Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Talladega to Shreveport

We left Talladega this morning with the intention of stopping for the night in Monroe, LA at a Passport America campground.  That was the plan, but it didn't work out that way.  The campground had a rally scheduled there for tonight and they only had two sites available.  One was 40ft long and the other was unlevel.  We don't fit on a 40ft site unless we unhook the car and I wasn't about to do that.  

We continued on driving until we got to Shreveport, LA and are camped at the Diamond Jacks casino campground for the night.  Gerry is hurrying up dinner so she can go in and give them some of her hard earned money on the slots.  I may or may not go in since I am a little tired out after driving 500 miles today.  Just a wee bit more than I like to drive in a day.  

I think it will be a little tv and then early to bed for me.  I hope Gerry doesn't wake me when she gets back with the wheelbarrow load of quarters.  I spoke too soon.  Gerry and I both went to the casino and played the slots.  She wound up winning $10 and I lost $10.

The courtesy car driver who brought us back to the RV park was an older woman and in charge of the valets.  She yelled at one of the younger employees to close the door on a truck parked in front of the casino.  She said they couldn't drive a stick shift vehicle and she had to return and park the truck.  I guess there aren't many stick shift vehicles any more.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rain, Snow, Atlanta & Talladega

Well, this was an interesting day for us to travel.  It rained hard overnight and then cleared up for a while and we made good time driving.  Once we got around Atlanta it began to rain and then a little bit of snow flurries.  Nothing to be concerned about, but if it was a few degrees cooler, it could have been a problem.

We breezed through Atlanta on the beltway around it even though the traffic was very heavy.  Rush hour hadn't started so it moved along very well.  After hearing all the terrible stories about Atlanta and it's traffic it turned out to be a breeze.

We stopped for fuel and as usual the FlyingJ pumps didn't work correctly.  You had to go inside and give them your credit card and then go back outside and pump the fuel.  Then back inside to pay for it and leave.  I sent Gerry in with the RV card and credit card and she waited there.  They always say the pumps are going to be worked on, but I am not sure they ever actually fix the pumps.

We are spending the night near the Talladega Raceway in Alabama at a Passport America RV Resort.  They sure do take a lot of liberties calling this a resort.  It is fine for an overnight stop, but definitely not a destination spot.  They have a number of cabins and are right on a nice river so that would make it nice for the summer.  We would stop here again if we were in the area.

No cable tv and the antenna tv signals are lousy, so Gerry is going to miss her NCIS programs tonight.  They show reruns so she can catch them the next time around.

We drove a total of 360 miles today and it was for the most part an easy drive.  Looking forward for the remainder of the trip to be as easy.  Only one more big city (Dallas-Ft Worth) to pass through and also El Paso, TX.  Hope the weather holds up.

Time for my Yuengling reward and taking it easy.  See ya!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Rain Delay

The weather man was forecasting the storm of the century coming our way today.  Guess what?  It didn't start raining until 3pm and then really started to pour around 5pm.  The wind picked up and it was blowing between 18-25 mph and was nasty out there.  It really isn't that bad except for the wind.

We decided early on this morning to wait another day to leave the campground.  It is better to stay off the highways in a MH when the weather is bad or possibly bad.  That is the nice thing about being retired and not having a fixed schedule you have to follow.  

Today was the day to say good bye to the kids.  Cassie, Jack & Lexa stopped by on their way back to Maryland and then we met Barbara for dinner at a Mexican restaurant near her work.  Later we stopped by and said goodbye to Larry Jr., Jane and Grant.  Saying goodbye is hard to do but they have their lives to lead and we have to do our thing.  We might see some of them out west next spring, but nothing is definite.  Cellphones and email keep us in daily contact with them, so that helps a lot.

Time to hit the hay for an early start.  Good night.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Football & Family

We had a couple errands to run today including taking back a pair of jeans that I bought for Gerry on Saturday.  They were the right size except they were for short people.  So it was off to Costco to return them and to pick up the correct sized ones.  While we were there we ran into Cassie, Jack & Lexa making some purchases.  It was the last day for the coupons and they needed some of the items.

Then it was off to Barbara & Henry's to watch some football and the girls worked some more on card making.  The Patriots vs Eagles game was on and none of us were much interested in either team so we just hung out and chatted.  Over the course of the afternoon Jared, Sean, Taylor, Cassie, Jack & Lexa came over.  

We had a nice bbq dinner and just hung out some more and all too quickly it was time to go and people started leaving.  It is always nice to see them, but difficult to leave since it will be next year sometime before we get back to this area.

There is a very large rain storm heading toward the Charlotte area and is expected to arrive on Monday.  Since it is coming out of the west and that is the direction we are heading, I have been keeping a close eye on the weather.  It looks like it will be a last minute decision whether to stay here and wait it out or leave and stop somewhere before it hits us.  The wind is the problem for us in the MH since the sides are like sails.

The Redskins finally won a game after numerous losses.  Now if they could put together a few more good games, it won't be a total loss for the season.  I am not optimistic about that happening.

I hope you all had a nice Sunday and had a great holiday weekend.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Card Crafting day

Gerry, Barbara & Cassie spent the afternoon making greeting cards.  Barb has a whole room dedicated to her crafts and the girls went up there and we didn't see or hear from them all afternoon.  Lexa made a card also and showed it to me.

Henry watched football and enjoyed it for the most part.  Maryland was playing NC State and he is a State fan.  He was very quiet for the first three quarters and finally woke up in 4th quarter when State rallied to beat Maryland.  He was very happy to say the least.

