Welcome to our travels and adventures

Welcome to our travels and adventures

All Work and No Play Makes…. Oh hell, we’re playing!

Now that the “Canadian cold” temps have passed, we are able to better enjoy the re-building and painting of the bird houses – oh and of course, play more golf! I can’t believe how quiet the course has been! We came back off the course one day and we found many prospective home owners checking out the new digs! Many birds were flitting around the newly painted residences and of course, leaving their marks!

Our insurance company has deemed that the power issue is not covered and so we are on our on hook for the costs – that sucks! I really thought we had full coverage insurance. When our rear wheel left us – didn’t Kenny Rogers have a song title like that – You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me Loose Wheel! Anyway, when we lost our rear wheel in the interior of BC in 2007, they were wonderful and took complete care of us! If only I had been out flying a kite when this problem occurred and had a lightening strike! So now we focus on the power company with hopes that their insurance company has more pity. At first contact, they seem quite amicable and will be processing our claims.

Not too much to report now that the dust is settling on our power problems. We found a terrific pine tree for Barb to collect more of the extra long pine needles for her pine needle basket craft. We are ramping up for our Christmas, just the 2 of us for dinner with all the trimmings and cocktails – lots of rum and eggnog! We will be leaving the door unlocked so Santa can leave his loot for us. We sent him our GPS co-ordinates so he doesn’t miss us when he zips past!

One of the tree houses is mounted on a long pole between the 13th and 18th fairways in the nature area. We had to remove the anchor bolt and lower the house for painting and a few much needed nails. That’s what we define as a house call! The other bird houses were repaired and painted on a table near the rig. We will have them re-installed soon after Christmas, in time for their New Years Eve gatherings!

We hope y’all had a Merry Christmas and we wish you a Happy New Year throughout 2011! Stay well and drive safe.

The Re-Build

Hello again from the not too warm state of Georgia! We’re not complaining as it could be worse, we could be at home and getting dumped on by snow!

Well, this past week has been full of activities. The temps here are not great for golfing or working outside so Sunday we hung out in the rig, Barb continuing to work on her DVD movie and I scanned more pictures!

On Monday we decided to go shopping for a TV, nuke and a DVD player/recorder. Oh, and get more propane but at the Flying J in Dothan – it was less than $21! After we left the J, we dropped into Camping World and picked up our surge protector! Yes, I stopped procrastinating and bite the bullet – it was cheaper then replacing all the electronic gear again!

Anyway, after lots of web research, the better deals for what we wanted were at Bestbuy! Especially the nuke! Our rig manufacturer said it would be $400+ to replace our nuke with a unit put in new rigs! So, onto Bestbuy!

We walked out of there with a 32” LED/LCD TV, TV mounting stuff and nuke! It took us all day – remember, it is a 75 minute drive one way, but after cajoling the sales guy, we made a deal on all the stuff and came away very happy with our expedition! We’ve shopped at Bestbuy before and have always been pleased with the experience. As for all the old electronic stuff, Bestbuy recycles but it costs us $10 per item – we had 5 pieces but they give you a gift $10 card for each item. Not a bad ‘green’ marketing tool!

After stopping at Lowes for some plywood to make a TV stand – yes, they come with a stand but not robust enough for travel - and then Sonics for a bite, it was after 7PM by the time we got back. We quickly set up the TV and were able to sit and watch some of our favorite shows again. Life is slowly getting back to normal!

The only place we could find a DVD recorder was – wait for it – WalMart’s online store! That’s correct! WalMart! So we ordered it last week and used their ‘Site to Store’ service. We received text messages at each stage of the order. We’re impressed!

Tuesday, we planned and built a cabinet for the new TV. The opening is only 30” and the TV is 31” wide so we had to be sure it could be maneuvered in and out easily for travel and that is would be secure enough so it wouldn’t be damaged as we rumbled along our way. This took us most of the day. As we were finishing up, we get a text message to say that our DVD recorder was ready for pick up! Everything is coming together! So off to WalMart to pick up our latest acquisition!

The main room of the rig was stacked high with boxes and didn’t leave a lot of room for us. Now that we have the TV and DVD installed, it’s time to tackle the microwave! Everything matched up and the fit was perfect. We only had to re-enforce the floor of the cabinet and we had the nuke installed and ready for dinner! Time for an adult beverage!

