Freedom Express & Tahoe

Freedom Express & Tahoe

Monday, June 9, 2014


On Thursday night, I am sitting here reading when I there was a knock on my door. It's Greg Young, from RV Solar Solutions to install my Solar panels. YEAH!!!  He says he will mount panels tomorrow since the AM is supposed to be nice but rain later in day is forecast. This will give the mounting adhesive ample time to adhere before I travel home. It needs 3 days to cure. He will jump back and forth from my install to the other 2 he is doing here. Both of them are my fellow boon dockers that I met at boon docking rally given by Howard and Linda Payne. That is also where I got the recommendation to use Greg for this install. Thank you, Howard and Linda.  

So it's Friday and I walk over to see Louise and how her solar install is going. Greg says he's about finished mounting hers will be up to see me soon. About half an hour later he arrives with panels in tow.  After he gets panels up on the roof he gets a call from his 
wife who was at work but he had sent her to go pick up supplies for my rubber roof install. She tells him, "they just had a storm go through with large hail which broke over a dozen windshields in her work parking lot. If he hadn't sent her on this errand, her car would have been in the lot!" OMG!!! He says "Jean, she says  - I should hug you, you saved my car".  Well, he gets the panels adhered to the roof and it's clouding up here real quick. He put away his tools and the sky opens up.  Guess what? Here comes the hail too. Thankfully, the biggest we got here was grape size. But Greg says, it is no problem for these panels unless they get softball 
size hail and then we would have bigger problems then the panels. So, no worries. I am all warm and dry in the "Baby" watching it hail. 

Saturday by 10 AM, the real work begins. Greg has brought his business partner, Ethan, who is helping with my install. Ethan and he own a construction company and Ethan has been doing residential solar installs for years. We went over exactly what they were going to do, where they were putting the controller, inverter,
cut off switches, etc. I told him I have future plans to remove my dinette unit and have a credenza/desk unit installed in it's place. Taking that into account, he is putting my "electrical outlets" in that area with a 3' loop of extra wire so it can be relocated at that time. He has positioned the panels so I can add another one if I decide I need more power. (That made me think of "Tim -the tool man- Taylor' from Home Improvements"). MORE POWER !!!!!!!! AW! AW! Am I dating myself here? Did you all watch that show back when TV had funny sit coms still running? But I don't think that another panel will be necessary since I do have my portable 100 watt solar panel for a backup. If I am parked in the trees or somewhere the sun can't shine on the roof, I can connect that portable and move it to where the sun is shinning. He is also putting a shut off switch in my battery box for me. Here are some pics of the install process and the finished results. 

I will tell you, RV Solar Solutions is the one to contact for your solar needs. They are very knowledgable about what I needed since I didn't have a clue other than I wanted panels and a plug in to use power inside the RV. My friend, Kyra, had advised me to get a battery monitor while this was being done so he is installing that too. On my initial contact, Greg just needed information about my rig, size, year, battery bank, converter and how I use electricity. Then he figured out the rest. They have been great to work with and I highly recommend them. Also having them come to me in the campsite where he is staying has been very convenient. I am actually sitting here writing this blog while he is walking around on my roof doing my install. Thank you, Greg and Ethan for a job well done.

As always, fellow RVers and bloggers, stay safe. Love to family & friends in PA.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


I am back on the road after spending 2 weeks visiting with family in Pa. I stayed with my son & grandson while the "Freedom" got a new addition. My BIL & nephew, who are both welders, built me this awesome box for my battery & generator. Now they are more secure and out of sight - locked up so I have one less thing to be concerned about. They did an awesome job and I have room to spare in case I decide I want that second battery for expansion. Thanks Jerry & Kevin for all your hard work. Here are pics - what do you think?

I am now at Brandywine Creek Campground in Lyndell, PA near Downingtown.

The purpose for my trip this week is to have my SOLAR PANELS installed. I have had this scheduled for 2+ months and am so ready to have this done. When I attended the boon docking rally with given by Howard & Linda Payne, they referred me to a fellow who does solar installs. He is just starting a traveling solar business, being certified by AM Solar - "a big solar company where folks from all over North America go for professional installations at their new facility in Springfield, Oregon, just off Interstate 5." He & his wife are downsizing, selling their house and going full timing. Sound familiar? Well, guess what? He's near Lancaster, PA, very close to my home town. Since I planned on a summer visit to family, I coordinated my install for that time. The best part is, since he's just starting this business, I am getting a break on the price so it works out good for everyone. He is installing 2 - 100 watts solar panels, a 600 watt inverter and a battery monitor. I am so excited & ready for this next step in my adventure. I love boon docking so this will allow me more freedom to run some appliances I have not been using - my Kureig coffee maker, my sewing machine, TV, charge my phone, computer, IPad, etc. Of course, not all at once and probably not often, but it will be great to have the option. Stayed tuned for some pics of the install. I also took the opportunity to complete my latest crafting project. It's made from felt and really brightens up my sofa/LR. What do you think?

