Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Back on the Market!

No not me, I’m close to my “use by date”. I’m talking about the house. We had to take the house off the market as part of the house refinance process.  Unofficially it was on the market but, after July the lake property selling season is pretty much over until the next spring.

I sure am going to miss being the Capt.

But I will really miss this!!
We had new criteria for the candidates for listing agent.  1. Our choice was not going to be based on a recommendation of friends, and family – unless the candidate had sales stats to back up the recommendation. 2. It would be an agent with family responsibilities – you know,  an agent that had a family to feed. That pretty much ruled out an agent that was “retirement” age. Sorry, it sounds like age discrimination doesn’t it?  That is the kind of agent I fired. I wasted a season with her. Oh, she had an impressive bio and it was most likely true 15 yrs ago.  I found that she was still trying to use sales strategies pre 2008, just put a sign in the yard and never communicate with her clients.

House is officialy on the market.
Judy and I decided we would concentrate our realtor search within “national realty companies” instead of local companies. I called two brokers and they provided the names of their top two sellers – not the agent with the most listings.  I interviewed the agents and chose the one I thought would meet our needs the best.  We do understand the real estate climate as well as the law of supply and demand.  If the house does not sell we will look at other options in Aug/Sep. If we have any breaking news you’ll read about it here.

Welcome to new followers George and Laurie.  In about six months they will be starting a life on the road.  ( http://owensontheroad.blogspot.com/ )
Thanks for stopping by.

1. I often have “links” within the entry. For easy identification they will be “blue”. Just click for additional information.

2. Pictures can be enlarged with the “click” of the mouse. Try it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cabin Fever

Cabin Fever struck Judy and me today, so, we had to get out of the ‘cabin”.  Judy has had a little bug for the past two days and she was tired of sleeping and moping around in her PJs. We used this as an opportunity to go to one of our favorite BBQ eateries. Just like all the other four thousand BBQ restaurants in GA. Fresh Air has been voted “the best BBQ in GA.  I can attest that it is the best in GA!  It has been around since 1929 and I know for a fact I’ve been eating there since at least 1956. My dad always stopped there when we went to and from Atlanta, long before I75. The BBQ at Fresh Air is the tangy tomato and vinegar style.

The original 1929 building.
Always a line to order!
The BBQ plate is worth the wait.
After stopping to eat we decided to drive about three miles south to Indian Springs State Park.  Since we can’t go camping just now we thought we would enjoy riding through the park to have a look.  It is a very nice state park located just a few miles from I75 near Jackson, GA.

Conveniently located near I-75 in middle Georgia, Indian Springs is one of the oldest state parks in the United States and a popular spot for outdoor recreation. For centuries, Creek Indians collected the spring water for its healing qualities, and during the 1800s, the area was a bustling resort town. Today, visitors can still sample the spring water flowing inside the stone Spring House built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression.

Park guests can enjoy wading in Sandy Creek or swimming in McIntosh Lake, named for Creek Chief William McIntosh who signed an illegal treaty deeding Indian land to Georgia in 1825. A small museum, open seasonally, highlights Creek Indians, the resort era and CCC history. Cottages and campsites may be reserved for overnight stays.

Thanks for stopping by.
Next blog: Tue

1. I often have “links” within the entry. For easy identification they will be “blue”. Just click for additional information.
2. Pictures can be enlarged with the “click” of the mouse. Try it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I wish I had sent these

I wish I had sent this lovely floral arrangement to Judy, but I didn't.  One of her clients sent them to  show his appreciation as she approaches her retirement date.  I am sure she will be missed.  Judy is devoted to all of her branch's clients. She can often be found out in the lobby greeting them and making sure they know they are appreciated.  I have driven up to the bank when she was out picking up trash in the parking lot, business suit and all. I guess when the branch was recently selected as a "Showcase Branch" the selection panel knew they had found a gem. 

Thanks for stopping by.
Next blog: Sun.

NOTE: Remember pictures can be enlarged with the "click of the mouse".  I often have links in the entry that are "clickable" for additional info.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

" Must Haves"

A few years back when Judy and I began to seriously think about a nomadic life on the road we found it was going to take in depth research.  Without getting into the "weeds" here, overtime  I developed a list of "must have" items. These items were not necessarily required items. I found some of these were items many of the experienced full-timers had. Below are some of the "must haves"  I've purchased.

