Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dale Hollow Lake, Whoo Hooo!

Before leaving Cincinnati and heading toward the lake, we were treated with this great sunset!

It was a warm day Sunday, but I confess, we spent most of it inside watching three races. But that is what we wanted to do! The first was LeMans, which we just tuned into briefly. But we always enjoy the Indy 500. Wow! What a finish. I truly felt sorry for the rookie who made a small, yet humongous mistake on that last corner. But he did at least finish second, so he has some celebrating to do anyway.

The Nascar race in Charlotte was a nailbiter as well. I really don't have a favorite Nascar driver anymore. I like several of them. I have decided it is more fun to have multiple winners. When one driver wins constantly it takes the fun out of watching. So I was really pulling for Dale, Jr., as he took what should have been his winning victory lap, only to run out of gas between the third and fourth turns. But once again, had he gone in for fuel he would have finished further down the pack, like Biffle did. As it was, he finished seventh and had nothing to apologize for.

It took about five hours to drive over to the lake from Cincinnati. The drive over was pleasant and uneventful. We stopped in Berea, Kentucky, where they have added a new Artisan Center right on I-75. Well you have to get off, but it is right at the intersection. We were looking for a rest area, but it has been taken out. We then saw signs for this Traveler's Center, so decided to go see even though they said no trucks. It reminds me of the Tamarack Center in West Virginia. It is a place to showcase the local artists and the students' work from Berea College. And it happens the site was very accessible to even large RV's with a large RV parking lot. So if you pass by here, be sure to stop and take a break and look at all the area has to offer.

We were curious to see if Lake Cumberland was still low. They are still in the process of rebuilding the dam across the lake. The dam was in danger of collapsing and they have undertaken a multi-year plan of rebuilding it and fixing it so that the dam will remain safe. It is a critical dam in the system that helps to protect Nashville. There is a grand bridge that spans the lake that we travel over. It is very unusual in its construction. In addition, we saw so much traffic coming from the lakes that those heading out were stacked up at the lights for a considerable distance. We were glad we were going the other way!

We decided yesterday morning to shower before leaving Cincinnati. With it being the last day of a holiday weekend, we figured the showers would be pitted out and since we are in water conservation mode there, we would wait until the staff had time to clean them up. That did not go as planned. It was so hot and muggy we were drenched from setting up camp and going and getting the boat out of storage, so we went to the shower house anyway. But, they were fairly clean and we needed a cool shower to sleep good last night.

The lake is still high, and we cannot drive down to the lake to exit as the road is covered with water, but they have marked out part of the parking lot as an exit lane. We have used this before and it works well. This picture is from the bridge overlooking our marina, Sunset Dock.

We are all settled now back in our site with the boat in front. We left the boat buttoned up and will get in there today and get it ready to go out on the lake.

Till next time. . .


Saturday, May 28, 2011

All work and no play. . . .

makes for a dull blog.

We have been working hard over at the apartments. We have several projects we intend to get done this summer and we planned to set the stage for those during May. In addition, I have been working on cleaning the storage condo and getting ready for the kids to visit the end of the month.

Going through 50 years old records! Whew. We have all the records of Terry's parents stored and I am going through them a couple boxes at a time shredding all the paper. I have two shredders set up and when one overheats, I switch to the other one. Between the two of them, I can pretty much shred all day. I have been cleaning out closets and storage bins. We took two truckloads to Good Will and I am working on more boxes. It's crazy when you consider you have done without this stuff for almost six years. By the time I would get around to using it again, it would be obsolete.

I also trimmed about half the shrubs at the condo. That means I did about 22. I still have the rest of them to do around the apartment. Hopefully we will have a cool day in July when I can get that finished. We have one apartment to lease. We have had several calls, but no renter so far. We took the sign down while we are gone and will put it back up when we return.

We left this morning and headed toward Dale Hollow Lake. We are in Cincinnati for the night. . . well, for two nights. This is a great place and we met two other campers before we even got set up. We can wash the coach here, so it looks like we are going to do that tonight. When we leave here we head for the lake. Our site has been underwater, but is now usable. However, they say it is "soggy" which will not work for Phaeton Place. Perhaps by the time we get there it will be okay. But that is only half the story. Our site is situated on a one way road and we cannot turn out of it and go back out the way we came in. The only way out takes you down to the lake to turn and climb back up the hill. There is still water over the road we have to take out of there. So when we get there, we will be taking the truck back to look over the site and assess the situation. We may stay or we may move on down the road. No problem either way. That's what great about fulltiming. . . we can change plans in a heartbeat.

From Dale Hollow Lake, we go on to Nashville to J. Percy Priest lake for a few days, then on to Mississippi for the family reunion. More about all that later.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Life in the fast lane. . .

