Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Along the Way to Kentucky

Here we are driving from Cincinnati, Ohio to Campbellsville, Kentucky on the way to the Heartland RV Park. This is right across the street from Amazon.Com whre Judy will be working from October 17th to December 23.

Here we are driving through Lexington, Kentucky almost across the street fromt he airpoirt which is on Highway 55. All of a sudden you make a turn and there is a great big castle. It sits out in the middle of a big field. We had no idea there was a castle there.

After searching the web I found it under www.thecastlepost.com . It is a hotel andits not cheap either. Rooms are from $400.00 to $1250.00.

If you can't drive by it you should check it out on the web.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cumberland Falls

We wanted to go to Walmart and get big items that where too big and heavy to carry back. Walmart is 2 miles from the campground. Most times we carry things in backpacks and have a couple of cloth grocery bags to carry it back. But this time we needed a car. We asked the owner of Heartland RV Park, Jeff if we could borrow his truck to go to Walmart. This time he said he would borrow us a car. We should go and see the Daniel Boone National Forest. It was a nice sunny day in the sixties, so we put Rocky in the car and went for a nice ride.

He gave us a Hyundai Sonata to drive. It was a 2008 and a pretty nice car. We drove about 70 miles and got into the Daniel Boone National Forest. This is a giant forest that runs along the east side of Kentucky from the North to the South of the state. While driving through the forest we saw a sign for Cumberland Falls State Park. The sign said it was 12 miles, so we decided to drive there. It was a beautiful drive through the forest. The road was winding, and the colors were still pretty bright. Last week the wind had blew down a lot of the leaves, but it was still pretty.

Cumberland Falls was a nice surprise. It was very pretty. It was the first time that I was by a waterfall and saw a rainbow right there. But I couldn't find the pot of gold. It is really an interesting place. It is the only place int he western hemisphere where they get a moonbow. A moonbow only happens when there is a full moon on a clear night and it creates a beautiful rainbow after dark.

They do have a lot of hiking trails there. There is a lodge, restuarant, swimming pool, campground with sites and cabins. You could spend a few days there . We were there for about an hour. Then we had to head back. We still had to get the shopping done, and return the car. All and all it was a good day.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

First Times Still Amaze Me

Here we are driving down the road to get to Kentucky, not knowing where we are , Judy pulls out the cell phone with the GPS on it. We get all excited about using it for the first time. Then she mentioned the excitement we got out of it and that our kids think nothing of it because they think of it as part of the norm.

This and a conversation with Sara recently about all the history our generation has gone through. When we were in high school it was to late for us to learn new math, how to use calculators and the metric system. Which is why we have a hard time helping with homework. When we were in school there wasn't such a thing as home computers now there aren't many homes without one.

We did have vinyl record albums then came 8 track tapes followed by cassette tapes, and now there are CD's and MP3 players. What is next? Telephones went from dial to push button, from corded to cordless, and now we have cell phones with so many features who knows how to use them all. We went from analog black and white TV, to color, TV to High Definition, from a big wooden box TV, to skinny LCD flat screens which are now being expanded to 3D TV.

There are advances in science such as the space program. We were around for the first space rockets to the last flight of the space shuttles. We can remember the first walk on the moon. We saw it on TV as it happened. Anyone that was around could probably tell you where they were when this happened. We saw a lot of first. We saw the first women to run for vice president, then the first women to run for president, and the first black man be elected president.

We also lived through many disasters such as the Vietnam War, Desert Storm and the War on Terrorism. We lived through the bombing of the Twin Towers which completely changed every ones life. We lived through the assassination of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy. We lived through an attempted assassination of President Reagan and the murder of John Lennon.

We have seen burning of flags, draft cards, and bras, LSD and marijuana, Woodstock and protests. Now there is pollution and global warming. There have been space shuttle explosions, mass murders, racial riots and many new diseases (cancer, aides, diabetes).

I can just imagine what our parents saw and what they thought of it all. We are all just starting to take everything for granted. We all have to stop and start to smell the roses,. By the way that GPS really worked. We found where we wanted to be. Heartland Campground in Campbellsville, Kentucky.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Louisana Turtles

We're staying at Eastfork Campground in Ohio while waiting to go to Kentucky. The job at Amazon got postponed from September 27th to October 17th. This just meant we could spend more time with Sara and Kaitlyn. This helped out Sara to have a babysitter longer that would come to her house, so it meant she did not have to pack up the baby.

