"if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room"

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

icing the cake

We dropped Nicholas off at Pizza Hut Friday evening enjoing dinner with our kids, our son Matthew was able to join us as well.

The cafe was fairly busy both Saturday and Sunday mornings. I try to be prepared in the kitchen by prepping what ingredients I need but it is hard to judge what people will order. Some days are "pancake" days where it seems like every other order is pancakes while other days it may be "omelete day" or "french toast day". There really is no rhyme or reason to it so we do our best to prepare and then just go with the flow. :-)

Monday we took a well deserved motorcycle ride. Rudee's parents both grew up near here so we explored some of their old stomping grounds. Her Mom lived in the small town of Saint Bernice but we were not sure of the exact house (if it is still standing). There is a group of buildings that at one time comprised the business district with several empty lots, some with the outline of the foundation of the building that used to be there, but all the business' have long ago closed down and the remaining buildings were abandoned. That seems to be the case in most of the small towns accross the U.S. and is a sad state of affairs. I know it's hard for our kids to even imagine what our daily life used to be like when you knew the first name of the local grocer and he knew you, your neighbor owned the local filling station/garage and your pharmacist knew your medical history and what medicines you were taking without using a computer.

Tuesday morning the boss man here at the KOA asked if I could help him pour some concrete. He wanted to make one of the cabins handicapped accesable and had already staked out the frame for a new patio. He also had framed an entry porch for the office door in the new building and thresholds for the two overhead doors.
The concrete truck arrived at 9:30 and we poured the areas at the shop first. Those were small areas and went pretty quick. The cabin patio was much larger and a lot more work. There were two other work campers as well as the boss man helping out and we were able to get the patio poured, leveled and smoothed out. Here I am "icing the cake" with my hand trowel.

One of the work campers had to leave Monday to return home. He was having some medical problems that he needed to take care of and we were sorry to see them go. Good luck Chip and Velma, it was great getting to know you guys and are looking forward to hooking up again somewhere down the road.

We are getting geared up for the July 4th weekend here at the campground and expect a busier than normal week end, I'll keep you posted.

Friday, June 22, 2012

enjoying our "Grandson week"

What first attracted me to full time RVing was the ability and flexibility to travel that this lifestyle allows. I would read blogs and dream of living and working in different areas of this great country. I guess I really didn't imagine our first summer "on the road" would be only 70 miles from our old hometown. Instead I pictured exploring Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons, maybe eating lobster at a pier in Maine or even taking long motorcycle rides along the coast. "Baby steps" is what I keep telling myself, "take it slow" is another of my favorite phrases.
One big advantage to being close to family is being able to spend time with the grand kids and this week has been a lot of fun with Nicholas staying with us. He has really enjoyed going to work with us the last couple of days. He has divided his time between helping me outside and helping Rudee in the office. The arriving campers get a real kick out of him delivering their "welcome to the neighborhood" cookies.

Tuesday evening we took him to the local dirt track to watch the race cars. Rudee packed a cooler and we had a picnic supper waiting for the action to start. Nascar drivers Tony Stewart, Kenny Wallace and Justin Allgaier were racing their modified cars. Justin won the feature race with Tony coming in second. Here is Tony in his #14 rounding the second turn next to where we were sitting.

Today is Nick's last day with us. We are meeting our daughter in Lebanon at Pizza Hut to have dinner and drop him off. We have really enjoyed spending time with him, now it's time for his two sisters to  spend some one on one time with Mamaw and Papaw, on second thought maybe we need to take a week or two to recover :-). I'll keep you posted.

Monday, June 18, 2012

helping hand

Saturday after our shift in the cafe we headed to Broadview Lake Campground to visit with several of our motorcycle buddies who were camping there. We spent a couple of hours catching up, telling stories and just relaxing under the awning. We would have liked to stay longer but had made plans to meet Rudee's family at a restaurant in the tiny town of New Ross, Indiana. We were celebrating fathers day and her Dad had chosen the restaurant. We have eaten here several times in the past and the place is known for huge steaks at reasonable prices.
With all the kids, their kids, and their kids' kids we ended up with a table of 21 people and had a great time.
We had an extra passenger on our trip home. Our grandson, Nicholas, came back to the 5er with us to spend the week. We checked with our boss here at the KOA and got the "OK" to have him hang around us during our shifts. He even made sure Nick got a KOA shirt and name tag so he looked "official". Nick got a real kick out of wearing his own "uniform". His first shift was Sunday morning in the cafe. He was really looking forward to working with his Grandma and Papaw.

Here he is toward the end of our shift. Some of his duties were to help Rudee carry orders and bus the tables after the customers left. He made $11.00 in tips! That sure made his day worthwhile and we are all looking forward to working together the rest of the week.

