I used to do some minor work on some of my older cars, back in my youth, but things are so different now.  I'm one of those guys that if you show me how to do something once, I can do it.  I can usually also read a manual well enough, but some of the fixes that I need to do, are a bit beyond me trying to "wing it" from a Chilton's book.  So it looks like we're going to have to make an appointment at a garage to get some of these issues taken care of.  I hate that, and I know that between now, and when I get our next trailer, i'm going to have to learn some basic automotive care.  Otherwise, this lifestyle is going to be far more costlier than I need it to be.

Nothing too major has been accomplished since the last set of pics, so no new pics to post yet.  :(  We'll have some more up soon though.  Hang in there with us.  I guarantee that in a few short weeks, this blog is going to be brimming with beautiful shots of a most gorgeous area.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Big Setback. :(

Possibly... and I'm not sure yet, but possibly... the bottom just fell out.  :(

Just got an email today from our work-camping employer, that due to the heavy winter snows, coupled with the extremely wet early Spring, they are delaying giving us a site.  We can still WORK, but they will only give us 400  dollars a month for 40 hours a week between us.  That's insane.  I wouldn't mind if it was enough to cover another campground in the area, but it's not even close.

The area is inundated with drillers from out of state, capitalizing on the Pennsylvania abundance of Marcellus shale.  The campgrounds have raised their rates dramatically, to profit heavily off the miners.  I don't blame them at all, since the process will only be temporary, and most likely leave the area scarred or possibly even worthless for years.  Unfortunately, right now... it's ruining OUR plans.  Selfish?  Sure, but in the end, at this stage of our lives... we have the right to be a little selfish.  :)

I know this isn't insurmountable.  We're not in danger of losing our lives, like the people suffering through these tornadoes that are ravaging the country.  Our health is relatively good, and life is pretty sweet, for the most part.  I don't want to sound like it's a major boo-hoo complaint, I'm just blogging, and as such, documenting what is going on in our lives right at this minute.

My wife is currently working her ass off to find us either another work-camping gig, or to find a decent rate in the area, so that we can work at our original job.  We've got a few leads already, and are hoping to find success with some of them.  It may lead to being in a different area altogether, but at this late date in the work-camping job hunt, we'll take what we can get.  Any wishes of luck and support, would be greatly appreciated.  :)

Lots of production, in a short amount of time.

With the weather being so un-cooperative lately, we haven't been able to work on the camper at all.  Finally, we got to get up there yesterday, but due to a late chiropractor's appointment, we didn't get up there until after 5 pm.  I thought we'd get nothing done, but somehow... our motors kicked into overdrive, and we worked non-stop for nearly four hours, getting a LOT accomplished.

Our ceiling is finished now.  The covering is up, and the molding has been installed all around.  I know it's simple work, but never having been much of a home DIY guy, i'm kinda happy with the work we're doing.  It's a small camper, and it was in bad shape.  For it to be looking as nice as it is already, and know that it's going to look even better soon, has me very happy.

Not a lot we can do about the outside right now.  I'm going to buy a can of green paint to redo the stripe that goes around the whole trailer.  I'd like to do all the white as well, but don't have the time right now.  I'll buy the paint, and we'll finish that when we get to our work-camping destination.  We've also bought the rustoleum  black paint for the bumper (which is done), and the front part of the trailer.  Even that makes a huge difference in the appearance of it all.

We've taken one entire window pane out and dropped it off at a glass store for replacement.  I'm actually hoping to re-design the whole thing.  As of now, the one side is a full window, that doesn't open.  The other side is two smaller panes that screw out at an angle.  I want to have both of them as full panes, that remove from the outside, leaving just the screen.  The guy at the glass place is looking into that.

Next,  is also re-doing all our screens on the inside.  The molding for all of them, are at the house now, and we're putting all new, clean screens into them.  What a huge improvement that makes alone.

Add the carpeting, do some decorating, and our home is finished.  Hope to add some pics later tonight.  We'll be leaving shortly to get up there and work on her some more.    

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Waterfall Heaven.

