Sunday, April 29, 2012

First Day on the Lake

Today was a beautiful day to go out on the lake.  We have had a lot of days that would have been just as great but today was the one we made it out on the lake.  I always like the first lake day of the season.  Judy and I have been real busy running errands, cleaning the house, and getting the dock/boathouse ready for the summer season.

"Underway, Shift Colors" I love that phrase.
We invited Ken and Pat to come over and to take a pontoon ride. They live in our neighborhood. They have been “extended –timers” since they retired about six years ago. Ken told me about the GA. Power Lakes parks about three years ago. They are also “host/ gate attendants to. I think they really enjoyed going out on the pontoon today. We found out during our conversation that they had not been out on Lake Sinclair since they sold their lake house and bought an off water house. I’m glad we were able to get them back out on the lake. Once we finished on the lake we went back in the house and had a nice treat of fresh fruit and sandwiches Judy had made. To top it off we had a nice bowl of ice cream.
Ken - forward lookout

Pat - Enjoying the view
Judy - First Mate (luv the hat!)

On Sat Judy and I went to the Sam’s Club to pick up some items.  The main reason I like to go to Sam’s is to get the Nathan’s Hot dog Combo. The best $1.70 I’ve spent in awhile.  That was not the only money we spent though. As we were walking the store we came across one of the coffee maker demonstrations. Judy was not going to leave until she bought it. Judy doesn’t even drink coffee! She loves to smell it though.  Judy used my upcoming (June) birthday as justification to purchase a new Keurig single cup coffee maker. Who was I to say no so I just went along. I think she likes the fact that she can make hot chocolate. I must admit I did like the sample cup of coffee. I bought her some hot chocolate K cups today while at Kroger's today.

Congrats are in order;
I want to wish Jessica and Harry congratulations on moving into their fifth wheel. They are in transition to the full time life on the road.

Congrats to Nancy and Joe on departing on their summer travels. Maybe I will get to see them when they arrive in middle Ga.

Congrats to Kenny and Angela have listed their house so it is officially on the market.

Thanks for stopping by.
Next Blog:  Wed

Thursday, April 26, 2012


At about 10:00 PM  I went online to  catch up on some news,  check  face book, and read  some blogs.  When online I always check my blog to see the location of  the latest visitors.  I noticed that in my "next blog" it indicated Thur.  It dawned on me that it is Thurs.

Things are pretty slow since we arrived home.  The only big event scheduled for Wed was Judy's haircut appointment.  I wanted no part of that so I had her drop me off at the Black Bird Coffee Shoppe .  I spent the hour and a half between 4:00 until 5:30 there while Judy went to pick up our mail at our PO Box and then go to her appt.  I really enjoy relaxing and surfing the WEB  there .  You may recall that I did  a complete entry on the "Black Bird" earlier. If you missed it click here .

Today was mostly a Judy day.  I was stuck at the house.  She met with Jackie,  one of  her high school and ASA softball team mates from  back in the day.  Judy was quite the softball and high school basketball player. She actually played on the men's team  when I was assigned to the Royal Navy establishment HMS Dryad in Portsmouth England. That is another story.  Jackie and Judy had lunch at Hannah's in Eatonton, Ga.  She did bring me a takeout - not what I ask for though.

Judy was not content to spend the rest of the day and evening at home with me.  No, she left again at 6:00 PM  to go to the Chinese restaurant in Milledgeville for "girls night out" .  Once a month a group of women in our neighborhood go out.  They actually changed the date so Judy would be able to attend. That was very nice of them  to do.  Judy took the camera to take some pictures but I had taken the card out to upload pics to my laptop.  I called her before she got to the restaurant and let her know. If she had taken the pics and later found that I had the card out  it would have been detrimental to me. As it was she said she would take them  next time.

I spent most of the day researching about ten state parks in Fl that I think we would like to "host"  at.  I have been told it is difficult to line up FL state parks for the winter months.  I also submitted our ad for "Workamper Classifieds" for the fall/winter time frame. 

Thanks for stopping by.
Next post: Sunday

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Week Two Completed

We will be leaving the park when we finish our shift at 9:00 PM. We usually just stay the night and drive home Wed. morning.  I think we can be back in Milledgeville at 11:30 PM. If we don’t like the drive tonight we will return to waiting until Wed AM.

One of our Visitors

The weather has continued to be pretty cool and windy today.  Only three campers remain in the park.  One camper left earlier today after a three day visit.  I spoke with her today as I was making my first round of the park.  I have enjoyed being able to talk with visiting campers this week. Jennifer and I got to visit as she was preparing her rig to leave. Jennifer was putting the finishing touches on stowing her kayak. Jennifer lives locally and comes to the park to chill and relax. She likes to visit the park when it isn’t crowded. Her Winnebago Class “C” seems to be the perfect rig for her and her fur kid. I am sure we will get to visit again before the season is out.

Ms. Jennifer getting ready to head-out

 Judy and I spent some of the day doing house cleaning chores at the office and our rig.  I cleaned the glass doors, dusted all the counter surfaces and vacuumed.  Judy took care of getting all our food stuffs put away, cleaned and mopped the restroom (I did it last time). So we are ready to go but we have to finish our shift! We will also have a turnover with Ed and Char once they return to the park around 6:00PM.  

For lunch I picked up a takeout meal from a nearby greasy spoon, (and I do mean greasy) – Shorty’s Barbecue. I am not sure we will be ready to reorder anytime soon.

The Dumpster Dawg from Shorty's (barbeque, hotdog,and chilli) - Mrs. Obama would not approve!

Thanks for stopping by.
Next Post: Thurs

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Weather Surprise

 Even though it is the weekend here at the park, only about 1/3 of the sites are occupied.  The weather forecast for Sat. and Sun probably kept attendance low.  The Thursday forecast called for a messy weekend but by Friday evening it had been revised for the better.  The rain called for most of Sat. and Sun was now reduced to late Sat night and the early hours of Sunday morning.  We had about ten cancellations before the revised forecast.  Today (Sat.) only one camper is still scheduled to arrive today.  We have four campers checking out by 1:00 PM.

Our visitors from Iowa will be leaving today in their Georgetown Class A motor home. Judy and I did have the chance to talk with them during their stay.  Mr. & Mrs. Ebert have been on the road for the past fourteen years.  They have taken advantage of the some of the nearby sights during their stay.  They were disappointed that the Roosevelt golf course in Warm Springs was closed. I didn’t think too much about them playing golf at the time. I later learned that Mr. Ebert was 84. I am not sure of Mrs. Ebert’s age but she is a senior citizen. They recently purchased a condo as their exit plan.  I just waved goodbye to them as they headed out of the park headed to their next destination.

The Ebert's from Iowa

The day turned out to be a pretty good day weather wise.  I am sure those who canceled wish they could rethink that decision. Judy and I are having an easy day.  She is reading her kindle and doing some things at the RV.  When she is over at the office I have been over at the rig working on organizing the basement.  We have been taking turns riding the golf cart through the park. We have to stay open until ten PM like last night.  We had a visitor leave 15 minutes late last night so I had to go unlock the gate.  I think in the future I will tell them to go to the gate and I will be there as soon as I finish the nightly closeout.  Maybe if they have to wait on me at the gate for 15-20 minutes they will get the idea to leave on time.

Thanks for stopping by.

Next blog: Monday PM

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lots of Visitors

Judy and I returned to Blanton Creek Park yesterday afternoon after our week off. Char and Ed gave us a report on last week’s activities.  After they closed up at 9:00PM they headed home.

I opened up this AM while Judy slept in until about 8:15 AM.  There was no reason for her to rush over because we only have about 8 campers in the park. Three of them checked in today.  One was a fulltime couple from Iowa. They had spent the winter FL.  As we checked them in they told us they had stayed here back in 09. 
Lots of Visitors

Even though we don’t have many campers in the park, we do have lots of visitors!  In fact, about 200 visitors.  Many of them are from GA Power corporate headquarters. They are attending a series of meetings in Columbus, GA. over the next couple of days. This evening a catered meal was provided for them at one of our pavilions. Our boss Mike certainly wanted the park looking good. He and Richard the head of maintenance worked extremely hard to achieve that goal. I am sure the brass will be pleased.
Having a Good Time

Plenty of beverages to go with the meal

They didn’t forget about Judy and I. Richard gave Judy a call at 7:00 PM to invite Judy and I to come down to the pavilion to make us a plate. Judy called me since I was making a round of the park on the golf cart. I quickly did a U turn and headed to the pavilion. It was worth the drive. The pavilion was very crowded.  I made Judy and I a plate of BBQ, ribs, chicken breast, mac & cheese, baked beans and banana pudding. Another great meal here at Blanton Creek Park.

Thanks for stopping by.

Next Blog: Friday

Note: We are thinking about staying 3-4 months in Fl next winter. If you have any recommendations please send us an email.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"Outdoor U"

While at our workamper assignment last week Judy and I learned about "Outdoor U."  Each year about this time and also in the fall Blanton Creek Park is the setting for "Outdoor U".   I kinda thought at first it would have something to do with a college/univ. outdoor education program. Yes,  colleges/univs. do offer degree programs in this educational area.  In fact,  one of my colleagues at the middle school I taught with had a PhD in this area.   As we found out however,  this "Outdoor Univ. had nothing to do with traditional academia. 
Andy Holt (2L) of Outdoor Univ.

We found that Outdoor Univ. is a program  facilitated by Andy Holt.  The students are HVAC techs, installers, and manager/owners.  Andy presents the seminar over a 3 day period. The class size is usually between 4-15 students.  The focus of the training is communication & leadership skills training. Training is tailored for each group and there is plenty of individual interaction.  What a great training concept, not in some boring hotel conference room but out in the great outdoors.  Yes, the students sleep in tents. I must say Blanton Creek is a wonderful setting.  Judy and I found Andy to be a friendly and charming man.  As a side note,  he got a visit from his new baby grandaughter during his visit with us. The experience was very humbling for him!  Andy will do his part to spoil her.
Students "camp" one per tent - some sites have two tents.

I must mention the two other members of the staff, Mike and Kelly.  They made sure the students did not go hungry.  In fact, they prepared 5 star meals for the students. Oh, and they always made sure to remember the park hosts - Jim and Judy. Judy and I can't wait until the next class. Judy said she was going to volunteer to help Mike and Kelly so she can learn how to cook those great quesadillas that Mike and Kelly sent us.

Mike - Chef (MMMM.....) 

Kelly(R) - Assistant Chef

This delicious meal was sent to us by Mike

This just goes to show you never know who you will meet in a campground.  Thanks to all at "Outdoor U" for making our first week so unique.

Doesn't Judy look like a happy camper! (ignore the mop in the background)

Thanks for stopping by. We will be returning to the park Tue.

Next post Wed.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Memorial Day Registration

The registration policy at Blanton Creek Park is no registrations earlier than 45 days.  It also requires campers stay at least 3 nights over holiday weekends.  Yesterday, Wed. was the first day to register for the Memorial Day weekend.

Judy and I stayed at the park Wed. to assist Ed and Char with the reservations even though our week was over.  I think they were glad we helped out. The campers already knew the drill and were patient as the process moved forward.

Tue evening after I closed at 9:00 P M , the fist campers were already claiming their place in line.

At 7:00 AM  Ed  walked down the line of cars and passed out numbers.  Campers could only make one reservation  with a number.  If they desired to make another reservation they received a new number after they made their reservation and had to go to the end of the line.  None of the campers complained.

Waiting inside the office until their number was called.

Judy entering the reservation into the computer.

The office was cleared out by 8:10 AM.   We said goodbye to Ed and Char and left for our 135 mi. trip back to Milledgeville.

Welcome to our newest followers, Kenny and Angela.  They are in transition to the full-time life style.

Thanks for your comments; Phil & Rudee, Lauri & George, Jessica & Harry, and Joe & Nancy

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you on the road.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

In our short one week workamper experience as park host Judy and I have seen the polar opposites of “camper” behavior.  The important thing to remember is that the friendly positive almost stereotypical image of campers is by far what has been demonstrated here.  In fact, 99.999% of our contact has been “super dooper” as one of my former XO’s would say.  The sad thing about it is I did not feel the need to write about all the nice things we have experienced.  After all, isn’t that what we expect to find at a campground?  Campers being nice and friendly is not news, it is expected!

Today we only have six sites occupied, not counting the group with Andy Holt. I’ll be talking more about them in my next post.  Over the weekend we were at near capacity and lots of people were here. As the park was full we did not get to go around and visit with campers much.  Our contact with campers was limited to the time they checked-in or a wave as we made our rounds in the golf cart. I did have to remind a few people of the parking restrictions but that was to be expected.  As campers checked in they welcomed us to the park as we welcomed them.  Some of the niceties we did not expect included; (a.) offers of fresh fish catches, (2) two large slices of home-made chocolate cake delivered to us at the registration office, (3) two jars of home-made pickles and (4) two cooked on site prime rib dinners with all the fixings sent up last night.  None of these things were expected but we were not surprised by the camper’s generosity. 

Here is a short account of a polar opposite to the above narrative. I am going to try to keep this short as it irritates and upsets me on a number of levels. It does require that I give some background.  On Friday a group of 4-5 young men came into the office to register and check in. Judy and I checked them in.  Since they had about 2/3rds of the tent sites reserved it took a few minutes. I could tell by the tattoos and haircuts they were soldiers, probably from nearby Fort Benning.  They were very animated and joking around.  We talked some and I informed them of my 25 yrs in the military and an immediate bond was formed. Judy continued to process them and we continued to talk and joke around. When a group of military personnel are off duty the rank structure is still in play. I quickly identified the leader by his take charge manner. He told me they visit the park often. He also jokingly said, you aren’t going to have any problems from us. I said “I can already tell”.  He told me some of their wives and girl friends would be showing up later. 

I made lots of rounds of the park because of the large number of campers and guest in the park.  On each trip I found only the normal activities and noise expected in a full park.  Campers were relaxing, visiting and in general having a great weekend.  I made my last round each night about half an hour after we closed the gate.  I did not observe any inappropriate behavior or loud music.  On Sunday campers did not waste any time on getting out.  I made a special trip down to check on the military group and to let them know that in the future we were going to give them a military discount per my boss Mike.  I barely got there in time.  All the tents were down and packed up and the grounds were spotless. I talked with the leader of the group and told him how pleased I was with them and looked forward to their next visit.  As the day ended Judy and I took a sigh of relief and were pleased that things worked out so well.

Monday morning Judy and I reported to work knowing it was going to be a dead day. Around 9:00 A M our boss, Mike stopped by to chat and ensure we didn’t need anything.  The phone rang and Judy took the call.  I could tell from Judy’s facial expression this wasn’t a reservation call. The caller wanted to know if he could have a refund.  Judy questioned him as to why. Mike and I were listening to the conversation. He told Judy that he went to the site he rented and decided he didn’t want to stay and left the park. Judy inquired as to why he didn’t stop by and let us know Friday instead of waiting until Monday. Then he got more to the point. He said he didn’t want to be around the other people there. He also said it was too loud and the people had too many dogs. Judy quickly pointed out that they had no dogs. Judy told him she did not feel comfortable giving a refund since he didn’t let us know on Friday. Who is to say he didn’t stay on the site. Judy told him she would check with the manager and then give him a call back.  Judy relayed to Mike the conversation she had. I was amazed that someone would call and even ask for a refund two days after the fact without letting us know at the time.  Mike told Judy to dial the number and let him talk to the guy. Mike introduced himself and told him GA Power wanted to provide quality service and would like to ask a few questions.  The guy started with the too many pets complaint and Mike reminded him there were no dogs. Mike asked him if there was anything about the operation of the park that he did not like and he said no. Mike then said to the man, “I think you have a problem with the clientele of the park.” He responded “there were too many Mexicans for this white boy.” Mike reminded him that most of the men he found offensive were soldiers who had served in combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq fighting for him. The guy did try to back paddle. Mike did give Judy permission to destroy the man’s check. Mike also gave the man some sage advice.   I sure hope he never returns to this park. I don’t know anyone with military experience that ever questioned the ethnicity of service members who helped them when the rubber met the road.  

I guess we will always have ignorant, intolerant fools to deal with.  I have been writing this entry a little at a time today and will be posting it in about 15 minutes, around 11:30 PM.  Tomorrow Judy and I will be returning home for our week off. Tomorrow is also the first day campers can make reservations for Memorial Day weekend.  This is no joke, at 10: 00 PM tonight the first two people were lined up outside the locked gate. By morning approx 20-25 people will be lined up to be able to register for the 15 lake front sites. That is dedicated campers.

Thanks for stopping by. I have read your comments, thanks.

Monday, April 9, 2012

First Week as Campground Host/ Gate attendant

If you have been reading my blog you know I am behind in my post.  Judy and I left Tue (27 March) to report to our workamper assignment at Blanton Creek Park. Our first day by ourselves was Wed.  It was not stressful!  Judy says she has finally found out what she wants to do when she grows up.

Open and Ready for Business

There have been a couple of hitches though. I did not bring my power cord for the laptop and we are still finding out that we need additional cooking items.  The missing power cord presented the biggest issue as my laptop battery was only at about 50% capacity.  As a result the blog was put on the back burner to other on-line activities.  That was remedied today (Sun.) when Judy’s sister and husband came to visit.

We took over for the other couple Tue at   9:00 PM at the end of their shift. They had been at the park for about three weeks.  Our week technically did not begin until 7:00AM Wed morning. We told them to go on home since they only live about 15 miles. from the park.  The park is closed – gate locked at 9:PM except Fri and Sat and then we close the gate at 10 PM.  At 2:00 AM we hear a knocking on the rig. It is a man saying he had to leave the park because his daughter was ill. Yea, right. He had been fishing and probably drinking with his friends. He told me he tried to unlock the pad locked gate with his key but it didn’t work. At some time in the past it was Ga. Power policy to let campers have a key to the gate. I guess they (GA. Power) discovered that was not a good idea. I got up and dressed and let him out.  If a camper is locked out, I do not unlock the gate to let them in. They must walk around the gate and walk to their site or call someone in the park to pick them up.

Judy is not happy unless she is cleaning!

Judy reports in around 8 AM and pops something in the micro wave

This being spring break week meant a lot of campers would be at the park. I could tell we were going to get broken in rapidly. By Sat night all but two of the fifty one sites were occupied.  It was crowded!  For the most part the only thing I had to deal with were campers or their visitors parking in undesignated areas.  These were quickly corrected when asked to do so. I did have someone lock the bottom of the large entrance gate with a plastic tie. I went out to unlock and open the entrance gate at 7:00 AM Thur. I unlocked it and removed the chain but the gate didn’t budge. Looking down, I saw the electrical tie. I walked back to the registration building and got a knife to cut the tie off.
Today, Sunday the park was clearing out by 10:00 AM.  A local church held services and had a picnic. Judy and I were pretty busy issuing over 130 day passes for the group. It was made easier by not having to collect $3.00 for each car. We simply kept a tally and the church secretary wrote us one check ($390.00).  By 1:00 PM things settled down to a Sunday routine.

Judy’s sister Sheila and husband Ron, along with their youngest son, John Mark came up for a visit. I was sure glad Sheila brought me her laptop power cord to use. She even agreed to let me keep it. Judy cooked a barbecue chicken breast dish in the crock pot and also made baked beans.  Sheila made potato salad and brought a dessert. It was good sharing an Easter meal with family. They each got the customary golf cart tour of the park.

I have some pics but I am too tired to get them ready to post. Sorry.  I will add them to this post later or post them with a new post later. This is my first post using my "Mifi".
I am going to end here so I can get some sleep.  Five AM comes early.
Thanks for stopping by.

Next post: Thursday

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Birthday & Movie Day

Sat. was Judy's birthday.  She will have to tell you which one. Judy received many,many birthday greeting on face book and some well wishes from some of our readers here. Not to mention the phone calls with various renditions of "Happy Birthday".  She enjoyed them all.

After a lazy start we straightened up the house on the off chance that someone might actually stop by to view it. No one did. We had blocked out four hours of our schedule to make arrangements and plans for the disposition of the Mega Millions jackpot we were pretty confident we would be winning. After all, we did splurge and buy $10.00 worth of tickets. As it turned out, we did not win the $640,000,000.00 drawing. I was pretty much devastated that we didn't win. Judy got over it pretty quickly and rearranged the four hour hole in our schedule.  She said we could use the time to see a movie before her birthday dinner. It was a most excellent plan.

We went to the Amstar cineplex (I don't think that is a real word) in Macon. Judy, being the birthday girl chose the movie - The Hunger Games. I guess there was no "chic flick" available. The movie started every thirty minutes so it was easy to find a showing to our liking. Judy and I both enjoyed it. I am going to order the trilogy on my kindle.

After the movie, we went to the"Out Back".  The server informed us it would be about a half hour wait. Judy and I settled in to wait but our little hand held pager began to vibrate after only five minutes. We both went with the prime rib. It was a great choice.  The left-overs were still good today!

Judy at "Out Back" Macon, GA.
Each of us had a busy day today.  Judy used the day to complete "heavy cleaning" in the house.  She also got started on getting things ready for us to take back to the CG on Tue.  I spent the day working at the boathouse/dock. I wait until the pollen stops before I get the boathouse ready. It took me most of the day to scrub the dock and get it ready for its annual deck sealing. I will seal it tomorrow.

After a hard day's work we treated ourselves to a DQ treat!

Jim at DQ!

Judy enjoying a DQ treat!

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day.