Sunday, July 31, 2011

Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Friday is chemo day.  Off we go at 8:15 to get a blood test and then wait to see the Dr., and then they tell Gary whether he can have his treatment.  His platelets were good, so off he goes to his 'private room' , gets hooked up and sits there for 4 hours.  I usually read.  And I finished a good book about Vietnam called the Lotus Eaters on my Sony Reader.  Finally 2:30 rolled around and we headed home.  Gary fell onto the couch while I did some work.  But he felt a little nauseous, so took a drug his Dr. prescribed last month for nausea.  Well, it turned out to be a coma in a bottle.  He fell asleep while I made some eggplant parmesan.  Dinner time came and went so I finally woke him up at 9:30 with some soup.  Then he went right back to sleep.

Saturday morning he was still a little groggy, but I had to get to the camp office to start my second day of training.  Elaine was there and we began the process of opening windows, catching the cats (one hid for 10 minutes), opening the register and our first guest was at the door at 9:15.  Elaine was kind enough to hang out with me for a couple of hours and then she left. Here we are: 

I was on my own, and managed just fine until the CG owner came in.  She decided to 'help' me at the register, and it got really messed up.  But she said it was her fault, and she took total responsibility, said she would figure it out later, and then left.  Gary visited a couple of times and bought me lunch.  A worker perk is we get to do our laundry for free, so he brought all our wash over because our washer is not drying.  What a great time for a laundry perk!  Around 6:30 Elaine and Alvin came back and showed me how to close up and we got out of there around 7:30.  Another long work day.  I never had worked two jobs at once in my life.  Who knew I'd be doing this at my age?  Is there something wrong with this picture?  LOL  But it's pretty awesome when you think about it.  I'm doing jobs I like, and don't have to do them forever.  I can get a job anywhere in the nation for a few weeks, or a few months.  Then we leave, and it's OK, because they expect you to leave. 

Sunday morning and we're off to Dollywood in our little outfits by 9 am.  I didn't have to start work until 11 am, but I rode in with Gary hoping they'd put me in sooner with him at Sausage Works.  No such luck, and they moved me to a drink stand that I would have to close.  It was not terribly busy today, but steady.  I was supposed to work 11 to 5, but worked 11 to 6:30.  Gary left for home when he got off at 4:30 and came back to pick me up.  We had breakfast for dinner tonight - quick and easy and yummy.  And I'm hitting the sack any minute now, because tomorrow we're FREE TO PLAY!

Another day in our lives...Later....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Gotta Have Some Fun

Yesterday was a hot one and really busy.  Gary was happy at the potato station and I was happy at the register.  TEN MINUTES before we were to leave at 4:30, my little buddy, Andrew came in and asked for some headache medicine.  I had some, and while he was taking them, he complained of nausea and light-headedness.  I told him to sit, but then our lead came around, assessed that Andrew needed to leave for home and asked: would I please stay until closing at the Barnstormer?  What about Gary?  He could stay at Sausage.  How could I say no?  So up I went and worked until 8 pm.  Counted the money - over $1700, and headed down to clock out.  Gary was really ready to go so left at 6:30 and came back to pick me up.  Whew, a shower later, and we ate a late dinner, and I crashed.  But wait, around 11 I woke up again, and watched a B&W movie (The Nanny - Bette Davis) until 1 am.  Then it was sweet dreams...

This morning we headed to Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast on our way to Jeep in Kodak.  We arrived a little early, but they slipped us in.  While Gary was surfing on the iPad, I walked outside to look at new Jeeps.  Ten seconds later, I had a salesman approach me, and we walked over to the two-door Wranglers.  I have been itching to go off road out west, and was interested in what's different between a 2000 (ours) and a 2011.  The new Jeeps are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, get better mileage and have the ability to drive in 19" of water and over major rocks.  Oooo, sounds fun.  But, until our lottery wins are bigger than $12, we'll keep our little Mesa and fix whatever is wrong.  Which brings us to the cashier, but the damage was not too bad.  We think we picked up some dirty gas somewhere which made the engine light come on, so we threw in some fuel additive and premium gas, and she should be OK.  Here she is, all ready to go.

When we got home, Gary messed around in the basement, and I tried to plan our trip out west a little, putting everything in pencil on the calendar.  There is much we can't count on, but we love to plan our adventures.  I know we are going to have a fabulous time whatever we do, because we have eachother.  (ps, Gary's looking real good lately!)

Gary was grilling a steak on the bar-b when our behind neighbors, Meghan and Jim came over for a chat.  They are from Washington state and have a 36 foot DutchStar.  We hardly ever get to see them as they work at Dollywood, too, but close and get home around 9:30.  Needless to say, they relax before they head to work inside their coach where it's cool, jump into their car and head to Aunt Granny's Restaurant, coming home to collapse and do it all again the next day. 

