Monday, May 28, 2012

Then and Now, Storms and Wars

Last year this was my workamping spot from April 1st through October 1st, 2011.  It's also where I just returned to recently.  Déjà vu.

In last year's picture,  I have set up my patio mat, 3 chairs and a table. The picnic table has old rugs on the benches and a too-short table cloth. The rugs had lost their rubber backing, but I recycled them into picnic bench covers. Eventually I managed to accidentally melt a good bit of the table cloth while ironing curtains and pillows I was sewing up for the interior of the motorhome.  Oops. No good deed goes unpunished.

Of the two red chairs shown, one was destroyed.  The 2nd one will end it's life with this workamping assignment, if the chair even lasts that long.   A sudden storm blew in around July 2011, shredding parts of the awning, tearing a hole in the roof, and mangling the frame.  This was sad, as I had spent months traveling around assembling used parts for the frame that was destroyed in a deluge the previous year in June 2010. That 17 year old awning has been through several disasters.  Some things just don't last forever.

Here is a picture taken this year, a year after the above picture.

Now, a year later,  I use the old awning material for a jumbo picnic table cloth. It's hard to tell, but that is an 8 foot 8 ton picnic table in this picture. It took me a week to move it about 100 feet to where it is now in this picture.  

The director's chair in back, split open Easter 2012. I had just made a new back for it when the seat split. I haven't had time to repair it, but meanwhile I put some boards on the seat part, converting it to a  side table on the patio for crock pot cooking. The old melted vinyl table cloth  has been recycled to keep some firewood dry. Last year I had no firewood, this year I have a  tiny stack. It cooled off tonight as I am writing outdoors, so I have built a fire.

It's Memorial Day weekend and I am retrospecting. Oh wait, is that a real word?   My spell heckler is already having issues with me.

Amazing how much has happened to my little old motorhome since this picture a year ago.  It took me 10 more months to get the awning material replaced, installed and the frame repaired. It's not a project one can do  alone and it required special one-use tools. The new awning fabric is because I could not find anything used affordable. Folks wanted as much for used awning material as for new. Go figure that one out.

Then the installers were going to haul off my old awning material for garbage, but I wouldn't let them. I chopped off all the bad parts, to recycle the rest of it as a picnic table cloth. One of these days I will finish hemming it.

Looking at the old and new picture, reminds me that last summer, I was indoors trying to fix plumbing woes, as my propane hot water stopped working. My friend and I installed an electric hybrid kit. It didn't work either. Finally I got the propane working again. Weeks later, replacement parts arrived, I struggled to get the old ones out, the new ones in. Now the hot water worked both on propane and electric. But the kitchen faucet stopped putting out hot water a few days later. I could have it every where but the faucet where I needed it the most. It became a mystery that took me months to resolve and I don't even remember what trick I did that finally fixed it.

The next big rain after the storm took out the old awning again in July 2011, sent me scurrying 120 miles for urgent roof repairs, as apparently a hole was knocked in the roof and I didn't even know it until weeks later when it rained all over my bed. I couldn't do the work myself at the time and it was urgent I get it done.

Then the air conditioning died on a super hot day last summer. No shade awning and no A/C with 100F degree temps. It took me almost a week to find someone willing to repair it versus replace it at great cost.  I drove 200  miles round trip to meet a repairman who actually repaired it with used parts. Meanwhile I was sleeping fitfully under a fan that teased me with motor noise but no air movement.

The AC repairmen didn't install the unit correctly but I had no way of knowing this. I drove home.  The next night it started randomly peeing all over the floor inside the motorhome.  I found this out because  I slipped on the wet floor in the dark,  twisting my ankle.  I wasn't able to drive back the 200 miles to have him fix it again. So he put it off a few weeks, but he finally drove up here to find out the seal wasn't put back right or some such nonsense, but he did fix it.  No more leaks from the AC, but thankfully the weather began to cool back off a few weeks later.

In October 2011 I woke up during a storm on Hunting Island to discover a tree branch had moved inside my kitchen ceiling. Another emergency roof repair.

I thought moving off boats at sea and into a motorhome on land, would make my life substantially drier. What was I thinking?

Apparently staying dry on land is just as hard as it was at sea.

Who'd a thunk it?

March 2012 the front window over the bunk sprung a leak. Amazing since I had caulked it three or four  times in the past year alone. Drastic measures sprung to mind. It was repaired by me and a friend with copious amounts of wide sticky roof tape. So much that we ran out.  Not only did we seal up the window frame, we began adding roof tape on seams that weren't even leaking,  until we ran out. I haven't had the time and energy to finish the project. But currently, I have no leaks anywhere. Thank goodness for small favors. Eventually it will be finished. Some things take time and money. I run out of time so often. Money appears erratically, sometimes not at all, so planning ahead is a hilarious exercise in fun and  futility.

