Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Getting A Slow Start

Our grandson, Radek, is one live wire.  We snapped picture after picture of him, but because he was always on the move we got nothing worth sharing - A blur here, back of the head there, hands in front of his face, or the top of his head.  Matt forwarded this picture to us that he had taken during Catia’s soccer game on Saturday so we thought we would post it so you could see what the little tike looks like.  Note that it was a slightly windy day and Grandma’s hair is a little bit out of place, however, it was a good picture all in all.

Grandma & Radek

We spent the day getting some of the housekeeping set up done.  There’s still more to do today then we can start working on the Ol’ Ta Do List.  With this warmer weather we need to get our outside work done by eleven, twelve at the very latest, and concentrate on the inside work during the afternoon.  We’ll just work on one or two items of the Ol’ Ta Do List each day until we get that monster under control.  When living in the south, you just move slow and easy. 

We were unable to snooker Norm and Linda, they knew we were back.  Norm suspected that we would roll right on by Montgomery and make the trip in one fell swoop, but they fed us a travel day meal none the less.  What a great smorgasbord of food! 

Norm figured that we had eaten plenty of northern food over the summer, therefore, we needed some nice southern home cooking.  So he prepared a slow boil dinner with sausage, shrimp, corn on the cob, potatoes, onions, peppers, and spices all blended together and cooked in one pot.  There was, also, some nice warm buttered bread to go along with the meal and a peach cobbler for dessert while the wine flowed and coffee rounded out the evening.  It was all so yummy – thanks, Norm and Linda, for a wonderful meal.  It’s soooooo nice to be around family.  What an enjoyable evening.  We look forward to spending time with them over the next few months.

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - - - -

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Honey, We’re Home!!!

In case you missed it, we did publish yesterday evening.  We had another “Bad Air Day” at Cedars of Lebanon State Park so we couldn’t publish in the morning.  Then we pulled another long trek and drove the entire 470 miles back to Rainbow Plantation.  Therefore, it was around 6:00 PM when we finally published.  Just scroll down if you missed yesterday’s blog entry with all the pictures of our grand kid outings at the playground and the zoo.

Now, be sure to not let Norm and Linda know that we returned yesterday as they are preparing a travel day meal for us today and we don’t want them to know that we’re not traveling.  We got the word that dinner will be served at 5:28 PM (and not a minute sooner).  Shucks, I was looking forward to eating at 5:26 and 30 seconds.  I guess I will just have to live with the disappointment.  Anyway, we are looking forward to seeing both of them again – Norm makes some of the best southern fried possum that you ever “et”.

Well, we are back “home”.  So I guess that means “Let The Chores Begin”.  We have quite a list of little things to get done, but, after yesterday’s long haul, we intend to take it real slow for the rest of the week.  So, the first thing to do is dig out the lawn chairs so we can do some serious sitting in between striking items off the “Ol’ Ta Do List”. 

Being that we’re not sure where to start on the “Ol’ Ta Do List”, we’ll just pour another cup of burnt umber and head for the patio to sit a spell while we contemplate what to do next.  So, in the mean time, y’all Take Care Until Next Time and tune in tomorrow to see if we made it off the patio  - - - - - - -

Monday, August 29, 2011

Special Outings With Grand Kids

As you probably guessed by now, we had another “Bad Air Day” at Cedars of Lebanon; therefore, an extremely late blog posting.  We could have taken the air card and the computer in the truck and published while on the road, but with the katt “stuff”, drinks, treats, etc., Judy had enough to contend with without adding to the clutter factor.  The post is even later since we reached our exit for Wood’s RV just before two and as Judy was pointing to it, I just kept on driving.  Yep, we’re now situated on our site at Rainbow Plantation.  There’s a lot to be said about not having to get into the truck again in the morning.

Lotsa pictures today, so we’ll spare the verbiage.  You can place your cursor over the picture to see what’s happening.