Jim and Meghan have been fulltiming for over 6 years and do various jobs for income just like most of us.  I asked them what their favorite job was so far and they replied that working with the NHRA on the west coast was the most fun and lucrative.  They also followed NASCAR from coast to coast, which was sometimes grueling (12-13 hour days) and extensive coast to coast driving.  But they loved the people and the money and are planning to do it again this winter.  They asked us our plans and were excited to hear we want to make it to Alaska in 2013.  They have worked there as well, and would love to go back.  Something about it "getting in your head".  Can't wait to find out what that's all about.  Maybe we could go together?  Maybe!  We finally parted and had our respective dinners.

Just as we were finishing our dinner, Gary noticed emergency vehicle lights outside.  An ambulance had pulled up to the site opposite us and the crew were heading into the RV.  Then a firetruck showed up and then a motorcycle cop.  I managed to get a picture of all the lights through our windshield.  Their neighbor talked to them (it is an elderly couple and their young grand daughter) and discovered that the little girl started choking and getting sick and they panicked and called 911.  She was transported to the hospital, so we hope she is OK.   

That was the exciting thing that happened today.  Let's hope less exciting things happen tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Little Work Here and a Little Work There

Saturday dawned bright and sunny and I walked over to my new job at the CG office.  Elaine was there to meet me and we started right in on everything that needed to be done.  First, you have to put away the cats.  Yes, there are two cats that are let out of their cages at night to roam around the office to catch mice or something.  So you put them back in their cages and feed them.  Hmmm. 

Then you fill up the register, see who is coming in and add info packets to their confirmation slips, answer the phone, collect ice and firewood money, make reservations for the tents, cabins and RV sites, check people in, etc.  Not too difficult, but it sure was busy non-stop. 

I did leave a little early to have dinner with Bill and Ann who were leaving the next day, and we had dinner at the Bullfish Grill.  Delicious!  (sorry, no camera)  They specialize in fish, so Gary had the ahi tuna, Ann had the salmon with pineapple salsa, Bill had the grouper and I had the trout.  All excellent, and the manager came to talk with us for a while (guess where he's from - Florida, of course: a man who knows his fish!)  We left at the restaurant with hugs and promises to see them in Florida perhaps for their Christmas Party on December 1, which is also Gary's birthday.  But that's far in the future right now, so we'll put it in pencil.

Sunday we had to work: Gary at 9:30 and me at 11.  I had just dropped him off at work and returned home when he called and told me that we had to work until 8 pm and I needed to be back there in 30 minutes.  Well, it takes 15 minutes at least to drive, park and get the bus down to the clock, so I had to hustle.  I made it, and headed up to Barnstormer minimelts for the day.  It wasn't a good day at work, I must confess.  I was forgotten until young Andrew came to my rescue asking if I had had a break at all.  So, I got my lunch break at 3:30, and closed the register finally at 7:30, meeting Gary and leaving at 8:15.  Whew.  It was supposed to rain (how many jobs do you wake up and pray for rain that day), but it never did.  That means that people were in a steady stream all day.  It was rough at the moment, and I was plenty peaved, but now, looking back, it is what it was.  Of course, it stormed after we got home and Monday till noon (our day off).  Oh, well, what are you gonna do?

We made a Walmart run and stopped at Dixie Stampede to pick up some tickets for friends.  The best part of Monday was after we bought our tickets and were walking to the car.  A family passed us going in, and a couple steps behind them was their two year old little girl with big brown eyes and curls.  I smiled and said hi to her, and she looked up at me and said very seriously "I see cowwws".  I'll never forget it.  Too cute.  I hope she had a wonderful time seeing all the cows in the show.

I tried the washer again, and it ran OK with just a few little groans, but even after the dry cycle, it wasn't dry.  Also the Jeep engine light came on Saturday while Gary was driving around, so we need to get the oil changed along with a look-see into that reason. 

Today we started work at 11 am, and actually finished on time at 4:30.  I made potato twirls all day (with an hour at the register) and Gary was happy that he made sausage sandwiches all day and we even had our 30 minute break together!  A big improvement over Sunday.  We do have to work tomorrow and it is supposed to be 98 degrees.  I tell you, when we pass the pool on the way back to our coach, it takes all my willpower not to jump in, clothes and all.  Tomorrow is a short day again, so hopefully we will make it through (0% chance of rain)  I wish the heat melted body fat...

So we are happy campers once again. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Back in the Mountains

What am I excited about??  My first workamper job!  The CG Manager asked me to work at the office on Friday and Saturday each week.  Gary is my priority, so I said I could only work on Saturday if that was OK.  He said sure! Get over there tomorrow for training and you start on Saturday. 

So while Gary went to play golf, I headed to my New Job in the campground office.  Sylvia was there to explain how things work.  Unfortunately they don't use any computers here, and I had hoped to learn a management software, but it is what it is.  I hung around for a couple of hours and then felt comfortable to work the register and credit card machine.  It was plenty busy with 10 people checking in and 7 checking out.  I will be working every Saturday from 9 to 7 for discounted campground rent while Gary is resting from his Chemo Friday.  Of course, my sweet hubby promised me that he'd have dinner ready at my return home.