We are back over here at the Elkhart Campground after a great rally over at the Goshen Fairgrounds. Lots of friends were there and we got to reconnect and met new people as well. We have had a wild week full of fun and unexpected events as well.

Last Saturday we went shopping for clothes. This is something we rarely do, but I was tired of what I was wearing and Terry has lost so much weight that his trousers no longer fit, so we went early and did the deed. We actually found quite a bit of what we wanted and we were able to make some good selections.

We called Aunt Francis while we were eating lunch and asked if we could come visit. Terry's Uncle Bill died a year ago in January and we try to keep in touch with his aunt who has many health challenges of her own. We went over and spent a couple hours with her and talked about her winter and caught up with family news.

Sunday we were just hanging around the motorhome when Aunt Francis called us to say she had heard from relatives in Mississippi that Terry's Aunt "Teen" Earnestine had died Saturday night. She was in a nursing home, but her death was unexpected. She was a sister to Uncle Bill and Terry's Dad, Henry. We talked about going down to Mississippi for the funeral, but there wouldn't be any word until later in the day when that would be. Finally we decided that we wanted to go and it would make sense just to get ready and drive down. We could find out on the way when everything would take place and were sure that we could at least be there for the funeral. Since we were planning on attending a rally at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen starting on Wednesday, We went ahead and closed the motorhome up. We figured that would save us time when we got back on Wednesday because we had to be parked over there by 5 p.m. We got the motorhome all buttoned up and went over to the house to drop off a few things and to tell our manager where we were going. Then we left Goshen about 11:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. It was Mother's Day, but my Mom and Dad and sister were driving back from Texas and they weren't around anyway. While we were on our way down, we heard the calling would be Monday evening and the funeral Tuesday afternoon. That actually fit into our plans nicely.

We drove to Union City, Tennessee, and spent the night. On Monday we drove into Baldwyn, Mississippi, to Uncle Bob's house. He is the surviving brother and he has a huge house and is all by himself. He expected us to stay with him which was great because we enjoy being with him, and I think he was glad for the company. Later in the day we got ready and went to the funeral home. We learned that Aunt Teen's death was very sudden. She had eaten dinner at the nursing home and was exiting the dining hall with her walker. At the door she collapsed and when the staff got to her, she was already gone. Her husband, Uncle Clyde, had lingered with Alzheimer's for years and she always had said she didn't want to do that. While she did have some issues with that same disease, she was not as bad, so she did get her wish in the end. We are thankful for Aunt Teen's life and the fact that she didn't suffer like her dear husband.

The next day was the funeral and we went to that. It was short, but very comforting. The family was invited to a dinner the church was doing and I would have loved to stay, but we needed to get back on the road. We drove the Natchez Trace back to Nashville. Earlier in the spring, the Trace was briefly closed when tornadoes tore through Mississippi and Alabama and downed many trees. We saw the area and I was a little slow getting to the camera, so I just have this one shot. I believe this other field is canola. It was quite beautiful and we saw several like it. We drove all the way to Clarksville, Indiana, stopping around midnight. The next day we awoke early and drove on to Elkhart, getting here about 1 p.m. We drove the motorhome over to the fairgrounds and hoped to take a nap, but there were too many people around that we ended up talking and visiting. However, when we did lay down that evening, there was nothing that would wake us up till morning came.

The rally was lots of fun and we enjoyed eating breakfast with friends every morning. We attended many seminars and got some good information. We ended up with all new lights for in the motorhome. We are replacing the florescent lights that seem to go bad every week with LED bulbs. The light is much brighter and they are supposed to last longer. I hope so. We also bought a new "Brake in a Box." This one is made by Blue Ox. We have had a Brake Buddy for about seven years. We had been happy with it, but we cannot make it work correctly every time anymore. It's a crap shoot whether it will work and we don't like that unreliability. Especially when we go to Virginia every year and traverse mountainous terrain where the extra brake is critical. Brake Buddy has been unhelpful of late, so we switched to a different manufacturer and a different type of system entirely. We are hoping it does well for us.

Friday was a different day for us. We went over to the house and got ready to go out Friday evening. We were headed to Muncie. One of my dear friends is retiring from teaching where I taught and her retirement dinner/celebration was planned. Along the way we stopped in Claypool and saw Mom and Dad who had arrived home on Monday. We visited with them for a couple hours and then visited with Jim and Nita also.

We arrived at the Country Club in time to visit with other colleagues, some retired, some not. It was a great evening. . . much like a reunion really. There were several people retiring and the evening lasted until 10 p.m. We hopped back in the car and drove back to Elkhart, arriving around 12:30 a.m. We were tired, but it was a fun evening and we are glad we made to effort to help our friends celebrate entering the next phase of their lives.

Last evening was the last entertainment at the rally. There was a men's quartet who sang for over an hour. They were exceptional. Known as the "Four Man Fishin' Tackle Choir," they entertained with songs about fishing and hunting. Many were favorites you would recognize, but adapted with lyrics about their favorite sports. The crowd gave them a warm reception and even asked for an encore.

Today we waited until there was a lull in the rain (which has gone on much of the week) and closed up the motorhome, leaving the fairgrounds behind, and returned to "home" over at the Elkhart Campground. When we arrived we saw our friends, Alicia and Roger, checking in. We were already reserved here for the month, so we pulled in past them and were parked when they came back. They are parked right in front of us. We all timed it perfectly because once we got all set up, the rain started again. They are here for a couple days so perhaps if the rain stops, we will get out and talk a bit.

Till next time. . .


Saturday, May 07, 2011

Life of a Slumlord. . .

Just a parting picture of Ronan blowing out his 4th birthday candles!

We left Charlottesville for Indiana as you know from Terry's post. The weather promised rain and some bad wind, but we managed to dodge most of that. Had a little rain, but not too much wind, for which I was thankful. Terry has decided he likes navigating better than driving and that's okay with me, because he is a great navigator. He runs Street Atlas from a netbook and that program is putty in his hands. If there is a detour, etc., he can re-route Phaeton Place quickly and we rarely get slowed down.

The first major mountain we have to climb when we leave Charlottesville is Afton Mountain. We slow down considerably because it is hard to get a fast start climbing it, but a couple days after we left, another RV caught fire climbing this mountain. The pictures show it burning in the rear end, which would signal an engine fire, but I really don't know. We have a fire suppression system in our engine compartment. I don't know if that would have helped, but the main purpose in any fire suppression system in an RV is to allow the occupants enough time to get out. We also have one in the generator compartment and the refrigerator compartment. Anyone who would like information about these can go here for more information.

Normally on the way back from Virginia we spend the night in Gallopolis, Ohio, at the fairgrounds. However, when we tried to stop there on the way down, the grounds were too wet for Phaeton Place; and we ended up driving all the way through West Virginia to get a flat spot to park our rig, there being no places like that in West Virginia. There had been so much more rain that southern Ohio looked pretty much flooded and we didn't even try to park there on the way back. Instead, we stopped at Rocky Creek Camp which is a small camp we have seen for years. It is actually in a little ravine right over the edge of the road and down in the hollow. Since some bad weather was possible, we thought it would be a good place for a night camp. We had full hookups (30 Amp) and a concrete pad to park on which was good. As it was, there was no inclement weather and we had a restful night.

We moved on the next day and stopped at Tab and Deanna's in St. Paris, Ohio. We enjoyed visiting with our friends and we ended up staying for two nights because of wind. They had had a lot of rain as well and more expected. The area where we normally park was much too soft, so we backed up to their former loading dock which has long since been filled in. This was a great place to park except for the fact that we were only about 15 feet from the train tracks. Haha. We normally park on the far side of the building and don't even hear the train. But we certainly did this time. Tab said the train comes around 4 a.m., but that night it was 1:30. Even though we knew it would come and it would be loud, it rattled our teeth and sounded like it was coming straight through the windshield. Not sure we will be selecting site 402 again.

When we did leave there, we had all kinds of storm warnings in the area we intended to travel. So Terry stayed on the netbook and had a window open for the weather channel. He watched the storm cells moving through the various routes and routed me below and beyond the worst storm cells. Having a great navigator is the best. We had a little rain in a couple places and the skies looked dark, but we dodged them all. When we got just east of Ft. Wayne, we had wind, so we decided to jump off of US 30 and run red roads northwest to block most of the wind. We arrived at Elkhart Campground about 1 p.m. and got settled into the camp without any problems.

Since we arrived, we have been working over at the apartments. We have one tenant who moved out the other day and we will have to get that rented. Hopefully that is the only one we will have. Our tenants did a great job of cleaning their place, however, so we can begin the process of re-renting immediately. Things are not going well in Elkhart County again as the fuel prices affect pleasure industries first and RV's are usually the first to get parked when fuel is expensive. There are some layoffs occurring. I just hope it isn't as bad as 2008.

We have been busy cleaning out the basement of the office and clearing out stuff that will never be used. We took one truckload over to Goodwill and are working on another load. We had a lot of trash as well. Hoping to get rid of more stuff.

We have a rally this coming week. I can't wait. It's been a long time since we did our rallies in the spring and I am anxious to do it again.

Till next time. . .