Saturday, March 31, 2012

No More Flat Land

We got off during a lull in the storm system that moved through the East coast late yesterday. We were able to get hitched up and hit the road by 10:00AM. By 10:30, the rain started. Fortunate for us, we were headed West and the storm was headed East. Our route took us North on US-17 to Pollicksville where we picked up NC-58. The two lane highway had very little traffic and was very smooth.
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The surrounding scenery was colorful in spite of the rain. Color provided by large Azaleas and blooming Apple Blossom and Cherry Blossom trees. We passed one home with an over sized lot that was full of large Azalea plants. If I were not pulling the trailer, I would have turned around to get a photo of the yard. The following photo is one that did not blur as we drove past.
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Carol got a little excited over this small cluster of trees. She said, Jerry, look. These trees are not pine trees. That was funny because we have been in pine tree forests since we drove into Louisiana.
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As we connected with I-40 just South of Raleigh and the sky started to clear up a bit. I-40 is a concrete highway which makes it prone to be rough. The concrete joints tend to shift creating an up and down motion in the truck. This is what we call wash-boarding. This interstate was not that bad.
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I sure am glad I do not need to be on this stretch of I-40 during rush hour traffic. By Houston standards, this is small. However, for us 8 lanes was large.
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We followed US-64 Southwest of Raleigh. Here the highway returned to 4 lanes divided and is covered with asphalt. Good smooth road. This is what we like.
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Finally we are nearing our destination. Notice the rolling hills. Nice but short drive to Hagan-Stone Park.
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Yea! We have arrived, Hagan-Stone Park is a small county park that is a great get-a-way for folks wanting to get away from Greenville, NC.

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We asked for a recommendation on a local restaurant. Joshua, the park person said we should try Four Winds Cafe.  They have an interesting history. That is where we went for dinner. All I can say is WOW, that was wonderful. It was a little pricey but well worth the cost.

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I had Filet Neptune - Grilled filet medallions topped with asparagus, fresh crab meat and Lobster sauce. Carol had Summer Breeze Chicken - Fresh Boneless breast grilled and topped with pineapple, sun dried cranberries and a orange zest champagne sauce.

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Plus I had a bottle of Hoegaarden - a Belgian White Ale to go with my dinner. Sure was good. I include Carol in this photo because she is always fun too watch. The blouse she is wearing is one of the projects she worked on last week.

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After we got back from diner, Carol went across the way to check out a group that had assembled in the pavilion. Turns out this was a group of family that included blue grass musicians.  Carol really enjoyed the music. She also got to meet the park manager and his wife. Nothing wrong with doing a little networking while we travel.  This would be a fun place to workamp a while.

That's it for tonight. Tomorrow we head Southwest to Catawba Falls Campground in Old Fort, NC.  Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, March 30, 2012

24 Hours Later

At 4PM today, we finally got it done. We are ready to go.

  • Load the truck - Done 
  • Clean inside of truck - Done 
  • Empty basement to check for more ants and other unwelcome guests - Done, we checked for ants and did not find anything. 
  • Reload basement - Not needed since we did not need to empty it. 
  • Wash RV - Done 
  • Check tires, batteries - Done 
  • Lube trailer hitch - Done 
  • Other duties as assigned - A work in Progress. 

We started the day at Pop's diner. Breakfast at Pop's is always a hit. That is just a cool place to go. They do not always get the breakfast order done right but the best part is the atmosphere and friendly staff.
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When we got back, I connected a second hose to the water well faucet and got my bucket. All I can say is the RV was really dirty. We drove through rain and wet roads 6 weeks ago. The dirt just stuck like glue. Here is a before and after of the back picture window. Fortunately I did not need to apply too much elbow grease. I am just about out of that.

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 Before I could get to the front or entry door side, I had to finish packing the garage.

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With that completed, I was able to get the entry side washed. It is a good thing that I had on a hat. Rinsing under the awning means getting a shower.

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Now that the RV is washed, Carol helped me figure out where stuff needs to go in the truck. I am not certain that I need all that stuff just yet. When we get back to Texas at the end of the year, I am pretty sure that we will lighten our load a bit.

