CDBaby Player

You can listen to some of my songs here:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another Tiny Yule Tree

I have a new little tiny tree this year. It's a sparkly green wire "tree" strung with very tiny battery operated LED lights. They blink, so I tried to upload a video instead of a picture. It didn't work.

This was the weekend for cleaning and decorating the motorhome for the holidays, and catching up on a few of the way-too-many unfinished projects. Santa, please bring me a few years off with pay to catch up with myself?

Hope everyone has a blessed winter season.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winterizing the RV

I've been reading a lot about how to winterize a motorhome. But I'm actually USING mine, so antifreeze in the drains is not an option. Global Warming? Not here this past month. We set some records for cold.

Life aboard an in-use motorhome - and I don't mean in an RV park with skirting and heat tape - means you pay attention to heat and water.

I had nursed my dying coach batteries through the fall because I wanted to go into winter with brand new ones. In spite of the research I did on golf cart batteries and gel batteries, I bought three new deep-cycle coach batteries at Wal-Mart. I've had good luck with batteries from Wally World in the past and if they go bad I can return them anywhere I happen to be. They handle the heater blower so much better than my old, smaller, worn out ones did.

I run the furnace morning and evening but not while I'm asleep. I also have a small Mr. Heater space heater, which doesn't drain batteries but it uses the more expensive propane in pound cans. I have a carbon monoxide detector and keep a roof vent open a little bit to keep it happy. And I have an electric space heater for when I am plugged in to shore power.

I have an electric blanket under the bottom sheet for when I have shore power, to warm the bed before I get in. I also have a DC electric lap robe from a truck stop which isn't as effective as the electric blanket but it does work well enough to pre-warm the bed. If you haven't tried it, a pre-heated bed is a marvelous thing.

I drained the fresh water system and the water heater when the weather got Very Cold. I carry water in gallon jugs and heat it on the stove for washing and dishwashing. It goes down the drain like always.
That's the most winterizing I've ever done. I've had the pipes freeze when I haven't drained them but they didn't do any damage, they weren't frozen that hard or that long. Most winters I have drained the pipes at the right time. The only damage I've had, since I got my first RV in 1995, was last year's cold snap froze my waste tanks and the grey water has a slight leak in the valve. It only leaks when I actually dump it, and it's grey water so a couple of drops doesn't get me all excited.
NB: I have always had old-fashioned faucets with two turn knobs. My friend had drained his RV but re-filled the water for a Christmastime trip and forgot to drain it again. He went to take it out in the spring and had to replace both faucets because the lever mixer kind don't take to freezing well at all.

I still think the best way to winterize an RV is to drive it far enough south that people don't know what a snow-shovel is, but I'm addicted to paychecks, so I stay in the mid-atlantic region where I can get them.

Travel Safe, Stay Warm, Have Happy Holidays.
- Gypsy

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Instead of blogging, I've been...

It's been a while since I've posted anything. I have lots of pictures backlogged because I got a new computer and then a new Treo and spent a lot of on-line time setting them up instead of messing with pictures.
And then, I haven't been anywhere. OK, I'm in a different supermarket each week, in a different town, but they are still supermarkets and supermarket parking lots. With gas as high as it had gotten, at 7 mpg I took to only driving when necessary. Then I got new coach batteries and necessary became less often. I can now park Sunday night, run the furnace in the morning and evening, and have batteries still reading "good" on Thursday. So I have been catching up on my reading and what not, but not doing bloggable things.

Now, thankfully, gas prices have dropped to levels I thought were only memories, RVers who sold their rigs because they couldn't afford to feed them are kicking themselves in the proverbial butt, and I am driving more and parking less. Last weekend, for instance, it was actually cheaper to drive up to Virginia and see my friends and my kitty cat and back to the same town in NC than it would have been to stay at a very inexpensive campground near there for the weekend. A month earlier it would have definitely been the other way around.

I don't know how long the gas prices will stay down but I'm sure enjoying it.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Desktop 4.* on Vista - YES!!!