The weather is warming and we can get more done on the bird houses – scrapping and re-building a couple and a few went to the trash bin. We played golf and yes, Barb beat me again! My game is in the hopper so I need to play more! Right?

That was our week in review! Hope yours went well too. Come back again soon. Be well and drive safe.

We’re Always to Blame

The weather has not been the best here and the local folks are blaming the Canadians – that’s Barb & I – for the not so friendly, below normal temperatures here! We were in Dothan on Monday night to look at TVs, nukes and to get propane at the Flying J but they didn’t have anyone in to dispense propane until Tuesday!

One of our first tasks as a work camper is to take the tree down that is behind the rig and is starting to grow into the electrical wires feeding the pedestal. They were not interfering as of yet but in time, they would! It took us most of the day to cut down and clean up and dispose of the brush and wood. There was one time that we thought the smaller tree was going to brush the rig but we managed to push it to the side! Like I said, it was a small tree!

The next day was too cold to be out so Barb did more work on her video DVDs and I scanned more of our old photo albums. Sure brings lots of memories back when doing this!

On Thursday, it was warmer and good for us to do more work camping! Unfortunately, there isn’t much for us to do. The course is not getting a lot of play and not many divots to fill. Barb & I decide to do something about the shabby bird houses that previous work campers erected prior to 2008. The superintendent suggested we just take them down and discard them! After checking them out, some will be put in the dumpster but many just need a coat of paint and put back up! Now we have something that enhances the natural aspect of the course.

Friday is great weather for a game! After, we headed to ACE Hardware in Abbeville, Alabama for propane! Ouch, I didn’t ask how much, just assumed that the J was $2.89 gal that even if ACE was $5 more for the tank, it was worth not having to drive all the way to Dothan! BUT, it was more than just a few bucks! A 30lb tank cost us $35.00!!! The J would have been $21.00! Another lesson learned!

On Saturday, we played again and Barb shot her best round in a long time! An 89, GREAT game Barb!

Until next time, be well and if you’re on the road, be safe.

Getting Back to Normal as Normal is

In my previous post, I forgot to mention a very important task that Barb & I did before we connected the ‘new, stable’ electricity to the rig. We did check all of the house wiring, shore power cord and the breaker panel and all tested fine! That is really good news, no shorts or crosses in the wiring or the panel saves a lot of expense and time, not to mention the peace of mind – which was in question over the last few days!

So, now we know what’s broke and what’s not broke! We contacted our insurance company to see if there would be any help there. Apparently if I had been outside flying a kite while it was lightening and it struck the electric lines coming in, we would be covered no questions asked! But as for a loose connection on those same lines, they’re not so sure! We have to wait for an appraiser to come around and have a looky loo and probably take some pictures and file a report with our insurance company back in Ontario! We are in the boondocks here so the earliest he can be here is Friday! Hummmmm, he was in Atlanta when I called him for the appointment – quite the territory he has!

The converter is still not charging the batteries! The batteries are still only reading 12.1 volts but the output of the converter reads 13.6 volts. A quick call to the manufacturer and they explain that with no load (no batteries attached) on the output, it should read 13.6 volts! Hummmm….. all the cables are secure. Maybe it’s a corroded connection that makes the converter ‘think’ there are no batteries connected. I pull the battery door out and start removing the cables when I notice a large black connecting block on the side wall of the battery cabinet. Hummmm…. Maybe it’s a loose connection there – but wait, there is a little handle thingy sticking out. It seems to be able to be pushed back down and it clicks into place – wow, how lucky, it is a breaker not a large fuse! I quickly tightened the cables back onto the 1st battery and check the battery voltage again and voila, they are now reading 13.4 volts! All is good now with the batteries, they are charging correctly now. I will leave them on charge for a few days and test them to see if we sustained any permanent damage by letting them run so low for so long!

Another busy day with not much to show for all the brain cells that have been used! Barb on the other hand has been busy being creative on her movie DVDs from earlier this year. It’s a good thing none of our computer stuff was plugged in at the time or we would be much worse off!

