Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

We hope you all have a happy Halloween this year and you are safe and sound.  Save some of your candy for Gerry, she won't be able to go out this year and will be low on sweets.  I am sure she would appreciate any Ghirardelli chocolates or Turtles.  Any flavor will do for her.  No candy apples, though,





Last night around 9:00 pm the LP detector gizmo began to chirp in the motor home.  I went outside and turned the LP lines off and it still chirped.  We opened a window and turned on the fan to see if we could clear the air in the MH.  It still continued to chirp so I removed the detector and we decided to spend the night at Cassie & Jack's.  I left the generator running so we could keep the MH warm and locked it up and left.

We stoked the fire in the cabin real good and hopefully it stayed warm enough to not cause any damage to the pipes when it died down.  The pipes aren't a problem to repair so I am not that concerned about it.  The last thing we did before leaving was to turn the water pump off in case they restored the electric to the area.  Fat chance of that happening.

We have some errands to run down here in the morning and I will buy a new LP detector and then head back up to the cabin.  Hope all is well up there and no more trees have fallen across the road or electric lines. 

I was very impressed yesterday with all the neighbors coming out and visiting with each other.  When Bob and I went for gas we chatted with a number of them on the way back.  The guys had gone out with their chain saws and cleared the road in a number of places.  None of the waiting for the government to help them and whining about it.  Just "git er done" on their part.  I talked to a couple neighbors that I haven't seen or talked to in a number of years.  Nice bunch of people up there that care about each other. 

The power came back on after being out for 51 hours.  The main line leading into the cabin area was down and they repaired it.  Probably a lot of lines before that also.  I am keeping the MH generator running for a couple more hours to be on the safe side.  The cabin does have full power now and we have the well working.    YEAH!

4 more days to go.  Maybe longer.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunny day ahead

We made it through the night in fine shape, considering how cold it was.  The electrical power still hasn't been restored and I am not optimistic it will be that soon before we get it back.  Hope I am wrong on that subject.

Bob, our neighbor, was out with his snowblower bright and early this morning.  He cleared a path from the MH to the cabin so we could walk back and forth.  The snow is very wet still and the blower was still blowing it very well.  Nice tool to have up here considering all the snow they get every year.

Bob and I are going to take a short ride in a while to see how the roads are and if any more trees have fallen during the night.  I need to get some more gas to make sure I have enough to keep the generator working at least another day or two.  10 gallons equates to about 16 hours of generator use and I don't want to run out in the middle of the night.  They are calling for a low of 27 tonight and then it will be warming up so it won't be as critical that we use the generator as much.

We made it down to the gas station without any problems in his 4-wheel drive vehicle.  There are numerous power lines down all over the place, along with many trees lying over power lines.  There will have to be a major effort to get power back on quickly up here.  The collage below give a better picture of what it looks like up here than I can describe. 



The sun is shining brightly and the wet snow is falling on the roof of the MH with a big thud.  As long as it is snow, that isn't a problem.  We are parked in a fairly clear area so I don't think falling branches will be a problem.  We are in a heavily treed area so it is always possible for branches falling. 

It was nice to be back in the MH and we slept very well except for Gerry putting more firewood in the fire a couple times.  The cabin temperature got down to 44 with the fire being stoked for the night.  During the day it was 60 degrees with a bigger fire.  I can't imagine how difficult it would have been for those early settlers to live in a log cabin and keep it warm.  Not for me.

5 more days until departure.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ooh! Ooh! Snow

We have been getting updates from friends on the temperature where they are now.  Florida, Iowa, Arizona and in between their destination and their home.  We feel sorry for them as they are missing some great weather up here on the mountain.  Last night it started snowing lightly and we decided to make a run to pick up some Swiss Miss chocolate mix to have on hand.  It was 38 when we left and dropped 4 degrees in an hour and began to snow harder.

This is what we woke up to this morning.  A regular winter wonderland and beautiful.  Eat your hearts out for those of you in the sun and temps in the 80s.
We have the fire going in the fireplace and it is snug and warm in the cabin.  Now, if only we have enough wood to feed it.  We do have a lot of firewood and covered some of the larger pieces yesterday to help keep them dry.  I may be splitting more firewood in the next couple days if this keeps up.




This is the view from the porch looking across the meadow across the road. I am sure this view will change as the day goes on and the snow continues to fall.  It is a wet and heavy snow and may cause power lines to snap under the weight.  If that happens, then we will move into the motorhome and turn on the generator.  We have enough fuel to last us a couple days, but I don't think it will come to that.  They are calling for snow until late this evening, so only time well tell. 

Gerry and I grew up in South Central Illinois about 45 miles from St. Louis, MO and the Cardinals baseball team was the topic of conversation all the time.  They have some of the greatest fans I have run across in the sporting world and last night the Cardinals rewarded them for their loyalty by winning the "World Series" over the Texas Rangers.  Congratulations to the Cards baseball team from a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball fan.


I will fill you in on any significant change in the weather up here, but I don't think it will be a problem.  The power has been going on and off for a few seconds a lot in the past hour and it is only 1pm.  Still snowing hard and it will cause the power lines to go down with branches hitting them and all.  The MH is looking better and better all the time. 8 inches of snow on ground as of 1pm.  We lost power at 1:40pm and it hasn't come back on.  Hummm!


This Afternoon
chancesnow Snow. Snow may be heavy at times. Snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches. Colder. Near steady temperature in the lower 30s. North winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow near 100 percent.

It is now 5:30pm, no power and the snow is still falling but at a slower rate.  I don't think there will be any more accumulation of any measurable amount.  Of course, I didn't think we would get the 12+ inches that we have on the ground now.  It is a wet snow and down below it is very liquid and is going to freeze tonight in the expected 23 degree weather.   Cassie & Jack are bringing us some gasoline to make sure we have enough to keep the generator running until the power comes back on.  ** They brought up the gas and had a terrible time getting here.  There were numerous trees down across the road and many power lines also.  Jack had to cut a 20 inch tree into pieces in order to get the last 1/2 mile in here.  The branches hanging down from the trees make it look like a tunnel and scratched up their truck.  I owe them big time.


It is funny when I hear people laugh at having problems in 12 inches of snow, but they don't have to deal with fallen trees and downed power lines.  It probably will be days before they restore power up here.  The town of South Mountain is dark all over the place.  Gerry just read where Eastern PA was the bull's eye for this storm with well over 1 million homes without power.  The utility companies are bringing crews from other states to help with restoring power.  I am sure we will be among the last to get back on line.  We'll see.


This would be a great snow fall to make a snowman since it is so wet, but this old man doesn't have the energy to make one.  If anyone is interested in coming up here and making a snowman or having a snowball fight, come on up.




Well, that was our day up here on the mountain, how was your day?

6 more days to departure!







  

Friday, October 28, 2011

Snow is in the air

We got a call on our computer last night from Gloria & Doug via google. They have a feature that allows you to chat ( type ) or use your webcam. All of a sudden Gloria popped up on my screen looking at me. I hope I didn't scare her when she saw how I looked. Don't worry, I was fully dressed. She had a decent wifi at their campground in Montgomery, AL and thought she'd give us a call. My Verizon aircard can't really keep up with the video very well since we are at the outer limits of a signal up here. We did video conference for 10-15 minutes and it was great seeing them.

The weatherman was right on his call for cold weather arriving overnight. It was up in the mid 60s and raining most of yesterday and as the sun set on the horizon, the temps fell along with it. It was 33 degrees in the motorhome this morning around 10am and that was cold. I had set the thermostat down on the heaters in the cabin and it was down to 57 degrees. Time for the dreaded fireplace to start assuming some of the load and I built a nice fire. In the matter of an hour or so it raised the temps to a warm and toasty 63 degrees. Gerry doesn't think 63 is all that warm, but it is better than 57.

Later in the afternoon we decided to bring in some more firewood and cut some scrap hemlock branches into the proper length. Hemlock burns fast like pine but doesn't create creasote like pine does. All of the hemlock trees in the area died as a result of a borer or something like that. We've had to have three 90 ft hemlock near the cabin cut down this summer. It was a shame to lose these trees since they were so beautiful. We still have about 10-15 more hemlocks that are dead and need to be cut down. They are far enough away from the cabin that cutting them down won't be a problem or require a tree cutter to drop them.

So far today I have heard 4 different forecasts for the expected snow this evening and night. It ranges from: None, 3-5 inches, 6-8 inches and 12+ inches. I am hoping for the first forecast or at least one of the lesser amounts.. If we should get 12 inches, it could take a few days to clear the roads. God forbid we get another significant snow amount on top of what we do get. It is 10pm now and 34 degrees with a light snow falling.

In any case, we are about as well prepared for the event as we can be. We will leave the furnace on in the motor home and the cabin has two big electric heaters and a great fireplace. The only problem would be if we lose power and then the water pump will not work. We do have water on board the motor home and that would last us 3-4 days. So, in any case, let it rip.

We stopped by the library yesterday on the way home and picked up 8 movies from their selection of over 500 movies. Many are from 2010 & 2011 and recent movies. I was surprised to see so many movies there for checkout. They have a three day limit on keeping the movies and since the third day is Sunday and they are closed, we have until Monday to return the movies. They should keep us entertained for the weekend. Plus, we have a number of movies on loan to us from Cassie & Jack. Get out the popcorn and Pepsi.

7 more days.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

More medical stuff

First things first.  Gerry washed the cushion covers and we brought them home a little wet in order to make it easier to put them back on the cushions.  I was a little skeptical but it worked out fine.  They are clean once again and fit back on the cushions nicely.  We left them in the living room to dry out and they look great today.  One more item off of the bucket list to get out of here.

After all the work replacing the covers was finished we sat down and relaxed for a while.  That is when Gerry looked at me and said something was wrong.  Another piece of the skin graft had come loose and was hanging there.  Don't worry, there won't be any pictures.  We did take a picture and sent it to the doctor at 1am and asked what next.  Bright and early this morning his receptionist called and said for me to come in at 11:30 am to have it checked out.  To make a long story short, everything is fine and we are still good to go on 11/4.  He clipped the small piece and said it looked good for the remaining strip.  Enough about that.

It has been raining all day up here and looks like the next couple days will be wet and getting colder.  Cold enough to have a chance of snow in the forecast.  We will be fine up here in the cabin as long as we have electricity.  If we lose power, then we will move into the motorhome and use the furnace and generator there.  All bases are covered.  It is nice to have a RV to serve in an emergency.