Pressure Pro Tire Pressure Monitoring Sys (TPMS)
 I consider this a safety item. During my research I read many accounts from RVers who had blowouts on their fiver or one of the trucks dually tires and didn't even know it!  While a TPMS can't prevent a blowout directly,  it may provide indicators that may be the precursor to one.  A blowout or flat tire on a fiver could be catastrophic. Especially at highway speeds. I chose to go with the Pressure Pro TPMS for fifth wheels .  The system is easy to install and use. I can look at the monitor and see the tire pressure and temp of all the tires on the truck and fiver. Each tire has an individual sensor that transmits data wireless. It makes it very easy to check tire pressures before a trip. I purchased my system from Vulcan Tire Co. The cost was $640.00

Pressure Pro Fifth Wheel Sys

This is what I hope to avoid :)

Portable 50 Amp Surge Protector
When I posted this entry yesterday I left this "must have" out.  About 50% of the people I have discussed this item with and RV forum discussions highly recommend some type of surge protection. The other half say it isn't needed.  I read enough accounts of RVers having their RV's electronics decimated because of low or high voltage from the CG supplied electricity to persuade me to get a surge protector. I prefer to err on the side of safety. The fact the surge protector is plugged in between my fiver and the power  pedestal is a plus. I purchased mine at Camping World. Cost: $313.00

Puma Air Compressor
I think a portable compressor will give peace of mind as we travel or stay in remote locations. Not to mention the convenience of being able to inflated tires without having to go to a travel center (truck stops back in the day) or tire center.  I can also inflate a rubber ducky if I had one.  I have a fifty foot length of air hose, making all tire within reach.  I probably went a little overboard in my choice of compressor. I wanted to be able to go up to 150 PSI.  That will give me enough air capability if I ever decide to go with a MH.  Puma Air Compressor   Cost $179.00 at Northern Tool. Yes, I know there are cheaper models on the market.  I also have a 7 gal  air tank for portability.

Puna 2 gal Portable Air Compressor

Alum Storage Truck Chest (under the rail)
I am sure this storage chest will come in handy.  I intend to keep my tools box here.  Like most storage areas it will fill up quickly. It is lockable.  The under the rail design was a must since it won't interfere with another of my "must haves",  a roll up bed cover. I also got this at Northern Tool.  Truck Chest  Cost $330.00

Tonneau Roll Up Bed Cover
I saw a full timer couple in a local RV park with a Tri-fold cover a couple of years ago.  He explained the usefulness of the cover to me and I filed the info away.  After I purchased our truck last spring I put the cover on my "must haves" list.  I liked the tri-fold cover he had but I didn't think it would work as well with the truck chest application that I planned. After looking at various ones I settled on a roll up cover.  I like the ease of using it. The local Rhino Spray in Liner dealer sold it to me. Access Lite Ryder cover. Cost $375.00

Rhino Spray-in Liner
The used 09 Ram dually I purchased was in new condition. The gentleman pulled a Cedar Creek Fiver until his health went south. He kept the fifth wheel hitch but the installed rails stayed with the truck. I was amazed that there were no scratches in the bed of the truck. I didn't think I would be able to keep the bed in such good of condition. I knew I "must have" a spray-in liner. I settled on a Rhino liner from a local installer. Rhino Liner Cost $450.00

I am sure there will be other things that I add to my "must haves" list.  I'm thinking about a CB radio but I am not there yet. If you have any suggestions please forward them to me.
Thanks for stopping by.  Welcome to new follower Karen. Below is a link to her excellent blog. Stop by and check it out.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lazy Day

Today was a typical "do nothing rainy day Sunday".  By do nothing I mean pretty much nothing that is productive.  Ah, it was relaxing and enjoyable though.

We turned it into a movie day with only a little bit of productivity.  I'll take the little bit of productivity first.  Since we are just about ready to list the house with a realtor for the summer season we are doing some small things for the house, in this case the boathouse.  We decided we would install a ceiling fan over the covered sitting area of the boathouse.   Will it help sell the house, probably not.  It will provide a breeze when we need one though.  I did it mostly for the light though.  The boathouse does have lights but I think a little more light would be helpful.  If for no other reason if we sell the house the new owners will get to enjoy it, if not we will get to enjoy it. A Win Win as someone said.

After picking up the fan at "Home Depot" we had a great lunch at "EL Amigos". Yep you guessed it, a Mexican Restaurant.  Then it was over to the Carmike Six Cinema to see "Safe House" starring Denzel Washington. Washington is one of my favorite actors and for the most part any movie he is in is pretty good.  The movie is a fast paced thriller, much like the Bourne triology.  Here is a link to the "trailer"

Judy, told me she has found a new "on the road song".  I'm thinking what is wrong with the one we have used forever, "On the Road Again" by Willie Nelson. It is simple and pretty much to the point. I was thinking about leaving you hanging but that would not be nice.  It is "What about Now" by Lonestar.  I am not there yet.

