Monday, May 31, 2010

Relaxing weekend. . .

We've spent part of most days on the lake. It really has been great weather. The weatherman, however, is a real scrooge. He has predicted thunderstorms/scattered showers every day, but it just hasn't happened. I think every day there has been a brief shower lasting no more than 5-7 minutes and so little rain that very little got wet. This morning at 5:30 we actually had more of a shower, but by the time most people were packing up to leave, everything was dried out.

These pictures were taken the other day when we were out. The dock in the pictures is Wisdom Dock.

The family across the creek left and what a mess they left. The kids had played in the creek and left trash in it. The adults seemed unconcerned about it. We waited until they all left and Terry and I went over with a trash bag and picked up the trash in the creek and throughout the ten campsites they used. One guy left seven empty 2-lb propane cylinders sitting on the picnic table. Now, what was he thinking? I know. . . let someone else take care of my trash. I put the trash bag on a picnic table and intended to report it to the management. As it was, a group of workers came around to clean the sites, so I talked with the fellow in charge. He thanked me for picking up the trash and said he would certainly report it to the management. There is just no excuse for such poor manners. I was really surprised by this group.

We went out this afternoon and went to Wisdom Dock. We browsed around their store and then decided to head over to Eagle Cove to see if our friends were here. We didn't expect them to be here yet, but needed an excuse for a drive. As we turned the boat and headed toward the Cove, we saw a wall of water raining down on the lake. It is pretty cool to see, but not too cool to be caught out in it, so we turned tail and sped toward the main body of the lake. We took the cut through behind Trooper Island and headed up the Obey. When we saw the rain, we were probably 15 miles from our dock. But anyone who knows this lake knows it can be stormy in one place and sunny and calm in another. We encountered no ill wind on the way back although we had a black cloud over us and at one point raindrops were spitting at us. I closed the cuddy hatch and we continued our journey back. As we got closer, the wind was picking up and there were whitecaps on the water. But we were only a mile away and we made it into our slip safe and sound. By the time we got back to our camp, the sun was out and we never did have any bad weather.

The camp pretty well cleared out as most people were just here for the weekend. There have been others come in today. So we have neighbors on either side of us, but no one across the creek. So we have privacy once again.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Well it had to happen. . .

Remember my comment about kids playing on the boat ramp? Well, here in the campground there are two boat ramps, plus there is the main launch where we launch our boat. In the campground, one of the ramps is close to some campsites and it is common for people with small children to put lifejackets on the kids and send them off to the ramp to play with minimal supervision. The ramp is an old road bed and there is a parking lot around the ramp with a floating (but now partially submerged) pier for use by people launching. There are also two campsites still underwater that jettison out into the water. The concrete picnic tables are partially submerged. I'm not sure where the children were playing, but these conditions are NOT ideal for it. Lots of debris can get trapped under the water and there is no telling what perils might be lurking under the surface. Contrast this to the beach IN THE CAMPGROUND which is covered in sand. Whatever might drift in will likely drift back out since there are no obstructions on the beach and it has been cleaned thoroughly.

I was walking the trash out the other morning when there was commotion at the campground boat ramp. Lots of children and a few adults were rushing to the site where a small child apparently stepped on something and cut her foot or leg. I couldn't tell what, I just heard one of the women say, "I think it's cut to the bone on the one side." Ugh. All because it was easier to allow the child to play in an unsafe area rather than take the kids to the beautiful beach to play in a safe area. Poor parenting. I hope they learned their lesson, but I doubt it.

We have a family of tent campers across the creek from us, about 30-40 feet away. Last Thursday one man came in and set up a tent and from the amount of water and pop and firewood he brought, we figured there would be a big crowd. He saw us out and jumped the creek and came up to chat. He said his family always rents all the sites in that section on Memorial Day and they basically have a family reunion. We normally don't arrive until after the holiday, so we haven't seen them before. He was quite excited as he apparently doesn't see much of the family until this one weekend a year.