We stopped by Costco after the doctor appointment and picked up a few things there.  They had more free sample booths than normal and we managed to eat our lunch there and walk out filled up.  Plus, all the samples were great and things we will buy in the future.  Gas was $3.29/gallon and that made it even more of a pleasure to shop there.  The lines were 4-5 deep waiting for gas since they are so much cheaper than other gas stations in the area.

That was our exciting day, how was yours?

8 more days.

Monday, October 24, 2011

RV rug cleaning & leaves

We ( Gerry & Cassie ) shampooed the carpet in the RV today, along with the couch and chair.  We have been waiting for a couple rain free days to do this task.  The Bissel Shampoo machine did a real nice job once the filters and such were cleaned up.   Gerry took the covers off the couch and dinette cushions and is going to wash them in cool water and then put the insides back in the cushions and let them dry that way.  Otherwise we would never be able to insert the insides in the cushion since they would most likely shrink.   Hope it works out.

I fired up the leaf blower and cleared some leaves from around the cabin.  It did a great job since the leaves were dry and moved easily.  The leaf blower ran out of gas about the same time I did, so that was good for both of us.  I will get some more gas and clear out as many leaves as I can before we leave here.  It's a lot easier taking care of it before they get too wet and are difficult to work with.

We have been fans of  the TV program, "Two & 1/2 Men" and were sorry to see Charlie Sheen leave the program.  Now they have Ashton Kucher in the lead role and the program has gone so far down that it isn't worth watching anymore.  We watched the episode from last night and could barely finish viewing the show.  That will be the last time we bother to watch it.  I can't believe they paid someone to write this episode.  

The weather forecast for Saturday is rain and snow mixed.  That isn't good news for us since we aren't looking forward to being up here in the snow.  It will be warmer on Sunday so I don't expect any accumulation or problem.  Yuk!

This is the road we will take when we hook up the car to the motorhome and head out of here.  I am sure it will look a lot more barren by the time we get on the road, but it is very pretty now.

10 days to departure.

Firewood

Diane & Ken, neighbors of ours up here on the mountain made us an offer we couldn't refuse yesterday.  We were on our way down the mountain and we stopped to visit with them for a few minutes.  They were using their log splitter to add to their woodpile and offered us some already split oak firewood.  Of course we accepted and thanked them for the wood and we picked it up today. 

We hauled enough down to fill the wood rack inside and half of a larger rack on the porch.  I would estimate we have enough wood for at least 5 nights of burning in the fireplace.  It is a heatalator fireplace with two metal sections and a space between them where two input ducts bring in the cold air below and it comes out heated via a large grate above the fireplace opening.  It actually produces more heat than standard fireplaces and we love it.



It sounds like we picked up the firewood just in time since they are calling for a cold front to move through late Thursday and Friday with temps down in the low 30s at night and only in the 50s during the day.  I hope this is just a short cold snap since we don't want to be here for the first snowfall like we did a few years ago.

Gerry felt liking raking leaves today and cleared all the leaves from around the cabin.  There are more leaves to fall and with some expected high winds the next few days, I am sure it will look like she didn't rake the leaves.  I was hoping for a dry day on Tuesday so we could burn leaves and some branches that are laying around the place.  


The cabins in the area were built around the mid 60s and were two basic styles.  A-Frame and regular cabins.  The three cabins behind us were all a-frame and two of the original cabins are still much like they were when built.   The a-frame cabins look very neat, however they don't have a lot of useable space in them.  Fine for weekend use, but long term use would be very confining.

The migration of our friends to Tucson began last week with Linda & Sherwin leaving Maine for Chicago to visit relatives & then on to Tucson.  Tomorrow, cousin Sharon & Al will leave in their 5th wheel for Tucson if all goes well.  Then later in the week Dee & Ron will be driving out to Tucson in their van.  They left their 5th wheel there over the summer and it looks like that was a good move for them with fuel prices beginning to rise once again.  Judy & Steve will be leaving once the deer season ends in MN around mid November.

Our good friends Gloria & Doug have already left Missouri for Florida and should be there soon.  They prefer the east coast of Florida to the dryness of the desert.  Maybe next year we will be joining them in Florida and bypassing the long drive to Arizona.  John and Pat have already flown the coop also as they are heading for their Florida home.

Finally, we should be on the road o/a November 4 and arriving in Tucson after December 1st.  All plans are written in jello and can change at any moment. 

We went to Wal-Mart this evening and saw 9 RVs parked there for the night.  Three were from Ontario, Canada; 1 from Washington; 1 from Florida and couldn't see the tags for the other units.  A couple had their slide out, antenna's up, jacks down and settled in for the evening.

11 more days to departure.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Nice day on the mountain

 The day started off rather crisp and cool, but warmed up real nice.  It is still pretty up here but taking on the winter look very fast.  It must have been a nice day for motorcycle riding since the roads were full of cyclists.  There may have been a cycle club having a meeting in the area or just people getting in a nice ride before the really cold weather sets in.

We lazied around for a while and then headed down to our daughter's house to watch some football, but by the time we got there the Skins were in deep trouble and wound up losing to the Panthers.  Ouch!  The more I watch football, the less I understand what the coaches are trying to do with the offense.  Enough said about that.

We hung around their house and watched our favorite program, "The Amazing Race" and then called it an early evening.  We did watch some of the Steelers game and some of the Packers since Cassie is a fan of both teams.  

