Saturday, November 19, 2011

About ready for our winter trip.

In preparation for this winters trip, I took the camper to Hickman’s Brakes & Alignment to get the brakes inspected, slide calipers lubed, chassis greased, and to have the Bilstein shock bushings inspected. The brakes have about 65% remaining on the pads; I thought that was OK for a 64,000+ mile camper.  Replaced one shock bushing. While doing an inspection, they noticed the ball joints were worn well past tolerance and that the axle pivot bushing, whatever that is, was in need of replacement soon.  The ball joints and axle pivot bushing failure comes from hard use. When I ordered the ’08 Lazy Daze I went with the 4WD option.  ;-) We frequently drive mile after mile on some pretty bad roads to get to one or our very special camping spots.  No plans to change that either. Our favorite camp sites are frequently in the middle of nowhere with only the three of us around.  The repairs didn’t require me to fund *all* of the Hickman’s 2011 retirement account, just $800 worth.  

Two of our Lazy Daze friends are Ray & Joan Webb from Georgia.  They are the most well traveled RV’ers I know. Ray guesses they have put over 250,000 miles on three different RV’s. When they had a 4WD truck camper, Joan joked that Ray never saw a dirt road he didn’t like.  Once they drove from Montreal all the way to Labrador. I recall Ray saying that trip involved about 400 miles of dirt roads.  We’re not going to do that, but I admire their spirit.  They are about 80 years old and going strong last I heard. We can only hope.

We picked the camper up on April 25, 2008 with 41 miles on it. After 64,189 miles and 3 years, 7 months, this recent suspension/front end work was the only Ford repairs required. This does not include preventative, or routine, maintenance costs like changing fluids, filters and such.  The only non-Ford repair was the replacement of the toilet bowl seal.  I’m very, very pleased with Ford and Lazy Daze.  .

Our travel plans are firming up. My mother has a doctors appointment on December 1st. We plan on heading out on the 2nd.

One of our stops on the way west will be NOLA.  Jennifer & Alex , and a lot of our money, went to college at Loyola University in NOLA.  Beignets at CafĂ© du Monde, a muffuletta at Central Grocery, a Ferdi Special at Mothers. Never had a bad meal in New Orleans. The plan is to drive to the French Quarter early on Sunday morning. Should be easy enough to find someplace to park. While I’m not wild about leaving the camper parked in NO, the French Quarter is well policed plus Gopher will be inside. She’s a very good watchdog. Anyone who gets close will see some very large teeth growling at them.

After that it’s a slow, and generally unplanned, drift west to NM then north to Longmont to arrive on December 20.

Carols new toy, the Kindle Fire, showed up the other day. She’s been playing with it ever since.   It won’t put the Apple iPad out of business, but it’s an interesting device. 

We have a full load of ‘stuff” heading to Suzanne’s house in Longmont. Last year when the three girls were down for Christmas, we told them to go through the house and take anything they wanted home with them. Suzanne was flying so she just boxed up things for us to haul out to her the next time we were headed that way. The camper is overflowing with boxes. We’ve got my mothers china, our sterling silver place settings, my Lionel trains that my father bought for me in 1948, and boxes of assorted treasures. The big item is the platform for the train. My father made it. It’s a 4’ x 8’ sheet of plywood hinged in the middle. For the trip, it’s going to live between the rear couches while driving and on the floor up front when parked.

We’ve only been home from our summer trip for about six weeks and already we’re anxious to get going.

 We'll end this trip with the Lazy Daze Spring Fling at Hanna Park in March.