Ann and Bob are a couple we met at Camp Freightliner, and they live in Sarasota, FL, so when we found out they were headed right for Pigeon Forge after Camp, we exchanged numbers so we could get together there.  They called to set up an early dinner, and we suggested Calhoun's, known for their ribs.  We all had ribs except Bob - he had the chicken -and we managed to stay relatively clean.  It was fun finding out more about them and their rig.

 They have the cutest little Yorkies that love traveling with them in their motorhome.  The littlest is called Tasha which was our kitty's name that we lost early this year.  We will meet again on Saturday perhaps for a baseball game if I don't have to train too late.

Today, we were out the door early for our ride to the Cancer Treatment Center, but after I dropped off Gary and gave him his breakfast (the McDonald's Menu Item #1), I headed back to the coach to call Splendide about our washer/dryer.  It went a little crazy last night skipping all the way through Permanent Press and stopping at the end of Delicate.  And the door wouldn't open.  Their service department answered right away, I talked for 20 minutes to a tech, Sam, who told me exactly what to do, and I tried it again.  It made wierd noises and practically spun itself silly.  So I needed to get back in touch with him again.

So, today, I got instructions, needing to count blinks near the end of the cycle, and then call him back with the number.  I set it up, and it went just fine.  Took out the dried clothes and hung them up.  Threw in another load, started it up, it went through one cycle fine, door unlocked - ugh oh, clothes were wet.  It didn't dry.  So now we have a washline strung all around the bedroom hung with clothes. 

We needed a grocery run, and I'll take the rest of our dirty clothes over to training tomorrow, as free use of the washer and dryer is another little worker-perk. 

Hopefully the rain will hold off for our baseball game or whatever we decide to do, and I think all we can do is wish for cooler weather. 

Ya'll stay hydrated, hear?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Camp Freightliner, Gaffney, SC

Up and turning the key in the ignition within the hour.  I moved the picnic table, because the way out needed a sharp turn due to the vehicles parked in front of us.  People were hitching up, and we had an obstacle course around pickups and trailers half blocking the road.  Easy onto I 26 but soon we slowed down and traffic stopped.  According to the truckers (we have a CB) an elderly lady had hit a bridge abutment on the shoulder.  Well, the traffic was mostly rubber-neckers, so when we got to the car being loaded on the trailer (yes, all that time had elapsed), we got moving again.

A while later, traffic slows again.  (This is supposed to be a 2 hour drive)  Truckers maybe half a mile in front of us were yakking back and forth about bodies in the road - get in the far right lane.  No emergency vehicles had arrived yet and they were concerned that any minute, when they did arrive at the scene, they would close all three lanes.  Four or five ER vehicles barreled down the shoulders on both the east and west bound lanes, and we got this close and passed before they closed it down.  Whew, that horrible accident cost us another 30 minutes.

Finally we found our exit, and I spotted the small sign to Freightliner Custom Chassis.  We had added water and bleach to the fresh water tank to sanitize it while we rode on the highway to slosh it around real well, so we had to dump that by running it through all the taps to clean those lines.  That took a while.  Then we stopped at the water/dump station to refill our fresh water tank, and run that through the taps and dump it.  Then we had to fill our fresh water tank to use as we had no water or sewer hookups for three nights.   We were the first ones here, so we had our pick of spots.  We chose a level spot, hooked up the power, opened our slides and set up house.  By then other rigs were coming in and backing in spots behind us. 

Yes, it's a parking lot with power.  We were here for Camp Freightliner, a two full day course that explained everything about our chassis and transmission system that would make us dangerous.  Our first class started at 8 am and so did our service.  We were having them look at our fan hub as it's been leaking power steering fluid for over a year.  (note:  my brother said (and he drives huge road machinery) that adding fluid when low would be the only thing we needed to do forever, but Gary worried and worried, so we needed to get it fixed to keep my driver happy!)

We met the other couples and visited in another Dutch Star (2002) owned by George and Glenda from Charleston, SC.  Bob and Ann came over from (can you believe it) Sarasota in their Tiffin Allegro and we started trying new cocktails made by George.  Here I am two-fisting it next to Bob.
We said goodnights and set the alarm (booooo) for 6:30.  And it came soon enough.  We met our instructor, Mike Cody, a very accomplished technician, and he loves his job. 
For the next 8 hours, (with a break for a catered lunch - BBQ) we studied our coaches with a two inch thick binder full of terms we had never heard of before, some we had, and some that actually made sense.  Mike was very attentive to our questions, and made everything he taught related to each of our rigs.  They fed us dinner around 5:30 and let us out.  During our class, Gary was called out to talk to the technician about Bella, which was up on her lift:

They had discovered what they needed to do, and needed permission to proceed.  (read: big bucks)  We knew that, so it was, yes, please proceed.  And please add this, this and this.  The more we all learned about our coaches, the more we wanted done.  Mike had discovered this, and had made up a "hall pass" for people to run out of the room, up to the receptionist, and ask to add to their list of fixits.  We had no maintenance list from the previous owners, so we really wanted to have everything OK before we left.  So after dinner, we went outside and she was parked in her spot.  We releveled, hooked up and did our homework. 

