Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Plans Go Awry

Tuesday February 16 & Wednesday February 17, 2016                             Most Recent Posts:
Highlands Hammock State Park                                                      Poisonous Bean Creates Quite a Stir
Sebring Florida                                                                            Our Interesting Neighbors and the Young Hammock




David suggests that early this evening we head back down to the Swamp Walk to see what it is like in the dusk.  It’s a great idea.  I don’t expect to see much but who knows.  I do expect to hear the sounds of the swamp at sundown and beyond.

We bike over of course and walk slowly along the boardwalk looking and listening in the dimming light.



When we first arrive there is still plenty of light to see and take pictures by.




I take a few shots in black and white.  They seem fitting for this dimming light.





The moon, at nearly half full, is rising in the sky above us.





We linger on the entering single file boardwalk.  Total silence is a beautiful sound.



As I’m standing quietly looking around a Great Blue Heron flies over the lake before me and into the trees next to the board walk in front of me.  By zooming in, I can just catch his silhouette.





I like the sort of golden tinge the sun gives things as it sets. But I like the shadows of the early dark as well.






I first notice tonight’s sunset in reflections in the swamp waters. As it nears the horizon it becomes a blazing red which we can only see it directly in splotches off to the west and through the trees.  I can see it best from the platform in the center of the swamp.





Once the sun has set, things begin to darken fairly quickly so we move on around to make our way out.


We have flashlights with us just in case but we don’t use them.  It is nearly dark and we are fairly near the end of the boardwalk when a huge white light is coming toward us.   Boy I wish he’d turn that thing off, it’s blinding us.

Turns out it’s the ranger on his last trip around the drive before he locks the gate.  Sunset is gate locking time.  He’s seen our bikes and has come in to check on us.   Very nice, but unnecessary.

We have been having a wonderful experience here in the dark and the quiet.  Even our shoes make no noise as we walk.  And his presence is a complete disruption especially since he talks the entire way out and drowns out the noises of the swamp.   The camera has given a little more light to the photograph than was actually there.

And unfortunate ending to our great adventure.  But, it’s his job.  Just wish he’d been quieter about it.  

He leaves in his cart and we bike home in the dark dark with our bike headlights.  I had to use a flash to get this picture.  In the Hammock night is BLACK.  That’s an unusual experience for most of us.



What a nice conclusion to our stay at Highlands Hammock.  We leave tomorrow to move to Sebring to have our fogged windows repaired, FINALLY.





Today we pack up to leave in the afternoon for Darren Thomas Glass in Sebring to have our back windows replaced.  We’ve been planning to do this for several years and just haven’t been quite convinced about how we should do it.

We talked with Winnebago about replacing the windows.  Ridiculously expensive.  Mark that off.  At the Tampa RV show we talked with both the folks in Hudson who “fix” your fogged windows and with Darren Thomas who replaces your windows. 

We’ve known several people who have been to Hudson with various levels of satisfaction.  It will cost about the same, to do the three crank out windows in the back bedroom, about $500.  Darren’s process is different than Hudson and David likes it better.  I’ll talk more about it when we get there.

I’ve paid for an extra day at Highlands so we don’t have to rush.  Our appointment isn’t until tomorrow but they suggest we come and spend the night there for an 8:00 start in the morning.

We’re all packed up at 2:30 and ready to pull out.  We pull in the slides, raise the jacks and only 3 of them come up.  Those of you who follow us know we’ve been having off and on troubles with our right front jack coming up. Intermittently David has to give it a crowbar assist to get it going.   No troubles ever going down and even going up has been problem free for months now.  

We’re bummed to see that our problem free days are apparently over with this jack.  Out comes the crowbar.




But this time the jack will not move.  The coach moves up as David leverages but the jack doesn’t budge.  This is a whole new development.



It will not go up no matter how much assist.  David tries a couple of other tricks and none of them work so we call up HWH and tell them we have an emergency.  He’s told to use a 1/4” deep well socket to back off the valve nut on the top of the solenoid in order to release the pressure.

David has 1/4” sockets but not deep well so now it’s 4:00 and he has to go into Sebring to Harbor Freight to get the right tool.  Yes we are lucky there is a Harbor Freight in Sebring.

With the right tool and a bit of hammer coaxing, the socket fits on and he releases the pressure that allows the jack to come up.  But by now it’s 4:45 and Darren’s closes at 5:00.  We had intended to spend the night in their water/electric sites so an early start in the morning could be had.

I call them with our dilemma and they say not to worry at all, come in the morning.  Great, now that we know how to release the jack, we’ll just put it back down so we can put the slides out for the night. 

NOPE, for the first time ever, it will not go back down.  Another call to HWH has David checking the fuses for the second time today.  They looked fine initially but now one of them has melted and fallen off the board.  We have a much bigger problem at this stage and there is nothing we can do about it now. 

SO the slides stay in, the jacks stay up and luckily with the horse pads you can see above, we are close to level without the jacks.  No problems for the refrigerator. 

I’ve been saying for some time now that we needed to replace that solenoid.  Seems to me that problems left unattended always just get worse.  David’s view is sometimes things fix themselves, sometimes they go a long time before they fail.  So when the jack had taken to working continually a few months ago, the problem had fallen out of view.  Thus we have spent this entire day dealing with the problem as it goes from bad to worse.



In order not to make this day a total failure for David, I whip up some mushroom cous cous to take to the Wednesday Pot Luck which he was sad he was  going to miss by our leaving today.

This group of volunteers from Friends of Highlands Hammock has tons of different ideas about how to raise money for the park.  They have this table of home made items for sale at reasonable prices.  Plus you can enter the 50/50.  You buy a playing card for a dollar or 6 for $5.  They tear the card in half, you keep half and the other half goes into the pot.  After dinner they draw the winner who splits the pot 50/50 with the park.   Last week the guy across the table from us won $22.  This week the guy next to us wins $37.  We are close but no cigar.  I seriously think we could use the cash to help with what may well be a costly jack repair.



David heaps his plate full as usual and even goes back for seconds. 

After the dinners, the park often has some sort of entertainment. Tonight it is William Florian, an ex-member of the New Christie Minstrels.  His oldies songs play well to this audience.  He does a nice tribute to John Denver who I was shocked to hear died 18 years ago.  Wow!  I had no idea it was that long ago.  Time really is flying by.  It sure didn’t seem to do this when I was a teenager. 

He puts on an entertaining show and lots of folks are singing along to songs for which they know all the words.




We walk back to the rig in the dark and sleep with the slides in and the jacks up. 
Life on the road is not without its problems.
Looks like we’ll get one of them fixed tomorrow and now have another to take its place.


  1. yep I am still waiting for an insurance appraiser to come out and look at our rig

  2. So very glad you are not dead of bean poisoning :) Really lovely pictures of the egrets.. like going on walks with you and David!!

  3. well phooey. . .at the observatory, we were told it take 45 minutes for your eyes to totally adjust to the dark. . .too bad the Ranger's light ruined that experience for you. . .

    We are slated to have our fogged windows repaired in Florida as well. . .AND. . .we also have a solenoid issue. . .one of the slide solenoids is leaking a bit, so one side of the slide creeps in. . .weird, right? Dave says he's waiting for us to be somewhere long enough to have the part shipped. . .hope that happens before we have a complete failure. . .MEN. . .gotta love 'em!

    Our Travel Page: https://www.facebook.com/EvansEscapades/?view_public_for=1643071355945371

  4. Geez, always something. On the bright side, at least you got to go to the potluck and listen to music. I remember the New Christie Minstrels! How cool. I would have been singing along :)

  5. A completely different mood in the swamp that time of day.

  6. Don't problems always surface at the worst possible time?

  7. I know these HWH jacks can be a pain, but from what I've read, the newer ones WB changed to several years ago have major failure problems, as do their slide systems. I'm glad to have the HWH system on our Journey. I had a solenoid replaced under warranty when it was new and haven't had a problem since (knock wood). Hopefully all goes well for a quick and cheap repair.

    1. Thanks for your comment Paul. I had no idea what HWH was. Makes sense now.

  8. Love your evening walk photos. The reflections in the water are great.
    Sorry about that jack seems it's always something

  9. Absolutely magical time to see the swamp. The black and whites, and the sunset are mesmerizing - thank you so, so much for sharing! Glad the jack did come up at last - and sure hope everything got fixed quickly and reasonably. Good news indeed that you had a Harbor Freight nearby :-)

  10. Great idea to go for the walk at sunset.

  11. The dusk/dark trail walk looked so cool!! What a great idea:) You can see how black it was ahead of David in the photo...scary!

    Sorry to read about your jack problem...been there, done that...not fun. But, hey, you got to go to the Potluck...the Silver Lining:)

  12. Nothing like RV problems to put a cramp in your travel day and ruin your day in general. Bummer!

    Love your black and white shots.

  13. David is so handy that when you do find a problem that he can't fix you usually have done the research and have a idea what is needed. That is a great help when you are on the road. Hoping for an easy fix saving the 💵 for down the road!

  14. Love the nearly dark photos! Sorry about your troubles but glad you got them under control and got to enjoy another pot-luck gathering.

  15. Sherry your black and white photos came out really good and captured the essence of dusk. I don't think I have walk/bike in the dark, Im too wimpy being in the dark where gators might grab me :)
    As for the jacks issue, we too had a similar problem coupled with slides not retracting on our first day of full timing. At least you were not in a remote place and you are nearby a repair shop. Hope it gets fix soon.
    I'll be looking forward to your post about replacing your fogged windows, we are also thinking of replacing ours as well.

  16. Absolutely LOVE that B&W looking up. Must be great to listen to the night swamp. Well, until a noisy Ranger shows up. Whether homes have wheels or not there is always repairs and maintenance. Good luck with these.

  17. We have been having jack trouble a bit here and there for awhile now. One thing for us that helps is that our jacks are angle jacks, so if they every stick and won't retract, we can just drive off of them, at least according to the HWH manual. Hope we don't ever have to find out. Good luck with your repairs.

  18. As a friend of ours is fond of saying: "MOTORHOMES!!!"

  19. Such a bummer about your jack problem. Hope it's easily and inexpensively resolved. Your B & W photos of the swamp are striking! I think I'm too much of a chicken to be out in the swamp at dusk/dark, though. So thanks for sharing your adventure. :-)

  20. Love your skyward picture through the swamp cypress - beautiful! Hoping the jack problem will be an "easy" one... ;-)

  21. Graat idea to go see the swamp at dusk, Pops! Beautiful shadows and colors and moon. Such annoying issues...those aspects of life are so frustrating...I hope it's an 'easy' fix. Glad you got to attend the potluck. Singing sounds fun :)

  22. Highlands Hammock looks beautiful, we just booked it for next year! Sorry for all your motorhome troubles, hope they all get resolved quickly!


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