Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dentist visit

The day finally arrived for my early morning trip to the dentist.  He extracted a broken tooth about 2 weeks ago and today he worked on the two teeth next to the missing tooth in  order to use them as anchors for the replacement.  I hadn't thought much about the procedure and it was a good thing I didn't.  I was in the dentist chair from 7:30am to 9:15am and was poked and drilled on almost the whole time.  When he wasn't doing that he was putting putty in my mouth and having me press down on the putty.

When he got up and left the room I thought it was time to go.  No way!  Then his dental assistant started to mold the temporary three teeth and that seemed to take forever.  She did a good job and I finally got out of there.

My luck on closed roads going to medical stuff held out yesterday and the main road was closed once again for paving.  They never tell you in advance when they are going to do the scheduled work and just put up a sign closing down 8 miles of highway.  They need a good PR person to let people know what is going on.  I had to take a gravel and dirt road for 6 miles to get around the blocked road.  I literally flew down the road dodging turkeys, pot holes, downed limbs and an overall bad road.  The alternative would take me 10 miles out of the way and down a twisty road and through a number of small towns who make their living stopping speeders.  

We took the car license plates back to DMV to avoid having them come after us.  It started off smoothly and went downhill from there.  The automated kiosk for driver licenses malfunctioned and they dedicated 2 of the 5 open lines to these people while the rest of us sat there and steamed.  We finally got through the procedure and the same old answer about getting the refund, "you should get the check in two or three weeks".  I've heard that one before.

When we get that close to a shopping mall and Gerry has some coupons it is impossible to not stop.  I actually went into Office Max next to her store and was going to buy some ink cartridges for our Canon printer.  They wanted $67 for the four cartridges and that didn't include the large black tank that they didn't have in stock.  It was $27 for it.  I can buy a new printer with cartridges for less than that.  Out I went and tried Best Buy for the cartridges.  Same story, same price.  Costco has the same cartridges for $44 and that may include the large one.  Now I have to dream up a good excuse to drive the 45 miles to Costco to justify buying them there.

Life is never simple.  

We stopped at a Mexican restaurant on the way home and something I ate didn't agree with me.  That is another story that won't be told on the blog.

We watched a 2008 movie, The Informers,  with Kim Bassinger, Billy Bob Thornton, Wynona Ryder, Mickey Rourke and a lot of other past their prime movie stars.  Even though Kim is one of my favorites, this was a very stupid and confusing movie.  They must have filmed it in two days and sent it on it's way.  Kim still looks great at 54 years old which she was when this clunker was filmed.  She was born in 1953.

That was our day here in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On the Road Again

Well, today was the day to leave North Carolina and the family and head back to the cabin.  First Gerry had to give our grandson a haircut trim before he went on a job interview.  Now she will get credit if he gets the job or blame if he doesn't get the job.  Talk about pressure.  He is a great kid and if the company has any sense they will hire him.  He did get called back for a 2nd interview so that is encouraging.

We transferred to Larry Jr. our 1992 BMW and he bought the tags, insurance and transferred it over into his name.  The car runs great and only has 145,000 miles on it and most likely will run fine for another 100K or so.  We took a picture of the North Carolina tags on the car after being registered in Maryland for the past 19 years.  Hard to believe it has been that long as time has flown by.

We left Concord about 1130am and began the long 450 mile trek back to the cabin.  The trip was on interstate highways for all but 25 miles or so and we made great time.  Set the cruise control for 72 mph and away we went.  The traffic wasn't as heavy coming back as it was going down there.  The NASCAR traffic was long gone and we had an easy drive back.

We stopped at one of our favorite German restaurants,  Edelweiss Restaurant near Staunton, VA.  BTW:  It is pronounced Stanton by the locals.  We stop there every chance we get since we both love German food and they prepare authentic meals.  They have a great selection of German beers both on tap and in bottles and I ordered a Hofbrau Dark which was very good.  A nice Riesling wine was Gerry's choice for her beverage.  

To show you how popular the place is, we talked to a couple who drove 100 miles out of their way to stop by for lunch.  They said if they are anywhere near the restaurant they always stop.  Now that is great loyalty.

Since it was such a nice day, we decided to stop by the soft ice cream place on the way home and get two black raspberry cones to go.  As usual, they were delicious and we enjoyed them very much.  Next week it will be creamcicle ice cream and I don't think we will make a special trip for that.  Who knows, we may weaken.