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Say hello to Juliette. She adopted us when we first arrived at Safe Harbor. Of the eighty+ cats here, she is the only one who hangs out on our porch, or in my chair, or on the truck just about every day. No she is not going with us. She likes it at the farm just fine. I would not think about taking her away.
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Now, about that last item on the To Do list. Carol has been trying to download a book to her phone so she can listen to it on our trip to Blue Ridge. She has had trouble with reliable Internet connections for some time now. I am not sure what that is about but without a reliable connection, she cannot download the book. After all the work done today, we opted for dinner at O'Charlie's in Jacksonville. We ended up at Starbucks to use their WiFi and get the book downloaded. This is one tech area (downloading audible books) that I have little to no experience. Here we sit in the Jacksonville Starbucks. I connected to their WiFi in a snap. Carol fired up her PC and got no where. She fired up her phone - nope that won't connect either. How about the iPad - just forget about it. I focused on the task and turned my iPhone into a hotspot. YEA! She is connected and download is complete. Now her PC is reporting "Importing into iTunes." We can see the book in her directory but apparently something is not quiet finished in the download process. Since this is an area I have no expertise, Carol has to call either of our two daughters who have the technical expertise to help her. And of course, neither of them are available by phone. I think perhaps I should learn how to do this just so I can provide help when needed.

While we sit and wait for Audible to do its thing, the weather has decided to turn nasty. We've been watching it rain lightly, then rain like crazy and now it is just plain wet. I take full responsibility for this rain. I washed the truck and I washed the RV. Tomorrow's forecast is for more rain. I just need about 1 hour of no rain so I can disconnect and stow sewer and water hose and electrical cable. We'll see what happens in the morning.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to be reporting in from Hagan-Stone Park or somewhere near there.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

One More Day

About 7PM tonight, I realized we are not going to leave Friday AM as planned. We spent longer in New Bern than planned and I discovered ants in our basement today.

This morning, I completed the last project that was on my To Do List - installed a solar motion sensing security light in the doggie yard by the dog center. That was an easy task. After that, I started gathering my tools and decided to finished a tool divider I had started for one of my tool boxes. While I worked on that, Lynne asked for my help in moving a couple of used telephone poles. Actually her tractor did the moving, I just helped her get the poles attached to the tractor so she cold drag them into place.

Carol took some time this morning to show a new volunteer how to tend to the cats. Then she finished the laundry and got more packing completed inside. Around noon, I came in to wash up so we could head to New Bern. Lowe's, Walmart, Petsmart, AT&T Store, and car wash are our targets. Lots to do and so little time to get it done.

The trip to New Bern takes us through Pollicksville.  On the main drag through town is Trent Restaurant. Since we are  leaving the area, we decided to stop for a bite to eat. This is another cool local eatery. No web site, nothing fancy, just simple home cooking and good food.

OK, we made it to Lowe's. My circular saw bit the dust, The bearing is going out on it so it's time for a new toy. One of my blogger friends Phyllis from The East Head West commented how men always find a reason to buy new tools. Well, my reason is my old one broke. So I got a good one this time. Meet my new Porter-Cable 15-Amp work horse.
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Next stop was Walmart. Got everything on the list plus a few other items. Roasted Lemon-Pepper chicken will be dinner tonight. Pet Smart is next. Every time I've been in this store, there are hardly any people there. Not sure how they stay profitable. Got dog food and cat litter. Next stop, AT&T Store. This is where we spent a bit of time. Carol and I along with our daughter in Corpus Christi are on one phone plan. By switching ownership of the account, I can get a 15% military discount on the main line. We are experimenting with setting up my iPhone as a hot spot so we have an alternative Internet connection. Verizon has not been very reliable for us.

Finally left AT&T, made a pit stop at Starbucks (in side Target), then headed for car wash. Scrub, scrub, spray, spray, rinse, rinse. The red dragon is finally clean again - at least on the outside.

We got back to Maysville around 5:30. Carol had cat duty this afternoon, and I got started putting things away. Of course I had to find me a piece of wood to cut with my new saw. Lots of power. I'm going to like this one.  It comes in its own case so I had to do some rearranging in the garage to get it in. Then as I stowed my drill in one side of the basement, I discovered we have ants. Sheesh! I found the nest and got it out of the basement. (Note to self - be more diligent in practicing critter/insect blocking techniques.)