As you know from yesterday’s post, the girls had a sleepover with G-ma and G-pa.  After awaking yesterday morning G-ma made pancakes, then we watched 101 Dalmatians before heading to the playground.  G-ma snapped a few pictures along the way.

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The girls really enjoy the playground at Cedars of Lebanon State Park.  Every time they visit us, it is almost an immediate request.

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We packed up the girls and headed to Matt and Jackie’s.  Then we all headed for the Nashville Zoo.  It was Nashville Predator’s Day at the Zoo with one of the players on hand for autographs and photographs.  He must not be one of better players, he had all his teeth.


The 200 acre Grassmere family farm was donated as the Grassmere Wildlife Park in 1990.  Inadequate funding lead to its closing and the Nashville Zoo assumed management of the facility in 1997.  The farmhouse, barns, and gardens are featured as one of the displays at the zoo.  


We enjoyed how “they” have maintained the natural settings for the animals.  Here is the pictorial story of our visit at the zoo.  You can follow our tour by placing your cursor over the pictures.

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And while we were at the zoo, we come around a corner and bumped right into our Congressman!!


Well, those are the highlights for our day with the Grand Kids.  Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - -

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Busy Day, For Sure

The day began with us fighting with the internet; it was another hit or miss day regarding access.  Once we finally got the blog entry published, while swilling down a few cups of coffee, we began rearranging the furniture and vacuuming every crack and crevice in order to shampoo the carpets.  By the time we finished the vacuuming, it was time to head out to the Old Ball Game.

Only this was not baseball, but soccer.  Our superstar soccer player, Catia, has been traded up to the big leagues.  This is an official soccer league with rules, whistles, and everything.  Catia is on the Pink Chihuahuas this year (don’t ask, okay?).  This is an all girl league and played with four players and one goalie. 

It was the opening game which they lost to the Green Hornets by a score of 4 to 3.  The game started off slow for the PCs with the first half ending in a 3-0 score (that’s zero for the PCs).  But by the second half they were playing much better and scored three goals while holding the hornets to only one more goal.

Then it was back to the carpet project.  We managed to complete the job (shampooing the heavy traffic areas twice) and have a few minutes to relax before heading out to Saturday evening worship.

After the worship service we brought two little stow-a-ways home with us – the grand daughters.  Whenever we’re here we have to have a sleep over.  In the past it has been with Catia, but this time both Catia and Kalina came for the night.  Judy prepared some mac and cheese with apple sauce for dessert.  Then we all watched a movie before heading to beddy bye.

Today is another big day.  It’s Predator Day at the Zoo.  The Nashville Predators hockey team will be at the zoo beginning at one o’clock.  Matt and Jackie have seasonal tickets to the zoo and the kids love seeing the animals (both with and without hockey sticks).  We’ll have pictures tomorrow so be sure to come back y’all, ye hear?

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - - -

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Luncheon, A Campfire, A Change

Yesterday morning we joined grand daughter Catia for lunch.  Her school allows, actually encourages, parents and grand parents to join their off spring for lunch time.  It was a decent meal, but, of course, the main draw was spending time with our grand daughter in her element. 

We arrived at the school, checked in, and got our visitor badges and then waited in the corridor watching as classes made their way from room to room or from room to the cafeteria or from room to wherever.  It was like watching boot camp companies moving around a military base.  Occasionally there would be a traffic jam, but mostly the movements were well choreographed to ensure that everyone got to their destinations in a timely manner.

Finally Catia’s class made it’s way toward the cafeteria; we joined the march through the kitchen and onto the dining area.  No tin cups, just plastic trays.  We had a choice of mac and cheese or mystery meat.  Judy took one and I took the other so we could switch off.  Catia gets ice cream on Fridays and, just like a typical child, she ate dessert first (you know, life is short so eat dessert first).  It was fun and we enjoyed our visit.  It’s something that we’ll probably do again in the future.