Tuesday was the same over again, however, the regional boss was around and had a film crew.  He wanted actors, and asked us all to go out to the lobby.  In exchange we would get anything out of the display cases of Freightliner branded items we wanted.  Gary didn't want to be in the film, but I went out and was interviewed.  They will be using this at all their plants and service centers to promote Camp Freightliner.  It was fun.  And Gary got a golf shirt. 

Back to the books until 4:45 when we finished our binder, but then we got to go outside and inspect a Freightliner chassis parked in the rear to actually see how all these components worked.  Amazing that our house sits on top of one of these!!  It gave us a whole new comfort level to notice how everything looked so sturdy. 

We asked our instructor for the name of a local pizza joint and six of us sat in the 'parking lot' waiting for the pizza guy.  An hour and a half later, he showed up.  He was looking for us at the plant, not the training center.  But that pizza was hot and tasty, and we had a great time talking and swapping stories.  By 10 pm, the skeeters were biting, so we hugged and went to our respective homes, exchanging info and leaving with different departure times.  We heard George and Glenda pull out at 6:30 am, which woke us up (boooo) so we got ready to leave. 

OK - here is the best part of this whole trip:  Remember when I mentioned that our odometer had turned 60,000?  Well, when we got our invoice, I noticed that the 'speedometer' field had 37,417 in it.  I asked our instructor what 'speedometer' meant.  He said it was interchangeable with odometer.  Well, I said, in that case, the number was wrong.  He asked me what it was supposed to be.  I said 60,000.  The class did some quick math, and discovered that 37,417 was approximately 60,000 kilometers.  What???  Had the salesman that sold us Bella not catch that the odometer was in kilometers instead of miles?  How could that happen?  Well, right next to the odometer, there were two tiny arrows, one pointing to Miles and one pointing to Kilometers.  Mike told us to rock the trip reset button with the engine running and see if we got our 60,000 'miles'.  We could hardly wait till class was over, and he said he'd drive by to see if we were really that lucky.  Engine on, odometer reading 37,417.  Rocked that button, and sure enough, 60,000 kilometers.  Holy cow, we just lost 22583 'miles' off our odometer.  We still equal 60,000 kilometers, but we had thought those were miles.  So now we KNOW we only have 37,417 on our 8 year old coach!  Yippee skippee. 

That made our trip up the Saluda Grade even more enjoyable, because beside having our coach all fixed, Gary wanted to find out from a professional just what our transmission could do and how to make it work to get up and down mountains easily and safely.  We found that out, and even passed trucks with ease!  Move over trucker buddy!

Here we are leaving Gaffney, SC with the giant peach water tower that we've seen many times before traveling to my parents' house in Columbus, NC.
Arriving with no incident in Sevierville, we noticed that they had received some rain.  The river was really angry looking.  We had checked the radar this morning and noticed thunderstorms over Pigeon Forge, but they were headed away from us and had dissipated by the time we got near home.

We pulled into our campground and noticed our river flooding the property next to us.  But we just had a few puddles, and unhitched, drove to our spot, and I (alone, this time) backed Gary into our spot perfectly.  It was almost unbearably humid outside, but we got everything set up and took another shower, relaxed and I got to work on the blog. 

We loved moving  Bella, even if it was a short trip.  We made new friends, learned so much, had gorgeous weather and made it there and back safely.  It's good to be 'home' again.

Tomorrow there is something new happening that I'm very excited about.  I'll be telling you all about it.  :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chillin' in Waynesville, NC

We woke up to cloudy, overcast skies, but it was certainly cooler.  We were planning to leave some things like the birdfeeder, our rug, firewood and ladder.  We threw it all around and under the picnic table and secured it with our 10 foot tarp.  We had to check our Departure lists carefully this time because it's been 3 months since we moved.  I always cross my fingers when I push the slide button, but Gary had lubricated the mechanism with Silicone spray the day before and it didn't even squeak.  Everything went like clockwork, even talking to our neighbors who offered to watch our stuff until we returned on Wednesday or Thursday.   It took us 2 hours, as usual, and we hooked up the toad near the entrance to the campground.  The Airstream Rally were leaving at the same time, so we felt like we were in a convoy!   

It took three lights to get onto the Parkway (you know I love that road) and then through construction, some traffic and finally onto 40East.  The sun never did come out, and it sprinkled here and there, but overall, I stayed in my seat and only told Gary "left" once or twice near the concrete barriers on the right of the road. 

