Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Quiet Reflection

Judy and I returned to the park after a very enjoyable weekend.  Memorial Day weekend is considered the official beginning of the summer season and we spend a large portion of the holiday doing lake activities and having family gatherings. 

 Over the years since leaving the Navy in 1995 I have attended many official ceremonies commemorating the holiday. It is a holiday that I always set aside time for silent personal reflection to remember the “fallen”, some I personally knew and many I didn’t.  One of the “fallen” that I didn’t know is Sgt. Rodney Davis even though he was from my home town of Macon, GA.  I learned about him because of a news story almost a decade ago.  The story highlighted the deplorable state of the cemetery and the fact that Sgt. Davis, a “Medal of Honor” recipient was buried there.  This resulted in the condition being corrected.  A local chapter of Marine Veterans took over the upkeep of the Sergeant’s grave and it now is befitting of a “Fallen Hero”.

Medal of Honor citation

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to


for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as the right guide of the Second Platoon, Company B, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division, in action against enemy forces in Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam, on September 6, 1967. Elements of the Second Platoon were pinned down by a numerically superior force of attacking North Vietnamese Army Regulars. Remnants of the platoon were located in a trench line where Sergeant Davis was directing the fire of his men in an attempt to repel the enemy attack. Disregarding the enemy hand grenades and high volume of small arms and mortar fire, Sergeant Davis moved from man to man shouting words of encouragement to each of them firing and throwing grenades at the onrushing enemy. When an enemy grenade landed in the trench in the midst of his men, Sergeant Davis, realizing the gravity of the situation, and in a final valiant act of complete self-sacrifice, instantly threw himself upon the grenade, absorbing with his own body the full and terrific force of the explosion. Through his extraordinary initiative and inspiring valor in the face of almost certain death, Sergeant Davis saved his comrades from injury and possible loss of life, enabled his platoon to hold its vital position, and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Thanks for stopping by.
Next Blog: Friday evening

Saturday, May 26, 2012

We all do Dumb Things!

I made a very dumb decision Thur.  It was so dumb I probably shouldn't even mention it.  I think I read or heard somewhere that confession is good for the soul. I will see.  I may have to go out and buy one of "The Chicken Soup for the ....." books my middle school students read during my teaching career. You can learn a lot from middle school students but that is a topic for another day.

Even though Judy and I are committed to our present workamper position until Labor Day we are already looking for a winter position.  Until we make a decision about our unsold house we are mostly concentrating on the SE states.  Florida is our main focus.  We don't care if it is a paid position or a volunteer position. I have been checking the Workamper "hotline" postings and other employer posting at A friend of ours suggested that we work for one of the Christmas Tree vendors in FL.  He indicated we could earn about $3-4K for about a months work.  I also took the time to register with the FL State Parks System. From what I have heard and read it is extremely hard to break into the FL state park line-up.

Thursday after I dropped Judy off for her salon visit I got a call from one of  FL State Park vol coordinators. She told me she had looked at my application and resume and had a position available for Oct or Nov for four months.  After going over the job requirements and work schedule I thought to myself, this is great.  Only had to work 20hrs, 3 days on 3 days off  for a position at a state park right on the beach. A "NO Brainer" right?  No I blew it.  I was concerned that there were no sewer hook-ups. I was thinking I would have to move the RV every week or so to dump.  I turned the position down. DUMB, DUMB, DUMP!  A portable blue tank would have taken care of the problem.  That is a mistake I will not make again.  To make it worse I have since talked to a workamper forum member who confirmed the lack of a sewer connection would not have been a big deal. He is there now and said it is a great park - nothing like kicking someone when they are down! :). Oh well life goes on.

Thanks for stopping by.
Next Post: Wed (due to holiday)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

System Success

Tue was the day I chose to test out the “black tank” flushing system.  I scheduled it for Tue because that is the last day of our shift and the day I dump the black water tank.  I’m still getting use to some of the systems on the RV.  If you aren’t sure of just what is contained in the black tank, think of the movie RV with Robin Williams.  At any rate, it has to be done and Judy has decided anything involving “crap” is going to be my job.

Hose attached to tank flush connector

 Ready to empty - you don't want to see what came out!

I am pleased to report the flushing system performed as designed and the tank was adequately cleaned.