From school, we made a quick stop by JoAnn Fabrics in Mt. Juliet.  Judy needed more fabric for another quilt – mine.  Yep, finally, after all the grand kids, Grandpa gets his quilt.  Come this winter, when temperatures plummet into the forties, I will be nice and warm and comfy with my new rag quilt.  I even helped pick out the colors; I still want some green added to the mix.  I’ll beg for that once we get back to the Plantation.

Then it was home for some down time (read that as reading time).  The kids and grand kids showed up just after seven o’clock for a campfire and s’mores.  It’s fun to have a fire with your grand kids; it’s more fun to fill them full of sugar and watch their parents deal with them.  Sugar high, sugar high!!!!

Finally, there’s a change coming to this blog.  Our travels over the past five years has not been what we had envisioned when we began this journey.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing as we have gotten to spend a lot of quality time with our family which, as you know, is spread out across the eastern U. S..  Therefore, we have repeatedly traveled a lot of the same routes and “stayed put” in one place a little longer than we had originally intended. 

Beginning this fall we are going to change our traveling habits.  We will spend more time at Rainbow Plantation throughout the year while taking shorter trips from there and then returning for awhile before heading out again.  Therefore, sometime in September, we are going to change the frequency of our publishing the blog to once or twice a week (there’s just not much to share each day when you’re sitting still). 

Then, one of my projects for this winter will be to revive the Wandering America website by updating all of the travelogues and articles by incorporating the information from the past year and a half blog entries.  Then we’ll go back to publishing travelogues on the website when we’re on the road.  More about all the changes in the next few days.   

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - - -

P. S.  As you have noticed by the late entry, we’re having another bad hair “internet access” day.

Friday, August 26, 2011

More Grand Kid Fixes

Just another day in the life.  Yesterday we were able to get online whenever we wanted and had great speeds – wonder what was up with Wednesday?

Anyhow, it was over to the kids house for an early cookout.  Matt had the day off and as soon as Catia came home from school we fired up the grill.  The kids had hot dawgs and the adults had hamburgers.  Grandma had made a potato salad and we had plenty of raw veggies on hand.  There was watermelon for dessert.

Today we are joining Catia for a lunch date at school.  We’ll be able to see her just as soon as we check into the office, show identification, get finger printed, and dawn our prison grab.  But, it’s what you do when you have grand children and it will be fun.

This afternoon, Judy wants to visit JoAnn Fabrics.  She has another 40% off coupon that expires Sunday and needs some more fabric (she already has her thimble which we are paying for in installments). 

This evening the kids are joining us for a campfire and s’mores; another fun time with the grand kids.  So that’s it for today.

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - - -

Thursday, August 25, 2011

1xrtt, 3G, 4G; So What?

Not good.  According to the Verizon coverage maps Cedars of Lebanon State Park is in a dead zone, however, with our old air card we were still able to get on line most of the time.  It would be slow and sometimes we wouldn’t have any access at all.  But with this new 4G technology we have very few windows of time that we can get online.  Even if I detach the device from the router and plug it into my computer’s USB port, it is still a hit or miss (mostly miss) proposition.  

Oh well, we’ll be back at the Plantation on Wednesday with a good solid 4G signal.  If it doesn’t work right then, we’ll just have to raise some heck with Cradlepoint and/or Verizon.  One of the problems is our Cradlepoint router is over two and a half years old (that’s 105 in electronic years) and it’s probably not compatible with the 4G technology.  Cradlepoint has been updating their firmware and supposedly have the problem solved – we’ll just haveta see.

We have decided to stay here one more night in order to attend Catia’s second soccer game on Monday evening.  So we’ll round up the wagons on Tuesday and head south, staying overnight somewhere around Montgomery.  That will leave us a three hour trip to home on Wednesday.  In the mean time we’ll just be enjoying one grand kid fix after another.

Yesterday we took Kalina for a short outing at a playground.  It was too hot to stay at the park for very long so we took her to Mickey Ds for a hot fudge sundae instead – I think she liked that!!  Then it was back home to spend some time with Radek.  Catia showed up from school around three o’clock; she didn’t learn anything, at least that’s what she said.

On our way home we stopped by Kroger’s to pick up some produce.  We’re on a new kick now, “eat more chikin” and veggies.  Well, last night we had salmon with veggies, but the game plan is to eat more veggies and Kroger had some decent produce at reasonable prices.

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - - -

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back In Murfreesboro

We made it safe and sound.  It’s always good to have an uneventful travel day.  It turned out to be a seven and a half hour travel day, which is long for us.  We didn’t know what to expect at Cedars of Lebanon Stat Park, but were surprised that there were only six other RVs in the park; we’ve seen the park a lot busier in December.  We expected there to be a lot more than that, but it left plenty of nice sites to choose from.  Surprise, surprise.

The munchkins were wired when we arrived, at least two of them.  Catia was just getting home from a hard day’s work at school so she was rather subdued, but not Kalina and Radek.  Radek kept wanting to be picked up and then he would squirm, squirm, squirm.  Kalina’s legs were moving so fast that all you could see was a blur.  She wanted her Grandma and Grandpa to get right down on the floor and play with her.  Matt and Jackie were real coy with them and didn’t let them know that GMa and GPa were coming until the last minute.  That’s not fair, is it?  They just don’t get to enjoy all the pre-arrival mayhem that way.  What fun is that???

We took Catia and Kalina to Catia’s soccer practice; Matt was already there waiting for us.  After watching for a few minutes Kalina wanted to ride in Grandpa’s truck again so we gave her a ride home home and headed home ourselves.  The tired(s) were setting in – our bodies are functioning on the Eastern Time Zone time while now living in the Central Time Zone (in other words, our bodies think it is an hour later than it actually is).

One last thing.  Before we left Ray and Pat’s, I noticed either a hole or a leaf on the side of our front A/C cover.  It turned out to be a hole so I used a piece from the rubber roof repair kit to repair it.  We didn’t want the wind to pull it apart any further as we were traveling down the road.  Anyway, while I was up on the roof I noticed that the rear A/C cover had a dent in the front of it.

Now Judy and I have done some serious head scratchin’ trying to remember anywhere where we could have hit something.  Nothing comes to mind.  Ray suggested that maybe a good sized bird may have flown into the side of the front A/C and then tumbled down the roof into the rear A/C, but there was no sign of blood or feathers.  Somewhere we must have hit something, but where or when is beyond us.  Just one more thing to add to the “Ol Ta Do List” once we return to Rainbow Plantation.

It was 8:30 CT (9:30 ET) when we hit the hay, nite, nite Sleeping half-moon!!!  Another end to another great day. 

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - - - 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

An Overnighter In Kokomo

Man, are we ever getting slower.  We didn’t manage to get underway until after eleven o’clock yesterday morning.  That made the five hour trip seem longer than it actually was.  We like to be off the road early, but didn’t make it to Kokomo until four o’clock – which is kinda early, I guess. 

Thank goodness for great friends.  We hadn’t eaten since around eight in the morning and were famished.  Don and Gloria met us at our camp site, the Automobile Heritage Museum parking lot, and took us to their home for a nice home cooked meal.  It was yummy, every last morsel of it – including the vanilla ice cream topped with fresh strawberries and chocolate sauce.  Thanks guys for being you.

We hadn’t seen Don and Gloria since last April so it was nice to chat, chew, and chuckle together for about four and a half hours.  They even stopped by Kroger’s so we could get some milk for tomorrow morning’s breakfast.  We ended up picking up a few other items that were on sale as well, like some nice grapes at a buck twenty eight a pound.