Half way to Waynesville, we noticed our odometer changing to 60,000.  Our rig is a 2003 and 60,000 is pretty good, I think.  We have put a little less than 8,000 miles on her, including driving her back home from Nacadoches, TX where we purchased her last year.  And we still love climbing those few steps into our home. 
We left Pigeon Forge at 10:30 and arrived at Creekside Farm RV in Waynesville at 12:30.  It was a really good drive, even in a couple of drizzles, through two tunnels and construction traffic.  We were escorted to our pullthru site, put on the brakes and turned off the key.  It took a few minutes to level, hook up to power and water and jump out the door (into 77 degree weather) for our walk to lunch. I ran back in to get my sweatshirt.  We had eaten at GiGi's in April when we were here on our way to Pigeon Forge, and we loved it.  It's a walk up the driveway and here's Gary waiting for me to catch up.

All handmade sandwiches and drinks, for about $5 a pop.  Good deal.  It's actually a trailer with the porch built on, and you share picnic tables.  Fun.

Then we took a walk around.  Back in April, there was hardly anyone here.  Today there is a Good Sam Rally from Florida with about 20 rigs.  There are plenty of other rigs, too.  We stopped and talked with a couple and their grandson for a while, then continued home.  This campground is a good stopping place for us, but I would not stay here more than two days.  There are nice spots along the river under trees, but it's too congested for us.   Here's a picture of us in a double site - we are taking up two sites, but they knew that. 

We hit the sack early, but we don't have to leave early tomorrow, which is nice.  Onwards...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What's Up This Weekend

The sound of the awning wrenching in the wind woke us up at 5:15 this morning. Gary and I jumped out of bed as the lightning and thunder crashed overhead. We quickly got the stuff off the awning and closed it up as huge drops fell from the sky. That storm was totally unexpected, and as usual, we were the only people on Dollywood Row to do anything. It's a mystery to me why people take a chance, when someone's awning went south just a couple of weeks ago. Anyway it was tough to get back to sleep because of the lightning and thunder three feet over our head.
Gary was expecting to play golf, and I was getting a haircut at nine am. He was pretty sure his game was a wash out, but his partner showed up on time and said that the course had missed all the rain and the game was on! One happy camper went out that door.
Getting various degrees of horrible wash and wear haircuts in the past, I tried another tactic. I asked my hairdresser "what would you do if you had my hair?" well, that got her to thinking... She picked up a pair of scissors, put them down and then picked up a razor thingy. Swish, swish and a few more swishes and before I knew it she was done and I loved it! She was also the only hairdresser I can ever remember asking if I liked it. Well, yes! Here it is:
Bye, bye curls for now

Then I came home to a few chores. Ugh, oh, my washer/dryer is making a funny noise. I wonder who can fix that?? Then I had a lunch date with my friends at the Apple Barn where we ate another of the fried apple pie I took a picture of a couple weeks ago. That was lunch and breakfast. We had a good time talking and eating, then actually walked through the gift store admiring the bird houses, but not enough to purchase one.

Wednesday we got ready for work, headed in for our 11-4 shift and was told when we arrived that we weren't supposed to be working at all. Huh? Well, miscommunication was the culprit, so we did our employee survey and went home.
Today we did have to work, and there were some huge storms heading right for us, but turned at the last minute and not a drop fell. Six o'clock came finally, and we cooled off with a shower and drink.

This weekend we will be taking our coach to Gaffney, SC to the Freightliner Center for two reasons. First, to have our chassis looked over as we will be heading out west this winter and want everything in good shape. And the second is to attend Camp Freightliner, where we will enjoy learning about our chassis with hands on activities and classroom instruction. Should be lots of fun, except for the class starting at 8 am both mornings. That's cutting into my coffee time...
So I will let you know how we are preparing for this drive after Gary's treatment tomorrow. We're excited to be on the road again, but not the road we have to take.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hot Work, Hot Play

Yesterday we worked.  But it was a totally different day.  Gary chose to work 8:30 to 3 and I was left with the 12 to 5 shift.  It was going to be a hot one, and Sundays are usually very busy.  It was very pleasant at 8 am, so when I dropped him off at work, on my way home I stopped at the cemetary that we watched the fireworks from to get some photos.  I like cemetaries (especially at night) and the mist was still on the mountains due to the rain the night before.  Here is a little of the mist left over the Gatlinburg Golf Course, and a couple of child graves which makes me grateful for my three blessings. 

This one has his photo on it.
Around 1802, William Ogle selected a building site for what was to be the first "home" to be built in Gatlinburg. After cutting the logs for the cabin, he returned to South Carolina to get his family. He told them that he had found "The Land of Paradise" in the mountains of East Tennessee. While preparing to bring his family here, he fell ill, probably with malaria, and died in 1803.
In 1807, widowed Martha Jane Huskey Ogle, at age 46 or 47, came to her late-husband's "Paradise" with her five sons and two daughters, her brother, Peter Huskey, and his family. From William's oral directions, they located his hewed logs, completed the cabin, and started a new life. Great grandson Andrew Ogle and his family were the last of the clan to live in the cabin, abandoning it about 1910.  This must be another decendant of the Ogles.

After that little stop, I decided to take a right turn off of Wears Valley onto Highland Springs and head for the hills.  I wanted to explore some back roads and see if I could get from home as far north as possible without hitting the Parkway.  He is a shot I took while parked on the side of the road.  It was very peaceful and I loved the fragrance of the warm fields and cool trees.

I came out way up the parkway, so if it is particularly crowded one weekend, I now know a shortcut!

I did a few chores, before getting ready for work.  I found a little hideaway parking spot in the shade, and clocked in.  There was my hubby - in Sausage Works.  We cooked together a little, and just before he was to head home, our boss asked him to relieve two people for lunch.  Well, that added another hour and a half to his schedule.  By the time he came back to the grill to sign out, I was nearly ready to leave, too.  He left and went to the gazebo to wait for me, we jumped on the bus, jumped in the jeep and headed home for showers.  Phew, we were hot and soaked with sweat.  It reached 95 today, and we felt every degree (even more working around the grill). 

We had a play day today and we had decided to go boating on Douglas Dam.  Gary was excited to finally take down the top on the Jeep, and we loaded the boat gear on the back seat.  I had checked the directions the night before and it was an easy and pleasant ride (once we got off the Parkway - can you tell I dislike the Parkway??)  We encountered our own haboob on Rte 66. 
We passed by where I wanted to turn, but, hey, we had all day, so we carried on and followed signs to the "Tailwater Campground".  It was a County campground right on the French Broad River and had gorgeous sites.  The limit was 21 days, first come, first served with what I call an "Honest Box".  You place your payment in an envelope, drop it in the lock box, and someone comes to pick it up.  No refunds means you pay for the number of days you think you will be there.  There was a narrow gate to drive a motorhome through, but we stopped by a guy having a smoke.  He was camping with his wife and a couple friends.  And guess where he was from - Sarasota!  Ha.  Very small world.  Last week I sat next to someone from Sarasota, and we meet George today.

  George still is working, but has a couple months off during the summer when he tries to get as far west as possible.  He is really looking forward to fulltiming.  We wished him well and safe travels, turned the Jeep around and headed out to the Headwaters CG, where there was a boat launch into the lake.

Here we are pumping up our Sea Eagle, which we love.  It takes about 15 minutes, and then we carry it down to the water, and off we go. 

 We paddled along the dam and along the shore exploring little coves, then back to the right of the launch, where there was a swimming and picnic area right on the shoreline.  Beautiful.  We already made up our minds to come back for a picnic when it gets cooler.

We saw this little bird, an Eastern Kingbird and his mate chattering up a storm along the shore.  He sat and smiled for his picture.

It was really hot and hazy, so I'm not sure you can see the mountains way in the background of this shot.  Eventually, Gary got hungry, so we paddled back to the launch, and dried her off, packed her back in her bag, and headed over to the Dam Store for a cold drink.  Here's Gary with a Gatorade.

After a sandwich, we were itching to go out again, and headed over to the Sugarland Visitor Center in Gatlinburg to visit their museum and do some shopping for a special little girl we know who's birthday is coming up. (In case she is reading this, I can't say what we bought, but she'll love it).  We stopped at a couple pull-offs to see the views and realized that when we were in Haleakala in Maui, we were over 10,000 feet above sea level, and Mount LeConte is just over 6500. I'm not sure how high we will go out west near the Rockies, but it won't be 10,000 feet, I can assure you. (At least not with the coach)

Thus ended our very fun day, and we have another day off tomorrow.  Gary is playing golf, I am getting my hair cut and meeting Brenda and Cheryl at the Apple Barn for eats.  I'll be sure to take a photo, so you can all drool again.

Stay cool out there.  

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Surprise for my Honey

We decided to have breakfast out before the Dr. appointment at 10:15 and wanted to find a fun place that would still be quick.  Well, we ended up at McDonald's because we ran out of time.  Gary had his blood drawn, and we saw the Dr. who had good news.  His white count was up, so he could continue his treatments.  And I truly see some improvement.  It's not as quick as we'd like, but we're going to hang in there.

After that, I wanted to give Gary a little present, so we stopped at Workshop Tools.  I noticed these a few weeks ago, and thought they would work much better than the huge one we lugged from home.  Here he is enjoying his little blower and vacuum!  Cute, eh?

On our way back to the CG, we ran into the office to pay the rent and check mail.  Suddenly the heavens opened up and it POURED.  Blinding rain that brought traffic on the road to a crawl and motorcycles to seek shelter.  It was only a cloudburst, so when it lightened up, we jumped in the jeep and made it home just before it started again.  We need the rain, but it made instant lakes, and the poor people who were putting up their tent were now bailing water off their collapsed tent.  Soon after we arrived home, a wrecker pulled up at our neighbors with their Suzuki that had obviously rolled.  It was full of dirt, the windshielf and driver's window were completely smashed and the roof was caved in.  We were sure Joanne was badly hurt, so nobody was more surprised than us to see her step out of the passenger side of the wrecker without a scratch!  We went over to see if she was really OK and to see if there was anything we could do.  She hadn't been able to reach her husband (at Dollywood) yet, so it was going to be a surprise for him.  She was shaken up, but remarkably calm and matter of fact.  I'd be a basket case. 

It rained off and on for a while, then the sun came out!  During our outing, we stopped at the grocery store and chose a movie from Red Box - Inception.  We followed most of it, but could have used some Cliff Notes for the second half...

Saturday is a day I look forward to because of the free Make and Take at the local scrapbook store with my friends, Brenda and Cheryl.  Brenda picked me up and we took the back roads this time which may or may not have been faster, but it sure was prettier than that congested Parkway.  We made another cute card and found we had time for a bite to eat before the next class.  Running over to Applebee's we shared quesadillas and the Oriental salad.  We finished just in time and retook our seats, but we three were the only ones.  After we began, five other ladies walked by and wanted to join our group.  We finished quickly and walked around the shop.  I left all my scrapbooking supplies in storage, because there wasn't enough room (or weight) available in our coach, and I really miss it.  So I got an idea.  I would make a small chipboard book all about our stay in Tennessee!  Yay. 

Now to locate the materials I needed.  I love exploring for things I need.  And this will be fun.  But tomorrow we have to work, so it will have to wait until Monday.  Something big is happening this weekend, but I'll tell you more about it later.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Odds and Ends

Tuesday we worked 12 to 5 - well, that was a first.  Of course, it is the busiest time of the day, and we worked our tushies off for those five hours.  We couldn't cook sausage fast enough and ran out twice.  The tater fries are almost always a problem, either there aren't enough and we have people lining up waiting, or they are piling up under the heat lamps.  Either way, we're sure making Dolly some money!

Yesterday was a day off and Gary felt well enough to hit that little white ball around.  He left at 8 am and I cleaned up, did some computer work and went a little shopping, but bought nothing.  On my way back look at what happened to our odometer: 

Don't worry, at this stage, Jeeps are just getting broken in.  That's what we hear and we like it, too.  When we started out last year on April 1, our odometer was 101,646, which would normally translate into 20,354 miles driven to this date.  But we didn't put that many miles on the engine.  I will turn on the engine (and bear all the alarms, bells and whistles) of the coach to get the odometer reading during the day, because I am curious to see how many miles we have traveled.  Even though we have been fulltimers for 15 months, we have not traveled often during that time.  We spent three months in New Jersey, 6 months in Orlando and now are spending 6 months in Pigeon Forge.  Wow, writing that down makes me want to get going!  But with fuel prices so high, we really save money by staying put and working.  It won't always be that way, but we are planning some sight seeing in the west next year.  I can only guess what gas prices will be then.

We got home within minutes of each other, ate some lunch and then headed over to Dollywood to get some icecream.  We picked up our cones and while looking for a table, noticed our two managers having ice cream in the corner.  Hmmmmm, must be nice.

Thunder boomed overhead, but it didn't rain a drop.  We went exploring a little, talking to the various shop workers and tried to remember who had what.  Gary decided that it would be a good time to eat at Red's Diner, so we had some burgers and fries.  The burger was delish, but the fries were a little cold, and the milkshake, well, I won't have one of theirs again.  Not a real milkshake, just a shake.

It was fun saying hi to everyone we knew and meeting some RVers we never see that work up the mountain.  We didn't ride anything, although we missed the train by 5 minutes and decided not to wait half an hour for the next one.  Gary was starting to get pooped, so we headed home, had a little campfire and talked with neighbors for a while.

Today we had to work 12  to 4 - how nice is that.  Again, there was no time to breathe as it was guest after guest straight for four hours.  Whew.  It would be so much nicer if it was cooler, so we are looking forward to the fall to be sure!

Gary cooked some salmon on the grill and we had a few leftovers from Monday.  During our cocktail hour outside, we noticed this little guy (or girl) calling for mom.  We hope he found her as there are a lot of cats wandering around here. 

Tomorrow we head back to the Doctor's for our weekly visit, but may have some time to play in the afternoon.  I will let you know what we decided to do.  And we have some big plans for next week!

Hope your week rides smooth.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Another Hot One

Sunday we had to be at work by 9 am.  We were supposed to work until 5 pm.  It was going to reach 96 today and we were working in Sausage Works (probably another 10 degrees warmer).  But we were excited to finally be working together and not having to close.

On the bus to the gate, one of our co-workers complained that she didn't feel well.  She didn't look well at all, and when we arrived, she went straight to our lead who told her to go home.  The repercussion was that Gary was asked to take her place at the lemonade stand.  Now when you are on a stand by yourself, you always need to close out the register when the manager says to.  If it's a busy day, that could be when the park closes at 8.  Well, it turned out not to be very busy at all, so at 4 pm, my manager told me I could go home.  "What about Gary?" I asked.  "He has to stay".  Oh, I knew that wasn't going to make a happy camper, so I asked if I could switch with him and let him go home.  That was OK, so I ended up working until 7:30.  Long, hot day.

Monday had a 60% chance of rain, and it did rain around 3 pm.  Gary was smart and put the awning and chairs away, so all that got wet was the 'carpet'.  We were expecting guests for dinner and had planned to see the fireworks, so I was hoping we could get to sit outside after the rain, as it cooled the temperature down from 96 to 78.  I had met Brenda at a scrapbooking class two weeks ago, and we hit it off right away, so tonight Gary was going to meet Larry, her hubby.  I made a crockpot roast, and Brenda was bringing dessert.  But she brought TWO desserts - one for before the fireworks, and one for after.  Well, what a great idea!  We only had trouble deciding whether to have the chess pie or the French Mocha Pots first.  The pie it was, and then it was nearly 9:30 and getting dark. 

Yesterday, while I was working, I talked to two gentlemen who were locals about where there was a good vantage point to view the fireworks.  One asked me, "How do you feel about cemetaries?"  Well, how cool was that?  The cemetary he was thinking of was the one we passed every day to work across from the golf course.  So we headed over to that spot, passing hundreds of cars parked every which way along the main road.  The good thing about our spot was that after the fireworks were over, it would be easy to get back on the road and not have to edge our way into traffic.  I didn't think there would be a lot of people there, but at 9:45, that little cemetary was almost full of families.  There was one big spot open for us, and we pulled out a couple of chairs waiting for them to begin.  Brenda and I found a great seat on a huge gravestone (we asked first, but received no reply, so we assumed it would be OK to sit there for a little while). 

Fireworks have come a long way since I was a kid.  There are now star, heart and smiley face shapes, and lots more colors.  Several orange and white for Tennesee State were followed by red, white and blue, and multicolors.  My favorite are the giant sparkly gold ones.  Too soon they were over, and we S-L-O-W-L-Y worked our way back home where we enjoyed another delicious dessert and sat outside talking.  Around midnight, Larry and Brenda and we exchanged hugs and departed.  What a great Fourth of July!  

Some things are always better shared with friends!  And I think we've just made some good ones!

I hope your Fourth was sparkly!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Catching Up

Yay, I have my computer back, and nothing on the hard drive was lost (we did a backup before handing it over, of course).  This is the storm we had to pass through on our way to Knoxville on 40 West.  It rained so hard, it made people pull over, but our little Jeep gripped the road and Gary drove slowly and by moving, we passed through it within 5 minutes.  They were tense minutes, though. 

Here's a picture of me and the girls at the Apple Barn:  Brenda is on the left and Cheryl is on the right.  Cheryl does beautiful card crafting for a living.  Her cards are in many boutiques around this area.  She also does special orders, so if anyone is interested, I will share her email address.  Brenda is a full time RVer in a gorgeous Navigator and as any RVer knows, the stories abound.  Larry and Brenda are coming over for a Fourth of July dinner, and then we'll go find fireworks somewhere.  Gary hasn't met Larry yet, but I believe they have golf in common, so they won't lack conversation. 
And this is what we ate - fried apple pie.  Not too shabby.  I should have just smeared it on my hips.

And while Gary was playing 9 holes, I relished in cool mountain trees and my favorite house in Cade's Cove - The Dan Lawson house.  I could look out that window at this view every day.  But maybe we'd get bored and have to go RVing!

Can you see the bear below and the three fools running after him/her?  The bear didn't like being chased, and was running away, but once it stopped and the boys stopped.  I think she/he growled, because they started backing up slowly.  At least they did that part right.  A bunch of people were watching with bated breath wondering if they were stupid enough to run after a bear, were they stupid enough to run away from it?  If so, I could have had some tragic footage.

The loop road was very, very busy and at one point it was stopped (which often happens when people spot a bear, and there is no more room to pull over).  I was behind another Jeep with Florida plates.  I inched a little closer to see where the jeep was from, and it was purchased from Sunset Jeep in Sarasota.  Teeeny world!

Anyway, we worked on Thursday, Gary had his 6 hour treatment on Friday, and we got up early this morning to get to have breakfast in Knoxville, and pick up our computer, ask a few questions that were answered, and get back home before my class at the Scrapbook Store.  I picked up Brenda at her coach and had a lovely time creating another card.  Then we followed Cheryl over to Stonehouse Pizza and after ordering, dropped by the bakery next door which is also the cutest boutique with baby clothes, Cheryl's cards, picnic and kitchen items, a little pottery and the best smelling soaps.  It was a kind of artists/crafts/bakery store.  We chose  a chocolate chess bar to share, and went back to eat and blab some more. 

Now, I'm home with my hubby, who, while I was playing, vaccuumed, put together the PC and made hamburgers for dinner tonight.  We have people all over in the campground for the holiday weekend, so there will be lots of company!  It's beautiful weather, and I'm expecting grilling and campfire smells all evening.  Maybe I'll catch some lightning bugs at twilight..

Happy Independence Day, everyone, and remember why we celebrate this day and every day, and thank a soldier.