With the steady rain here, and the fact that I've thrown my back out of whack, AGAIN, we haven't gotten much accomplished at the camper.  We're hoping that tomorrow, the weather will cooperate, and we can get back to work.

So since we've been basically stuck in the house, watching Nat Geo, and playing on our computers... Carol decided to check into area and surrounding sights of where we'll be staying  for our work-camping gig.  Along with the wineries of the FingerLakes region, there are also a boatload of beautiful waterfall areas.  She found a few links that I thought I'd share with you.  Some really gorgeous areas, very close to our home base.  I seriously can NOT wait to head out.  I don't think I've EVER been this happy about any kind of "work" in my life.  LOL

Being a nature photographer, with waterfalls as my somewhat "specialty", I really can't wait to spend our days off at these incredibly beautiful areas.  It'll be as close to "heaven" as I think we'll ever experience on Earth.  Enjoy the links.  Lots of pretty decent pictures.

And last... but definitely NOT least... 

Watkin's Glen has been my dream to visit.  I'm eagerly counting the days to get to our site.  :)  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Worked hard, but didn't seem to accomplish much.

After the torrential rains we had yesterday, we hoped to get up to the camper early and get a lot done.  Things don't always pan out the way you'd like, I guess.  :)

We were both up early enough, but both of us seemed groggy and lacking any spunk.  I know that I, personally, had a bad night.  I fell asleep downstairs, during the NBA playoffs.  I was happy that my Celtics won their game, and almost made it to half-time of the West Coast game, but zonked out.  I woke up at around 3 am. and changed the channel to National Geographic Wild.  BIG MISTAKE!!!   As I fell back into a deep slumber, the show on Nat Geo, was somehow infiltrating my dreams.  They must have had a shark show on, as I began to have graphic nightmares of being eaten alive by a Great White.  LOL  The really weird part, was that my town, which is nowhere near an ocean, somehow flooded, and that's how the shark got me.  LOL

There were other nightmares as well, but that one was the most vivid.  My night of good slumber was shot.  I woke up at 7am and watched some Good Morning America, as I waited for my wife to come downstairs.  Well... she didn't come down quite right away.  I don't think she made it down until midway through Regis and Kelli.  A quick breakfast and coffee, and we were finally ready to go.  Or so I thought.

Turns out we'd made a commitment to take one of our kids for their permit test.  We had to drive all the way to their house, and then backtrack halfway back to ours, to deposit him at the State Police Barracks.  Luckily, our camper is close to the barracks, so we were FINALLY... good to go.  :)

Got to the camper, took inventory of what we'd done, and what we HOPED to accomplish today, and then began to work.  If you see the videos from the last day of work, you saw that we put a purple material on the ceiling.  Today, I had to cut 2" molding to go all around the outside of the material, to cover up the jagged edges, and just make it look better.  While I was throwing my back out, slowly cutting out all those slats, CeeJ was wallpapering the former bathroom, which we've now turned into a closet.  At first, I really thought we were going to get a lot done today, but these small tasks, took up a lot of time somehow.

While I was waiting for CeeJ to finish the wallpapering, I started a task I really thought was going to be the biggest problem we'd have.  The tires are in horrible condition and all of them need to be replaced.  I have been dreading taking them off though, as they are horribly rusted.  I thought they'd be really tough to get off, but I saturated them with WD-40 when I got there, and with a little elbow grease, I got them all loosened up. Tomorrow, I'll bring the replacement mags I have for it, and change them all out.  I also painted the bumper and spare tire assembly with some nice, Rustoleum, glossy black paint.  Looks great.

When it was finally time to get back inside and put up the trim, I think we'd both had it.  Y'know how when your tired, you just tend to make mistakes?  Well... that's what was happening.  We started getting cranky and thought it best to just call it quits for today.  We'll give it another shot tomorrow morning, EARLY.

So that's it for today folks.  See ya's tomorrow.  Spread the word to your friends, and have them follow us.  It's just work right now, but it should get better soon.  Once we're at our work-camp site, the blog should be loaded with pictures of gorgeous areas.  We'll be located near The FingerLakes region of NY, and also only an hour from the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More Construction

These vids bring us up to date with how far we've come, as of 4-19-11.  We go back up tomorrow to continue work on the camper.  It rained far too hard today to accomplish anything.  