Desktop 4.2 running on Vista
Installing Palm Desktop 4.1.4 or 4.2 on Vista - I win!!!

OK, I have a shiny new Treo 755p. I take it out of the box and charge it the recommended 12 hours and prepare to install software. The included disc says Vista Users see website. I follow that link and it's the link that says on Vista you should install the new feature-deficient Access version of Palm Desktop. Now, I already know from my adventures when I got the Vista laptop that 4.1.4 runs fine on Vista once you get it to install. So I decide to ignore the instruction and pop the included disc into the CD tray. Install shield does its thing - and hangs up. Well, fooey. I reboot, realize the key last time was uninstall first, in spite of Palm's statement that you install over the previous. So I uninstall. In goes the disc again. Still no good. It just hangs up. I spent some time chatting with tech support and wound up downloading the Access version. It installed, but I hated it. Light blue on lighter blue, no options, no color-coded categories, and no birthdays in the desktop calendar. I don't know what else they left out.

I woke up with inspiration: Even though I uninstalled the 4.1.4 and the partial 4.2 before I installed Access's desktop, it still found parts of "a previous version". I figured out it probably dealt with them.

So - I booted up the computer and uninstalled Palm Desktop by Access in Control Panel uninstall programs. I rebooted the computer. I closed everything I could, windows sidebar and veriface and everything. Disconnected from the internet and closed my antivirus.
Put in the disc that came with my 755p and **WooHoo!!!** It installed fine. It runs fine. It installs programs and files to the handheld fine. And I'm not even running it in compatibility mode.

So if you miss your features, it is perfectly possible to run 4.1.4 or 4.2 on Vista. Just make sure the prior version is completely deleted and NOTHING, INCLUDING ANTIVIRUS, else is running after you reboot, and install the program.

If you like bullet lists, here you go:

What I did:
1. Uninstall Access desktop version
2. Reboot Computer
3. Turn off ALL running programs, disconnect from internet and close antivirus.
4. Insert installation disc that came with Treo 755p
5. Autorun. Uncheck download latest settings from internet (because you are off-line).

Friday, October 10, 2008

I want a Harley!

I want a Harley. Of course, my motorscooter is paid for, and it fits on the rack on the back of the motorhome, so I probably will not be getting a Harley any time soon. But that doesn't stop me wanting one.

I had the pleasure last week of visiting the Harley Davidson museum in Asheboro. They have a service shop and a diner (the menu has motorcycle-oriented names - for instance, Drinks are called "Fluids") downstairs. The museum itself is upstairs.

The Asheboro Harley Davidson MuseumNote to Universal Beneficence: When I say I want a Harley, this bicycle is NOT what I mean. I had no idea H-D had made such. I'd have sure gotten one for my kid, though.

H-D Kid's BicycleThey had lots of vintage bikes, in and out of cases. The ones out of cases were of course much easier to photograph.

Bikes in and out of cases

Great Bike from the pastThis is a price sheet for labor prices in a Harley shop of yesteryear. Oh, to pay these prices today! Right, Sue? Reboring and honing cylinders $5.00 each. Motor overhaul $55 or less.

Labor price schedule from long agoThis is an exact replica of the Captain America bike from Easy Rider.

Copy of the Captain America bike from Easy Rider
This looks like a fun toy - biker leggos? The set will build 3 bikes.

Bike Building set
Gear for yesterday's bikers.
Biker gear

Saturday, October 04, 2008

An Eating Weekend

I got a new laptop! So instead of spending computer time posting blog, I've been spending computer time getting it set up and loaded with programs and what-not. Things that ran fine on XP are now running fine on VISTA but it took me a little figuring out on some of them. Even my Palm Desktop and Quick Install are running fine, in spite of all the statements on the internet that Quick Install won't run on VISTA.

Anyway, while I was doing all this, my motor home was taking me to Food Lions from South Carolina to Virginia and mostly in North Carolina, as usual. It's probably time I worked through the resulting photographs and told you about some of the cool things I did between work and work.

