Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pre-Halloween 2011: Wind Creek State Park in Alex City

Arriving at Wind Creek State Park Campground Thursday afternoon, it was obvious to see that Halloween festivities would be in full swing over the coming weekend even though the official holiday is more than a week away.  Turned out this would be the annual Fall Festival complete with costumes, campsite decorations and Trick-or-treat. Our site was nice and wooded but would be right in the heart of the festivities. That didn't cause us to relocate -- satellite reception (or lack thereof) caused it. Turned out to be a blessing as we took a spot a bit farther away from the playground and although it was without sewer connection, it was quiet and had more space.
Wind Creek State Park has over 640 campsites.

Plenty of children playing and riding bicycles -- everywhere!
Decorations for the festival.

More decorated campsites

Still more decorations

There were lots of "graveyards" in the campground!

We enjoyed campfires and walks around the lake with Ozzie and Lexie. There are hundreds of people doing the same thing and almost everyone has at least one dog.  The Auburn / LSU game was televised Saturday and we watched Auburn take the terrible beating. The loss did not ruin our weekend however.
Pop holding the babies

Photographer error caused the blur. 

On Sunday afternoon we heard Ozzie bark for the first time when a chocolate lab walked by where he and Lexie were in the playpen. The bark came after a ferocious growl. 
On Tuesday morning we relocated within the campground yet again. This time we moved to get into a site with sewer as our tanks are full. We plan to continue the short 40-50 mile drive to Auburn for the Ole Miss game on Thursday morning. Auburn allows RV to take the hayfield at 2 pm.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Finished Repairs. Now Friends and Family Matters

Waiting for the slide cover to be delivered to Columbia Camper, we enjoyed fall at Long Branch Corp of Engineers Campground at Center Hill  Lake over the long Columbus Day Weekend.  Leaves were colorful and nightly temperatures were very cool even though the days were still very warm.
Our campsite .Just out of the photo is the dreaded playground equipment
where screams of children were heard until long after nightfall.
We had a nice time at Long Branch but are anxious to get the repair finished so we can move along toward Auburn for October football. Kim called Monday afternoon to let us know the part had arrived and we scheduled a couple of hours to get them done. Meanwhile our mail and some Ozzie's new blue Snuggie (to match Lexie's pink one) had also arrived. Kim and Larry are so good to accept our deliveries and hold them for us.
Jerry checks to be sure the new slide will attach properly.

Jerry (left) and Royce (right) prepare the new slide cover for mounting it to Mona.
Gitten  'er dun.

End result.  The new slide cover is black as the champagne color cover is no longer produced.

Wayne and Royce contemplate the repair strategy of a leaky sink drain. 

Kim and Larry hard at work -- not.
Even after the repairs were finished, we stayed on in middle Tennessee for a week.  On Saturday we'd visit with Wayne's cousin, Betsy and her family who were on a whirlwind trip visiting Vanderbilt with their son, Matt.
Wayne with his cousin Betsy, her husband Steve and their children, Stephanie and Matt.
On Sunday we loaded Mona and Blackie and went to see my brother and his family. It's been three years since I've seen him. We stayed two nights at a county park campground in New Market, Alabama and enjoyed two dinner visits with them.
My brother Macky and me.  Some resemblance, eh?
Donna (Macky's wife), Sherrie (their daughter) and Chelsea (their granddaughter).

Preparing the campfire.  Wayne, Ricky, Macky, Donna, Sherrie, Nick and Chelsea.
With the weather quickly turning from beautiful and warm to cold and rainy, we left New Market on Tuesday morning.  We drove along I-565 through Huntsville to I-65 south headed to Birmingham.
Cotton ready to be picked.
Being brought up in the south, brown and white speckled cotton fields are not an uncommon sight.  But after being away for such a long time, it was nice to see them again and I decided they were photoworthy.  Same for the soybeans.
Soybean field.
Anxious to get out of town before the rain arrived, we drove through Huntsville quickly. I managed to snap these shots of the Space and Rocket Center as we drove by.  I take a lot of these nice things for granted, but a long visit in Huntsville will go on my bucket list for next time.  I'd like to see some of the places we lived and take a day visit to the Space Center. 
Huntsville: Rocket City.
NASA's Space and Rocket Center

Davidson Center for Space Exploration at Huntsville's US Space and Rocket Center.

Our next stop is to visit with Wayne's aunt Helen and her group in Birmingham. From there we'll finally get to Auburn -- we think.  Arrival at Oak Mountain State Park Campground was earlier than anticipated so we were able to get with Helen for a visit the same evening.
Helen and Wayne
We took Lexie and Ozzie with us to Helen's. This is the first visit we've made with the two of them so I was a little bit apprehensive. Helen was completely unconcerned and she was right. The three of them played all over the house all evening. I tried to capture a video but couldn't keep up with them. Helen's tiny back yard is completely enclosed and at one time, she opened the door and the three dogs came and went as they liked.  It was a good night everybody had a good time.


Dusty is Helen's baby.

Two mischief makers
Helen is holding Lexie and I'm nervous about all the glass. 

Dog lover she is, Helen can "warm up" any dog.
Ozzie's watching intently.  He's never far from Lexie

The next day we met Helen at Pelham Civic Center where Lynn and Jay work. The complex houses two ice skating rinks and a nice banquet facility.  Lynn gave us a nice tour of the building and the kitchen where we found Jay hard at work on a Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Helen, Wayne and Lynn

Clearing the calendar for next weekend.

Today's lunch for Chamber luncheon.

Jay has a new concoction: Sweet potato and pecan pie.  Delicious. 
He's boxing some for us to take..... Yummie.
After our tour of Pelham Civic Center, Helen, Wayne and I drove to Ballentrae Country Club for lunch.  The food at Ballentrae is catered by Lynn and Jay too. It was a "first visit" for all of us to the club.  Lunch was very good and we enjoyed the really cool, slightly overcast weather.  That evening, Jay and Lynn came by Helen's where we had Chinese food for supper. Of course we left Birmingham the next morning with our refrigerator loaded with delicious leftovers.

Our next stop is expected to be Wind Creek State Park in Alexander City, Alabama. It's only a few miles from Auburn where we hope to be early next week.  Helen, Jay and Lynn will join us for the Auburn / Ole Miss game.  Can't wait.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tennessee In Autumn

Facing the Obstacles With A Smile (or Smirk)
This smug expression photo was take at Mountaindale Campground in Colorado Springs --
amid the stress of being car-less, tv-less, phone-less, computer-less, and insurance-less!
A bad day in retirement travel is better than a good day working! 

Managing The Repairs
We reached Nashville on Sunday afternoon and found the vacant lot across the street from the satellite dealer where we'd been instructed to park overnight. Not in a particularly desirable part of town, we nervously got the dog walking done before dark and stayed inside until the next morning when the technicians came across the street to see us. Surprisingly, our damage was a missing bearing -- probably knocked out out when the dome was struck by the slide cover. The bearing was replaced in minutes and we were ready to go.
The satellite couldn't rotate so it rubbed along one side.
With two dogs now, I need an easy means of shuttling my babies around when carrying or walking them isn't practical so, last week I found and ordered a stroller for them. I had it (among other things) shipped to Columbia Camper where my dear friend Kim would accept and hold it for me. 
Kim with Lexie and Ozzie's new stroller.
Taken at Columbia Campers in Columbia, Tennessee
Wayne pushing the doggie stroller containing both Lexie and Ozzie. 
We have to close the top to keep Ozzie from jumping out.

Along with the doggie stroller, I ordered a set of steps for Lexie to use getting onto the couch where she hasn't been able to go. Now all she can do is bark at Ozzie when he's on the window ledge behind the couch.  It too was delivered to Columbia Camper. Lexie's first attempt at the steps didn't go so well as she jumped down off the top step and hurt her left shoulder causing her to wince out loud when we picked her up. This lasted for just a day.  The following day she was improved and after that, we helped her up and down the steps until she learned to use them.  Ozzie, of course, merely uses the steps as a launching pad or avoids them altogether as he leaps like a deer on and off the couch.  He's also taken to jumping into Wayne's chair immediately after Wayne vacates it.  I think he is a real clown and loves making us laugh.  Here are some of the reasons I say that.

After Jerry, Larry and Nathan examined the damage to Mona and determined what parts would be ordered, we drove over to RP Williams to have the engine serviced.  Wayne asked them to look at the diesel leak and we learned our tank has a crack!  To repair it, the tank must be drained, dried, welded and then replaced.  This isn't a common problem so Mr. Williams isn't sure how long it will take. We were advised to prepare for an overnighter so we took a room in a local motel.
Mona is in one of RP Williams' repair bays.
She looks so tiny and helpless among the big trucks.

Wayne visits Mona in the hospital.
I used the afternoon at the motel as an opportunity to bathe Lexie and Ozzie.  I'm concerned that Ozzie might be getting into some fleas, something he's not had in Colorado.  I want his schedule to be the same as Lexie -- first of the month for both flea and heartworm medications. Ozzie hasn't experienced much in the way of daily brushings either, it seems, as he was really afraid of the whole activity.  I used the baby brush, letting him smell it first, and was careful to gently brush just his back at first. Later on, I'd get to his neck, then his head and other areas. 

Turned out we'd have only one night (two days) out of Mona as she was ready by Friday mid-afternoon.  When we went to pick her up we got an unexpected thrill to run into our granddaughter, Harley, at RP Williams. She had ridden with her grandmother to pick up parts when she saw us.  Turns out to be really good luck to have run into her as she (and Buddy) would be leaving early the next morning with those grandparents for a beach trip during the fall school break. 
We ended up staying on in Columbia over the weekend. We'd get to see Chad and Cole on Saturday for watching football and then a short visit with Cam and Amy on Sunday.  Exhausted, I didn't think to snap a single photograph. On Monday we picked up our mail and then headed east for some well-deserved Tennessee fall foliage.   Oooohhh.