Called in an order for pizza and Jack picked it up on the way back from picking up Lexa from church choir practice.  We like the local Pizza Hut in Waynesboro and when we eat pizza up here, it is the one we prefer.  We weren't disappointed in our large meat lovers pizza.  

Other than the above, it was a quiet day here.  Hardly worth writing about.  Now if we had skipped football and gone geocaching then that would have been a lot more fun and kept us outside longer.


The Farmer's Almanac is predicting a very cold winter.
It must be true because the squirrels are gathering NUTS.
Three of my friends have disappeared.
Are you O.K.?


12 more days.

High School Homecoming

Today was homecoming for the local high school team and they got the day started right with a victory in football.  It was only their third win of the season but they played very well and came off the field with a victory.

That evening was the homecoming dance and Lexa had been looking forward to the event all week.  She got all dolled  up and went to her first high school homecoming dance.  We drove down to see her and take the required pictures of her.  I must say, she looked very nice and I wonder why we didn't have a girl this pretty when I was a freshman in high school.   Well, maybe we did, but my memory is fading now. 

We waited around until she came home to hear about the dance.  Then we headed back up to the cabin.  It had cooled off a lot and the temperature on the car thermometer said it was 39.  Surprisingly, the temp at the cabin only dropped down to 38 at midnight.  It usually is about 5 degrees cooler up here on the mountain, but not tonight.  During the night it dropped lower, but did not get down to freezing.  We had left the heater on at the cabin and it was a nice temp for sleeping.

As an aside, it was in 1956 during my high school homecoming game that I threw the fateful block that resulted in a broken collarbone and separated shoulder.  During the same game Skeeter, the starting QB, broke a finger on his throwing hand, and Weye, the other starting end, tore up his knee.  There went the season for dear old Gillespie High.  We only had 24 players on the varsity that season and had a 5-1 record at the time.  To make matters worse, I really didn't have to throw the block, but I was practicing an open field block.  Dumb!   The team wound up 6-5 and we could have easily gone 10-1 that year without the injuries.   Such is life.

The game was played on a Friday night and I had to wait until Monday to have the broken collarbone repaired with a metal bar screwed into the bone to hold the broken section.  They couldn't set the shoulder until the bar was inserted.  The worst pain associated with the injury was as a result of the doctor taping my shoulder back and getting tape tangled in the hair under my arms.  Every time I moved a little it pulled and was very uncomfortable.

I did manage to go out on a date with Gerry that Saturday and Sunday but I don't think I was very good company.  That much I do remember about the injury.

13 days to departure, but who's counting.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Snowbirds and Shooter

The trees are becoming quite bare up here in a hurry.  Cool weather and wind have taken their toll on the foliage in a hurry.  We are located about 1600ft above sea level and the trees down around 700ft still have some color and leaves.  Not here.  I took a ride down to an old reservoir where you could actually see the water a few years back.  Now the trees have grown down to the water's edge and the view has been destroyed except for the dam area.  

At one time there was a gun club near the property and I remember going down there to sight our guns in.  The only thing left of the club is an old foundation and a clearing.  The trees are quickly overtaking that area also.  It doesn't take long for the forest to retake the land if left unchecked.  The drive down there was very pretty and the road was somewhat rough, but well worth a look see.

It looks like the snowbird migration is in full swing with a number of bloggers that I follow heading south and west for warmer weather.  There are three major areas in the the U.S. that attract the majority of the snowbirds.  Florida seems to be the choice for those of us on the east coast and the midwest section of the country.  Many snowbirds from the upper midwest migrate to Florida or the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. (RGV).  Westerners tend to head to southern Arizona around Yuma, Phoenix or Tucson.  Each section has it's good and bad points.  Humidity in Florida, wind in the RGV and cool nights in southwest Arizona.  

We traveled to the Florida Keys for 11 years and loved it down there.  Warm, some humidity and very laid back atmosphere made it great.  High prices and changes in the atmosphere made it less attractive to us so we have traveled to Tucson for the last 5 years and this will make our 6th year there if we ever get on the road.

We scoped out the RGV one fall and liked it, but the wind never stopped blowing the whole time we were there.  They also have some large parks down there that seemed a little cramped to us.  The people who go there swear by it so there must be some good in the place.

I don't think it really matters where you spend the winter as long as it is warm, have friendly people around you and lots of activities to keep you amused.  It is like that old saying " a bad fishing day is better than a good day at work".  Same holds true for getting out of the cold weather and enjoying the sun.  It's great that we all don't like the same place, or it sure would be crowded.

Our daughter and son in law have a Maine Coon cat named Shooter that is beautiful, even if it is the meanest, most ornery cat I have ever seen.  She is about 20 lbs and is like a pit bull, she doesn't hiss before she strikes and sure is fast at it.  It is the only cat that I will not pet or try to be friends with and I am responsible for saving it's life when it was abandoned when it was a kitten.  Jack and I were in the woods shooting, heard a crying out on our way leaving the range  and found the kitten.  She fit in the palm of my hand and was scared to death.  Jack fell in love with the kitten and the rest is history.

Our family has a tradition of naming their animals after booze and Shooter has a double naming heritage.  Booze and shooting.  How about that?