Welcome to new follower Myrddin and Karen. 

Next Blog: Tue

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Our Rig Set Up (Part 2)

Once the decision is made to go with a fifth wheel RV the next important decision is the choice of truck.  Some RVers make the decision on which truck first.   Regardless of the order the decisions are made the two units must be compatible. The truck must be capable of pulling the trailer safely. After deciding on a “short list” of three fifth wheels, all in the same weight class we began to look for a truck.

We made the determination that we would be on the lookout for a F350/3500 one ton truck.  We got in the truck market in earnest in early 2011 as I would be retiring at the end of the school yr. Another decision we made was to go with a dually.  Up until this point I had been a Ford truck person all of my adult life (gas). I did look at new Fords but the 55-65K new price tags and the introduction of a new diesel engine gave me some doubts.  One evening I was looking on Craig’s List and saw a 2009 Ram 3500 SLT 6.7 turbo diesel, 4X4, long bed with only 8600 miles.  It looked to be in showroom condition. Then I did something very few men would have the courage to do, I asked Judy to drive the 60 or so miles out in the “country” to look at it. She was a little surprised at the request. My work schedule would not permit me to go before the weekend. I know a deal when I see one!
The gentleman selling the truck had purchased it to pull a Cedar Creek fiver for full-timing. Unfortunately he had some health issues that ended that dream. He had already sold the CC and the truck was parked under an aluminum carport.  This information bolsters the idea that you should not put off your dream. The truck already had the rails in the bed so that was about a five hundred dollar expense that I saved. 

2009 Dodge 3500 Quad Cab SLT DRW 4X4 Long Bed

Selected Specs:
Engine:                                   6.7L Cummings Turbo Diesel

Transmission:                            6 spd. Automatic

Horsepower:                          330 (610 Torque Ft-lbs)

Curb WT:                               6759

GVW:                                   12,200

Payload Capacity:                  4,780

Tow Rating:                           16,900 lbs

GCWR:                                  24,000 lbs

Gas Tank Capacity                 35 Gal
Rhino Spray In Bed liner, Curt 16K Hitch, Under the Rail Box
Back Seats Fold Up

Bed Cover "Rolled UP"

Bed Cover

Welcome to new followers Mountainborn, and Wayne & Maureen. Thanks for stopping by!
PS. The first Purple Martin of the year returned Wed around 5:40 PM.  If you missed my "Purple Martin" entry "Click Here"
Next Blog: Tue

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Our Rig (Fiver + Truck) Part 1

When I first began to research RVs for full-timing I went to a “primary source”. I began reading blogs of people who were living on the road. I also went and met actual full-timers at nearby camp grounds. Once I determined that we would be using a fifth wheel I concentrated on the full-timers who used them. I learned a lot about the requirements a unit would have to meet. I was able to differentiate between a “week end” unit and a “four seasons” unit. Most full time RVers who write blogs have a page or two dedicated to their rig. I am glad they do. So today I am going to return the favor and hopefully help some one understand some of the capabilities their future fifth wheel should have. The next blog (part 2) will address the tow vehicle.

Forest River “Cardinal 3425RT

Length                                      39’

Width                                       8’ 1”

Height                                 12’ 6” (does not include ACs or
                                           Sat. Dish) I use 14’ as my baseline)

Dry Axle Wt.                         12,540

Hitch Wt.                               2415

Total Dry Wt                         16,095

Load Capacity                       3,555

Axels                                    2 (rated at 7,000 lbs each –
                                                14,000 Lbs total)

Wheels/Tires                         4  Alum / Goodyear® LT235/80R16E

Fresh Water tank                   77 gal

Black/Gray holding tanks       40 gal / 80 gal

GVWR                                 16095

Cargo Carrying Cap (CCC)   1800 (Load Capacity 3555
                                             – all liquids 1,756)

Some ordered options include:
Trail Air King Pin, Full Body Paint, 2nd AC, Heat Pump, King Bed, Splendide Washer/Dryer Combo, Winegard Travler Sat controller (DTV Slim line Dish), Safe, Outside Ice Maker, Electric Patio Awning and Central Vac.

