Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hot Hot Hot

The party is over!  Summer showed up a Blanton Creek Park with temps reaching 105’.  Sadly, triple digit forecasts are going to be around for at least the next three days. It could be worse, I just checked the temp for Lake Sinclair, where we live and it is 109'!!

 Other than the oppressive heat, things are going well at the park.  We are over 60% capacity in the camp ground.  Judy and I were busy selling “Day Use” passes, mostly to people launching their bass, pontoon, or ski boats.

 I found that with these extreme temps it is less enjoyable making my rounds in the golf cart.  As I drive around it feels like I am driving into a furnace.  It does get a little cooler after the sun goes down.
Hot  Hot  Hot

That is about it from Blanton Creek.
Thanks for stopping by.

Next blog: Wed (evening)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

You Have to get the Rear Wheels Aligned Too

Evidently you do have to get the rear wheels aligned too!  I recently found out the hard way.  In all my years of driving and maintaining autos I have never had the rear wheels aligned.  Judy went out with the neighborhood ladies and when she returned she informed me that one of the ladies told her that there was a loud roar coming out of the rear of the car.

I drove the car and also heard it. It sounded like the sound was from the rear end of the car, much like the sound of a carrier bearing.  I seldom put of maintenance since we travel so much, so I headed to the local Honda dealership.  I informed the service writer of my evaluation and he went out to the CRV to get the info he needed to write up the work order.  When he returned he told me that my problem was with tires. He said he checked the rear tires and determined that there was evidence of “cupping”.  He explained that the condition was caused by misalignment or possible improper tire inflation or lack of tire rotation.  I was disappointed because the tires only had about 25,000 to 30,000 miles on them. The tires were high end Michelin tires. He suggested that I go back to where I bought them to see if they would offer any warranty.  I felt somewhat better when he told me that SAM’s Club had been very helpful to another customer and that was where I had purchased mine at.

Judy and I headed to the Macon SAM’s Club.  Once there I told the associate about my problem and he got a manager over to deal with me. He had the associate check and confirm the damage. He also explained the causes of “cupping” just as the Honda service writer had. I really don’t think it was a warranty item but to my surprise he said he would pro-rate the tires. The same replacement Michelin tires cost $198.00 per tire so you can hear the cash register sound if you listen close!  He also informed me that I would be getting $70.00 off due to a Michelin tire promotion.  I was getting happier.  Judy and I were overjoyed to get out of our tire mess for $371.00 instead of the $800+ that we expected to pay.  He did politely tell me he would not do that again unless I could prove that I had been getting my tires rotated every five to six thousand miles. To make it easy for me to remember, I will be having my tires rotated each time I get my oil changed. After all, the tire rotation is free at any Wally World or Sam’s Club. The next day I was back at the Honda dealership getting the CRV’s front and rear aligned.

Ahh New Tires - aligned and ready to ride

We are back at Blanton Creek Park. I will write more about the happenings at the park in my next post.

Thanks for stopping by.
Next post Sunday

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Relaxing Weekend

The weekend has been filled with relaxation, socialization and I even had time to salvage a runaway jet ski. The one thing that was not included in our weekend was productive work. Oh, we did the usual house cleaning, you never know when unexpected guest will drop in.

Saturday was beautiful weather wise and I took advantage of it to get in a couple of hours of lake activity.  Since I am an early riser, Judy didn't even know I had gone fishing.  I sat out on the screened porch from 6:15 until 6:45 AM enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee from my Keurig coffee machine.  The sights and sounds of the lake is so relaxing.

After my cup of coffee I put my bass boat in the water and did some bass fishing.  I mostly fish near my house since it is a great area for fishing.  Before going back to the house I took the boat on a half hour ride just to exercise it.  Once I returned home, I saw this.

This is my weekender neighbors pontoon.  He frequently lets friends and relatives use the house for weekend getaways.  No one uses my boats.  I don't have any idea why they didn't tie up at the boat dock.  After securing my boat to my dock I went up to the house, but not before I took a pic with my phone camera..  I told Judy and she took a look.  I knew it would be quite a show when the people wanted to take the pontoon out.  It is resting on a concrete  ramp.  I text the pic to my neighbor and it wasn't long before he called. Is that my pontoon he asked.  I explained the situation and he said he would take care of it.

Judy and I received a " do ya'll want to go to Applebees" call from my sister about four.  We said yes and had a great time talking over dinner. I even ran into one of my teacher friends and his family there.  They were celebrating his mother-in- law's 88th birthday.

We got home just before dusk.  I took my boat out for a little more fishing.  I noticed that the guest next door were gone on the pontoon.  I also saw their jet ski was to low on the lift and the water was rising.  Lake Sinclair is a hydroelectric generation lake, meaning the water is "pulled and pushed' to generate electricity.  The water depth fluctuates about a foot and a half to two feet.  I went on and fished in the cove for about 45 min.  I noticed that the jet ski had drifted about 200 yards from my neighbors dock.  I did the neighborly thing and towed it back to my dock and tied it off until they returned just after dark.