The rest of the day went great.  We were relieved by Ed and Char and were home by 8:45 PM.  Before we adjusted the turnover time we would not have gotten home before 11:45 PM.  Once home, we immediately went in and watched the dvred finale of American Idol.  I think it is going to be Phillip Phillips in the end.

Thanks for stopping by.

Next Post: Sat. PM

Monday, May 21, 2012

Summers on the Way

It was a super weekend at Blanton Creek Park.  As summer gets closer people are coming out to the park in larger numbers.  The weekend “Day Use” at the park has been increasing steadily as we get closer to “Memorial Day” weekend. The park is completely booked for the holiday.  We had to say “sorry we are full” to a lot of callers this week.  I guess the adage – “If you snooze you lose” applies. Many of the park day users come to launch their boats or PWCs at our double boat launch ramp. At $3.00 it is a good deal. The picnic pavilion was rented Sat and Sun.  Many non-campers come to use the picnic area or just to fish.  

Judy and I were the recipients of two great meals on Sat and Sunday - The Whitaker/ O’Neil family reunion and the Nazarene Baptist Church. Both groups told us they had a great time.

Thanks Whitaker/O'neil Families

Judy loves it when someone else cooks!

Nazarine Bapt. had a great time

Saturday was a good day to continue learning about our Cardinal fifth wheel. Although we purchased (repo) it around last Thanksgiving we did not have time to use it any until we came to work here in mid March.  I put the electric awning out for the first time.  Judy was happy with it and that is all that matters. The next system I am going to check out is the “black Tank” flush system on Tue.

Thanks for stopping by.
Next blog: Wed. PMish

Friday, May 18, 2012

That's a lot of Cat Fish

TGIF! Especially, if you are a camper.  Today is our main camper check-in day. I like to see happy campers.  Judy and I have a couple of things to get done today unrelated to work.  She is going through all of our photos that we haven’t looked at in years.  I am going to do a few maintenance things over at the RV.

I got over to the office at 6:15 and made my morning coffee.  I like to have some me time in the Am as I have my caffeine fix.  I went on out and opened the gate at 6:30 and walked back to the office to catch up on the news. I even made my breakfast – Jimmy Dean sausage, egg and cheese. Life is good.

At 6:45 the first fisherman came through the gate.  He stopped at the window to purchase a “Day Use” pass.  I recognized him from yesterday when he came to launch his boat and go set a“trot line.  He was now going to go “see how many fish he caught”.  He was only gone about an hour or so before he stopped back at the office.  I went out to take a look at his haul. He had a medium size cooler slap full.  He offered me a “mess” but I declined.  Judy walked up and she had to see them also. I kinda think he enjoyed getting to show them off.  Judy asked him what he used for bait. She was surprised when he showed her ½ inch cubes of soap. He told Judy that the “channel cats” love Ivory soap.

Judy spent the morning organizing the photos we had accumulated over the years. It looks to me like she is keeping five for every one she gets rid off.  She has enough time here to devote to this project.  She works at it for a couple of hours and then puts them away.

I dumped the galley and gray water tanks. After that I filled the fresh water tank about a 1/3 and cycled the fresh water pump for a few minutes. The pump worked fine. The rest of the day I did the usual park routine.

It is now about 9:pm and all is quite in the park. We only have about an hour until we close the gate. Judy is reading her kindle and I am finishing today’s post.

Thanks for stopping by.
Next Blog: Monday PM

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Wed was the first day campers could register for the 4th of July weekend.  Based on the turnout we experienced for the Memorial Day registration we were expecting a busy morning.  Judy and I observed the first camper parked outside the gate at 8:45 PM Tue. before I closed the gate at 9:00 Tue. As we walked over to our Cardinal, Judy commented that we were going to be really busy in the AM. I open the office each morning and Judy comes over around 8:30 to 9:00 AM but she was going to open with me to help me with the registration onslaught Wed. morning.
Lonny was the first camper at the gate - 9:45PM Tue night!
Judy set the clock for 5AM to give her time to go through her make-up routine and be ready to open with me at 7:00.  I have tried to dissuade her from continuing the practice now that she is retired and no longer part of the corporate world. We left the Cardinal at 6:45 and walked the 120 feet to the office!  Once in, I completed the opening routine – lights on, alarm off, computer booted up, blinds open, Fox News on.  Judy and I then made coffee (two pots), arranged the chairs so we could seat the waiting throngs. I almost forgot, we put out 3 dozen donuts (freshly made Krispy Kreme) that Richard (Maintenance Guy) dropped off.  A quick check of the clock- 6:55.  Game Time!  I grabbed the numbers I pass out to the campers to keep track of “who is next” and walked out to unlock the gate.