On Thursday, we walked up to the club house to collect our golf cart so we could play tomorrow but the pro was out and we need his nod to pick the cart and go so we’ll wait for Friday. It was a nice day for a walk anyway, probably a mile round trip for us. Not much has changed on the course since the last time we were here.

Well, today the appraiser meets with us to view the stuff and give him a chance to make an assessment. He arrives at the appointed time and is gone within 20 minutes. He took pictures of the junk equipment, pictures of the rig and a couple of shots of the electric wires coming in from the transformer. He said he will get some prices for equipment replacement and file his report possibly tomorrow or Monday. Not sure how he makes his assessment as he didn’t try to turn anything on.

There’s not much else we can do for now so, it’s 73F so we head out with our cart and played 9 nine holes. It’s great to be out again! No one around so it’s like we are on our own golf course!

We played a full 18 on Saturday. The course is still in great shape, there is still some green in the fairways and the greens and tees have been over seeded. We played only 3 holes on Sunday, it was too cold! Back to the rig and did more research on TVs, HD satellite and try to source a DVD recorder. They are hard to find in the retail stores or online.

There’s not much else to mention, golf, work and get our electronic stuff straightened out. Hope all is well where ever you are.

Nothing is Free

Monday AM, with sad hearts, we leave our friends from the mountains of Georgia! We had a great time with lots of laughs and good times and we met very nice people along the way. Now we are back in the truck and heading on down the road to our golf hosting assignment at Meadow Links Golf Club in Ft Gaines Ga. The trip was uneventful and familiar and as the saying goes, we have been down this road before! We pass through Columbus making very good time and suspect to be on our ‘free’ site before 3 PM. Once we’re past Georgetown, Ga, we are in familiar Spanish moss country. The moss hangs in the trees, swaying with the breeze and brings a sense of calm.
The greens crew is just wrapping up their day as we arrive at the shop. We stop to exchange greetings then move onto our site. Everything looks exactly the way we left it 2 years ago – nothing changes sometimes. The rig is level, the water, electric and sewer are connected. The batteries are very low when we left Jasper so we’re glad to have power, let’s go inside to finish setting up! The heat pump comes on and there is a very large spark and the Microwave lights up like a Christmas tree but neither of us touched it! Wow, we both jumped about a foot! I grab my volt meter and measure 199 volts – should be 120 – on one of the Kitchen outlets. What is going on? Before we could go outside and kill the juice, we notice that other items are not working! Holy crap, we’ve had a power surge and most of our electronics have been fried!

Outside, I disconnect the 50Amp cable we use for shore power and check things with the volt meter. I get weird readings, 177 volts on one leg of the 50A 240V circuit and only 60 volts on the other. No continuity between ground and neutral so that’s good. What happened? Now both legs on the 50A circuit read the same! What is going on here? I check again and still okay so now what. I’m afraid to plug back in but the damage is already done. Our batteries are down to 12.1 volts – way to low to use many lights so it will be a ‘dark night’ for us. I’ve got to get the batteries charged! The converter was one of those devices that gave out a lot of smoke when it had its last cough! So, off to Camping World in Dothan, Al to get a new converter so we can remove the old one and install a new one tomorrow. I could run an extension cord to the shop if we can’t get the electricity straightened out – we need those batteries for lights tomorrow night. So off to Dothan we go (75 minute drive), we might as well get our weeks supply of grub in and maybe lots of adult beverages are required considering the way our stay here has started! Oh yeah, lets stop for dinner because neither one of us is interested in cooking, we just want to cry! What a start!
At Camping World, I get another rude awaking – over $300 bucks for a converter! Ouch, I didn’t want to buy the store, just a converter! Of course, they are located on the shelf right below the surge protection devices. Is that another message? Let’s go eat. Spending these bucks makes us hungry! It’s a quiet ride back to the rig, we’re both tired and know that if we had purchased that surge protector years ago when we talked about it, we would be happier today! We’re also very despondent!

Wouldn’t you know it, the sun did come up in the east again and another day has started. We would love a do over of yesterday but I’m not sure we would have done anything differently. I tested the power and it looked good until a load was applied then zap!