While I have full hook up (which I am totally NOT used to) including water, I took the advantage to give my Freedom Baby a bath. It was much needed especially the awning underside. She is now shining like the beauty she is and looks much better. See here........

That's all for now. To my fellow RVers and bloggers, stay safe and happy travels. To friends and family in PA, I'll be back soon all ready to soak up some sun (on my panels). LOL

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Williams Landing and Back home in PA

It has been a busy few weeks so I will try to catch up now. I spent 10 + days at Williams Landing near Tallahassee, Fl at a free campground. It is located on Lake Talquin in the upper northern part of the Apalachicola National Forest. My friend, Hazel was staying there and some friends and I were over to visit with her about a week before we moved campsites. The original plan was to go to another WMA campsite but when we attempted to get there, the road was completely flooded across. So we went to plan B. It was a good choice, on a beautiful Lake, with flush toilets, showers, water available and 4 G internet/cell signal plus enough sun for the solar panels. Had a great time. Check out these pictures and the sunset. 

While staying near Tallahassee, we went to the Food Truck wars. If you've never been, it's a different experience. Numerous food truck (at least 6 - 8) with many different types of food for sale, and a band playing for your listening pleasure. We sat on lawn chairs, ate our delicious food and enjoyed the atmosphere, music and the evening. 

It was nearing the end on May and time to move on. My friend, Louise, who I have been caravanning with needed to be in Indiana by May 6 and I was headed for PA. However, after traveling I 95 back and forth from FL to PA with my husband, when we lived in FL, I decided to take a more scenic route? After a few nights Walmarting 

while traveling on route 27 going around all the big cities, up through the mountains in West Virginia, ending on I 81 in Shippensburg, PA, I visited with some family there. It was a nice trip and a new experience for me on the 5 & 6% grades. I wanted to try the grades out since I am planning to travel out west in a few months and wanted to test out my rig and Tow vehicle. I understand they have pretty many grades out there. I am glad to say I had no problems. But I will be using the Truckers Atlas & the rand macNally motor carrier atlas to avoid them when possible. The less wear and tear on "The Freedom and Tahoe" the better.

I am back in PA now staying with my son for a few weeks and enjoying kids, grandkids, great grands and family. My brother-in-law and nephew are doing some work on the "Freedom" for me. I will have the solar panels installed in about 10 days and will let you know how that goes. Then I will spend the month of June with my daughter and her family.

That's all for now. Safe travels to my blogger and RV friends. And Family - it's good to be home with you. Love to all.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Apalachicola National Forest near Sopchoppy, Fl

April 16 - Apalachicola National Forest near Sopchoppy, Fl 

We attended a festival in the town nearest us today. The name alone was enough to grab our interest. It was a "Worm Gruntin Festival" and it looks like the whole town turned out for it. "Just what is worm gruntin?", you may ask. We certainly had no clue but were told from a fellow camper here " it's a big event". 

Worm grunting is a technique for calling earth worms out of the earth so they can be gathered and used for fish bait. For years, accounts of the 
practice were dismissed as superstition or coincidence. How could someone armed only with a stick and piece of iron be able to command earth worms the way the Pied Piper commanded rats? Then a Vanderbilt University biologist named Kenneth C. Catina looked at worm grunting and discovered its secret. The noise worm grunters
make sounds like moles. And, moles enjoy worms 
at least as much as fish do. So the worms instinctively flee above ground, where moles are least likely to go.

Well, take a look- 

This guy takes a stake, pounds it into the ground, then takes a piece of metal with ridges on it and kind of saws it back & forth across it. It makes a 
kind of grunting sound. It vibrates the earth and the worms come out of the ground. This is the 14th annual festival.  On the schedule you will find lots of games and contests for children and adults, live music by popular local bands  (4), many vendors of food, crafts & local specialty items culminating with the Worm Grunters' Ball in the evening. In small towns across the USA, there are all kinds of neat things to see and enjoy. You gotta love this life that allows us the freedom to attend them.

After a ride around the country side to check out campground option to move to, we found a nice 
one which may be our next home. Here's a sneak 

That's all for now. I am trying to blog more often so we'll see how it goes as long as I have wifi signal. To all my RV friends and fellow bloggers, stay safe. To PA family & friends, all my love and I will be in PA the 2nd week in May. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Apalachicola National Forest -Woods Lake

April 11- Apalachicola National Forest

After deciding to caravan together, Kyra, Louise and I left West tower, Osceola Nat. forest and stopped at Ocean Pond campground to dump our black & grey water tanks ($3). This is a nice campground with some water hookup located on a big pond so no boon docking - you pay a fee. We came over here a few days ago to take showers ($2) and check it out. It fit our needs so this was the 1st leg of our journey today.

We made a stop at Walmart for fuel, groceries and an early dinner. We also wanted to pick up the Thermocell to repel mosquitos and ticks.
Some of our fellow campers were using them at West Tower and they seemed to do the trick along with the home made spray 
recipe Kyra gave us.  It's a combination of Skin-so Soft oil, white 
vinegar, eucalyptus oil, and water. This works well, is all natural 
and good for your skin too. Just spray it on all exposed skin.

We arrived at Apalachicola National Forest, Wood Lake, after traveling down a long, gravel road that was not in the best shape (this is a gross understatement). I actually had to use the 4 wheel drive on the Tahoe to get through a few of the "puddles". 
Fortunately, there were 3 campsites left so we snagged them. There 
are some trees here but also sun for the solar panels. After checking in with the camp host, we learned that there is another road to come in / go out on which is shorter and in much better shape. Wonderful!!!!!! All set for another 2 weeks of free camping. 

I set up camp, unhook "Freedom" (travel trailer now has a name and very fitting, I think) from the Tahoe. What do I find? The power cord that goes from Freedom to the Tahoe has been pinched and broken about half way through. Oh, no! This means I have no lights on the trailer while towing so it has to be fixed before I can tow again. Now I have 2 weeks to find some place to have it done. I have an idea this may have happened when we came down that GREAT (snicker, snicker) road into here. Well, this is the price you pay for all this peace and quiet, in the woods, away from it all. And did I say FREE campsites. Cheap at half the price.  Here is our new home for the next 2 weeks.

We have spent a few days exploring the area. We checked out the other camping & hunt areas here in the National forest, (Hitchcock, Mack, Revel, Whitehead, Porter). Wood Lake is the best of all of them so we will be staying right where we are. The others are more remote, some nice level sites but little sun (not good for solar) and 
NO or very limited cell service (1 G with 1 bar is not good). Take a look at the map.

Kyra & I ventured into Tallahassee for the day to explore, take care of some banking business for me and visit a Pilot travel center. The purpose of this was to take a shower. Since we have limited water in the RV's, we try to go to nearby campgrounds or some where we can use the showers. There's a fee for this but that's better than having to hook up your rig and take it somewhere to dump tanks & take on more water (which costs as well) more often than the 2 weeks we are allowed to stay here. The showers at the Pilot are just like a shower in a nice hotel. They provide towels and soap (you should take your own shampoo and wear shower shoes). The cost is $10-12 but well worth being able to stand under a HOT shower as long as you want. Pilot & Flying J are partnered so same thing applies to Flying J. You can even do laundry if you want. This is one of the things that non-RVer's take for granted every day, along with the unlimited use of electricity. One of the things Rver's (especially full timers) try to do is leave no footprint where you have been. This means you leave a site as you found it, as if you were not there. Haul out all your trash or use trash bins if provided,
 disturb as little as you can (whether it be your neighboring campers or the earth). A good philosophy for everyone to follow as far as I'm concerned.

That's all for now. To my RV friends and bloggers, stay safe. To PA family & friends, I'm glad to hear it's warming up in Pa. I plan on being there Mid-May until the end of June. Then I head out west. Love to all.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


March 22 Osceola National Forest, near Lake City, FL 72 degrees

Finally, I have something to blog about. I have been at this campsite about 1 1/2 weeks and am loving it. A quiet, secluded spot in the National Forest with sun, available water and flush toilet. There are about 8 rigs here in the group I met up with. These folks have welcomed me with open arms. Really, a hug for anyone who joins made me feel right at home. The Escapees Boondocker BOF group follow the rendezvous' Trail for free primitive camping, moving to a new spot about every 2 weeks. The week started out slowly with happy hour (or 2) daily @ 4 pm where we just sit in the shade or sun and chat. I have been learning lots of tricks and information from some of the long time members who are so willing to share their knowledge. Starting with places they've been and recommend, tips for handling RV stuff - like where to dump tanks, get propane filled, best prices on fuel, where to camp for free, and experiences they've had. Some have been good experiences but, also, the bad ones just make us realize, we can and will - all make mistakes. They share them so hopefully we learn from these mistakes so we don't make the same ones. Campfires nightly are a nice, relaxing end to a perfect day. Check out the pine pollen on my car. Thankfully, my allergies have not been acting up (fingers crossed).