The cabin came through the hurricane Irene in fine shape.  I don't think they had much wind or rain this far inland.  If so, it didn't show up much on the way in.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Calvary Church, Charlotte NC

Larry Jr, Gerry and I went to pick up Grant at school today and drove by the Calvary Church in Charlotte, NC today.  It is quite an imposing structure and very modern.  We took a number of photos but it is so large that it was impossible to get a good photo.  I am enclosing two of our photos to give you an idea of the scope and size of this church.  I understand this is the church where they had the funeral service/memorial for Dale Earnhardt the NASCAR driver who was killed at the Daytona Race.  Dale Earnhardt

The following is taken from the church webpage.  I am not promoting their beliefs, but I thought the church complex was quite impressive.

Calvary Overview Labeled
The Calvary Church building was completed in 1989, and is actually the fifth facility the Calvary congregation has occupied since 1939.
Situated on 100 acres in south Charlotte, the architectural design was envisioned as a "modern cathedral" to house Calvary's sizeable and growing congregation, plus its many local, regional, and international ministries. At the time it was built, the look of the building was breathtakingly innovative. Big, pink, and shaped like a crown, Calvary Church — by design — made a statement and could not be overlooked!
Today, Calvary's building is a highly visible site attracting visitors from across the nation. Its 310,000 square feet of space is continually packed with ministry activity.
It's important to remember that despite its physical size, the true building blocks of Calvary are the small groups of people and the intimate relationships that are built throughout the church in every ministry. Calvary is really the biggest small church around!

Campus quick facts
The Calvary Sanctuary seats 5106, and the Chapel seats 350.
The Crown Room, a multipurpose meeting and banquet space on the third floor, seats 1000.
The Calvary Pipe Organ, built by M.P. Möller and dedicated in 1990, is history's fourth largest pipe organ built at one time. It remains one of the largest pipe organs in the world, with 11,499 pipes.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blogs and Music

I normally have the sound turned off on my computer since I don't like to hear all the little clicks and such.  Since I follow a number of blogs and found that some load slower than others due to photos, slow servers and such, I don't hear when they are playing music.  Tonight as I was checking a blog it broke out into a song by Johnny Cash.  Now I know why some of these blogs are so slow to load.  I guess I will have to leave the sound on so I can avoid the blogs in the future.

I normally use my verizon aircard for internet connection, however since our daughter has a fast cable connection I have been using hers while we are visiting with them.  One of Gerry's email had a download of 4 male singers singing Amazing Grace and I turned the sound on for that.  Fantastic group!  When I checked the blog and forgot to turn off the sound.  I think bloggers should give you an option to turn off the sound when you access the blog.

The grandchildren came over with their spouses today and we enjoyed a nice cookout with them.  I always enjoy seeing them all together having a good time.  Cassie & Jack had to leave by 4pm since they had a 7 hour drive ahead of them.  The others left over the course of the day and then we went to look at a house Larry & Jane are interested in buying.  It sure is a lot of house for the money and looks like it would be a good buy.

We returned to the house and just took it easy the rest of the day and sat outside on the patio chatting with Henry & Barbara.  Nice relaxing evening for all of us after the hustle and bustle the last couple days.  They have to go to work on Monday morning and we have some errands to run with Larry Jr during the day.

We were glad to see that the hurricane didn't cause more destruction than was in the forecast.  Not that the destruction wasn't terrible, but it could have been much worse if it had remained a category 3 hurricane than the category 1 it turned out to be.  We feel for those caught in the worst of damage and hope things get back to normal quickly.  We hope that Linda and Sherwin up in Maine didn't get hit too hard by the storm. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Riding out the Hurricane

We are riding out the hurricane in Concord, North Carolina.  The wind is blowing about 10mph and it is a sunny day.  

We drove down yesterday on I-81 and were surprised by the heavy traffic all the way down.  It was moving steady at 72 mph and the speed lane was bumper to bumper in a long line like a train.  If you pulled back into the slow lane you would be trapped there for a few miles before you could get back out.  Interesting drive.

Not much else going on around here other than visiting with the family.  We will be having a mini birthday celebration for Larry Jr. today and a cookout on Sunday.  Nice to see all our children together at the same time.

Hurricane aftermath

The hurricane was a non event here in the Charlotte, NC area.  If we didn't have the TV on we wouldn't have known that there was a hurricane 200 east of us.  It looks like there was some damage on the coast but nothing like they were worried about.  

Gerry prepared Larry Jr's favorite meal of breaded pork chops, mashed potatoes, gravy and fresh green beans.  Grant even tried one of the pork chops and actually ate most of it and said it was good.  The last time she prepared the pork chops for them he balked at trying them and would not eat even one bite.  Go figure 10 year olds.

When we came back to Barbara and Henry's house the electricity was off.  It was a local blackout and came back on about 30 minutes after we got here.  Barbara, Cassie and Gerry went out and sat in the hot tub for most of that time and enjoyed the relaxation there.   By this time I was beat and went to bed while they were in the hot tub.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another doctor visit

Gerry had a lot of trouble with her ear getting infected when she was a child and has continued to have ear problems to this day.  She goes in for a 6 month checkup and today was the day for that.  It is an 85 mile drive one way to the appointment and it rained all the way down there.  We still made good time since the traffic wasn't so heavy and we only got caught in one road construction area.