Friday afternoon they started pouring in. . . and I do mean pouring. I think there are 10+ tents, 3 canopies, 3 main fire pits and two rings of chairs. Hahahah. Dozens of kids, adults, and one dog. I think there must be 50-60 people in the group. The amazing part is that we hear very little from them. They all seem to be enjoying the solitude of the camp. There is NO yelling or screaming. I have not heard any of the kids fighting, no dog barking, etc. Sure, you can hear them talking when they are gathered around the circle, but no NOISE. I'm not sure how they manage to feed everyone without making a ruckus but they do. The kids come to the creek and chase crawdads and they get a little excited, but nothing loud. They all seem to be enjoying themselves and each other's company. Just a big family having a great time.

The atmosphere here in the camp is really quite nice. I think part of the reason is that because this is a family campground, no alcohol is allowed. You don't hear a lot of loud, obnoxious behavior that goes along with that. Everyone is acting responsibly and enjoying themselves. And this place is packed. Everyone who is camped here has friends coming in and some campsites are doubled up. Everyone is available to chat, so you can meet a lot of people just by strolling through the camp.

Yesterday we went to Livingston. I had switched our office phone to another carrier and didn't get my voicemail set up. That carrier is not available here in the camp. Since we didn't want to miss any calls, we had to go somewhere to set it up and to set up the call forwarding. So we went to Livingston, about 14 miles away. Today we are going to watch the races. First the Indy 500, then the Nascar race later. All these weekenders are keeping the boat ramps busy and there is a lot of congestion in the parking lot, so we are enjoying camp and the races and will take off in the boat tomorrow. We are here for another 10 days or so and will have plenty of time to enjoy the water.

Till next time. . .


Thursday, May 27, 2010

A great day at the lake . . .

We left this morning and drove down to the dock and took the boat out. We drove about 10 miles up to EastPort Marina on the Obey River. Over the last several years, it has changed ownership and they have really upgraded the facilities including adding a restaurant. It's the usual fair, hamburgers, fish, etc. We like to patronize the docks because their business is seasonal and we appreciate having them on the lake. Dock hopping is fun and you meet a lot of interesting people.

We stayed and had lunch and sat and talked with the owner for quite some time, discussing the recent flood and the impact on the lake business. Then we got back in the boat and started the trek back to our dock, Sunset Dock. At Sunset, the only bridge that crosses the lake looms just to the east of the dock and is the tallest bridge in Tennessee. I believe you can see it in a picture I posted yesterday. We drove on by and continued down the Obey and veered off at Big Eagle Creek. We like this finger, although it's much bigger than a creek would be. We usually go back in a few miles and then park and get in the water. That is what we did today. It was a beautiful day for doing this because it was hot and the sun was out and the water was very refreshing. We stayed there for quite some time, then drove back to the dock and buttoned up the boat. It was time to get back to Neal and let him out.

The camp is filling up. . . it will be a busy Memorial Day. We usually try to stay away from busy parks on holidays, but this year the time frame for our trip down south was a bit different. Hope everyone here remembers their basic campground ettiquette!

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Boating on Dale Hollow Lake

What a great day! We started out by snapping a picture of the local wildlife in the park. We haven't always seen these in the park, but they have been here the last two years. This camper was unoccupied and the vultures were all over the campsite. It was one right on the water and with the high water, there were a lot of dead fish in the grass. We then got the boat out of storage and brought it down to the campsite and Terry got the battery in and put in the plugs while I cleaned the seats and wiped down the outside. We drove down to the dock and launched her from the main ramp. The only glitch with that was that kids were swimming on the boat ramp. What a bunch of maroons. They were old enough to read the signs, but apparently chose not to. When we arrived, an adult in the group made them move. That was good. I wouldn't want to swim in that area as that is not the cleanest water in the world and with all the docks, there are underwater cables and fittings, etc. With all the high water they have had, there is bound to be debris and we did, in fact, see some. Safety is the main reason you don't swim on the boat launch.