Sunday has been a slow relaxing day for us.  Judy thought it would be a good day to use one of the food gift cards she received when she retired.  I couldn't say no to that.  We loaded up into the car and drove to the "Outback" in Macon.  It was good.

That is all for now. Thanks for stopping by.  Did I catch any bass?  I always "catch & release" bass.

Next Blog: Wed PM

Thursday, June 21, 2012

More Hard Work

Sorry I was a little slow to post.  Judy and I returned Tue evening and ran errands most of Wed.  Our week at the campground was most enjoyable. The campers had a weekend full of sunshine. I met some new "friends" and many of our regulars were at the park.  Even though we had a tree fall across the road no one was hurt.

Gas powered hedge trimmer

Once back home I had to pick up with never ending yard work.  This week I wanted to do my annual shrub and hedge trimming.  There is no way to make that task exciting, especially when the temps are going to reach 90+.  The first time I did this task when we first moved in was with a regular electric hedge trimmer.  After about an hour of attempting the job, I gave up, and told Judy there had to be a better way.  Of course, she had a good answer to my dilemma. She said I should use what the lawn care crew used when they worked at her branch. She didn't know exactly what the name of the tool was but she described it.  I knew what she was describing - a gas powered pole trimmer, why didn't I think of that.  I went to the ACE Hardware the next day and rented one. I have been renting one each yr since. It is easy to use and I am able to complete the job in less than 4hrs -including breaks.

Just a small portion to be trimmed 

Judy came out for the photo op!
I am not going to do any physical work tomorrow!  I am going to go bass fishing. With any luck, I'll snag the big one.

Karen and Al, writers of one of the blogs I follow recently completed their first year of full-time RVing. Congratulations to both of them.

That is all for now.
Next blog: Sun (PM)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

National Infantry Museum

I had planned to do an entry yesterday (Sat.) but it was just too busy here at the park.  I reached another of life’s milestones on Friday- my 62nd birthday. I can’t tell that much has changed though. I received many “Happy Birthday” wishes. Hardly anyone forgets a birthdate now that we are so connected on FB!.

I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to spotlight some of the nearby attractions to Blanton Creek Park.  Geographically the park is about 30 miles north of Columbus, GA.  Fort Benning, a major Army Post is located in Columbus. It is the Army’s main infantry training command. The National Infantry Museum is also at Fort Benning.  It should definitely be a stop for military  history buffs. Blanton Creek park would make an excellent base for this day trip.

National Infantry Museum 

There is lots to do here
The National Infantry Museum is a museum located in South Columbus, Georgia, just outside Fort Benning, the home of the Infantry. The museum honors the history of infantry forces in the United States Army. The museum has an Imax theatre, historical artifacts, and displays. A trip here could easily take a day to absorb all the museum has to offer.

Static/audio displays 

Simulators for the young and maybe the old!

I know a few blog readers live in or near Columbus, I hope they have taken the time to visit the museum. There are many other attractions located near Blanton Creek so if you are close by, take advantage of them.

That is all for now.
Next blog: Wed

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

On the Job

We are back on the job.  I don’t know if the week we are at our “gate Attendant” job or our off week passes faster. I do know that Judy and I are ready to come back to the park (Blanton Creek) when it is time to return. Likewise, we are ready to return to Lake Sinclair for our week off.  I guess you could conclude we have a pretty good mix.  I am amazed at how busy we stay running errands now that we are retired.

Now that we are back at the park we are in our park routine.  Judy left about 20 min. ago for her Wal Mart run. She has to drive about 17 miles to the nearest Wally World located just off I85S in Valley, AL. On our first couple of weeks at the park we would stop at a WalMart in Macon enroute to the park.  That was way too tiring. Since Wed is pretty much a “dead day” at the park I am able to handle everything while she makes her run.

In my next post I am going to spotlight a few of the attractions located near here. I realize a lot of RVers do transit between the FL. panhandle and points north. Blanton Creek Park would be a great park to hold-up for two or three days. It is easy to get to, located near I85. So check out my next post.

I would like to recommend that visitors to my blog take a look at some of the blogs that I read. You will find that they are traveling in many different parts of the country and freely share their amazing journeys.  Some are in the planning stages of beginning their life on the road and offer some real good preparation information.  So give them a “hit” on their blog.

 Some people who full-time or do extended travel don’t use an RV! I recently reconnected with one of my former Commanding Officers (CO) via facebook. When I was the Command Master Chief at NOPF Dam Neck, Va. Beach, VA., CDR Gilchrist and I often talked about what we wanted to do after our life in the Navy. One of her and her husband’s goals/dreams was to sail the Caribbean and other points while living aboard their sail boat. I was very pleased to hear that is exactly what they are doing. I love it when a plan comes together.

