Posts Tagged ‘Rob’

First Trip- Baltimore, 3/14-15/2009

March 16th, 2009 2 comments

Well, it has finally happened- the first trip in Scooter.

After several trips from home to Scooter (in Axis Storage on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer) loaded with preparatory items, it still required a full load of “stuff” to be ready for the trip. Much of this is material that will remain on board so a lot of this effort won’t be necessary in the future.

Rob and his girlfriend, Kris, joined me for the inaugural trip. A frustrating start in that the speedometer did not work again until we had gone 10 or so miles, almost like it had to warm up. Our plan was to go to Bar Harbor RV Park and Marina in Abingdon, MD, on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, a little under 30 miles north of Baltimore. I had reserved a spot there (SW-5), overlooking the Bay. On arrival, we registered with Jacqui, signed the c/c slip, and proceeded to get settled. Of course, the first question was “Does the TV work?” As usual, the answer was “No”. A very nice fellow named Jim came down from the office to help…having experienced this from many RVers; he has us in business fairly quickly. The one thing I forgot to do was to ask for the password so that we might be able to use the on-site WIFI service. I am making a check-list of things to remember to bring (E-ZPass) and do (WIFI password).

In any case, we were soon on our way into Baltimore, intending to check out the Inner Harbor and maybe see a movie. All good intentions aside, being late in the afternoon and confronting a huge traffic jam on I-95, we rethought our plans. We decided to search out an Olive Garden restaurant in the area (White Marsh, MD) and then find a local movie. The new GPS (Garmin Nuvi 760, love it) found the Olive Garden but, in a comedy of errors, we could not get to it. The biggest error was passing it and expecting to approach via the next turn. Well, it turns out that we were on the outer ring road of the mall and the next turn was onto a multi-lane highway that had us way too far away to consider coming back. So we found another mall and had great burgers at a Fuddruckers- never been to one, not bad at all. Then, off to a movie… “He’s just not that into you”… a cute romantic comedy, with a predictable story line and outcome.

After the movie, it was back to Scooter and getting ready to end the day. This included figuring out how the heating system works, blowing up the mattress (we go 1st class) for Rob and Kris and finding out that we did not have a whole lot of tooth-paste between us.

After making the bunks, we all assumed sleeping positions. I tossed my fancy bed cover on the floor and, of course, in doing so covered up the only heating duct into my cabin. Yes, I awoke several times due to excessive shivering but was too lazy to get up to find out what was wrong. Now I know. (Hadn’t thought to put the heavy cover on… of course then I would have been too hot!)

We awoke in the AM at 8:00 (after all agreed to 7:00), and had breakfast at the Waffle House we had passed on the way to the RV park. As usual, Skip fell in love, this time with “Buttons” (on her badge), Pamela (properly), our most wonderful waitress. She was young (not too), cute (too), and determined to please her customers. Am considering a daily commute from Wayne for breakfast! By the way, I recommend Waffle House for its food, service and cost- it was crowded so I can’t be the only one who thinks it’s good.

On to Baltimore and the National Aquarium… did not make the anticipated early, crowd avoiding time but, because it was very overcast and drizzling, it was not a mob scene as you might expect on a weekend. The aquarium was as good as ever- they always seem to have a new and fascinating show along with the always excellent dolphin show. They have added a 4-D show, interactive (you feel motion, wind, water and things moving) show that all seemed to enjoy. Some of the younger kids were scared; the management might have warned the parents before they were seated. All in all, much fun- thanks, Kris, for the tickets!

Toad got us back to the park and we hooked her up for the trip home. Again, the speedometer had to “warm up” so I will call the dealership when I get home. We also had a problem with the overhead light on the driver’s side. We could not turn it off without shutting down all 12-volt service in the bus. Will get the answer for that as well.

Finally arrived home around 9PM, a little tired but very satisfied with a good introductory trip. Rob and Kris seemed to have a great time and I know I did.

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February 4th, 2009 No comments

For quite some time now, I have had a feeling that my life is in limbo. I retired in April of 2006, separated in August of that year and was divorced in February of 2008. I spent the first ten months of separation in Avalon and eventually came to miss my “home”, the western Main Line area, and being closer to my son, Rob. The result was the purchase of my current home in Chesterbrook, between Wayne and Valley Forge, in June of 2007.

For the first few months, all was well. I enrolled as a volunteer in the radiology department at Paoli Hospital, transporting patients to and fro for their diagnostic work. I have worked with four other men, all but one retired and all of whom are a pleasure to know. I have truly enjoyed doing this and, believe me, giving back does work- it feels good! I spent some time working on projects for my son, reading, too much TV, dating and a wonderful three-week trip to Egypt, Jordan and Israel.

But, something was missing. Anyone who knows me realizes that I really enjoy being on the water, preferably on my own boat… I am the captain and am able to come and go as I please (or the winds and weather dictate). Only one problem… too many boaters my age have made potentially serious mistakes on the water; eyesight, hearing and balance are all prerequisites for the successful boater and, unfortunately, all tend to diminish with age. Here are superb examples of what might happen in these circumstances…

So, what to do…

How else might I experience the freedom and excitement of boating? Last summer, having experienced the trip to the mid-east, I suddenly realized how little I have seen of my own country. Putting two and two together, I came up with the idea of seeing the USA by recreational vehicle. My son, well aware of my impetuous  nature, recommended a trial run… I rented a 31′ motor home for a week in September. Rob spent the first weekend with me and we had a wonderful time checking out the new museum at Gettysburg. In fact, we unknowingly arrived the day after its grand opening. It is well worth seeing. I had to take Rob home (he has to work, you know) and I spent the rest of the week exploring the Poconos, checking out Eaglesmere, Harvey’s Lake and the Mt. Pocono area.

Two amazing things happened, other than having a great time with my son. First, I have never experienced a more friendly, pleasant and helpful environment than that of the RV world. Everyone from RV park owners to park guards at Gettysburg were pleasant and determined to make my time enjoyable. Second, and even more important, I had the same feeling as when I was boating- I was free and in charge, able to move about in my own time and there was something new every day. So, I had found my surrogate to boating. In fact, it may end up being better… I have never heard of anyone seeing Denver by boat!

It was not until late January that I make the final decision… it was time to make the change. Having spent a lot of the winter checking out used RVs on the web and reviewing many of the RV web sites for information, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted. Ah, but a complication: owning a home in Chesterbrook and a condo at the shore meant that I would have three places to live if I bought an RV… something had to go. The decision was relatively easy- Chesterbrook has been rented to offset the expense.

So, where do I find the right RV? The obvious thing to do was talk with the people at Stoltzfus RV Sales, where I had rented the RV in the fall. As it turned out, the right unit was there. I did some web searches for comparable units and found that the vehicle I liked was fairly priced. After some negotiation, including the inclusion of an installed towbar for a tag-a-long car, the deal was made. I settled on January 31st and will pick up the unit after some minor repairs and upgrades are finished.

Thus, the adventure begins….