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

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

'11/#20 I HATE Jello

The last day in Marion didn't start off well. If you have been following us for the past year you remember the time we spent in Elkhart having some work done on our rig. The floor needed replacing which cost us quite a bit & took way longer than it should have but it was done & over with. Or so we thought. As we were getting ready to leave NC we noticed the new floor was falling apart. Some irate calls to the repair shop & we rerouted our trip from Tennessee to Indiana. Not what we wanted to do but something we had to do. The shop knew we were upset & that we had a schedule to keep so the job was assessed & started right away with their best workers. It appears that the materials supplied to the shop were defective & that it would be repaired in a few days.

I started this blog 2 days ago but just couldn't keep my head in it to finish. Now I am back. Everything was fixed & we were on our way Friday around noon. We put a lot of miles behind us for such a late start. Tonight will be another night at Walmart & with an early start we hope to reach Pigeon Forge Saturday afternoon.

After a long day, including some horrendous traffic through Cincinnati that Mary got stuck behind the wheel for, neither one of us wanted to cook. So what could we do? Well there is a Papa Johns about 200' from where we are parked soooooo. Then with belly's full we did the Internet thing. You know, e-mails & blogs & Facebook & news & weather. Soon it will be time to go to bed & get some well deserved sleep. Once again we will be lulled to sleep by the sounds of the interstate. It's either that or trains when it comes to RVing.

Now that I look at it, it wasn't much of a blog to take 2 days to write but here it is, from our home at Walmart outside Lexington KY because......

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Sunday, May 1, 2011

'11/#19 Last Day With SKPs (Escapees...get it?)

I don't know what is going on lately. Neither one of us feels great. My back is still killing me, even though it is getting better, & Mary has just generally been feeling under the weather. Because of this & the fact that we have been night-shifters for so many years, mornings have been kind of rough. We get up for the morning breakfast & socializing but find ourselves crawling back into bed shortly thereafter. Yesterday was biscuits-n-gravy & today was "eggs in a bag". Yes, in a bag. It was a first for us but it was interesting. Start with a zip-loc bag, crack 2 eggs inside, add cheese & bacon & ham & mushrooms & onions & peppers, mush until mixed, close bag, & place in a communal pot of boiling water. 5 minutes later you have an omelet in a bag. It was interesting but would taste much better closer to 9am than 7:30.

Mary is at this moment sorting through her pictures of the Biltmore Estate to post on FB. It may take some time since she took close to 700 pictures just that day. She went through 2 batteries & that is without taking any pictures inside the house where photography is banned. I am blogging as you can see. I am trying to blog off line to save some of our data usage with Verizon. With 2 computers & this being our main connection to the world while we travel we have gone over our allotted usage on occasion. The overage charges are, shall we say......OUCH! We try to avoid this situation as much as possible.

Today will be our last day with the Escapees. There will be an open discussion on all things RV related, the daily Happy Hour, a catered dinner, & the closing ceremonies. Tomorrow everyone will be hitching up & there will be a continental breakfast where we will say our good byes & trade contact information. We will be part of the mass exodus but with only 150 miles to travel we are in no hurry. Next stop....Dollywood!

As I said earlier I am trying this blogging off line thing. I may have to copy it over if it doesn't work or not do it this way if it doesn't work well. We will start the packing up process today so we will have less to do tomorrow. So this will probably be my last blog from our home in Marion NC

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary