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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Some Things We've Never Seen Before

Our Fulltime RV life is always filled with the opportunity to see (and often do) new things we've never done before.  Of course, we've done lots of painting in our previous working lives (and there is still more painting ahead for us, if it ever stops raining).

Here at our winter workamping site at the J. Strom Thurmond Corps of Engineers Project in Modoc, SC, we have the ability to be relatively close to our two grandsons, Andrew and Owie (Owen), just a 95 mile drive to their home.  We enjoy getting to see them and their parents often for special occasions.  A recent occasion was to see Andrew perform in his school's Christmas concert.

Marti and I both played in band during our school days, Marti on the alto clarinet and me on the tenor sax.  Good times, good memories. 

You know how they say the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree?  Well, in Andrew's case, the acorn fell far from the tree.  Here's Andrew and the instrument he's playing.

Yep, that's a tuba!  Good for him, reaching out and trying something new instead of following in his grandparent's footsteps.  It was a really good concert, seeing Andrew play was certainly something we've never seen before!   :c)
With all the heavy rains we've been having here thanks to a strong El Nino, Thurmond Lake is now way over it's normal high water mark.  Right outside our door, we can see the waters pushing up well into the woods around the shoreline.
With the high water level, the danger is the continuing rains will cause the Thurmond Dam to be "over topped", meaning the water will flood over the top of the dam causing uncontrolled flooding down river.  The dam has 7 turbines that have been running 24 hours a day venting lake waters thought the large ducts to help lower the levels, but it hasn't been enough.  To put it in perspective, they rarely run all seven turbines at the same time except during summer high demand electrical loads.  Normally just a few run at a time.
To prevent the over topping, the COE dam operators have had to open the floodgates on the dam to allow water to escape at a controlled rate to prevent floods.  It's a delicate operation and has to be done in concert with the other two COE dams on the Savannah River.
Marti and I drove to the dam to see the sight, another thing we've never seen before in our three years workamping here.

The power generating turbines are located in this structure and vent deeper under the river, not quite as spectacular as the floodgates.

Since we've never seen this before and don't know when we'll see it again, we had to do the required "We were there" selfie.
We're looking forward to seeing interesting things in the New Year.  We wish all our readers a Happy and Healthy 2016!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Thank You U.S. Postal Service

Having our grandkids all around the country makes our travel fun as we drive the Journey to see them, which enables us to stay and visit for weeks at a time.  A luxury that we couldn't do before we retired.

On the other hand, it makes attending birthdays and special holidays not always convenient to travel to see them, unfortunately we can't be in three places at the same time.

So to get gifts to them, we have to ship or mail them, always in plenty of time to get there.

We don't use UPS because they are way too expensive, FedEx will get our business on occasion if the package will be extra large or heavy, still kind of pricey.

So we use the USPS Priority Mail to send the vast majority of our gifts.  With too often disturbing results.

A few years back we mailed some packages three weeks before Christmas to Oregon from Virginia.  They arrived three weeks after Christmas.

Last year our son sent our other son's kids a Christmas package via the mail and it arrived on time.  With the box crushed.  And empty.

This year we sent a bunch of packages via Priority Mail, with several going to our grandkids in Missouri mailed the same day from where we are in South Carolina.  One package was a birthday gift for one of the girls who was born the day after Christmas, we always ensure that her birthday gifts are distinguished from her Christmas gifts.

A nice thing the Post Office does is give you a tracking number for each package.  You'd think paying top dollar for Priority Mail would ensure your package would arrive in the two to three days the Post Office touts.

Our granddaughter's birthday package, mailed twelve days  before her birthday would get there in plenty of time.  Well, it didn't.

Looking at the tracking number, the package languished in several Post Offices, including one which left it sitting for seven days.  The good news is at least the package arrived two days after the granddaughter's birthday intact and it made her happy.  Funny, all the other packages mailed the same day (all of the same size and weight) got there right on time.

It's not the end of the world, it's sort of minor.  We just didn't enjoy seeing our granddaughter disappointed on her special day.

I think next year we'll talk to Santa and see if we can put our packages on his sleigh to deliver.  After all, if he can deliver packages all over the world in one night, he must be a better shipper than the Postal Service!

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Gift Ideas For Your Favorite RVer

Oh yes, that wonderful time of year when you find yourself scratching your head for gift ideas for all your RV friends.  Look no further, I've compiled a list of gifts that will endear you to your friends the whole year through.

Send your friends back in time to their happy childhood with this adult sized Big Wheel trike.  Think how much fun they'll have tearing through the campground on this baby.  Available in multiple colors.

Every RVers nightmare, those pesky little ants that show up inside their rigs getting into all the foodstuffs.  Here is a chance to get even and get back at those ants with Ant Candy.  Show them what it's like to put the bite on them!

Speaking of bite, for the RV friend that can't get enough of spicy foods, how about this delicious treat?  Tabasco Chocolate. 


