Saturday, April 30, 2011

'11/#18 A Little Now & A Little Then

We are in the mountains of NC & having a great time at the Escapees Rally. We are meeting new friends & sharing RV experiences. That is a corner stone to the RV life style. Yesterday we went into Ashville to see the Biltmore Estate. It is supposedly the largest private residence in the US. Without a tape measure & full access I will have to take their word on it, but I can tell you that it is quite impressive. I am not into gaudiness or ostentatious displays but big is big! Some of the features in the home were way ahead of the times technologically & the grounds are beautifully landscaped. The varieties in the garden & green house had Mary drooling & snapping pictures until her camera was gasping for air. I am sure they will be posted on FB soon.

After exploring the 250 room house & as much of the 8000 acres that we could handle we went home & promptly took a nap. Waking up in time for dinner we finished some leftovers & watched the Royal wedding. And watched & watched & watched. Almost as boring as a 2 hour rehash of a presidents 10 minute speech. My only thoughts on the subject are that the couple look genuinely happy & that it seems like it will be as much a marriage as it was a wedding.

That was the now, & now a little then. Remember the country music festival? Remember Mary being in the middle of everything? Remember Mary's interview for local TV? Remember the interview for the local press? Well it is still going on! On clean-up day we met a little girl who was disappointed that one of the radio station contests had never materialized. Mary wanted to do something, but what? Well she wrote the radio station & sent pictures of the little girl in hopes that someone would take notice. It worked! Little Jenifer is now going to DJ the morning show & get all the perks the station could think of. The station let us know & thanked us for being "Runaway Country Angels". Shortly after that Mary gets an e-mail from Florida Today ( the local paper) saying they got a call from a friend at the radio station & is making her an honorary staffer. That's my girl, in the middle of it all & making people happy. She makes me happy every day so that makes me a REAL lucky guy!

Today we have nothing to do & will take all day getting it done. My back is doing better but could use some rest, Mary overdosed on flowers & mansion & needs to recuperate, so today is the day for that. We may get together with some of the RVers for a campfire tonight & Sunday will be our last day here. Monday we head for Dollywood!!! So I am signing off from our home in the mountains of NC because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

'11/#17 I'm Tired Of Jello

After having to find a place to stay Easter Sunday we planed to get to the rally park on Monday. While getting ready to leave Mary noticed one of the trailer tires had developed a couple of sidewall bubbles. That meant we weren't going anywhere. First a call to road service to change the tire. Then find a Goodyear dealer that could check the tire & replace it. The tire shop wasn't too far away & after prorating the old tire we got a new one for $100 dollars less than full price.

By the time we got back to the trailer we decided to stay where we were for 1 more night. Crawling around under the trailer to stow the spare should have been a simple job but not this time. The cable got tangled up & had to be completely unwound & rewound. Finally with the tire stowed I was filthy & sweaty & tired & achy. Plan B was to get to the rally park on Tuesday.

Tuesday morning I woke up with my back killing me. Wrestling with the spare took it's toll. We made it to the rally park & I was done. Some pain killers & rest will hopefully get me back on my feet tomorrow. People are starting to come in for the rally. There are a dozen or so rigs here & we hear that they are expecting over 100. The rally starts tomorrow & we are looking forward to the camaraderie that comes when RVers gather.

I am going to call it an early night so that I can enjoy the rest of the week. So this is goodnight from our home in the rally park in NC because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Sunday, April 24, 2011

'11/#16 Just A Brief Stop...Where?????

A night at the Walmart campground in Walterboro wasn't too bad. It was cool so no AC needed & we were tired enough that the overnight traffic didn't bother us. RVers learn to deal with the noise since RV parks always seem to be next to interstates or RR tracks. We actually slept in since today was just a short drive of 250 miles. Breakfast, shower, & on the road.

We stopped at lunch & called the campground to see about coming in a day or so earlier than the rally started. Stupid us!!! It's Easter Sunday & everyone is closed including campground offices. This campground also has a security gate so we couldn't even get in & settle up with them on Monday morning. Oh well, house on wheels & plans in jello one more time. Plan B. Either another Walmart or a campground on the way that would be open, hopefully the later since it is kind of warm & we would like to use the AC. Luck was with us & we found the Hominy Valley RV Park. It's on Hominy Valley Rd off of Hominy Creek Rd past the Hominy Valley Baptist Church. Ten points to anyone who can tell me where Hominy Valley is without Google-ing it.

