Monday, July 30, 2012

From Park Host to Happy Camper

For all practical purposes Judy and I are through here at the park for this week even though we will work until 6PM tomorrow evening. The weekend crowd is gone and there are only three campers in the park.  I just locked the gate and walked over to the RV and Judy has the Atlanta Braves game on.  I think I will be enjoying an ice cold beverage soon.

One of the campers in the park is John and Joyce. They were gate attendants/host here at Blanton Creek Park for nine seasons. It was their vacant position that Judy and I were hired to fill. Many of the park regulars often ask us about John and Joyce.  John completed a lengthy career in the US Army prior to working at the park. They are always helpful to Judy and I when they are here and we are grateful they share their knowledge of the park with us.  It is good to see John and Joyce here enjoying the park as guest and we hope they are “happy campers.”

Joyce and John - " Happy Campers"
I got a chance to see a “Sea Eagle” inflatable raft this weekend. From what I have read on various blogs and forums the Sea Eagle is very durable and portable. Sigrid, the owner of the raft is quite a character. She informed me that she first started camping fifty six years ago. Her Sea Eagle is the one person model. I saw her out on the lake fishing everyday she was here. I am sorry I didn’t get her pic. Maybe I can get it next time.
Segrid's Sea Eagle

Welcome to new followers Jeannie and Eldy, check out their blog.

That is all for now.
Next Blog: Sat
Update: We got the printer problem corrected, but we aren't sure how!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

All Quiet, in the Park

Judy and I have been staying busy getting the weekend campers registered and settled.  A lot of the regulars are here. The park is occupied at approximately 60%.  All fifteen water front sites are occupied.

The weather is great for all camping activities. Both of the park’s pavilions were in use Sat.  We rent the pavilions for $60.00 and collect a $3.00 fee for each car going to the pavilion. Family reunions/gatherings usually have between thirty and sixty cars. Some cars have only a single occupant but most have three or four.

Chef Andrew Bridges was in charge of getting the pig ready for his family members Saturday.

Saturday finished up a lot quieter than our previous Saturday night. Judy and I were happy about that. The only glitch that popped up was with the office Epson Workforce 600 printer. When Judy went to print her day’s totals the printer indicated that it had a paper jam. We both inspected it and found no jams.  Unless we can clear the “error message” the printer is not going to print! I was going to call Epson Tech support but they don’t work weekends.  Rats. I will call Monday.  We don’t have any scheduled “check-ins” for today (Sunday).  If we do, we will provide them with hand-made parking passes and campsite passes.  I am going to create a form to record our day’s totals on. What else can I do.  All I have to do now is convince Judy of my plan. She has a very active nervous gene.

 I got a call from a small RV park owner near Fort Worth yesterday. The owner saw my ad in the Workamper magazine. The job was an unpaid position but included a free site. I told the owner we couldn’t travel over 1000 miles for just a site. I told her I would mention the position in my blog. If anyone is interested contact me for details and the park info.  The park only has 15 RV sites.

That is all for now.
Next Blog: Thursday

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Personal Protection

Back on the job and it is still hot. Judy made her weekly run to pick up a few groceries for our stay at the park. Only six camp sites are occupied. Judy and I are hoping that we don’t have a repeat of our previous week at the park. 

The only item we sell at the park is ICE and we are selling lots of it.

Judy has been asking me to go with her to buy a new hand gun. She has a permit to carry but does not like either of my SW 38s.  So Monday we went and looked at a replacement for her. She handled a couple of light weight revolvers but we wanted to look at another gun shop. Since we were coming back to the park Tue we decided we would put off a purchase until we get back home.  Tue before we left to come back to the park I went in to Milledgeville to get the mail from our PO Box.  Banes Army Store is close by. I thought it would be ok to stop and look at their gun inventory.  It can’t hurt to look.  In my military days I usually opted for .45 Cal especially during shipboard boarding ops.  I took a look at a .45 Cal Glock.  I also looked at the Glock 19 Gen 4 (9mm).  The “19” is physically smaller and lighter than the .45 Cal.  The Glock 19 is less conspicuous. I made a command decision to purchase me a new pistol. The price was $530.00 and some change. The sales person asked me if I was “law enforcement” I told him no but I was retired military. I was happy when he said that he could give me the law enforcement price since I was retired military as long as I have a “Mil.retired ID. I showed my ID and the price dropped to $435.00.
Glock 19 Gen 4
Judy took the news well.  She said that she would like one also.

That is it for now.
Next Blog: Sun

Monday, July 23, 2012


No, not the house, the Jet Ski. Only two days on Craig's List and a couple of scam emails and the jet ski was sold. I have had much success buying and selling on CL and EBay. Selling the jet ski proved again that it truly is a "small world".

Saturday I did receive a couple text inquiries about the jet ski plus one missed placed "thank you" text. Seems a woman had a very enjoyable evening Fri. night and wanted to express her gratitude. I showed it to Judy and we had a good laugh.  She sent me another text about twenty minutes later after she discovered her mistake and said she was "sooo sorry".  I texted her back and told her I had been explaining to my wife of 38 years that the text was sent in error. We all had a good laugh.

Ok back to the small world and selling the Jet Ski.  I received a call about the JS around 4:30 PM.  The person had a place on Lake Sinclair six or so miles from where we live on the lake. He wanted to come look at it and I said come on over.  He then identifies himself as Jeff __ and I said are you the Jeff__ who lived on Charleston Cir. He said "yes I am".  When I was eleven years old I had a news-paper route. By the time I reached fourteen I had three routes - one in the AM and two in the afternoon. I was Jeff''s parents paper boy on one of the afternoon routes. He would have been about eight or nine, some 47 yrs ago.  He told me his Mom was eighty eight now.  He did come over and look at the J Ski and lift. He bought both of them.

I mentioned in my last blog that my house was going to be shown on Sat. As it turns out, Judy and I got a call Sat AM saying that the showing would be pushed back to Sunday but another agent wanted to show the house at 10:30.  Judy told our agent to have them come by at 11:00 AM to give us time to pick-up the house. The original showing took place last night and we don't have any feed back yet.  I'll let you know as soon as we do.

Karen and Laurie thanks for your comments.

That is all for now.
Next Blog: Wed (unless we get a contract!)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Back Home

Now that Judy and I are back home "living is easy".  We haven't had to interact with the PO PO at all and that is OK with us.

We have been notified that a realtor  (no not my realtor, he has not brought a single person by since listing the house in Feb.)  has scheduled a showing of our house for this Sat.  In regards to our realtor, we have already informed him  we will not be extending his services.  At this point Judy and I don't get excited. We continue to operate under the "worse case" scenario.  All of our options are based on not selling the house. I'll let you know about the "showing" in my Sunday blog.

The options include; (1.) Pay the house off and use it as a base, (2.) Rent the house long term (1 yr lease). (3.) Actively seek a snow bird for the Oct. - Mar. time frame, and (4.) rent the house as a "lake house" vacation rental.

Judy and I have all but ruled out the second option.  We are already engaged in option three. We have a "Snowbird' ad here . This is our number one option as far as a renting situation.  Option four has just recently become a serious consideration. We know a few people who rent their lake property and they report that they have had no property damage.  Judy and I are getting all the cost together to determine if this is something we want to go forward with. 

Judy spent most of Thur. cleaning out her food cabinets. She is discarding somethings and boxing the things she keeps to take back to the Cardinal.

I did the weekly yard work and listed my Jet Ski on Craig's List. I am  selling my jet ski because potential buyers expect it to be includuded in the sell.  So that is about $3000.00 I want take a hit on.   It wasn't long before a received my first scam  email as a result.  I just delete them. .

That Ia all for now.
Next Blog: Sun. evening

Monday, July 16, 2012

“5-1-5-0”, Somebody,call the PO PO” (Part Two)

Saturday at the park was pretty much like any other Saturday in the park.  We had fourteen check-in reservations, fifty four or so day-use / boat launch passes to process, taking care of our pavilion guest, and of course seeing that campers adhere to park rules. You would be amazed at how some campers (a small %) thinks rules are for everyone but them. I guess we never realized that throughout our camping days since we didn’t have to deal with it.  Judy and I took turns making security patrols throughout the day.  Usually by 7PM on Sat. the day is winding down and it is just a matter of hanging out in the office until closing time at 10:00 PM.  Then we may or may not have to let visitors out who didn’t get out the gate before closing time.

A quick shout-out to our pavilion guest from the  New Nelius Bapts Church for the wonderful lunch they brought to us. You can see from the below pic that Judy really enjoyed the meal.

