Sunday, December 11, 2011

'11/#56 Big News Just Not Much News

I can't seem to find the time or material to write on a regular basis. We are busy but that is all...just busy. Not too much excitement or stuff that I think is worth blogging about. We have gotten together with some friends & we are just about ready for Christmas but so is everyone else. So what do I write about?

Well we did get sick about 2 weeks ago. Mary was a lot sicker than I was but the timing couldn't have been worse. The epidemic started just before our new grandson was born. Of course that meant that we couldn't go see him. Being sick & denied the chance to see him was more than we wanted to deal with but it did give us incentive to get well. We did finally get to hold the little guy 6 days after he was born & it was worth the wait. We are the proud grandparents to Jayden Joseph born 12/2 & weighing in at 8lb 12oz. Mom & baby are doing great & Grandmommy & Granddaddy are bragging about grandchild #6 to anyone who will listen & stand still long enough for us to show pictures.

We are getting ready for Christmas here in the park. Mary is helping out with the Christmas dinner & I am working on some decorations. In between we are decorating our home & wrapping presents. This summer was spent doing more than sight seeing & working at Dollywood. We also did just about all our Christmas shopping. In fact, we considered our shopping done by the time we got back to Florida. That doesn't mean we didn't pick up a few things here & there once we got back, it just means that there is time left on the calender & money left in the bank. Oh well....'tis the season.

Well that brings everyone up to date, so until next time I have something to blog about, good night from our home in Largo because......

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

'11/#55 I'm Trying,REALLY!

Good grief, where does the time go? 2 weeks without a blog! We have been busy but somehow there doesn't seem to be that much to write about. With park activities, friends & family, plus the holidays coming it just seems to be a never ending list of minuscule chores to be done. Well let's see if I can bring everyone up to date.

The first bit of excitement was our annual physicals. Whoop-de-do! I always look forward to the yearly poke-n-prod & swab-n-stick. After conditional bills of health(wait for lab results & lose some weight) we couldn't wait for the retiree luncheon. There were about 20 of us "postal survivors" that got together to catch up on recent escapades & coworkers still at the PO. Plans were made to get together after the holidays which works out great for us since we will be heading out of FL a little earl er this year. Over the weekend one of our friends from the PO came to visit us at the RV park. He had recently bought a classic Airstream & wanted to take it somewhere & show it off. We had a blast talking RV's with him & he had a great time showing it off to all our friends in the park. That was enough for that week.

The following week was just as busy. First there was lunch with the Red Hats Ladies & Romeos. Everyone knows what the Red Hats are....well the Romeos are men's answer to the Red Hats. ROMEO stands for "Retired Old Men Enjoying Ourselves". We usually wind up at Wing House or Mugs-n-Jugs just because we can. Hot wings, cold beer, & pretty girls. Us old guys can figure out what to do with at least 2 out of 3 of these. That night we went out to dinner wit hour good friends from IN to celebrate Mary's 50th birthday. No, I am not in trouble for telling her age. To her it is just a number & she is proud of it. The next day Jessie & Jim took us out for birthday breakfast.It was nice to sit down with them & just talk. Let's see that brings us to Friday which means we met up with Victor & Melissa for lunch. Again it was nice to catch up with friends.

Saturday was the first Thanksgiving dinner. Well it was actually a pre-Thanksgiving dinner. The residents in the park like to have a pre dinner the Saturday before the holiday because so many of them leave to be with friends & family. This way we can have it both ways, with family & with our neighbors. After eating too much, as is tradition, we come to Sunday & off to dinner again with friends for my birthday. Lots of good food & yet I am looking forward to a simple meal at home for a few days. After all the real holiday hasn't arrived yet.

Well my palate for simple foods is going to bed now in our home in Largo FL because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone from both of us!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

'11/#54 We're Baaack!!!

I can't believe it's been almost 2 weeks since my last blog. I knew time was going to fly by but this is ridiculous. It's not like nothing's been going on. In fact so much has been happening I can't seem to find the time. Well lets see if I can catch up.

We rolled into Largo on Saturday the 29th & tried to get all hooked up. What should have taken an hour managed to take almost 4 hours. We backed in in 1 shot, everything worked fine, & there were no mechanical or utility snags, so what happened? Well you can't sneak in with a 40 foot trailer so everyone knew we had arrived. That meant that we were overwhelmed with greetings, hand shakes, & hugs. Finally we were hooked up, had dinner, & called it a night. I'm not sure what happened the rest of the week but the rig still hasn't been washed & we haven't set up our outside living area.

The new regime is taking over in the trailer park. President Norma & vice-president Mary are jumping in with both feet & like good husbands John & I are being supportive. We show up & help whenever asked & are helping to make the park a better place to winter. Mary's enthusiasm can sometimes get the better of her & I will tag along until I can't stand it any more. I am again the Bingo caller this year while Mary is dedicating herself to getting a new Bingo machine for the park. I know some of her fund raising ideas but I am sure there are more that I don't want to know about.

During this time we managed to track down most of the kids & grand kids. Talk about getting welcomed home. It was better than any hero's welcome. The grand kids are already asking when we are coming to their school so that is something else we have to fit in our busy schedule. We have birthdays coming up, then Thanksgiving, & Christmas so we will be busy then next 2 months.

We have a friend coming to visit this weekend & Friday is the first Bingo of the season. Hopefully I will get more done around here & find the time to blog about it from our home here in Largo FL because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Friday, October 28, 2011

'11/#53 Soon, Soon, Not Soon Enough

One more night here in Port St Lucie & then we are headed "home". We have had a great time here with the uncles. Stories told & retold, cooking, & of course eating filled most of the time. Mary helped Uncle Don with his garden & enjoyed getting her hands dirty. We enjoy cooking & were able to cook some meals they might not cook for themselves while making sure that there was enough to fill the freezer. As much as we enjoy doing this for them they appreciate it even more, but the best part is just spending time with them.

The weather here is turning for the worse today. With the remnants of hurricane Rina coming through we are expecting some rain tonight & tomorrow morning. Since it is not fun hooking up in the rain I am getting as much done as I can now. Tanks have been dumped & all the hoses are put away. We will run off our holding tanks for the next 2 days. The only things we will have left to do is bring in the slides, stow the electric cord & hook up the truck. Then we will be on our way.

I know it is just 2 more days but I can't wait to get back to the kids, grand kids, & all our friends. Apparently they are as excited as we are. Texts have been flying about like "where are you?" & "when will you be here?" & the heart tugging "we miss you". Even our 8year old granddaughter is keeping track. When she got the post card from St Augustine she ran to the map & announced to everyone "THEY'RE HERE!!!! They're in FL & will be back soon!!!!!!!!". It's nice to know they are as excited as we are.

Well tonight will be our last dinner with the uncles before moving on & we have to get ready to head over there. So I will sign off now in my last blog from our home in Port St Lucie because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Sunday, October 23, 2011

'11/#52 The Last Leg

Our time in St Augustine is over & we will be moving on to our last stop before arriving at our home base for the winter. We have had an awesome time as we always do. Good food, good friends, & good times seems to be the theme of our life on the road. We met up with some friends who live here permanently after several years on the road. They took us to lunch at a very nice restaurant & we finally had some real fresh seafood. As much as we enjoyed our time in Tennessee I will say that they do not know much about seafood. The best seafood we had there was from Long John Silvers. If you want fish in TN you had better get used to catfish & not much else.

The next day we took the motorcycle down to Daytona Beach. We made a quick & expensive stop at J&P cycles for some add-ons to make the bike more comfortable for both of us. Then we rode into Daytona. We just missed Biketoberfest & were glad. It sounds like fun but we aren't into the bar-hopping bike rallies. After a few pictures & a postcard or two we headed back towards St Augustine but this time we stayed off the interstate & took the beach road(A1A) to find Betty's A1A Cafe. It was recommended for it's fresh fish, lobster, & onion rings. It lived up to it's reputation & we left stuffed & satisfied for the rest of the ride home, but first across the street for a quick walk on the beach & some pictures of the Atlantic Ocean. By the time we got home the sun was going down & it started to get chilly so our timing was just right.

The next day we rode into St Augustine & walked through the town. As the oldest town in America the historic district is all within walking distance as most of the original settlers also walked as their only means of transportation. St George Street is all original structures now used for store fronts, restaurants, & historical preservation. The water front is dominated by the Bridge of Lions & the sail boats moored in the harbor. There are also more old homes that are now bed & breakfast inns & of course the romantic horse drawn carriages that will take you on tours throughout the city. For dinner we stopped in at Harry's & dined outside from their Louisiana style menu. This a regular stop for us & we are never disappointed.

I don't know how but I think I lost a day. All I know is that Saturday we got up & went to the flea market that is next to the RV park we are staying in. Some browsing, some shopping, some haggling, & we left with a few bargains that we felt we just couldn't pass up. Some might call it junk but as they say "one man's junk is another man's treasure".

Sunday was our last day here so we decided to do something different. We have seen St Augustine many times & wanted to see it differently. So we took a tour boat that cruised the harbor, the inlet, past the lighthouse, & under the Bridge of Lions. The weather was beautiful & we saw the city from another point of view. As a bonus we saw several pairs of dolphins cavorting in the harbor. It seems that this is the time of year that dolphins get frisky & make little dolphins. It was time to head home.

We loaded the motorcycle & had some dinner. Then we did some laundry. I know, it seems like chores always pop up when we are having fun but these things don't take care of themselves, but as I have said before, we aren't on vacation this is our lifestyle, warts & all. Also Mary has asked me to let everyone know that she is still trying to catch up with her pics on FB. We seem to take them faster than she can post them.Tomorrow we hit the road for Port St Lucie. We will spend some time there with the uncles before we turn west on the final leg of our journey. So I will say goodnight for the last time from our home in St Augustine because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

'11/#51 We're On Our Way!

Sunday morning we were up early in anticipation of hitting the road. After breakfast we hooked up & were on the road just a little later than we had hoped. I was wide awake with excitement but I think Mary was a little tired from a restless night thinking about getting home. All I know is an hour down the road she took a nap. It was an easy day of driving. All interstate over, around, & through the mountains of east Tennessee & western North Carolina allowed Mary to keep shooting pictures of all the fall colors. On through South Carolina & into Georgia we stopped for the night in Savannah at a Camping World. Just an easy 389 mile jaunt down the road.

The next morning we got up & shopped at Camping World. I needed a part for the RV & as usual we managed to find a few things we just couldn't live without. We went down the road a ways & stopped for breakfast. We weren't in a hurry with less than 200 miles to go to our next destination....St Augustine FL. We are returning to the scene of the crime, also known as the honeymoon. It's not our anniversary but any time we pass near St Augustine we have to stop. We have friends here we will see but mostly we will spend our time doing "just-the-two-of-us" romantic stuff. There are some restaurants we always go to when we visit & the city is just a wonderful & romantic place for us. The time will fly by & we will be on our way again soon.

On another note Mary has asked me to let everyone know that she will be catching up on her photos. Keep an eye out on Facebook for pictures of fall, our trip, & the rest of our adventures. So I will say goodnight from our home in St Augustine because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, October 15, 2011

'11/#50 Ta Ta Tennessee

Well this is it. The last day, the last night, & the last blog from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Tomorrow we hit the road for Florida, friends, & family. Everything is packed away & the check lists have been checked so we are ready. We took care of everything to leave Dollywood. Uniforms got turned in & all our IDs/name tags/parking permits so that our final paychecks would be released. We may have taken care of everything but Dollywood had other plans. They lost our ID badges but still release my paycheck while holding Mary's. Then they couldn't find our name tags. Nobody knew who to call or what to do. The incompetence made me home sick for the Post Office. We finally got our checks & bid adieu to Dollywood.

Today we got everything ready. Mary cleaned & put things away while I emptied our holding tanks. Mary took some of her plants to one of the ladies she had befriended. When she got their she smelled propane in the trailer & quickly got the windows opened. They shut off the gas & got the dogs out. The dogs had already started to show effects from the propane but bounced back right away. It was fortunate that Mary went there when she did because who knows what could have happened. Whether propane poisoning or explosion a disaster was avoided.

Tomorrow we will get up early & go out to breakfast. It will be our last trip to the plethora of pancake houses in Pigeon Forge. Then back to the RV park,hook up, & we are on the road. We plan to boondock one night & arrive in St Augustine on Monday. We will spend a few days there before moving on closer to "home" as in Largo FL. So I will say our last goodnight from our home in Pigeon Forge because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, October 8, 2011

'11/#49 I Must Be Doing Something Wrong

I have said more than once that we are short timers. I have counted down the weeks. I have counted down the days. And tomorrow is our last day of work at Dollywood. So why am I so tired? This isn't new to me...I've been a short timer before. So why am I working so hard at a job I plan never to return to? There can be only 1 of 2 explanations. Either I am so conscientious about my job or I really like my coworkers & don't want to screw them over. Well I have made some very good friends so I will lean towards the later.

Well we have one more day at Reds & then one more week before we hit the road. This week will fly by so we must buckle down to get everything done. The hardest part will be saying goodbye to all our new friends. My guess is there will be tears shed along with the hugs, handshakes, & promises to stay in touch. That is the bitter part of the bitter/sweet departure.

The sweet part is getting to see the grandkids again. It has been way too long & we have the bonus of the arrival of a new grandbaby. We will see all of our kids, our friends, & look forward to the arrival of all our fellow snowbirds from all parts north. It is all part of our case of hitch-itch & will will scratch the itch as soon as the wheels start rolling.

So this is the final week of blogs from our home in Tennessee because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

'11/#48 Does A Bear Poop In The Woods?

Today we spent the day out looking for water falls. The leaves are also changing so the cameras are click, click, clinking their little hearts out. The weather was beautiful & is was shaping up to be a wonderful day. As I was driving the twisting mountain roads there was a sudden squeal accompanied by OOO, OOO, OOO from the passenger seat. Mary was wide eyed, hopping in her seat, & pointing toward the river. Finally one word squeaked past her lips.....bbbbbbear!!!!!!! Sure enough there was a bear swimming across the river. Then he crawled up the river bank toward the road. Mary snaps out of shock & grabs the camera as he crosses the road. I have stopped the truck & grabbed my camera by the time the bear makes it across the road. Now this side of the road has a narrow grass shoulder & a vertical rock wall so the bear is a little frazzled. He then turns to the wall & proceeds to climb straight up using his claws & the vines. We were so close we could hear his claws scratching on the rocks. By the time he was gone into the woods Mary was almost hyperventilating & made me rethink the question. It is now "Does a bear make a tourist poop in her pants?". Well this time maybe just a little.

This week we have more friends visiting. We are really very fortunate that we have so many good friends. Another day showing guests around Dollywood & one more night at the Stampede. It is a great feeling being able to show our friends a good time. When our friends leave we only have a little over week before we hit the road.

That means just 3 more days of work. Then there will be the goodbyes with all of our new friends from Reds. Again we are very lucky to be able to make such good friends wherever we go. We will have to close out all our work & banking business as well as get the rig ready before we go. Time is going to fly by.

So I am going to say good night & make sure Mary is not suffering any lasting effects from her near-bear encounter from our home here in the bear infested Smokys because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Sunday, October 2, 2011

'11/#47 Signs That It Is Almost Time

Time is getting short here in Pigeon Forge & as expected it is going by quickly. The week got off to a slow start. Monday Mary woke up not feeling well. She had been dragging her butt for a couple of days & it finally caught up with her. She spent the day in bed while I took care of some projects that needed to be done before we leave. I also did some errand running & just relaxed. Tuesday Mary was feeling much better. I let her sleep in & when we got up we did some laundry. Later on we went to one of the dinner shows on our Dollywood perks list. This one was called The Hatfields & McCoys. The show was a music filled "feud"/comedy that followed the usual fried chicken &/or B-B-Q with the appropriate sides. The show was corny & the food was so-so but it was almost free. We usually have to pay for all or part of the dinner while the show is free when we take advantage of the perks.

Wednesday we had some running around to do. I needed to have my glasses adjusted & the nearest Lenscrafters is in Knoxville some 25 miles away. As built up as Pigeon Forge/Sevierville has become there still is very little that doesn't pertain to the tourist industry. While at the mall Mary did some more "baby" shopping. She is just loving this grandmommy thing. She also found some real bargains for all the kids & managed to make our Christmas shopping almost complete. On the way back we stopped at Walmart & a couple of gift shops. All the tourist attractions are decorating for the fall harvest so there were numerous stops for the obligatory photo-ops. Then it was on to The Comedy Barn. Promoted as wholesome family entertainment it lived up to the claim & was "laugh 'til it hurts" funny. Again it was free as a "Dolly" perk. We tried adding up all the perks we have taken advantage of & figure we have saved at least $2000. Once we leave here I'm sure I will come up with a more accurate total.

The seasons are starting to change for REAL! Highs the past 2 days have been near 60deg & the lows have hovered near 40deg. That means the heat is on & the electric blanket is out. It also means it is time to head for Florida. Hitch-itch is getting stronger, the weather is getting colder, & most importantly we miss the grandkids. By my calculations we will be on the road in less than 2 weeks & will arrive "home" by November 1st. Yes that calculates to 2 weeks to travel some 700 miles. We are making some stops on the way to see friends, family, & just sight-see on the way. That is the joy of being retired & living the RV lifestyle.

Well we have more chores to do & more perks to take advantage of so I will say so long for now from our home in Tennessee because....

Home is where we park it,
Fran k & Mary

Sunday, September 25, 2011

'11/#46 Good, Great, & Even Better News

Well we have been as busy as I had predicted, even only working 3 days this week. The rig needed to go in the shop for some adjustments to the suspension. It was a job that the mobile tech couldn't take care of so we had to unhook the water, sewer, & electric then hook up the truck & head on down to the shop. As we were driving with the trailer behind us our "hitch-itch" flared up again. It was tempting to just keep on driving on down the road to our next destination but we have some things to take care of first. Anyway, the rig went into the shop & was taken care of. The adjustments worked just as I had planned & that was good news. The bill was less than I had expected & that was even better news. Again as we headed home our minds wandered to travel on the open road but first things first. Before we backed in to our site we loaded my motorcycle since we weren't planning on using it much & it will simplify our leaving in a couple of weeks.

Thursday Mary had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon to follow up on her MRI results. It seems that the fracture is healing nicely & there is some straining, inflammation, & minor tissue tearing that is causing her pain. It is also something that will heal up with time & some therapy but NO cast. That news was the best we could have heard so we were very happy. Mary has also promised to NEVER fall again. I know she will try but accidents will happen.

We work this weekend & then have 4 days off. Dollywood is going to be crazy these few days so we will enjoy the rest of the week. We also figured that we only have to work 6 more days over the next 2 weeks so we know we will be on the road soon. Our days off are filling up quickly so we can take advantage of the perks we get while working in the "Wood" before we leave.

Well, we are getting ready for work so I will sign off now from our home near Dollywood in Pigeon Forge because ......