As I stated at the beginning of the blog, by 7PM, I realized we are not going to leave on Friday as planned. So, what are we going to do Friday? Task list includes:

  • Load the truck. 
  • Clean inside of truck. 
  • Empty basement to check for more ants and other unwelcome guests. 
  • Reload basement. 
  • Wash RV. 
  • Check tires, batteries. 
  • Lube trailer hitch. 
  • Other duties as assigned. 

Saturday we leave for Blue Ridge, GA.

Now, on a note of interest. As we have driven around New Bern for the past 4 weeks, we've noticed colorful bear statues around town. Below are a couple of these bear statues. Meet Money Bear and Momma Bear.

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So I did a little research and found Bear Town Bears. This was a public art project that features the work of local artists and was done in 2010 as the city of New Bern celebrated it's 300th anniversary. Pretty cool.

We should be able to get things ready on Friday for the first leg of our trip. Our plan is to head to Hagan-Stone Park in Pleasant Garden, just a bit South East of Greensboro, NC on Saturday. Then someplace around Asheville on Sunday.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Packing Time

Tonight's post will be short and simple.

Deck project is done. I had a helper today so we were able to get the lattice skirted around the cabin. Then came the task of cleaning up the job site. Trash went to trash, useable scrap went to wood crib, tools went back to our home. Cabin looks pretty good. No photo to post caused I just did not take one of the competed project.

Carol took time to day to start packing the inside. Lots of stuff to get stowed away. She did take part of the day to teach one of the workampers how to groom a ShihTzu. In addition to all that, she found time to get the laundry done.

We went to Andy's for dinner tonight. Just had to have one more of their good burgers before we left town. I went off the deep end tonight and had chili cheese fries with my burger. That's OK because I offset the calories with a Diet Pepsi.

Tomorrow, Carol had cat duty in the morning. After that, we need to make a trip to New Bern to visit the ATT store. We are making one minor change to our account and wanted Teresa to get the credit for the change. Also, I need to stop by Lowe's to replace my skill saw. The bearings are going out on the one I have. It has lasted a long time. Not sure what I will get just yet. Before we head back, the truck is in need of a serious bath. When we get back, I get to stow away my tools and hopefully wash the rig.

Like I said, short and simple. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside

We've rather enjoyed the comfortable spring weather. This morning, the temperature dipped into the low 40's. We are thankful that it was a sunny day. Unfortunately, the sun did not warm the air past 60. Weatherbug reports it is 54 degrees at 8PM EDT. By morning, we will have frost on the ground. Burrrrr! That's chilly. Tonight we have the FP on and are staying nice and toasty.
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Guess what I worked on today? You are correct, I worked on the deck. Actually I worked on covering the open spaces beneath the deck and cabin with lattice panels. I also added another set of stairs to the entry porch of the cabin. Tomorrow I WILL have this work finished.

Carol had a day off today so she ventured to the post office, alone. I emphasized "alone" because she has driven very little since we have been here. We are always together. We needed to get a couple of things in the mail to our kids in Texas so this would be a good chance for Carol to escape me. She was gone for about 30 minutes when my phone rang. I knew it was her because I've programed my phone to bark when she calls. I thought perhaps she wanted to know if we needed anything from the local Piggly Wiggly store. Nope. She said she was looking for a place to let Qianna out so she could run a bit. She pulled into a parking lot, shut off the engine to the truck, got out and went to the other side to let Qianna out. Uh-oh! The door was locked. Some how she had managed to lock the truck as she was getting out of the truck. Her keys were in the truck. She called to let me know she had locked her keys in the truck and needed me to come to the reduce.

So, Cody and I took off to rescue her. I decided we would walk. She said she was behind the Methodist Church and I knew that was not far away. Maysville is a pretty small town so nothing is really far away. By walking, I would get a chance to clear my head. I was about a block away and she called me again asking if I was coming to rescue her. I told her where I was and that Cody and I are walking. I got there a few minutes later, got the truck unlocked. Qianna got out and ran a bit with Cody. She drove back the 2 miles back to Safe Harbor. Cody and I went back to our work zone. Carol spent the afternoon sewing.

Around 4PM, Cody and I decided it was time to stop for the day. The cabin is starting to look pretty good.

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Tonight was grilling night. After my shower, I fired up the grill and cooked up my specialty - rib eye. Since the grill was hot, I also grilled some bratwurst that will go to the freezer for later. Sorry no photo of this tasty rib eye. You will just have to imagine it. After kitchen was cleaned up, Carol got back to her sewing.
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I know, she is not actually "sewing". Her machine is doing the sewing, she is telling it what to do, then watching it happen. Carol calls it embroidery. Certainly a different type of sewing than my mother did. Her sewing machine was an early birthday present so since she is nearing her birthday, it is good to see her using it.

I contacted the owner of Windy Valley Llamas where we are headed next to let him know our travel plans. I asked him if he could recommend a place to eat in town where I could take Carol for her birthday on April 6th. His response blew me away, His wife's birthday is April 8th. They decided to have a birthday celebration for his wife and Carol on April 6th. Looks like there will be 4 couples attending including us. What a wonderful feeling know we more than worker bees.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tax Time

Well, I think you know where this is headed. I promise to not bore you with my taxes. I just needed a title for the blog and today I worked on my taxes.

Last night, we had some significant rain. I do not know how much we got but I do know it was pretty wet when I got up at 6AM and it was raining hard enough that the doggies would not even think about going out. That means the ground around the deck project and cabin was pretty muddy today. I did take a short walk down there to check things out and decided it was way too muddy to do anything. Wait a minute! Today is Monday. That means it is our day off. I can just goof off and be happy. So that is what I did. 

Carol decided today would be a good day to groom Qianna. She needed it badly since it has been 4 week since the least grooming. We find it odd the the dog grooming table is in the Cat Center. That is really not an issue because the dog grooming table is in the same area where the cat food is stored not where the cats hang out.

The grooming process has Carol brushing and clipping before bathing, then after bath and drying there is more brushing and scissor trimming. Clipping in the Cat Center and bathing is in the Kindness Clinic. That is where the large tub is. So that is where Carol went next. I help with that process. If you remember from my previous dog bathing experience, I got more water on the floor than on the dogs. This time, I did not get as wet and I kept most of the water in the tub. I left Carol so she could do the blow drying. Last step was scissor clipping and more brushing. Carol got that done and Qianna was transformed from a poodle needing grooming to a sharp looking poodle.

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There she is in all her radiant beauty.
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While all grooming was taking place, I decide to tackle IRS. This was going to take a while. I cannot recall ever having so many 1099's and other tax stuff. Let's hope TurboTax can get it done for me. The first run sent me into shock. I just cold not believe I owed as much as TurboTax was telling me. Something had to be wrong. While checking the income entries, I discovered I had entered the same income twice. OK that was easy to fix. Finally got it all done. Bottom line is I owe but I owe less than I expected. That made me feel good. I think I will have a tax reviewer checked it anyway because I may have overlooked something that could save me some $$$.

Since Carol was in a grooming spirit, she asked me if I wanted a haircut. I needed one so I said sure. Where else can a guy go to get a haircut and have a cold beer at the same time. She done good and the Blue Moon was also good.
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We've been planning our trip to Blue Ridge, Georgia. We leave here on Friday and arrive in GA on Monday. I posted a link to our tentative route on FaceBook and I got a comment from my former boss who said, "When you go through Asheville, NC, you will be 1 hour from where we live!" So, Carol and I discussed our plans and decide to make a small detour to visit my former boss. Becky took a risk when she hired me in 1995 and has since remained a special friend. We look forward to our visit. If you want to view a larger map, click here.

We have crazy weather coming. Tonight it is supposed to be in the 40's. Tomorrow, we will be lucky if the high hits 60. By the end of the week, we are back to mild spring weather.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Countdown Begins

We arrived early at First Baptist Church, Maysville this morning and found the place packed with more people than the previous couple of weeks. Pastor John spoke about authentic ministry from Colossians 1:24-29. Ministry is not only for those who are paid to minister. Ministry is for all believers. He challenged us to answer one question; Do I really want to make a difference in my life and the world around me? He continued by giving us three traits of an authentic ministry.
  1. There is a divine calling to minister. In John 15:18-21, jesus tells His disciples what to expect of his ministers.
  2. There is a very clear message. That message can be based on life experiences. Think of this as God preparing us for ministry.
  3. We have identifiable goals to share the message with those around us. 
As we left church this morning we told Pastor John that this would be our last Sunday. He took time to pray for us as we were leaving. That's pretty cool. FBC Maysville is a happening place. I am sure we will find a cool place to worship in or around Blue Ridge, GA.

A few readers have suggested some online church services we will investigate. Englewood Baptist Church in Rocky Mountain, NC and Church On The Eastern Shore in Fairhope, AL are a couple of places.

After church, we went to Jacksonville to watch The Hunger Games. The movie was well attended and really was pretty good. As difficult as it is for me to clearly understand the dialog, I was able to follow the story line pretty well. Carol said it followed the book pretty close. She was happy with the movie. Oh yeah, the pop corn was pretty good also. Yep, it was over priced as it always is. Carol snuck in a bag of M&M's so I guess if you average it out, my pop corn was not too expensive.

After the movie, we went to Cook Out. The food tastes just as if it had been cooked outdoors on a grill so it does have a sense of uniqueness to it. I ordered a foot long dog with chili, cheese, onion, slaw and onion rings. Carol had a cheese burger. The serving sizes seem small compared to other places, but they are certainly adequate. The hot dog is covered with slaw so don't think that is a lot of onions. The service was quick and the food is certainly good. I had a Cheerwine Float that was pretty tasty.

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As we were driving back home, we could see storm clouds on the West side of US 17 and sunshine on the East side. Here is what Weatherbug shows of todays forecast. We are located just above and to the right of the name Jacksonville.
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When we got home, I took a snapshot of the sunny Eastern sky and stormy Western sky.

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Most of the storm system is going North of us. Plus the cooler weather over night will weaken the storm system. God is protecting us from the worst weather.

It seems hard to believe we have been here for almost 4 weeks now. Friday we pull out for our next stop on this adventure. We will have a short work week. Hopefully I can get a couple of dry days to get the lattice installed around the deck.

We are settled in for the evening. I am enjoying a little adult beverage from Australia (Black Swan Shiraz). Thanks for stopping by.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Half Day Schedule

Yesterday I mentioned that we would probably have rain most of the day. Well, there was a little drizzle going on during the morning hours mixed with some sun shine. Carol had cat duty this morning (I know, broken record) but at least today she was joined by another workamper, Corbly who scrubbed the floor while Carol clean cages and freshened the litter box. I fixed breakfast thinking she would be back after waking up the kitties. I ate mine and left her's on the counter.

My task was to finish the deck before the wet weather event should that happen. Workamper Tom came to my rescue today. He worked on getting the deck boards secured. When we placed the deck boards initially, we only secured the perimeter. A hardy "Thank You" to Tom for completing this task. The concrete landing pad appears to be OK. Sorry for the blur across the top of the image. I gotta remember to keep my finger away from the camera eye on my iPhone. The second photo shows the completed stairs with railing. Cody was posing for me. All that is left is to attached the lattice below the deck.

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As we travel to New Bern and Jacksonville, we see a few places that remind us of Texas. Places like Texas Roadhouse, is one. There is another place that we've not seen anywhere other than here; Texas Steakhouse & Saloon. There are 22 of these places locations in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. I am not one who eagerly eats steak at a restaurant because I can do a pretty good job grilling my own steak. Tonight we decided to give this place a try. I had Sirloin & Lump Crab Cake while Carol had Baby Back Ribs. I blurred the photos so I won't post them here. I will say we were impressed. Steak was cook perfectly and was full of flavor. Carol's Baby Back Ribs were very meaty and tender.

The only hiccup in the meal occurred when the steaks came out before we got our salads. We did order an appetizer and that can throw off food delivery schedules so we asked our waitress if she could be sure we got our salads before the steaks. When that did not happen, a fellow named H.J. came to our table and apologized for the mix up and said he would see that we got our salads and would remake the steaks so we could enjoy our meal as we had expected. Then the general manager came over to our table and also apologized for the mix up. She said the restaurant wanted to make sure diners have a good experience in the restaurant. Now that is good customer service.