Once launched, I parked the truck and trailer and walked around to the store where Terry brought the boat. We went inside and rented a covered slip for the boat while we are here. It is so much simpler to park it at the end of the day instead of loading up. Years ago, that is what we did every night. We got very adept at it and could do it in record time, but we now prefer a more leisurely end to the day. We haven't gotten the jet ski out yet. Don't know if we will. Terry doesn't like to ride it and it's no fun to ride by myself. We are hoping to hook up with some old friends later in the week. We used to see them down here every time we came and our kids grew up on the water together.

We went out for a ride and rode down to Star Point, probably about 10 miles away. I was reading statistics on the lake and it is 61 miles long and covers 22,000 acres. I've been told it resembles lakes in Canada. While they are allowing building up on the tops of the cliffs surrounding the lake, you still cannot build down on the water and that helps to keep the lake pristine. We were afraid it would be muddy with all the recent flooding, but it is actually quite clear.

It was enjoyable and the weather is hot which is perfect for lake weather. We arrived back to the dock and parked in our spot and came back to camp and grilled some supper. A great start to our lake vacation!

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Take me to the water. . . Throw me in the river. . . .

Whoo Hoo! We are at the lake. . . Dale Hollow Lake, that is. Two wonderful, glorious weeks on the water. It doesn't get any better than that.

We arrived this afternoon after having to detour off of I-65. There was a wreck between where we were and where we needed to get off. Two semi's collided and both burned. They said that it was likely to not be cleaned up for awhile because the wreckage would be too hot to move until late tonight. They closed both north and southbound and the traffic was being diverted. Fortunately, they had a sign on the interstate, so we started listening to the CB. Not much information there, but when we stopped for fuel, we inquired about a better way to where we were going. The guy said if we didn't mind backtracking five miles, we would get on a good road to take us south where we wanted to go. So we did that and we are really glad we did. For the first several miles, we encountered little traffic, but as we got closer to where the wreck was on I-65, the traffic got much heavier. It was obvious they were re-directing northbound traffic as well. But we made it into Glasgow and got back on our route to the lake.

We arrived at 2:30, which was actually 1:30 their time. Our site is high and dry. Our campground has been under water, but there are always a few sites that are when we go in at this time of the spring. But it was worse this year. They did drop the lake levels, however, and the camp looks great. One guy above us said that just yesterday they were in the park with dump trucks taking out debris and then they mowed. So it looks quite nice now.

I suppose some of the sites closer to the water may be a bit mushy and that may deter some tent campers, but we are high and dry. We are surprised by the number of campers here because they just on Sunday posted that most sites were now available. So, here's hoping they don't get deluged with rain again, but we could get out now if we had to.

We ran into Byrdstown and got our mail. Took awhile because people at these small town post offices like to talk, especially to someone with a South Dakota address. Having lived in a small town and using a small post office, we really appreciate them for their courteous, friendly service, something we rarely see in the big city post offices.

No one is in the tent section across the creek from us, so we should have a nice quiet time tonight. Looking forward to that.

Till next time. . .


Monday, May 24, 2010

Springtime in northern Indiana

Having lived most of my life in Indiana, I certainly know about severe weather. I remember the Palm Sunday tornadoes in 1965 when I was a freshman in high school and remember seeing the twin twisters touching down and totally obliterating a trailer court on U.S. 33 and CR17. If you drive by now, the trailer court is gone, having been re-established after the tornado only to be a victim of the "new 17." It sits in the shadow of the bridge on the south side. Roads in the court are still visible as is a foundation or two. I learned this year there is a memorial on Wilden Avenue in Sunnyside. The memorial is maintained, I believe, by one family whose son was killed in the tornado. Their house was destroyed and on that lot they have erected a park-like memorial to victims of the tornado.

Last Friday many campers in the Elkhart Campground thought a tornado hit them. There was no severe weather forecast and as we left on our way over to the apartments, we were undecided about whether or not to put the Datastorm down. Since we weren't going to be there, we decided we may as well go back and put it down, so we did. We typically leave nothing out when we are gone, so we don't have to worry about wind.

In the early afternoon over at the house, we had a lot of rain and some wind. The rain was quite unlike any we have seen this year, except maybe in Texas. It just poured and while the wind blew, it was not excessive and we still didn't have severe weather warnings on TV.

