Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Saturday, May 31, 2014

More Cool Stuff for Phannie

At home near Fort Worth...

Among the things I find most interesting in reading other RV bloggers is their "show and tell' posts. I have stolen so many ideas from RV bloggers that I really should be incarcerated. I think I purloined the greatest number of ideas from Mui and Erin at Two to Travel's Phaeton Journeys (now on hiatus for the summer). Mui is sickeningly handy at most everything he does, and I really don't think I would like him because of this if he weren't so, well, likeable. Many of the upgrades to Phannie that we had done in Red Bay last fall were shamelessly duplicated from the detailed descriptions and photos in their blog.  

We've added a few more things in recent weeks, most of which can also be attributed to ideas we gleaned from others.  For example, we have had a portable stand-alone icemaker for many years, thanks to Gordon at See the USA in Your Chevrolet, who gave us the idea.  Not long ago, we acquired a high-tech Breville oven, as recommended by Terry and Nick of Gypsy Journal. Here are photos of the ice maker and oven:

Even though our refrigerator has an ice maker, Sandy and I are insufferable ice hogs; the ice maker in the fridge can't possibly keep up. Sandy loves her iced tea, and she always has in hand a glass completely full of ice cubes with some tea occupying whatever space is not used by the ice cubes. (It's the southern way, she says.) Our portable ice maker fills the gap nicely, and it's one of those things we would not want to be without. 

We bought the somewhat pricey Breville oven because of Terry Russell's raves about it.  And now we see why she was so enthusiastic. This little oven cooks and toasts via direct heat and by convection, and it does a superb job of cooking evenly--much more so than Phannie's Panasonic version that is notorious for its uneven cooking.  We are really impressed by the quality of this device and the accuracy and simplicity of its operation.  

Sandy often complained about the faucet in Phannie's kitchen sink. It did not allow enough room to fill pots with water or to wash large items carefully in the sink. Since these are things this humble writer would rather not be caught dead doing, I deemed it highly appropriate that I should replace it with something more to her liking.  Home Depot had just the thing:

This faucet was a little pricey (bring a $100 bill and a fifty with you), but it was well worth it to keep me from having dishpan hands, don't you think?  She loves it, and that's really all that matters. (No, I didn't install it; I would have felt guilty charging Sandy for my labor.)

I had also been looking for some time at several small propane grill models, wishing to acquire one to go along with my
Traeger Personal Smoker Grill
Traeger smoker (another fine cooking machine), and I finally settled on the Weber Q, simply because it seems to be far and away the most popular among RVers.  Now I know why; it's a gem.  It is simple and sturdy yet lightweight, and it cooks great and is easy to clean.  I really like it a lot:

Well, there you have it--all my latest toys. I hope you find something useful in all this nonsense. I'm sure others have some even better ideas, but this stuff sure works for us.

We are heading back to Rayford Crossing in Spring, Texas this weekend to play with the grandkids for a month or so. Holler if you're in the area.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

More Medical, Dental Stuff and Phannie Loses a Shiny Thing

At home near Fort Worth...

It was only a few posts ago that I was whining about visits to doctors and dentists for Sandy and me. Sometimes I refer to these appointments--purposely grouped together for those times when we return to our home port between trips--as "people maintenance," not unlike the regular shop visits that Phannie must have in order to keep all her systems in prime working order.

Enduring these medical and dental inquisitions has been a bit sobering, as it has been only in the last few years that I began to realize that reaching senior citizen status has rather significant downsides, like this silly health thing. It seems entirely unfair that--just as you get the gold watch and the blessed freedom that goes with it--you tend to start falling apart!

However, I really shouldn't be whining at all, for our little maladies have, so far, been largely fixable. So many other people have terrible conditions that are are not, so we are thankful to God for sparing us these up to this point.

I'm not going to delve into the details of the doctor/dentist visits, because I have been fairly critical of other bloggers whose posts seem more like recitations of their medical history rather than travel journals.  Hopefully, our appointments winding up this week will be enough to carry us through the summer without the indignities of the prodding, poking and pillaging of the guys and ladies in the white coats.  I'm also not going to do a rant on the government's dismantling of the finest healthcare system in the world; it wouldn't be good for my blood pressure.

In the meantime, we have taken a couple of short trips in Phannie--one to an FMCA rally in Wichita Falls and another to Jellystone in Burleson.  These were fun--especially Jellystone and the delight of being with Tyler, Mindy and the grandsons.

Mason and Pryce and Proud Grandpa

It was during a stop on the Wichita Falls trip that I noticed a hub cover missing from one of Phannie's dual rear wheels. A closer look revealed no other damage, so I suppose the retaining bolt simply became loose and backed off at some point.  A quick call to Freightliner in Wichita Falls located a replacement in stock for the hub cover, and they also ordered me a retaining bolt, which they didn't have in stock. A few days later, all was like new, for a little under $300. Ah, boys, and the price of their toys...   

Thursday, May 22, 2014

An Evening with Mike and Marian

At home base near Fort Worth, Texas...

We still marvel at our good fortune to have met through this blog so many RV folks with whom we have become friends. Mike and Marian, a delightful couple we met during our stay in the RGV last February, were visiting their family in Arlington, and we just had to ask them to join us for dinner.  We chose P. F. Chang's, a popular Chinese bistro near their turf.  Marian proclaimed it was one of her favorites, so that made us doubly happy!  Mike and Marian, who have a fifth wheel, did full-timing for a while then established a home base in Mission, Texas at a very nice resort called Retama Village. They had become acquainted with several other couples whose blogs we mutually follow, and we try to pass through their orbits when we can.

Sandy, Marian, Mike and, well, Mike
The food was good, and the conversation and laughter never paused as we chatted about our lives and our mutual friends.  Were your ears burning, Ed and Marilyn, Bob and Janet, Jesse and Ginger? (Don't worry, it was mostly good; the other things we just decided to put in God's hands!)