Jack and I watched little football and then went to Costco to pick up some needed items.  Since it was such a nice day out, we decided to go geocaching after Costco.  We managed to find 3 geocaches and had a good time traipsing all over the place.  As it happened, we found the last cache just a few miles from Barb's house and headed back there to join the others.

All in all it was a nice day to be outside and to visit family.

 We got back to the MH early and were just settling in when Gerry said the bathroom floor was wet.  It hadn't rained and as far as I know there wasn't a pipe in that area.  The floor in front of the washer/dryer was dry, but in front of the shower it was wet.  Hmm!  Further investigation led to a gallon jug of water that we carry and found it was almost empty.  I guess the wear and tear on the bottom of the plastic jug wore a hole in it and caused the leak.  Out came the hair dryer, towels, etc to soak up the water.  We left the electric heater running in the area to help dry it out.  Always something with a MH.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Leftovers and Company

For many people the good part about the Thanksgiving dinner is the leftovers they have the next day.  Some things are tastier after they sit in the refrigerator overnight and turkey is one of them.  Actually, just about everything about the dinner is great.

Barbara & Henry hosted the dinner yesterday and the least we can do is go over tonight and help them with the leftovers.  We will be joined by Cassie, Jack and Lexa in performing this task.   More company for Henry to deal with.  LOL  

Henry's parents, Henry Sr & Liz left this morning at 6:00 am for their home in New York.  They called and said the roads were almost deserted, but there were a lot of police patrolling the interstate.  Sounds like a good time to slow down and get there safely.

Larry Jr, Jane and Grant are on the road to Evansville, IN to visit with friends.  It was one of the few times they have enough time off work and school to make the visit.  They left this morning also and said other than shoppers, there wasn't much traffic.  They will be returning on Monday, the day we leave for Texas.  

Not much happening around here other than taking it easy and getting a few chores finished.  It is a beautiful sunny day with temps around 71 degrees outside.  If it was like this around here all the time, we would snowbird here, but the cold weather will arrive soon.

We hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends and enjoyed it.  We surely did with our Thanksgiving celebration and felt blessed to all be together. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Gerry and I will be with all our children and their families the year for the first time since 2005.   That was the first year that Larry Jr. and Jane had reconnected and she joined us for Thanksgiving.  Now they are married and living in the Charlotte area and we will all gather at Barbara & Henry's house for the celebration.  Cassie, Jack & Lexa arrived last night at 12:30 am after a 7 hour drive from Maryland.  It will be great to see all of them together at one time for Thanksgiving.

Where are you all spending Thanksgiving this year?  I know Judy & Steve will have their meal at the recreation center at CCRV and I am sure there will a great spread there as usual.  We've had our dinners there for the previous 5 years and had friends Judy & Herb, Gloria & Doug, and Ron & Dee  join us at various times.  

Run you guys, it is Thanksgiving and  you know what that means.

Don't eat too much.

This is how big the family has grown over the years.  The only two people missing are Taylor who had to work and Dee who was at her mother's for Thanksgiving.  We even included the family dog in the picture. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Eternabond & Dinner

Larry Jr. came over today and joined us at the 5 Guys Restaurant near the RV park.  They serve a lot of food and we all walked ( waddled ) away full and stuffed.  They weren't as busy as other 5 Guys we have had dinner at in the past, but it picked up a little as we were leaving.

I had asked Jr. to help me with a couple MH repairs and he brought over the proper tools.  The counter extension shelf came loose due to the glue drying up, so we took it apart and put enough glue to sink a ship on it.  We then used 4 C-clamps to hold it together until the glue dries enough to hold it together.  

I had bought some eternabond a while ago and Jack put a strip across the top of the roof near where the front cap meets the rubber section.  That has held up really well and seems to be doing the job.  Today Jr. climbed up on the roof and put eternabond on the rear cap of the motorhome.  We should be very watertight now and only need minor applications of dicor to keep us dry.

We went over to Jr & Jane's for dinner and brought the meal with us.  Gerry had prepared a pork roast, but we couldn't call it that since Grant won't eat pork.  We told him it was cerdo ( pork in Spanish ) and that was ok with him.  He didn't eat a lot of it, so he must not really care for pork.  We have enough left over for another meal and a lunch for Gerry and me.  Nothing tastes better than a pork sandwich on bread with some ketchup. Great!

We are now watching the weather forecast calling for some high winds and rain moving through the area.  It looks like the worst of the weather is northwest of Charlotte and will miss us.  There is a small segment that may pass over us with very high winds.  I wish we were in a more sheltered area, but too late now.  The winds aren't too bad now, but in about 30 minutes they are expected to pick up.  The rain is picking up now so we shall see what is in store for us.

More to follow.

Well, was the wait worth it?   The weatherman was way off on his predictions this evening.  We had some rain and a little wind, but I hadn't seen the forecast I would classify this as a non-event.  I do watch the weather and appreciate the job the weather bureau does to keep us safe.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Football & Nascar

We had a relatively quiet Sunday afternoon visiting with family at Barbara's house.  The Carolina Panthers were playing the Detroit Lions and that was what was on TV when we arrived.  After a fast start, the Panthers folded and lost the game.  They were interesting to watch and moved the ball very well, but couldn't stop the Lions.

After the football game, it was time for the final Nascar race of the season from Homestead, FL.  They have a new scoring system this year for the championship and it worked well with two drivers in contention for the race.  Tony Stewart was 3 points behind Carl Edwards in the final race and wound up having to win the race in order to be the champion.  That is exactly what he did in a very exciting race.  They wound up tied, but Stewart won on the tie breaker.  At least it wasn't like past years where all one driver had to do was start the race in order to win.  