The challenges today are to get a reliable power source, check the shore power cable, the breaker panel and the house wiring for problems, replace the converter and determine what electronics devices have gasped their last gasp! The batteries are still a concern so I’ll change that first and run an extension cord to the shop – about 125 feet. At that distance and with our luck, I’ll melt the extension cord! The converter swap goes without a hitch but I can’t round up enough extension cords, I’m about 20 feet short so now onto the reliable power item.

I check the electric pedestal again and all looks good – again! I plug the shops battery charger in the 120V GFCI and wow, the voltages go haywire again. Remove the charger and back to normal! Hummmm, the shop ‘jack of all trades’ suggested it is an open neutral leg. He opens the pedestal and everything looks ok from there so the power company has to be called. It’s mid afternoon now so Barb & I start looking at what has become recyclable materials! The list includes: 2 TVs, 2 satellite receivers, 1 DVR, 1 power bar with surge protection (apparently it didn’t work) and our microwave! Who lives without a microwave? Hey, maybe it is just fuses! Take all the junk out of the cabinets, remove the covers and list the fuses – of course I don’t have any of these sizes so off to Radio Shack in Ft Gaines. $11.00 later (you just know you can’t buy 1 or 2, you have to take the pack of six!) we are on our way back with the possible fix to turn the junk back into our electronics! Yes, this could be a fairy tale!

When we return, do you believe it, the power guys are there with their bucket truck and all! Before we got back, they checked the pedestal and said all was good but the shop ‘jack of all trades’ showed them the error of their judgments by placing a load on the GFCI – we’re glad he was around to help! Up, up and away, the power guys start checking the feed coming from the transformer. He pulls on the centre leg (I’m assuming he knew which one was the neutral) and the wire moved in the crimp connector! He said, “I’m going to re-crimp these lines to make sure we found the problem”! 15 minutes later, he’s done and we have good electricity again! Now that everyone has tidied up and gone on their way, I check the batteries and they are still not charging! The output of the new converter reads 13.6V! Now what? Maybe they are so low that they will take over night to show any improvement.

Barb & I try the new fuses in all the blown out units and guess what, they are still blown out and now I have fewer fuses to store! What a day! Lot’s of wheel spinning but at least we have electricity, just nothing to operate with it! I don’t know how but the surge missed the heat pump, electric water heater and the fridge! Now that’s good luck! Another quiet evening without our main entertainment stuff so we play some cards, write in diaries and blogs and early to bed!

We hope your days are better than we’ve had and that you are well wherever you are.

A Weekend in the Georgia Mountains

Friday morning, besides being Black Friday here in the USA also brought us cooler weather here in the Georgia mountains. Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days for US consumers! We tried to stay away from shops but lost that battle!

The 4 of us drove over to Amicalola Falls State Park which is only 15 or so miles as the crow flies but for us, it was close to an hours drive. The twists and turns and up and downs proved very scenic and at this time of the year, the views are more prominent with no leaves on the trees! We arrived at the base of the falls and took time for some photo ops and a little walk about. It was too cool to get too serious about hiking anywhere. Next, we drove to the top – there is a hiking trail up but the sign said ‘Old Canadians’ not allowed! Why aren’t the views of a falls as good from the top? Anyway, next we drove through the campground which was nearly full – I can not imagine pulling our rig up here let alone getting it down. It would be exciting!

From here we wound our way around to the Frogtown Winery for some taste testing! Remember, it is Black Friday and many people must have our idea – too many at the bar for tasting so we found a table and had lunch! The crowd cleared enough for us to squeeze in and had a blast tasting and kibitzing with each other and the bar maid!

Time to move on and now this is where sneaky people insert a little shopping! We arrived at Dahlonega, the site of the first US gold rush in 1828. I’m sure we went there for the historical value and the shops just got in our way! All kidding aside, it is a cutsie little town that surrounds the courthouse square with boutiques and restaurants. All the tress around the square are full of thousands of mini lights. Tis the season here! This is the times when we miss being home at Christmas, shopping and enjoying the festive air! I’m sure I’ll get over it when we step outside to tee it up in the mid 60’sF. It was fun anyway and we even contributed to the town’s economy!
It was nearing dark and that makes it a little more exciting to drive these mountain roads! Back to the villa as happy hour approaches and more time for some Mexican Train! A great day outing was had by all except for Sassy, Lydia’s dog was under the weather when we returned – she must have missed us or is giving us the cold shoulder for leaving her behind! Sassy loves to fetch. She has a stuffed squirrel, stuffed bear and a couple of balls. She will play with anyone that takes the time to throw her toy. When she’s tired, she’ll take a break but no break for you! She’s cute but like any other dog, they eat and then they poop and someone has to pick that up!

