North By Northwest Vs K2

Guess who picked which movie?

Have you seen both?

In my opinion, NBNW was hands down so much better than K2 plus watching it while eating pizza and drinking a glass of wine didn’t hurt. I expected Randy to be asleep within the first 30 minutes as well. This movie has suspense, action, romance… and plenty of confusing elements (like HOW can Roger O. Thornhill wear the same exact suit and tie in every scene…except the end…and also have a never ending pocket of cash?). Some scenes were shot in broad daylight noon’ish then the same scene (different point of view) shot nearer to the evening. I liked catching these things…without taking my mind off of the actual mystery that was unfolding!

The story was very interesting, the actors were all beautiful (even bad guys), the green screen work was HARDLY noticeable and the period of time (the 50’s) was before I was alive making it even more intriguing. I’ve never been to New York and some of the scenes were shot right in the middle of iconic locations. If you rent this movie be sure to listen to the commentary by Ernest Lehman as he takes you through the scenes. It’s actually very entertaining and as though he is sitting right there with you.

Randy did NOT fall asleep, I did! It was the wine!!! Not the movie!!


We had the ENTIRE Lake George Campground to ourselves last night…and a bear.

FINALLY we had a bear visit us. I assume it is because there were no campers with all of their goodies to choose from. From the first day here Randy has repeated that we are safe from bears BECAUSE OF KONA AND ZOEY – they would alert us (at least) and scare the bear away.

I argued this point after reading BEAR AWARE plus knowing of all of the guests that had bear visits despite having dogs.

Technically he (Randy) had to eat a little crow when he discovered the mangled mess and evidence of a bear visiting WHILE THE DOGS SNOOZED.

We said GOODBYE to my favorite giant thermal zippable grocery bag. It held all off my reusable grocery bags (Kristi, need you to go to Hawaii asap for a new bag!) but no food at all. Just the essence of what had been inside all of those bags.

For the first time we had coyotes screaming in the Day-Use parking lot at 2:00am. Piper was up and active on that one standing at the window (ON RANDY) growling. She really believes she is something fierce, all 8 lbs of her.

Then there was some sort of “hum” like a car engine running for hours off and on. I felt like I was being deprogrammed and tortured at the same time. I woke Randy up (not knowing he’d been waking up over and over) to ask him if he heard that low droning sound. No. He turned and began snoring within 5 minutes. I decided that was better than the humming.

And we made a HUGE mistake switching sides of the bed so Randy could be closer to the window for fresh air.

THE FIRST PHOTO IS NOT MINE, IT IS FROM A GUEST NAMED LARRY “THE BEAR GUY”. He has been visiting Lake George for decades and has become a go-to guy for anything “bear” related. The SECOND photo shows the aftermath of a bear visit and I did take this photo. The guests DID NOT HEAR A THING.


Tonight is our LAST NIGHT at Lake George. We, again, will be the only inhabitants of the campground.

Randy spent today scrubbing and cleaning and preparing the outside of the The Lorax and I’m inside making sure every surface is dusted, vacuumed and ready to roll. Nothing like sparkling your house with your own hands (something I enjoy).

We plan to burn the remaining fire wood and I’m cooking a chili feast, cornbread included.

We have a bottle of wine ready, 1000 Tales. It was the most expensive bottle of wine we have purchased in over 3 months. I hope it tastes good!

First thing in the morning we close our slide-out, hook up the truck and trailer then do THREE walk-around laps to make sure we didn’t forget anything…and we’re off to June Lake. Not sure about the hours yet but we do have a Full Hook Up place to live just above the actual June Lake. Yesterday we took a few bulky items to our site and realized how HOT it was compared to Lake George. The view of this lake is right out our dining window and the emerald green and deep blue hues were exploding. We have ONE tree to work with for shade. Our fire pit is 4x as large (so I think Randy will be having some giant bonfire levels evenings).


We did not expect much on this journey. I think that is why everything that happens can be looked at in a positive way.

Having the pets has put limitations on our adventures but that is really the only downside. Seeing the dogs bouncing around excited about everything makes it all OK.

I began writing Chapter 4 of my book – but it is sincerely impossible with any sort of job responsibilities (plus we lived in the middle of a lot of activity which was very distracting).

Our new digs and work camping gig is much different. We believe we will be needed to work double the hours.

