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Monday, June 20, 2016

Keeping Our Cool

Our Journey has a basement air conditioner unit that works very well for most temperatures.


One drawback with it is that when temps climb into the mid to high nineties (or higher), it has a hard time keeping the interior of the Journey cool.  We see inside temps climbing and the air starts to get a bit sticky and uncomfortable.

There have been some Winnebago owners with basement a/c units that spend a couple of thousand dollars and mount an additional roof top air conditioner in place of a roof vent.


After thinking about it long and hard, I went a different way.  First off, I didn't want to lose the vent, it is right near the stove and is necessary to help vent cooking odors.  Also, there are times when we have no FHUs and use the vent and an open window to cool the Journey's interior.  The vent is powered by the Journey's house batteries.

Summers usually find us up North where days are a bit cooler and the basement a/c works just fine.

So I went a different and less permanent way.  A run to Lowe's and I bought an 8000 btu portable air conditioner.


I vented it out a small window next to the front passenger seat.  I got it in place temporarily with some cardboard and packing tape, but will make a nicer looking cover in the next few days.  I also bought a heavy duty 12 gauge extension cord which I ran to the campground electrical box and plugged it into the 20 amp plug so I'm not drawing power for the unit through the Journey's electrical system.


A small pan is used to capture the water that drains from the unit.

We've only had to use the new a/c twice so far and it works great, really helping to keep the inside of the Journey much cooler.  Since we're going to be here at the COE for the long hot summer, this unit will be a big help.  Plus it is easily removed for our travels.  Total cost?  $271 for the a/c and $49 for the 50 foot HD extension cord.  A lot easier on my wallet than installing a roof top unit.  :c)

As for my eye issue, it's getting better.  A visit to the eye doctor last week revealed I still have 20-25 vision and the retina has remained in place.  The gas bubble is down to about 1/4 of its original size and I look forward to it disappearing completely in the next week or two.  Still using a bunch of eye drops, but they should be tapering off too.   Now I'm looking forward to Krakatoa being removed in August and get back to normal.

Thankfully, we'll be cool while we wait.  Summers are hot down here in South Carolina!   ;c)

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Making Myself (Somewhat) Useful

My eye issue has been very debilitating, even more than Krakatoa, my temporary colostomy bag.  I feel sort of guilty that I have not been able to help out at the COE project, but the rangers have been great and want to to take it easy and get better.  I hope that's sooner than later.

I have all kinds of eye drops to take and I have to keep my left eye closed most of the time because the bright sunlight gives me a headache and makes the eye tear up.  I've been hoping that there would come along a task that I could do for the COE, and one came along this past weekend.

We manned (personed for my PC friends) a gatehouse at one of the COE day use areas.  Something I could do without any problems.  Of course, Marti was with me too.


We covered the Parksville, SC Day Use area.  It's not the busiest park, but still needed some folks to be in the gate house.

We got all set up with the paperwork that is needed to run things.


We even had a bunch of life jackets on hand to loan out.


Ready for business.  Do you want fries with that life jacket?   ;c)


We opened at 9am and waited for our first customer.  And waited.  And  waited.


 
Finally a customer showed up!  Oh wait, he's a resident...


At last, a real customer drove up the entrance.


Saturday wasn't too busy, despite it was a free day due to the National Get Outdoors program.  We still had to be there to tell people they didn't have to pay.  Many people were so happy not having to pay the normal $5 entry fee, they reacted like they won the lottery.

We had a little clicker counter to keep track of all the people that came into the park.


Saturday we had 188, on Sunday we had a "massive" 222 people enjoying the day, so many requested loaner life jackets that we ran out and had to get more sent over.  Thank goodness our life jacket program is working!

We were pretty happy we had 222 people on Sunday, of course it pales in comparison to one of our other parks that had over 1200 people...just by noon!  It's so nice to see people taking advantage of the many beautiful parks and campgrounds at J. Strom Thurmond COE Project.  We're happy to be a part of the team here!

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Monday, June 6, 2016

Journey Without The Journey

My emergency eye surgery for a retina detachment made a huge change to our travel plans.  I can't drive because of the blurriness in my left eye, so we had to leave the Journey in South Carolina as we headed up by car to Missouri.  Marti did all the driving, it took us two days to get there.

Our son Ryan was receiving his commission as a Chief Warrant Officer in the Coast Guard and there was no way we were going to miss the ceremony.



My dad was able to come from New Jersey, accompanied by our other son, Corey.


I got a chance to speak, telling the audience of our family traditions.  Ryan is the seventh Coastie between our two families' (Marti's and mine) history.


I was honored, as a retired Coast Guard officer, to administer the oath of commission to Ryan.


Then I had the honor, along with Ryan's wife, Amber, to place the CWO shoulder boards on his uniform, shoulder boards that I had once owned.


Our newly commissioned Coast Guard officer.


But wait, there's more!  Corey presents his brother with an officer's ceremonial sword, purchased by our family as an heirloom to mark this special day.


A sword, you ask?  Aside from ceremonial occasions, what use does a sword have in this day and age?

To cut the cakes!   Little Beka supervised her daddy cutting the cakes.



After the ceremony, we headed down to see the cutter Ryan had been stationed on.  He's transferring to a new assignment on the West coast.  We're glad we have the Journey, it's going to get some new miles on it as we head out there to visit, hopefully a lot.


My dad, a World War II veteran, enjoyed the day and took in the sights of the Mississippi River in flood stage with all kinds of debris floating along.


It was a great day.  One proud mom with her two boys.


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