We will be leaving wither October 2 or 3 for Kentucky since Amazon will begin paying for our side then;even though Judy won't begin working until the 17th of October. We had to leave Ohio October 2nd to take advantage of the free sight.

So for our last weekend in Ohio we decided to invite my buddy Mike over to visit. We made Louisiana Turtles for dinner. They were pretty good and filling. In case you don't know what they are, they're hamburgers with hot dogs used for the head and legs of the turtle. The dogs are pushed into the middle of the beef patties which is topped with cheddar cheese and bacon the is woven and wrapped around the body. Then they are covered loosely with foil and baked at 400 degrees F, for 20-30 minutes or until bacon is crisp but not overly crisp.

We sat outside enjoying good company, good drinks, good times and a decent on match campfire. We drank so much that Mike had to spend the night. That was okay, be have plenty of room.

Monday, October 18, 2010

This is Really an Art

This happened a while ago maybe a year to two ago but it is still great. Judy and I were out grocery shopping at one of the Walmart she worked at. We actually got in a line with a cashier she was friends with.

I started to "feel a rectal transmission" (fart) coming so I got out of line and walked a couple of aisles away and let it go. I thought I was pretty lucky because no one was in the aisle and it was a silent one. So there was no reason to feel any embarrassment. So I thought.

I got back into line by Judy and whispered what happened. By this time the smell followed me. It was really bad (and this is not the great part yet). We're standing there talking and all of a sudden the woman checking out ahead of us asked the cashier what the terrible smell was. She didn't know so they thought it might be some bad food so they started smelling everything. In the meantime I am standing back there laughing so hare I was crying. They never did figure out where the smell came from.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Strange But True

When we left Wisconsin Dells, we knew we would have to come back to Milwaukee to bring Joe and Melissa their things that were still in Ohio. Joe had a lot of his gaming stuff there, Melissa her childhood memories. There was also some furniture that the needed. We knew we would have to rent a trailer to get this done. First we had to get the van fixed. Little did we know, after spending all summer without our car, that it would only cost $140.00 to fix. It needed a new distributor cap and spark plug. But at least it got fixed. After getting it back, we also had to buy it a new tire. We hoped this would not become a habit.

I decided to call U-Haul to see if we could get a trailer to take the stuff to Milwaukee. We knew we could not take a truck, it would be too expensive. A trailer would be $29.00 per day. The man I talked to got really excited when he saw our number on caller id. He knew it was a Milwaukee number by the area code. I explained I was in Milford, the family plan our phone is on was from Milwaukee. He thought if we were coming down from Milwaukee, we could bring his bed. He had moved to Ohio about a month ago, and was sleeping on an air mattress and wanted his bed. He said he would work out a deal on the trailer if we were interested. We went to set up the trailer, and got a great deal. We took our stuff up to Milwaukee, stopped at his parents business in Hales Corners and get his bed, and got the trailer for free. How sweeter of a deal can you get.

The day we went to pick up the trailer was weird. We got to U-haul about 8am. figuring we could get on the road by 9am. But this did not happen. The wiring on the van was messed up. We could not get the blinkers to work. The manager at U-haul ended up working on the van for 2 hours to get the lights to work. He had to cross wire it and when we turned on the left blinker, all the lights on the back blinked, but at least the brakes worked properly. I could deal with the blinkers.

We got to Sara's house just after 10am. We loaded up the trailer. This took about an hours. It was totally full, and we did not bring the Christmas stuff Melissa wanted. But we got all of Joe's and Melissa's stuff in the trailer. We did get on the road around 11:30 after getting gas. We knew this trip could be very bad. Chicago during rush hour. But it was not as bad as it could be. We never got stopped in Chicago, moved very slow, but got through. Got to Joe and Melissa's around 7pm. Got the trailer unloaded and got to set down by 8pm. We ordered pizza for dinner, and crashed their for the night. We stole Joe's bed.

The next morning got up to go the DMV office down town Milwaukee to renew my drivers license. We took the bus down town. We got a transfer when we got on the bus. We got to the office, got his license, got back on the bus and back to Melissa's on one transfer. When we got back we called the U-haul manager's parents business to let them know we were coming down. Said good-bye to Joe and Melissa and left.