Our Feb 22 blog entry On With The Adventure briefly tells about our stay at Frog City RV Park in Louisiana.  The morning we left Frog City RV Park, Carol and I had breakfast at Lucky Deuces Travel Plaza. While there, Carol was photographed as we ordered breakfast. The staff writer for the Acadia Parish Today newspaper was writing an article on this place and gave Carol web info where we could look up the article. Today, Carol gave me the slip of paper the writer left with her. Apparently this was a filler article and was used on March 19. We were there on Feb 22.

Sunday, Carol and I are going to see The Hunger Games. From what I've read about the movie, people either love it or hate it. I am sure Carol will enjoy the movie and I am sure the pop corn will be good. I'll let you know tomorrow.

More wet weather is forecaste for Sunday. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Well, We Did It

No, I did not finish the deck today. It is still a work in progress. You will see later in this post. So what is it we did that was a first? Actually, we did two things.

First, we exceeded our monthly allocation of 5G data download with Verizon. That is not such a bad thing because I know exactly how it happened. Tuesday I received an email from Verizon stating we had reached 50% of our monthly data allocation. So what happened between Tuesday and today? I downloaded Adobe Photoshop Element, a huge file from ADOBE. It was my intent to download this while sitting in Starbucks or some other free hotspot. The file is 2.1G. Next time I want to download such a large file, I will borrow someone else's WiFi. We do have access to Safe Harbor's WiFi but have had connection issues. This is why we have been relying on our Verizon MiFi for Internet. Verizon gives us an additional 1G for 10 bucks so the penalty is not really a penalty at all. Our MiFi has been operating pretty well for the past several days. Next month's allocation of 5G starts on 3/25.

The second first we did today was trip a 30 Amp circuit breaker on the service panel that feeds the RV. I was coming out of the shower and Carol was fixing supper. I thought I saw something flash but then I sometimes see weird things. Carol came up to me and said - - - - -. Her lips were moving but I did not have my hearing aids in so I heard nothing. After I got the hearing aids are in she said, "I think we blew a fuse." Taking inventory I can see the microwave is off, the TV is off, the ceiling fan is off, the A/C is off. It appears everything that runs on 110 volts is off.

Carol, was the dryer on? Yes. OK when the A/C is running we cannot run the dryer and microwave at the same time, especially when we are plugged in to less than 50 Amps. Once I found the circuit panel that powers the RV sites, I found our circuit had been tripped. I reset the breaker and of course we are back in business. We finished dinner then I had some Ben & Jerry's Pumpkin Cheesecake ice cream. Yummy.

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Now for an update on the deck project. Again, I am working solo today. Lynne stopped by to check out the progress and was very happy with what she saw. I finished the deck rails.

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Next job to tackle is the stairs. I thought it would be cool to have a solid landing at the base of the stairs. I have about 2 1/2 bags of Redi-Mix left over so that should just about do it. I'll find out tomorrow when the cement should be cured. In the previous photo you can see the concrete pad. Below is the work that had to be done to get the frame in place so I could pour the Redi-Mix.

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Remember my telling you about Carol having to cut mats out of Buttercup? Well, she has come out of hiding. Please do not laugh. Buttercup is very sensitive about her stately appearance. As I took a few photos of her, I kept telling her it will grow back. Hopefully, someone here at the farm will help her stay groomed so she does not get badly matted as she was.
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Tomorrow may be a short work day. Weatherbug is forecasting a pretty wet day.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More Deck Work

Are you getting tired of hearing about the deck work? I hope not, I love doing this kind of work. It will soon come to an end in a few more days. Then it will be time for us to think about packing up and heading to our next stop - Windy Valley Llamas in Blue Ridge, GA.

We planed a trip to New Bern today to get away for part of the day. Carol was off this morning so we were able to enjoy breakfast together. Then Cody and I took off for our job site.

Shortly after we got there, Lynne came by to see if it would be OK if she used my helper today. That's the second time she asked me that since I started the deck. It felt odd having the owner of the shelter ask me if it was OK for her to use my helper TJ on a different project. I told her the same thing this time that I told her the last time. It was her up to her to use the volunteers where she felt they need to be.

So Cody and I proceeded with the work this morning. A couple of hours after I got started, Brogan (TJ's little brother) came over and asked if I needed any help. Sure. Brogan kept me supplied with screws and help me line up the bottom railing around the deck. Then he help me build out the bottom half of the stairs. Brogan is a fast learner just like his older brother TJ. Here is my helper Brogan with Cody and the progress after today's work.