The quickest to post, and therefore the first: I went to the Roanoke Greek Festival at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Roanoke VA.

They had music and dancing and storytelling and stuff to buy pertaining to Greek culture, tours of the church (very interesting to me since one of my bestest friends is an Orthodox Christian). And they had food. OMG, did they have food. The Greeks know how to do food, and can slip calories into my diet like soldiers into Troy. I got a bit of everything and ate leftovers all week. It was absolutely wonderful.

It was an eating weekend: the night before, I'd gone with another friend to Nawab, an Indian restaurant - Indian as in India, not as in Native American. They know how to do food, too. I can't imagine why I'd never eaten any real Indian food before. I certainly will again at the earliest opportunity.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Traveling Companions, and Architecture

It's a small motorhome. If anyone lived in it with me I'd have to kill them ;)
Even my cat stays home in Virginia. But I do now have traveling companions. May I introduce: Strawberry, Chocolate Mint, and Stevia. The Strawberry, in its cute little pot, is because I am obsessed with having a pot of strawberries and have never managed to get them to be productive. The others are because it's nice to brew up a pot of oreo cookie tea. Stevia is a Very Sweet herb, used for sweetening stuff when you still want to be healthy. I talk more about that on my other blog, Sweet Enough Already

My Plants

When we travel, they ride on the steps. When we stop, they come out and enjoy the sunlight while I work.

My plants again

Or while I explore the back roads looking for what's cool wherever I am...

Castle at Harmony NC

Riding around Harmony, NC I stopped to admire the architecture. This castle is on a back road near Van Hoy campground.

Pirates Landing Seafood Restaurant

This is Pirates Landing Seafood Restaurant at exit 85 off I-77 in NC.

Pirates Landing

The Jolly Roger flies and pirates climb the rigging.

Exit pointing down

And when you leave, they tell you where to go ;)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Stuck in Park at the Park, or How To Un-stick a Parking Pawl

Last week I stopped to visit that same friend. Pulled into the campground and parked, put wood out and drove up on it. But I hadn't gone quite far enough onto the block and even though I had set the parking brake, when I released the regular brake the motorhome slipped backwards. My suspicions were immediately confirmed. I was stuck in park.

A parking pawl is inside the automatic transmission. It's the part that keeps the vehicle from rolling when you put it in park, and the part that makes it hard to get out of park when you park on an incline and don't set your emergency brake first. Busting my tranny is not high on my wish list, so I try to always set the emergency brake. This time it didn't help.

What do you do? I had lots of offers and suggestions, many of which involved gently pushing the motorhome forward. Right - forward, and up onto that block that was stuck under the rear wheel. And I have a motorcycle rack on the back of the motorhome.

What we actually did, once we found someone with a jack handle to fit them, is jack up the back end on the stabilizing jacks I never use. Enough to remove the leveling block. And then the vehicle shifted so nice and easy.

I wouldn't like to do that on a hill, but then it wouldn't have happened on a hill because I did set the parking brake.

My RV shop doesn't carry the kind of jack handle I need for those built-in stabilizing jacks, but now I'm determined to find one that does just in case.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Tale of Two Mills

A few weeks ago, a friend and I rode out to Linney's Mill to get fresh ground corn meal. Linney's Mill is a working mill in Union Grove, NC. They are one of the few fully operational and producing old water mills in existence in NC. The mill store offers stone-ground cornmeal and grits as well as other flour mixes.

The next weekend I worked in Durham, NC and got to revisit West Point on the Eno. The mill there is no longer operational but the Eno is beautiful and the park is peaceful and shady.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Baby Mantids

Baby Mantid

Hey, Sue, these are for you. Everyone else, you can look if you want. I wish I'd had my good camera when this little guy decided to hang out on my finger!

Another Baby Mantid


While Sue & I were canoing, we found a couple of beach balls had drifted down to the dam at the lower end of the lake. We retrieved them and brought them back to the swimming area.
I was pretty amazed by the warning label on this beach ball. Somehow I had never thought of a beach ball as a hazardous object. It's too big to swallow and choke on. It's too soft to give you a concussion. So?