However, when we got back to the campground that evening, it was a different story. There were people who lost their awnings, satellite dishes, slide toppers, etc. One man told us his 5'er lifted and the slide particularly lifted and rainwater shot through the slide seals and sprayed to the inside of his coach. He said he was scared that this was a tornado and they were going to roll over. In fact, a wooden picnic table right outside his door was flipped over.

We got back to our rig and inspected for damage. We had a little water on the counter by the table that had been pushed in through the weep holes, but it was very little. No other water or moisture anywhere, so we felt lucky there. What we did notice was that our slide topper on our largest living room slide which was facing the storm was pushed out of the track at the top by about 12 inches. It was not torn, but we knew we were leaving in a few days and we didn't think we should travel with it like that. It would stress the slide topper and perhaps rip it. This morning we were ready to go early and called Charger Enterprises over on CR 6, just 2 miles away. The guys there said to bring it in. We drove there and they put a man on it right away and we were done and on our way by 8:30.

Charger Enterprises is a class operation. Gerald is the owner and he has been in the RV repair business for over 20 years. He works hard at customer relations and they have helped us out many times. In fact, they are the ones who just fixed our front A/C unit, our main awning wind sensor and replaced our refrigerator doors. They worked with our extended warranty company and the work was done promptly and efficiently. There are several choices for RV service in the Elkhart area. . . some are good. . . some are not. Charger Enterprises is one of the good guys.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Would you like fries with that???

Here at the campground there is a lovely couple who spend their summers here and they are parked near us. Since we are here for a month, we have gotten acquainted and visit often when the weather is nice and we are outside.

We noticed that they always seem to go out three time a day around mealtime. Terry casually asked if they go out for all their meals. The answer was, "Yes, we do." She explained that she hated to cook so they go out for all their meals, three times a day. Well I certainly enjoy going out to eat and even better when friends are involved, but I do get tired of restaurant food, not to mention that it is hard to eat out and eat healthy.

What did surprise me was when she went on to say that they eat ALL their meals at McDonalds! Ugh. How bad is that? Sure enough, tonight when she returned from the food run, she had McDonald's bags in her hand, just like at lunch time. They don't always go out, you see, sometimes they get carryout.

Now I have never been a fan of McDonald's, other than their Egg McMuffins, but just how much variety do you have when you limit your meals to one fast-food establishment. Other than the aforementioned breakfast sandwich and an occasional ice cream cone, we haven't eaten at McDonald's since the kids were at home.

Till next time. . .


Changes at Elkhart Campground

For those of you familiar with Elkhart Campground, you should be pleased with the new changes coming. As you know, Bob and Gita, the owners, do something every year to upgrade the facilities and try hard to serve the needs of the RVing community. With so few camping choices in this, the (former) RV capital of the world, it is important for them to be responsive to the needs and desires of people who frequent the area.

A few years ago, they added 50A FHU sites to a section now known as the rally section. It allows them to put people coming to rallies in one spot. With no offending foilage, it is great for those of us with satellite systems as well. It has been great for our rallies because we usually can reserve a site at the back of the section and not have to move when the rally starts. Any time they upgrade the sites, they add sewer, so the number of FHU's sites is increasing. Last year they enclosed the patio area behind the building. It was covered with a substantial roof, but is now enclosed and tile is laid. They have added heating and air conditioning in it as well.

This year they have cleared all the sites to the east of the main road. Those sites have typically been 30A with water, no sewer with a few exceptions. They are maintaining the three rows they had, putting in two roads and upgrading all the sites to 50A FHU. They will lose a few sites as they are going to angle the sites like they have in the other areas so it will make getting in/out easy. This area normally only saw occasional use, but it will be a great place to camp with full sky access. There are still shaded sites for those that want them along with 30A closer to the front.

Bob has worked non-stop this weekend. They rented a ditch witch and it has been running constantly this weekend trenching for the water and electric lines. There are some seasonal campers here that are helping him and he has a lot of his friends here to help as well. These guys are working hard to get done what needs to be done before the next rain storm comes through next week. It's surprising that they had enough of a lull in the weather to get this big job started and completed.

