Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Darn Verizon

It took me an hour last night to do this post, and I kept getting dropped. So I gave up until this morning (Wednesday).

All this week there are little suns according to the weather channel. My favorite icon!

We started out with breakfast on the ‘patio’, then headed out to the RV place across from the brand new Cabela’s on Rte. 78 in Pennsylvania. We stopped at Cracker Barrel for lunch where I love their grilled chicken salad. We crossed under 78 and found Tom Schaeffer’s RV. It was a mini-Camper’s World, but a lot less fun stuff. We picked up a couple of 12V lightbulbs, and a 50Amp to 30Amp dogbone to replace the butchered one we tried to use when we got to Bob’s. All that only took 20 minutes, so we decided to head further south to the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in the French Creek SP near Reading, PA.

This is a very fine example of an early American iron-making community that was started in 1771. Many of the buildings have been restored, but the mill and cold blast furnace was the jewel of the settlement. The 10 minute film before we began our self-guided tour was very informative, (we love movies) so we knew how the buildings and tools were used. This is where the men slept while tending piles of wood very meticulously assembled where it burned for up to 2 weeks. Cozy, huh? After the coal was loaded into the barn, the huge bellows that were operated by pistons cranked by the water wheel blew water into the furnace.

All farms have barn swallows, and there were dozens of nests with babies. They must be familiar with people, because these two posed prettily for me. The farm animals cooperated, the little store had such cute things (Gary bought a Rootbeer made in Lancaster) but the Mansion was surrounded by wet paint, so we didn’t get to go in.

Back at the Ranger Station, Christine, the Park Ranger, offered us an application when she found out that we were planning to be WorkCampers. The one site was up the hill a bit, and we went up to see it. We would have to park on an angle to fit, but it was a pretty setting. We have no intention of working there, but appreciated the application.

It took us a long time in rush hour to drive home, but we made it despite a few wrong turns. Thanks, Ms. TomTom. We passed the Pottstown Nuclear Plant. It gave me the chills. I know they are supposed to be safe, but it felt like they were twin monsters waiting to be woken up to destroy. We passed as quietly as possible.

Yesterday, Gary called numerous Radiology offices and doctors to get an appointment for his eye. It is such a small world. The nurse in his old Florida office just happens to have a nephew that works in Flemington at the hospital where he eventually got an appointment with a Dr. Greenberg, who turns out to be Rosie’s Dr., too! That is next Wednesday, so it looks like we’ll be here a while longer.

Rosie brought dinner yesterday – a yummy baked ziti with meatballs, and she also brought a dummy. A real dummy that is, which had a large crack, and needed fiberglass patching. So we worked on that a while, and she will come back tomorrow to finish patching it, take it home, do some REALLY COOL design on it and enter it in an art show on the 10th and 11th. We wish you luck to WIN, Rosie!

Well, we’re pooped (we DO hate rush hour traffic, don’t you?) so we’ll go relax now. Tomorrow promises to be another beautiful day.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


You may know that waking up early is not my thing. Fortunately, in the summer it is less painful because it is light very early. Like 5:30 am. That’s when Bob knocked on our door to get up, fed and dressed, as today was the day Bella was getting her new coats. So I was a little more willing to get up.
We started cloaking her sides and top with drop sheets. Then Bob has special paper with tape along one side that we placed over the windshield and mirrors. The headlights, running lights and parking lights were also covered.
First he sprayed the dark green (Bella’s smile). We waited until that was dry, then covered all of that color. Then he did the lighter green, waited, then masked that area. The Mojave gold was next which was the bulk of her front. He applied a couple coats of that to make sure all the green was invisible. Last there were three coats of clear. It took about ½ hour for that to dry while I stood there shooing flies away and picking off the stupid ones that tried to swim on it.
When she was dry enough for bugs not to stick, I went ahead and painted the bumpers on the Jeep and Bella’s wipers. Then I went under her to check out her transmission oil leak. I wiped off the drips to see where they will appear later. Yes, I did.
Finally it was time to unveil all the new paint. Oooohhh, so bellisima! She was so shiny you can see my reflection! I wish I had a before picture to show you of how awful her front looked before we scraped off all that stuff, wet-sanded her, chemicaled her to within an inch of her life, and gave her a brand new smile. This was a heck of a job and I am proud of us!
Thanks, little brother! *sigh*

Friday, June 25, 2010

To The Shore, Pt. Pleasant, NJ

Last night was a little scary. Tasha, our cat, was sneezing and itching her nose with her paw which got more and more intense until she kind of went into a ‘fit’ falling on her side with her mouth open and yowling as though she was in great pain. We both soothed her into relaxing and when she was calmer she jumped off the bed, and ate some food. We have a cat First Aid book and after researching anything with those symptoms, I came up with a blank. We will call her vet on Monday.