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, September 19, 2011

'11/#45 Short Timin'

The summer has flown by & it's hard to believe we will be on the road in just 4 short weeks. With only 2 more weeks of work, more friends coming to visit, & things to do before we hit the road the time will be gone before we know it. Add in doctors visits to get Mary all healed up I guess it will be kind of hectic. Ahhh, life on the road as a full time RVer.

Our friend from the PO came & introduced us to her husband. We all got along & had a good time. We couldn't stay with them at Dollywood because of a previous commitment but promises were made to keep in touch. With DW closed on Tuesdays & Thursdays we decided to do something by ourselves. There is a new attraction that opened just 3 weeks ago. It is called the Lumberjack Feud. Lets call it dinner theater with a lumberjack competition theme. As Dolly employees we got a discount. Another perk for working in the "Wood". It was entertaining, the food was good, & we got to enjoy a night out.

As I said earlier we will be leaving soon. We are getting a case of "hitch-itch" & need to get the wheels rolling. Also I believe we may have stayed a little too long here with the mountain folk. Mary's twang is getting a little more pronounced & it is getting noticed by more & more people. It has even gotten to the point that it bothers her & she can't stop it. Hopefully once we get back to FL she will have that same sweet mildly southern accent that she denies having.

Well I will call it a night & Mary will say g'night y'all from our home in Tennessee because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

'11/#44 Me & Gimpy Doin' Our Best

As we hoped everyone had a good time this weekend. In spite of Mary's hand hurting & "Stampeding" again we really enjoyed spending time with our friends. The best part about old friends is meeting new friends & that is what we did. Actually friends this good are really family. Not relatives but family. These are people you care about & know they care about you, not because they are supposed to but because they want to. We did the Dollywood thing after the Stampede & before we knew it it was time for our friends to leave.

Just the other day Mary was contacted by an old friend from the PO who had transferred out of state years ago. She was coming to Pigeon Forge & wanted to get together. We will be going back to Dollywood. I know I sound like I am complaining but it really is fun to take friends to the park & the Stampede. Our perks let us do more & we get to act like "big-shots"! And the best thing is we get to do something nice for our friends.

Monday we went on our train ride through the Nantahala Gorge. We had a really good time. It is not often that we get to ride on a "real" train. I am not talking about the trains that run around Dollywood or Disney or any other private property. I am talking about a train that is still running on the tracks it used when it was used for transportation & commerce. The Great Smoky Mountain RR hauled people, lumber, & minerals into & out of the Smoky Mountains. The train has been running as a tourist excursion since 1988 & provides a view of the Smokys that you don't see from the road. The ride back was relaxing The clickity-clack of the trains wheels was so rhythmic that Mary fell asleep. The fact that she hasn't slept well since hurting her hand helped. She looked so cute that I & our fellow passengers just let her sleep. We also chuckled a little while I took a few pictures of "sleeping beauty".

It was a long day & we called it a night. Tomorrow was going to be an early morning for Mary's follow-up with the doctor. We saw the doctor & a possible fracture was found. Now there was a referral to an orthopedic. There was an appointment that afternoon but we had to go into Knoxville. The ortho didn't like the x-rays so he has ordered an MRI. We are waiting for workers-comp to schedule that. In the meantime our friend from the PO arrived from Indiana with her husband. We met for dinner & made plans for the next day.

I will close & hope Mary hears the clickity-clack that will put her to sleep here in our home in Tennessee because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Friday, September 9, 2011

'11/#43 Crazy Times & Good Times

Let's see, what's new? Well Mary saw the workers comp chick(note tone of disgust) who sent her to the Dr. The doc prescribed her with drugs for the pain & sent her back to work because Dollywood said "they would find work for her". This sounds a lot like the Post Office! The next day Mary took the drugs as prescribed & went to work. By the time we got to work the drugs had kicked in & she was staggering like a drunk. Of course the workers comp chick said she couldn't work like this. She also told Mary not to take the drugs "prescribed by the doctor" & prescribed or suggested alternative OTC drugs. I guess she is a workers comp chick/doctor. Again it sounds a lot like the PO. After Mary, in her drugged stupor, told this broad(more disgust)that she sucked she was sent home where she belonged in the first place. So much for finding work for her.

That evening, after the drugs wore off, I took her out to dinner. Some of the crew were meeting for pizza after work as a farewell to Cassidy, one of the guys from Red's who is moving on to a better & more stable job. It also let everyone see that Mary was OK. We had a good time but Mary was still a little light headed so we went home right after dinner. The next day we woke up, had some breakfast, & Mary went back to bed. These must be some good drugs! Up at 9:30am, back to bed by 11am. I did some wood carving, e-mailing, a little TV, some dinner, & I finally was able to get her up at 9:30pm! She ate a little & it was back to bed by 1am. All this rest with all the drugs & her wrist was still hurting. She goes back to the doctor next week & we will see what's up at that time.

This weekend we have friends coming to see us & do the "Dolly" thing. We are looking forward to spending time with our friend who also just happens to be our family doctor. THIS is one special doctor. She is also one special friend so I know it will be fun. We have the next week off & if Mary is up to it(that means awake)we hope to take the train ride I spoke about previously in the blog.

So l will bid all adieu as we plan to relax & have some fun here in our home in TN because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

'11/#42 Just A Short "She is All Right"

The word has gotten out that Mary had fallen & was taken to the hospital. We want to let everyone know that she is going to be just fine. She has a wrist sprain & a severely bruised hip. Yes it happened at Dollywood while we were working in Red's Drive-In. The ambulance & hospital visit were primarily a precaution in case she was seriously hurt. Anytime ambulance & ER are used in the same sentence people think the worst, but as is often the case it was not. Mary will be sore for a little while & won't be working for the next week or so anyway because we have friends coming to town. The time off & good friends will be the best medicine for her.

Again we want to thank everyone in our Red's "family" for their help when Mary got hurt. Also we want to thank them & everyone else for their concern, well wishes, & prayers. We are truly fortunate to have so many & such good friends. We don't want to comment anymore on the incident right now. Just join us in being relieved that it didn't turn out any worse.

Again, THANK-YOU to everyone from our home here in Pigeon Forge because......

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, September 3, 2011

'11/#41 Winding Down

We are back into our routine for the next few weeks. One month from now we will be done at Dollywood & shortly after that we will start our migration to Florida. Mary has planned several outings & we still have some friends coming to visit. This week we will work 4 days & then be off for a whole week.

Work is different lately. With the peak season over the park is closed 2 days a week. Attendance is way down so we are very slow at Red's & they are cutting hours across the board. With hours being cut some of the work campers are getting ready to leave. Add to that the locals are looking for jobs that will give them more hours & stability. We are enjoying the cut in hours & plan on staying until the first week of October.

Later on this week we have friends from FL visiting. They will only be here 3 days so we have planned things out to make the most of their time. After they leave Mary has booked us on a train ride through the Smokys. Yes a train! This is an antique train through parts of the mountains where the roads don't go. We will travel over the Nantahala Gorge. I can spell it but I can't say it. The best part is it is FREE! Another perk thanks to Dolly. In a couple of weeks will we take another train ride someplace else I can't pronounce.

On another note, have been doing a little more of my wood carving. In the starter kit I got there were several beginner projects. I've just finished carving a little boot. Yep a boot. I don't know what I'm going to do with it but I think it came out pretty decent & will try the nativity set next. For now I will let the wood chips fly, work at Dolly's, visit with friends, & see more of the beautiful Smokys from our home in TN because.....

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

Thursday, September 1, 2011

'11/#40 A Good Tired

We worked out 2 days in the "Wood" & made plans to ride the bikes to Charlotte NC. Yes Mary did talk about selling her bike & no she didn't change her mind. It turned out that a friend of ours wanted a motorcycle & his wife wanted to buy it for him. I guess there are other awesome wives out there. That was how I got my bike. Plans were made for us to drop the bike off on our way back to Florida.

With our reduced work schedule we had a crazy thought. What if we got the bike to Bob early? Mary contacted Terri with our idea & she was all for it so she could surprise hubby with what he already knew he was getting. Monday morning we headed out starting with a ride through the Smoky Mountain Park. We stopped in Waynesville NC to see a friend. Two years ago we spent a month at his RV park while we enjoyed the Blue Ridge Parkway. We figured that we were about an hour into our 5 hour trip. Kenny & all the locals said we had a good 6-7 hours to go.
What the ?!?!?! The map planner said it was only 4 1/2 hours! Have we been going the wrong direction for the last hour??? We stopped for gas and asked some guy what he thought. Again he said about 6 hours, but after telling him the route I was taking he said it should only be about 3 hours. How do these people plan there trips? Do they get PAID by the mile? Well we left with hopes that the map software was right.

After about 2 more hours, with a stop for lunch, we stopped to rest & gas up while we were there. The guy at the gas station said we had about an hour to go. After chatting with the Florida transplant & flexing all our muscles & joints we hit the last stretch of our journey. An hour later we were on the bypass around Charlotte. Of course we hit it just as rush hour was peaking. It wasn't as bad as I've seen in NY, Atlanta, or Tampa but there was some stop & go traffic. By the time we got to our exit Mary's hands were bothering her & she was sure she had made the right decision to sell her bike. We got to Bob & Terri's, pulled into the driveway, & leaned on the horns. Terri was out in a second with the camera & Bob came out wondering what was going on. Well he looked like it was Christmas morning & Santa got his letter.

After the usual greetings Bob disappeared & reappeared in jeans with a brand new helmet ready to go for a ride. A quick spin around he neighborhood & he had to park it so we could all get some dinner. I think there might have been a little pout about parking it but mostly there was a smile that he couldn't wipe off his face. We stayed a couple of days enjoying good friends before we had to turn around & head for home.

Packing on one bike took a little creativity but we managed to hit the road early enough to get home at areasonable hour. The trip was uneventful including lunch,a stop for gas, & 2 stops just to stretch. At the last stop Mary had to delete a bunch of pics from her camera. As a passenger she had all this free time to take pictures. Somehow she filled a 600 picture memory card. Go figure. We made it home in just over 5 hours & were glad to be there.

We have a few things to take care of before we go back to Red's. So after our chores are done we will call it a night here in our home in TN because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, August 27, 2011

'11/#39 Busy, Busy, FUN!

Just because we have taken time off from work doesn't mean we are doing nothing. In fact this past week has been just the opposite. After 3 days of non-stop laughing with the kookie sisters, broken up by the wife's day of ultimate stomach misery, we started all over.

Thursday we got up early. Dollywood was having their annual yard sale to support the share it forward program. It is an opportunity to clear out unwanted items & help those in the area that need it the most. Not only did we lighten the trailer we also found some bargains. Mary found boxes of baby clothes & with a new grandbaby on the way she went crazy. All the cute little clothes & at bargain prices... I had to let her have fun. Further on we found more clothes for adults & were able to find some khaki that will be our uniform next year in Cody Wyoming.

After the yard sale we took a ride into Gatlinburg & checked out the Smoky Mountain visitor center. The rangers told us about Roaring Fork Motor Tour Route. This driving tour of what was a farming community in the early 1800's & the preserved homes & farmsteads & trails give an insight into the hard lives these people had. The real reason for us coming here was to see the Grotto Falls. Anyone who knows Mary knows that after pigs & lighthouses she loves waterfalls. If my math is correct that places me at best 4th on her list. I guess I'll have to work harder. Anyway 1.4 miles up the side of the mountain we reached the Grotto Falls. It was quite spectacular as you can see on Mary's FB page. Then there was the walk down. Down is always easier & quicker. Add in all the walking around the other stops on the tour we probably walked at least 4-5 miles. It was an early night that night.

Friday we stayed in & did nothing. It was nice to just rest. I sat around & worked on my wood carving while Mary just relaxed. The wood carving is something that I can do to relax.Well it is back to work for a couple of days & then another week of who knows what kind of fun. This isone of those times when we purposely write our plans in jello. Spontaneity can be so much fun. So goodnight from our home in the Smokys because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

'11/#38 Scratch, Scratch, Scratch

Have not made it to Dollywood yet, darn (note the sarcasm), but it won't be long. We got a last minute call from one of our retired postal worker friends who she said was coming to Pigeon Forge with her sisters & could we get together? Of course! When anyone travels that far & wants to see us we will do our best to accommodate them. Well Daisy is just as crazy as we are & her sisters fit right in. They decided to do a sister road trip & now that I've gotten to know them... well think Thelma & Louise as a trio. Less violence & a whole lot more laughing. We spent the day with them doing the tourist thing & getting discount tickets to the shows they wanted to see. Tomorrow we will all go to Dollywood & laugh some more. These girls are a trip! Everyone is having a blast but the time they are here is going by too quickly.

We sent the girls on to the Dixie Stampede since we had an appointment to have someone check out some light issues we were having on the truck. As we have mentioned in the past we have the best friends. Like before we asked if anyone could make a recommendation to help us out & numerous people came through. Thank you to everyone & especially Jeanne who hooked us up with James. It turned out to be something minor & we were on the road in no time.

Since we now had some extra time & we were close to the interstate we drove over to the Bass Pro Shop. We are not really outdoors sports people but the store has some neat things to see. Mary also needed to stock up on some "varmint" batter mix that she likes from this store. We are not into cooking what we kill but it does work well on fried chicken. We also took some pictures that can only be taken at a place like the Bass Pro Shop. I'm sure some will find their way to Mary's FB page.

Like I said we were near the interstate for the first time in a couple of months. Watching all the cars, trucks, & especially the RVs got us thinking. We have been getting that itch that RVers know as "hitch itch". That feeling when you want to hook up the rig & just head on down the road again. It will be just 6 more weeks when we get to scratch that itch & start heading back south to Florida. We miss the kids & grand kids, & are in need of some grandchildren hugs. The plan is to be back on or about November 1 but like I always say...our house is on wheels & our plans are written in jello. So with those plans in mind I will say goodnight so I can rest up for Dollywood tomorrow in our home in Pigeon Forge because.....

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

Sunday, August 21, 2011

'11/#37 Finding A Balance

In the last blog I talked about the weekend of relief from work. Friends, wood carving, & shopping. The rest of the week was just as good. Most days we didn't even set an alarm clock. We woke & either stayed in or got up to do what we wanted. One whole day was spent on the motorcycles. Mary enjoyed the day but is sure she has made the right decision to give up her bike. While we were out we stopped by the wood carver's & did a little shopping. I won't say how much we spent but it was more than I had planned. Mary told me to get what ever I wanted & I told her that she is done shopping for my birthday & Christmas presents. All I know is the wood chips better start flying! While we were there I introduced Mary to my wood carving instructor. The two of them hit it off at my expense. They had an informal graduation ceremony that you can see here. It was all in good fun!

One day we rode into Gatlinburg for another free Dollywood perk. Ripley's has a first rate aquarium that we wanted to see. It was impressive. Wonderful displays, strange fish, & interactive displays. There were several tanks that could be accessed from below that put you in the middle of all the fish. Of course I had Mary crawl around for those photo ops(check Mary's FB). I also talked here into touching the stingrays. We had taken the kids to Sea World years ago & ....well can you say cluck cluck cluck. This time she "braved up" & I think I actually got the photo. Like the fish tanks there was an access tunnel into the penguin habitat that Mary crawled into. Did I mention that most of the takers on these access were under the age of 13 & shorter than 5 feet. Mary is just a big kid & I love that about her. It helps keep me young.

Well it was back to work for a couple of days & then 5 more days off. I think we have found a balance between work & play. Two days on & 5 days off sounds about right I think. We are starting the 5 day segment & plan on going to Dollywood to check out some of the blue grass bands during Barbeque & Blue Grass weeks. It will be nice to be guests instead of hosts with our discount privileges. I will report back on this later from our home in Pigeon Forge because....

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

Sunday, August 14, 2011

'11#36 Time For Us

Well we survived Dollywood Nights & are now looking forward to some time off. On Friday friends came to visit from GA. This was a good friend of Mary's from work 30 years ago. We spent the day catching up, swapping lies, & just having a good time. We went out for lunch at a restaurant that we had been wanting to try & added a great meal to the day. Linda & John left with promises that we would get together again.

Saturday was my first day at wood carving school. The weather was beautiful so I took the motorcycle to Townsend & left the truck for Mary. Now if you'll remember we have a new grandson on the way so this was Mary's opportunity to do some baby shopping. She has shown remarkable self control but it was time to shop while I tried not to lose any fingers. At the end of the day I could still count to ten & Mary had scored some incredible bargains.

Sunday the weather took a turn for the worse. The motorcycle was not an option so I took the truck for the second day of wood carving. Mary planned on spending the day cleaning the trailer. Again no digits were lost & I did learn some beginning wood carving techniques. I have a new hobby & I've got the Santa figurine to show for my efforts. Mary spent the day going through the trailer collecting stuff to get rid of. Every time some thing new comes in something has to go. Mary buys new & gets rid of my old stuff. I guess that works. Contrary to all my kidding Mary did not get rid of my stuff to make room for her stuff. The rule "one in one out" applies to both of us & we try to stick to it.

We are trying to find a place of honor for my Santa carving & I guess I'll have to get rid of something. Maybe if I give it to Mary she'll have to get rid of something. Hmmmm. Well we will figure it out in our home here in Tennessee because....

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

Sunday, August 7, 2011

'11/#35 Finding Balance & An Old Man In My Mirror

Things are starting to change & my eyes are also opening up to ugly truths. Our hours are starting to get cut back & we aren't dreading going to work so much. I thought it was just the hours but realized something else. I finally figured out who that old man in my mirror is. It's ME! I don't know when it happened, but not only am I not 25 years old any more I am just OLD. I can't just jump into a new job & run with it like I used to. Remember when we could always rely on youth & enthusiasm to get us through that new job period until we actually had learned the ropes & could work smarter & not harder? Well I still have the enthusiasm but the youth part has passed me by. I will have to look at everything differently from recreational activities to new jobs. Pacing ones self is necessary & no longer a euphemism for slacking off. We will not stop working these seasonal jobs because we do not want to become retired rocking chair vegetables. They say that a body at rest stays at rest & a body in motion remains in motion. Well we are going to keep on moving because there is too much to see & do. Beside a moving target is much harder to hit. HA HA!

Anyway we are taking time out for ourselves again & plan on going back to enjoying our stay here in the Smoky Mountains. Mary has a list of shows we are going to see (at discounted DW employee rates), we are going to just ride up into the mountains because we can, & may start a hobby or two. I am taking a wood carving class this week so I will be either cranking out cigar store indians or toothpicks, depending on how well I take to it. Hopefully I will fall somewhere in between. There are a couple of other things we are trying & if they work out we will share later on. Most likely when we get back to Florida. Dollywood nights is this week & we will be working but after that starts Bluegrass & Barbecue. We will be taking some time off to see some of the entertainment & listen to the music. This the home of bluegrass so we expect to hear some of the best.