This is not meant to be a recommendation for a Cardinal Fifth Wheel. That decision is mostly personal preference and based on individual research. Judy and I vacillated between a MH and 5er multiple times. You can find additional pics on the rightside of the page under the heading "Links".

Welcome to our new followers; Betty, Elise, Mike and Pat (Beaver Driver), and Babette.  In the next blog I will share my thoughts on our Tow Vehicle and some of the rational for our choice.

Next Blog: Friday.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Oak Hill Retired Teacher's Lunch Bunch

One day each month I meet with some of my former colleagues who have joined the “retired teachers” ranks to have lunch, socialize, and generally catch up. For the most part, it's teachers who have recently retired within the last few years. We don’t have a set place to meet so we keep a little variety in the menu!

                               "Looks like we will be having Mexican today".

Once again, I am the lone male in a sea of women! :)

Just look at how relaxed these ladies are!

This is much better than school cafeteria food.
It is good to meet in a relaxed social setting and not the busy stressed filled environment of the work place. Actually, teachers don’t usually have time for much socializing at school.  Once the bell rings, teachers are locked in with their students, figuratively speaking.  The only chance for working teachers to socialize is while walking to or leaving the classroom. In fact I once wrote a paper entitled “The Isolation of the Classroom Teacher”.  Ah, but I digress. Sorry.
This is what we gave up when we left the classroom.  What were we thinking??
WHAT, Mr. Maddox?
Work, Work, Work

Ah, the end of the day
Well that pretty much wraps it up for this post. Even a day early. Thanks for stopping by. For my  FB friends, you can leave comments here also.

Next Blog: Tue

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Going out with a BANG!

Judy, unlike me, is still working away in the financial industry.  She expects to work through mid March in the real world.  It appears that we will be starting our workamper job around the 18th.  So you can see she is not going to have a lot of down time between the two.  That is just “the way she rolls”. Some people that only have a short time or who know they will be leaving a job may “slow down”.  In the Navy we would refer to those individuals as members of the “ROADS Program” (Retired on Active Duty).  She will be going in early and leaving late on her last day!

  Sun Trust "Downtown Milledgeville" branch

Judy is going out with a BANG and at the top of her game.  She recently got a call informing her that her Sun Trust branch bank (Milledgeville Downtown) was selected as the Georgia Sun Trust “ Showcase Branch”.  Woo Hoo!   Judy was very quick to point out that the award was a reflection of the hard work and dedication of her branch teammates.  I can truly say they are a special group of ladies.  Judy was also informed that her exceptional performance in meeting established goals would be rewarded with her being named to the “Chairman’s Team”. The is a performance level award that less than 2% of branch managers reach.  There were a number of recognitions from Sun Trust to memorialize these achievements. So congrats, to Ms. Judy for a job well done.

                                         Super Teammates    




If you find yourself in M'ville and require banking services stop in.   That is it for today.

Welcome to all the new followers. It is good to have you aboard.  Still no new info to report on the mystery visitor to the bird feeder.

Next blog: Monday

Monday, February 6, 2012

It is a mystery

The weather over the weekend can be described with one word, gorgeous.  We had sunny skies and temps in the mid 70’s. In fact our winter has not really materialized this year, which is ok by me. Oh, and it was Super Bowl Sun.  Hope your team won.  I really didn’t care one way or the other although, I did enjoy the game.  Judy was pulling for the NY Giants, mostly because she doesn’t care too much for the NE Patriot's coach.  

Now for the mystery.  Each winter season I maintain a few bird feeders.  Over the past few weeks the “Shepherd’s hook” that I hang two feeders and a cake of suet on has been bent down to the ground.  The damage required that I manually straighten the shaft so it could be used.  This has happened three times. Sorry I didn’t take any pics.

I have been thinking “what can be causing this damage."  The usual suspects came to mind. They include squirrels, geese, and deer. The more I thought about it, I could not rationalized any of these bending the shepherd’s hook shaft so severely.  I could not imagine a squirrel or a goose even knocking it over.  A deer could easily knock it over but not bend it down.

Then I got a lead!  The last time it happened I noticed that the “suet cake” and its container was off of the hook. Gone, vanished. The container was not on the ground. That changed my mindset about the suspects.  All of my suspects would have just eaten the contents there.  The question now, how to finger the culprit?

This perplexed me for over a week or so. Then out of the blue, I thought of my brother-in law, Mike.  He is the kind of guy that hunts and fishes a lot. I said to Judy, “I bet Mike has a wildlife camera.”  I gave him a call and confirmed my hunch.  Sure enough he had not one but two!  He told me to come and get one.  It is operational day or night. The camera operates in an "IR" mode at night.  I have it mounted on the predator guard on my Purple Martin house pole. The feeder is about 12 feet away.