Just what constitutes "competent supervision" for beachball use, anyway? I mean, beyond what common sense would dictate for swimming in general.

Izaak Walton League of Lynchburg

IWLL beach in the morning
While my RV was in the shop getting its new roof put on, my friend Sue and I went camping. Although we both do 18th century Rendezvous camping, this time we camped in modern nylon tents. Gypsy Jane and Sue's Modern Camp
(All varieties of camping are fun: car camping, RVing, primitive camping, backpacking, you name it...)
We set up camp in the shadiest spot I could find us at Walton Park, the Izaak Walton League of Lynchburg facility, and enjoyed a pleasant beat-the-heat weekend, mostly swimming.
The Fountain
The Izaak Walton park is one of my very favorite places to be. There's lots to do there, more fun than I can cram into any one weekend. Take a quick tour with me:
A Shady Road to Walk
IWLL members enjoy

Tent camping
RV Camping Area
RV camping, seasonal or overnight
Guys shooting archery
Archery range - and a really cool archery woods walk too.

People enjoying the beach
The lower lake is for swimming, boating and fishing. The upper lake (no picture, sorry) is for fishing.)
Picnic Pavillion
Besides the picnic pavillion, there are many picnic tables and even a huge grill suitable for cooking for a large crowd.
The Skeet Range
This is the skeet range. There are also ranges for rifle and pistol. We have various contests and events.

IWLL Beach in the eveningFinally we tied the canoe to the tree, packed up our gear, and returned to the workaday world and, in my case, other sorts of camping.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tips for a Better Life

My oldest friend (meaning how long she's been in my life) sent me this this morning and I thought it deserved posting here - and on my other blog - and on my refrigerator too. So, in no particular order except the way I received them:
40 Tips for a Better Life in 2008

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It
is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.

3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.

4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement,
'My purpose is to __________ today.'

5. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

6. Play more games and read more books than you did in 2007.

7. Make time to practice meditation and prayer. They provide us with
daily fuel for our busy lives.

8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.

9. Dream more while you are awake.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food
that is manufactured in plants.

11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan
salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and
flowing energy into your life.

14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, OR issues of the past,
negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your
energy in the positive present moment.

15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems
are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like
algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a
college kid with a maxed out charge card.

17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the NEGATIVE BLUES away.

18. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their
journey is all about.

24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years,
will this matter?'

26. Forgive everyone for everything.

27. What other people think of you is none of your business.

28. REMEMBER GOD heals everything.

29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

30. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends
will. Stay in touch.

31. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

33. The best is yet to come.

34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

35. Do the right thing!

36. Call your family often. (Or email them to death!!!)

37. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements:
I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

39. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you
certainly don't want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life
so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

40. Please Forward this to everyone you care about. (Actually I didn't forward this to anyone. But the link to the blog is on every email I send, so sooner or later...)

Now, I invite you to post anything that you think should have been on the list!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

My New Roof!


View of My New Roof
It's all covered with new plywood, some new framing, new rubber, new caulk, and a bit of a warrantee. In other words, the rest of the motorhome should wear out before I need to do that again.
Where the patch and I did battle
Here is the upper left corner that gave me so much trouble, when I did battle with the over-sized patch.
No more saggy patches where the antenna used to be.
Here is where the big patches were where the antenna was removed - and the DC-powered vent fan which replaces the AC-powered air conditioner. The air conditioner works fine, but only when plugged into shore power - which happens so rarely in my travels. If you want to buy a good used a/c and you are in the Virginia area, contact me.

Vast Expanse of White Rubber Roof
I know I've posted prettier pictures aesthetically than this expanse of white - but to me right now, it's georgeous.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How do you spell Relief? RV IN SHOP.

The Bad News is - I did a spot test of the Liquid Roof on 10 square feet of my roof. The product is fine but my old rubber was NOT good enough - it came up in ripply lumpy wrinkles and I have no confidence in it readhering when it lies down again. Trust me, I was about ready to scream. I have done many successful do-it-yourself projects before. I have rebuilt cabovers. I have rebuilt a kitchen from floor joists through ceiling. I have built buildings and porches. I'm not nearly as inadequate as I have felt this week.