If you are stuck in a rut of life please realize you don’t have to sit there stewing in it. Make a zig or a zag out of it! You can count on yourself to make sure you will be OK.

Look into work/camping! (if you sign up be sure you mention this number 215013 so we get 2 months added to ours) or just google “Camp Hosting”. There is also a forum we bumped into a year ago called “Make Money And RV” on facebook.

Even if you just did something like this for a short amount of time I think you would LOVE it.

Water Pump 101

Today (Monday June 26th, 2017) we did not wake up planning to spend all morning installing a fuel pump.  Well, I did not anyway.

The fuel pump went out at the start of our stay at Stayton Acres and we had flooding twice in the bathroom.

That sounds so dramatic.  Our bathroom is super small and technically you could consider a cup of water spilled on the floor “flooded”.

This flooding was because the pump was malfunctioning and wouldn’t stop water from filling the tank for fresh water. Some small part of the system was broken.

It made awful sounds and we woke to puddles of water.  Not good.  I think the number one killer of RV’s has to be water.  Luckily ours was about 1/3 cup spread over the 2′ x 3′ space.

I’ve noticed Randy has said, “Oh shit” a lot lately.  It’s for both bad and good situations.  Since it was 3:45am I knew it wasn’t a good one.  He quietly mopped up the water not even swearing once.

Later in the morning after camp classes Randy called the manufacturer and was shocked to have next to instant help resolving the issue.

They shipped out, at their cost, a brand new pump!  What!?  Yes.  That’s right.  Shurflow gets an A+.

It arrived about a week later (we were cool because it worked but just had to be jerry-rigged not to flood).  We had a great set up at Stayton Acres’ South 40 aka  the edge of their avocado grove.  We were dry camping with full use of the pool house with a blasting awesome shower (full bath).  We feel SPOILED!

The day had come.  We are leaving this Friday and need that water pump working.

We got home from teaching classes at 8:30am and scrambled to eat breakfast.  I began my daily cleaning routine and Randy began the pump repair.

Three hours later (and many trips in and out of the bathroom) Randy informed me that we would have to take the trailer to Conejo RV so Mike could repair the pump.  There was a freaky screw that had embedded itself deep into the rubber seal at the base of the pump.  The space was microscopicly small and he could not get leverage to remove it.

“Oh shit.” was all I could think.  I replied, “OK.”

Meanwhile my mind was racing on how in the world this was going to workout.  Getting into Conejo RV is NOT simple.  He is a very good mechanic and his time is always booked.  It was generous he was taking us on Thursday.

We did not know how long it would take which brings a big problem into our lives: where would we live while he held and worked on our RV?

I messaged Missy letting her know we were likely going to have to leave earlier than planned to get the pump fixed.  Ugh.

Joe arrived a little later to look over the situation and lend a hand with advice.  From his years working for the city of Los Angeles he had dealt with plenty of “impossible” mechanical tasks.  He first said to WALK AWAY FROM IT for a while rather than trying to push it through.  Take a break and do something else.  You will drive yourself nuts otherwise.

Randy gave him the details and showed him the screw and its lodged in spot.  Joe told him he could handle this – he gave him a push in the right direction.

It was 100 degrees out (ok, maybe 86…but HOT in the trailer even with the AC running) and Randy went at it one last time.  Suddenly there was the sound of success from the floor of the bathroom!!!  He did it!!


He got that dang screw OUT and he easily replaced the part.  WE HAD A WORKING PUMP!


The proof is in the pudding.  It was time to turn on the water spigots and let’er rip.

I carefully turned the knob in the kitchen and after a few sputters and spits the water poured out and the pump began humming.

I love that my husband got back in the saddle and HANDLED the problem!  I love that Joe came in and gave him that push which I think had to help a bit.

We’re over a small bump in the road and avoided a completely awful situation.

Good Job Husband Unit!

Water Pump: 0

Randy Shoemaker: 1


Shitter’s Broken

Randy “under the hood”.

Living at Stayton Acres has been a dream for us. Not only have I learned how to wash a horse, we have had a slow and much needed education in RV life and how things can go wrong.
After a very rocky start to our “RV Career” we grew to expect that we would be fixing problems every single trip and that pushed us to plan ahead on our time and finances. It has been TRUE. Something has gone awry every single trip! Now we anticipate it and it isn’t painful or frustrating.

This is our 5th day here in Santa Rosa California.  