Let's back up a bit. Last week very dear friends from Indiana came to see us & we treated them to the Dollywood experience. We saw shows, Dolly's museum, & of course the Dixie Stampede. This is the third time to the "Stampede" & we are getting to know all the parts of the show pretty well. We still enjoy the food & especially enjoy seeing our friends & family enjoy themselves also. We will be going again over the next few months but like I said it is the sharing of good times with those we care about that makes it fun. It's also fun to be the "big shot" with the all access passes. So we will be hangin' in the Wood & Stampedin' until we leave.

Well this our one day off before Dollywood Nights & it is dinner time so we are treating ourselves to dinner out. So good night to all from our home in the Smokies because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"11/#36 It's Getting To Be Like A real Job!

I know. It's been a while since I blogged but like I've said before some times there isn't much to blog about. We've always said that we would work as long as we were having a good time. Well the good times are getting fewer & fewer. Red's is starting to feel like a real job so we are going to do something about it. The hours are getting to us so we will be cutting back. Dollywood Nights is coming up & we committed ourselves to working through this time. We will cut our hours drastically after that & if that doesn't help.... Well we've always said that our plans are written in jello & our house is on wheels, so we will decide what to do when we come to that bridge.

On another note, a few months ago we found out we are expecting another grand child some time at the end of the year. We just recently found out it is going to be a little boy. Our grandson, who lives in a house with 3 sisters, was getting ready to move out if it was another girl. Needless to say he was happy & will not be moving into the trailer with us. Just 7 years old & he had a plan. We are so proud!

Well we have laundry to do so that we will have clean uniforms to get us through the week. I did get out of work early so I will relax a bit after the laundry is done & call it a night here in our home in Tennessee because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, July 18, 2011

'11/#35 My Turn

After playing tourist it was back to work. Friday was just another day at Reds & we called at an early night so we could play tourist again on Saturday. The local craftsmen, or should I say craftspeople have a fair several times a year to sell their wares. Mostly they are trying to get the tourist dollars like everyone else. The artistry & ingenuity that goes into their products is interesting if not amazing. A lot of the crafts are either done the same way it was done by the locals for generations or has been made with more modern methods to recreate what was done in the past. For us it was a perfect opportunity to get some Christmas shopping done early.

The rest of the day was spent walking around Gatlinburg & doing some of the tourist things that we were able to do for free as Dollywood employees. There was the trip to the top of the Space Needle to take in the panoramic view of the Gatlinburg area. We also stopped in at Ripley's museum. Some interesting, some hokey but definitely something I wouldn't pay good money to see. We checked out the usual gift shops & managed to keep our wallets in our pockets. In fact the only thing we bought outside of the craft fair was a corn dog & some water.

It was along day & a lot of walking so I was ready to go home. It turns out I wasn't feeling well. Mary had been to the doctor twice over the past few weeks so I guess it was my turn to get sick. My throat was bothering me but not enough to go to the doctor. I went to work & made it through the day OK but told the boss tomorrow was up in the air if I didn't feel better. We went home & I self-medicated myself into a sound sleep.

The next morning I woke up feeling better so I guess it won't knock me on my butt like it did Mary. Work was OK but I didn't push myself too much & everyone I worked with was cool about taking some of the load off me until I felt better. It's nice to work with people who care.

We are working 4 days in a row this week but only have 3 uniforms. That means laundry will have to be done before our next day off. This is one of those times we miss having a washer/dryer in the trailer. So tonight we will do a quick load of laundry just to get us through the week. Well the dryers are just about done so we will fold our clothes, go home, put them away, & say goodnight from our home in Pigeon Forge because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Thursday, July 14, 2011

'11/#34 It's Not All Work

I looked back over some of my blogs & it seems like we do nothing but work most of the time. That's not really how it is. I do write a lot about it because we enjoy the work & the people we work with. Also we do relax a lot in between work because we can. I don't know which would be more boring to write about, work or doing nothing. It can be a challenge keeping it interesting. Anyway, here we go.

Saturday we went to work & Mary made it through the whole day. That meant she was feeling better. It was a busy & hectic day but that makes the day go by quickly. Sunday I worked & Mary had the day off. That doesn't mean that she didn't work. While I spent the day in the Wood Mary did the grocery shopping, laundry, & cleaning around the house. Again I come home to her complaining that she worked harder than if she had gone in to Reds all day.

Monday we slept in. Later that day we did a little shopping therapy. Mary is definitely feeling better when she shops. The weather has been brutal here. First there were the severe storms & now we have the heat. The temps have been in the mid to upper 90's & the heat index has reach as high as 111 degrees. After shopping we ran home to get back to the AC.

Tuesday we worked. Wednesday I woke up & decided that we would spend the day doing the tourist thing. I mean we get into so many things free as Dollywood employees we should take advantage of it. We started the day at the Deer Farm in Sevierville. The farm is a sanctuary for injured, abused, & abandoned animals of all kinds. Goats to emus, kangaroos to prairie dogs, reindeer to camels. We fed them, pet them, we photographed them. Check out Mary's FB soon. Take special note of Mary being attacked by the herd of goats & the terror in her eyes while feeding the Belgian draft horse. After getting pawed & slobbered on by assorted critters in the heat of the day we went down the road to a cooler venue.

Again free admission got us into the Forbidden Caverns Under the Smokys. We have been to numerous caverns & were not disappointed in these. We also enjoyed the constant 58 degrees at depths up to 650' below ground. It was refreshing & we didn't want to leave the free & natural AC provided by Mother Nature. It was a fun day but a long one so we headed home. Oh there was one more stop while we passed through Sevierville. We had to pass by city hall & check out the bronze statue to the local favorite daughter, none other than Dolly herself. The more we learn about the area the more we realize what she has done for her home town.

Today we worked at Reds. We work one more day & then we have another day off that coincides with the Gatlinburg Crafts Festival which we plan to enjoy. So there will be more to share from our home in Pigeon Forge TN because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Friday, July 8, 2011

'11/#33 Time Off From The Wood Is Good

Monday we got up all excited that our friends were coming to visit. While we waited a couple from Dollywood stopped by & we had a nice chat with them. They have workcamped for some time & gave us pointers & suggestions. Later on we met up with our friends at their hotel. We went to the Dixie Stampede dinner show. We've seen the show before but it was worth seeing again & we got to see it with friends. After dinner we came back to our RV park to watch the fireworks. We were told that this park was a great place to watch the fireworks from & they weren't lying. We drove them back to the hotel in bumper to bumper traffic. It was great to see them & we looked forward to the rest of their visit.

The next day our friends had some business to take care of so we said we would take their 13 year old & meet them at Dollywood. We told him that it was his day & we would do whatever he wanted. He had a great time & so did we since it was the first time that we actually went to the park as guests & participated in the activities there. We all met up later & had a fun time riding roller coasters, checking the craftsmen, & watching shows. After a long but fun day we went back to the hotel for dinner. Then it was home for a well earned nights sleep.

Wednesday morning Mary woke up with no voice, ear aches, & head congestion. Our plans for the day changed from Splash Country to walk-in clinic. Our friends were able to go out & enjoy the day while I stayed home & took care of Mary like a good husband should. Thursday she felt better even though her voice was still not really working. We did get together with our friends for breakfast before they headed home. Later we did a little shopping & it was back home for a nap.

Today was our first day back to work. Mary was feeling better still & wanted to try going to work. She did OK but did go home early when her voice started to give out. She went home, took a nap, & came back to pick me up when I got off from work. We will see how she does tomorrow. Well that is it for now so I will call it a night from our home in Pigeon Forge because....

Home is where we park it,
Fran k & Mary

Sunday, July 3, 2011

'11/#32 Back So Soon?

Well here I am & it hasn't been a week yet. I looked back at my last few blogs & realized if I don't want people to fall asleep reading the it I will have to make the posts shorter. That means posting more than once a week. I also want to give a shout out to Patti. We just want you to know we are thinking positive thoughts about you & know you will fight the good fight. Hang in there & keep enjoying the blog. Also to those RVers looking into workcamping at Dollywood remember nothing is as good as it seems. I'm not saying it is bad. If it was we wouldn't still be here. We have met some great people & the work has been fun & we would recommend working here but do so with open eyes. Promises made by Human Resources can not always be kept by the different operations in the park. Be ready to go with the flow or be ready to be disappointed. This is advice for all workcamping opportunities, not just Dollywood.

Now back to Dollywood. Thursday was a crazy day at work. We had a new employee named Murphy at Reds. Yep, that Murphy. The one that seems to have everything go wrong around him. Short on help, insane crowds, broiler on fire, & next we are running out of food. At the same time we have even more people coming in with no sign of it letting up. The only good thing was that day was over before we knew it. Friday was our day off so I asked Mary what she wanted to do. Not surprisingly she wanted to sleep in before going to the P.O. to pick up our mail. On the other hand I was taken aback when she wanted to go to Dollywood. Seriously, Dollywood on our day off?!?!?!? We went & saw a bubble show.Yes a bubble show! Deni Yang does things with soap bubbles that no one with a kiddie bubble wand could ever dream about. We were hungry & decided that we could eat anything but the food at Reds. Cooking it all day makes it somewhat unappetizing.

Saturday was our last day of work before 5 glorious days off to spend with our guests. It's the last Saturday before the 4th of July & it was going to be crazy at Reds but knowing we had the time off, well...WOOHOO!!! Sunday we slept in before getting started on the day. We wanted to get the house cleaned up for the week ahead. There is laundry to be done & now I can't find Mary. Ooops! She's back in bed with a tummy ache & I didn't even do the cooking. She hasn't actually gotten sick so I will let her rest for now. She just may be all excited about seeing everyone tomorrow. I'm sure she will be fine.

So I will sign off & finish up around here & try to keep up with the blog from our home in Tennessee because....