The ear is ok, but she will still need to continue with the 6 month checkups.  Ear problems can be a real pain and she has had one operation already and doesn't want to have another.  

We borrowed Cassie & Jack's Dodge Ram pickup truck to make the drive down there.  Whew!  It rides pretty well on smooth road but it feels like I am driving the motor home.  It is neat to have a good view of the road ahead with the high clearance.  The wet roads made for some slower driving, but all went well.

We stopped by our favorite liquor & wine store on the way home and picked up some good buys on wine there.  They cost $2-4 cheaper per bottle there and have a huge selection.  The beer is much cheaper also and if we are in the area, it makes good sense to stop by and make a large purchase.  

When we were leaving the wine store a call came in from the automobile repair shop that was working on the Saturn.  It had developed a very bad miss when there was a steep climb or when taking off fast.  We had them work on the car in June and they replaced the spark plugs and a few other repairs and factory recalls.  The car ran a little better but I wasn't happy with it's performance. The gas mileage dropped from 25mpg around town to 20mpg.  Not good.  They tried to fix it on Tuesday but could not isolate and fix the problem.  Today they were more successful.  

Yes, the plugs they put in the car in June were the wrong plugs.  They hadn't noticed that the engine was a Honda V6 and assumed it was a Chevrolet V6.  Wrong!   When they installed the correct plugs the can ran like new with a lot of pep.  To make up for their mistake they only charged for the difference in cost between the wrong plugs and the correct ones,  $74 difference since the new plugs cost $20 each and the old ones were around $5 each.  I wonder if the first mechanic is still working for them.

At least the car is repaired and we can make the trip down to North Carolina and help our son celebrate his 40th birthday which was yesterday.  He doesn't want to make a big deal out of it but we think it should be recognized.  He was such a daredevil as a child that making it to 40 is quite an accomplishment.  

Cassie & Jack will be making the trip down there also and we are looking forward to a big celebration on Saturday or Sunday.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


We had a number of trees cut down in July and they took the wood from all but two of the trees with them.  One of the remaining trees had been dead for a couple years and the firewood is dry enough for using this year.  We decided to move the wood to the stacking area today and managed to almost kill ourselves.  WOW!  That is hard work or we sure have let our muscles deteriorate very much.

We had Cassie's pickup truck and decided to load it up rather than using the wheel barrel to move the wood.  It was quicker that way but we worked harder.  I managed to stumble over a log and bruise my shin up big time.  There is a huge knot on my beautiful leg and it is sore.  We did get it all stacked in a semi-neat pile and the next step is to borrow our neighbors log splitter on weekend early in September.  The wood will come in handy for the cool mornings and evenings in October.

Due to Doctor appointments it looks like we will be here until mid October and then be able to hit the road.  As they say, RVers plans are set in jello and this is the case for now.  Now if we can come up with alternate travel plans, we will be in good shape.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Are you ready to rumble?

Gerry and I thought we had left all the problems with temblors behind us when we left Costa Rica in 1992.  We used to have 10 earthquakes a year down there including a 7.6 in 1991 that really rocked the place.  That one was really interesting and my niece Jeanie had come down for a visit and we warned her what to do in case of an earthquake.  Just her luck the big one struck while she and Gerry were shopping in an old hotel.  What an introduction to Costa Rica she got that time.

Here is an article about the damage in Limon, Costa Rica from that earthquake.  Costa Rica Earthquake 7.6 magnitude

Today the Washington, DC area was struck with a 5.8 earthquake and it really got everybody's attention.  I was sitting in our car and didn't even feel it, while Gerry was in the cabin and immediately knew what was up.  It shook the floors, towels and doors but didn't cause any structural damage.  The TV coverage was very extensive and I think a lot of people began to panic. 

We have ATT and Verizon cell phones, along with a Verizon aircard.  The ATT phone worked during the aftermath of the earthquake and the Verizon phone was off the air for 45 minutes or so.  The aircard worked the whole time and we had internet service the whole time.  Strange that the phone wouldn't work and the aircard did, even though they are with the same company.  I imagine it is because they must use different cell towers.  The cell phone service was overwhelmed for a while so it gives me some pause to think what would happen to cell phone service during a very large disaster.

Now hurricane Irene is expected to be in the area by Sunday.  It shouldn't be much of an event here at the cabin but the coastal areas could be in for some rough stuff if the path continues as expected. 

