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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Finally Found The Pin We’ve Been Looking For

We spent one final workamping day, a long one, pin hunting here at J. Strom Thurmond COE.  We decided to double up the job, a “Two-Fer”.  After seven hours, we finished both jobs.  Since we were checking boundary lines and pins at an area that also needed docks inspected, we were able to do both at the same time.  Working smarter, not harder.  ;c)

Around Lake Thurmond, many people lease space from the COE along the shoreline to put in a boat dock.  Part of the deal is the docks must be kept in good, working order.  The COE really stays on top of the dock lease program, to prevent someone from letting their dock go to wrack and ruin and abandon it.

Like this dock we came across yesterday.


If you look closely, the far end of the dock had a roof that has collapsed.  The COE will notify the owner to repair it or remove it in a specified time or they will face heavy fines.  Potentially, the dock could break apart and float away, becoming a hazard to the many boaters using the lake and eventually end up at the dam, causing additional problems.

During the day walking around the boundary lines, we came across a very old marker, from the War Department, the predecessor of the current Department of Defense.  It dates back to before WWII and has survived the test of time, although it looks like it may have tangled with a lawn mower blade.


Finally, we found the pin we’ve been looking for for the last six months…the last pin we’re going to find during this workamping tour of duty.

Wouldn’t you know it, it was in a very muddy area.  And it was down under the surface about a foot.  As fast as I dug mud away, more mud and water washed into the hole.

The mud and water made it difficult to tie the marking ribbon around it.  I normally kneel down next to the pin to tie the ribbon on.  This time I couldn’t kneel down because of the mud, I had to defer to Marti.  With my back injury, I can’t bend down too far, so, brave lady that she is, she took over and got it done, despite the mud.  Of course, she did get slightly dirty…


It gave us a great feeling of satisfaction to have competed boundary line inspections of a whole area of the lake, relatively a small part when you look at the entire area of COE property, but an accomplishment we’re happy we had the chance to do and help out.

The COE volunteer program is an important one, without volunteers, the COE parks and recreation areas would not be as nice as they are.  Nationwide, COE volunteers last year saved U.S. taxpayers $35 million dollars.  Pretty impressive.  Here at J. Strom Thurmond COE, they are exploring the plans to increase the number of volunteer workamping positions and may build another loop to the Volunteer Village RV park to accommodate them.  A win-win, for the COE and volunteers looking for a great place to work.

Now we have the rest of the week to wrap up our personal business as we get ready to hit the road Tuesday, 1 April and head to our son Ryan’s home in Missouri.  They’re expecting daughter number four mid April, so we want to be close at hand to help with babysitting and whatever else they may need.

One downside to our six month stay was we just stuck things where they were easy to get to, but not where they should be when we travel.  A trip to Walmart resulted in some plastic bins and boxes to organize things.


We have to clean out our storage compartments and reorganize everything.


Friday I have an appointment with the Michelin tire shop to replace the four rear tires on the Journey.  They not only have “aged” out, being over seven years old (the date code on the sidewall shows they were made the 41st week of 2006 - 4106),


but they are starting to have cracks in the sidewalls, too.


I don’t want to have any trouble on the road now that we’re able to move around more.  Conventional wisdom in the truck and RV tire world is that seven years is the life expectancy of a tire.  Tires can be used longer as long as they are dismounted and inspected internally every year for up to 10 years.  Since mine are already cracking, I’m biting the (expensive) bullet and replacing them.  I’m using the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) Michelin Tire Program, which provides discounts on tire purchases for members.  Every little bit will help.

It’s sad to be leaving such a beautiful place where we’ve had lots of fun and made bunches of wonderful friends, both with the other volunteers and the ranger staff.  Thankfully, some new granddaughter babies arriving will ease the pain.  :c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. A job well done! Will you be taking I-10 west? My rig is in sore need of a wash and wax job. ;)

  2. Thanks again to you and all the volunteers who keep the COE parks so beautiful!!

    Now, it is time to hit the road and enjoy the family!!

    Safe Travels and Happy Trails.......

  3. More excitement is just ahead of you. The old familiar PDD will soon set in and before you know it, you'll be in Missouri holding your brand new family member. Good times are ahead for sure. Glad you're replacing those wheels as we wouldn't want anything to slow you down getting there.

  4. Such exciting times to look forward to. So glad you're able to finally get out of town and move those wheels.

  5. Glad you found that final pin. You could have left it for another volunteer, I suppose :-) Getting new tires is always a fun job...ka-ching! Safe travels, and we hope we see you sometime!

  6. Good job on finding the pin. And thanks for all the hard work the last six months. Its volunteers like you guys that make it an enjoyable stay for folks like us. $35M in volunteering? Wow - pretty impressive! Nice reminder on the tires and how to check them. Safe travels and congrats on the next grandchild!

  7. Sounds like you will be ready to hit the road soon!

  8. Be sure and shop for high speed tires,

  9. Excellent job getting er' done Marti! Last pin must have felt very good. So glad to hear you will be getting new tires. We had the same experience that they aged out before the tread wore and we don't even have PDD. :-) Safe travels!!

  10. hard to believe your time there is done already!!!
    have fun shopping for tires!!

  11. We sure hate to see you two go, but the road beckons and there are family celebrations coming soon. Have safe and fun travels!!!

  12. It's always in the last place you look :)
    Safe travels!

  13. Great job with the pin! Looks like we're both getting new granddaughters at about the same time. I'm excited!

  14. Great last work day there. Now the new tires is a must glad you are taking care of that. Another year or so and we begin replacing ours again.

  15. You must be about qualified for the Master Order of Pinheads by now. Good move on faking the sore back so your poor wife had to crawl around in the muck.

    Congrats on biting the bullet to replace those date-worn tires. It ain't the tread that's important it's the sidewalls and age of the tires. After 7 years we're riding on bombs ready to go off.

    Better to be safe with good new tires than incur the pain and expense of a dangerous blowout on the freeway.

  16. When something needs to be done....just call a woman. Even if she has long fingernails and jewelry on.

    1. And right after that, it was a run to the store for some jewelry cleaner. :c)

  17. It's amazing how things get so disorganized after even a short stay. We will be moving 20 miles down the road in the next few days and we'll need tow days to get organized enough to move!

    Glad you found the last pin. Safe travels. You'l be there April 2nd, huh?

  18. Keeping the tires fresh is always a good idea.