Turns out this RV park is just what we were looking for. It's right beside the road & has full hook-up level gravel sites with 50 amp electric. Woo Hoo! Fire up the AC!!! Mary had driven in the last couple of hours & decided that she would back the rig into the site. No problem there, she has done it before but it has been awhile. Two shots, including moving it over 6 inches to clear one of our slides & she was in. I knew she could do it but we agreed that she should drive & back it in more often. No mater who backs it in we use the walkie-talkies. It makes backing in sooo much easier. That is why we call them "marriage savers".

For Easter we are going to make us a nice ham dinner with all the trimmings & then call it a day.
So Happy Easter to all from our home in Hominy Valley because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, April 23, 2011

'11/#15 And Away We Go!

We had a great week with the uncles in Stuart. Just sitting around & talking after cooking & cooking & cooking was nice. Oh, there was some eating too. With belly's & fridge full it was time to go. We couldn't leave without some excitement. First there was some mangled jewelry & a finger. That was Mary's doing as well as Mary's finger. Minor cuts & some pretty good bruising but she will be OK. Apparently it hurts like a son-of-a-gun. Then we had a bit of a flood from the black-water back flush, this was my fault. Fortunately the tank was pretty well flushed so there wasn't much to the "poop" water but water but it was still a mess. Mary also managed to bang her finger(yes that one) while helping me clean up the mess. And yes it still hurt like a .....! I unhooked everything that night so we could get an early start & we had to do an extra load of laundry because of the flood. Oh well.

Bright & early we hit the road after breakfast & a quick check of all things that needed to be checked. RVers will understand. On the road by 8am & Mary was asleep by 8:30. The finger kept her awake most of the night so she climbed into the back seat & went right to sleep. 3 hours later I stopped for fuel & woke her up. I was all excited that I had found diesel for ONLY $3.99 a gallon. We hadn't seen it for anything less than $4.05 since we got to the east coast. Lunch was just over the Georgia border & Mary was awake enough to drive, or as she told me, I was tired & needed to rest. Either way she was probably right.

I slept through most of Georgia & rode shotgun through stop & go traffic through S Carolina. No accidents or construction, just stop & go on a Saturday afternoon. Go figure! I then drove a short ways to a Walmart for some free overnight camping. It's not really camping, just a place to stop for the night & get some sleep. Camping means landing gear down, awning out, slides out, grills & chairs set up. This is strictly taboo in RV circles to protect our right to park overnight in parking lots. Of course like anything else there are those few who abuse the privilege & ruin it for the rest of us but what can we do?

Well here we are at Walmart & I am going bananas! Diesel is $3.89 per gallon & 3 cents less with a Walmart card!!! Can you imagine being excited by $3.86 a gallon? Oh well, if we couldn't afford this lifestyle we woundn't be living it. While we are here we will patronize Walmart as a gesture of thanks for allowing us to stay overnight. Again this is part of the RV code of conduct.

Tomorrow should be a short drive compared to the 450 miles we drove today & will find us in N Carolina for another RV rally. This a smaller multi-chapter rally of Escapee members. Hopefully we will see some of the people we saw in Goshen last year & more importantly we hope to meet new RVers & make more friends. So good night from our home at Walmart because.....
Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, April 18, 2011

'11/#14 We Survived!

First let me apologize for the lack of paragraphs in the blog. For some reason when I post the web site deletes all the paragraphs I put in. I hope to solve the problem soon.

The music festival is over & we are exhausted. We also found out that we may be getting too old to work the concert tour. The experience was one we will never forget & we hope to be able to come back next year. Mary spent a lot of time around the stage & vendor areas & was able to see & meet some of the stars. I was in a golf cart most of the time running around trouble shooting. People who were lost, needed arm bands, or transportation from remote lots were the ones I dealt with. Their appreciation made me feel like a rock star. Sunday was clean-up day. The stage was dismantled while the few volunteers that stuck around stacked chairs, picked up traffic cones, & made sure all the campers were able to get out of the park. Again it was a lot of hard work but we had a great time & met some awesome people.