We have to get out of here before the early snow storm hits in Maryland.  What crazy weather we have had lately.  100 plus temps, heavy rains, earthquakes, hurricanes.   I am afraid to ask what next.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Weekend

Slow days around here lately.  Gerry, Cassie, Jack & Lexa went to the ladies night out group that Cassie belongs to on Saturday.  They had a casino theme and needed Jack & Lexa to deal cards for the casino night.  I was recruited for the job also but had to decline to other commitments.

I took our computers over to Cassie's house and updated windows, firefox and some other programs that needed updates.  They have a high speed internet connection and the downloads run much faster there and it doesn't chew into our 5gig limit on the Verizon aircard.  I had planned on taking the aircard to check if it was faster down there, however I took everything except the aircard with me.  It was sitting on t he couch at the cabin where I left it.  

Sunday we went back down the hill to Cassie's and had a real nice anniversary dinner with them.  Cassie fixed roast beef, potatoes, carrots, buns and a garden salad.  I had to restrain myself from eating too much.  The meal was topped off with a Key Lime pie desert which was delicious.  Key Lime pie is one of our favorite deserts and we always enjoy it since it reminds us of the Florida Keys.

Today was the big tooth extraction day and I arrived early at 7:20am and was out of there in 15 minutes.  I think I was in the chair for a total of 5 minutes so far it has been easy.  Of course as I write this one hour later the anesthetic hasn't worn off.  I won't go into any detail, however that was easier than getting my teeth cleaned.  Hope it continues this way.

It was interesting driving down the mountain this morning and seeing all the traffic heading that way.  South Mountain is a small town and other than the Restoration Center there isn't any work up here and the people have to travel up to 70 miles one way to get any work.  There was a steady stream of cars heading down the whole way.  Many people leave here around 5am to get to work on time.  Tough life driving all those miles and hours every day, but housing is so much cheaper up here that it is worth it to them.

Not much else going on around here so I won't bore you anymore with trivial details.  

One of the blogs I follow   Rick & Paulette Rv Journal created a PDF file of useful tips for bloggers and other PC users.  He writes an interesting blog about his RV travels and living at home in Canada.  His writing style is great for novices and easy to follow even though he was an IT professional for many years.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Doctor visit and lunch surprise

We went to my doctor appointment near where we used to live for my yearly checkup and all went well.  In fact, he said I should quit taking one medicine for a 6 weeks and have a test to see if there were any changes.  If no changes, then I could quit taking the medicine.  Great, I am all for that.  

We ran some errands while we were down there and Cassie asked us to pick up a pizza at the Stained Glass Pub in Glenmont, MD.   We decided to have a late lunch and order a pizza for us also and did so.  While we were waiting for the pizza to be delivered to our table we saw our old friend Bill M sitting at the bar.  I went up and said hello and we chatted a few minutes and then back to our table.

The pizza was delivered to the table and we commenced to devour it and  Bill came over and sat with us and we caught up on what had been going on with us the last few years.  Gerry looked up at a woman who came into the restaurant and it was another old friend Claire D who was stopping in for a late lunch.  She stopped by and chatted and then had to make some phone calls and sat at a table in the same section.  Claire stopped by later on and chatted with us also and it was like old home week.  Larry Jr. went to school with her daughter Renee and were good childhood friends.

We picked up the takeout pizza and started our pizza run up to Cassie & Jack's house.  Interstate 70 was a mess around Frederick, MD and we jumped over to US 40 to avoid the backup.  It looked like that was a good move since we could see I-70 was barely moving 20 miles down the road.  There was an added advantage to taking US 40 since we managed to stop at a roadside soft ice cream stand and get two small blueberry ice cream cones.  Delicious as usual.

By this time it was time for the Redskins-Colts preseason football game and we watched the first three quarters until they began the usual substituting of players they wanted to see in game conditions and I lost interest.  It is preseason  and you can't put much stock in it but the Redskins look like they have improved over last year.  More younger players who look quicker and more athletic.  Hopefully this will carry over into the regular season and it will be a good year for them.  The Skins eventually won 16-3.

It has cooled off up here at the cabin and getting down into the 50s at night which makes for great sleeping weather. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Ott House

Our friends Carolyn & Mann made the long trip up from the Richmond, VA area and are staying at a KOA near Gettysburg.  KOA had a 2 nights for 1 paid special and they decided to take them up on it.  The prices KOA charges makes me think they should always have a 2 for 1 special. Gettysburg is a huge tourist area and the campgrounds there charge a premium for a nights camping.  

We went over to see them after they got setup and visited for a while and then went to the Ott House Restaurant in Emmitsburg, MD for dinner.  Cassie and Jack joined us there for dinner and everyone seemed to enjoy the meal.  The Ott House is an old family run bar and restaurant that has been in Emmitsburg for as long as I can remember.  If you are ever in the area and want to have a drink or dinner in a nice old fashioned bar, then try out the Ott House. 