We salute Bob and Gita for maintaining a great place to camp in this area and for striving to improve their park even when times have been tough over the last couple years.

Till next time. . .


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mystery Weekend

We periodically see a high school classmate of mine. He and his wife own the RV service center where we have work done. This week he shared something that he and his wife do and we thought this was a super neat idea.

This year is their 40th year of marriage. They decided to celebrate their marriage all year long. They came up with "The Mystery Weekend." One weekend a month one of the two (they alternate months) comes up with some place to go away to for the weekend. I think they try to stay within 3-4 hours of home. That person plans the entire weekend, where to go, where to stay and they have some idea of what they want to do in the area they have chosen. When work is over on Friday, bags are put in the car, GPS coordinates are set, and off they go. The "surprised" person does not know the destination until they arrive. Now, how cool is that? I think that is a neat idea. Since this was the wife's weekend, he didn't know where they were going, but he was excited just anticipating a fun weekend.

I can see "Mystery Weekends" in our future. . . just sayin'

Till next time. . .


Friday, May 14, 2010

A slumlord's life. . .

Today started out early. . . like dark o'thirty. . . more like 5:30 a.m. Phaeton Place had an appointment at 7:30 at Charger Enterprises to have some work done. Front A/C replaced because the compressor went out on the old one. Also, the two big doors (of four) on the refrigerator had to be replaced because the seals were bad and ripping off the box. And the awning wind sensor had to be replaced because it no longer works. That sensor has been replaced three times, but what we found out was that both the sensor and the control box must be replaced. They are a matched set and the chances of getting a perfect match without changing both at the same time is not likely. So we dropped the coach off on time and headed over to the apartments. I intended to get some sewing done and Terry wanted to work on the installation setup of our new HD TV in the bedroom of the motorhome.

Twas not to be however. As soon as we got to the "storage condo/apartment offices" we got a call from our newest tenant. She wanted to know if we had a rodent problem. Hmmmm. No, but we have had a large influx of 9 banded ground squirrels. This has occurred over the past 5-7 years. There is a new development behind us and they all have yards that look like golf courses, so the ground squirrels had to find new digs. They chose our subdivision and now we have to look at poisoning our yards to get rid of them. Anyway. last night, the new tenants found a ground squirrel in their house. It ran into the laundry closet and they blockaded it in there. Hehehe. Or so they thought. When we arrived armed with brooms and other tools, the little critter was no where to be found. What we did find was a hole in the dryer flex vent and an open vent outside. The flapper was stuck open, so it was a nice, inviting warm path for the little guy to run up the dryer vent into the house. And that is apparently how he made his escape. We decided to replace the aging dryer vent caps to the outside and replace vent pipe as needed.

All that required a trip to Menard's. . . grrrrr. But we already planned an outing, so off we went. We first went to pick up some plastic pipe Terry ordered to house the sewer slinky in the storage bays of the motorhome. We bought 5" square plastic because it fits perfectly into the space we wanted and it is heavy enough that we can stack something on top.

Then we went to Menard's and got the dryer vents. I found women's T-shirts for $3.99! Can you believe it? Women's tees are generally shorter than men's and I like them better, so I bought two. Big spender here. I can always use t-shirts.

Finally we stopped at Miller Door and Trim to pick up the trim boards and rosettes we had made. Last year we had to replaced two sliding glass doors. They are about 30 years old and they just plain fall apart. Terry found beautiful replacement doors, but the rough opening is different than for the previous doors and some plastering repair is needed. So instead of doing that and risk having it look bad, we bought decorative trim and had it stained and finished to match the rest of the household trim. The rosettes go at the corners and look really nice. The finished doors are very nice looking and do a better job of keeping cold air out in the winter.

After all that running around, Charger Enterprises called and said Phaeton Place was done. So we took off to Elkhart to pick up the coach. We took it over to the campground and stopped and filled with propane before parking back on our space. We plugged in, checked to make certain everything was running and left without setting up. We just had too much to do to take time to do it then.