In the fall of 2011, the engine became really needy in a heartbeat, so off to the Lavonia Ford dealer for repairs and maintenance. Nothing was working right, but an electronic sensor fixed the majority of the problems. Thank goodness, as overnight it seemed my engine was going through massive failure. The mechanics comically discovered my engine had also become a storage stash for some curious squirrels who managed to stuff thousands of acorns in every nook and cranny of my engine and undercarriage. I am still finding acorns in my engine area, ten months later.

When I drive, I hear them dislodging, bouncing around the engine then flying out and down the road. They are in the bumpers, more tumbled out of a headlight when it was replaced. They just keep appearing.

If you come across a trail of acorns, they will lead you right to me.

I think the squirrels where ever I go just keep adding more acorns to keep me amused, confused and bemused.

Because I had no shade awning  for months, I bought a free standing canopy I call the gazebo since it is 6 sided.  It was super cheap compared to the final cost of eventually repairing the RV awning on a tiny budget. I am still using the gazebo  10 months later, but despite my best care, it is full of more holes I need to patch and most of the frame is busted but usable. I had hoped it would last 2 years. Dream on.

Most of the damage was done during a storm last winter. I left it set up where I was workamping in Florida at the time,  to go to the doctor 50 miles away. I was too sick to come back for over a week. When I returned, the storm had beat my gazebo up a good bit but my chairs, table and other stuff under it had more or less survived. I had it tied down but the canopy apparently flailed itself against the frame without benefit of chafing gear.

There are also severe manufacturing flaws. The frame and canopy are simply destined to fail, sad to say. A sad mix of flimsy plastic and sturdy metal. The plastic used is far weaker than the metal, so the metal breaks the plastic fittings. So between the flaws and the storm, it's held together now with patches, duct tape, string, wire, Velcro strips and a whole lot of prayers. It's still a work in progress as I have more repairs to effect on it.   But that is the nature of the beast.

Life is just one repair after another.

I don't mind.

I am so super duper lucky to be alive a year later! YAY!

That is a modern day miracle for sure!  I can't believe how hard I have fought for my life the past two years, yet managed to somehow hold myself and my old wheel estate together. It's amazing I ever get anything else done at all.

My health issues have been like spending two years trying to climb a mountain without getting much above sea level. When all is said and done I am still  alive, talking about the adventure of trying.

I am just hoping my pile of recycled things can hold up until the fall, as I am probably going to be workamping here until it gets too cold to stay.  I have engine woes to fix at the moment and a long list of repairs to be done. It's never ending. I am so confused where to start first.  One day it will more or less fall into place. Most of it requires some money first. Ha ha ha.

Like recently the transmission fluid threw up in the middle of nowhere. Another mystery to sort out at some point when and if the money appears.

Framily, fans, friends, readers, subscribers, and angels have helped me out tremendously the past two years of rugged battle.  The RV woes have been the easy part. Trying to get my body to recuperate has been my own private hellish war.

But amazingly many gifties have come my way both new and used thanks the generosity of so many helping hands from so many angels.

Medically things are temporarily stabilized.  I keep praying so much for a miracle, that God may answer my pleas just to get me to shut up already.

I am still alive and making noise about it too.

I am back in the same workamping spot this summer. But thanks to miracles and gifties from uber wonderful generous angels, life has amazingly continued, one day at a time, and well I woke up alive today, what a fabulous gift.

The RV has weathered storms and disrepair. My body survived it's own hellish war.

Funny how that worked out.

I am astonished.

It's just fantastically wonderful to wake up alive today, with a funny little dog and lots of work to be done.

Peace be with you all!  Waking up alive is the greatest gift of all. I am absolutely thrilled!


  1. Beware Beryl! Her remnants seem to be headed in your direction...

  2. Jeffrey J. TurnerMonday, May 28, 2012

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. So glad that you and the motorhome are hanging in there:)

  4. Blogger doesn't allow me to edit comments. It's either delete them or keep them. I have deleted Jeffry's comment, but have reposted it here, minus his email address. Hello Miss Meraid, I am glad you are still getting by and surviving the daily challenges that confront us all(and with humor to boot!). I live in Edgewater, Florida (between Daytona Beach and Cape Canaveral) and would be willing to host you (for the low cost of free) the next time you roll through. My only fee would be conversation, sharing meals and of course meeting the loquacious Mr. Harley. I have been reading your blog for quite a while and can relate to your challenges living in this country which is NOT the country I grew up in. It has changed so much and for the most part not for the better. I am not some guy looking for anything. Just good conversation, compare some life notes and cooking some good food. Consider this an open invitation and hopefully we can meet sometime. Later, Jeffrey Turner (email address removed)


Life is goof!