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

'11/#31 Blog Continued

Ok, let's pick up where I left off. Thursday Mary got up & her hip was feeling a little bit better. She decided to try work & see how things went. It was busy & as the day went along she felt better so we finished our shift. That night we got confirmation from family that they would be able to visit us here in Pigeon Forge. The only issue would be getting the 4th of July week off from Reds. Friday at work we spoke with our boss who was cool about it. Since we had worked with her several times on scheduling issues & had not asked for time off before she was glad to give us the week off. We are looking forward to getting together with everyone. The past 2 years it seemed like every time we were headed in their direction they were headed elsewhere. This time we will be together & for more than just a day or two.

Saturday was our one day off before going on a one-day-on-one-day-off week long schedule. We drove out to Townsend TN again, this time to see a crafts show sponsored by a woodworking store called Nawger Nob. There were quite a few talented people selling their crafts & I was once again amazed at the wood work in particular. I can't explain the attraction to different wood colors & grains or how I enjoy feeling the different textures in the grain of each kind of wood. Nothing beats the look & feel of a hand sanded piece of wood with a natural oil finish. Well before we left Mary bought me a beginners wood carving set & talked me into attending a beginner's class at the Nawger Nob. I am looking forward to it even though I don't expect to be as artistically talented as the craftsmen in the area.

We have to stop taking days off. Every time we have a day off we seem to spend it shopping. Besides Nawger Nob we stopped at a boot store that advertised "Buy One-Get 2 Free". This we had to see. We saw, we shopped, we bought. We now have 3 new pair of boots in the house. Go figure! The boots were good quality, the price was right, & we do wear boots so why not? Later that evening we met up with a group of the younger employees after they got off from work to go bowling. I haven't bowled in about 15 years with all my back issues & then back surgery but I figured why not try? After the initial hesitation I surprised my self by bowling 3 games all over 135. Except for some soreness in my arm & hand I felt pretty good. Mary also bowled after many years of not bowling & did well without any complications. We are not going on the professional tour but maybe we can again bowl occasionally just for fun.

Sunday I went back to work while Mary had the day off. Being shorthanded in the kitchen I get an extra day here & there. It gives Mary a chance to get caught up on cleaning the house & cook ahead a little. I get home & she complains that she worked harder at home than if she went to work! It was a slow day in the "Wood" & we were looking forward to our next day off. Monday we woke up & Mary felt like crap. Congestion, sore throat, ear ache, the whole thing. Dollywood's medical center(an employee perk) is a joke. It's not available until after 30 days employment & then it takes 2 months to get an appointment. When you figure most workcamper commitments are for 3 months....well you do the math. Anyway we found a walk-in clinic & finally got to see the doctor. A shot in the butt & a prescription for antibiotics & we were on our way. I know she didn't feel well but Mary was being much crabbier than usual so I sent her to bed & got the heck out of Dodge. The laundromat looked so inviting & peaceful compared to Crabby. She just needed time to get better. With the laundry done & Mary asleep I relaxed in the peace & quiet until it was time to eat. A thrown together dinner & I called it a night. We will see how Mary feels in the morning.

Tuesday the sore throat was almost gone, the ear ache was better, & the congestion clearing up so Mary wanted to go to work & see how things went. It worked out well. As the day went by she got to feeling better & was beginning to joke around like her usual self. Crabby was gone ! Yeah!! We went home & had one of Mary's delicious pre-cooked dinners. The rest of the night we watched TV, played on the computer, & just relaxed. Today Mary felt better still so we went out & ran some errands. We dropped off a resume, shopped at Wally World, & since Mary felt so good I took her out to dinner. Then it was on towards home.

Well I think I am all caught up so I will end this blog & just relax until bedtime in our home in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Sunday, June 26, 2011

'11/#30 Another Week, Another Blog

I've got a weeks worth of blogging to catch up on. I'll probably do some tonight & some tomorrow since I am kind of tired.

The week started on Sunday with what could only be described as a Smoky Mountain typhoon. The locals say that it isn't normal but we have been getting rain, no I mean storms that make it feel like the trailer is going to blow off the side of the mountain. The storms come up suddenly. The sky turns black, the wind picks up, & the rain starts. We have seen so much rain going sideways that I suspect gravity is not working all the time. Anyway the rain kept the crowds away from Dollywood. Rumor has it that they only had 800 people in the park that day. At Reds we stood around looking at each other with nothing to do. The boss had called all the early shift & told them not to come in & just kept the crew that was scheduled to close. Guess which ones we were. Yep we closed. We were glad that day came to an end. Nothing makes the day drag like staring at the clock.Monday the weather was beautiful & the crowds showed up with a vengeance. I think they were trying to make up for the previous day. It was crazy but the day flew by & we were looking forward to our days off.

Tuesday was our errand day. We did some cleaning, some shopping, & some laundry. After dinner we took a walk to see one of our fellow campers we hadn't seen in a week because of our schedules. No sooner did we get to their rig the sky turned black, the wind picked up, & rain drops the size of your fist started coming down. We made a run for our trailer & got home before we were completely soaked. Two things happened on the way home. First there was a flash of lightning & all the lights in the park went out. The second thing was Mary lagging behind me on the way home & hobbling up to the trailer holding her hip. She has arthritis in her hip real bad & she thinks something may have popped. It started to get warm in the trailer so we took advantage of a wonderful feature we have in our home. A generator. We had A/C & all the comforts of home in spite of the blackout. The rain stopped & it had cooled off quite a bit so we opened the windows & went to bed. Mary's hip didn't feel much better so she took a pill & went to sleep with hopes that it would feel better by morning.

The next day it was hurting so bad I gave her a pain pill & sent her back to bed with her best friend in these situations, a heating pad. I spent the day reading & Mary spent the day sleeping. Her cute little sleepy head would pop out of the bedroom every once in a while but that was it. I made dinner, we watched some TV, & called it a night hoping that her hip would feel better in the morning.

I am falling asleep writing this so I will call it a night & hope to continue tomorrow or the next day. So we will catch up then from our home in the stormy mountains of Tennessee because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, June 18, 2011

'11/#29 Life Is Good

Wednesday we showed up to work & walked into some kind of insanity. We had the usual rush going on & we also had a group of English roller coaster enthusiasts in the dinning room. When I walked into the kitchen the burgers that had been cooked were gone & the broilers were running at full speed. Meals were going out the front as fast as we could make them & the managers were taking meals out the back door to our British guests. At no point for over an hour did we ever get caught up. Around 3pm the rain started & everyone came into Reds to get out of the rain. When the rain let up & word got out that the rides wouldn't be opening the park emptied. Then the typhoon started. Rain was blowing in under every door in the place & since all the guests had gone there was nothing for us to do for the next 3 1/2 hours except have fun just goofing around while getting things ready to close. Thursday again it was busy in the morning & slow in the late afternoon.

Friday was our first day off after 3 busy work days. They only give us 3 uniforms & having to go to the laundromat to do the wash it is so much nicer to have a day off to get it done. That is one of the down sides to not having a washer/dryer in the rig. The rest of the day was for running errands like making phone calls,grocery shopping, & raising hell with the incompetents at the Post Office. They just can't seem to get our mail, or notice of delivery, or parcel locker key into the PO box. I guess since we worked for the Post Office we should just know when our mail shows up & be able to tele-port it to our home. BUTTHEADS!!!!!!!

That evening a group from Reds wanted to get together & go bowling & we were invited. Now this group are mostly early to late 20 year olds & we get along great with them at work. They seem to like having us around & have invited us to hang with them several times. The rest of our coworkers are mostly workcampers & have been retired for at least a few years so they are in their mid 60's & up to 90 years of age. We get along with them also & have gone out with them on occasion. The 2 groups get along in a way I would call work-place tolerance. I'm not sure how or why we fit in like we do but we like it because we have made a lot of friends. Some we appear too old to hang with & some we are a bit younger than. Either way it means we have twice as many friends & twice as many opportunities to have fun.

Speaking of friends, I would like to send out & huge "THANK YOU" to all our friends who responded to Mary's call for help. Charlie, our youngest son, was in a bind with car issues & when Mary asked if there was anyone who knew somebody or knew somebody who knew somebody the call was answered. The calls, texts, & e-mails came in an avalanche that just proved to us what we already knew. We have the best friends in the world & just like George Bailey in "A Wonderful Life" we are the richest people in town. We may not be rich in money but we are beyond rich in friends. It's true, the best things in life are not things.

Saturday we got up early to head into Gatlinburg to check out a farmers market that Mary had read about. Not much of a farmers market. We had gone to a couple of these a few years ago in NC. They aren't much more than a dozen or so people selling what appears to be produce & flowers from their backyards. We were done in 10 minutes. Back to Sevierville to check out a few things & then head back to Pigeon Forge. The sky was darkening rapidly. We stopped at CVS & the rain & the wind started. I couldn't get out of the truck because the wind would blow the door shut on me every time I tried to open it. I finally timed it so I could escape. Once inside the rain really started so we shopped until the rain let up. These mountain storms pop up so quick & can be quite severe.

Well we made it home & are going to relax the rest of the day. Catch up on e-mails, blog, watch a little TV, & have some dinner. Life is good here in our home in Pigeon Forge because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

'11/#28 Days Off Are Good

Two days off, Yee Haw!!!!!!!!!!! Yes we say we have fun working at Red's, & we do, but as the saying goes...all work & no play yada yada yada. So we do look forward to our days off. There are so many things to do & see in the area it will take most of the summer to do them. Two more perks of working while "touristing" is that we have a few extra dollars to do more & we can take our time & not have to run around like the proverbial chicken with it's head cut off to see everything in a short period of time. We also get to sleep in instead of having to get up at the crack of dawn to keep from "burnin' daylight" as some people have been known to say. So instead of burnin' more daylight on the computer let the bloggin' begin.