Lonny said it was worth camping out all night at the gate to get the first spot.

The sight I saw put me into “registration shock”- only five campers.  I unlocked the gate and passed out the numbers.  They went to the office and registration began. Not one camper sat in any of our chairs to wait to be called up. We even had four recliners available. That spoke volumes about their manhood.  Not only that, they didn’t drink one cup of coffee or eat one single donut even though we practically begged them to.  Judy handled the process so efficiently that by 7:20 it was all over. Not one single camper was still in the office.  Judy looked at me and said “that was quick”.  No man likes to hear those words no matter what the context is.  I said “r i g h t”, “what are we going to do with 36 donuts”.  Judy said “you mean 34, we ate two already”.  In the end we gave them to campers and visitors throughout the day.

My favorite grilled dish (I am a simple man)
It was my day to do lunch so I grilled my favorite dish.  I served it with chips, potato salad and a refreshing beverage (no not that refreshing beverage).  The rest of the day was pretty slow.  The hot water was replaced. We closed out the day watching American Idol.

115 gallon hot water heater (350 gal per hr)
Thanks for stopping by.
Next Blog: Friday

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Busy Tue AM

It has already been a busy Tue AM. Today will be a travel day to Blanton Creek Park. Judy and I were up at 6:00 AM to give us a little extra time to do some finishing cleaning touches on the house. Of course I thought it was already clean enough. I vacuumed the house again and Judy did the things she doesn't trust me to do.

Judy had a "cut and color" appointment with Amy at Designing Line Salon at 10:30. I am using the time to get a little of the blog written while relaxing at the Black Bird Coffee Shoppe and listening to some vintage Fleetwood Mack ,Simon and Garfunkel, and Neil Diamond. I plan to post what I get written when Judy calls me to come pick her up. I'll finish when I get to the park
We spent most of Monday packing up things in the guest bedroom closet. One reason it took so long was it contained many boxes of accumulated photos of our thirty seven and a half years together. The best way to get rid of photos is to simply pick up the box or album and toss it. No not the Wedding Album! If you look at the photos you spend a lot of time returning to the past, when you were a lot thinner. Judy had a hard time letting go, so we packed them in a large box and are taking them up to the Park where Judy is going to go through them and only retain a few. Right.

Judy just texted (11:36) me so I'll finish later today.

When I arrived at the salon I found that Judy was not quite ready. I waited in the comfort of the salon lounge until she finished up. She was very pleased with her new doo. So was I. What else would I say.
Getting a New Doo! (It's a good woman who lets you post a salon pic.)

                   Finished Project

After getting back on the road we stopped at the "Ole Time Buffet" for our weekly country cooking meal.

The remaining 100 mile trip to Blanton Creek Park was very pleasant. Judy and I arrived at the park around 4:30. She spent the next hour or so doing domestic activities in the fiver. I am not sure what they consist of - I just stay clear. I did turn the fresh water to the fiver on and set the "breaker" for the hot water heater.
When she finished, we took a golf cart tour of the park to see which sites were occupied. We always do that before we take over from Ed and Char. All four of us met in the office for their turnover brief. The main upcoming event is the first day of registration for the 4th of July tomorrow. I'll let you know how that goes. You may remember our post about the first day of registration for "Memorial Day" weekend a few weeks back. I am sure the first campers will arrive at the gate tonight at 9 PM. We start taking reservations tomorrow morning at 7 AM. The hot water heater is scheduled to be replace tomorrow also.

Update: The first person lined up at the gate at 8:45 PM. They don't even want a water front site.

