Friday, February 28, 2014

Dolphins, cats, and other topics

February 28, 2014--It was a nice trip. It ended too soon.

Our vacation went as planned: fishing school, fishing, and more fishing. Unfortunately, we never did catch dinner. That's the way fishing is. You can fish, but there is no guarantee that you will catch!

Our last two times on the bridge, we kept casting our lines, hoping that something sizable enough to be eaten would bite. The fish nibbled--they really liked the live shrimp we used as bait the last day--but they sure didn't catch!

As we gazed out on the water, watching our lines and waiting for a tug, we saw several dolphins out for a late lunch. Swimming less than 100 yards from the bridge, they would silently and gracefully dive into the water. Up and down. Up and down. I thought possibly that as they fished for dinner, their prey would come our way. But no such luck.

Despite the poor catching, we enjoyed the fishing. An hour or two casting is very peaceful for the soul. And the sun felt good, too! We are determined to improve our fishing gear and even try surf surf fishing, which the school emphasized.

Other topics...

Charlie was a champ during our vacation. He ate well (seemed to have gained weight, too); slept well; and even went outside to play. We would eagerly wait at the door and want to go outside. I can't say he was eager for the leash, but he tolerated it.

Xena didn't want to be outside. She decided the shotgun chair was her bed the entire week, and that's where she stayed. She sometimes also tolerated Charlie to sleep with her, too. Sometimes...not always.

When we got home, we put the cats on the porch. Within minutes, Charlie went around the front and tried to go back into the motorhome. What surprised us, though, was that Xena did the same! She climbed in after Charlie and they both refused to come out. We let them stay with us and take the RV down to storage. They returned home uncaged in the car. They were good travelers...almost like dogs!

Once we got home again, we transported them to the porch. It was dinnertime for them, and Jim put the food out. Charlie was nowhere to be found. Finally, after some time, Jim heard meowing at the front door. Charlie had gone around the house--I guess in search of the RV! When he couldn't find it, it meowed until we let him in. I have no idea why he didn't just go around back and come in as he normally would. Cats! Give me a dog. They are so much smarter. And companionable.

The first day when we arrived at the RV park, we had electrical problems--again. Jim dismantled the entire cord from its reel and wired it directly into the electrical system. Then somehow he reset the inverter. After that, we had no further electrical problems. I think they are finally solved. He would still like to fix the reel problem (rebuild it with new brushes), but so far he has been unable to locate the correct parts. So, we may do without the reel and have to coil the cord manually.

We are having a problem with the microwave, but we will be getting a new one later this summer, so we should be OK on that account. Oh, another thing...our portable ice maker also died just before we left. We had worked it hard for almost three years, so I guess it lived a good life. Jim will either fix the freezer's ice maker or we'll purchase another portable unit.

We haven't decided where our next trip will be. Sometime in the early summer (after a few projects on the house are done), we'll either go out west, then up through Utah and back through the midwest, with a stop in Chicagoland, or we'll go up the east coast, swing out to the midwest and back home. That trip will probably last about two months.

Until later,

Your Reluctant RoVer,

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Gone fishin'

February 23, 2014--We went fishing, but we didn't do much catching. Despite this, we had a lot of fun.

The waters around here are supposed to provide some of the best fishing in Florida. But you couldn't prove it by us. Jim caught two or three throw-backs. I think I had two. So for dinner tonight it will be pulled pork...not exactly an angler's catch!

We did put our new fishing knowledge to work, but unfortunately, the fish seemed to prefer the lines and bait of the people down the bridge from us. While we stood there, throwing our lines in the water, the husband and wife 30 feet away pulled in a couple of "keeper" bluefish. Nice! They were using chunked-up bait fish. We were using clams. I guess the fish didn't like our gourmet dinner as much as theirs.

Jim is attempting to take the little puffer fish off my line. The little critter came out of the water and blew up like a balloon!
After a couple of hours, we drove down the highway a bit and pulled into a parking space by the intracoastal waters. I swore there were no fish in those shallow waters. Jim says the fish are the same, both sides of the highway. I suppose he is right, but we didn't get very many nibbles, let alone catch any.

Oh, well. Tomorrow is another day. It's just nice being out in the warm 80 degree sun and breathing in the fresh salt air.

We are going to the RV park's ice cream social in an hour. I think we'll have better luck eating our dessert (before dinner) than we did pulling in the big ones.

Until later,

Your Reluctant RoVer,


Friday, February 21, 2014

A fish school

February 21, 2014--The main purpose of our week's vacation was to learn how to fish. And that's what we did today.

The seminar wasn't exactly what we had anticipated, but we learned a great deal about surf fishing, as well as fishing off a dock or bridge. (I had wanted more information and techniques for fishing in the river or at least off a bridge. But most of what we learned was applicable for those areas.)

Did you know that fish can smell? I didn't. I knew they could see; that's why you put attractive bait that they want to eat on the hook. But smell? Well, it makes sense.

Rodney Smith, the publisher of a statewide fishing magazine distributed free at bait shops, was the main presenter, along with John Detmer, a long-time angler and owner of a bait and tackle shop. Smith used to be a fish guide; he has won recognition for hooking the biggest snook on a certain type of line. He knows what he is talking about when it comes to fishing.

The bait method Smith and Detmer suggest using is called the 3-S method: sight, sound, and smell. When all three are used together, supposedly fish will jump into your net. Well, maybe not. But using a lure that is attractive, adding scent (either with a scent plug or spray), and also adding a rattle within the lure makes the lure more alluring, since it immitates real bait fish.

