Bad Traffic Day

Thursday July 21st 2016

It was another beautiful weather day. Today’s high temperature was a little higher than yesterday and a little more humid.

I got on the road around eight fifteen this morning. I stopped for breakfast and gas on the Turnpike. I had tried to buy gas before I got on the pike, but the station I stopped at was out of gas or something. All of the pump handles  were covered with plastic bags. I knew the price of gas was higher on the turnpike, but didn’t expect my normally five dollar McDonalds breakfast to be about two and a half dollars higher; live and learn.

This was not a good traffic day. Going north there were two areas of about two miles each that the traffic slowed to 20 mph or less. In one case it was just heavy traffic negotiating a congested intersection. The other was a construction area. The construction signs indicated that the right lane was closed ahead, but when the traffic got there it was the left lane that was closed. I always wondered if the road construction guys knew their right from their left.

Coming south this afternoon the traffic on the interstate came to a complete stop. The radio traffic report indicated that an accident had traffic tied up about 8 miles from where I was stopped. Traffic moved in bursts of less than a quarter mile followed by another long stop. When I reached the next exit, still 2 exits before the area of the accident, I took it. I knew the route, but it was still an over the river and through the woods journey. It added at least a half an hour to my trip.

I got more outside work done at the house today. Cutting the grass helps the curb appeal a little. It isn’t a beauty from the street view, but it’s not terrible. I have a meeting with the real estate agent tomorrow to put the house on the market.

The other activity for the day was more enjoyable. I visited for a few hours with relatives.

A day full of questions

Wednesday July 20th 2016

Today’s weather was a perfect New England summer day. The temperature was in the low to mid 80s and the humidity was low. Bright sunshine was in place all day.

I got on the road for New Hampshire about 8AM this morning. I stopped on the way at Dunkin Donuts for coffee and a bagel. That was my breakfast for the road. The trip north was slow going through Worcester. An accident in the center of town had traffic crawling from the Auburn line. I still made good time overall.

When I got to the house I found the lights in the kitchen and basement on. I suspected a light or two might be on since I left when the power was out do to a thunderstorm. Turning the lights off might have been the most productive thing I did all day.  I was very stiff this morning from all the scrambling I did yesterday getting the camper leveled. That combined with my need for a plan to complete the things I need to do before heading south had me in more of a contemplation mood than a work mood.  It is clear that I have to come back north after I establish my domicile in Florida and get the camper and car registered. These need to be accomplished before the end of August or I’d have to renew them in New Hampshire for around three thousand dollars. The gotcha in all of this is the vehicles and I have to appear in Florida to make it happen.

So the bottom line is once I’ve completed my tasks in Florida, how do I get everything done in the easiest way possible.  The budget for completing these tasks is the cost of renewal at $3000 plus a few other considerations. If I need to spend more than that I might as well just renew them in NH for the little time I need. The other big down side is that without a deadline I’ll drag my feet.

I’m currently looking at where I can park the RV near an airport with reasonable air fares. When do I come back? What do I absolutely need to complete before I go south? These questions and a lot of others have bogged me down all day.

The return traffic back to the RV this afternoon wasn’t bad. I stopped at the grocery store on the way so I have supplies for the next few days. I plan to be busy. Doing exactly what remains to be determined.

Relocation Day

Tuesday July 19th 2016

Yesterday’s humidity was a thing of the past. It was a low humidity day with the high temperatures only in the mid 70s. Unfortunately, there was also a lot of wind. Not a good thing for a moving day.

I took my time this morning completing the preparation for moving my RV home. I got on the road at noon right at the campgrounds checkout time. The 60 mile trip was uneventful except for dealing with the wind. Traffic going through Worcester cooperated and I avoided the Massachusetts Turnpike by taking route 20 all the way from Auburn. Worcester did give me a good bouncing. Opening the refrigerator and some of the cabinets necessitated the need to play catch the contents. Always a fun game.

My home for the next 6 days is the Village Green Family Campground in Brimfield MA. This campground is right on route 20. It was devastated by the tornado 5 years ago in June. All of the trees and many of the buildings in the campground were leveled. I believe there was a fatality in one of the campers. The campground is still not back to full operation. The back area of the campground still hasn’t been complete cleared of wrecked RVs and reopened. The front area has new facilities and some new access roads are under construction.

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Site 109 in the safari field of the Village Green Family Campground.

I am parked in the safari field. They do not have any groups scheduled while I’m here. Getting the RV level was a real challenge. The first site I was assigned had to much slope for my automatic levelers. If I used blocks under the wheels and jacks, my bottom step would have been more than 2 feet off the ground. I walked back to the office and got assigned another site. I am now successfully level on the new site, but it was also a challenge. If I was only staying a night or two I wouldn’t have been as concerned.