A beautiful day dawned for a day at the Jersey shore with my cousin, Joan. New Jersey is the one of the only states where people say “I’m going to the shore” instead of “I’m going to the beach”. You also have to pay a fortune for parking and pay $7 per person to get ONTO the beach. Oh, it’s $8 on Sat, Sun and Holidays. I’m not sure what that pays for, but probably helps with the maintenance of the boardwalk, lifeguards and vacuuming the beach. It is really spotless. The many colored umbrellas were at least 12 deep and the water was a gorgeous sapphire blue and relatively calm for the east coast.
The plan was to eat and walk, eat some more and walk a little bit. We arrived around 12 and started working up our appetites by heading south on the boardwalk. We reached the end, turned around and started looking for a perfect spot for lunch. The Boardwalk Bar and Grill had upstairs outdoor tables for a view of the ocean. Gary ordered the soft-shell crab sandwich and Joan and I had turkey clubs. Very good. We needed to start walking again to make room for ice cream on waffles – boardwalk fare for sure. We walked all the way to the other end of the boardwalk, sat a while watching the boats enter and exit the inlet. Two were named after our daughters: Mandy and Michelle. A dredge was working hard collecting sand and water from the bottom, then turning around and dumping it outside the inlet to keep the inlet deep.
OK. It was time to head back and find some ice cream. Joan ordered vanilla and chocolate swirl, Gary ordered a small cone and I ordered the ice cream on a waffle. Thinking it was going to be about 4 inches square, I patiently waited while they made the waffles. I saw her scoop the ice cream, and then she handed me this HUGE 8 inch double waffle dish with four scoops of ice cream in between them. Holy cow! I can’t eat all that! Well, I made a dent in it and Gary helped a little, but we just couldn’t finish it. As far as I was concerned that was definitely enough calories to replace dinner (and probably breakfast, too). It sure was yummy! Well, that will have to suffice until the next boardwalk visit in about 40 years. If I am still walking by then.
We drove our hour and half home without incident, and relaxed because tomorrow is an exciting day for Bella! Be sure to find out what happens!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

Not only are my elbows out of grease, but I stubbed my little toe on the vacuum cleaner and I think I broke it. It is so sore, and all colors of the rainbow. Fortunately there is nothing you can do for it, except wear flipflops which are my favorite kind of footwear anyway. It doesn’t hurt when I walk, just if I bump it or the dog steps on it. I tried taking a picture of it, but you probably don’t want to see that. So no dancing for me.

My elbow grease ran out this morning as we continued to wet-sand the front of Bella, something Bob taught us how to do last night. It’s a good thing we started last night, because it took us 2 ½ hours this morning to finish it before we had to go pick up the paint in South Plainfield (an hour away). It was HARD work to scrub out all the chips down to the fiberglass. Whew. And I thought we were done with the hard stuff. Not yeeetttttt…

We got cleaned up in our air-conditioned coach (it was 98 degrees outside – we need to go south to cool off where it was only 92 in Florida) and headed out for Sherwin-Williams Auto Paint. But first we were HUNGRY. We stopped at Ruby Tuesday’s and I had a frozen virgin watermelon margarita. I would have preferred the real deal, but I did need to act coherent at the paint store. It was fabulous!

Ms TomTom got us there with no problem. We talked to Mike, added a few things to round out the bill to $$$, called Bob to make sure everything was perfect, and headed back. We were looking forward to stopping at Wegman’s in Bridgewater where my niece, Jennifer and her hubby, Keith both work. Well, I have never been in such a large supermarket. They had all kinds of things and huge wide aisles to maneuver in. We spend an hour in there, found Keith and were just in time to greet Jennifer as she arrived for the 4pm to 1 am shift. I’m glad I’m not so young that I’m expected to do that anytime soon. We paid for our goodies, and skirted the huge storm we could see just to the north of us. When we arrived home, Bob was already at work on Bella re-sanding some areas with a machine! No fair! After that, we taped off areas and he painted the front with primer. Here she is all primed. Good news! We have to sand the primer after dinner. Can you see me jumping for joy??? Actually, Gary sanded very gently while I did some wash and started typing this. (yay)

Tomorrow we get to play with my cousin, Joan, on the Point Pleasant board walk! I’m looking forward to an ice cream waffle sandwich again. The ONLY place to get one is on the boardwalk. Am I right? Or am I right???

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Little Wildlife

Today we did a little running around and cleaning the house and cutting the lawn.
Yesterday, however, was a great day, but I was sooooo tired, I couldn't uncurl my fingers to type a post. Yesterday, at 2:17 pm, we finished scraping off the last of the Diamondshield from the front of Bella. YAYAYAYAY! If her paint wasn't missing in a few spots, she would be beautiful. But Bob does need to paint her front on Saturday, so we ordered the paint today. Let me tell you, auto paint is not cheap. But it is definitely less expensive than the other options. My brother, Bob, owned a auto body shop so he is going to paint her for us on Saturday (if it's not too hot). Here are some 'after' pix. Unfortunately the decal 'Dutch Star' had to come off, too, but we may do something different in its place.
While we were recuperating (it was 92 degrees) we enjoyed our new bird visitors, American Goldfinches; the male is the prettier one. They love the thistle seeds we put out just for them. The house wrens, on the other hand, don't eat seeds, but always manage to build a nest in about an hour. I hate having to destroy it, but it is just not a good spot - under our slideout.
We called it an early night, and woke up this morning just a little stiff. But that is to be expected, I guess. We are over 35 after all....

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Great Trip

The humidity was down from yesterday and it promised to be perfect weather. We had breakfast on the ‘patio’ then got a move on. We planned to take two cars, leaving one at the take out point and the other at the put in point. And it did work that way. It took us 12 minutes to set up at the and then we glided into the relatively warm (73 degrees) water. It was smooth as glass so we actually had to paddle to get up to 3 mph. We brought Ms. TomTom and when we turned it on, our little Jeep icon was in the middle of the Delaware River! She did indicate streets we passed, and we had set her up for our take out point as our destination. 12 ½ miles to go!

Soon we were under the Frenchtown Bridge,
then things picked up. We were now moving 4 mph without much paddling. There are many islands in the middle of the Delaware, and it is clear and quite shallow. Very, very shallow in some places – enough for us to get stuck. Once Gary had to get out and push a little to get us going again. The water was only up to his ankles, but it was a little deeper when we were stuck at Tumble Falls. I took these as we were sitting on the rocks before Gary got out to push us over the edge. I was afraid I’d take off down river without him having time to get back in, but he was my hero and stuntman jumping in at the perfect moment.

There were some beautiful houses, very tall cliffs, and lots of wildlife. Mostly human wildlife in blue tubes from the Delaware River Tubing Company that has a large take out point about 8 miles downstream. It has music, games, and activities for kids and adults.

Soon it was time for some lunch. We found a little beach and munched our tuna sandwiches and icy water. We shoved off again spotting this white Mute Swan and its mate.

Hot Dog Man (and his dog) motored up and down the river once in a while. I’m not sure if he sold hotdogs from his boat, or was just advertising. There was plenty of that, too.
About 3:15 we found our take out spot, and we hoisted the kayak up to the parking lot, dried her, deflated her, folded her and put her in the car. Whew, it was a Great Trip.

Resting on the patio, a female goldfinch came to our feeder to eat the thistle seeds we bought last week. She flew away before I could get my camera. I hope she’ll be back with lots of family and friends.

