Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas day

We celebrated a wonderful Christmas. Bernie's Mom sent us both gifts. Bernie's family picks names every year for a gift exchange. This year Bernie got presents from her brother and they got here on time.

Bernie was so excited, just like a little kid. We opened our presents and had fun with them. Then we got to work on a great Christmas dinner. For appetizers we had stuffed mushrooms and aranitas. For dinner we had pernil, hasselback roasted potatoes, and asparagus with sun dried tomatoes. And for dessert we had a yummy chocolate mudslide frozen pie. Everything was homemade and absolutely delicious.

By the time we finished eating and cleaning up we were both so tired. Mar still doesn’t feel well and Bernie had a small asthma attack which wore her out. So we watched some tv to relax and then went to bed.

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas eve

The owner of the house went to Michigan to spend Christmas with her family. The roommate also left to go spend Christmas with her family but halfway there, she had to turn around because the weather was making it too difficult to drive.

Bernie expected to get a lot done in the house this week since we would be alone, but instead when Kristin came back, she brought her girlfriend Lesa with her and both their dogs too. With this change in plans Bernie had to do her best to try to work around two dogs and three cats and three other people in the house. Not that we can count Mar, she is still sick and can hardly get out of bed.

In the evening Mar finally found some strength to get out of bed and prepare a light meal. So we spent Christmas eve making dinner and baking cookies while listening to Christmas carols. We watched some Christmas shows and then everyone went to bed while Bernie stayed up and worked on the house for several hours while trying to be very quiet so she wouldn’t wake anyone up.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Water everywhere

Bernie was working on the house, Mar was working on her laptop, and all of a sudden there was water on the floor in half the house. A pipe broke in the attic and water was dripping in the living room, the kitchen, the hallway bathroom, and in the bedroom where Bernie is staying.

Bernie shut off the water and went up in the attic. Once she located the leak and figured out what she needed, she made a run to the hardware store to pick up supplies. She had to take Bella to the store because no one was home to give her a ride.

Bernie went back up in the attic and fixed the leak, while yelling down to Mar to turn the water on or off, to test for any more leaks. Thankfully it was fixed and it didn't leak anymore or anywhere else. Then it took Bernie a couple of hours to mop up all the water and clean up the whole mess.

Luckily the water didn't fall anywhere Bernie had already worked so nothing had to be redone. Also, the floor where the water was is all bare concrete, so no flooring was damaged. It's a good thing Bernie has not put down the floors yet, which she will be doing soon.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chicken soup

Mar got hardly any sleep last night because she had the worst sore throat ever, she can't swallow because it feels like she has a wooden block stuck in her throat. She is not a happy camper. Bernie gave her some medicine and made her chicken soup. After that, it was still hard to sleep with such a bad sore throat.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

To the dentist

Since we are finally in one place for a while, we decided it was time to go to the dentist. We looked up some local dentists but it's hard to find reviews or recommendations to select a dentist. Driving around Elida OH we had seen a couple of billboards for Whole Health Dentistry, offering a $35 gas card for new patients. We checked them out online and called the office to make the appointments.

Bernie has a temporary and needs a crown for that root canal she had over six weeks ago in West Virginia. Turns out this dentist has the technology to make crowns right in the office and they're ready the same day. After considering the information and finding out the cost of a crown, we decided we'll need to wait to get it when we can better afford it and decided to do some research about dental insurance or dental plans. Crowns are very expensive, ouch...

Mar needed a cleaning so she had her teeth cleaned today. Thankfully, the dentist said her gums and teeth are in good shape so she doesn't need any dental work at this time, but there were a couple of things on the x-rays to keep an eye on.

The dentist was a young female doctor who was very friendly. We told her and her assistant all about our travels and they had lots of questions for us. While talking we realized the dentist has actually had a philly cheese steak in the same place we did in Philadelphia, and we had some chuckles about that.

When we payed and checked out, we got the $35 gas card and some Christmas cookies too. Then we asked for directions to the local mall, where we went to get some presents for Mar's kids. We found some really good deals on clothes for the kids and will go to the post office tomorrow to mail the package to Florida.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A day off

You know what they say about all work and no play … so today we decided to do something about that. Mar has been very busy with the end of semester finals and grading, this is the time of year when she gets tons of emails and questions from her online students. Bernie has been working long hours on the house, busy with cleanup, prep work, drywall, paint, electric, carpentry, you name it. She is so happy to be working, she loves the work.