The nice part of being located in the safari field is that my Directv satellite dish can find the satellite. I haven’t been able to use it for the last 6 weeks since I’ve been in heavy forest areas. They missed me, I had to reauthorize my receiver to get all the channels.

Tomorrow I’ll resume the commute to New Hampshire. I got the market analysis from the real estate agent I met with yesterday. It was more positive than I expected and opens up some interesting possibilities.

Severe Thunderstorms

Monday July 18th 2016

The day started hot & muggy with bright sunshine that just served to heat up air even more. I got on the road for New Hampshire about 8AM and caught the morning rush hour traffic. Luckily the traffic kept moving.

The first order of business was to open all the windows at the house. My goal was two fold, let as much breeze as I could in to keep the temperature down and generally air out the house. I continued my cleaning tasks and packed up another couple of donation runs.

At mid day I took a break from my cleaning tasks to meet with a real estate agent. He was generally positive about his ability to sell the house. The bad condition of the kitchen appliances and the incomplete refresh of the bathroom did not seem to phase him. He will be getting back to me tomorrow with the market analysis. I am anxious to see what he thinks the sale price should be.

Somewhere around 3PM a severe thunderstorm came through the area. Lots of rain fell, the wind got strong and the thunder and lightning put on a show. As the storm was ending, the power went out. When it hadn’t come back on 30 minutes later I headed for my RV home. I’m not sure what lights may be on when the power came back on, but it add a little variation to the lived in look. On my way to the highway I passed an area that had a downed tree branch on the power line so the tree guys and the power company had their work cut out.  The TV news reports that areas further to the east were hit even harder.

The storms missed the campground. The Littleton area did not get any rain from the line of thunderstorms that crossed the region. A brief sprinkle fell around 7PM, but not enough to even dampen the ground.

I completed the outside packing in preparation for my move tomorrow. I put the grill and chairs away. The bike rack and bike were put back on the SUV. The picnic table cloth was wiped down and stowed away. These are not very physical activities but I was dripping with sweat when I completed them. The thunderstorms may have gone through, but the dryer air hasn’t arrived yet.

During my packing tasks, the local turkeys came by to say goodby. I mean the real wild turkey’s not my neighbors in the fifth wheel trailer. The group of turkeys had more adult birds tonight. I don’t know how many hen’s produced the off spring in this group but I’m sure it is more than a couple.

The Boy Scouts Arrived

Sunday July 17th 2016

Today was a little cooler than yesterday, but the humidity was up. It was a good day for outside activity.

I managed to drink my coffee this morning without dumping it in my lap. A much better start to the day than yesterday. The drive to New Hampshire was quick and uneventful. Sunday morning traffic was very light.

I got quite a bit accomplished at the house. Outside, I mowed the lawn and cleaned up some of the brush in the yard. Inside, the work on cleaning the kitchen and bathroom continued.

Back at my RV home I worked on finding places for the things I’ve brought from the house. For everything that I bring into the RV I try to find something to remove. The idea is to keep the weight and clutter down. I’m afraid I didn’t find as much to remove as I should have. Things that I thought would be useful during the winter in Florida that I never used were prime targets. Things that I have for other types of camping are safe until I know they aren’t needed.

I still have a couple of boxes of odds and ends that I need to find a place to stow before I get into travel mode. I need to be careful how creative I get with storage places. There are already a few things that I know are in here somewhere, but don’t ask me where I put them.

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Re-potted Christmas Cactus plant.

Another task I got accomplished at the RV was re-potting a Christmas Cactus that I’ve been nursing along for the last year or so. It even manged to bloom last winter, but it needed a bigger more stable container. I found an old flower pot and some potting soil at the house to use.

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Boy Scouts from Pittsburgh PA.

The big change at the campground tonight was the arrival of a troop of boy scouts from Pittsburgh PA. They have an old school bus with their troop number painted on it. They are taking up 5 sites with 2 to 4 tents per site. I’m not sure how many scouts are here, but it seems like a bigger undertaking for the leaders. I know that during my brief time as a boy scout I didn’t have any opportunities like these scouts are experiencing.

Clothing Mishaps

Saturday July 16th 2016

It was hot with bright sunshine today, but there was less humidity than yesterday. The combination made a really nice day.

Today started with a series of clothing mishaps. First I discovered some solidified substance on the bottom of my shoe. I switched to a different pair of shoes and will attack cleaning the sole later. It was only a minor catastrophe.