So traveling and visiting was pretty much our day.  Today we continue our southward trek toward a grand child fix.  It was last April when we last saw those little munchkins as well.  Waaaay toooo long according to Grandma (and Grandpa).  Somehow we have to get this family of ours settled a little closer together so we can have more grand kid fixes with all six of our grand children.  Oh well, it is what it is.  We’ll just haveta make do.

It’s on the road again, so Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - -

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Stow-A-Ways

What can I say?  The old hands on the clock, wait a minute, we don’t have a clock!!!  Oh well, the time in the corner of the PC says 1:45 – IN THE MORNING!!!  What’s up with that?  I should be sawing lumber, but Alex got me up.  It seems that we have a stow-a-way.  No, not squirrels – mice. 

Yes folks, we have a “moose on the loose in the hoose”.  Fortunately, we have some mouse food, labeled Decon.  I put out a couple of packets in the basement, however, the mouse (or mice) are running through the ceiling.  There’s no way that I can get a packet of Decon up there so we’ll just have to hope they find their way to the basement.

So, anywhoo, here I sit, wide awake, with two attack katts standing guard by my side.  They don’t care much for intruders so we don’t have to worry about the mieces getting into the living quarters, but just glad the katts don’t have any guns or else the would be several holes in our ceiling. 

Later this morning we’ll be getting underway; Katie, Alex, Judy, and I with our stow-a-ways.  Don and Gloria are remodeling their house so maybe they’ll have room for the mieces – we can let them out in Kokomo!!!

See Ya Down The Road.  Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - - -

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Amish Farm Veggie Stands

Like we forecasted for yesterday morning, it rained.  We had thunder showers that began around noon and lasted until after two.  That provided us with enough incentive to take a nice little katt nap to catch up on our lost sleep from the night before.  It felt good to snooze with the rain pitter pattering on the roof and thunder rolling in the distant background.  Even Alex the Katt joined us by bedding down between us, right across our pillows.  Have you ever seen a katt smile?  Well, think Cheshire katt here.  Katie curled up and snoozed on her blankie which is on the sofa in the living room.

After our katt nap, we went in search of some fresh veggies.  One of the greatest things about this area is the Amish Farms and their road side stands.  We’ve gotten some of the tastiest veggies over this past couple weeks. 

Green Peppers, huge, three for a dollar – they are some of the sweetest green peppers that we’ve tasted in a long, long time.  Sweet Corn, twenty five cents an ear – again, so tasty that we’ve been back for seconds, and thirds!  Red Onions, huge, fifty cents a piece – so sweet that you could eat them like an apple.  Tomatoes, huge, fifty cents each – fresh off the vine, plump and juicy and taste like real tomatoes (not like that crap from Mexico).  Cucumbers, huge, fifty cents a piece – nice and firm, moist and tasty.  And the melon, extra huge, a buck fifty – sweet, juicy, and flavorful (we normally cut a melon into quarters, but this one we had to cut into eighths).  There was much, much more to chose from as well (and I’m not even going to mention the fresh home made bread that we brought home). 

If only supermarkets had vegetables as fresh and tasty as these; we could eat a healthy diet in a heart beat.  Also, the prices were half what the supermarkets are selling the “fresh” stale stuff for.  Bring on the Amish Farm Veggie Stands.

Our time here is winding down so we joined Ray and Pat for an evening meal last night after they got home from church.  Pat made a nice pasta dish with ground turkey, sausage, and vegetables and we provided fresh corn, and sliced raw veggies.  We really enjoy our stays here at the R&P Country Campground and look forward to returning many more times in the future.

This morning we’ll attend worship at Howard City Community Church, where we worshipped whenever we were “camping” at Mecosta Pines Campground in Morley.  Then we’ll begin the arduous task of “packing our bags” and getting ready to roll.  Tomorrow it’s on the road again heading to Kokomo, Indiana and a short visit with Don and Gloria Martin.  Then it’s off for another grand child fix.

So, Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - - -

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Slow Draw McGraw

We’re getting a slow start this morning.  One of us tossed and turned until around 2:30 this morning and the other one got up at 3:30 so neither of us are on top of our game.  I feel a nap coming on this afternoon.  Rain is in the forecast for later today which will definitely set the stage for snoozing.   Even the katts are pretty lethargic this morning.

Alrighty then, other than that, yesterday I succeeded in getting the rig washed; it was what my mother would refer to as a spit bath.  I washed the front and rear caps and washed off black streaks here and there.  Once we get the rig back in the stall (Rainbow Plantation) then it’ll get a nice full bath and wax job.  Can you see the rig smiling?

Yesterday afternoon the missus and I burned some wood in the fireplace in front of Ray and Pat’s house.  They had gone off to a steam engine event with a flea market; we’ve seen enough steam engines in our time and didn’t need any fleas so we “stood” to home.  It was nice to just sit around the fire and hold hands while gazing into each other’s eyes.  On top of that, it was one of the top ten nicest days of this week with the sun brightly shinning in a cloudless sky and temperatures hovering in the 70’s.

Well, that’s about it.  Nothing exactly exciting, but relaxing none the less.

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - - -

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Plant Tour, A Dinner, And A Cervid

Yesterday morning the bride and I took a ride over to Morbark, Inc., the company where I last worked as Director of Manufacturing and Judy worked in the Operations Department.  My old friend, and mentor, Jim Shoemaker, was appointed as President of the company a few days ago and we wanted to congratulate him.  We spent almost an hour with him catching up on our past, our families, and our futures.

Shoe first hired me as Plant Manager for Jervis B. Webb company in Harbor Springs, Michigan.  He left the company in 2003 during a restructuring effort while I replaced the Vice President and General Manager of the Marietta, Georgia plant.  Sales never improved and a year later the Webb company decided to close several plants, Marietta being one of them.  Shoe was instrumental, once again, in my obtaining the position at Morbark. 

Judy and I spent about three hours walking about and visiting old acquaintances; it was great to see everyone once again.  We weren’t in the building for a half hour when the rumor was circulated that I was being rehired as the V.P. of Operations (Shoe’s position before becoming the President).  We got a laugh out of that, but, to be honest with you, if the job had been offered we would have had to seriously considered it (at least for a half an hour). 

Here is a picture of Morbark, Inc..  You can read more about the company and view their products by clicking here.


And here is a picture of some of the Forest Harvesting Equipment they build.


We returned home for an early dinner with Ray and Pat.  Pat fried up some walleye, prepared a nice macaroni salad, and mixed up a great coleslaw.  She, also, baked some banana bread and a sour dough bread along with a nice blueberry pie.  What a great meal – thanks Pat.  We enjoy spending time with them and look forward to them joining us at Rainbow Plantation this coming winter.

A cervid is a ruminant mammal with antlers and hooves of the family Cervidae; that is, deer, reindeer, moose or elks, muntjacs, and/or roe deer.  Alrighty then, here’s our day six cervid watch report. 

Last night, as we were sitting and talking on the patio, our friend the eight point buck, walked right behind our rig.  He looked at us and then he made his way toward the salt lick that Ray has put out next to a tree which is not forty feet from where we sat.  We snapped a couple dozen pictures of him so here’s the collection we have to share with you.  Run your cursor over each of the pictures for the play by play report.  Note that Ray had just plowed up a portion of the yard yesterday morning in preparation for planting some grass.

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He took his time at the salt lick and was there for about five minutes.  Our whispering or the click, click, click of the camera didn’t seem to phase him in the least.  I guess he figures that this is the best way to get shot; quite a photogenic character, to say the least.  I said to Judy that had we had some diced up apples he probably would have come up and eaten out of our hands.  Not that we would have tried that; after all, he is a wild animal and those antlers look rather intimidating.

We’re still pulling for that group picture, but the deer don’t seem to be traveling together any more.  Maybe they had a family feud or something.

Take Care Until Next Time  - - - - - - - -