Granddaughter Stephanie came over with her new puppy Gabby and had dinner with us.  Larry Jr, Jane & Grant were also there along with Jared & Barbara.  Gerry had made homemade stuffed peppers and it was the first time trying it for a couple of the kids.  Mixed views on how good the stuffed peppers were, however 4 of us went back for seconds.  I enjoyed them very much and was one of the 4.  Good Eats!

Everyone had work or school on Monday so we left after watching the Amazing Race on the DVR.  It was pushed down to 2nd place in importance by the race.  As usual it was entertaining and they had to do some crazy stunts, but nobody got eliminated.  

That was our exciting Sunday here in North Carolina.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Charlotte Southern Christmas Show & Imperial Beer

How's that for a title, beer and Christmas?   We all were on the road early today heading in different directions.  Gerry & Barbara joined Jane, Stephanie, Taylor, Melinda and Vicky on their way to the Southern Christmas show in Charlotte, NC after meeting at Taylor's house where she treated them to breakfast.  Grant and I went over to Larry & Jane's house to pick up Larry Jr.

The Christmas show has been running in Charlotte for 44 years according to the gourd lady who is 95 and has had a booth there since it's beginning.  She said this will be her last time having a booth since she is going to retire.  

The gang got together for a photo on the way into the show and managed to snap the picture before they were overwhelmed by the crowd.  Evidently this is a very well attended event and Gerry said the crowd at 11am was very large.  Once inside they split  up into groups since it was so difficult to stay together.  They arranged to meet at 1pm and everyone except Gerry, & Barbara left around 1:30pm.  Party poopers!

Barbara & Gerry continued to shop until 5:30pm and found numerous bargains.  She won't tell me how much she "saved" so I'm guessing I don't really want to know.  They had a great time and came out of there tired but very happy.  The best part of all the above was that I didn't have to walk around the show for 6 hours lugging all the "bargains" they found.  Whew!

Gerry said they had rooms decorated with Christmas motif and some had blue, red, etc. ribbons on them like there was a contest.  All along a wall they also had Christmas trees all decorated and many decorations in the show itself.  

While all the above was going on, the guys were relaxing watching some football on tv.  We also went shopping at Costco for some needed items and had a great lunch there.  Pizza, hot dog and a chicken bake, plus cokes.  I think we got the better of the deal on this Saturday, but everyone came out of it happy.  Win Win!

We met at a local restaurant called Hawthorne for dinner.  Barb & Gerry beat us there by a few minutes, but the timing was good.  As soon as we sat down Larry Jr. got a big smile on his face and pointed to the beer special that night.  Imperial beer from Costa Rica.  That was his favorite beer in Costa Rica and he hadn't seen any since he got back from CR in 1991.  What a reunion that was!  Gerry, Jr & I all ordered an Imperial and enjoyed it very much.  Yes, that is a Yuengling t-shirt I have on.  Still my favorite beer.

We lived in Costa Rica for six years and that is where Jr got his introduction to Imperial Beer.  We had furnished housing and when we were getting ready to depart post I was checking to see if there was any damage that we caused that I had to pay for.  When we got to Jr's bathroom door I was in for a shock.  He had pasted Imperial beer labels on the door along with many autographs and "witty" sayings.  Oooooppsss!!!!  All I could see was ca-ching ca-ching to have the door replaced.  The maintenance guys came to check over the house and saw the door and burst out laughing.  They took the door down and took it back to the warehouse where they rehung it there.  They loved it and replaced the door for no charge.  I thought that was a fair trade.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Zio's for dinner

Our son-in-law Henry and his parents Henry & Liz will be traveling to Homestead, FL to watch the last Nascar race of the season. Tonight we all went to Zio's restaurant in Charlotte for dinner.  The owner of Zio's is a personal friend of Henry and his parents and is from the same home town in New York.  He is about Henry Jr's age and they seem to be good friends.

We tried to get there early and beat the rush, but didn't make it in time.   We did luck out and get a parking space right in front of the restaurant.  There was an hour wait for a table for seven, so we had a few drinks in the bar area.  The place was a mob scene and busier than Henry has ever seen it.  I guess the economy isn't that bad down here in Charlotte.   

We stopped by Larry Jr & Jane's house and picked up Grant for the night.  They are going out to dinner with friends and will be up too late for Grant, so we volunteered to have him do a sleepover with us.  Grant really enjoyed the pizza there and said it was one of the best he had ever had.  That is from a pizza fanatic, so I guess it must have been good.

Gerry and I had the Lasagna and I liked mine better than she did hers.  She thought it had too much cheese in it, but mine seemed to have more meat than hers.  

The owner came by a number of times to chat and when we were about ready to leave he brought plates of desserts for us to try compliments of the house.  The desserts were very good, but I was so full from the Lasagna that I couldn't eat that much of them.  Maybe next time.

We made it home very quickly since we hopped on the expressway and then caught I-77 to I-85 north to our exit.  That was a lot faster than the route we took to the restaurant since we didn't have to travel in rush hour.  Charlotte needs some more decent routes out of town in the worst way.  We saw backups at lights that were at least a mile long on two lane roads.  What a mess.

Now it is time to hit the hay since we have an early wake up on Saturday morning so Gerry, Jane, Barbara, Taylor, Vicky and Stephanie can go to the Southern Women's Christmas Show in Charlotte.  Thank God men aren't welcome.  Whew!!!!

Our friend Ron will turn a day older on Saturday and we want to wish him a very special birthday.  Last year we arrived in time for his birthday, but can't make it this year.  I think he already got his birthday present since his beloved Green Bay Packers are 9-0 this season and looking pretty good to repeat as champs.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Our son, the chef & visit with Grandson Ryan

Our grandson Ryan came over today and we went out to lunch with him.  We all thought a Panera Bread day was on order and drove a couple miles to one in the Concord shopping mall area.  We got there around 1pm and was hoping to miss the lunch rush break, but managed to hit the tail end of it.

We all had soup and a sandwich and enjoyed the meals very much.   We have yet to get a bad meal there and from how busy they are, it seems not many people do either.  They are always crowded, but move you through very quickly.  

Ryan came back to the motor home with us and we had a nice long visit with him.  He had vacation days to use and this was one of them so there wasn't any hurry to cut the visit short.  He finally had to get going so he could do some chores before his wife, Dee came home from work.  It was great having a chance to visit with him.

Larry Jr. had invited us over for a homemade BBQ dinner and we accepted quickly.  He has turned into quite a chef and loves to try out new meals.  I don't mean the kind of meals I would fix, but complicated recipes that require a lot of attention.  At least that is what Gerry says since I don't help with the preparations.  He also doesn't need any help from Gerry, but they chat as he does the work.  The dinner was great and I think I may move in with them so I can enjoy more of his cooking. 

I sat with Grant, Guiness the dog, Sherman the cat and watched animated cartoons and finally the first Jurassic Park movie that was on tv.  It was still entertaining and we saw about half of it before dinner and then the last few minutes after the meal.  They had some fantastic animation in the movie and it was head and shoulders above animation before it.

We visited a while and outlasted Grant & Jane and left around 11pm.  We took I-485 around the east side of Charlotte back to the motorhome and were amazed how little traffic there was on the road.  If this would have been the Washington, DC, area it would have been bumper to bumper with cars and trucks. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jake's Good Eats - Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Triple-D

We had decided to eat dinner at Jake's today and Larry Jr. bought a couple Groupon coupons for half price and Barb, Henry, Jane, Grant, Jr, Gerry and I headed off to Jake's.  Of course there was a tornado watch out at the time, but one was south of us and the other northeast of us.  No problem.

Jake's is between Barbara & Larry Jr.'s house so it was a short drive for all of us.  The restaurant looks like it is in an old house or converted from another business.  Not much to look at from outside and plain inside, but they have a great reputation for their food.  The menu is limited and they don't serve alcohol and that doesn't seem to deter people from going there.

Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives came in here a couple years ago and did a show from the restaurant.  He signed the wall in big letters and they also have a large photo of him on the wall with his wild hair.  We didn't see that show, but Barbara remembers seeing it.  The restaurant has an old gas pump, very old coke bottles and other antique articles around the front of the place.  If you are in the area, try it, you will like it.  Just don't expect super fast service since they only have one waitress.  Thanks Dee for the name of the show. 

We went over to Barbara's after dinner and watched a little TV and then left around 10pm and called it a night.  On the way home it was dry in their area and raining cats and dogs in our area.  All within about 10 miles.  We have an Oak tree next to our site and it rained acorns all night on the motorhome.  Not exactly Brahms lullaby to sing us asleep, but we got through it since we were so tired.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Slow days

We have been mainly visiting with family the past couple days and enjoying good company and excellent dinners.  As a matter of fact, we will have to stop eating all the good food presented to us.  I don't think the motor home can carry much more weight.

Larry Jr. came over today and we checked out a few problems with motor home and maybe fixed one of them.  Only time will tell whether it is fixed or not.  

Quiet days and trying to catch up on some rest and not doing a good job of it.  Maybe we can sleep in Wednesday morning and capture some energy.  

It was a nice day here in NC and we took advantage of it to have the windows open all day and get some fresh air.  That is, until the work camper here decided to use his leaf blower to collect the leaves.  Then he came back with the lawnmower to cut some non-existant grass in the area.  There was a lot of dust and ground up leaves blowing around so we had to close the windows.  

So, that was our day in sunny and warm North Carolina. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nascar & Football

We got an early start on Sunday morning since Grant had spent the night with us and he gets up early.  Too early for me!....  We played around for a while, had breakfast and then headed for Barbara & Henry's house to visit with them and the family.

Grandsons Sean and Jared were there after the Panthers loss and we all watched the Nascar race.  I am not a big fan of Nascar but at least this race was watchable with a few fender benders and some actual meaning to the outcome.  The two top drivers in the Sprint Cup were separated by three points.  They finished in the same exact order and the final race in Homestead will decide which one wins the cup.  No other driver can win since they are too far ahead of the third place driver.  I think we may actually see a good race next weekend.

Henry, his parents; Liz & Henry Sr, along with David the brother will attend this race.  They like to check out the different tracks and haven't been to this one yet.  They picked a good time since I am sure the weather will be warmer down there, versus up here in Concord.

Taylor, Sean wife came by after dinner and visited for a while.  She is a nurse and had to finish a 12 hour shift at the hospital before she could stop by.  Larry Jr. came over earlier and watched the race with us and played some catch with the football with the guys.  Not me.

We watched The Amazing Race and called it an early evening and headed back to the MH.  Tired, but it was a nice day seeing all the family together.

Another day on the road.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fickle Pickle in South Mountain, PA

During this past summer we drove by a small shop in South Mountain, PA a number of times and didn't know what it was.  One day I couldn't stand to not know what it was any longer so I stopped and checked it out.  Lo & behold it was a sub shop owned and operated by a local lady by the name of Judy.  We had been wishing there was a sub shop near the cabin all summer and never knew it was there.

Gerry and I decided to try it out to see if we liked it.  Plus, they had Dirty Chips with Sea Salt and Vinegar on the rack.  Yummy!  We picked up a ft long sub and were hooked.  We became regulars at her shop and eventually met her daughter Jessica who works there part-time while she attends Penn State College at Mt. Alto.   Great gals and interesting to talk to.

If you are ever in the area of South Mountain, make sure you stop in and try one of her subs.  Tell her that Gerry sent you.  We tried a number of them and all were great and we can't decide which sub was the best.  I will have to give an A+ to every one we tried.  In the Fall when it cools down she makes homemade soups and you have to get there early in order to buy one.  They are equally as tasty as the subs.             
Judy on a good hair day!
Jessica and Judy

Daughter and Mother

Judy has a card that she punches each time you purchase a Hoagie and when you reach 20 you receive a free one.  We went through one card and are started on the 2nd one already.  Looking forward to filling the card up next summer when we are back in the area.


Visiting with the family

Sunday was a family visit day all day.  It started off with Grant waking us up early and wanting something to eat.  Memo to me:  keep Grant up later at night.  

We went to Barb & Henry's home to visit with them and watch some football and a lot of Nascar Racing.  Henry is a big Nascar fan and we got the opportunity to watch the race from Phoenix, AZ.  As Nascar races go, it wasn't too bad of a race.  A couple fender benders, some lead changes, but the two leading drivers in the overall standings finished in the same position, just three points separated them.  

The final race is next weekend at Homestead, FL and Henry & his parents, Liz & Henry Sr. will be joining David at the race.  David is Henry's younger brother.  Of course we will be up here in the cold and it will be in the 80's down there and we will hear about it.  

Larry Jr. joined us for the afternoon and watched some of the race.  He isn't much of a race fan so we chatted a lot during the race, much to Henry's dismay.  Sort of like talking in church to Henry.  

We stayed until the race, football game and The Amazing Race was over and headed back to the rv for a good nights sleep.  We needed it.

Just another exciting day on the road.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Glenwood Acres, Concord NC

Today was a lazy day for us in the morning.  We got up a little late and just took it easy.  I fixed the morning coffee and we sipped at it and relaxed before having breakfast.

Larry Jr., Jane & Grant came over after lunch to visit for a while.  We had brought some money that I had collected from the different countries I've been in over the years.  Some of the money I had given him many years ago and was holding it for him.  It was fun to go through the money and it brought back many fond memories.  Larry Jr. had taken a trip up through Sweden, Norway and Finland when he was about 14 yrs old and he collected coins on that trip.  All in all, there must have been money from 20-25 countries in the bag.

One set of currency was from Guyana in South America.  I was on a trip there in 1979 to help the Small Farm Loan Bank setup a computer system and got the money then.  I was there in the January after the Jonestown cool-aid mass suicide by the followers of Jones.  Of course when the local asked me if I wanted a drink it was always grape or cherry kool-aid.  They always got a chuckle out of that.  Of all the countries I've been in, Guyana was my 2nd worst place to work.  I never went back even though I had a chance a few years later.  Once was enough.

After Jane & Larry Jr. left, we took Grant with us to visit with Barbara & Henry at their house.  Grant is spending the night with us.  We got there in time to see a little bit of Nascar and some college football.  Barb fixed a real nice dinner with a lot of help from grandsons Jared & Grant.  We called it an early evening since everyone was worn out from the week before.

Grant fell asleep about 25 seconds after his head hit the pillow and Gerry is getting bed right now, so it is time to finish this off and hit the hay myself.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day

A special mention on this Veterans Day and thanks to those who served us in the Military and helped keep us free.  Even if it is the freedom to protest in the streets by those who want something for nothing.  They should be given the opportunity to serve their country in a meaningful manner, rather than try to destroy it.  

It is also a neat date of 11/11/11. 

We made it here to Concord, NC and will be staying here until the Monday after Thanksgiving.  It was an easy 300 mile drive with the exception of two times when the traffic was almost at a standstill.  It delayed us about an hour, but it seems lately that is the rule for taking I-85 toward the Charlotte, NC area.  The traffic going north was at a standstill and they had the highway shut down completely for some reason.  We didn't see any wrecks or any obvious problems, but something was up.  They were diverting vehicles off the highway onto a small interchange.  I am glad we weren't in that mess since it looks like it will be hours before it clears up.

My reward for driving safely here is a nice cold Yuengling beer.  Life is good.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Water Heater & Great Soup

We had made plans to visit with Carolyn & Mann today and when we exited the motor home, there was water leaking from the water heater.  I opened the outside door to the heater and there was a steady spray of water coming out of the plastic plug at the bottom.  It had split and needed replacing.  As luck would have it, the end broke of when I attempted to replace it.  I won't go into grueling details, but Mann had an extra plug and brought it over.  It took a long time to extract the remaining piece of the plug from the heater without damaging the threads.  Finally, in the rain, we got the piece out.  In goes the new plug.  Nope!  I didn't have the proper sized socket to tighten the plug down enough.  It still leaked a little, so I turned the water off and we will repair the leak in Concord, NC at the next campground.  Always something with a motor home that needs to be repaired.

We joined Carolyn & Mann at their beautiful home for some more chatting and dinner.  Carolyn had made some home made soup earlier in the day and it really hit the spot for this rainy, damp and cold day.  Plus, it was a very good soup and I had two bowls of it and could have eaten more.  I should have thought to ask her for the leftovers.  She also made some cheese biscuits to go with the soup and they were excellent.  My compliments to the chef.

We hung around to chat some more and watch a couple of our favorite TV programs.  As luck would have it, they were both repeats.  That worked out well since we could chat even more.  It was a very enjoyable evening, but it was time to go and we said our goodbyes for a while.  We will see them here or down the road someplace else.  That is the beauty of RVing, since you do get a chance to see old friends in different places.  Thanks guys for your help, dinners and company.

Today is 11/10/11 and we had another special event.  Last year on 11/10/10 our odometer on the Saturn turned to 80,000 miles.

Last night on the way back to the campground our odometer turned over to 99,000 miles.  That is 19,000 miles in one year actually driven by us in the Saturn.  I know that doesn't sound like many miles to a lot of people, but to us that is a lot of miles on these tired old bodies.  Gerry will attest to the fact that it is taking it's toll on her back and I am actually tired of driving so much.  It is about time to slow down and put less miles on us.  Yah, right.  We have 2400 miles of driving in the motor home to get to Tucson.  Then we will slow down.

Sorry to bore you with the odometer stuff above but we have always tried to watch the odometer turn from one milestone to the other.  Sort of an indication of the exciting life we lead.

Off to North Carolina in the morning assuming all goes well.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Visiting Friends

We straightened up around the motor home this morning and then drove over to Carolyn & Mann's house to spend the day with them.  We were exhausted from all the work the past week or so and told them we just wanted to visit and take it easy.  Worked for them also.

We did go to the Costco which is 1.2 miles from their home.  WOW!  I can't imagine being that close to Costco and not living over there and walking the aisles looking for bargains.  I would have to build a large shed to store all the goodies.  Today wasn't a stock up day though, as we were returning an electric heater to them.  It cost over $300 and just didn't do the job at all.  For that price I expected something a lot better, but Costco has a great return policy and it was worth taking a chance on buying it.

We had a senior lunch there as we walked around sampling all the vendor's offerings.  As it turned out we were there about the time of a shift change and there weren't as many vendors there as the one in Frederick, MD.  We had to add to the buffet by having a hot dog in the food court. 

We went back to their house and visited and chatted the whole time until we went to Joe's Inn for dinner.  It is a very nice bar/restaurant place near their home and the portions they served were huge.  One meal would easily serve two people and fill them up.  They had Veal Parmigian and I had meal loaf.  We waddled out of there and were too stuffed to have any dessert.  Back to their home for some more chatting and a little tv and it was time for us to return to the campground.

We are staying at the Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, VA while visiting with the Duffs.  It is a very nice state park and the pull through sites are very long, but on a slant.  If you can get on the crest of the slant, then it is easier to level the motor home.  We were tired when we pulled in and didn't do a great job of getting level before we put the jacks down so we slant forward, but not enough to be a problem.  

The view from my window looking at other sites is very pretty with the trees still having leaves on them.  It won't be long before the trees are all barren and we got here just at the end of the leaf changing season.  We are the only camper in sight and it is so quiet at night that it is great.  There are a number of deer in the park and we see them as we are coming and going.   Very tranquil, but I bet on the weekend it changes as the park fills up with families camping.  Nice to be here in the middle of the week and have the place to ourselves.

We will be here until Friday morning and then on to Concord, NC to visit with the kids until after Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

On the Road again

It is hard to believe, but we actually made out away from the cabin and hit the road.  We didn't get out as early as we would have liked since two friends on the mountain slowed us down for a long time.  It was time to say our goodbyes for the season and head for warmer climates.  It was time for us to get out of there and get these wheels rolling again.

We are presently at Pocahontas State Park near Chesterfield, VA for the next couple days.  The park is right off I-95 and very convenient to making a fast getaway on Thursday or Friday.   Our friends Carolyn and Mann live a few miles from here and we will drive over there on Wednesday to visit with them.  We last last them in August when they stopped in Gettysburg, PA and we drove down to visit with them.  We never run out of things to talk about with them and enjoy their company.

It is so nice to be on the road and get the hitch itch under control.  Today was a short drive of 250 miles, however the traffic was horrendous on I-81 and US 17 near Fredericksburg, VA.  It took us over 40 minutes to travel about 7 miles.  Gridlock at the lights and people jumping line at the last minute.  I don't know how the people who live in that area could stand it every day.  

I-95 was like a parking lot for about 8 miles and then freed up and it was clear sailing.  

Now it is Yuengling time for me and a glass of wine for Gerry.  I hope we sleep good tonight and can get back some lost energy.

0 days to departure.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Last Day at the Cabin

We took it easy today and got all packed up and ready to go.  It was too late to make it to Richmond before dark, so we decided to get things in order in the MH before we left.  We usually do this task at our first stop, but this time we will be visiting with Carolyn and Mann for a few days and didn't want to take the time then.

We will winterize the cabin in the morning and be on the road before 10am if all goes well.  Of course, that is an estimated departure time which we rarely make.  

Boy, do we have a lot of stuff to load.  Either we are functioning at about 20% work level, or we carry too much stuff with us.  We have to pack for two seasons and that makes it more difficult.  It was easier when we spent the winter in the Florida Keys with all that warm weather.  T-shirt, shorts and flip flops was the order of the day.

It will be nice to get back on the road.

Good night.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hickory Bridge Farm

We got an early start today loading the motor home and made good progress.  We could have finished the job today if we hadn't made dinner plans.  That's OK, we really enjoy going to the Hickory Bridge Farm restaurant in Ortanna, PA.  The restaurant is located in a barn believed to have been built in the 1840s.  If you look at the floor of the restaurant and the beams above, it is surely possible that the barn is that old.

Cassie, Jack and Lexa joined us for the dinner which is served family style.  They have a model train that runs back and forth above the ceiling on a track.  Usually it has an engine and some cars, but today it was just the engine chugging along.  As you can see in the picture, they have old sleighs and many old antique farm pieces in the restaurant.  No animals though.

They had Crab Imperial, fried Chicken and Steak as the main courses, along with all the fixins;  potatoes, broccoli, carrots, salad, corn fritters, peach halves, cooked apples, bread and desert.  We all managed to eat our share of the food and when the plates ran out, they brought us more.  It is impossible to leave there hungry.  I am allergic to shellfish, so I had to pass on the Crab Imperial, but it must have been good since we went through two helpings of it.

They have a great dessert menu and I picked pumpkin pie and it was so good I ate it before I took a picture.  Gerry showed more restraint than I did and I got a shot of her dessert of Moose Tracks Ice Cream Pie.  It sure looked good also and she didn't offer me any.  That is always a good sign that the dessert was great.

We took the back roads to the restaurant and on the way back Jack spotted a flock of wild turkeys along side of the creek.  What made it even more interesting was that we were playing Animal, Mineral or Vegetable on the way there and Cassie selected Wild Turkeys as her mystery object.  I think she may be psychic or something.

We returned to the cabin for a visit and some more work and they left to get Lexa to choir practice.  Later on we picked Lexa up after practice and we joined them at their house to watch The Amazing Race, which is our favorite TV program.  It was a good episode and we hung around for a while and left early so we could get an early start in the morning.  We said our goodbyes, but we will see them at Thanksgiving so it isn't like a long goodbye.

Now it is time to say goodbye for now and goodnight to you. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Packing out

Getting ready to load the motor home reminds me of when we used to transfer from one post to another when I was in the Foreign Service.  We would carefully make up job lists, get things ready for the air freight and try to use up all the food we could.  I would make an inventory of what frozen foods we had and put them on a calendar and that is what we had that night.

Then the farewell parties, would begin and if others were transferring around the same time and we would go to their farewell parties.  much like we have been doing with dinners with friends and family the past month or so.

The bottom line is that on the final two days it is time to throw everything in and leave.  Sorting out the last couple days of packing out was an interesting task that we had to do a couple months later after everything was released from customs.  The first time we checked our stuff we found slices of bread and a twinkie packed in paper.  At least it isn't that bad with the motor home.

What I am leading up to is that it is time to throw the stuff in the car and motor home, lock the cabin and hit the road.  Monday is the target date and who knows if we will make it then.  At least if we forget anything really important, we can have Cassie mail it to us.

I received an email this morning from cousin Sharon and Al who are stuck in Deming, NM due to winds in the 60mph range.  Winds like that make it almost impossible to drive in and smart rvers pull off the road and wait it out.  They are heading for Tucson, AZ and hope that the winds die down enough on Sunday for them to make the final leg of their journey from Illinois.  They will be staying about 4 miles from us at another campground and we look forward to seeing them again.  Al said he was getting seasick from the 5th wheel rocking and rolling so much in the campground.  Hang in there you two, it will get better.

Friends Ron & Dee are experiencing high winds in Tucson also and I guess it is part of the same storm going through there.  There were some forecasts of dust storms out their way also, but I don't know if it affected them at all.  Hope not, since dust storms cause a lot of problems.  I guess Dee will update her blog with a weather report one of these days. 

Are we having fun yet?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Getting ready to leave

Today was load the motor home, put things into the storage container do all the little tasks that need to be done in order to get on the road.  The longer we stay in one place, the harder it is to get back in the travel mode.  It is nice to have the space in the cabin and all that goes with it, but we tend to bring in stuff to make it easier to live here.  Then we need to remember to bring it all back when we want to leave.

It was also time for us to get all the banking tasks finished before we leave.  We needed to access the safe deposit box and drove down to the bank.  When we went to get the key to the box, we found out that it was on the other key ring back at the cabin.  Luckily, Cassie has a key to the box and we went over to her house and picked it up.  Back to the bank and transfer what needed to be done.  Just a little task like that takes 2 hours or more.  

Gerry needed some blood work done before we left and the closest place closed just before we got there.  On to the next closest place and get the blood drawn.  Another 45 minutes.   Time does go by fast when you are in a hurry.

Since we were down there, we stopped by the Rolling Mill restaurant for dinner.  We were very surprised to see we had a 15 minute wait to get seated.  It was the busiest we have ever seen it there.  I think everyone who was trapped in last weekend wanted to get out and have a nice dinner out.  We did.  Cassie ordered  a dessert after the bill had been paid and then waited for the server to return for the money.  She never did.  The owner is a friend of theirs and he stopped by to see how the meal was and when Cassie said fine, but we needed to pay for the dessert, he said don't worry it was on him.  Nice guy and a good businessman.

It was 54 years ago today, November 4, 1957, that I started work for the FBI and reported to the Old Post Office bldg for indoctrination.  In those days you had to wear a suit to work and they preferred you also wear a hat.  Not a baseball hat or cowboy hat, but a fedora or something like that.  No hat for me.  I had one suit and a couple white shirts and that was what I wore until I could purchase another suit.  We took the shirts to a Chinese laundry in the neighborhood and they starched the collars so much it would rub my neck raw.  Oh, those were the days.  No casual Fridays when J. Edgar Hoover was in charge.  Image was everything.

Final Doctor visit & Carrabbas

We made the drive down to Frederick for my doctor's appointment today and he pronounced me ready to go.  I will have to treat the nose area for a couple more weeks and see a dermatologist when we get to Tucson to have him/her check out how well the healing process is going.  I checked the "job" today with a mirror and it looks like I will have an indentation on the lower part of the area, but not too bad.  I can live with that.  

We had arranged to meet with Gerry's sister Darlene and bil, Tom after the appointment for dinner at Carrabbas.  Gerry and Darlene had dinner at the Concord, NC Carrabbas and enjoyed their meals so it was chosen as the meeting place.  We arrived very early and had almost the whole restaurant to ourselves and it was great since it was so quiet.  Our meals weren't anything to write home about and were below what we expected.  The Olive Garden is a better value and also the meals taste significantly better.  

We haven't had a chance to visit with Darlene and Tim much this summer due to all the work being done at the cabin, doctor appointments and the fact that they live about 120 miles from us.  When we lived in the DC area we would see them about every other weekend and many times sooner than that.  We chatted the whole 2 hours and still had more things to say, but it was time for them to hit the road.

They were visiting their airplane at the repair shop in Hagerstown to check on progress.  The plane was damaged in a storm last year and has been in the shop since then, waiting for parts.  The plane is about 50 years old, it isn't like ordering them from Auto Zone and picking them up the same day.  It does look like the repairs will be finished this year sometime and that will make them very happy.  They are a whole lot more patient than I am.  Good luck guys.

We stopped by Cassie & Jack's to visit for a while and then called it a day.  It was a long and tiring day, but getting my release from the doctor made it worth while.

Sorry for such a mundane posting, but it should perk up on Monday when we get on the road.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Clearing the Road

The neighbors have cleared the majority of the trees and limbs from the roads up here, but there are still some in the way.  It is a very tight fit up here getting the motor home out of this area for the first mile or so.  There are numerous pine trees that need to be trimmed and other branches that overlay the road and make it look like a tunnel.  Last year I took my tree trimmer tool and cleared a lot of the branches, so it wasn't as bad today to do some more work on the road.  There were 4-5 spots where I had to cut up some branches and throw them into the woods or they would have scratched the side of the motor home.  At least the road is clear now and getting out won't be a problem.

It has warmed up around here and the snow is melting very fast.  Lower levels are about clear while in the woods there is still some snow, but it is going fast.  That is fine with me and the higher temps at night are great also.

One of my neighbors had a large tree fall and it took out his electrical connection box on the side of the cabin.  The local power company restored power to his cabin, but would not repair or replace the box since it wasn't their responsibility.  He managed to get a local electrical company to come up and replace the box and some wires.  It set him back $1,000, but he didn't have much choice in the matter.  The power company came up this afternoon and hooked his meter back up again.  He was without power for 4 days and still stayed in his cabin.  Tough cookie.

Slowly but surely we are getting the motor home ready to hit the road.  Monday is the target date and I think we should be good to go by then. 

54 years ago today

It is hard to believe that it was 54 years ago today that a very young couple from Illinois arrived in Washington, DC to start working for the FBI.  We were hired by the Bureau while living in IL and accepted what we thought would be a couple years working in DC and then returning to IL.  At first we were interested in returning, but after a few years we decided to stay out here.

We arrived late in the evening driving our 1950 Plymouth and towing a U-Haul trailer with all our worldly possession packed in it.  We were wide eyed and didn't know where we were going, but did have an address for a boarding house on East Capital St.  We knew it was near the Capital, but not exactly where.  We were in front of the Union Station and saw the capital so I pointed the Plymouth in that direction.  Imagine our surprise when we started driving down steps toward the street.  I thought I was on the road, but not so.  Once we started down the steps there was no turning back.  We tried to look like this was a natural thing, but the looks that people were giving us as they scurried out of our way made it difficult.

We finally found the boarding house and stopped to see where we could park.  They said anywhere we could find a spot.  Have you ever tried to backup a trailer into a parking space in the dark?  I hadn't, but I was a quick learner and got it parked.  If we tried that today on East Capital street, we wouldn't have a trailer in the morning.  Times were different in 1957.

We found a third floor walkup efficiency apartment in the Mt. Pleasant area of NW DC and moved our meager belongings into the apartment.  It had a bedroom and a small kitchen and that was it.  No living room, shared bath, on the third floor and it cost us the grand total of $55/month.  The landlady said we didn't have to lock the apt since she had a key and could get in whenever she wanted.  

That was our introduction to Washington, DC in 1957.  I started work on November 4, 1957 with the FBI as a mail clerk.  It wasn't long before I knew this wasn't a good career move and started looking for a better job.  It only took me two years to transfer to National Institutes of Health.

Short delay in getting out of here now.  It looks like it will be Monday with the slow down because of the snowstorm.

Loading the Motor Home

We have began the loading of the motor home for the upcoming departure to Tucson, AZ for the winter.  We were hoping to get out here on Friday morning, but it looks like with all the delays with the snow and the problems associated with that we will be a day or so later leaving.  Most RVers have their schedule written in Jello, so it isn't that uncommon to leave a little late or early.

Today is sunny and warm and the snow is melting very fast.  We would like for a snow path to stay in place to walk on so we don't track up the motor home too much after recently cleaning the rugs.  That doesn't look like it will happen, so paper mats will have to be put in place.  We have a lot of them from taking the MH in for service and such.  We save the ones that aren't too messy and store them under the sofa.  Works great for us.