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Tomorrow I should be able to get the deck railing completed and finish up the steps. 

Every time we traveled to New Bern, we would pass a small red brick house identified as the Foscue Plantation house. Today we stopped by and had a guided tour of the three story house. My description of the property would not do it any justice, so I invite you to read the history on their website here

After completing the tour, we headed into New Bern for a quick trip to Walmart, Lowe's and he AT&T store. We are considering adding tethering to my iPhone. We have had some hit and miss issues with our Verizon MiFi and are looking for solutions that give us more reliable Internet access. 

When we got back home to the farm, Carol took care of the afternoon cat feeding, then we had left over Michaelangelo's Pizza. It was still as good as it was the first time. 

For the RVers in blog world, we are looking for routing suggestions that will get us from Maysville, NC to Blue Ridge, GA. Our travel goals are to travel no more than 200 miles each day. We have some flexibly so if there is someplace along the way we need to spend a couple of days, that would be acceptable. Feel free to leave a comment here or you can send me a private message using the Contact Us link on the side of the blog page. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Quiet Day at the Farm

After last night's marathon driving session due to following Gertie, I slept late this morning and did not get Carol up in time to have breakfast together before our work day started. Carol had cat duty this morning and I worked on the deck project. My helper TJ was observing surgeries in the Kindness Clinic today. 

Cat duty starts by feeding the cats in Trump 1, Trump 2, and on the back porch of the Cat Center. There are some cats who are kept in cages over night in the Cat Center. They get fed, their cages are cleaned. Buttercup is the Persian that Carol shaved down yesterday. She was not happy to see Carol this morning. She literally kept her back to Carol while Carol was cleaning the cages. Since Trump 1 and Trump 2 are open air condos, the bedding needs to be changed periodically. Carol also freshened up some of the condo bedding.

Next, Carol grabbed the pooper scooper and hit the yard in front of the Cat Center. It is amazing how much poop those little fur balls can create. Carol had been working on a project making cat bedding our fleece fabric. After her cat duty, she came back to the RV and finished making the bedding. Maybe Buttercup will be in a better mood tomorrow after she sees her new bedding.

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After all that hard work, it was time for a break. So Carol grabbed her iPad and a glass of ice tea, found a spot on our front porch not taken over by a cat, and finished reading The Hunger Games. We are planning to see the movie on Sunday. Carol wanted to get up to speed on the story line before seeing the movie.

In the mean while, I was flying solo on the deck project. Today, the plan was to get the railing posts attached to the deck frame so I can get the railing installed on Thursday. How hard can that be? Well the deck overhangs the frame by about an inch. Each 4x4 post needs a 1-1/4" x 1" dado (slot) cut into the side so the posts sits plumb to the deck. (FYI - "plumb" means straight up and down.) Then each post is attached to the deck frame by two 1/2" carriage bolts. The deck frame is bolted together with 1/2" carriage bolts. It is highly probable that I will hit one of these bolts when drilling the holes needed to mount the rail posts. Sure enough, that happened on more than one occasion. I just happen to have a 1/2" metal drill bit so I was able to drill through existing hardware. In a couple of cases, I had to cut a bolt or two.

Around 1:30, afternoon showers showed up. I scurried to get the tools put up, grabbed Cody and headed for the RV. Time for a snack. Carol was working on the bedding for the cats about that time. The shower did not last nor was it heavy enough to create mud. I left Cody in the RV so he could take a nap while I went back to finish the work. It is good to end the day with a sense of completion. I have one post that will require a special bracket for mounting because there is a joist in the spot where the two bolts should go.
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It was time to pick up all the cut-off scrap. Remember that photo of the truck loaded with all the deck material? Well so far this is all that is headed for the trash can. Looks like I managed to make efficient use of material.
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I sat on the front porch for a bit to enjoy the cooler weather. Juliette, one of the cats here, jumped in my lap and gave me a look that said, "Hey, you are in my chair." She likes our porch chairs and can be found there most of the time. I am sure she will be moody after we pull out of here at the end of the month. Carol fixed spaghetti while I cleaned up. It is always good to enjoy a meal on our RV, just the two of us. 

Thanks for stopping by.