Curating Articles and Videos to Add New Voices. New Writers are Welcome.

It’s best to have a variety of ideas and expressions about those topics. We plan to curate interesting posts related to our mission. We also want to encourage others to participate. You would be welcome.

While I enjoy writing about our exploits in our truck and camper it is important that more than my own voice be heard. I have mentioned before that I want to include stories and videos that I have enjoyed that seem relevant to our subjects here on I&N.

To be honest, we have hesitated. But no more. We will make an effort to add curated articles going forward. 

We have asked before and want to mention again that writers with an interest in our topics about trucks, trailers, tools and toys consider sharing with us on our site. Please get in touch. We would love to collaborate with you.


Hurricane Michael and Our Home

It’s been busy here. We are living on the Florida Panhandle and as you may know, or remember, we experienced the landfall of Hurricane Michael just about six months ago. When Michael hit my wife and I had evacuated with our truck and camping trailer to Troy, Alabama which was west of the storms path. On the day that the hurricane actually made landfall and was moving up toward our hometown we were camped and fully plugged in. We had WiFi and cable TV.

We weren’t so far away that we didn’t experience some of the heavy rains and buffeting winds and so we were inside the trailer for the day. Some of the winds were strong enough that I worried that perhaps I hadn’t taken us far enough out of harms way, but that was just anxiety. We were fine.

So we were in for the day and had the TV on and had our iPads out watching the storm as it approached our home and tried to get any information that we could from the TV broadcast. Unfortunately, the TV stations were concentrating upon the storm events as they related to more local towns and cities in Alabama and only gave broad coverage of what was happening in Florida, and that was mostly about the coastal areas that took the greatest hit. We live fifty miles inland and in a tiny community, so didn’t have any real direct references in the news that day.

Our conversations that day where about our home and what we would have left after the storm. We have hurricane insurance but had never had to use it and wondered if what insurance we had purchased was adequate, if the insurance company was viable and strong enough financially to pay us, and what we’d do if our home was a total loss. It was an interesting and anxious day.

Well coming back to today let’s just recap. It’s no fun dealing with the insurance company. It’s difficult to see our home which we had lovingly restored over the last several years damaged as it was. We still had a home, but it had severe damage. There were five large pine trees laying on the roof when we finally got back home after the storm passed. Those trees have been removed and the roof has been covered with tarps and we’ve worked hard to clean up the property. Still our home remains damaged after these six months. Now we do have electric and water. Our kitchen, the bathrooms, and many areas are unaffected, and are still usable. So we aren’t suffering. But we’re also in limbo.

We have four or five roof penetrations. Some are quite large. Our foundation piers have been crushed into the ground on one corner of the home. Essentially we need to start with that. The foundation needs to be repaired and floors need to be re-leveled before walls that are damaged, windows that are damaged, and roofing etc. can be put back in place. We have weekly walk throughs with contractors and with engineers to get pricing, and to get a go-ahead from the insurance carrier to get the work underway and funded.

In short, we’re trapped.

We want to do more traveling and camping. We want to advance the finish work on the house. But we can’t do much of either until we get past this point were the contractors can get in and started.

As much as I am complaining though, others are in far worse shape. We’re safe, we have a dry home, we have air conditioning and heat as needed. Some are still in tents down in Panama City just south of us. Those who had beautiful homes at Mexico Beach just to he east of Panama City have nothing left. Now for many it was a second home, but perhaps half or more were full time residence and were wiped out. Many will simply leave and never return and rebuild. I can’t blame them, it’s hard to have confidence after something like this.

The other sad thing is that the landscape around us is semi-permanently destroyed. Millions of trees are flattened and broken. They will be visible of decades to come. Most of us will not see the final recovery in this lifetime. What was pleasing to the eye is now a sore spot.

So we’re doing our best. We have lots to do. I’m just adding a couple photos to give some context. These storms take a long time to recover from. I would guess we will not be back to ’normal’ for at least a year. I think that ’normal’ won’t be as previously envisioned either, but we’ll adapt.
I will get back to writing about our topics of trucks, trailers, tools and toys – never fear. These thoughts were on my mind though and I thought that I’d share them.

Photos of Camping Trips and Special Places Visited

It’s a little sad that we don’t have a lot of photos from our travels and camping trips when we were younger. Digital photography is so wonderful. What a difference in just twenty years or so.

Before this millennium our photos were on film, what few we took. We didn’t have the money when raising our family to shoot and develop lots of photographs and only wish we had. The photos that we did take are precious to us. This must be true for almost everyone.

Here are a few old photos with the old tent.

Well as a result,  we don’t have pictures from many of our camping trips. We don’t have photos of vehicles and events that could be shared here either. These few excepted.

I suppose that the next generation will lament not having taken high definition videos as often as they will wish in their older age. What next – holograms? Perhaps. 

Well I got to thinking about this when looking for photos of us tent camping. That wasn’t so long ago.  But we have been camping since the 1970’s. Our old cotton duck Eureka tent was a big part of our recreation. Trucks came only in the 1980’s. At first we camped out of a  Volkswagen beetle.  Later we had a minivan.  I used trucks in my work, but we didn’t camp with them until about 2012 or so. By then it was just Beth and I once again.  Empty nesters. 

Photos from the Smokey Mountains. We were tent camping and had our bikes on a rake at the back of our 2009 F150 STX 4×4.

What I found though was that my old body didn’t still enjoy setup and knockdown of camp. I wasn’t thrilled with sleeping on a cot either. And I didn’t like getting out of the tent and to the campgrounds bathroom in the wee small hours of the night. I didn’t need to when I  was younger. 

So we evolved to trailer camping. Turns out we had a truck for towing. We could afford it, and having a bed, a bathroom, heat, and air conditioning turned out to be necessities not luxuries. Our truck made it possible to keep camping. 

Our first travel trailer. We did a lot to clean it up when we bought it on eBay. A 2008 FB189 Funfinder.

I actually wrote a short book about the experience. Here is a link to it at Amazon

And here is a link to a video that I did back then.

So we continue to enjoy the outdoors.  We take lots of digital pictures.  We have a good time. 

A Short Trailer Camping Trip

Beth and I just returned from a short camping trip up into Georgia. We were attending an event and so we took the camper to make the trip easier and less stressful. The drive was only 2 1/2 hours one way. That’s just enough to be too much for me round trip and with a lot of hours in between.

Our New Theatre Recliners

So we relax, went to dinners, and tried out our new theater seating in the trailer watching a movie one night, and PBS Masterpiece Theatre the next.

I like reading in the morning on my iPad and drinking coffee. The recliner and the cup holder I can report pass the comfort test that matters most to me.

The TV arm that extends and allows the screen to tilt towards us needs to be swapped with a longer version. We sit at a right angle to the screen and need to bring it out further to reduce the strain on our necks. I have one already picked out and frankly expected this problem, but I wanted to be sure it was necessary. It’s debatable, but I am striving for perfection, or something like it. That’s still alluding me.

Goodyear Endurance Tires

New to this trip was a set of new tires as well. We invested in a new set of Goodyear Endurance tires. Our OEM tires were getting old, at three years, they had 15,000 miles on them, and one had some excessive wear from a slight alignment issue. I feel a lot better knowing they are new and safe. I’ve had new tires put on my truck, Beth’s car, and now the trailer. I am feeling a little bit tire poor at the moment.

My next trailer project is to grease the hubs. I have been watching YouTube videos and think I can do it. We’ll see.