Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Day's Delay

Friday Gary and Ron rode over to Knoxville's Sam's Club to get a nail our of our Jeep tire.  They rotated them, too.  In the evening we had a wonderful dinner with Brenda and Larry.  While the guys stood around the BBQ with beers in hand, the girls sat on the porch and admired the view for the last time this year. 

Soon the sun was setting, and we went inside for chicken, dogs and burgers.  Delicious.

We wandered home around hairpin turns and steep declines to level ground and were home 10 minutes later.  Donna had to get up early to get some work done and then go to work for her next to last day of Dollywood.

Glorious weather (except for the gnats) meant finishing up the windows on Saturday, but Gary and Ron hit the flea market and found just what I wanted  - an old type oil can.  You'll see what I want that for later, too.  When Donna got home, we had some nachos at our place still planning to leave on Monday after we turned in our Dollywood costumes in the morning.

Sunday we were still puttering around cleaning out the bays and when Donna got home we decided to have a last supper at Joe's Crab Shack.  This was around 8:15 and the place was still hopping with people.  In between their duties of taking orders and bringing food, they had to line dance.  That was fun to watch.  Then our waitress came over and put bibs on Gary and me.  In case you can't read the fine print, Gary's says:  'She stole my crabs'    and mine says  'He gave me crabs' (thus the face)

We had a big pot of snow crab legs, shrimp, andouille sausage, two ears of corn and 4 potatoes.  Well, that was a surprise, as we were going to share the pot for one person.  Yikes.  Of course we couldn't eat all that good stuff, so we took home a fish bag.  It was one happy place!

At 7:30 am on Monday morning, Donna called.  We were up because we had planned to return our costumes before we both left for Raleigh.  BUT when we looked outside at their trailer, the whole front end was on the ground.  That's what she called about.  At 5:45 am, the front jacks collapsed!  They were OK, mostly because they were in bed, not standing or in the shower where they could have been hurt.  Neighbors came around and offered advice.  They called Jeff's RV Repair and he wasn't sure what it was.  They finally got it up high enough to hitch up to the truck to take it to Bull's Gap off 81.  And they have been there ever since.

We stayed with them until they left, stayed over and left Tuesday morning.  A perfect day and a perfect drive to Freightliner in Gaffney, SC where we parked overnight.  The whole lot was full, but there was ONE space left.  Phew. 

We unhitched the Jeep, but her battery was dead.  The guys there heard the clickclickclick and offered a jump.  She started right up and we let her run for a while.  Later we went to Applebees for dinner.  No problem.  Wierd.

Today we woke up early, got hitched and had a bumpy ride through miles of construction on Rte. 85 making a stop for lunch.   Great highway into Raleigh where we found the Fairgrounds and Marshall, a good friend of Gary's from his days of work at the SBI.  Marshall likes to chat, but we went to start the Jeep after unhitching and the battery was dead again.  What???  Since Marshall couldn't use the Security vehicle to jump us, he went to get his truck, backed it up, hooked up the cables, and instant start.  I think it has something to do with the connection between the coach and the Jeep.  Help?

Anyhow, we drove the Jeep over to the CG behind the Horse Stables, and chose a relatively level spot.  These gravel sites are in rows, with plenty of grass, 50A FHU for $25.00 a night - check or cash.  Here we are:

Tomorrow, hopefully Donna and Ron get their rig fixed and will be on their way and we will be spending some time with our grandson, Jack and his sister, Ainsley. 

Now it's time to relax.  Ahhhh, home again.  Life is Good.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Last Week in Pigeon Forge

Hard to believe that almost three months have gone by in Pigeon Forge.  It was time to slowly get ready to head out.

Biggest job:  wash and wax Bella.  Finally cooler temps have arrived, so it was a pleasant enough job to finish in one day.  Only the gnats were annoying.  We knew some rain was coming our way, so we almost completed this chore early.  Just the windows after the rain passes need to be done.

Friday we went over to Maryville for Gary to get one last bagel at Panera - yes, he's addicted - and I ran into Michael's for some little birds.  You'll see why when I'm finished.

Saturday was my last day of work.  This is one of the slow periods at Dollywood, so they let two of us go home early.  I really love the people I work with, but the job is not one of my favorites.  Even though I said I wasn't coming back to everyone last year, here we are.  So this year I said maybe... 

Just as I was leaving, Donna came by and said it was her lunch.  Well, I hadn't planned to eat on park ever again, but I said sure.  It was hamburger day, and they were actually (for a change) delicious!  Nice send-off for me.