Thanks for stopping by.
Next blog: Thur PM

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Separate Lunch Dates

Thursday Judy and I went in separate directions.  She had lunch with Linda, a coworker at Suntrust.  I went to the monthly “Retired Educators- Meet for Lunch”.  It is an informal get together of recently retired teachers/media specialist from Oak Hill Middle School. Usually there are three to five in attendance. This time only I and one other person made it. I had received word via Facebook that a couple would not make it.  Elise and I arrived at Buffington’s at about the same time. Although she and I were the only two that made it we had a nice time talking and getting caught up. Judy said she really enjoyed getting to have lunch with Linda. Both of our lunch dates were near GA College State Univ. In fact she was only one door away from where I had lunch!

Friday was movie day for us in Macon.  We went to see "Dark Shadows".  It was ok but I don’t think it will be setting any attendance records. I think we went to see it out of nostalgia!

While we were in Macon we made a trip to Bed Bath and Beyond to pick up some hot chocolate for our new Keurig coffee brewer.  Judy does not drink coffee. We also made a trip to Camping World and Bass Pro Shop to get a couple of items. Then it was back home.

Thanks for stopping by.
Next Post: Mon PM

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thanks Mike

You know the feeling you have when you find extra money you didn’t know you had?  Well Judy and I had one of those moments yesterday.  Our weekly shift at Blanton Creek ends on Tue at 9:00 PM. I know that is the policy at the other parks in the system.

The relief “hosts” normally reports to the park for a turnover brief around 5 or 6 PM Tue evening.  So after a 15-20 meeting the on duty hosts continues to work until the park closes at 9: PM.  The reporting hosts does whatever they want to do since they don’t officially take over until Tues activity is closed out at 9PM. The off going host usually leaves at the close of the business day. In the past most hosts have lived locally.  We on the other hand live about 135 miles away.  The first time we worked we just slept in until Wed morning.  The next time we worked we left at 9:20 PM and got home around mid-night. While we did not like driving at night after a 14hr day, we did like being home to enjoy Wed.

On Monday Mike our boss stopped by the park to chat and see how things were going.  He asked us how driving home the previous week went. Judy told him we got home about midnight and we liked being home Wed AM.   Mike said “you know there is no hard and fast rule about closing out the day’s activity at 9: PM”.  He informed us he would be ok with closing out at 7PM if the other host were ok with it. We told him that would be a tremendous help to us and would be a lot safer drive. It would also shorten the last day by two hours. That really gives you something to look forward to on the last day.  It would be almost as good as finding the money that you didn’t know you had!  We told Mike we would discuss it with Ed and Char to get their take.  The park's  9:PM  closing time would not be affected.

When they arrived we all agreed that the proposal would work great for all of us. We worked out the details for ending the business day earlier than 9:PM. Judy balanced and closed out the day’s activity at 7:00PM sharp.  We were on the road by 7:15.  We could have gotten on the road at 7 PM sharp if  Char hadn’t brought in a black cherry pie!  Judy had some vanilla ice cream  in the freezer to add to it.  It was a great treat.  We arrived home at 9:15 PM!  I think this new sked shift is going to work out just fine. Thanks Mike.

Thanks for stopping by.
Next blog: Sat PM

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sat. at Blanton Creek 5-5-12

Sat. at the Park was our busy day although we were not at capacity.  Twenty five of the sites were occupied.  I had to deal with usual parking situations and frequent park patrols. On the weekends Judy or I take the golf cart through the park at each hour and a half.
We had one wedding proposal!  A young man stopped by the office and let Judy and I know he would be popping the question.  On his way out he stopped by and said it was successful.
Below is a photo essay of a day at Blanton Creek Park.
                                            Entrance to the Prk             "Click on Photos to Enlarge"
GP Blanton Creek Prk Ent
42 Fishin       42 tent kayak
Rick & Cindy42 HC Rick Cindy    
                                 Keith, Merle, and "Susie".  Dog Walkers 2
Judy and I decided that since it was “hump day” for us we should have a treat.  Things were slowing down by 7PM so we ordered a “takeout meal” from Hunter’s Pub. While it doesn’t look like much, the food is excellent! People come from miles away to eat there as evidenced by the overflowing parking lot (people were actually parked along the highway).
Hunter’s Pub  Hunters Pub 2
Thanks for stopping by.
Next Blog: Wed. PM

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A New Friend

The park started to come back to life around 1:00 PM Friday as campers began arriving for a weekend of camping.  The day’s last camper arrived at 8:30. Judy and I like the slow pace between Mon. and Thurs. We enjoy the sounds and the stillness of nature while we have the park almost to ourselves. However, we like the sounds of “Happy Campers” best. 