We got to Hales Corners and got his stuff. They had the bed ready, but when his mom and sister saw how much room we had, they sent all of the stuff. We got it all packed, and got on our way. We left Milwaukee around 3:30pm. This meant Chicago during rush hour again. We could not win. We just kept driving.

We got to Shelbyville Indiana around 10 pm and was just too tired to go any farther. We asked if we could stay, and they said we could, but the police might give us a ticket for loitering. We decided not to stay and just keep driving. At the next exit, there was a Love's truck stop. We stayed there. We did not want to leave the trailer without anyone watching it. So we had to make sure we got to Milford after 7am. Then the manager would be at U-haul.

We left the truck stop around 6am. We got to Milford at 7:30 am. He was happy to get all of his stuff. Just like he said. We brought his stuff, so the trailer was free.

It was kinda of strange. We did not know this guy. He trusted us with all the things he had in the world. He did not know us before we called for the trailer. But this is the kind of thing Judy and I do. Some one needed help, and we did it. We do it for our family all the time, now we are doing it for strangers. But now we have a new friend, Steve at U-haul.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Our visit to Cincinnati

Here we are in Cincinnati visiting. By the time we decide to find a camp for the night all the offices at the campgrounds in the area I called were closed. So we had to stay at Milford's Walmart. This time the manager wasn't cordial. She sad we could stay, but had to be gone by 7:00am. This was okay because we had to be back by Sara's to babysit for Kaitlyn by 7:20am.

While we were by Sara's I found a state park named East Fork Lake State Park. This park was about 20 miles away. It was affordable. It accepted Passport America for Sunday-Wednesday for a 50% savings. It was $12.50 per night for a sight with electric. Thursday - Saturday the cost was $25.00 a night. We decided to give it a chance.

We map quested the route from Sara's house to East Fort State Park. Even though we should have followed the map in the book for Passport of America. We actually had the wrong address, but did not know this at the time. We started to follow the route of map quest. We were on a very busy highway, but the lanes were narrow. We started to get into an area that was becoming rural. This did not look right, so we called our friend Mike.

He told us we were going the wrong way. He told us a way to get back to the right road, but this was a narrow country road. Then we turned on another wrong road. We finally asked someone on the side of the road and told us how to get there. This was the worst one of all. This road actually said in part it was a single lane road. This road was so narrow that it would have been hard for two motorcycles to pass. This road was so bad I was white knuckling the steering wheel. I was glad I was in the motor home. If needed I could have sent Judy back to get me clean underwear. This road was all hills and curves. The scenery was pretty, but who could enjoy it. There were no shoulders on the road, and in some parts the side just went down a very steep hill with no guard rail. I am glad I did not meet a school bus on this road. It was about a five miles trip that took about 30 minutes to drive. I was never so happy to reach a destination.

After arriving at the park the ranger gave us a map and told us to go find a site and come back. After that drive we took the first open sight we found. We just wanted to stop driving the motor home this day. We went back to the camp office, paid for site, and went back to set up camp. We needed a rest after this trip.

This was a cool park. You actually could camp there with your horse if you had one. There was a section of the campground that was especially for horse camping. We were in the pet section. There were over 400 campsites in this camp. There were many trees. It was about a 2 mile walk to the lake. We did that walk once. It was hard for Rocky to make a 4 mile walk in the heat. A lot of people brought boats when they camped. It was a peaceful campground. I knew we would like it here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

On Our Way

We had spent only 1 day packing to leave Wanna Bee camp. It did not take as long as we thought. We thought it would take 2 days to pack, but it only took one afternoon. We did not unpack as much as we thought. So we left Dave know we would be leaving Wednesday in the morning.

We got ready to leave that morning. While letting the motor home warm up, we drove around camp to say good bye to everyone (Greg, Dave, and Cole). While speaking to Cole he notice a tire going flat, so we drove to the tool shed and used the compressor to fill the tire. We got that done and were on our way.

We had to make one more stop at Walmart. We had been riding our bikes there all summer. It was nice to be there in the motor home. We got some groceries and some new shoes. All of our shoes had been ruined in the rain and dirt of camp. Rocky waiting in the motor home for us. We also had to stop for gas. We did that about 30 miles from the Dells. We finally got on the road by 11am. A little later than we wanted, but we were in no hurry.