                                                                    The Camera

                                                                              The Feeder

So I will be setting it up tonight. I don’t know how long it will take for the vandal to return but I will be ready. You can bet that I will be letting you know as soon as I know.

Don’t forget to stop by and see how this mystery ends! If you think you know what has been causing the problems or would like to offer a guess write a comment.  If you visit often, add to your” favs or bookmark”.

Welcome to new follower(s); Charlie and Phil and Rudee at Workin' RVers
Next blog: Friday

Friday, February 3, 2012

Purple Martins

At this time of the year I prepare for the annual return of “my colony” of Purple Martins.  I have been a Purple Martin “Landlord” for the past 8-10yrs. I was never quite successful at attracting them when I lived in Bedford, VA.  Maybe because it was further north than GA. I did see colonies there, though. The birds usually start arriving around the second week of February.

Purple Martins are the largest member of the swallow family in North America, measuring 7 1/2 inches long and weighing 1.9 ounces. Three races (subspecies) are recognized: Progne subis breeding in eastern North America and eastern Mexico; Progne subis hesperia breeding in the deserts of Arizona, western Mexico, and Baja California; and Progne subis arboricola breeding along the Pacific coast of the United States and Canada, and in the Rocky Mountains.
Purple Martins spend the non-breeding season in Brazil then migrate to North America to nest. East of the Rockies they are totally dependent on human-supplied housing. West of the Rockies and in the deserts they largely nest in their ancestral ways, in abandoned woodpecker nest cavities. In the Pacific northwest, Martins are beginning to use gourds and clusters of single-unit boxes for nesting.


The pair-bond of the Purple Martin is monogamous. The male and female cooperate equally in building the nest out of mud, grass and twigs. The female lays two to seven pure-white eggs at a rate of one egg per day. The female incubates the clutch for approximately fifteen days, then the young hatch. The parents both feed the young continuously for a period of 26-32 days until the young fledge. The young continue to be dependent on their parents for food and training for an additional one to two weeks after fledging. It's not uncommon for the fledglings to return to their human-supplied housing at night to sleep during this period. If you would like to learn more "Click Here"


The Martins provide Judy and me with hours of peaceful entertainment. They are spectacular flyers as they look for food on the wing. They can out fly their predators, hawks and owls.  The birds have a lovely “dawn song” that may be heard in the early morning hours. Martins are communal birds. They often loudly fuss and fight with each other, but they stick together to face danger. The birds like living in close proximity to humans, probably because they feel safer.  A couple of years ago as Judy and I sat on the screened porch talking, the Martins became extremely agitated. I looked up and saw a “rat snake” all the way up in the gourd rack. We both went in the house to get a rifle. Big mistake!  Where did the snake go?  I had to lower the gourd rack and get on a ladder. Then I had to open the inspection port on the gourds until I found the one with the snake.  We got the snake out and the Martins returned to their gourds after about thirty minutes. I installed a predator guard the next day.

At the end of each season, around the 4th of July I take the gourds down and clean them out along with my Martin House.  I clean them and put them away until the the end of Jan. or the first week of Feb.  Below is a pic of the plastic gourds I use. Most of my gourds are S&K Bo 9's with a 3" tunnel.  The tunnel provides additional protection from hawks and owls.

I always put some pine straw into each of the gourds and the house apts.  It provides a little insulation from the cold surfaces.  The Martins will construct their own nest after they pair up and get ready to raise a family!


The gourds are now on the rack but not raised up. The gourds are on a telescoping pole that I will  extend to approx 14 feet once the birds arrive.

After I prepared the gourd rack, I put nesting material in the "house apts" and attached four gourds. I modified the Martin House from twelve apts to five. By doing this I increased the apt size from 6 inches to 12 inches. I did this to increase the protection from predators.  Between the gourd rack and house and gourds, the colony can accommodate 21 pairs.  Each pair of Martins produce an average five offsprings.  It gets crowded.

House raised up about 2/3 of the  way.

This year I got a surprise when I took the gourds out of storage from the overhead of my boat house.  It looks like a squirrel made a home or two in the gourds. It destroyed three tunnels and a couple of gourds!

I'll let you know when the PMs show up. Could be any day now since we have had such a mild winter. They usually get here around mid Feb.   Thanks for stopping by. Comments are always welcomed.

Next post will be Mon.