The US Fire Academy is in Emmitsburg and the Ott House has a van that shuttles the people who attend training sessions there back and forth.  It is a win win for the restaurant and the students since most of them don't have a car and Ott House has a lot of business from them.  The bar is about 60-70 ft long and behind the bar are thousands of patches from different fire companies in the US. 

Tonight was trivia night and you could win $25 if you answered all the trivia questions and were a finalist.  It took about an hour for the game and we had to leave before it was finished so we didn't win anything.  In addition, it was $5.25/pitcher night for Yuengling Beer and we did win at that three times.  Actually, we had to pay for them but there were 5 glasses in each pitcher so that was like a win for us.

We went back to Carolyn & Mann's motorhome at the KOA and had some dessert and visited for another couple hours.  Time really flew by and we had a lot to catch up.  We left there around 11pm and stopped by Walmart to pick up some needed items and wound up getting home around 12:45am.   Long and tiring day for us, but we had a great time.

It was an entirely different way to celebrate our anniversary but the friends and family made it very enjoyable.  Now to go on a real diet and lose some of this weight from all the dinners out.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dentist & Dobbin

Last April a tooth crown broke off and left just a piece of the tooth.  The dentist in Tucson said it would take about 6 weeks to repair it correctly and we were scheduled to leave in a week so I put it off until now.  It took 3 weeks to get an appointment and today was the day.  Our local dentist said it would take the same 6 weeks to repair the problem and I had better get started on it.  GULP!  I hate to have teeth pulled, but in this case I don't have any choice.  Work begins at 7:30am on the 22nd with the extraction.   7:30AM!!!   What a terrible time to be at a dentist's office.

Our 54th wedding anniversary is on August 17th and we have friends coming in for a few days so we celebrated the anniversary at the Dobbin House in Gettysburg, PA.  It is the same place that we went to last year when we celebrated our anniversary and also Barbara & Henry's big day.

Gerry loves the Crab a la Dobbin which is a plate full of lump crab meat, salad, sweet potato, freshly baked bread and muffins.  She said it was fantastic and enjoyed the meal a lot.  I had Corvina covered in horseradish, baked potato, salad & the baked bread and muffins.  It was an outstanding meal and we both enjoyed it. 

The Dobbin House dates back to the early 1800s and is a very large and impressive old home.  The room where we sat had 4 double tables and one table for 4 and all were occupied while we were there.  Not the place for an intimate conversation, but very nice.

We had our picture taken at the hostess station which is in front of a very large fireplace that they must have cooked on those many years ago.  If you look closely, you will see a turkey hanging down from the ceiling just above Gerry's head.  The fireplace was authentic and had an old flintlock gun on the mantle.  

When we were leaving there was a group in front of the Dobbin House on a ghost tour.  There are many ghost tours in Gettysburg and if you believe in them, you can go into old cellars, taverns and haunted places.  It is amazing the number of people waiting on main street to take the tours.  This would be right up Dee K's alley if she were in the area. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Stuffed Peppers & Lightning Bolts

Well, today was the big day for stuffed peppers.  Gerry uses a recipe that has come down in her family for generations and they are the best stuffed peppers I have ever eaten.  I don't know the recipe and I don't think she will give it out unless it is to family.   Just kidding.  She did prepare stuffed peppers for a chef a few years ago and he thought they were fantastic.  She gave him the recipe and he said he was going to make them for his wife and family.

Cassie, Jack & Lexa joined us for the peppers and that makes for an interesting batch.  Cassie & Jack can't eat green peppers so yellow ones were stuffed for them.  Gerry and I like the green, red & yellow peppers so we had green ones today.  Lexa doesn't like any color pepper so she just ate the filling and juices.  Everyone managed to stuff themselves and enjoy the meal.  

After dinner we sat around and talked and we began to hear thunder in the distance and then closer.  About that time the lightning began to strike closer to us, but nothing too bad.  Then about the time they were leaving a terrific bolt of lightning hit very close to the cabin and we heard a big crash like a tree falling down.  It was dark and we couldn't see anything.  Now I have something to do on Monday searching for the tree that was hit by the bolt of lightning.

That was our excitement for the day and I'm glad it wasn't any worse.  I am sure glad I had the trees cut down that I did and possibly avoided one of them come crashing down.

Hope you all had a great weekend and an even better week ahead.

Anniversary Celebration

Gerry's sister Darlene and her husband Tom celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary on August 12 and we joined them for dinner at Callahan's in Frederick, MD to help them celebrate.  It was a joint celebration since our anniversary is August 17, however we have 15 years on them.  We all enjoyed the meal and the restaurant very much and I know there will be a return trip from us in the future.