14 days and we should be on the road.  Yeah!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Doctor visit and the Olive Garden

The doctor visit went well today and he took out the remaining stitches and said it looked good.  There is a part of the graft that doesn't look like it took but the rest is fine.  One more visit in 2 weeks and we can hit the road.  Just in time it seems since the weather has taken a turn for cold and wind.  I will need to have a doctor take a look at it in Tucson, and then determine what step is next, if any.  ** Note  **  Hang in there, the medical issues will be a thing of the past real soon.

This is great news since we can make firm plans on getting out of here and on our way.  It has turned colder up here on the mountain and it is time to leave for warmer weather. 

After the doctor visit we joined the Nolans for a very nice dinner at the Olive Garden in Frederick.  We all enjoyed the meal and company and they had to leave early since John doesn't like to drive after dark.  He is a wild driver in broad daylight so it was a smart move on their part to head back home early.

We drove over to Cassie & Jack's and watched a couple of our favorite tv shows and visited with them.   We all like "The Mentalist: and the new show, "Person of Interest".  Both of them usually have interesting plots and don't preach to the audience.  I like that.

That was our day, how was yours?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Slow days

I wish I could write about all the interesting things we have been doing the past three days, but then I would have to make up stories.  We haven't done much of interest and nothing to write about.  Some days and weeks are like that.  At least we don't have any new calamities going on in our lives.

We did visit our lawyer and get some paperwork updated and that is a load off our shoulders.  It was something we have been planning on doing all summer and never got around to finishing it.  We can put that task in the completed column.

Another task that needs to be taken care of is getting new passports.  When we lived and worked overseas it was easy getting a passport renewed through the Embassy, but that avenue isn't available to us now.  We picked up the applications last year and it is still on our to do list.  Once I get this nose problem fixed up we will get our pictures taken and apply for the passports.  Hopefully.

Thursday I go in for another checkup on the nose operation and hope I get some good or encouraging news.  The thought of spending much more time up here at the cabin isn't pleasant for either of us.  It is fast approaching the cold weather that we like to avoid and the last thing we want to do is be here when it snows.  If we have to stay a lot longer, we may move the motor home to a local campground and stay there.  At least we would have fewer miles to drive and have TV reception.  

We are meeting our friends the Nolans for an early dinner on Thursday after the doctor appointment.  They will be driving up from the Rockville area and we will be down in Frederick, MD at the doctor which is about midway for all of us.  It looks like The Olive Garden will have the pleasure of our company.

See how short I can make this blog when I don't have anything to say?  

Have a great night.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Football & Baseball

We went to Cassie & Jack's house for a chili dinner today.  Tom & Darlene drove up from their home in the Annapolis area to see us one more time before we leave for the winter.  The last time they came up they went home in a terrible rainstorm, but lucked out this time.  It was great visiting with them since we don't get together that often since they are so far away.

Gerry made up a batch of mild chili and Cassie made a batch of hot stuff.  I can't handle the hot chile so we worked out a great compromise.  When we mixed the two chili's in a bowl we had three varieties.  I don't know about the other two, but my mild chili was great and I had two bowls of it.  Great food for a fall day.

This wasn't a good weekend for the sports teams I follow.  First off, my old high school has been having a good year and doing pretty well for them.  They played the best team in their conference and lost on Friday night, 21-7.   Then the Univ of MD scored 45 points on Saturday and lost 56-45.  That sound more like a basketball score.  Finally on Sunday the Redskins stunk up the place for the first half and then played decently in the 2nd half and wound up losing 20-13 to the Eagles.

The only bright spot was that the St. Louis Cardinal baseball team beat the Brewers and will move on to play the Texas Rangers in the World Series.  The Cards aren't my team, but since I grew up listening to them on the radio, I root for them whenever the Pirates aren't playing them.  So, it looks like west of the Mississippi river teams will be playing for the title.   At least the Yankees aren't in it and for me that is good thing.

I like to watch the football games but today I could have skipped them since it was so nice outside.  It was cool and very windy, but the sun was shining and fall is definitely in the air.  Getting to be late fall very fast.

We topped off the night by stopping by Rutters for some of their delicious coffee.  We are getting to be regulars at that place.  They have a rewards card available and we will get one for next year since we stop so often.  Maybe we should get one for the year and at least take advantage of it for the remaining time we are here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Country Girls

My grand niece is on the Cavalette dance team at her local high school and also has won a couple beauty contests.  I thought I'd share a couple photos of her and the dance team.  I won't tell you all where she lives so as to protect the innocent, but she does dress up well.  She is on the far right side in the 2nd row. 

This is a shot of her in the front row and middle girl.  The occasion was a football game this past Friday.  Take my word for it, she is a doll.




Gerry and I took a trip down to the local Tractor Supply store today to buy a tie down strap that was on sale.  Lots of good stuff in there but I don't think Gerry will be hanging out there very often.

We picked up another cache today at a trout hatchery that was right off of US 30 in Chambersburg, PA.  We've driven by the place hundreds of times and never knew it was there.  It wasn't that large but they produce a lot of trout that are transplanted to local streams.  

Another nice sunny day but a little cool and the leaves are dropping fast.  It won't be long and they will all be gone up here on the mountain.  Hopefully we will be gone about the same time as they are.

Friday, October 14, 2011

National Firemen Memorial Weekend Oct 14-16

We drive by this house just about every time we head down the mountain from our cabin.  We have admired the house and the beautiful setting and snapped this picture today.  Since there has been so much rain lately, we couldn't get the trees at their peak time but you can still see how nice the setting is.


I went to my doctor's appointment today with the expectation that he would say one more visit and then be on my way.  Well, it didn't go quite that way since he said two more visits and if all goes well, then I could be on my way.  If that schedule works out, then we will leave here around October 29 and head south to visit with the Duffs and then on to visit with Barb & Family along with Larry Jr. & Family.  Keep your fingers crossed that I can be cleared by then.

We made a Costco run after the appointment and picked up some specials of items that we needed.  The store was as busy as you would expect on a Christmas shopping weekend.  As a matter of fact, they have Christmas items on the shelves already.  It gets earlier and earlier every year.  We took advantage of buying our gas at $3.31/gallon at the Costco gas station.  It went up .02 from yesterday.

After that we went geocaching for a while and picked up 6 caches along the way home.  Some were interesting and others were downright easy to find.  We prefer a little bit of challenge but it doesn't always work out that way.  The most challenging part of the cache hunting was getting across two lanes of traffic on US 15 which is a very busy 4 lane highway.  

Our destination in that area was the Ott House Bar & Restaurant in Emmitsburg, MD.  The place was mobbed with people two deep at the bar and every table filled.  We had to wait a while for a table for two and finally got seated.  It seemed that 95% of the people in there were firemen or families of firemen.  I asked what was the occasion and found out the the National Fireman Memorial Weekend is this weekend with lots of ceremony and such.  We bought a nice shirt from a fireman from Nebraska who was financing his and another fireman's trip to the Memorial by selling shirts.  

Firemen Memorial Weekend

After enjoying a great meal there we were forced to drive to a local Dairy Queen so Gerry could redeem her free Blizzard coupon.  We are two stuffed people now, but contented.

Who says we don't live an interesting exciting life?  

All in all it was a great day.  See ya!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Are we in Oregon?

We've had very nice weather lately and it was a welcome sight after all those rainy gloomy days.  I imagine the weather then was like they have in Oregon a lot of times from the postings I have seen on Oregon.  Today was our turn to experience more Oregon weather when thick fog moved in overnight.  It is almost noon and the fog is still here at the cabin.  Not good. 


When I was taking my shower today and drying off, I hit the "buttress" that was holding the skin graft down on my nose.  I call it my yellow button, but whatever the name is it came loose from my nose.  Keep in mind that this is stitched on and should not have come loose.  We made a quick call to the doctor and he said to come on in and have it checked.  I hope it isn't another setback for us getting out of here.  The doctor did say over the phone that the buttress is only needed for the first 3 or 4 days, so that may be a good sign.  We shall know by 2pm today.  More to follow.  We just returned from the doctor and he said no damage had been done and the graft was healing nicely.  It looked good from a graft point of view, but not great from a looks point of view.  Hummmmm ---- maybe I will have lost my long term run from being handsome.  Shudder!!!


We watched a good movie yesterday called RED and it starred Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, & John Malkovich.  It was a comedy/drama/action movie and was very entertaining so much we may rent it again to see some of the action we missed.  I thought it was going to be a story about Russian spies and the communist party.  Wrong!  

The fog has really settled in on the mountain and actually seems to be worse as the day wears on.  Between the fog and rain this won't go down as a great day up here.  I imagine the leaves will really begin to turn and fall quickly if this weather continues for a few days.  It looks rather stark up here without leaves on the trees and will continue to do so until the first snow fall.  By then we hope to be long gone from here and heading for warmer and dryer weather. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rutters, Coffee & Anniversary

One night a couple weeks ago when our friend Hanne was visiting with us at the cabin she decided she wanted a cup of Starbucks coffee.  I checked on the internet and found one in Chambersburg about 15 miles from us.  We hopped into the car and drove there only to arrive about 5 minutes after they closed.  No chance they would stay open a few more minutes and take care of us.  

Now what?  If you know much about this area, you know that they roll up the sidewalks very early and everything closes down.  They actually have an Ace Hardware that closes at 5pm just about every day of the week except Sunday when they are closed all day.   Now I had to search for coffee and finally found some at a Rutters Gas station and convenience store.  Gerry and Hanne went in and learned how to brew the coffee and came out with three cups of steaming hot liquid.  We all loved it and now we are hooked on stopping at Rutters for our evening coffee.  It's all Hanne's fault that we are now gaining weight. 

One year ago today, 10/10/10 we attended the wedding of our granddaughter Stephanie & Shawn.  Happy anniversary you guys.  Hope this is the first one of many more.

Oh, one more thing.  I managed to find a geocache today while Cassie & Gerry were at the doctor having Cassie's eye checked out.  Great day for caching, but not enough time.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Farms & Sunset

We had the nicest day up here on the mountain in a long time.  It was bright, sunny and warm with all the trees beginning to really change colors.  If it were like this all the time, we would never leave the mountain; however, it will soon be barren of leaves and cold.  

We did some work around the cabin and motorhome to get ready for departure in a couple weeks.  Nothing major since I have been grounded by the doctor until he sees me this Friday.  We had planned on Cassie, Jack and Lexa joining us up here for a Sunday dinner.  Gerry had prepared pork chops and wild rice in a casserole dish, along with green beans and a garden salad.  They couldn't make it so we took the meal down to them and enjoyed it at their house.

On the way down we got some nice shots of a farm house near Waynesboro, PA that we drive by all the time.  It is always very neat and everything trimmed up really nice.  Like most farms up here it is a dairy farm and we see the cows along side of the road all the time.

We were just in time to see a beautiful sunset here in Maryland.  We usually are at the cabin around sunset and the tall trees block out sunset so much that it isn't all that great.  This time we were in farmland and there was a ridge between us and the sun.  We must have 1,000 sunset photos and never get tired of them.  If you need a good sunset photo, let us know. 

We had dinner and then hung around to watch "The Amazing Race" plus a little football.  I guess Ron C is happy that his beloved Packers won their game.  It was a good day for the Redskins also since the Eagles & Giants both lost, while the Redskins didn't play.  Since they are division rivals, each loss for them is good for the Skins.  Next week the Skins will play the Eagles and if they can win, it will just about end the Eagles chances for making the playoffs.  Should be an interesting game.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Way back in 1982 I had an opportunity to join the US Foreign Service and accepted a position in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.  I was ready for a change and we like to travel so this seemed like a great deal to us.  Larry Jr. was 11 years old and was agreeable to making the move right up until the day we were ready to get on the plane.  Then he had second thoughts.  Too late, we were committed to the transfer and couldn't back out then.

It was the beginning of a big adventure for the three of us going to a French speaking nation in Africa and not knowing one word of French.  Gerry knew a little French but not enough to really get by on and the two Larrys knew nothing.  Larry Jr. resisted learning French until he met a young girl his age who only spoke French and then it became imperative that he learn and learn fast.  We got him an outside tutor and between her and the school French teacher he picked it up fast.  I was the slow poke and after 4 years could barely get along speaking French and by that time I was transferred to Costa Rica which is a Spanish speaking country.  Oh boy!

We had to go to a number of Embassy functions and really dreaded standing in the hot, humid weather in a three piece suit with sweat running down my back.  I avoided these functions at all costs and did a good job of it.  The function where this photo was taken was at the Ambassador's residence and was more casual.  Thank God for that.
 
I worked out of a regional office that covered 22 countries in West Africa and I made it to most of them in the 4 years we were there.  I had a few countries that I tried to avoid but couldn't get out of going to them so I made the best of it.  It was quite an education and eye opener visiting places like Bamako, Mali; Dakar, Senegal; Nigeria (not my favorite place); Liberia during their civil wars and many others.  I would not trade the experiences there for anything and we all loved it in Abidjan.  By the time we were packing out it had gotten more dangerous there with crime rising quickly.

When we first arrived a coworker asked us if we wanted to go out for pizza dinner that evening.  Great I said.  He showed up that evening with two taxis and said they would meet us at Tu Va Bien Pizza in Treichville and he started to have his driver leave.  Whoa nelly, where in the the world was Treichville and what was the name of the pizza joint?  He then gave directions to our cab driver and off we went.  We actually saw him there and had a great time.  The picture is what the area looked like and keep in mind we arrived in the dark.  What a way to start our time there. 

We spent a lot of time at the beach in the Grand Bassam area and shared a paillote (cabana) with a friend.  It was always interesting at the beach with the vendors, different nationalities, topless women, and the surf.  It was not safe to go by yourself so we always went with a group and kept an eye on each other.  The paillote was on the lagoon side of the road and just across the road was the ocean.  And that is where I picked up some sun rays that have revisited me this past week.  

We had guards on the house 24/7/365 and they were needed.  One of them asked if I would buy a banana tree and he would tend to it and share the bananas with us.  The big day arrived and he cut down the bananas and there were so many of them that we didn't take our half.  He had a family and didn't have any trouble eating his share.  The lovely young lady in the photo didn't cut down the bananas but she sure added to the picture.  

The dog in the picture was our guard dog, small but fearless and a great dog.  We hated to leave her behind but the Gunny Sgt at the Marine Security Guard office wanted her and they provided a great home for Patrician.  ( Note- we name all our pets after booze -- Patrician Amaretto )  

As you may have surmised by now there wasn't much of interest going on around here today.  It was a nice day though with lots of sunshine and clear blue skies. 

Fall Colors

After the successful surgery (we think) this morning we stopped by Costco for some much needed supplies and then came back to the cabin.  The doctor suggested that Gerry drive so I took advantage of being a passenger and snapped some photos on the way home.  The trees are beginning to take on some color and it is looking beautiful around here.

The farmers are taking advantage of the weather to bring in their corn crop, making hay and the soybeans will be ready very soon.  This is a big dairy producing area and the corn is ground into fodder for feeding the cows, along with the hay.  Due to all the rain the fields are very green and the checkerboard patterns must be beautiful from the air.

I prepared a small collage of some of the photos.  It is hard to capture the true beauty of the area on film, but this is the best I can do from the ground.  The picture in the upper left hand corner of the collage is the lane leading to our cabin.  It is narrower than it looks and this is the only straight part of the road.  Lots of fun driving the motor home up this lane and avoiding the trees and shrubs.


I have been grounded for a few days to give the grafted skin a chance to heal so there won't be much going on around here.  I would show you all a picture of the end result, but am saving it for Halloween.  Scary stuff out here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Surgery

Well, Thursday morning bright and early I have to be at the surgeons office to have reconstructive work done on my nose where the basal cell cancer was removed.  It isn't something I am looking forward to, but it has to be done, so let's get on with it.  He said it would take about an hour and then I would be good to go.