Back at the apartments, Terry and our manager, George, spend the rest of the afternoon till supper time working on the dryer vents and changing furnace filters. They quit when they got hungry and we had dinner. Once that was cleaned up, we headed back over to the campground and Phaeton Place. It took awhile to get everything set back up. Terry got the new TV mounted in the bedroom and it looks nice. He still has some work to do, but it is going together well.

Now I'm falling asleep as I write this. What a day this has been, but it is over and it feels good to have gotten a lot done.

Till next time. . .


Saturday, May 08, 2010

Weather conditions

Well, what can I say. The wind is blowing here at Elkhart Campground. It has been blowing all night and at one point was supposed to subside by noon today. It actually subsided a bit an hour or so ago and has kicked back up. Now the forecast is for wind through 4 p.m. today. Yuck.

Hard to believe that the weather channel says 23 mph winds with 40 mph gusts. Just one thing I would say to that. They haven't checked their anemometer in awhile because I don't think we are getting anything under 40 with gusts over that. No other weather, other than it is cloudy; and we are thankful for that.

And can you believe? People are leaving here and traveling in this nasty wind. If I didn't have to (and I don't), I would be staying put. I'm sure there are warnings out there for high profile vehicles. Oh well. . . we are being lazy and just chillin' out. Our work for the week is done and we don't want to start any more projects till next week.

We did enjoy a good dinner with friends the other night. Ray was in our wedding 39 years ago. We enjoyed a cookout with him and his wife Linda.

Till next time. . .


Thursday, May 06, 2010

Uh oh. . .

Plans are to leave here on the 21st of May. On the 24th our reservations at Dale Hollow begin. Two weeks on the water! Yay!!!!!! From there it is Priest Lake in Nashville for a couple nights and onward to Mississippi to the family reunion!

That was THEN. . . this is NOW. . . Probably not gonna' happen. Flooding has occurred at Dale Hollow the last couple years we have been there, but our campsite is always high and dry. . . that was THEN, this is NOW. All indications are the site is underwater. While it should be one of the first to clear, you must drive down closer to the water to exit and that would not be possible with Phaeton Place. We must continue to monitor the situation and stay abreast of the conditions in the camp. But, of course, Dale Hollow Lake was built to provide hydroelectric power and to control flooding conditions in the area. It is doing what it was designed to do and fortunately for the people who live there, it is "doing its thing." It is currently 6.5 feet above maximum pool.

We have not been able to find any information on Priest Lake, but being in Nashville, one must assume conditions there are even worse. Once again, we pray that it reduces the stress on the area which is hard hit from the recent rains. We certainly aren't complaining that our recreation may be interrupted and we hope that these flooded areas soon see some relief from the torrential rains and flooding aftermath they are experiencing.

So we are looking at the calendar and deciding what to do next should be have to alter our plans. Our summer includes a trip to South Dakota which we were planning on making some time in July, due to the May/June excursion south. It just might be that we will make the trip to South Dakota earlier than planned and get our licenses renewed.

On Sunday, my sister, brother-in-law, Terry and I are taking my parents out for Mother's Day dinner. We are going to Bennigan's, one of our favorite places. Unfortunately, there aren't many of them left, but we do have one in Warsaw and they are having a buffet. Yum Yum.

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Almost there. . .

Well, the apartment is almost ready. We have finished our part. We have painted and cleaned and it looks very good. Terry had to replace the sink faucet in the bathroom and in doing so, found a crack in the mold line for the sink top. Since it traveled to the inside where the tailpiece fits up into the bottom of the sink, this had the potential to leak. It wasn't anything the tenant did, but just a flaw in the casting. So we replaced the vanity top. All is good to go. Thursday the carpets get cleaned and the "For Rent" sign goes up.

Our new tenants in another apartment stopped by to drop off some mail left for the previous tenant. They are a young couple and very sweet. They love their new place and have more room than they did in their previous apartment. We hope to find other good tenants like them. Finding good tenants can be a challenge, but we have managed so far and have great people in our apartments. They like living here and we enjoy having them. We have a quiet subdivision with a mix of duplexes and single-family homes. It is a great place to live. . . well for them, that is. . . because our home is on the road!

Till next time. . .