After 2 1/2 days of rain last week, it's finally starting to dry out here. We have had days in the 70's and nights in the low 50's. So far, I have not needed to put heat on. Though on the colder nights, I did sleep in my sweats and with an extra blanket. During the day, I have been working on my tan sitting in the sun, reading on my IPad but wearing sunscreen and a hat so I have plenty of protection. Can't ask for a more relaxed day than that.

We enjoyed 2 days at the local flea market at the Fairgrounds in Lake City and 2 really good lunches out at Sonny's BBQ (pulled pork) and Cedar Creek Seafood (fried oysters and sea scallops and very good hush puppies) The food in both places was wonderful and the service outstanding. Neither place had a problem giving individual checks for us solo gals and we had really fast service at lunchtime for a group of 9-11 people.

Yesterday I had a new experience - group breakfast was eggs in a bag. For those who never did it, you can google it but it's just eggs and the omelet fixings of your choice (which everyone contributes to) in a plastic baggie, the press seal (not the zip lock) kind, squished together to mix and put in a pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes until no longer runny. Top w/ shredded cheese when you take out of bag. Served with sides of potatoes & onions, sausage, fruit, apple cake, biscuits and gravy and
assorted condiments. It was new, different, very good and a nice change of pace. This seems to be a thing the group does at least once every 2 weeks or so. Check out the pictures of our group.

I got this new bracelet at the flea market. One of the gals and her husband that are camping here have had them for over a year. She says, at one point, she had such a problem with her arm, she couldn't raise it to comb her hair. This bracelet has changed that and she can do it now. If it helps with my shoulder and ankle pain and flareups, I'll be happy. It is an embedded wearable flex bracelet that is designed to stabilize and harmonize your body's bioelectric current.  It is made from the same type of silicone as the bracelets you see for cancer awareness and such. It is supposed to help with balance, strength and flexibility and impact your body's overall state of health.  They are available at Take a look at it.

That's all for now. To my fellow RV friends and bloggers, stay safe and happy trails. To friends and family in PA, much love and I hope this new storm I'm hearing about that is coming up the coast, misses you all.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


March 11,2014,  78 degrees - Ocala National Forest

After 7 weeks at my brother's to outfit the Travel Trailer as needed,  I have finally left to start this for real. Again, a great big thanks to Mike and Jan for your help and hospitality. There have been some ups and downs (thankfully-mostly ups), but I think we finally have it all set to go. Just one more add of another solar panel but that will come in May when I'm on my way back to PA to spend time with family. 

I did some fun things while in central FL including two trips to downtown Disney, toured the hotels and had lunch there and just enjoying the atmosphere. A day trip to Tampa for the Arts and Crafts show was a new experience for me. We saw lots of beautiful work, pottery, glass works, paintings, metal sculptures and even sidewalk chalk art. All of it was amazing. I scored these two quirky prints from a young artist, Richard 'Rick' Lorenz. He is the creator of 'U-BIRDZ' - "a birds eye view of the real YOU". The first one is Myrtle and she says "Oh, no you didn't!" The second one is Mini Myrtle (the daughter) and she says "Oh, yes - I did". They are so colorful and just made me smile. So now I have 2 new additions to the RV. What do you think of them? 

Today I left Mulberry to go to Ocala to meet up with Kyra, a solo boon docking friend I met a few weeks ago at the Boon docking Rally. I met her and a group of real independent gals who travel with the Escapees Boon dockers. We will go to meet up with the rest of the group tomorrow. The idea is to find primitive 
sites where you can stay at no charge, with no amenities (electric, sewer, cable, wifi). Often these are Wildlife or Water Management areas that are off the beaten track and used for hunting & fishing. We travel as a group so there is safety in numbers. There could be 2 rigs or 20. - come in and out as your time allows. This is great for me and I have learned a lot from talking with these gals and guys. They have helped me make decisions that will make my travels more enjoyable and my retirement $'s go farther. The right batteries, generator and solar panel system ( the heart of your 
electrical system) will make a big difference in the time I can spend with nature, in peace and quiet and off the grid.  I am really looking forward to doing as much of this as I can.  This is my 1st official boon docking campsite.

That's all for now folks. To my RV & blogger friends, safe travels. To PA family and friends, much love. I am glad you are beginning to see warmer days up there.