It's about an hour drive for us to the restaurant from the cabin and they came from the Annapolis, MD area and it took them 1 1/2 hours.  They ran into about 40 minutes of very heavy rain and many people pulled off the road rather than driving in the downpour.  They have an all wheel drive SUV and continued on since it handles very well on wet pavement.  We were stuck behind a couple slow pokes on the way down the mountain and it slowed us down quite a lot.

Earlier in the day Jack brought his truck, we picked up some shelving from Lowes Hardware that was on a closeout sale and installed it in the bathroom and bedroom.  It looks really nice and the bathroom unit gives us more needed storage, while the bedroom unit gives us less storage.  Since storage is so tight in the cabin, we aren't sure if we made the right decision or not.  I guess we will have to continue to clean out old "stuff" that we don't need and pare down even more.  It surely is hard to part with good items but since we haven't used them for a while, I guess it is time.

Larry Jr. had two sawzalls and gave me one of them since I have been wanting one for a while now.  It came in handy to cut a small piece out of the bathroom unit to allow the water pipes to go behind it.  What would have been a long drawn out task with a hand saw went by very quickly with the new saw.  Thanks a million, Jr.  I know I will get a lot of use out of the saw while we are here at the cabin and in the future.

During the last week or so the resident deers have been in the meadow every day with up to 6-7 deer out there at a time.  There are two fawns from this year that have lost their spots but are the most playful little guys around.  They eat a while and then bound off and return.  In addition, there is one deer that must be a year old and the older deer like to go after it.  I don't know if this is a weening process or if they don't like the deer.  In any case, they provide us with a show every day.  

Last night on the way back from the restaurant a fox ran across the road in front of us near the cabin and it was a streak.  I've never seen a fox run so fast and it hit the road in two spots and was across and into the woods.  It was just in front of us and moved so fast that I could not have avoided hitting it if we were there a few seconds earlier. 

Stuffed peppers are on tap for Sunday dinner and my mouth is watering for them already.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

House for sale

We have been curious about the auctioning of houses in the area and there was an auction in Smithsburg today of a small house.  We decided to check it out and see what it was all about.  We didn't register to bid since they required a certified check or $5,000 cash to register.  That way it kept the riff raff out of the bidding.

The house was open at 11am for viewing and we checked it over to see what kind of shape it was in.  One word described it very well.  BAD!  The roof needed replacing, huge wooden deck was rotten, kitchen and bathroom were in bad shape and needed updating.  I estimated it would take about $50,000 in repairs to make it livable and even then it was only a 2 bedroom house.  It was on 1 acre on a nice road so that was a plus.

We didn't know how much it would go for and seriously miscalculated the final price.  We were thinking less than $40,000 and it sold for $115,000.  I guess I won't make it as an estimator for selling houses.    All in all, it was an interesting process and we learned a lot form the experience.  Now to find a more suitable house that goes for a reasonable price.

There were a number of people there looking for a lowball house to pick up but they dropped out quickly when the bidding got up around $65K and at the end there were two groups bidding against each other.  It was an interesting process and I could see where you could get wrapped up in the bidding and overspend for a place.  Not today for us though.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wild Animals

As many of you know our cabin borders Michaux State Forest (85,000 acres) in Pennsylvania.  Most people who visit for the first time ask the same question -- "how did you ever find this place?".   Yes, it is out in the boondocks but when we bought the place in 1979 it was a great escape from the congestion and traffic of the Washington, DC area where we were living at the time.  

Lately we have been seeing more wild animals up here than in the past years.  There seem to be more deer eating in the meadow across from us and our next door neighbor said he saw a mother bear and three cubs early in the morning between our cabins.  The cabins are a couple hundred yards apart so that gives us some cause to be careful early in the day.  

We also have the usual assortment of possums, racoons and a nice size flock of wild turkey.  You have to be really quiet and sit very still or they will scatter in a heartbeat.   There are a few wild humans up in this area also, but they seem to keep to themselves and don't bother anyone.  

Another neighbor has a flock of chickens which you could classify as wild also since they free range in the woods near the entrance to our cabin.  I am glad they are up there and not running all over our property and leaving the droppings behind.  One good thing about these chickens is that if times get real rough, we will have some good meals to sustain us for a while.

As you can tell it has been a slow week up here, but next week will be very busy with friends Carolyn & Mann visiting for a couple days, our wedding anniversary, dentist appointments and who knows what will come up to fill in the days.  Maybe some time for geocaching will appear and we can add to our finds.

The weather has taken a nice turn for the better with much cooler temperatures and a little rain which was needed.  Now, if the humidity would drop some more, it will be great up here.  

We are looking forward to hitting the road sometime in September and seeing what there is to see out there in this great country.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tire Situation

I guess this old dog is slow to learning new tricks.  We are using our daughter's Ford Explorer while they are on vacation with our Saturn.  The Explorer has 224,000 miles on it and I didn't think it would be a good idea to take it on a 3,000 mile trip, so we traded vehicles for a while.

As you may remember we had a flat tire on the Explorer and finally took it to Costco to have it repaired.  Their policy is if you buy it from them, they will fix your flats.  Well, that is close to their policy.  We learned today that if the tire is more than 5 years old they will not repair it under any circumstances.  It has a tiny nail in the tread which is causing the slow leak, but they still will not repair it.  According to them my only option was to purchase a new tire and install it on the Explorer.  NOT!

We drove out of there on the spare and Jack is going to repair the tire himself.  Two local tire dealers wanted $25 to repair the tire and that may still be an option.  I think Costco must be worried about a possible lawsuit if the repair job went bad.  

When we lived in Africa and had a 1 year old car that had a blowout, the repair man had an open charcoal grill with a manual baffle and he vulcanized the tire right in front of us.  He took a piece of tire from another tire and then applied it the our tire and finished the vulcanization process.  I eventually put an inner tube in the tire and drove on it for another 9 years and when we sold the car in Costa Rica the tire was still on the car.  As you can tell, we didn't put a lot of miles on the car in those days, mainly because there weren't a lot of places to drive to at a distance.

We drove down to I-70 to make the trip to Costco and the East bound lane was shut down for 3 hours for an accident.  Everyone shifted over to US Rt 40 to get past the accident.  What a mess.  I continue on to Alt US 40 and took it into Frederick, MD and it was a pleasant drive with almost no traffic.  It is nice to know your way around when these types of problems arise.

We have been watching after Cassie & Jack's cats while they are gone along with two other people helping out.  Cassie's favorite cat is Malibu and she is the friendliest cat and seems to miss having people around. I'm sure Malibu will have a lot to say to Cassie, Jack and Lexa when they return from their trip.  The other two cats are less friendly and don't bother hanging around us at all, but you can see Malibu likes to hang out with Gerry.

That was our day here on the East coast.  Hope you all had a great day.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fred Imus (1942-2011)

Fred Imus lived in a 5th wheel trailer in the same RV park in Tucson that we have stayed at the past 5 years.  He pretty much was a loner but would talk to you if you initiated a conversation with him.  He had a number of friends in the park, however we didn't know him very well at all.  He was quite a character and I know many people will miss him.


Fred Imus, songwriter and brother of Don Imus, dies at 69

Saturday, August 6th 2011, 10:47 PM
Fred Imus on the cover of "The Fred Book," which he wrote with the Daily News' Mike Lupica.
Don Imus
Fred Imus on the cover of "The Fred Book," which he wrote with the Daily News' Mike Lupica.
Fred (l.) and Don Imus at a book signing.
Linda Cataffo/News
  Fred Imus, younger brother of WABC morning host Don Imus and a long-time songwriter and radio host himself, was found dead Saturday at his home in Tucson, Ariz. He was 69.
He was reportedly found in his trailer after he failed to show up for "Fred's Trailer Park Bash," a weekend show he cohosted with Don Collier and "Missy" on Sirius XM's Outlaw Country channel.
In 1976 he and a fellow railroad worker named Phil Sweet cowrote "I Don't Want To Have To Marry You," a No. 1 country hit for Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius. It was voted song of the year by Music City News.
Fred collaborated with Don on the 1997 book "Two Guys Four Corners," which featured photographs and reminiscences of the Southwest, and with Daily News columnist Mike Lupica on 1998's "The Fred Book," which featured Fred's thoughts on life.
Fred was best known to New Yorkers and radio listeners as a laconic, droll, funny and sometimes ornery guest on his brother's syndicated show.
In the 1990s he ran Auto Body Express, which began as a garage where he worked on restoring vintage cars. Don mentioned it on the radio and that random remark soon turned it into a million-dollar clothing and food business.
Fred first ran Auto Body Express out of the same El Paso garage before moving to Santa Fe. He answered phones himself and grumbled that all these T-shirt sales didn't leave him enough time to finish restoring those 1957 Chevies.
The business continued until 2003, and Fred also spent time helping run Don's Imus Ranch in New Mexico before moving to Tucson several years ago.
Don, who was very close to Fred all his life, always gave Fred credit for some of his own success. Fred produced the Imus radio show for a time and Don said Fred was the one who suggested opening the microphones for comments by Imus's staff, including producer Bernard McGuirk and engineer Lou Rufino.
Don also said Fred had the skill to write more hit songs if he had pursued that avenue. Fred said in 1991 he preferred to live a more low-key life, which he did.
Fred Imus was born in 1942 in California and grew up in the Southwest before serving in the Army and working as a brakeman on the Southern Pacific Railroad.
In 1963, before Don went into radio, he and Fred wrote and recorded a song called "I'm A Hot Rodder (And All That Jazz)" for the Challenge label under the name Jay Jay Imus and Freddy Ford.
Plans for services have not been announced.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Gerry and I must have been watching the squirrels too much lately since today we were emulating them.  We cleared out some of the old firewood that had gotten too old to burn so we could make room for new firewood.  One of the trees recently cut had been dead for a couple years and dried out enough that it can be used for firewood this winter.  Now all I have to do is split the wood with a maul or borrow a neighbor's log splitter.  I think a visit to the neighbor is in order.