Today we went to visit The Christmas Ranch in Morrow OH, about a two hour drive. This Christmas village is on several acres owned by a retired dentist and his wife. They got started by decorating their home which quickly became a huge draw for the public but the neighbors complained about the heavy traffic on the weekends so they found some property to accommodate their Christmas dream.

Now they have this place with a couple houses and barns, transformed into a Christmas wonderland with thousands of lights connected to music. This way as the music serenades you the lights give you a fantastic visual show. It was magical to listen to the Mannheim Steam Roller as we stood in the middle of the forest while the lights pounded out the sounds.

They also have a huge bonfire, to which we returned every few minutes with our cup of hot chocolate, to warm up before heading out to explore again. On this cold, cold night the warmth of the bonfire was much appreciated.

This place certainly got us into the Christmas spirit. It has been featured on HGTV and also Good Morning America. If you are near southwest Ohio any time soon, you should go visit and have some hot chocolate while you're there:

Monday, December 1, 2008

Stay tuned

To our loyal readers:

As you already know we are in Elida OH for a job. We don't know how long it will take but it will probably be several weeks.

Because we are not traveling, during this time we will not post daily to our blog as we usually do, but we do plan to post updates and pictures from time to time.

Please stay tuned for the updates and we hope you will join us when we hit the road again in a few weeks. Feel free to leave us comments here on the blog (we love getting your comments) or send us an email to

Meanwhile we hope you enjoy your holidays and we'll see you on the road!

Bernie and Mar

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The work begins

It started snowing this morning, only small crystals for now but the wind is terribly strong and cold. The snow is slowly gathering to become inches. The weather channel said this is only the beginning and it will snow all week. We have an appointment this week to get Bella winterized.

Bernie got to work today. She worked all day taking down walls, patching spots here and there, and pulling up tile. She did a run to the hardware store with Kristin to get a few more things, and then got back to work till nighttime.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taking care of business

Today Bernie went grocery shopping with TJ and Kristin, and then they got Chinese takeout for lunch. Later we worked on a few things around the house while TJ and Kristin took the dogs for a walk. Bernie found the closest Catholic church and was able to go to evening mass. Then TJ got cheeseburgers for dinner from the best burger place in town, Kewpee, and we played games again until bedtime. While we played, Brianna (one of TJ's cats) sat on Mar's lap, it seems Brianna has adopted Mar as her mommy.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Today TJ showed Mar where the closest laundromat is so she could do the laundry.

Bernie had to rest and take it easy today, she is sore and stiff because it seems she pulled a muscle in her upper back.

For dinner we had our Thanksgiving leftovers and everything tasted even better today.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving thanks

We spent the day preparing Thanksgiving dinner. Bernie cooked the turkey, which she had marinated in the fridge overnight. Then she made candied yams.

In the afternoon, our friend TJ made a run to the store with Kristin, and they surprised us by bringing home some green plantains. We had tried for two days to find plantains for dinner tonight but couldn’t find them anywhere. We were very happy they were able to find the plantains. To celebrate we made a toast with mojitos that Bernie made for everyone.

To complete the dinner Mar made arroz con gandules, mofongo stuffing, and flan de queso for dessert. We had two bottles of wine with dinner, one white and one red. After dinner, we played games until it was time for bed.

We truly enjoyed our bicultural Thanksgiving dinner with our new friends and ate so much, we felt like a stuffed turkey!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The town

After our first cup of coffee we got right to work. We cleaned the floors and started organizing the boxes and stuff around the house. Later when TJ got home, we had our second cup of coffee with her.

Then TJ took Bernie out to get a feel for the town so she can start learning her way around. They went to the hardware store, the grocery store, and a couple other stores. Bernie had a great time.

On their way home they picked up chicken for dinner. When they got home we had dinner and after that we went back to work. We cleaned and reorganized the kitchen to get it ready for cooking Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


We left Akron OH and drove west about three hours to Elida OH. We went to the post office to pick up our forwarded mail and then to Walmart to pick up some things for Thanksgiving dinner.

Then we headed to TJ’s house. TJ just got a job in another state so now she needs to sell her house. She bought it less than a year ago as a fixer upper and she has hired Bernie to get the house ready to be sold.

TJ is out of town so her friend Kristin let us in. We got the tour of the house and Bernie can’t wait to get started, there is a lot to do and she’ll have fun whipping the house into shape. It is a one story, three bedroom, two bathroom house with a two car detached garage, on a one acre lot.

It is nice to be here and it is nice to have a job.

Monday, November 24, 2008

More rain

While getting ready to leave today, Bernie went outside to dump and found that the traps were frozen shut. Oh boy … not good. Bernie borrowed a hair dryer from the front desk to try to thaw them out but she still could not get them to budge. We decided to just drive and hope for the best.