And did you know that a smaller hook is better than a bigger one? And that you can actually catch a very big fish on a lightweight monofilament line?

I didn't know these things, but I do now, and I can't wait to try them out.

Part of the fishing school was inside an auditorium at a conservation center on Melbourne Beach. After a couple of hours, we went down to the beach. Unfortunately, the wind was fierce and clouds were overhead. Rodney and John demonstrated how to bait hooks and how to cast into the surf, using a 12-foot fishing pole. But the weather was too bad for any hands-on experience, assuming some was planned.

Fishing is like any other sport: You have to learn how to do it. Sure, you can just throw out a line and hope for the best, but it's better if you have at least a little knowledge. The fishing school gave us that.

So, tomorrow, if the weather is better, perhaps Jim and I will head out to the beach and try our hand at surf fishing. I can't wait.

Until next time,

Your Reluctant RoVer,


Thursday, February 20, 2014


Feb. 20, 2014—Do you remember the movie, Frogmen? I do. It was about the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team (UDT), the predecessor to the Navy SEALS. I was pretty young when I watched the movie starring Richard Widmark, but I remember thinking how cool it was to swim underwater. Scuba diving wasn’t yet a recreational sport, if my memory is correct.

Today Jim and I traveled down the road to Fort Pierce, Fla., where the UDT SEAL Museum is housed. Quite interesting.

Frogman Jim

The museum tells the history of the UD teams and SEALS and have a lot of artifacts, including weapons as well as uniforms and equipment, used by these brave sailors.

Outside, the museum has a number of different vessels used by the SEALS, which incidentally, stands for SEa, Air, Land. (President Kennedy was the one who created this unit as it is known today.)

Cost is minimal; enjoyment is good. This is another hidden gem, which we really enjoy finding. (We are going to visit a science museum in Brevard County on the way home. It may also merit a “hidden gem” award:>) 

Tomorrow our fishing class.

Until later,

Your Reluctant RoVer

The Cat's Meow

Feb. 20, 2014—Charlie, our 16-year-old-on-death’s-door cat, is still around.

Tuesday afternoon we brought Junior (our motorhome) to the house so that we could load and leave on Wednesday morning. Charlie, who almost never goes into the front yard, saw (or heard) the motorhome and sat in the middle of the driveway, watching us go in and out of the house with our belongings.

And, like a puppy dog, he started following us—into and out of Junior!

We couldn’t get over it.

I think he is confused (probably a little dementia).

When we were ready to leave Wednesday morning, of course, he took off and hid. We were smart, though, and had closed doors and locked the outside cat door, so he couldn’t hide too well. We found him under our bed. He came out not too reluctantly.

Xena was no problem, either. She wasn’t as happy about going into the motorhome as Charlie, but once we got underway, they were both fine. Charlie spent a lot of time in my lap. Xena slept on the bed.

They may be Reluctant RoVers, but they are coming around.

P.S. Charlie seems to be doing well, and actually may have gained a little weight. I guess it isn’t his time yet.

Until next time,
Your Reluctant RoVer,


Will It Never End?

Feb. 19, 2014—The never-ending sage of our electrical problems continue.

Ever since we purchased this motorhome, we have had intermittent electrical problems. Last trip out (down to the Keys), Jim thought it was the electrical cord. Then (just before spending $150 for a new cord), he found the real cause: bad brushes in the reel that winds up and stores the cord.
He disconnected everything; temporarily fixed the problem; and determined he would replace the brushes (some copper doohickeys) when we got home.

He did, last week.

It took hours. The worst part was putting everything back together, because he needed to use steel rivets. Very hard to use. (Steel is hard!)

He thought everything was OK, but then suddenly we had a problem with the inverter, a device that allows you to get 110 electrical power in the motorhome when using batteries or on the generator. The inverter lit up like a Christmas tree; it did not show any charging.

Jim figured that would sort itself out once we were plugged in at an RV park.


In fact, really wrong. When we got to Vero Beach tonight he plugged in the cord and puff! (Literally.) Everything shorted out. And we still had a Christmas tree for an inverter. No power anywhere.
After testing everything, he finally decided that he would take apart all of his work, disassemble the entire reel, and attach the cord directly to the motorhome (instead of going through the connection in the reel).

Finally. We have power. Even the inverter is working (at least for now). I’m not 100% certain that the inverter doesn’t have an intermittent problem, but we won’t know until our next trip or at least until we try to use it without shore power. (Jim thinks it just needed to reset itself. I hope he’s right.)
Don’t get me wrong. We like our motorhome. It is luxurious. It is large. It is comfortable. But it is a pain the you-know-what. Luckily, my husband can fix almost anything.

We still have some things to fix that we knew about when we purchased this home-on=wheels—like the automatic awning.

And we have some updating to do. We purchased a very nice tall kitchen spigot with a pull-out sprayer. He may have time to install it while we are here. We also bought a bidet to put on the toilet. Those are little projects, which should be easily accomplished.

Should be. Easy to say. We’ll see if they are.

Later today are off to a Navy Seals museum in Fort Pierce. Tomorrow we attend our fishing clinic. And the rest of the week we plan to catch fish.

Until later,

Your Reluctant Rover,


Back home again...

Rob and I hit the road about 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 15. The movers were incredible: They had everything loaded into the huge moving tru...