Gerry already has a trip to Costco planned for after the surgery.  The Costco is just a few miles from the surgeons office and there are a few things on the list to buy.  If this procedure isn't any worse than the last one, then I should be able to walk the aisles with her.  The articles to buy aren't very interesting so it should be a quick trip.


Then we will drive back to the cabin and pick up a couple movies to watch during the day while I lazy around.  The last procedure made me sleepy afterward and I am sure this one will also.   


I was telling Gerry that I need to follow some blogs of younger people since everyone our age is going into or coming out of the hospital or doctor visits.  It goes with the territory so you do what you have to do, but it would be nice to hear about some other activities.


At least the rains have stopped here for the last couple days and it even warmed up into the 70s today and there was a nice breeze.  We took advantage of the nice weather and continued to work on getting the motor home ready for departure in 2 1/2 weeks.  Saturday, Jack and I will apply eternabond to some of the seams on the roof of the motor home and do some other routing maintenance.  I just read on one blog where they used eternabond to help repair a slide topper on their unit.  We have a slight tear in our bedroom slide topper and I am going to apply eternabond on the part that is torn.  That should make it last a couple more years.

We rented a movie from Redbox last night and it had bad spots on it and made it difficult to watch.  I logged onto the internet and went to the Redbox.com website and signed into a "chat" session.  Melisa came on quickly and I explained the problem to her.  She immediately told me to return the DVD and gave me two free promo codes for future movies.  She said the DVD would be taken out of service and apologized for the problem.  I also had two promo codes that should have been valid but the machine rejected them.  Two more free promo codes were forthcoming after explaining a few more details.  I really enjoy doing business with a company that doesn't quibble over something like this and makes it right.  I kept wanting to call her Peggy but since she did such a good job I didn't have the heart to do that.   She had a very nice southern accent and was easy to understand.  Redbox has my vote for great service.


Not much else going on around here so I will sign off and hit the hay since we have to get up early for the drive down to Frederick, MD.  It's only about an hours drive so it won't be that much of a problem, but getting up and staying up at 6AM is going to be hard on me.  Yuk!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Maryland Stream & Technology

Last week I went geocaching on a narrow mountain road near our daughter's house and thought it was very pretty along the road.  I decided to bring Gerry up there when the leaves were changing since I thought it would be a beautiful setting.  The leaves are beginning to change but haven't reached near the full color they will be in next week, however we did take a short drive down the road.

The stream was flowing very nicely and there was a little sunshine and it was very pretty up there.  We took some photos of the stream from the road and want to go back and get some more from ground level along the stream.  Now all we have to do is wait for it to quit raining and have the sun come out.  

We finally broke down and setup a Redbox account so we can watch some of the more recent movies.  I set it up on one credit card account and when we used it for the first time I mistakenly put in a different credit card.  It worked!  I didn't get a receipt but the charge did appear on the card so all is well.  We picked up another movie tonight on the proper charge card and the email with the receipt was waiting for us when we got back to the cabin on the 2nd rental. 

It is a pretty impressive business plan they have with the Redbox.  I don't know how they can make any money renting DVDs for $1.00 and Blu-Ray movies for $1.50 other than they have low overhead and very few employees.  This is a case of why didn't I think of that!  It will be interesting to see how the movie rental business shakes out in the next few years.  Already the Hollywood Video stores in the area have closed down along with the local Blockbuster store.    Netflix and Blockbuster have internet downloads and that seems to be the way the industry is going.  Darn, more data clogging up the bandwidth of the internet.

I see where our friends Ron & Dee just received Kindle readers as gifts and are learning to use them.  It will be interesting to see if they wind up liking them or just put them on the table and let them sit there.  We have other friends who have tried the Kindle and loved them while a couple say they don't care for it.  

Technology is changing faster than my old brain can keep up with it.  Do you remember that Dick Tracy had a watch with a tv picture on it and that was considered unbelievable?    20 years ago I don't think anyone could have forecasted all the techno devices we have at our disposal today.  I think this is a case of "you haven't seen nothing yet" for the future.  OK, Scotty, beam me up!

Meanwhile, Gerry has the popcorn ready and it is time to dim the lights and watch "The Tourist".

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Rain, rain go away!

Now I know how Noah must have felt those many years ago with the 40 days and nights of rain.  I wish I could report that the weather has cleared up for the South Mountain Apple Festival, but that would be a lie.  We've had light rain all day up here on the mountain and cold weather to go with it.  The high today was around 45 and cooler for tonight.   Now it is perfectly clear why we go south or west for the winter.

The electric heaters have kept the cabin at a nice temp all day.  They don't do as well when it is below freezing up here.  Maybe by then it will be dryer outside and we can burn some of the firewood.  Or, we can always move out to the motor home and be nice and warm there with the propane furnace and small electric heaters.  I am glad we got the 50 amp service installed this year.  It may come in handy before we hit the road for warmer weather.

You know it is too wet when we don't go out geocaching on a Saturday.  It's always fun to do on Saturday since there are so many festivals, fairs, etc going on around here during the fall.  We run across many unusual events that aren't well publicized.  The wet weather has cut into those events and that is a shame.  For many small towns it is an important fund raiser for them or increased tax revenue.