We got to the state line, and entered Illinois. We got stopped by road construction. It took us only an hour and a half to go 2 miles of freeway. This put us farther behind. But we reminded ourselves, we were not on a time schedule. We decided to stop in Bloomin ton-Normal Illinois. It was already 5pm and wanted to stay in a Passport America campground. So it was here or 50 miles further.

We were lucky. We stayed at Kamp Komfort in Carlock, Illinois. When I got out to plug in the electric and water, I hear a hissing noise. It was coming out of the same tire we had filled with air at camp. Our neighbor also heard it and looked. Sure enough, we had a flat tire. We were lucky we decided to camp here, or the flat would have happened on the side of the interstate.

We got out the phone number for the roadside assistance associated with our motor home insurance. They took all the pertinent information and said they would call me back after they found me some help. Then minutes later they called and said help would be here within an hour and they were. He replaces the flat tire with our spare. He found a nail in the tire he took off the motor home. He said that if we had to pay the bill it would be $190.00, Thanks to the roadside assistance, it did not cost us a cent.

We got up the next morning and headed down the interstate toward Indianapolis. There was only a small mishap at a Love's gas station. We had prepaid for the gas. We did not need all the gas we paid for so I tried to stop when full, but the pump would not shut off. Gas was going all over the ground. We had to prove to the manager what happened, but he did give us some money back. This put us a little behind, but remember we were not on a time schedule.

This rest of the trip was good. We did get to Milford, Ohio about 3pm. When we pulled up to the old house, who was waiting? Sara, Kaitlyn and Kirby. They were all happy to see us.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Our First Season.

Well we were ready for the campers to come Memorial Day Weekend. You are never totally ready for this. We had no idea how it would turn out. We were not totally booked for the weekend. The camp was about 2/3 full. There were a lot of families there. The groups were big. There were also some party people, but not many. They were camping way up in the primitive sites, and away from everyone. We did meet our security guard for the first time. He patrols the camp during the night to make sure all is safe. It went well.

The next month was quite. We still had some outside work to take care of. It was not easy because of the rain. It was raining almost every day. Some of the storms came down in inches. We would have to check camp when the rain would stop to see if we lost any trees. Also we were having flooding problems. When campers would come, some of the sites were under water. That was one thing that plagued us all season.

Along with rain and wet weather comes mosquitoes. A hundred thousand mosquitoes. They were so wicked that the insect repellent would not work any more. A mosquito bite was the fashion statement of the season.

Fourth of July weekend was the killer weekend of the summer. We were totally booked. There were so many people, that the bathrooms had lines 24 hours a day. I have never been in such a crowded campground. The crowds were hard to control. But we survived. It took a few days to recover.

The rest of July and August were busier than normal. The booking in camp were up from the previous year. We were getting more repeat business. We were getting compliments of how good camp was this year from our guests that come each year. They saw improvements. We also took over doing crafts for the campers. We also did scavenger hunts with the kids. They had fun with that.

Labor day weekend was the last hurrah. We were not totally book, but were pretty full. We had the good crowd in. A lot of the return guests. It was nice to see them so we could say good bye for the season. It was a good weekend.

Well our first season of work camping is over now. It's time to say good by to Wisconsin Dells until next spring. Saying good by to the staff and seasonal campers wasn't easy. We made many good friends that were seasonal and many that come up there just because it is a nice campground.

Most of the campers we made friends with will always remain deep in our hearts. This was our first time working for a whole season in a camp. They made it fun.

The work was fairly easy but it kept us pretty busy. Even though we had our fair share of time off. During our time off Sara, Melissa, Joe and Kaitlyn camp up to visit us for a few days. In case you don't know Kaitlyn is our grand daughter and yes she is grand. The only bad thing is when they come up, I get forced to tip a few beers (maybe more than a few). It is always enjoyable sitting around a campfire with some beer and your loved ones. We did make a trip down town and to one of the major water parks there. It was fun to get out to do something in town.