Sunday it began to rain, and rained all day Monday which was Gary's last day of work at the CG office.  Nobody was coming or going, so he actually closed a little early.  We looked at other CGs when we arrived last year and a few more this year as there are many around this area.  Eagle's Nest is actually our favorite.  The sites can be a little unlevel, but there are plenty that are.  It's surrounded by a creek on two sides and a field and road on the other two.  Because we are DW employees and long term, we stay in the back where it's peaceful with other workers.  Most CGs have trees (which I like, but Bella's roof does not) and Eagle's Nest has free WiFi and Cable TV, so unless you NEED satellite you won't need an open site.  It also has a pool, playground, game room, bathhouse, laundry (coin) cabins and a doggy walk area.  They honor Passport America, Good Sam's, Military (including police and fire) with no limit, but not around holidays or Leaf Viewing time.  We would definitely stay here if we came up this area again.  The other park that is decent is King's Holly Haven right down Wears Valley Road from here. 

Tuesday Gary ran over to the hospital to get his port flushed and it also rained most of the day.  Flash flood warnings were all over the place, and we kept an eye on our creek, which can also flood.  It got pretty high, but Tuesday evening, it was still holding below the banks. 

With the exit of the rain, cooler temperatures arrived - hooray!  It was so cool, we needed the heat pump on to warm up in the morning.  Love these kind of days.  I love all the seasons - but in winter I have to be parked in front of a fireplace.  Unfortunately, we don't have one of those in our coach. :(

Thursday was our last play day with the Monroes.  I went to the clinic for a follow-up to my bone spur on my heel.  Just got a refill.  Then Donna and I went looking for a couple things.  Then Gary got home from golf so we had our last lunch at Five Guys.  Great fries.  Somebody mentioned Krispy Kreme, so we headed down there for a donut, and on our way back home, we stopped at Stages West - my favorite store in PF.  Ron had a credit he needed to use, and they were having a special on belts, which Gary really needed.  So the boys got belts and then splurged on hats.  Here they are sporting their new headgear:

I like the guy on the left best.

Then we stopped at Kroger for some stuff for tomorrow night which we will spend with Larry and Brenda one last time.  That's the sad part about making good friends.  You do have to leave them.  The good thing?  You get to come back!

Our house, by the way, in Sarasota, will be up for rent in December or January.  If anyone is interested let me know.  We may keep it for another year or so, but do plan to sell it one day. 

Wish we had something more exciting to show you, but right now it's day to day stuff. 

We're getting hitch itch really bad now.  Just a matter of days...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

One Scary Night

We have been busy doing always getting in the way, of course.  But that's necessary to take advantage of all the fun stuff while we're here in the Smokies.

I have finished two Christmas presents for our grands in Raleigh, but their family reads the blog, so I can't put photos of them up until after Christmas.  (I hope I remember, because they are really fabulous!)  But I did finish the headboard and am really pleased with it, too.  This decorating thing sure is fun!  Next is the pillows for the bed - oh, a funny thing:  Gary and I put up the headboard on Sunday morning before I went to work.  I'm getting my shoes on, and he comes out of the bedroom with the large Euro pillows and says:  Maybe these would look good covered in that fabric?  I agreed.  He puts those back on the bed, and comes out with the small accent pillows and says, "perhaps a bit of that fabric on these?" Of course, I had already planned that too, but giggled to myself to find he was having as much fun as me getting into the DECO MODE. 

And, by the way, I could be for hire...

Now about our very scary night.  Last Thursday Gary woke up at 2:15 and smelled something.  When he gets up, I wake up so then I smelled it, too.  It smelled like burning wires.  Not a good thing.  We checked the fridge, and all was OK.  But it was coming from the area of the shower - what???  It was really, really strong, so we opened the windows and went outside with flashlights trying to keep as quiet as possible.  In the electrical bay, we felt the converter boxes and surge protector for excessive heat.  They were warm, but not hot.  There was no smoke, but the smell was very strong. 

It's interesting to me that one knows the smell of burning wires or the plastic that coats them.  Why?  Are there that many opportunities to smell such an odor?  That can't be a good thing...

Anyway, Gary called our friend, Ron, hating to wake him, but he has many years experience in RVing and we hoped he might be able to identify something somewhere that might be the culprit.  Ron came over and smelled it and agreed it was burning wires.  Then Donna came over - I'm surprised the whole campground wasn't watching as the boys were out looking in the bays and Donna and I were opening windows and vents.