And the Good News is - this morning I found a professional RV shop willing to take on the project at a price I can afford. That's what I wanted to do in the first place. So the rig went in the shop this morning. It will get a new roof. Still a rubber roof, but new, all in one piece, no leaks. I will sell off my unopened 5 gallon can of Liquid Roof, and life will be good. Now let us all pray that I don't get a phone call next week saying, "uh, Jane, the rig fell apart."

Now I think I hear a guitar calling me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bad day on the roof

Some days it's best to go play, and I probably should have. But no, I want a dry roof, so I worked on it. Up in the corner where the worst damage is, I wanted to put a big rubber piece, instead of just relying on the liquid rubber that will cover the rest of the roof. The plywood is messed up under there and I thought a fat piece of new rubber would be more likely to behave. The procedure for this is to use contact cement on both sides of the rubber. The stuff sticks together really quite well.

Too well. The piece I had was too big for me and I didn't realize it until it was too late. It got away, stuck to the roof, stuck to itself, ripped a big fish-shaped tear in the original rotten rubber.
A big hole in rubber

At this point a lot of tools got pitched from the roof to the ground. I was not amused.

To salvage the operation, (thank you, Danny) Danny applied the patch in the other direction, which covered the holes including the new one, but did not go all the way up to the molding in front as planned. The leftover length was placed in between, but 3 lengths of ETERNABOND that I don't yet have will now be required to bridge the gaps.
Patched section

Now I wonder if instead of scrubbing off all that "paint", I should have just pulled off all the old rubber. Actually I would probably have done exactly that if the plywood underneath were not messed up, but I don't think the Liquid Roof would do too well directly over damaged plywood.

And before you ask, yes I tried to get this done professionally but couldn't find anyone to do it at all, much less affordably.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Up on the Roof

Why am I up on the roof again?!?

Instead of at work earning money or off playing music with a friend or ???

A couple of years ago, when I bought this motorhome and it had roof issues -

The holes underneath

and holes in your rubber roof are definitely roof issues -
we did a lot of roof repair. While most of the extensively blogged ETERNABOND patching has held up beautifully, followers of this blog know that last fall I was again treated to rain on the inside of the rig. Roof examination showed that the patch above the drivers seat had not held, and I promptly patched that area. And again. And again.

The patches on patches that never would stick down

The problem was that someone in this motorhome's past had painted on a roof treatment which I suspect is the same one I would have used on any of my 3 previous METAL roofs. On rubber, it wasn't adhering so terribly well. The ETERNABOND, as well as the other roof rubber patches I used, were sticking fine - to the non-sticking roof treatment. My bad.

The root of the problem

So in order to have any hope of waterproofing this roof, I must remove ALL the old roof treatment. Including that which "appears" to be adhering well, since experience has taught me that it will let go later.

Fortunately, we found a paint remover, Citristrip, which makes this a relatively easy, albeit tedious, job. Paint it on a small section of roof, wait an hour, strip it off, scrub off the remaining grey glop, do another section. Slow going, but it's going.

Citristrip at work removing the goop

Then wash the roof thoroughly. The "instructions" suggest a pressure washer. If I could pressure wash my roof I wouldn't have to DO all this.

Did you know: Spic'n'Span doesn't come in powder any more? At least not in my supermarket. Only liquid cleaners.

Amazing the little pinholes in rubber you find when you're scrubbing the roof right up close and personal. Each of them filled with rubber cement now.

More ETERNABOND patches for the big holes. This time they'll stick.

The next step is to remove the air conditioner (how???), clean again, install a DC fan in the vent, pour rubber, and pray a lot.

Unfortunately, it is predicted to start thunderstorms tomorrow and continue through the weekend. Not enough good weather for the project.

Next RV, can I have a roof that isn't RUBBER? Please???