Camper Construction pt. 2

Here we have a few more tours of the camper, as it's under construction.    

Camper Construction pt. 1

After a horrific winter, we finally got back to working on our camper.  This is the video showing some of that, and documenting what a wreck it was.  We're almost done now, and we'll be posting more vids of our progress soon.

Hide-a-bed removal and computer station construction.

 Soon as we purchased the Prowler, we knew we'd be making some big changes.  It didn't take too long before it was clear to us we had no real need of the hide-a-bed, but we DID have need of a computer station.    Luckily, the destruction of one thing, led to the perfect recycle project.

The last shot of how it looked before the demo began.

  Each one of these damn little screws had to be removed one by one.  The biggest pain of it, was that they weren't the nice screws, that you loosen a little, and then finger loose the rest of it.  Nope.  These required the ratchet to be turned the entire length of the screw.  WHAT FUN!!!  :)

YAY!!!  WHAT FUN!!! 

After removal of the hide-a-bed, what better reward than a nice cocktail?  :)  

Onto the kitchen table and booth removal, which was only good for a place for our cats at the time.  

Nothing more fun than some DEMO work

Turned the wheel well into a bench for our computers and peripherals, as not to waste all our desk space. 

Adding the supports for the desk.  

Recycling the hide-a-bed into the perfect computer station/desktop.  

Lots more to come folks.  :)

What we purchased.

Here's the trailer, a 1971 Fleetwood Prowler, 20 foot tow-trailer.  When we bought it, we knew we'd have to make some changes, but we didn't know that the extent of water damage was so bad.

How It All Began

We were newlyweds, just barely over a year of marriage, when the bottom of our perfect new lives together, fell out.  Or did it?

Just as everything seemed to be going great for us, the company I'd worked at for over twenty-six years, decided to close the doors of our local division.  We were devastated.  We had no idea what we were going to do.  I'd been a printer for over half of my life.  Sure, there's other printing plants around the area, but no one's hiring.  The places that might hire, would never pay me what I was making currently.  I'd gotten to the top of my career, working for a few different places, but mostly at the plant that was now nearing its demise.

We had opportunities though.  I could collect for as long as possible, while either learning a new trade, or looking for decent work in another area.  OR... we could take our retirement dream, to live as FULL-TIMERS in our RV, and make that an early reality.  It was pretty much a no-brainer.  We took my severance check, and purchased a Chevy Van and an older model,  Fleetwood Prowler, tow-trailer.  Our new goal in life, was to fix up the trailer, and hit the road.  We'd been planning on an early retirement anyway, so what's better than pushing up the date of a retirement, right?

So with this new goal in mind, we started on the camper.  It was in rough shape.  Actually in much rougher shape than we originally had thought.  It actually overwhelmed us, as we found out the extent of water damage that had been done to the roof and ceilings in the front section, and the bathroom.  We knew we'd never get out of our Northeastern Pennsylvania life with the camper, BEFORE the wicked winter that was coming our way.  SO... we decided to just pack our van up and head out.

We converted our van into a very comfortable living and storage area, and we embarked on a three month tour of  Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.  We had intended to go farther South, into the Carolinas, but the weather had turned so bad this past winter, that we decided to cut our trip short, and return to Pa.  Between us, we have five children.  Three of them are adults who live on their own, and our twins live with their mother.  We'd be missing them under the best of circumstances, but this was unbearable.  We were stuck inside a van, even though it was comfortable, it was still a van.  The weather made it so there was nothing worth doing outside, and our budget didn't afford us to do much otherwise.  So with all this, we headed home for Christmas.

Now, we've endured a hellish winter and are back to work on our camper.  We have less than a month now, to get it fully ready for our first work-camping gig that starts in May, and takes us through September.  We can't wait to get there and we're having a ball with the renovation to our camper.  We'll be sharing pics and videos with you of our progress.  I hope you enjoy reading our blogs and sharing in our journies.   You'll find that we like to have a lot of fun, and a lot of our pics and vids will be loaded with humor.  Hope you're all up for a laugh.  :)