The second clothing mishap occurred in the car after my stop at McDonalds for breakfast. I kept my large black coffee to drink on the way to New Hampshire. At the first stop light I tried to take a long swallow, but the cover wasn’t on tight. The front of my shirt all the way down to my shorts were drenched in warm coffee. Only about a quarter of the cup ended up on me, but it was enough to make the next 20 miles uncomfortable.  Yes, I had checked that the cover was secure, twice.

When I got to the house the first order of business was to attempt to clean up and dry out the coffee mess. The shirt wasn’t bad. The coffee was not visible in the dark color and it dried quickly. The off white cargo shorts were a different story. I tried to wipe them down with a wet cloth, but it only made them wet again. The evidence was still present when they were dry about an hour later.

The coffee mess put a damper on my productivity this morning. I spent to much time waiting for things to dry. My overall focus inside the house is cleaning. I have dumped or donated most of the stuff that isn’t useful in “staging” the house. Keeping some furniture in the house until it sells also has some security value.

Outside, I need to mow the lawn and work on emptying the shed. I will probably leave clearing the shed to professional house clearers along with what’s left inside.

The campground is a little closer to full tonight. A few more travelers have filled in some of the vacant sites. This weekend the campground has a different atmosphere. There are many people visiting some of the weekend tenants. They can be identified by the yellow window passes they got when they paid their day use fee. The visiting people have added to the noise level this afternoon and evening. There is a lot of loud conversation and laughter in the park. It will quiet down as night approaches.

Another Humid Day

Friday July 15th 2016

It was a very humid morning. The day started in the mid 70s and topped out in the mid 90s. For most of the day the overall comfort factor was best described as oppressive. Toward evening the humidity dried out a little. The forecast for tomorrow is for similar highs with less humidity.

Outside work at the house continued to be difficult. The sun and humidity resulted in a break every 15 or 20 minutes. As the day progressed the breaks got longer than the work periods. I switch focus to cleaning in the kitchen. I have one cabinet of dishes that still needs to be taken to Goodwill. For some reason, I’ve been ignoring the cabinet over the stove. It contains bowls and things that I rarely used.

I finally got through to one of the real estate people on my short list. I used the Email feature of their web page. I got a call back from some vacation location. We will be meeting on Monday.

I don’t know if it’s the time of year, the market or my property, but making contact with real estate people has been a challenge. I am not being real persistent with them. If they don’t get back to me after my initial attempt at contact, I move on to the next one. My assumption is they don’t want my business.

Back at the campground this evening, things have been slow to fill up. Most nights everyone is in by 7PM or so. Tonight there are still many open sites with RVs still arriving after 8PM. This may be because of a major accident on Interstate 495 north bound. It occurred shortly before I went by south bound at quarter to four. I saw an upside down blue dump truck in the median and completely stopped traffic as far south as I could see on the north bound side. The news is reporting that the accident had a fatality.

There aren’t any new long distance travelers in the campground tonight. Most of the non New England plates are from other eastern states. Travelers come in for the night on their way to other destinations or spend a few nights and take day trips to Boston, Southern Maine or Cape Cod. I had a conversation with a gentleman from Alabama that went to Maine one day and Boston the next. They were here in the north to get away from the humidity. I think they brought it with them.

A Humid Day for Turkeys

Thursday July 14th 2016

Today was a humid and cloudy day bracketed by rain showers. I got underway north to the house in New Hampshire after the showers passed about 9AM. The air was thick enough to cut it was so humid. It was not a good day to get a lot of physical labor completed.

Overall it was not the most productive day. I’m working on making the kitchen presentable. I took a couple of boxes of dishes and glassware to Goodwill and made a final pass through the cutlery to make sure I have everything I want in the RV.

My plan had been to work outside today. It just wasn’t practical. I would have passed out from the heat. It isn’t that it is extreme overall, it is just that we haven’t been having many days like it. After a few days of similar weather you get acclimated and can tolerate more activity in the humidity.

Based on the morning weather forecast I returned to the campground early to be there when the afternoon thunderstorms came through. I should have checked the weather radar on my phone. The storms didn’t get here until 8PM and they were mild compared to the forecast. I used the extra time back at my RV home to get the laundry done.

The campground is not as full tonight as it was last night. I had expected it to start to fill for the weekend, but it doesn’t seem to have started yet. Among the travelers here tonight are a lot of tent campers. I counted about 10 sites occupied by tents during my walk this evening. There are all sizes of tents from single person tents to large cabin size tents.

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Turkeys under the awning as seen through the screen door.