In the end we decided to just unplug from shore power.  We all returned to bed (at 3:15 am), but the odor was horrible.  Next morning leaning into the bay, Gary was asked by Bill, the Asst. Manager riding along in his golf cart if Gary was just cleaning or was something wrong?  Gary relayed our scary evening, so he came over to check the post, and the electrical stuff and said 'this is a job for the professional' dialing Jeff's RV Repair on his phone.  Jeff's agreed to come out to see what the problem was and arrived around 2:30.  He smelled the odor and removed one of the converter box covers.  It was OK.  Then he removed the other cover and, sure enough, there were melted wires and soot marks.  He agreed that we narrowly escaped catching fire. 

The reason we smelled it so strongly at the shower is because the electrical bay is right below it and there is a hole drilled up under it (which I noticed when I took off the air vent to clean under the shower) where all the wires spread throughout the coach.  We continually learn. 

He made a phone call to our warranty company, got the go ahead to replace both, then said he'd place an order for them and they should be in next week.  Whew.  We plugged back in, and all was well.  Jeff came back with the two new boxes, installed them and we are good to go.  Glad once again that we have an extended warranty. 

On the fun side, we all went to see the Temptations at the new Nate Evan's Theatre on the Parkway.  It was a Wednesday night so there were only about 100 people there.  It was a GREAT show.  I know everyone secretely wanted to get up and gyrate to the music as we were all over 40 and KNEW these songs.  Took us all back to the "good ole days", doncha know. 

Today is Ron's birthday and we started celebrating it by having breakfast at Grandmother's Cafe.  They advertise 'Cat Head Biscuits' on their sign.  Brenda and Larry suggested it as it's down at the bottom of 'their mountain'.  It was really the best omelet I have ever had.  And tonight we are having Ron's favorite:  Buffalo Wild Wings while we watch X-Factor on TV, as we know someone on it.  If he makes a cut, we can say who he is, but it's hush hush until then.  I probably shouldn't have said this much, but it'll be OK by the time you read this. 

Gary decided, because we are leaving in less than two weeks, to get up top and wash the roof.  That's usually my job, but he wanted a turn.  Well, OK, honey, whatever you want...  I just heard that we will do the sides, then wax her tomorrow.  Great.  Cross that off the list.

Oh, and yesterday we replaced our bathroom fan cover.  That was a fun project and took about 30 minutes with the help of Ron (who was tall and could hold his arms over his head longer than me on tippy-toes). 

                That is obviously Ron's arm, not mine.  It's so much brighter in the bathroom!

Soon we'll be heading to Raleigh to see our two little grands and celebrate Gary's mom's 90th birthday!  Ron and Donna will be coming with us (first time we've ever traveled with anyone!).  Their daughter-in-law and son moved to Morrisville this summer so they will get to visit with them.  We are planning a BBQ to introduce our kids, Mandy and Joe to their kids, Paul and Holly as they are about the same age and everyone needs more friends, right? 

Right now:  Life is good. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Old Smoky Time

Fortunately we dodged a bullet when Issac veered west rather than toward Tampa.  Our hearts go out to all those that are still dripping. 

We all drove to Knoxville for a lunch at Panera and while the boys went over to Best Buy for radio shopping, Donna and I went to JoAnn's to use our 60% coupon on one regularly priced fabric.  I was hoping I could get the fabric I liked for my chair covers.  However, it was a trick.  Most everything was on sale (including my fabric choice), but because it was 50% off, most people would buy it.  It was a ploy to get you in the store, and then think that 50% was still a good deal.  Bummer. 

But I did find some fabric for the bathroom window.  It was also on sale, and when I told the cashier that we had driven all the way to Knoxville for this coupon, he gave it to me on a button purchase.  Anyhow, this is what became of my fabric:

Gary and Ron put the new radio into Bella's dashboard and now we can play our iPods while going down the road without two speakers and a converter lying on the floor.  Yay.

Yesterday we needed to get out of the city, so headed to Cades Cove for a drive.  The first wildlife we saw were some turkeys:

Then we noticed this female all alone (maybe she left the kids with dad)

We made a stop along the way and played on the river bank.
We stopped at the Visitor's Center and walked around the old mill. 

Took some flower pictures:

And this, our favorite photo of the day:

We admired this motorcycle and sidecar in the parking lot. We also noticed this young lady in her wheelchair (you can see it between Mom and the sidecar - it's pink).  On our way home, we happened to come up behind them and the motorcycle.  They belonged to each other!  The young lady was having a ball looking at the scenery as we wove around the mountainside.  We wondered if she traveled like this all the time.  What fun for her!  

Now the bathroom is done, and I'm onto the headboard. But first we have to work this Labor Day weekend. Gary checked in a bunch of people today, and I cooked sausages all day. Whew. I wish it would cool off a bit.  It's still in the 90s here.  But fall is just around the corner!