It’s a farm along with a citrus and avocado grove. Missy asked us today, “Have you gone out to pick your breakfast yet?” It’s nuts and awesome and we are so grateful. Last night I felt like we were in a dream.

A little hiccup happened on Day 2.  

We are hooked up (dry camping) to power and water. We have access to a full bathroom and shower just a few yards away.

 Shower’s in the Lorax are completely cool but full blast plumbing and long hair are just dreamy.

The water hose is hooked up well. We turned off the pump because it isn’t needed. We discovered today that our pump regulator plug is defective. 

At 3:45am (we wake up early enough to get the pets all handled and have some coffee) Randy walked into our 2 x 2 foot restroom only to find it had flooded!

“Shit! I think Zoey peed in the bathroom!”

This woke me up to “Paying Attention” sleepy level. “Do you need me to help you?”

“No, just tell me where the junk towels are.”

“The top linen closet, on the right side at the bottom of the stack of towels.” We saved ONE large junk towel to wash the dogs with and donated the other twenty we had collected over the decade at Monticello House.  

I hear rummaging around and held my breath to listen for the sound of the towel being pulled out. It never came.

“Do you mind if I use the white towel? Can’t find the junk towel.”

SIDEBAR: Over the last decade we have had a bit of a crisis with me caring too much about what a towel is used for. I do not dig cross contaminated towels. The face towels must not EVER be used for bodies and never EVER use a cleaning rag to wash dishes. If I find you used my dish drying towel for anything OTHER THAN drying a clean freshly washed dish I will lose my mind. I just cannot get full buy off by my husband to stop doing it. When I am drying a dish and a brown hair appears I now show him immediately. It’s useless though.

“Go ahead” I say and wait for him to ask me to help do something to remedy the situation.

He doesn’t so I snuggle deeper into my covers and pillow.  

10 minutes later (and I am supposed to be up by now but I’m not) he tells me the pump is leaking, again.

This is the second time it has happened and we have to figure it out.

He turns off the pump, the water is swabbed up and he turns off the water at the main house then takes off to camp. I stay home to write (which was the plan) and now keep an eye on the water situation. That was 4:40am.

At 8:30am he returns with a plan to drive to Conejo RV and talk to Mike.    

Mike is, by far, one of the greatest RV repair men ever. His advice is direct and there is a line out the door of people getting his help, repairs and/or modifications to their rigs.  

Shurflo gave us excellent service.
After a quick breakfast and attempts to contact CoachNet, the manufacturer of the Water Pump as well as Forest River (our RV manufacturer) he sets off into town.

Not even an hour later he returns with the conclusion that our pump is defective!

We have two options: tow it to Upland to the RV Spa where we purchased it to have it serviced or buy a pump for about $150 and replace it.  

Our experience at The RV Spa was not that great and we’re pretty darn sure they could care less that we’re having any difficulties. For the record: I would not recommend a new RV’er use them for ANYTHING. They are all about getting the rig off the lot and you assuming the responsibilities. No friendly check up, no inquiring about how things are going…NOTHING. They also try to sell you things you really, honestly, sincerely do not need (like warranties). We got a different shower head and toilet based off of their scare tactics. We did NOT buy their warranty after taking the time to fully read every single word out loud to each other.

He chose to buy a new pump and replace it. It was critical that he record how to take it apart and put it back together and he set the space up fully to work.  

The pump manufacturer was awesome too. They are sending us a brand new pump, no charge!

We’ll post the video of the process just in case you happen to need help on this topic.

So, the shitter technically wasn’t broken directly and everything is going to be OK.

We are SO thankful to be at Stayton Acres and learning a lot about how to survive in this beautiful bread box we call HOME now.

What Next

We sold our adorable 1999 Coachman Travel Trailer that smelled weird but had survived 17 years of use and TLC to purchase a 2017 Forest River Cherokee and a $20 less monthly payment.

So far it’s been a tough learning experience.  The RV Spa is a place for SEASONED RV’ers not a brand new couple looking to travel across the US for the very first time.

We set off to our first camping experience where LOTS of things went wrong.

If you did not already know, RV’s are made out of paper mache.  The walls are thin, the shelving is about as sturdy as a shoe box and after traveling from Simi Valley to Thornhill Broome for our Maiden Voyage we discovered how to properly fill our pantry.
This was ONE of the many problems, like I said.
We are second guessing our plans.

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