The weather is smokin' hot here so I am sure we will be spending some time in the pool and we are planning on taking Nick to the race track for the sprint car races. They are having a Nascar night with special guests Tony Stewart, Kenny Wallace and Ken Schrader all scheduled to race. That should be a fun time! I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

"work" camper

We have just started our work week and I'm already beat! Last evening the boss man had a long list of chores he wanted me to accomplish. There is a leak in the pool pump house in a pipe that goes into the ground inside the building and then underneath the outer wall and cement floor. The pool repair guys are coming out Friday morning to repair the pipe but needed access to make the repair. My job was to remove the outer plywood wall along with the trim boards. I got this done and was supposed to start breaking up the cement with a sledge hammer but we had two large families come in and were wanting to use the pool so the boss told me to hold off and day shift will do the cement demo. My next job was to seal the grout on the new tile floor in the cafe and move a bunch of unused equipment from the cafe to the attic of the shop. Once both of these jobs were done I re-installed all the trim around the walls of the cafe. This finishes up the tile floor in the cafe and it really looks great. In between all these jobs I was called several times to escort campers to their sites or pump propane. I was a busy guy! I don't mind though because my 5 hour shift flies by when I am busy.

Today's shift started at the pool. The boss and one of the other work campers had already removed the cement  so I started digging around the pipe. The leak was about 2 foot underground at an elbow so I cleaned enough of the dirt out so the repairmen could get to everything to make the repair. We had to remove part of the chain link fence surrounding the pool in order to get the bobcat close enough to remove the broken concrete, dirt and mud. Once all that was loaded up and moved the fence had to be replaced so the pool would be secure again. I worked on all this for about 3 hours and then headed to the shop. A couple of week ago the boss was in the attic over the office area of the shop and stuck his size 13 boot through the drywall of the ceiling below. OOPS! No one got hurt and I was glad the boss did it and not one of us work campers ;-). Anyway, I had to remove the broken piece of drywall from the ceiling as well as all the screws holding it in place. I then cleaned up the huge mess I created with all the broken drywall and dust. I looked like a big powdered doughnut once I was done :-). I needed another shower!
Tomorrow we work the early shift (8am - 1pm) and it looks like I will be installing some drywall and once the pool is repaired I will need to replace the wall, back fill the hole and we may even get the floor cemented again if time allows. We'll see how it goes and of course I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

more wet, lots of crap!

We have had a busy week here at the KOA. Seems like the camping season is in full swing and we are seeing a lot of week end campers instead of just overnight travelers.

A couple of weeks ago I had a problem with my Android phone, everyone I called kept telling me they couldn't hear me. At first I thought it was just a problem with my location but quickly realized it was the phone. I made a trip to the AT&T store and ended up with a new "old style" I-Phone.
I like the new phone but like everything there is a learning curve but after a few days I am comfortable using it.
Wednesday night I plugged the phone into it's charger and sat it on the counter next to the bathroom sink in the same place I have sat my phones for the last 3 years we have lived in the 5er. Thursday morning I got up and found the phone sitting in a small puddle of water! I have no idea where the water came from, I looked and looked for any kind of leak and everything else was dry. I guess we must have splashed it out washing our hands or it might have been there when I sat the phone down. Either way it was a big "OH NO" moment.
I tried the phone and it did some really weird stuff. The screen would flash from one thing to another and none of the "buttons" would work ..... CRAP!
I used a hair dryer on it but that didn't help. One thing about the I-phones is the phone is not designed to be taken apart so I couldn't just open the case and dry things out. Time to head back to the AT&T store to find out my options. The young man there was very nice but didn't have great news for us. The insurance we have always had on our plan covered this but the deductible on i-phones is $200 not the $50 we were expecting .... CRAP! He gave us the forms to fill out and also told us about a place here in Terre Haute that repairs i-phones and they could probably repair it for less than the $200 deductible.
I had heard that the best way to dry a phone out was to put it in a bag of rice so we stopped at the grocery and bought some. Back at the 5er I dumped the rice and the phone into a zip lock bag and decided to let it sit overnight and see if that worked.
Friday afternoon I retrieved the phone, tossed the rice and gave it a go. The phone was working!! Yipee! The only thing I could find wrong with it was the screen has some water damage to it and has some shadows but i can live with that. Since I could not turn the phone off since it had gotten wet the battery was really low so I plugged it in to charge and ran into a problem. It wouldn't charge. CRAP! I decided to take it to the repair place and see what they could do for it.
I was met by a real life "geek" who knew way more about i-phones than I ever wanted to know! He was a very nice young man and took his time helping this techno limited old fart :-). He took the phone apart removing the two tiny, tiny screws in the bottom that I didn't even see, even with my high tech, no-line bifocals. Geez I feel old! He said the water damage was not bad and found that the charger cord was shorted out and we could just replace it and be good to go. He offered to replace the screen for $65 but we passed on that for now. I want to make sure everything is going to work it before we spend more money. So after 2 days with out a phone I was back in business and so far it has only cost me 78 cents for a bag of rice and a new charger cord for $7.00. Sure beats that $200 deductible!