Through the window we had seen a bunch of rabbits. Bernie went outside to try to feed them some carrots and they came right up to her, they were not afraid at all and ate right from her gloved hand. The bunnies were so cute.

Then we disconnected and drove west towards Ohio. We drove through the Allegheny National Forest in PA and through a snow shower most of the way. We drove in low gear and under thirty mph the whole way. Lucky for us we were behind the plow truck most of the time. It sure was a pretty drive.

After leaving the Allegheny area, the roads were better, the snow lessened, but it rained constantly, it rained the rest of the way without a break.

We drove almost five hours total and finally stopped at the Camping World in Akron OH for the night. We tried to dump and thankfully, everything worked fine. All the jostling during the drive here and the slightly warmer temperature in OH, seem to have done the trick. Looks like we won’t need to have Bella’s pipes checked out in the morning after all.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More snow

We were warm and toasty when we woke up, how nice it is to have shore power. After a hot cup of coffee we started out.

We drove to the Lumber Museum in Galeton PA about two hours away. The drive took us up and down mountains, around winding roads, through small towns, over railroad tracks, and by barns and barns and more barns. And everything was covered in snow, everywhere we looked there was snow, snow and more snow.

Finally we made it to the Lumber Museum, which consists of several buildings, none of them heated. We walked around the museum and learned all about the C.C.C. (Civilian Conservation Corps). It was started in 1933 by president F.D. Roosevelt to provide jobs after the Depression. The men made $30 a month by working eleven hours a day, six days a week.

The museum includes saw blades, machinery, clothing, and lots of pictures of life in the camps. Then we went outside to tour the rebuilt camps complete with locomotives, blacksmith shop, mess hall, and living quarters.

Then we drove about an hour to Kane PA to the Foote Rest Campground. They had plowed a site for us and this campground even has cable, perfect for a cold, cold night.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Bernie woke up extra early so she could go check out the hotel’s continental breakfast. It was slim pickings. She got a cinnamon roll for herself and a couple of biscuits for Mar. Then she went back to sleep for a couple more hours. Today we had to get up early so we could go get Bella at Camping World.

We got up with the alarm, packed, and waited in the lobby for our ride from CW.

We had to make some choices about the electrical system, it’s not exactly the way we wanted it but CW did fix it and now we have an 1800w inverter that works with four golf cart batteries.

We got back on the road and drove about two hours to Cuba NY. Mar was born in Cuba so we thought it would be fun to visit this town. It is a very small town with not much there. We found the Cuba Cheese Shoppe, where they make cheese but not Cuban cheese. We asked about Hispanic food and there are no Cuban restaurants here either. This is the strangest Cuba ever.

As we left there, Bernie saw a Catholic Church and when she looked at the clock, realized that mass was probably about to start. So we turned in to the parking lot and Bernie was able to go to the 5:30 pm service.

Next we went to the Holiday Wine and Dessert Party at the Cuba VFW. This was a Christmas toys fundraiser with raffles and auctions for beautiful wreaths and decorated Christmas trees.

After taking a quick look around the room, we headed to the Maple Lane Campground just down the road, less than a minute away. We decided to make an exception and go to a campground tonight because it has been snowing all day and it is just too cold to sleep without the heat on. The campground is completely covered in snow so the only thing available is electric. For $15 a night it is definitely worth it to sleep warm and toasty.

Friday, November 21, 2008

R & R

Today’s is Mar’s son’s 24th birthday … Happy Birthday Virgilio!

What a day, it was a day of total relaxation for us … or almost total. We had a few hours of complete confusion. This Camping World store didn't know how to proceed or what to do about the different options to fix the electrical system, so that took several phone calls back and forth.

Then the previous store where we had the system installed, called and left us a message. We’re not sure why because when we called them back they really didn’t have much to say about the situation. Then no one knows who will pick us up tomorrow to get back to the store because they have a smaller staff on weekends. It was crazy there for a while, phone call after phone call.

But today we didn’t have anywhere to go or anything to do which was very nice since everything outside is covered in several inches of snow. It was also nice to take a real shower. We had hot coffee all day and didn’t even have to get out of our pj's.

We asked the front desk for any places that deliver around here and they gave us a few flyers. We ordered two calzones, one taco and one chicken ranch. Both were so bland we could hardly eat them...

We can’t wait to get back home to Bella.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Our appointment at Camping World was at 1:00 pm. We were awakened early by a knock on the door, because the techs were supposedly ready to start. But after we got up and got dressed and went in, it still took them almost two hours before they even looked at Bella.