Monday we left Wickham Park & made a brief stop at a Giant RV World of Melbourne. The brakes weren't working quite right & I wanted some one to check the water heater again. Cold showers are no fun! Once again we got our moneys worth out of our extended warranty & were on our way. Next stop is the uncles in Stuart. We will spend the rest of the week visiting them & then will be on our way towards the mountains of Tennessee.

So tonight we will sleep well in our home in Port St Lucie because.....

Home is where we part it,

Frank & Mary

Friday, April 15, 2011

'11/#13 Holy %@#$!!!!!

We were up, out, & on the job by 7am. Today we decided to stay in the golf cart together. Mary had had enough standing in the sun directing campers & I missed having her with me. Those plans lasted about 10 minutes. They needed someone to man the entrance so Mary agreed to do that for a little while. Meanwhile I was driving around shuttling concert goers around & helping them get the appropriate passes, wrist bands, etc. The next time I passed Mary a local news channel was interviewing her. I can't leave her alone for a minute without her getting into something. Next as I was ticket trouble shooting I hear Mary over the radio trying to get one of the bands, who were lost,back to the stage area. Now she is making friends with the band "Low Cash Cowboys". It was time to get her some relief from the gate. Well after I got her back in the cart we had to make sure the signs on the road were correct to guide the rest of the bands to the stage. Before we got the signs up here comes a bus & truck caravan. So what does my darling wife do? She jumps out in front of Dierks Bentley's bus waving a sign to direct them in to the correct entrance with traffic flying by her in both directions. After this we got water to volunteers & shuttled guests & volunteers around the park. We decided to head back to our rig for lunch instead of waiting for the promoters to get around to it. Lucky for us, it started to rain just as we got home so we sat & waited out the weather. We were supposed to be done by noon but there was more to do. We didn't need to be to the concert until 6pm so we kept right on doing our thing. In the process we got to see "Steel Magnolia" & Dierks Bentley's grandmother. Not quite all access but close enough. At 5 o'clock we headed into the concert. For the next 5 hours we just sat back & enjoyed the music. The concert started with John Anderson, then came our favorite of the day Eric Church, & finally Fridays headliner Dierks Bentley. It was a great show & worth all the work we did. But we weren't done. Oh no, there was more. After the concert we started shuttling guests back to their campsites. In reality we were delivering drunks to their RVs. Some people had better times than others if you know what I mean. Then we found this remote parking lot & I mean remote. A thousand miles away down a dark deserted dirt road to an empty field. We couldn't let people walk out there so we kept shuttling them until there were no more. We got back to our trailer at 1am. So much for being done by noon. We are exhausted. Needless to say we are sleeping in tomorrow in our home in Melbourne because.... Home is where we park it, Frank & Mary

Thursday, April 14, 2011

'11/#12 Let The Blogging Begin!

Our next adventure is volunteering at a country music festival. Monday we got a call that we needed to be at the Country Runaway for an 8am meeting on Wednesday in Melbourne. That meant a mad dash to see all the kids, grand kids, & friends so we could get ready to leave. We wanted to get there Tuesday because I didn't want to leave at 3am for a meeting at 8am & possibly have to work the rest of the day. We arrived & set up Tuesday, got a good nights sleep, & were at the meeting at 8am. Only one problem....there was no one holding a meeting. For the next 2 hours we sat around waiting for something to do. Finally the campground host leader decided that we should go & mark the campgrounds. A couple of hours later we were done & told to be back at 9am to start directing the arriving campers. Bright & early that morning Murphy's law kicked into high gear. The hot water heater shut down & we received a panic filed call that we were needed to start directing campers. This was all around 7:30 am. After a frantic on-line search for a mobile RV repair service & a cold shower we were on the job only a few minutes late. It was a long day in the hot sun but we did meet a lot of great people. The organizers(and I use that term loosely) had no idea what was going on or who was supposed to be doing it. Things did seem to get done in spite of those in charge. It felt just like our years working at the Post Office. Food & water eventually showed up & after 2 days on the job we got our staffer T-shirts & credentials. Like I said, no organization. Tomorrow they want us at 7am & hope to have all the campers in & settled by noon. We shall see. For now we are looking forward to a good nights sleep in our home in Melbourne FL because ........ Home is where we park it, Frank & Mary