We still have a lot of branches, leaves and stuff in the yard so today we started burning a lot of it.  It looks like this will be a long term project since there is so much of it.  We burned for 4 hrs today and hardly made a dent in the stuff.  I think it would be a good idea to take the larger branches down to the state park and let the campers there have it all.  The park ranger may not like that too much and most likely would run us out of there.

I'm not sure why we are collecting firewood like squirrels collect nuts and acorns since we don't intend to be here when it turns cold.  Actually, it does turn cool in late September around here and it is possible we will still be in the area then.  

Yesterday we went to Chambersburg to pick up the wheel for my bike after having the rim repaired.  A spoke was broken and the rim bent a little so it was time to take it to the repair shop.  He has done work for us before and does a good job.  He has the only bike repair shop in the area and keeps quite busy.  

After the rim was picked up we went geocaching for a few caches in Chambersburg.  One was located at the oldest Masonic Lodge in Pennsylvania and has been there since 1824.  When the Confederate Army came through Chambersburg on their way to Gettysburg, they burned many places, however they did not burn the Masonic Lodge.  Needless to say it is an old building.

Chambersburg has a neat old downtown area that still has many shops open.  The intersection in the middle of town where US 11 and US 30 cross is very well done.  They take pride in their town and it shows.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Doctors and Flat Tires

Gerry had a medical appointment today and we left in plenty of time to make the appointment.  Well, we thought we left in time, however we didn't plan on having US Rt 30 closed down due to an accident.  We took a side road and missed most of the delay so that was good.

The car seemed to be handling a little funny so I pulled into a Burger King to check out the problem.  Yep, we had an almost flat tire.  Unbelievable!  I could still drive on the drive without damaging it so it was back on the road to see the doctor.  Gerry was a few minutes late at this time but since it was a clinic it wasn't a problem.

I started to change the tire in the parking lot and that is when the fun began.  First I had to find where they hid the jack which wasn't too difficult.  Then find the long rods to lower the tire from under the car.  With the rods found I then tried to figure out where the connection was to lower the tire.  A couple phone calls to son in law Jack to help find the spot ( it was his car ) and I finally was able to lower the spare tire.

The jack provided for this task was barely able to get the tire off the ground fully extended, but it worked.  I did check the spare to see if it had enough air in it and the spare tire pressure was down quite a bit.  No problem, I installed it and drove to a local Ford dealer about a block away to fully inflate the tire.

Now all the above isn't that interesting but Gerry asked me the last time I had changed a flat tire.  About 3 weeks ago we also had a flat on the Saturn and I changed that one also, but prior to that it was about 30 years ago the previous time.  I wonder if there is any correlation between doctor visits and flat tires?  Doctor visits could be a hazard to my health.

It has cooled down a lot here at the cabin the past couple days.  Highs in the low 70s with high humidity, but a welcome relief from the previous highs in the high 90s.  The rain of the past couple days has helped cool it down and was much needed.

Monday, August 1, 2011

South Mountain Restoration Center

We have owned the cabin here in South Mountain since 1979 and never have driven through the Restoration Center located nearby.  It is a huge facility with more than 15 large buildings including one that is about 6 stories tall and about a block long.  The Restoration Center has been many things in it's over 100 year history.  It started out as a TB sanatorium and then was an old age home, mental health care and a drug rehab center over the course of those many years.

Rather than explain it's history I am including a link to an article about the Center.  

As a side note, when we lived in Costa Rica the Embassy nurse was a friend of ours and in the course of a conversation it came up that we had a cabin in South Mountain.  Her eyes lit up and she said one of her first jobs was working as a nurse at the Center.  Small world isn't it?

I was wondering if they could restore me to my past glory, however they said I was way past restoration.  Gerry had to talk a long time to get them to let me leave.  I don't think I will ever go back there.

You surely can tell when a blogger is running out of interesting things to write about when the subject is a sanatorium.