When the tech, Craig, inspected Bella, he told us that the electrical system is connected all wrong and it may take a couple of days to get it fixed. It is pretty cold here and we didn’t see the point in trying to juggle sleeping in their parking lot for a couple of nights so this time we decided to take CW up on their previous offer to put us up in a hotel.

The closest hotel is 25 minutes from the store so they had an employee drive us to the hotel. We are now in a Holiday Inn Express in Brockport NY and we have no transportation. We walked in the snow to the closest strip mall, which was only about a ten minute walk but in the cold it felt like miles.

The two employees at the front desk were so very nice to us. One offered us her winter coat before we went on our walk and the other one gave us her cell phone number so we could call her if the weather got suddenly worse and we got stuck somewhere.

We went to the restaurant the hotel had recommended. We found the food to be pretty bland and we were not too happy with it. But it was warm and it got us out of the hotel, so you can’t win them all.

After looking in a couple of stores we headed back to the hotel where we worked on our laptops and watched tv. For people who don’t get to watch tv we sure have had plenty of time lately to catch up with our favorite shows. I guess that’s what you do when it’s too cold to do anything else. With this extra time on our hands, Bernie decided to highlight her hair, so she has a new look.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

CW here we come

As we usually do, we had spent the night at our next day’s destination. It is a good idea that always works well for us, and it saves us time. So last night we spent the night at the Daredevils Museum so that we would already be there when we woke up.

After waking up and getting dressed in 25 degree weather, we braved the outside to find the place closed. We knew they were supposed to be open so we looked for the sign listing their hours. The sign on the window said that they’re there when they’re there and they’re not there when they’re not there. Oh well, we were very disappointed.

Then we went back to the American Falls for some daytime pictures. It was even more amazing in the daytime and perhaps even colder than last night. It was snowing by now and we discovered that snow accumulates on your head and shoulders, and it flies in your face as you walk, almost like little shards of glass hitting you. Snow can be very pretty but it is not always fun. It is darn cold here.

We then drove about an hour to the Camping World in Churchville NY, where we have an appointment tomorrow for their third attempt at fixing our electrical system.

Once we got there they let us know where the dump station and hookups were located. After dumping, we drove around the huge parking lot, through a maze of rv’s looking for the hookups. None were found. Bernie went back inside to ask and they were nice enough to send someone out to help us. We filled up our water tank, connected the electric, turned on the heat, and settled in for the night.

There is no telling how long we’ll be here this time so please keep your fingers crossed for us.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The falls

The weather is not getting any warmer. It’s not getting any colder either so we decided to hit the road today. We gathered our things, packed and prepared Bella, said goodbye to our good friend Andrea, and headed heroically north. Yes, north. You may think we are crazy (and we may think so too) but once on a journey there is just no turning back. You’re only young once … or is that young and foolish …

Before we left, Bernie went to work on freeing Bella from the snow, she got about a foot of snow off of Bella's roof. Which was not easy since there was snow and ice all over the ground and she had to be on the top step of the ladder. Scary and cold.

We drove towards Niagara Falls NY. We were a little worried about the roads but we had a great drive, as we left Erie there seemed to be less and less snow on the ground. By the time we got to Buffalo there was actually no snow anywhere we could see.

Once we got to Niagara Falls it was already dark. Dark by 6:00 pm. We parked by the American Falls and walked down to look at the rushing water coming over the falls. It is incredible, it is an amazing feat of nature. There is a light show every night at the American Falls. The water is lit with a rainbow of colors, what an amazing, powerful place.

We found the Daredevils Museum, which had already closed, and parked in their small parking lot for the night. It is already 26 degrees here. We hope our old bones can still move when we wake up in the morning …

Monday, November 17, 2008

Snow fight!

Today we got a couple more inches of snow. And as our friend Andrea explained: Bella was attacked by a big tree branch falling on her front bumper, caused either by the weight of the snow or lightning, or both. We heard a loud crack and found Bella being hugged by a heavy swag of snow-laden evergreen. Thankfully, Bella didn't suffer any bruises or scratches. Whew!

We went out to Bella to make sure all the pipes were ok and the electric was working. Once we were out there, of course we had to play in the snow. We made snowballs and ran in the snow. In some places the snow came up almost to our knees. This was Bernie's first snowball fight and she even fell down in the cold wet snow.

Andrea made us a delicious dinner of chicken a la king with cornbread. We had some great conversation and then got to watch some more of our favorite TV channels. We have to get it all in before we go back to having no TV and no cable.