On Saturday, we were to play golf but the cold air was buffeted with some wind and made it even cooler so onto plan B. We started out to visit the Kennesaw Museum but made a stop for fabrics. Jim & I went into Golf Smith, wandered aimlessly and stepped into the practice area to hit some of the new demo clubs available to us. You name it, we hit it! After we loosened up, we met up with the ladies and stopped in for lunch and topped up our fluid levels! Unfortunately, it got to late for the museum so back to the Villa for more Train! The Museum will have to wait for another trip. We sure had another great day, with our friends, enjoying their Georgia area.

Ok, so Sunday is our fall back plan for golf! Wouldn’t you know it, colder today with even more breeze! Our alternative is to go to the club house for brunch! If you can’t golf, let’s eat! After gorging ourselves, Jim & I dropped Barb & Lydia off at the Villa while we ran some errands in town. We came back to watch our video of our Alaska trip in 2009 then onto some serious Mexican Train. We took it easy the rest of the day as we planned to leave Monday AM – truth be known, the cold chased us out!

We had a wonderful time visiting with Jim & Lydia, meeting their family and sharing in their Thanksgiving. It’s a good thing they don’t have full hook ups or they might have trouble getting rid of us!

We hope all is well wherever you are and you are enjoying this festive holiday season.

Honorary Georgians

In the morning, we continue along GA 53 enroute to Jasper to meet Jim & Lydia at the Home Depot for escort to their community of Bent Tree. Yes, it is a small mountain town. We were to call Jim when we got to Home Depot and he would drive the 9 miles to meet us and guide us back to where we’ll store the trailer. Well, I called him and he said hang on, he had to exit the store for better cell reception. Once outside, he said “Hey, I see you”! Wait a few minutes and I’ll be right there – they were at the grocery store next door!

After a happy and warm reception, we follow them back to their community at Bent Tree and stored the rig at the base of their mountain! We loaded up their car with our luggage and headed off to their Villa! We had a great time sitting and chatting and catching up with each other since we last saw them last December. We did see them at the rally in Goshen in Sept but not like this. It was great! Jim does stained glass artistry and he made us a little gift of the Canadian flag – that was very nice!

Thursday, we were invited to join Jim & Lydia at their daughter’s home for a Georgian family Thanksgiving. As we arrived at David and Melanie’s, we were greeted with open arms and warm welcomes from all. It made us feel great. David was cooking 2 turkeys, one in the oven rotisserie and one on the ‘Green Egg’ grill  and in case anyone was hungry, he had a turkey breast roast in another oven! Oh, and did I mention that football was on every TV? They were burglarized just weeks before Thankgiving so he had to re-new his entertainment systems before Thursday.

I’m sure you can tell from above that they have an enormous kitchen. You could have 20 people in it preparing and cooking with room to spare! We had a terrific time meeting all the family and kids. Before dinner was called, we gathered in the great room/kitchen for a surprise Proclamation, read by Jim and applauded by all! We were presented with the state of Georgia flag and as honoree Georgians, were invited to sit with them for dinner – what fun, it blew Barb & I away!

Dinner was superb! Just like at home, the adults seated at one table and the kids were at another. The noise level was an indication that everyone was having a good time – even with strangers in their midst and I’m sure some of you will agree that we are stranger than most! Soon everyone was drifting to the couches and arm chairs, fully satisfied from dinner and ready for football or a snooze! Maggie, David’s mom, gave a wonderful hanging which she had personalized for each person and Melanie presented everyone with a tree ornament, including us. How thrilling and how a part of the day we felt, we appreciated the opportunity to meet and get to know everyone. 

After a late night home, we sat and chatted some more until the sand man carried us all away.

Hope all is well there…..