I received a call from a camper at 4:00 PM who had decided on the spur of the moment that he wanted to go camping and fishing.  He had visited the park but had never camped. He did know which tent site he wanted but couldn’t remember the number. After he described the site, I was able to determine the number and told him it was available. He was a Happy Camper!  He arrived at the park around 6:45 PM dressed in camo pants and matching T shirt. A little fella was following closely and in matching attire. The man identified himself (Thomas) and told us he was the guy who had called about site T23. Since he had not camped here before, the registration process took a few minutes to input into the computer. Judy was sitting at the registration station so she would take the info. While dad was doing the check-in, I asked the young man to sit at the table. He climbed up on the seat across from me. He told me his name was Nickolas and he was in kindergarten.  I talked with him about going fishing. He informed me he really liked to catch and eat catfish.  After about five minutes, Judy had completed the registration process. As Nickolas got up from the table he proclaimed “I have a new friend”.  He then proceeded over to Judy and gave her a hug. For a split second I thought to myself, this must be what being a grandparent is like. Maybe I will find out one day. I also like talking to the campers who tell us about camping here when they were children and are now here with their children.

My New Friend Nickolas and Dad (Thomas)
Happy Campers

The hot-water heater is still leaking. I sure hope it will be replaced before it fails completely. I check on it frequently.  There is an alligator or two that hangs out near the park but we have not seen it. Friday AM a camper was up at the office purchasing ice and told us the gator was about ten feet away from his boat.  Judy took the camera and tried to get a picture. No luck. I now take the camera with me just in case. I did see an armadillo a couple of days ago.

Update:  In my last post, I mentioned my displeasure with the government’s “free cell phone” program. The very next day as I was watching a news program, a congressmen from Arkansas indicated that he was going to introduce legislation to defund or limit the program. He gave many examples of the abuses of the program. EX. Many people when arrested for other crimes have as many as 15-25 cell phones in their possession that were obtained via this gov't program. The annual cost to paying cell phone owners (taxpayers) over $1,000,000,000.00 (billion) annually. I can’t wait to have the govt run or is it ruin our healthcare. I am confident it will be administered in much the same fashion.

Thanks for stopping by.

Next post: Tue

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Potential Problem?

Judy and I are back on the job at Blanton Creek. We drove over leisurely yesterday making a couple of stops along the way.  The first stop was at the “Ole Time Buffet” in Macon. It serves country cookin at its finest.  Judy and I do try to keep this type of eateries to a minimum. The next stop was at Wal Mart on Eisenhower Prk Way (US 80).  I only mention the location for our local readers.  Once Judy returned she said "in the future we are going to get all of our shopping done before we return to the park."  It is just too tiring on the day we are returning.

As we were driving through Talbaton I happened to see a sight that irritated me.  It was a large gathering of folks at a van and vendors tent taking advantage of the “Get your Free Cell Phone Here” message on the banner. Of course there is nothing free, someone is paying for it and I am one of the someones! Each time I pay my phone bill a portion is assessed to pay for those free phones and the free 250 minutes of service. If it is for emergencies, the phone should only be capable of connecting to 911 and I don’t think it would require 250 minutes.  I wanted to get a picture but Judy refused to take it and I was driving.

Things are slow at the park and will be slow until the weekend. The park was inspected today by other GA Power Park’s land management specialist. It didn’t have anything to do with operations so we weren’t involved.  One potential problem for the park is a failing hot water heater in the comfort station.  The tank is leaking at a higher rate than it was when Judy and I were last on duty.  I think a new heater has been ordered. I escorted a local plumbing representative to take a look at it so he can bid on the installation of the new one. I just hope it is repaired before Memorial Day weekend. It would be a bad situation with a full park of campers.

The Leaker
Judy grilled our first steak of the season. It was delicious.  I am sure there will be many more before Labor Day. That is all for now.

Thanks for stopping by.

Next Post: Friday PM