Our first day off we didn't want to do much of anything so we did sleep in. After a leisurely breakfast we checked e-mails & tried to figure out what we were going to do. It was finally decided to got to the Christmas Place. It is a Christmas store with all things Christmas & who doesn't like Christmas? Well maybe not all year but we did get some things for this Christmas. We spent a bit of time there & then stopped at another store that I can't mention because someone may be reading this who is getting a surprise for Christmas from this store. Needless to say we did find what we were looking for & will be back to spend a little bit of our hard earned Dollywood paycheck. Homeward bound & dinner. We talked about what we would do the next day & narrowed it down to a few things that we would sleep on.

After snuggling for a while we finally got out of bed & started moving. Mary's hands didn't feel so good so this was going to be our first day touring "two-up". I have no problem riding with a passenger & Mary was looking forward to taking lots of pictures(what's new) from the back seat of the bike. Our destination today...Cades Cove TN just outside Townsend TN. The road was a twisting & turning motorcyclists dream. I was having a blast riding while there was the continuous clicking of Mary & her camera. Photos of mountains, trees, & cabins on the mountainside will undoubtedly fill the Internet soon. We arrived at Cades Cove & got in line to take the scenic loop. Except for the few tourists that had to wait for deer to strike the perfect pose the parade of tourists kept moving. There were plenty of deer & pictures. We stopped at a preserved cabin with more pictures. There was an old church & even more pictures. Of course there was the obligatory stop at the ranger station/store to buy a token souvenir & some postcards to send to the grand kids & those without access to computers. After checking out the restored homestead we got back on the bike & headed for home. Mary took more pictures of the same road just headed in the opposite direction while I enjoyed the riding the curvy roads. We Got home relaxed, had dinner, & Mary downloaded her pictures to the computer, almost 600 pictures. The memory card was almost full & 2 batteries had given their lives to the cause. It was a good day!

Tuesday we went back to work. We shared our days off with our coworkers while enjoying a reasonably slow day prior to the insanity that is known as Kidsfest here at Dollywood. There are all kinds of special events & shows geared even more than usual to kids along with promotions to bring in more guests & Miss Dolly will be there to kick it off on Friday. It is supposed to be beyond busy so bring it on. Our schedule looks better but we still are going to talk to the boss & see if it can be tweaked just a little bit. So until then have a good day as we plan to from our home in TN because .....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Sunday, June 12, 2011

'11/#27 We Need A Revolving Door

This is the week that our schedules don't match up at all. Well lets see how that goes. Wednesday the weather was nice so Mary took the truck to work & I followed a few hours later on the bike. If the weather cooperates this schedule shouldn't be too much of a problem. It sucks that we don't come & go together but it will work out.

Tuesday was an off day & Mary's hands were feeling good so she wanted to take the bikes out. We both know that she will miss riding but she will be better off not riding in the future. This time we headed away from the Smokey Mts. We read about a covered bridge & decided to go check it out. These one lane wooden covered bridges are kind of neat. They have been maintained & are still used by all the local traffic. Height & weight restrictions allow most vehicles to pass through. Even our F550 would have fit without the spoiler on the roof. After the usual photo ops we kept on traveling east towards Chestnut Hill Tennessee, the home of Bush Beans. Yes the factory that keeps humans fully stocked in methane is right here in Central TN & there is a museum & video tour of the factory. The Bush family has quite a history in the retail & wholesale food industry & has been operating a cannery for a number of decades. We even got our picture taken with Duke the unofficial spokes"person" for Bush beans. A few purchases at their museum store & we headed home. We didn't want to push Mary's hands too far & ruin a wonderful day riding through the TN countryside.

Thursday we were back on our screwy schedule. I had to work & Mary had the day off. As spouses are known to do I left her a "honey-do" list that basically had her looking at my computer. She had her own list that kept her busy all day. When I got home she had grocery shopped, gone to the bank, fixed my computer, cleaned, vacuumed, organized the cabinets, & had dinner ready. What a woman!!! She was exhausted & said that she would have rather gone to work. On Friday we both worked but Mary went in at 9am & I didn't go in 'til noon. Another couple from the trailer park had the same schedule so we carpooled with them. Again, we would rather work together but it worked out. We have talked to the boss & the next weeks schedule looks a lot better.

We have 2 days off in a row & are planning a few excursions to check out some more of the local scenery. So until I blog again know that we are having a blast in our home in TN because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

'11/#26 It's Work But We're Havin' Fun

Here I am sitting all alone waiting to go to work. It is one of those days where Mary's & my schedule don't match up. Rather than turn the TV on I opted for the computer. At least I will use part of my brain. I will pick up where I left off which was Friday.

Saturday was another day at Red's. It was slow even though they were expecting major crowds. It is Sevier Days at Dollywood. The residents & people who work in Sevier County get in at a substantially reduced rate plus school is letting out sooooo. Well the crowds never showed up so the boss asked if we wanted to go home early & of course we said yes. Mary tried again to close out her drawer & I think I heard a blood curdling scream from the office. She is going insane over this. She has had it with all the "help" & is about to lose it. We finally got out of there, we stopped at the PO for our mail, & headed home. Went through the weeks worth of mail, checked e-mails, & watched TV while dinner cooked. After we ate we watched a little more TV & called it a night. Mary has finally calmed down about the drawer but there is tomorrow.

Sunday we went to work expecting a busy day. Again the crowds never materialized. It turned into an easy day but there was still the cash drawer to cash out at the end of the day. Mary disappears into the office & I cross my fingers. Will this be the day? I hear voices from behind the closed door but have no idea how it is going. Finally the door opens & Mary emerges victorious. She had it out with one of the girls who wanted to help when all that Mary wanted was to be left alone. The drawer is now Mary's friend, yeah.

Monday was our day off. We got up, had breakfast, & decided to do nothing that day. So after breakfast we sat around a while. Mary was tired so went to take a nap & I decided to finish reading my book. Then I went on the computer & eventually turned on the TV. I started cooking dinner while I caught up on the shows on the DVR. It was time to wake up sleeping beauty since she had been "napping" for 4 hours. After dinner Mary baked some brownies that we enjoyed before calling it a day. We planned on doing nothing & I would say that we succeeded.

Monday the crowds showed up but they all came as 2 groups. The first group was one family that ordered 28 meals on 1 order. We went crazy trying to fill the order in a timely manner. Once that was done the rest of the day was steady but busy. It was getting close to closing time & we had started our clean up in the kitchen when the bus from camp showed up! With the broiler re-fired & the fries dropped in the fryer we were ready for the girls at the register to do their thing. Over 40 individual orders in 15 minutes & we were ready to close the doors. Tuesday was a much easier day even though we were busy. Mary went home at 6pm & I stayed until 8pm to close. It was a long day but we are off tomorrow.

This day off we will do something. I don't know what but we will get out of the house this time. So this is good night from our home in TN because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, June 6, 2011

'11/#25 Settlin' In

I can't believe how time flies. We are so busy that I barely find time to get on the computer never the less blog. Well here goes another week's worth of babble. By the way, I am sitting here having my breakfast of bagel & lox & a thought pops into my head. Why is lox considered a Jewish food & smoked salmon a gourmet food? Huh? I think I need more coffee. And yet I babble some more.

Tuesday was a day off for us & we had plans to enjoy it. We went out to breakfast at Mel's Diner for pancakes. I don't know what it is with pancakes but there seems to be a pancake house on every other corner here in Pigeon Forge. Go figure! Some laundry & grocery shopping was next. Woohoo! We now have enough shopper points from Kroger to get a 10 cent per gallon discount on fuel. When you consider that we pump 35 gallons at a time it adds up. That evening we got together with a group of Dolly's work campers for dinner & a show. Good company, decent pizza, & a '50's to today musical review. Who could ask for more than that?

Wednesday we were off to work. While stopping at the office to pay our rent we saw a group of Asian girls waiting for the trolley to get to work at DW. They jumped at the offer of a ride & we made new friends in our impromptu car-pool. At work the new schedule was posted. One week was fine but the next had our schedules totally out of sync. We will see. The next day was busy & before we knew it the day was over. The people are fun to work with & there is no staring at the clock. It's just the way we like it. Mary has been having issues with closing her cash drawer. She has done this many times over the years for different companies but the Dollywood way is giving her fits. Combine that with different people giving her different instructions the frustration is getting to her. I know she can do it & she knows she can do it so it is just a matter of time.

Friday was another day off & another day to get things done. We went to the "Wood" as the employees call it to pick up some freebies for the Titanic Museum, stopped to get some pictures printed, & headed over to our local bank to take care of some business. After that we headed home. We cooked some meals for the days ahead & just relaxed for the rest of the day.Aaaaah.

I want to get going & enjoy our day off. I have no idea what we will do & that is fine with me. So have a good day wherever you are & we will do the same from our home in Pigeon Forge because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, May 30, 2011

'11/#24 Busy Busy Busy!

It has been a whole week since I have written & yet there doesn't seem to be that much to write about. We have been busy but it appears that we have boring lives right now but here goes.

On Tuesday we went to the pot luck dinner that is sponsored by DollyWood for all the workcampers that show up each year. There was well over 100 people there so it is easy to see why DW appreciates their workcampers so much. It was interesting to see the number of return workers & the diversify of the group. The oldest was 86 years old & the youngest was 13 years old. Quite a span if you ask me. Lots of good food, door prizes, & a chance to make new friends. Damn we love our lifestyle.