Today was a fun day. Everyday should have some fun in it. Hopefully we’ll find some fun tomorrow as we work on Bella, cut grass, wash floors… hey, that’s all fun, isn’t it? If we weren’t physically able to do that stuff, that wouldn’t be fun.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

An Assortment Day

Happy Father’s Day, all you dads out there!
Did you know that the first Father’s Day was celebrated in June 19, 1910? The holiday was launched by the YMCA of Spokane, WA. As you know, a good father is a person who carries pictures of his wife and family where his money used to be.
I said yesterday that we would be kayaking today somewhere. Well, it didn’t happen like that. We started out at the Milford Station Bakery for a Father’s Day bagel for Gary and muffin for me. He said that this bagel was the best one ever! AND they had Green Mountain coffee – my favorite: Rainforest Nut. So were WE happy campers.
We sat on the porch of the (old) train station thinking about going back into the Big Apple by train, and asked some bikers where the nearest station was to Bob’s house. North of Clinton was the answer. High Bridge is the end of the line, as this biker found out the hard way when he and his wife fell asleep on the train home after an evening at the theatre in NYC. They missed their stop by 20 miles, so they had to spend the night in High Bridge and take the train back to their home in the morning. Expensive nap, huh.

We moved into the shade and I noticed a door above Gary’s head. A door to??? Watch that first step!

With re-filled coffee cups, we drove south to find a place to take out. Bob had mentioned a spot that we found, and then we found another one. Now we can’t just choose to take out at either place when we are finished kayaking tomorrow. We need to take two cars and park one at the take out ramp. Then we drive north to our put in spot and park the other car. We will paddle down the Delaware, take out, pack up the boat and drive north to the put-in spot, and drive both cars back home. Or we can paddle 14 miles upriver. NOT. It’s supposed to be beautiful tomorrow, too, so we’ll do some work on Bella when we get home (if we can lift our arms high enough – this getting older is the pits sometimes).
Gary and I went grocery shopping because we finally finished all the leftover picnic food. Since it was Father’s Day, the Fathers got to choose what they wanted. BBQ or lobsters? Lobsters at 3.99/lb. won! We grabbed some snow crab claws too, and had a feast for dinner. It’s been a long time since we had lobster. I wish I had taken a picture of them.

The bumpers on the Jeep were kind of fading, so I masked off areas and painted both bumpers. Ooooooh – pretty. Need to pick up some more paint to do a couple more areas.

Last night after dark (and Gary was asleep) I threw on some jeans and sox and runners, grabbed a flashlite and climbed over the fence into the little clearing in the middle of all those lightning bugs I mentioned a few days ago. It was beautiful, but the moon was a little too bright, so I will try it again when it is pitch black.

Who knew life could be so much fun???

Saturday, June 19, 2010

On the Water

Bob had gotten a haircut, eaten breakfast, bought ice and was working on the brakes of the Model T by the time we got up. And that was 7:30! It was to be a spectacular weather day, and Little Jo was planning to purchase her first kayak!

This morning I prepped the door handles of the Jeep so that they could be painted. I got the passenger side done, and then Joanne arrived. We got ready to go to Frenchtown where Paddle Creek Kayak Outfitters was located. A couple of weeks ago, she had picked out her yellow Wilderness single and it was waiting for Bob to secure it into the pickup. We quizzed the guy out front for put in and take out places along the Delaware. We took some notes, but decided to take a look at a flooded quarry called Giving Pond right over the bridge into Pennsylvania up the road a mile.
It looked doable and no one was there. As we were leaving a couple of cars arrived with kayaks on top. We took down the top of the Jeep, loaded up the SeaEagle and off we went as Bob went to Joanne’s to do some work.

We love assembling our kayak as it is so fast. First inflate the floor, then the sides, then the seats, snap together the paddles and you’re off! The quarry was a bird sanctuary and so we were on the lookout for some firsts to add to our life list. We noticed the tree swallows right away as there were many nests in the dead trees. See the babies poking their heads out of the holes? The quarry was about two square miles, so it was very relaxed as we paddled shore to shore watching turtles and saw some Double-crested Cormorants hanging out on some dead trees.

I spotted two American Goldfinches playing with each other, but they were so fast, it took about 15 minutes for Gary to get this shot of one finally resting in a Kodak moment spot. Great job, honey.
Gliding along the western bank, I saw this nest of Eastern Kingbirds. Even as close as we got, about 10 feet, this mom did not leave the nest. Aren’t the babies with their little tufts of white feathers on their head so cute?

Tomorrow we are headed to PA to put in across the river near Milford, NJ and kayaking down to ??? (even we don't know yet...)