Yesterday we met several of our motorcycle buddies at the Strawberry Festival in Crawfordsville Indiana. The festival has free entertainment every evening so we all brought our lawn chairs and sat together in front of the stage. The band was a Beach Boys tribute band and were really good. Brought back some great memories of cruising the strip with our 8 track blaring. Crap! I am getting old! :-)

We are off the next couple of days and hope to do some riding. I want to get our inflatable boat out again sometime. We have not gone paddling since we were in Mississippi back in March. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

wet and wild

Monday I was looking forward to getting the Harley out and feel the wind in my face but I woke up to the sound of rain hitting the 5er's roof instead. :-( Well crapola, the weatherman was saying only a 20% chance of showers but from the looks of the sky and the radar we were in for rain pretty much the entire day.
Oh well, another lazy day relaxing in the 5th wheel is not too bad either. :-)

Tuesday we did venture out on the bike to visit Rudee's parents. The wind blew a little and it was a little cool when the sun was behind the clouds but at least the rain had stopped!

As most of you know we are doing our first work camping job in a campground. We are enjoying it most of the time but there have been times it is more like a "job" than an "adventure". I guess this is to be expected and we are committed to learning and experiencing all we can in this lifestyle.
We enjoy the interaction with the campers the most and the majority of them are very nice with only a few a-holes thrown in to keep us on our toes.
The biggest complaint we hear from our guests is the cost of camping here. The prices are typical of this chain of RV parks and there are a lot of added fees that can make a stay costly. The average base price for a full hook up site here is over $50 per night for two adults.
The sites are all pull through and come with cable TV and free Wifi but even with these it would be out of our budget.
I don't profess to be a marketing genius but it seems to me that more $$ could be made by lowering site fees and filling more sites vs. top dollar fees and less campers? Oh well, this is not my rodeo, I'm just one of clowns. :-)

One thing that amazes me though are the customers who have to have a site for their satellite TV. The park has a lot of trees and only a few sites where satellite "may" come in. We explain that there are over 70 channels on the cable TV that is provided at each site, just hook a cable up and enjoy. Seems like most of these folks are the ones in the higher $$ units and I am getting the notion they have no idea how to switch from their on-board satellite to outside cable TV. Of course these seem to be the same people that just can't go a single night without full hook ups, maybe they don't know their units "self contained"? :-)
Oh well, kind of started ranting a little there didn't I? Such is the life of a workcamper I guess, sometimes you just have to smile and scratch you head! :-)

The weatherman is now saying there will be a heat wave starting this week end with temps approaching the 90's, of course this is the same 20% chance of rain guy so who knows, it may snow this week end! :-) I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

the week flew by

Wow, it's been a week since I posted a blog entry ..... yikes! I guess we were a little more worn out from Memorial Day week end then I thought.
Monday was a quiet day for us, we laid around the 5th wheel recuperating and enjoying a lazy day.

Tuesday we were up and out the door early, we had a graduation to go to! Our youngest (so far) Grand Daughter Olivia was graduating from kindergarten. Leaving the campground around 7:30 we made a stop at McDonalds in Brazil and grabbed a couple of breakfast sandwiches and headed right back out onto the highway. The drive took us a little over 1 1/2 hours to get to her school near Advance, Indiana.
Her class put on a small program and then each student was called up to receive their diplomas.

She is a cutee, don't ya think? :-)

Once the graduation was over we treated Olivia to lunch at Steak and Shake in Brownsburg and also made a stop at the UPS store to pick up our mail.

The temperatures the first part of the week were smokin hot. Thursday that all changed as some rain moved in and cooled everything down. We even had to turn our furnace on Friday morning! :-(
The cooler temps made it more comfortable to work in though and our shifts seemed to fly by. Before we knew it Saturday had arrived and it was back in the kitchen cooking breakfasts. This week end we had several campers who were in town for the Indiana Special Olympic Games and the cafe was pretty busy again this week end.

Today after work we ventured out in the semi so we could exercise that big diesel motor. The price of fuel has dropped significantly in the last couple of weeks so we decided to go ahead a fill the tanks. I really like towing with the big truck and it gives us the option of taking along our Harley but sure hurts when we have to fill those two big saddle tanks full of fuel! :-o
I had put some fuel in back in Vicksburg, Mississippi but only enough to feel comfortable for the trip home. The gauge showed between 1/4 and 1/2 a tank (or tanks in our case) and we ended up taking 140 gallons which is exactly 1/2 of what we can hold so our gauge is off a little bit.
I paid the $500 bill to the truck stop and was a little light headed and dizzy walking back out to where Rudee was waiting in parking lot, wow that hurt! :-) The good news is we can now travel a ton of miles and wont have to fill up again for a long time.
We have no real plans for our days off. I have not had the Harley out of it's little garage under the overhang of the 5er for a while. I'm thinkin I need to take a little ride ...... I'll keep you posted.