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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Things Come In Threes

This has been quite the season for our medical issues, my gut, my eye and now it's been Marti's turn.  She had to have a procedure for a partial removal of her thyroid gland.  Nothing serious but a preemptive surgery for some non malignant nodules that grew on the gland.  Like my gut, it appears this is something that runs in her family, several of her family members have had the same issues.  Thankfully all has turned out well and she is back to her normal routine.

I am looking forward to my final gut surgery on September 13, can't wait for my plumbing to be reconnected.  It's been a long time and I certainly won't miss this colostomy bag.  It doesn't slow me down from normal activities, but it can make the most embarrassing noises at the most inopportune times.  I have no control over it, it does what it wants to do whenever and wherever it wants.  After the surgery, I hope to recover what ever dignity I have left...  ;c)

It has been a hot, slow summer here at the lake.  I've been working nights doing radio watches for the rangers that are out on patrol around the campgrounds and day use areas.  It's not a terribly exciting job, but I don't mind it, I have made good use of my Kindle and devoured quite a few books.  With Labor Day weekend approaching, that job will end after the weekend.  We'll be covering a day use gate house for those three days, a job we can do together for a change.

With the drought conditions here at the lake, we've seen the lowest water levels ever in the three years we've done volunteer work here.  One downside is many of the volunteers here at the campground have been fighting ants in our RVs.  We've been battling ants now for the better part of a week inside areas of the Journey, we've tried our trusty Terro ant baits and they are not working,  I have vaseline around all my hoses and cables and the ants have walked right over it, we've had to spray all over the cement pad under the Journey with various home remedies and commercial products and have still found ants around.  The downside is these little suckers bite and we've both gotten munched on at various times.  Hopefully we'll get this battle over sooner rather than later.

We check up on our new home base house usually once a week.  It's been interesting to see it coming along and I've been documenting the build, taking pictures of all the wiring, plumbing and framing. We've been buying some necessities to furnish the house when we close on it in mid October.  We sold everything we owned when we sold our last house instead of paying for storage, it was a smart move, we saved lots of money and now have funds to buy new items to outfit the home.  Some of that old furniture was pretty beat up from our military moves, so no loss there.

We are still going to travel in the Journey, still going to do volunteer work too, in between time spent at our "home base".  It will be nice to off load some of the items we have in the Journey to the house because we won't need to carry everything we own/need on the road.

We are trying to figure out our travels for the winter, we have grand kids in California and New Jersey that we want to visit, as well as some needed repairs on the Journey at the Winnebago factory service center that are beyond what I can do by myself, can't put them off too much longer.  Funny how life can make you a juggler.

One project I've been "picking at" (literally) on the Journey is the removal of the Diamond Shield plastic covering on the front.  Initially it was installed at the factory to protect the paint.  Good idea, sort of.  Seven years later, the glue that holds the shield on has grown mold behind the plastic, leaving the Journey's nose looking very unsightly.

Some sections of the shield peeled right off in one piece.  Very nice result.

Other sections are so brittle, it comes off in tiny pieces, leaving behind some glue residue, which comes off with a bit on WD-40 on a rag.

I watched a number of YouTube videos on how to remove this stuff, some were interesting but I'm unable to use one technique because I don't have a steam gun (whatever that is).  One guy used a high pressure washer and blasted the plastic off along with his paint and put holes in the fiberglass.  Not going to do that, for sure.  

I originally was picking at it with my fingernails, but after a while, it hurt too much, so what I've been using a little bit at a time are these plastic razor blades I got at Ace Hardware.

They work better than fingernails, but it's slow going.

I've been doing small sections at a time, hitting them for a few minutes here, a few minutes there.  It's been so hot here at the lake, I get drenched with sweat in no time.  Hopefully with cooler fall weather approaching I'll be able to spend more time to remove it all.  Until then, a little bit at a time is all I can do.


I'm open to suggestions if anyone has a better, easier, faster way to do this.  I (and my fingernails) will be eternally grateful!   ;c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Picking Up After Pigs

Thurmond Lake is a beautiful place to visit, mild weather makes it a year round destination for boating, fishing and camping.  Some of the campgrounds have water/electric sites, others are primitive, with nearby water pumps and toilets.  The primitive areas are "Carry In-Carry Out" sites, meaning no trash service.

One campground, despite the large signs at the entrance/pay station informing campers to take their trash with them always has someone that doesn't seem to get the message.  Marti and I have several times this summer had to drive the half hour up to the campground and spend a couple of hours picking up after those "pigs" that can't get the message through their heads.

I can't understand why many people thing the fire ring is also a trash can.  Aluminum cans and glass bottles don't burn well.

In our rounds checking up on the campgrounds, we came across this mess, not only did the camper leave trash everywhere, they left all their equipment behind, too.

Due to COE regulations, we couldn't just pick up the gear left on the site.  Instead, we had to make a second trip to place a Removal sticker on the tent.  The sticker tells the owner to remove the items within 24 hours or they will be disposed of.  

All attempts to contact the owner from the registration paperwork left on the site post were unsuccessful.  Now later this week, Marti and I will make a third trip to pick up the abandoned equipment and spend at least an hour picking up the trash left behind, now scattered over a large area thanks to animals.

It is a tremendous waste of time and resources to have to pick up after pigs, pulling us off of more important tasks to clean up the parks.  We are not fans of these jobs, but we will do whatever it takes to help keep the COE lands up to the high standards they are known for.

Thankfully most everyone that uses the COE parks and campgrounds are respectful and follow the rules, keeping things clean and neat for the next visitor.

Not every job we do here at the Thurmond COE is glamorous, but we're very happy to be a part of the team and enjoy volunteering several months every year.  It's good to give back.

The lake area is in a drought and the water levels are the lowest we've seen in our three years of volunteering.  Grass is growing on the land that's normally submerged.

Now for the latest house build picture.  The house looks bigger than it really is, we chose this model because it is small and on a tiny piece of property.  For our home base, we wanted something that will be easy to keep up so we can still travel around the country.  Don't be fooled by the house next door going up to the right of the garage, it almost looks like it's attached.  Front view:

And the back view:

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Field Of Dreams

No, nothing about a baseball field in a corn patch.  Something quite different.

Winding up our tour of the back roads in Arkansas and Missouri, we rode through many amazing twists and turns including the Ozark National Forest, the Mark Twain National Forest, around the Buffalo River and a few million others that overwhelmed my poor brain.  A gem of an area of our country that my brothers and I enjoyed immensely.  I think I put more miles on the sides of my tires than the middle!  :c)

To take it all in, we stopped at a roadside pull off for a few minutes, giving the bikes a chance to cool down and the blood to recirculate in our butts.

Gordy installed his GoPro camera on his helmet to record some of the roads we were on.  One reason was to show the folks back home the fun we had, the other reason was so he could watch the videos over the winter when there will be snow on the ground where he lives and his motorcycle will be in hibernation.  

At one stop, we looked down on a river that was pale green in color, not from any pollution, but from the many minerals leached out of the ground.

Did you ever take a moment to try to remember all the cars you've owned?  It's pretty hard to do, at least for me.  We've discovered on many of the back roads, people don't have too much of a struggle remembering all their cars because they usually are all over their yards, left right where they died and now are sporting all kinds of weeds and trees growing out of them.

We came to this one field where there were dozens of old cars and trucks just left to the elements.

But this one got us thinking...and dreaming.

It was complete except for the seat and windshield.  We think it is either a 1941 or 42 Chevy pickup, it would make a great restoration project.  The wheels in our minds started turning and we dreamed of how fun it would be to take on a project like that.

Where is it?  We ain't telling, or somebody else might decide to take the truck home.   ;c)

Our ride was coming to an end and we had our last lunch before we split up, with Dave and Gordy heading back to New Jersey and me going down to South Carolina.  Dave mentioned that exactly one year ago we were on our annual motorcycle trip and we were under cover in New York state waiting out a heavy rainstorm.  We were amazed that we hadn't hit any rain the entire time we were riding.

After we split up, guess what I ran into?

A frog strangling thunder storm with heavy rain, I sought shelter under an overpass.  I saw the storm clouds building and decided to stop in a hotel for the night.  The storm hit one mile from my exit.  Talk about bad timing!  I waited and waited for the rain to let up but it kept on coming, harder and harder.  

Between the trucks dowsing me with spray as the went by on one side and the wind blowing rain in from the other, I got pretty wet.  After a half hour, I donned my rain suit and pulled out, heading for the hotel.  I was a sight as I sloshed in to the hotel front desk to get a room.  Signing in, I left a puddle where I was standing.  A nice hot shower never felt so good.

This morning, the sun was shining and I motored down towards where we are at the COE, I met Marti here:

Yep, that is our new home base being built in Chapin, South Carolina.  No, we're not stopping traveling and the Journey will still be with us, but we're looking at the future to have a place to come to if we ever decide to hang up the keys.  We're enjoying seeing it being constructed, it should be done early to mid October.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.