The normal Sat. winding down routine changed at 9:40 PM when a car with a well dressed couple and a less than matching female passenger in the back seat pulled up to window. Judy raised the drive-thu window to help them.  She did not see a park pass and asked how she could help them. The woman in the front seat explained that she and her husband picked up the woman walking on the road a couple of miles from the park and the woman ask them to bring her to the park. Judy did not recognize the passenger and told the couple she could not come into the office. The Good Samaritan (GS) lady said the passenger kept telling them that she could not wake her boyfriend up. Judy turned her attention to the passenger, asking her if her BF was camping here. Judy eventually determined that the passenger was talking about the day use area of the park. I told Judy I would drive to the day use area in our CRV to see if anyone was there. The couple parked their car in the office parking lot to wait. The reason Judy would not let them into the office was because she was in the process of closing out the day’s business.

The day use area is located about a ½ mile from the office in a remote area. The paved access road forks into a circle about a quarter mile down the access road. Keep in mind it is very dark.  Once at the fork I took the right branch and proceeded very slowly with the high beam lights and flashers on.  As I traveled around the light beams illuminated a vehicle backed into the trees, not parked on the side of the road.  Once I got closer I could see a person slumped over the steering wheel. This was not what I expected to find.

I called Judy on my cell to let her know what was going on.  I got out of the car and approached the truck and tried to get the person’s attention but it was obvious he was not conscious. I didn’t know if he was dead or passed out as result of drugs or alcohol.  Then I caught movement out of the corner of my eye, the back door on the driver’s side opened slightly. I was keenly aware at that moment of the potential for this situation to go south. The door was only opened a couple of inches and I could not see the person but I now knew there were multiple people in the truck.  The person was saying something to me but it was incoherent.  The girl had not mentioned that anyone else was in the truck with her BF.  The door slowly closed and I began to back up to increase my distance. 

I quickly took inventory of the new situation and returned to my CRV and positioned myself about 150 feet from the truck.  I got Judy on the phone and instructed her to contact the Harris County Sheriff’s office.  I continued to analyze the situation and determined that I could be vulnerable if the person in the back seat of the truck slipped out without me observing him. It would be possible to be flanked because of the cover provided by the trees and darkness. To prevent this possibility I moved back up to the intersection of the main park road and the day use access Rd. Now I could watch the only way out for the truck and have a stronger measure of safety. It would be a waiting game from here until the law enforcement officers arrived.

The deputy sheriffs arrived at the park about twenty five minutes later. The amount of time it took for them to respond did not give me a lot of comfort.  They stopped at the gate and questioned the girl. The GS couple asked them to take the girl so they could leave. After questioning the girl, the officers asked Judy if she could now sit in the office with her while they came to the day use area. Judy reluctantly said yes.  The officers met me and I told them what I observed.  We all drove down and I pointed the truck out. The person was still slumped over the steering wheel. An ambulance was now on the scene. The man in the back of the truck was pulled out by the officers and ordered to lean on the front of the truck while they searched him. The man was mildly belligerent while the officers interviewed him. Eventually the man behind the wheel started coming to and the officers got him out. After about 45 min to an hour the officers had completed their investigation and determined the men were just massively drunk. Neither of the two had any outstanding warrants.  They decided the woman was ok to drive so she got behind the wheel of the truck and the officers followed them out of the park.

Here is some video I recorded with my Driod - only about 5 sec
I was thankful that the event came to a close.  I learned from this experience that I will never approach a vehicle after dark in a secluded area. I will be calling the pros.!

Thanks for stopping by.
Next Blog: Fri.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

“5-1-5-0, Somebody,call the PO PO” Part 1

If you listen to country music, you most likely know today’s blog title is a lyric from  Dierks Bentley's current C&W song.  This has been an unusual week at the park because we have had two incidents requiring visits by law enforcement officers (PO- PO). It must be the heat.

On Thursday an older man showed up at the park around 6PM to get a site. He had been here camping about two weeks before.  Once in the office he informed me he would be staying a few days. I totaled up the cost and told him the fee. He took his wallet out to get the cash but he was a dollar short for just one day's fee.  I knew something was not right. I told him I would cover the one dollar he was short for the night. He also started telling me about family events of the previous night. I “rushed” him out of the office and told him I would come down and check on him in a few minutes.  Judy returned to the office about a half hour later and I informed her of the situation. I took the golf cart to “check on” him. He had not been able to back his trailer into the site, so I helped him get parked and set up. I returned to the office and Judy had fixed” (it’s a southern term) us supper – sandwiches. She told me she was worried about him because he is a diabetic, so she “fixed” him a plate and took it to him along with some bottled waters. Aren’t women great? Judy said he was very grateful for the food and water.  I received a call from a neighboring county deputy sheriff (Troup County) who ask if the person was here. Once I confirmed the person’s presence, the officer said he was going to link up with officers from Harris County here and take the person into custody. I would not inform him of the site number until he arrived at the park because I did not know who I was talking to. The officers from both counties arrived and informed me of the nature of the visit and I told them where to go. It was basically a situation in which family members felt the person was mentally incapacitated and they applied for a 36 hour mental evaluation order for the camper. The Harris County officers stopped by before they left and said the camper was very compliant and there was no problem.  Family members arrived about 10:30 PM to retrieve the camper's truck, trailer and dog. The family stopped in and gave Judy and I more details about the situation. I closed the gate about 11:30 PM. It had been a long day and I was ready to go to bed!

Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow, Mon., for part two.
Thanks for stopping by.

Next blog: Mon

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Printing Wirelessly

Judy and  I have been busy over the last few days getting our dentist visits in and doing things around the house.  We feel like we are taking a break when we return to Blanton Creek Park for our week.  Our turn over went smoothly.  Boy, did Ed and Char have a busy and exciting week.

 I don’t normally write about their week but I am making an exception. When they took over from us last week a severe thunderstorm greeted them, knocking out the power to a few sites.  They told us that storm was nothing compared to the one that came through Friday night.  Ed and Char said most of the campers had to take refuge from the storm at the comfort station. Power was interrupted at the park for a while and some sites took direct lightening strikes. There was also some activity requiring the PO PO most of Friday night. He will have to write about that!
This is the results of a lightening strike

Most of my day today was dedicated to setting up the Epson Workforce 545 wireless printer.  I set it up while at home, I thought, but I never got it to print wirelessly while using my MIFI.  After contacting Epson tech support twice I achieved wireless printing success. I also scanned some documents wirelessly. The printer is now in its new home on the Cardinal.

Printer's new home - for now. (Notice MIFI to the right)

Welcome to new follower Mike. (Click here for MIke's blog)
Thanks for stopping by.
Next blog: Sunday

Saturday, July 7, 2012

RV Accessories

I have found since Judy and I are spending more time in the Cardinal we tend to consider it more and more like our home.  I have also discovered that stores like Camping World or other retailers that stock rv accessories have replaced Lowe's and Home Depot as places that I like to hangout at.

As our commitment at Blanton Creek winds down we are trying to get a handle on items that we will need once we head to Florida this fall. Our last day is Aug. 28th. We are flying to Portland, OR. in Sept. for a week to visit our son.  Judy and I will be on assignment at Manatee Springs SP in Oct.

We picked up two major items today.  I purchased one up at Camping World and the other at Best Buy in Macon.

You may recall I turned down a fall/winter position at St. Andrews SP in Panama City because there were no sewer connections only a dump station.  If you want to read about that dumb decision click here. I am still trying to forget about it. To make sure that not having a sewer connection is not a problem I purchased a Thetford SmartTote LX35. ($219.00)

I have been researching printers for the last month or two to keep on the fiver to use with my lap top.  I settled on an Epson Workforce 545 all in one - print,copy,scan and fax. It is also wireless (wifi) capable. I hope it will work with my Verizon MIFI. I am going to set it up tomorrow.

Judy and I had a nice dinner at the Fish N Pig at Lake Tobeesofkee near Macon.  We both enjoyed our selections.

Thanks for stopping by.
Next Blog: Wed (evening)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cooler Weather

The weather at the park has been a little cooler the past couple of days.  We had a series of evening and morning showers that have held the temps lower.  Yesterday (Tue) we had a much stronger thunderstorm come through the area. It was severe enough to result in many campers fleeing to the comfort stations for  safety.  One lady came up to the registration office to "ride it out" with Judy and I. Judy, is none too relaxed during these events.

Two campsites had their power pedistal damaged during the thunderstorm, rendering them unusable.  We learned about this from Char and Ed after we had left to return home.  Both sites  were water sites so the campers were going to have to move. I am sure they were not happy about having to move.  They are going to be getting a full refund and not be charged for any days during this stay. We try to have "happy Campers".

For most of our week at the park the campers were just having a great time!  Nickolas, one of my new friends came back with his dad (Thomas) to camp and fish. Nickolas came right in and gave  Mrs. Judy a hug!

David stopped by with some treats and produce!

Yesterday America lost its favorite small town sheriff. RIP, Andy

Welcome to new follower Thomas.
Thanks for stopping by.
Next blog Sun (evening)
NOTE: St. Andrews SP (Panama City, FL.) has an immediate opening for a workamper vol. Now - Oct.  Contact me for details