For the RVer who is looking for a better kick from their PDD long driving day in their coffee or hot chocolate.  Nothing better than a caffeinated marshmallow, a sweet pick-me-up!

The answer for the conflicted RVer, who can't decide whether to have something sweet, or bacon.  How about  Bacon Candy Canes?  After all, everything tastes better with bacon.
Star Wars Fan?  Be part of the fun with your very own Princess Leia Hat!   You'll be stylin' when you show up for the new Star Wars movie wearing this cap!
Too many PDD driving days without a stop to do laundry?  Warn your friends when they come over to your RV for Happy Hour with the Toxic Laundry Basket.
How about this remote controlled Flying Fish for those RVers that have never seen one in real life?  Especially good for RVers that are retired airline pilots and are avid fishermen.
Do you know an RVer wintering in warm, sunny Florida that is missing the snow back home?  With a little water, they can have Instant Snow to sooth those fond memories of driving in and shoveling it.
Lastly, for that RV friend who constantly emails you about how you've misspelled words and twisted grammar in your RV Blog.  Their very own Grammar Police t-shirt.  After all, why not let them show off their grasp of the English language?
Hope you've enjoyed these great gift ideas.  Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

It's Not All Painting Picnic Tables

Sometimes we're able to sit back and enjoy a day off together doing something we love.  Taking a ride on our motorcycle together around beautiful J. Strom Thurmond Lake on a warm, sunny December day.

Now if I can just get the paint out from under my fingernails...
Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Few Christmas Smiles

Nothing earth shattering or terrible exciting has been going on lately here at the Thurmond COE in South Carolina.  We've been doing some painting of large swings that are located at various beaches around the lake, they are large, three person swings made up with about a zillion wooden slats, and have to be painted all around, top, bottom and in between.  So far I've been able to get just a little more paint on the swings than on myself.  Someday I'll get the hang of this painting stuff...

Knowing that pictures of paint drying on wooden swings would not do anything to increase the readership of our blog, I thought it was time for my annual post of funny Christmas cartoons.

Hope you enjoy!  (You can click on the pictures to enlarge).




Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Your Tax Dollars At Work

We all know that too many of our tax dollars are wasted every year by the government, sometimes through ridiculous projects, bad decisions, fraud or outright poor accounting.  Once in a while, a really good use of tax dollars comes along.

Here at the J. Strom Thurmond COE at Thurmond Lake is the Bartram Trail, a trail that winds around portions of the lake through beautiful untouched forests.  The trail is used by hikers, mountain bikers and horse owners.

A newly installed area at the head of the trail has some nice features for trail users.
A kiosk, with information about the trail as well as tear off maps to use to follow the trail.
A special stall for horse owners to hitch their horses and water hoses to give the horses drinks as well as a washing after navigating the trail.
Something I've never seen before is installed there.
It is a work station for bike riders.  It has a rack at the top to hang a bike, an air pump to inflate tires and even tools hanging on cables for repairs and adjustments.

Along with picnic tables and pit toilets, there is even a changing room.  Who wants to get in their car to drive home in sweaty clothes after a day biking or hiking on the trail?  Not me.  This is another great idea.

Sometimes tax dollars are well spent.   :c)
In the meantime, along with many small tasks and getting set up for another season of Water Safety presentations in the local schools, we've been doing checks of the parks to keep areas in working order.  Occasionally things happen that need to be taken care of immediately, like this tree that washed up and blocked a popular boat access ramp.
Things are going to slow down a bit as the holidays approach, but there are plenty of things to keep us busy (and out of trouble).   :c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


We have taken a break from our workamping job to drive 130 miles North to Gaffney, SC.  Why?

We had an appointment with the Freightliner Factory Service Center.  The @%*^#$* dashboard wiring was finally going to be replaced.  No more annoying warning alarm and all the gauges to work correctly again.  While the Journey was in the shop, I had the engine coolant and the air brake dryer serviced.  RVs are nice, but there is lots of maintenance to keep them running smoothly and reliably.  It is money well spent to protect our investment in the Journey.
New wiring harness, all the defective white wires replaced with the upgraded black wires.
While the tech was at it, he decided to replace one of the two air pressure gauges, too.  It wasn't working right to his satisfaction.

The best part was the dash work was done under warranty, even though the Journey is now 8 years old and has 73589 miles on it!   How is that for good (great!) customer service?
We were expecting an all day wait, but the work was completed before lunchtime and the Journey was back in its spot in the free camping area behind the service center.
It pays to come to the factory service center, where the techs are very familiar with your motorhome and the parts are readily available.  The Freightliner chassis factory is right down the road if a part is needed that the service center doesn't have it in stock.   I also joined the Freightliner Chassis Owners Club (FCOC) when we bought the Journey, and one of the benefits is a discount on the parts and labor.  Well worth the cost of membership.
We're going to stay overnight again and head back to the COE tomorrow morning.  Just a quick break before we head back to the "grindstone".   ;c)
Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.