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The turkeys on the far side of my site.

I had another visit from the turkey family during supper tonight. I looked out the screen door to see the little turkeys coming out from under my motorhome. They didn’t bother to go around, they just went right under. They wandered across my site into the woods on the other side, then came back a few minutes later. There are two adult birds and many little ones of various sizes.

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One of the adult birds bringing up the rear.

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The turkey family behind my camper when they returned for another visit.

I can remember when there was great concern about the survival of turkeys in the area. In recent years turkeys are becoming a common sight. I’ve had them at the house in New Hampshire and all around the neighborhood. If you watch the sides of the Interstates you will often see them at the edge of the brush. Ben Franklin should be happy. His idea of what our national bird should be is thriving.

Turkey Visit

Wednesday July 13th 2016

Today was a little warmer than yesterday. It was in the low 90s with a higher humidity level than yesterday. Like yesterday I got started a little before 9AM. If I want to get going earlier I’m going to have to set the alarm clock. Only an appointment will make me do it.

The traffic on the interstate this morning was all backed up. I got off the highway and used local streets to take a short cut around the traffic. It is shorter distance wise, but not time wise unless the traffic is backed up like this morning. It is a pleasant drive on winding roads through rural residential areas.

My day started on a discouraging note. The high from yesterday’s junk removal progress was diminished this morning. I kept seeing things that I should have sent with the junk. The good news is that I’ve gotten rid of enough junk that the house can be shown to perspective buyers. A final clean out after it sells should get the stuff that remains.

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Steak on the grill for dinner.

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Steak on the plate ready to eat.

On the trip back to the campground I stopped at the Market Basket to stock up on food. I must have been hungry, because I came home with a steak to grill. I don’t buy steak often and it wasn’t on my shopping list when I entered the store. It sure was in the shopping bags when I checked out.

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Turkeys behind my campsite.

Sitting outside tonight after eating my steak dinner, I was visited by a family of turkeys. They came through the woods behind the campsites then cut out to the road just beyond my site. There were more young ones than I could count. They were spread out over 20 or 30 foot front. The adult birds brought up the rear of the parade. I really don’t think the adult birds had any influence on the direction of the march. The little ones in the front seem to set the direction. Just the opposite of the geese I watched last month.

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Adult turkey trying to catch up with the rest of the group.

Most of my turkey pictures are not to clear.   I was taking quick snaps without allowing the camera to completely focus.   The picture below of the birds in the road is a little more in focus, but they are further away.

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Turkeys in the road after they went by the campsite.  A few more are out of the frame. 

Junk Day

Tuesday July 12th 2016

It was a nice day with high temperature around 90 degrees. Luckly, it hasn’t gotten humid yet. Tomorrow and Thursday are forecast to be hot and sticky.

I got on the road shortly before 9AM this morning. It was a little later departure than I’d planned. The quiet in the campground continues to allow me to sleep later than planned. I had a busy day planned.

First up, was getting the oil changed in my SUV. The dashboard oil life indicator turned on yesterday afternoon. I don’t usually wait until idiot lights tell me I’m delinquent, but my travel pattern over the last few months has been anything but predictable. I stopped at the oil change chain store I’ve been using for years. The cost was more than $20 less than what I paid in Maryland in April. It was the same chain just a different location and this one seem to do a better job. Getting the oil changed on the road is going to be interesting. The SUV is not a big challenge, but the RV should be interesting. I’d do it my self, but most campgrounds frown on such activities.

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Pile of junk in the corner of the basement.

The big activity at the house was the arrival of the two guys from 1-800 Got Junk. They arrived in the scheduled window, took a look at my pile of junk and the washer and dryer and proclaimed it two thirds of a truck full. That set the cost which I agreed to pay. About an hour later they had removed all of stuff.

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Corner of the basement after the junk was removed.

Getting the old washer and dryer out of the basement was a real challenge. My bulkhead stairs are very steep and the washer was very heavy. They almost dropped it twice. The second time it came apart. It made it into the backyard as two pieces.

Back at the campground this evening, I took my walk around to check things out. The campground is almost full tonight. There doesn’t seem to be any pattern to what nights during the week the park will be full or empty. Arizona and British Columbia hold the record for distance traveled tonight.

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Last campfire of my stay in Littleton.

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Beetle came to visit. Note the size relative to the pine needles.

I had a campfire for a couple of hours this evening. This finished up the scrap wood from the house. During the campfire I had a visit from a rather large beetle.  The darn thing crawled right between me and the fire ring.  It’s one of the little things that keep me entertained. It must be an inner child thing.