Living Their Dream

Thanks for stopping by.
Next Blog: Sat.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Not My Idea of a Fun Day

There are many reasons people choose to change their living arrangement as they retire.  For many it is the desire to travel, some want to “move down” to smaller digs. We moved into a smaller home when we relocated to Lake Sinclair back in 2003. Even with the move into a smaller home one thing didn’t change. Yard work!  I don’t really enjoy yard work now that I have reached SS age (in one week!).  So I am looking forward to living in the fiver which will, (a.) be less home to clean, (b.) be mobile, (c.) no yard work.

Not My Favorite Pastime

The “Purple Martins “  get irritatated with me when I work near their colony
(To read my previous Purple Martin post Click )

 They always return though!

Aftter all this work I need a break.  Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your comments, I read them all.
Next Blog: Wed evening

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

There is always One

It is only 5:40 AM and I am already over at the registration office even though the park doesn’t open until 7:00PM.  I am an early riser but I don’t usually report to the office before 6:20ish, still way early. Once I woke up this morning I didn’t see any reason to sit in the fiver another forty minutes, mainly because Judy sleeps until 7-7:30ish and I don’t want to wake her up.  There is no reason for both of us getting to the office early because we seldom have anyone come in before 8:30 or 9:00 AM.

Anyone who has worked, which is probably most people who read our blog, knows there are some things that aren’t pleasant about their jobs.  Even camp ground host have some of those unpleasant aspects. As you would expect most (99.999%) of our interaction with campers is super positive. The one aspect of our job that Judy and I don’t relish is informing campers they are breaking some rule and it must be corrected.  In most cases even this interaction goes smoothly, but not always. I have found that in the instances that don’t go well, the offenders often respond like my middle school students used to. EX. (a.) Someone else parked like this and nothing was said to them, (b.) the other host lets me do it, and (c.) It is not hurting anything. Below is a situation we had not had to deal with before. As you read it, keep in mind it was an Adult (50s) not a 20ish yr old! I regret I didn’t take any pics of the situation that resulted in my interaction. 

Friday is the busiest day for new check-ins and increased activity in general. I make more frequent park patrols with increased park activity. It was during one of these patrols that I spotted something that caught my eye. In the tent parking area I saw a conversion van parked in one of the tent parking spots and electric power cords were “running” to one of the tent(#16) power pedestals.  The tent area is located on a horseshoe shaped point and tenter’s must park in a designated (numbered) space. A low rail fence serves as a border between the parking area and the tent sites.  I had a pretty good idea of what was going on but I wanted to confirm my suspicion so I drove my golf cart into the tent area so I could look from the tip of the point back toward the parking area- giving me a view into the back of the van, with its opened rear doors. My suspicion was confirmed. I could plainly see the platform sleeping area. 
                                             Tent Parking lot & Tent Area (beyond rail fence)

I walked over to the only tent that was up (#17) and asked the occupant if that was their van.  She (wife) didn’t want any part of it so she called out to the owner of the van – her husband’s “DAD”.

He came over and I told him he could not use the power at site 16. Next comment, “I’ll plug it into their site”.  I said “no you can’t do that, the power is intended for the paying occupants of the site”.

I see the look of disbelief on the Dad’s face as to say “why should it matter to you what we do (it’s not hurting you!).  He then begrudgingly says “how about if I pay for site 16”, to which I say” that will be fine”.  Then I delivered the fatal blow when I said “ you can’t sleep in the van”. “Why” he asks, “because it is a tent site” I reply, “ I suggest you rent site #26 which is an RV site and you will still be close to the tent area.” Then I got the “I have been coming here for 20yrs and John (former host for previous 9 yrs.) never said anything. I must admit I did get a little flippant at this point when I said “John is no longer here”. For the record, I have met John and know from personal accounts he ran the park like a drill sergeant and he would not have permitted the camper to do what he was trying to do. I told him that was his option or he could leave the park at closing time.  He rented site 26 and all was good! I purposely wasn’t in the office when he came up to pay. Judy said he appeared to be embarrassed and wanted to get out off the office as quickly as he could. He just got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. We spoke several times during his stay and he blew his horn and waved as he left on Sunday.

We also had a large number of campers tell us how helpful Judy and I were during their stay.  One camper stopped by to get a comment sheet so they could indicate how “wonderful” we were and how much they enjoyed their stay at the park. He even got the phone number of our boss.

Thanks for stopping by.
Next Blog: Friday

Friday, June 1, 2012

Possible Host Position

Over the last few days I have been contacting the multitude of Florida State Parks I listed on my FL Volunteer  Applications.  I now know the competition for any of the beach parks is extremely keen.  One volunteer coordinator informed me that she received over 500 applications. 

I received a call this morning from the volunteer coordinator for Manatee Springs State Park located in Chiefland, FL.  I had to look it up on a map. It is located west of Ocala. We are considering taking it.  The time frame is Oct-Nov.  I think we will decide tomorrow.

Manatee start arriving in the late fall.

Manatee Springs is rated as a "First Magnitude Spring"  (100+ million gallon a day)

Many people visit to explore the underwater caves - I will not be one of them!

Thanks for stopping by.
Next post: Mon