Wednesday & Thursday we worked at our new home at Reds Drive In. The place is crazy busy & we have been told that it is the busiest food vendor in the park. I can believe it! Doors open at 11am & the next thing we know it is 3 0'clock. We said we wanted some place that would keep us busy but this might be a little more than we bargained for. Anyway, it sure beats staring at the clock. We go home smelling like burgers & fries & we are tired, but it is a good tired. The people we work with are great. They are all friendly & like to have fun while they are at work. So the time goes by even quicker when we are laughing.

Friday was pay day & we picked up our first paycheck. Down to the bank to make the deposit & straight to the outlet mall to see how fast it could be spent. Mary decided she needed to update her wardrobe to reflect her more mature almost 50 year old status. Some shrewd & frugal shopping & she added a few frocks to her closet without putting too much if a dent in the bank account.

Saturday we slept in but eventually got moving. We wanted to explore some of the back roads in the area so off we headed on our bikes. The weather was beautiful & the roads well paved. After too many turns back & forth around the mountains we had no idea where we were. Mary needed to stop & rest her hands. Motorcycling is taking it's toll on her wrists. Even after carpal tunnel surgery the vibrations & constant clutching & braking is too much. The pain has taken the fun out of riding for her. We will probably be selling her bike soon. A few more zigs & zags around the mountain & we found our way back to Pigeon Forge.

Sunday was the Memorial Day Holiday weekend so everybody & their ugly cousins decided to go to Dollywood. It was INSANE! Burgers & fries & hot dogs & chili fries & drinks & shakes & anything else we could broil, fry, or pour flew out of the kitchen. The day blew past us before we knew it. We were tired & hungry but had no desire to cook so I treated us to dinner out.Mary didn't even want to go home to change so we went right to the restaurant. poodle skirt & all. A few looks & a friendly comment or two but we didn't care. We worked Monday even though it was supposed to be our day off but it was much easier than the previous day.

We are looking forward to being off Tuesday. Some rest, some laundry, & maybe one of the local shows is all we have planned. With any luck that will be all that comes up! So even though we are tired, it is a good tired & we are having fun. I will now close this blog before I close my eyes for some well deserved sleep in our home in Pigeon Forge because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, May 23, 2011

'11/#23 A Few Days Off

After 2 long days we were looking forward to the next few days off. Our oldest granddaughter sent us "Flat Stanley". For those of you who don't know Flat Stanley he is a children's book character who can travel in an envelope. The kids send Stanley to friends or relatives who send pictures of Stanley in different parts of the country & these are used to learn about these parts of the country. Well we decided to take Flat Stanley for a motorcycle ride. Destination, Cherokee NC. The weather was beautiful & I think there were more bikes on the road than cars. Stanley got to see some of the mountains, valleys, & streams in the Smoky Mountain Park. After around 100miles & dozens of pictures the 3 of us(me, Mary, & Stanley) were tired & we called it a day.

Sunday started off like any other day. Laundry needed to be done so off we went to the laundromat. After about a ton of laundry we headed home, had some lunch, & checked up on e-mails. Suddenly there was a strange rumble & we noticed the sky had turned almost black. We quickly covered the bikes & barely got inside when the rain started. Rain turned into a deluge & the wind had it going sideways. Then the hail started. This was our first experience with hail in the trailer & the sound of it on the roof & plastic vent covers was a bit unnerving. Mary paced back & forth checking for leaks, damage, & the end of the world. The storm finally passed & I am glad to say that we had no damage. There was minor damage around the park but we were all OK.

Today we put Flat Stanley in the mail & did some running around. Some errands & a little shopping killed the best part of the day. We seem to do a lot of shopping but it is an RV necessity. RV refrigerators are substantially smaller than a regular house fridge which makes for a lot of small trips to the grocery store. Mary has been baking for the pot luck at Dollywood tomorrow & we will be calling it a night soon. So this is good night from our hail-storm-safe home in Pigeon Forge because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Thursday, May 19, 2011

'11/#22 On The Job

We are officially on the payroll at Dollywood. This week has been busy with all the pre-employment stuff. First there was the trip to wardrobe for our costumes, then there was orientation, & finally the "on the job training". Wardrobe was a trip. We finally got to see what we would have to wear at Red's Diner & now so can everyone else once Mary gets the pictures posted on FB. Red's is a 1950's theme restaurant so think poodle skirts & soda jerks. No, I am not the one in the poodle skirt but Mary looks cute as a button in hers. I got lucky, just black slacks, white polyester shirt, & the paper soda jerk hat. It is hysterical.

Next was orientation. Every time I think I have seen my last series of workplace safety films here they go again. Not any more entertaining & just as ridiculous, but the company does have to cover their butt. Then we take a tour of the park in miserable weather that is only good for staying in bed all day. Add to that films & lectures that amounted to corporate pep talks & another 8 hours goes down the drain. Soon we may actually get to work.

Drum roll please. They day is finally here where we go to work in our complete uniform/costume. The day is still just training but at least we got to work the jobs we were hired for. I must say that the manager was friendly, helpful, & genuinely concerned about his employees. Not something I could often say at the PO. The rest of the crew was also helpful & a lot of fun to work with. It almost feels like a family with everyone working together to make the day fun as well as productive. Red's ,we have been told, is one of the busiest places in the park so cooperation is needed to make it work. It really looks like we are going to have fun here so the rest of the summer should be a blast.

Anyway, it has been a long day & we are tired(in a good way) so we will call it a night soon. So goodnight from our home in Pigeon Forge because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"11/#21 Time Flies???

It has been a week since we got here & the time just has gotten away from me. I will have to make a better effort to blog more regularly. The pot luck here at the park had so much good food it has me worried. If this happens too often I won't fit into my clothes or even the trailer. Sometime in the next few weeks Dollywood is having a pot luck for their employees. OH NO!! What am I going to do?

We went to the PO to get a PO Box since our mail can't be delivered to the park. We then had our mail forwarding service send our mail. When we got the delivery confirmation from the post office we went to get our mail. There was no mail, no written notification, & no parcel locker key. What's up? Since it was after the window service was closed we would have to wait until the next day. The next day I picked up the mail & the best they could say was "oops!". Sometimes I hate to admit that I worked for the Post Office.

One day we decided to go to Dollywood & check it out. You know, get the lay of the land & find our way around the park & employee areas. We spent most of the day just walking around & taking in the park. We also got to see the area we are going to be working in. Wait until you see the uniforms/costumes we have to wear. Once we get them I am sure Mary will get pictures on FB. We got our schedule for wardrobe & orientation so we expect to be busy from now on.

Another day we decided to take the motorcycles out for the day. First we just drove around the local roads just to get comfortable with the area. Then we just felt like taking a ride so we headed into the Smoky Mountain Park. A stop at the tourist center supplied us with maps & things to see in the park. We then went on into Gatlinburg. I know I mentioned this a couple of years ago but Gatlinburg is so "touristy". For those of you from our part of FL think of Johns Pass Village in the mountains. A little ways beyond Gatlinburg we stopped at another visitor center. More maps & info & we head out but noticed that the sky is darkening. Being on the bikes we decide to head home. Before we get to the bikes the drops start, slowly at first, then picking up speed so we hurry into our rain gear. They say that real motorcyclists ride in the rain whether they want to or not, so I guess we are real motorcyclists. It started to pour, to the point we couldn't see more than a few car lengths ahead. We took our time & eventually ran out of the rain just before getting home. The rain suits are worth their weight in gold. Being light weight & breathable keeps us comfortable in situations when we need to be most alert.

Tomorrow is another day so I will call it a night in our home in Pigeon Forge because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, May 9, 2011

'11/#20 We're Here!!!!

We are finally in Pigeon Forge. It was the "scenic route" from Ashville NC via Elkhart In but we made it. The trailer is mostly set up for our extended stay & we are settling in. This is one of those parks that dosen't accept mail for their residents so we needed to get a PO Box to receive our mail. I don't really blame them as I have seen what a pain the mail can be for the office in our park in FL. The RVers in our section are mostly seasonal workers for Dollywood so they are friendly & make the effort to get to know the new arrivals. Right behind us Mary has made a friend. Faye is just as much a plant person as Mary & the two of them have already been digging in the dirt!

The section we are in is relatively new & the hook ups are not quite RV ready. A quick trip to Lowes & a few pieces of PVC & we were hooked up. After 6 days on our holding tanks it was time to dump & flush & dump & flush & dump again. There is nothing like a clean poop tank! There was plenty of laundry to do & the park has a beautiful rec building with a nice laundry. Being able to do 2,3, or even 4 loads of laundry at one time is one of the perks of laundromats. Another is meeting the people from the park. New friends, easy chairs for reading, & a big screen TV makes doing laundry a not-so-dreaded chore.

Another perk of meeting the residents is hearing about all the freebies available. Since the park works with Dollywood they get passes for some of the events. We got here on Saturday & went to the Dixie Stampede dinner show on Sunday! The show was excellent, the food was delicious, & being free made it even better. Next Tuesday the park is sponsoring a B-B-Q potluck dinner. Around here they call it a pitch-in. Traveling around the country has introduced me to the vernacular of so many different people that I am almost multi-lingual,HA HA.

The next few days we are going to cruise around the area to get the lay of the land, find the short cuts, locate the best stores, & just get our bearings for the next several months. I have added to my key chain collection of grocery customer rewards cards. Some people have photo albums, others have bumper stickers, I can show you where we have traveled by the grocery stores we shop around the country. What can I say, I'm different.

Well today was a busy day & we are going to have dinner soon. Then we will walk around the park & try to meet a few more of our new neighbors. We are settling into our home here in Pigeon Forge Tennessee because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary