Thursday, June 30, 2011

New knowledge

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks but I just proved that to be false.  We had some mechanical trouble with our Saturn Vue recently and I took it into the shop to have it repaired.  It took a couple days for them to get to it so I borrowed Cassie & Jack's Dodge 4X4 pickup truck.  Gerry and I had discussed maybe looking into purchasing a 5th wheel RV and just having a truck for a vehicle.  All that went out of the window with driving the truck around these past few days.  We did appreciate the loan of the truck and it was a lifesaver.  Thanks Cassie  &  Jack.

Firstly, it gets terrible gas mileage and would eat us out of house and home while we were staying in one place for any length of time.  Secondly and most importantly it rides like a truck. Rough and tumble.  The steps are a chore for me even though I am tall and Gerry looks like she is climbing Mt. Everest whenever she gets into the truck.  Great for using around the cabin and nearby, but not for long drives.

The Saturn came back today all raring and ready to go.  I finally had the spark plugs changed at 88,000 miles and that helped.  There were other things wrong with it and the repairs took care of all the problems.  They also performed a recall for the ECM for the torque converter.  We didn't have a problem with that so I guess it is better now in that area.  Now to see if we get back in the 25mpg range for around town like we used to get.  I sure hope so with all the miles we will be putting on it in the next few months.

We have a lot of dead branches around the cabin area and we started burning some of them the other day.  It was a perfectly calm and cool day so we took advantage of that.  My job was to keep the fire going and Gerry collected the branches.  I also collected some of them just so you know that I am not lazy.  Somebody has to be the supervisor and I took the difficult challenge to be that person.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Olive Garden & Taco Bell

I bet you are wondering what the title to this post is about.  Hang in there and I will tell you.

Last March, Gerry & I took a trip to Ruidoso, NM to visit with friends there for a few days.  I blogged about the trip at the time so it may sound like old news.  We stopped to get a bite to eat at the local Taco Bell and ran into such lousy and non-caring service there that we will never go back there.  Among other things, they overcharged us from what was posted on the sign behind the counter and when Gerry questioned them on it they said that is what the computer rang up.  Gerry asked to speak to the manager and a very young person came out and said he was the manager and that the computer rang up that amount and that was that.  She asked how come there were two prices for the food and he brushed her off rudely.  He told her to stay calm and ended the conversation.

Gerry tried numerous times to send an email to Taco Bell to voice her displeasure with the lousy service and rudeness as well as the overcharging.  Each time it came back saying the message was too long.  She cut it down to a bare bones number of characters much lower than the length allowed.  Still no luck, it was rejected again.

Now we get to Olive Garden and a problem with them.  They offered us samples of the wine they were pushing and we tried the wine and didn't care for it.  We did order other wine and the meal was fine along with the service.  The check arrived and I skimmed it and paid the bill and we left.  Later, Gerry noticed they had charged us 25 cents for each of two samples.  We did manage to send them an email questioning the charge since we hadn't seen that before.  The Olive Garden representative replied very quickly and apologized for what had happened and explained the rules for that State requiring a small charge for samples and the money collected went into a charity fund for the area.  No problem.  She then offered to send us a gift card for our troubles and the card arrived last week.

It is interesting to see how two large companies handled a problem differently.  One was easily accessible, prompt with their response and left a good feeling with us.  The other was not accessible and left a bad taste with us.   Guess which company will continue to get our business and which one won't.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Back at the cabin

We pulled into the driveway of the cabin today around 2pm.  We have the water and electric hooked up to the cabin and MH.  All is well.

We were gone 261 days, drove 6193 miles and spent $2732 for gas for the motorhome.  It was worth every penny and we are planning our next trip already.  We just don't know where we are going and when we are leaving.  As they say, travel plans are written in jello.

Now back to work unloading, cleaning and all the good things that come about after leaving the cabin vacant that long.  I know the bugs are going to be mad at us.  Tough!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ice Cream & Sunset

We have been fortunate to be in those special places that have beautiful sunsets like the Florida Keya and the Arizona desert, however, Maryland doesn't have to take a back seat to either in this area.  Lexa is spending the day and night with us so we went out for ice cream after a big dinner.  Big mistake, but that is another story.  Take a look at the sunset shot Gerry got this evening.

There is a great ice cream stand on US 40 just east of Hagerstown, MD and about a mile from Greenbrier SP.  How convenient.  I decided to take the girls there for a treat this evening but wouldn't tell Lexa where we were going.  She must have asked 20 times but I didn't give in.  The sunset photo was taken next to the ice cream place and I acted like we pulled in to get the photo.  Then I pulled into the ice cream stand.  As usual, it was packed with people.  Tonight was Black Raspberry ice cream night but we got there too late.  They ran out of that flavor and it is one of my favorites.  Guess I will have to go back again soon before they change the special.   

Earlier in the day we went down to the swimming beach at the lake and Lexa enjoyed a nice swim in the cool water.  It wasn't too crowded for a weekday and since it was around 4pm, a lot of people  left already.   Even at that there must have been around 200 people at the beach which is about 350 yards long.  They have floating ropes in the water for the shallow part and then further out for the deeper part and adequate lifeguards to patrol the area.

They have a fabulous sound system at the beach area as we found out.  Out of the blue they made an announcement about the life guards leaving at 6pm.  If they would have said it was God speaking, I am sure people would have believed that.  Spooky.

That was our nice day with Lexa.  How was yours?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Greenbrier State Park, Boonsboro, MD Pt 2

Lexa will be staying with us overnight on Thursday so we extended our stay here at Greenbrier SP for another two days.  I just hope our holding tanks can last that long before we have to go to the dump station.  

We decided to drive up to the cabin to get a fix on what needs to be done on Friday when we move the motorhome there for the summer.  The cabin has been vacant for 10 months and there are always some issues to deal with when re-opening it.  Jack had gone up last weekend and repaired the water pump so I didn't have to deal with that.  The cabin came through the winter in great shape and only needs a good cleaning and airing out.  

On the way back to the campsite we drove down by the lake and took some pictures.  Greenbrier SP is heavily used on the weekends by swimmers, fishermen and picnic users.  When I say heavily used, it is not an exaggeration by any means.  The park fills up early on weekends and they have to turn away users by early morning and actually have staff stationed outside the park keeping others from sneaking into the park.  Since they have many trails here, it must be a difficult job limiting the number of users.  Sounds like it would be a good training ground for the US Border Patrol agents who are on the US/Mexican border.  Plus, they would have the advantage of trying their language skills out on the ones sneaking into the park.

There is a church youth group camping in tents below us in the Birch camping loop.  They are mostly from the Southern Maryland area near the Chesapeake Bay area.  They have signs made out of bed sheets on each campsite with some kind of identification painted on them.  It looks like they have occupied all of the campsites there and when we drove through they were sitting in the amphitheater and filled every seat.  They looked to be mostly younger children in the 8-14 yr old range.  

We went back to our motorhome and watched an old movie that we had seen before, but didn't realize it until the movie was half over.  It was a good movie the 2nd time also.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lexa's Birthday Party

We took it easy this morning and had a hard time jump starting the old bodies to get into motion, but we finally had to get going.  We had some errands to run before heading over to Lexa's 14th birthday celebration today.  It sounds like she had a very full day of celebrating the birthday with minature golf in the morning, swimming in the afternoon and party time in the evening.

Cassie ordered a huge pizza that had 58 slices and was the largest pizza I have seen since the Zebra room pizza on Wisconsin Ave in Washington, DC.  Huge is the key word.  It was larger than 4 large pizzas and the box to carry it in would not fit into the passenger side door on their Ford Explorer.  We had to put it in the back of the Explorer for the trip home.

Lexa opened her presents after the pizza and other goodies and then we had huge pieces of cake for dessert.  We waddled out of there stuffed to the gills.  I can't take many more of these celebrations or I will weigh 400 lbs.

The camping group of young kids who set up their tents in the park yesterday broke camp this morning and were out of the park before we even had breakfast.  It took them an hour or so to put up the tents and then they took bike rides up the side of these hills.  Oh, to be young again and full of energy.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Greenbrier State Park, Boonsboro, MD

                             Happy Father's Day

We made one of the shortest drives from one campsite to another today.  20 miles total.  We wanted to stay here on Saturday night but the Maryland State parks seem to be reserved every weekend during the summer so it is impossible to get a site on Friday or Saturday night.  Sunday through Thursday nights the campgrounds are almost empty.  This camping section has 40 sites and there are 12 campers here including the camp hosts.

The swimming and picnic areas are absolutely packed during the weekend, especially on Sunday.  All of the parking lots were full and they had signs in English and Spanish to that effect.  At $5 per person they must make enough on the weekend to keep the park going for the year.  Monday-Friday the areas aren't used hardly at all.  

It is a nice park and we always enjoy our stay here, so if you are in the area from Sunday to Thursday, come on out and camp.

All our children called to wish me a happy Father's day and I enjoyed talking to them.  My Tucson daughter even sent me a text message from her phone to my computer.  Nice to be remembered.

We went over to Cassie & Jack's house and joined them for dessert this evening since we couldn't get there in time for dinner due to waiting for the weekend people to leave the campground.  We had a nice visit with them, Lexa and Jack's parents.    

They lock the gate at 10pm and we didn't want to fool around with the combination lock to get back in so we left in time to avoid that.

Now to get a good nights sleep.  See ya!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Falling Waters, West Virginia

We had a great time visiting with Carolyn & Mann these past few days and hated to tell them goodby this morning.  We talked nonstop with them catching up on the past 8 months since we last saw them and tried to make some plans for the next few months.  They will be in our area in August and we will meet up with them then.  Also, we are trying to arrange a camp out with them and the Erringtons, except the Erringtons don't know about it yet.

We drove up to Falling Waters, WV today and pulled into a campground right on the WV/MD state line and just a few miles from our cabin.  Since we don't have a sewer outlet for the MH at the cabin, we stop here and flush the tanks and catch our breath before digging into all the chores at the cabin.  It makes it easier to deal with the jobs ahead.

We had an easy drive up except for the always busy I-95 stretch of the road.  It is hard to imagine how much traffic there is on the road and how fast it moves.  We see more traffic here in a mile than we see in  miles out west.  A little red truck even passed us on the way back along with a few of his friends.

Now to open up a can of Yuengling and relax.   See ya!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Back in ole Virginny

We took it easy on Tuesday and went over to Larry & Jane's house for a pizza dinner that we picked up at Costco.  We ordered two large ones and both almost disappeared.  Sat around and talked for a while and then headed back to the motor home.  It was great visiting with Larry and family and we enjoyed the visit very much.  Now to get them to come up to the cabin and visit with us. 

 North Carolina has some beautiful flower patches on I-85 and they make the drive on the interstate more enjoyable.  They have more displays than any of the states we drove through on the way back from Arizona.

We traveled up to Midlothian, VA to visit with friends Carolyn & Mann.  They have a beautiful home here and are fellow RVers who we met in 2000 at Long Key State Park.  We've been close friends since then and have a lot of common interests.

We had a nice dinner with them and sat around and talked into the evening when we all were worn out.  More chatting and visiting is on tap for tomorrow. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wind down time

We slept in today and moved around very slowly and finally went out to a local restaurant for lunch with Barb, Henry, Erin, Gerry and me.  They had grilled grouper on special and four of us ordered it.  The grouper was great and we all enjoyed it very much.  

Later we went to Barb & Henry's along with Erin and took it easy for the rest of the afternoon.  Larry Jr, Jane & Grant joined us for a cookout and chatted for a while and left early.  

Gerry, Erin & Barbara jumped in the hot tub for 30 minutes and loved it.  I had to go out there and get them out of there so we could go back to the motor home.  

Erin is flying to Washington, DC on Tuesday and Barb & Henry are going to collapse.  I am sure they will be happy and sad to see all of use leave but will enjoy the peace and quiet.  Sweet dreams! 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Post wedding get together

There were a number of out of town guests who attended the wedding and most of those on Sean's side of the family met at Barbara & Henry's for a cookout on Sunday.  There were about 20 people there for breakfast and then another 6-7 people showed up.  It was a mad house with everyone talking over each other, but everyone had a great time.  Barb & Henry are great hosts and go out of their way to make sure all have a good time.

During the course of the day people started leaving for the drives back to their homes and by the evening there were still 10-12 diehards there.  The party got a little raucous about then and was quite lively.  We left about 11:30 and a few of the people got in the hot tub.  Properly attired.  

There were a number of Nascar fans in the group and they couldn't wait for the race from the Poconos to start.  I watched for a while but it wasn't a particularly exciting race so I went out side and talked to my friend Mann.  He was visiting in Portsmouth, VA with his in-laws and took a short break.  

Henry fixed some hamburgers and hotdogs to go along with the baked beans, salad, roasted vegetables, potato salad and cupcakes for dessert.  I managed to stuff myself and had to waddle around after dinner. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Wedding

Today was the big day for Sean & Taylor with their wedding at 5pm.  About the time their wedding was scheduled to begin a light rain was falling.  Everyone was in the church so it wasn't that big of a problem.  

The wedding actually began on time and went very smoothly.  Sean had his brother Jared as best man and his sister Stephanie as a bridesmaid.  They all looked great all dressed up and so grown up.  It is hard to believe that they are all out of college.  Meanwhile, back to the wedding.

After the ceremony the family pictures were taken and the bridal party pictures were also finished up.  They had gotten there early for some pictures and except for it raining on Sean & Taylor for a couple outside pictures it went well.

The bridal party traveled to the reception in a 40ft Expedition motorhome.  Us old folks were not allowed on it but I assume some alcohol was consumed on the way to the reception.  We turned on the GPS and were on our way there when a phone call came in saying there were traffic delays due to an accident and road construction.  Our grandson Ryan knew another way there so we followed him.

The reception was held at Centerstage Noda which was very nice hall in downtown Charlotte, NC in an old section of town.  There was a nice old restored section near the hall and I was told it was the artist colony.  It looked it.

We had a great time there and Gerry managed to dance about 15 times so she was happy.  I danced with her 1 1/2 times before my old knees started barking at me.  We stayed almost to the end and then decided we couldn't outlast the youngins so we headed back to our motorhome.  

Grant who just turned 10 years old loves to dance and I really mean dance.  With or without a partner but I think he does prefer a partner.  He danced with a number of women young and old but seemed to prefer this one the most.  She was real sweat to him and showed him a couple dance moves and whenever he asked her to dance away she went.  If he was dancing alone she would dance with also.  She is a very good friend of the bride and was there with her boyfriend.

We left the camera at the hall and Barbara found it and we will pick it up on Sunday.

The newlyweds are leaving Sunday on a noon flight for their honeymoon, but I am not sure where they are going.  Wherever it is, I am sure they will have a great time.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

The big day comes a little closer with the wedding rehearsal today and a dinner afterwards.  The dinner was catered by Hawthorne Restaurant and they put on a very good spread.  It was held in a banquet room at the Harrisburg City Hall with great facilities.

Almost all of the out of town guests were there with the exception of a few that arrived in town too late to attend.  Gerry took a few snap shots of family and friends, along with some of the wedding party. It was impossible to get the guys to stand together long enough to get their photo, but we did get the pretty girls.  The mug photo of the guys against the wall isn't a photo of the guys wedding party.  Thank God.

I am enclosing a collage so as not to overwhelm you with some of the tons of photos that were taken.  Barbara was a whirling dervish and we didn't get a good photo of her.  Sorry Barb.  ( If you read this blog )  Jane & Sandy show off their boots for broken ankles they have suffered these past few months.  Gives them something to talk about.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Santa comes early

Well, the long lost mystery where Santa Claus spends his summers has been solved.  We found him in the campsite right next to us and have a picture to prove it.  He has credentials with a North Pole address and the white beard also.  Grant met him today and I managed to get a picture of the occasion.  Judge for yourself.

Barbara and Henry had a cookout for the out of town guests, Sean & Taylor and Taylor's mother and father tonight.  They marinated steak and chicken kabobs in "Speedie marinade" and Gerry fixed potato salad to go along with the macaroni salad.  Lots of other goodies and we all managed to stuff ourselves.  We visited with them until 11:30 and called it a night.

Cassie, Jack, Lexa & Lee left MD around 9pm and will arrive around 4:30am.  Brutal.  They had to wait for Lee to get off work and then drive up to their house.  Glad they aren't coming to stay with us.  That is my best sleeping time. LOL

We were watching the Dallas-Miami NBA game and it looked like Miami was going to win when we left Barb's and then Dallas went on a run to win the game going away.  They seem to finish strong while Miami makes too many mistakes.  More teamwork on Dallas also so that makes it more interesting.  

I am not a Dallas Mavericks fan but I always pick one team to root for in the finals and I like Dallas more than Miami.  Miami went about buying a team with three stars and thought they were good enough to win it all.  They even have King James on the team but are struggling to say the least.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hairday & Geocaching

Today was the big hair day for Barbara & Gerry.  Gerry went in to get hers cut for the wedding and I am not sure what Barbara is doing.  I guess I will have to wait and see how it all shapes up.  Pun intended.

I took advantage of a free day and went geocaching to try and reach 900 finds.  It was a good day and 14 geocaches appeared before my eyes.  As usual, some were easy and others hard.  Since the temps were in the high 90s I didn't want to walk a lot so easy ones were on the menu.  Now that 900 has been exceeded I will have to work on getting to 1,000 caches.  That may take a while.

Grant, Larry Jr. & Henry went for a 14.5 mile bike ride this morning before it got too hot  The trail was fairly level so they made the ride in good time and dropped Grant off with Gerry while I was geocaching.  Later Gerry went for her hair cut and Grant and I went out caching for a short time.  We found a 7.5 gauge track model railroad that is open on Mondays.  They have 1700 ft of track and seem to be a very active club.

You never know what you will find geocaching.  There was an old cabin being restored by the Historical Society and they were about 50% finished with the job.  The cabin sits right next to an active railroad track and the model tracks. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

More hot days

Grant had an appointment today so we took him home in time for the meeting. He said he would rather stay at the motor home and skip the meeting but went willingly, so I guess it wasn't so bad for him.

We did a little caching after dropping him off and then met up with Barbara & Henry at Big Al's Pub and Grubberia in the Mint Hill area. It is basically a bar that served hot wings and sandwiches. Hot wings don't agree with me so I had a club sandwich and Gerry had a steak chunk appetizer. Barb & Henry had the wings and we all managed to stuff ourselves with food and drink. The bar wasn't that full and we were able to have a nice conversation without all the background noise you typically get in a place like that.

By this time Gerry and I were running low on energy and we headed back to the MH while they went home. All this running around is taking it's toll on us.

It has been very hot these last few days and they have issued ozone alerts for Wednesday.  Sounds like a good excuse to stay close to the MH and take it easy.  For once I agree with the weatherman.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hot muggy days

We have been busy shopping, geocaching and most importantly visiting with our children.  We went shopping today for a suit coat and slacks for me so Gerry would feel I look OK for the wedding.  I don't know why the old sport coat that I've had for 12 years isn't good enough but the boss said no.  I am like most men and only shop when I have to and then get it over as quickly as possible. It was a painful experience but we got through it together and had a successful shopping day. We only had to go into one store and that made it even better.

We went geocaching after the stressful shopping experience and managed to find 7 caches in the nearby area. One cache was a virtual cache of the homestead of James Knox Polk, 11th president of the US.
James K. Polk was born on November 2, 1795 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He moved with his family at the age of ten to Tennessee. He was a sickly youth who suffered from gallstones. Polk did not begin his formal education until 1813 at the age of 18. By 1816, he entered the University of North Carolina and graduated with honors in 1818. He decided to enter politics and also was admitted to the bar.

Grant is very interested in history and was interested in seeing the reconstructed home of Polk. 

We finished up geocaching and went over to Larry Jr. & Jane's home and visited for a while and then went out to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant. The food was good, but the service was very slow. Larry said that isn't the usual service that they receive so we will try it again.   Grant wanted to come back with us and spend the night again at the motor home so we got him some fresh clothes and made an early exit.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Computer Doctor makes house call.

My son Larry Jr. called today and said he had a virus on his computer.  It is the one which pops up and says you have the virus and if you pay $$ it can be removed by their tool.  Out and out fraud on their part and it is a difficult one to remove.  His computer runs under Windows Vista so I had to do a little research before I went over to remove the virus.

There were a number of options to remove the virus and I tried restoring his system to 4 days before it appeared and before a Windows download.  That seems to have fixed the problem, but his AVG was out of date and I installed a newer version.  The install went well and then a scan was started.  It ran for hours and found some viruses and took care of them.  He should be good to go for now, but there are still some problems with his computer.  Another house call and maybe I can get rid of some of them.

Grant came back to the MH with us and we went to a local restaurant for dinner.  I was surprised when he ordered a Turkey Club Sandwich without mayo.  When I was 10 I didn't have any idea that a club sandwich even existed.  Different time and world back then in the last century.  

After riding his bike around the campground he came in and we started up the old movie, The 300 Spartans from 1962.  He is fascinated by history and knew about the battle and described it in detail before watching the movie.  

It has remained hot and humid the last few days.  The humidity makes it seem even hotter and uncomfortable.  Better than snow and freezing weather in my book.

The neighbor next to us has a neat drying board that attaches to the ladder on the back of their motor home.  I can see that we will have one very quickly after we get back to the cabin.  It looks like it will be easy to make and very useful.  Stay tuned for further work on this project.  I should have it done in about 6 weeks of hard work on my part.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Shoes 7, Goecaching 12

Today was a good day for me in a couple ways.  Gerry went shopping with Barbara & Stephanie for shoes and I went geocaching.  They managed to find 7 pair of shoes to buy ( none for Gerry, so 2bl luck ) and I found 12 geocaches while they were shopping.

The best part is that I didn't have to go in and out of stores while they tried on 48 pairs of shoes.  I need a new pair for the June 11th wedding and will most likely go out that morning to pick up a pair of shoes.  20 minutes and I will have accomplished the task.

I did meet them for a late lunch/early dinner at the Panera Bread restaurant and had a nice sandwich and French onion soup.  The soup was very salty and the sandwich was great.  We also bought a bearclaw for dessert later this evening or in the morning.  

The GPS took me on another circle route to a post office today.  It took me through some neighborhoods and out of my way so I would be able to turn right into the post office.  Wierd!  I could have saved a mile or so by just making a U-turn a half block beyond the post office.  There aren't many post offices in the area around the campground even though it is a built up area.

Friends Ron & Dee had their grandson come home from Afghanistan in time for Memorial Day.  I know they were worried about him and glad to see him arrive back safely.  Great!  I did notice they were going tribal on us with a tent that looked like something Lawrence of Arabia used in the Middle East many years ago.  Looked comfortable. 

We follow four blogs on the right side of our blog and one person is way behind in blogging.  I won't mention any names, but you can check for yourself.