We opened our hearts to may friends from about 2 years old to some in their 70's. After all of this it all comes down to the fact that it was a pretty good season. We will be going back in spring.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Our First Two Weeks

The first couple of weeks we were there life was pretty simple. There weren't any campers to deal with, just a few of the seasonal campers. We had plenty to do.

There are 13 cabins at the campground. Some are only sleeping cabins and all they have are beds, a microwave and camp a refrigerator in them. These we had to clean and wash down everything. We had to was winter out of the cabins. Had to make sure there were no uninvited guests. We had to change the plastic mattress covers and make sure there were no mice in or under the mattresses. Then there were the deluxe cabins. This have a queen bed, single bed, sleeping loft, kitchen area and bathroom. These needed to be cleaned and flush out the water line of anti freeze put in for winter. There were also 2 super deluxe cabins. These cabins have bedrooms, full size kitchen and full size appliances. We had to shine stainless steel appliances and clean carpets up in the lofts. We had to flush the water systems also. Had to make sure the electric fireplaces were in operating order. This took a couple of days. It was okay because you could work indoors.

We had the bathrooms to clean also.We had to deep clean the bathhouse from winter. We had to use heavy duty cleaners and good old fashioned elbow grease. The water system This not bad because they had already been flushed out by Greg, the maintenance man. He lives at camp, so when he opened the water system for camp, he flushed out the bathhouse.

We had the game room to clean and paint the floor. We first had to sweep and mop the floors. The machine had to be moved to paint the floor. This took days, because you had to do this by moving all the machines to one side of room, paint the floor and let it dry. Come back next day and move machines to painted side of room and paint other side and let dry. Then came back third day and moved machines and painted main walk area of room with an extra coat of paint.
We had to do the same in laundry room. This room was easier, because most of the washing machines were not there. They were being replaced so so machines to move. Only had to paint floors.

Then there was the picnic tables. There is one in every campsite. There are 126 sites in camp, so that was a lot of tables. We just started on side of camp and went site to site and painted the tables. We got 60 done when we ran out of paint. This took a few days because it would get hot in afternoon, so we only painted in morning.

We had two and a half weeks to get all this done because Memorial Day Weekend was coming. Campers were coming earlier because the weather was mild for Wisconsin. So the weekends before Memorial Day Weekend we did have some campers on weekends. We also had to take a few days off to return to Milwaukee. My mother passed away and we had to attend the funeral. It was a couple of sad days, but we made it back to camp and started to work. It helped get me over the hump of sadness. One good thing is when we came back from funeral, we brought Rocky with us. Then the fun began.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Getting Started

It was around March 15, 2010. My wife had just left her job working at a major department store as a cake decorator. The job had gotten to her. It was all it took to convince her to hit the road. The dog and I were ready for a long time. We were just waiting for her.

We were just going to take our son back to college from his spring break and hit the road. We were going to go to North Carolina for a month. Being newbies we did not want to go far from home. And we wanted to travel a little before heading up to Anderson Indiana for a summer job. But the day before we were suppose to leave, we got a call from Wisconsin and found out my mother had fallen and broke her hip. She was 83 years old, and this was serious.

We postponed our trip and made a quick trip up to Wisconsin, or so we thought. We thought we would be there a few days and then take our trip to North Carolina. But our stay ended up being 8 weeks in Milwaukee. It was hard, because we had to take the bus everywhere we went. You do not drive a 36 foot motor home around the city.

Then money started running out. My wife took a job in a grocery store for a few weeks. She did not do very well at this. She hated this job, but we needed the money. We were suppose to leave to go the the Indiana job in May, but we knew my mother was not going to make it very much longer. We wanted to stay near Milwaukee, but wanted to get a job in a camp. We did not want to give up on our dream.

I went on the Internet to see if we could get a job in a camp. We had been staying most of the time at a truck stop. This is okay for a day or two put not for a prolong period of time. I tried the Milwaukee area and did not find anything. I tried Madison and did not find anything. Then I tried the Wisconsin Dells area. There are plenty of camps there. I went one by one down the list of all the camps in the area. It was in alphabetical order. I call the whole list. I left our number at a few places.

I called Wanna Bee Campground. It was the last number on the list. I spoke to the manager. Just so happened his camp hosts had quit at the last minute and he was looking for a new couple to fill the position. I told him of our work experiences. The manager knew we were new at full timing it and working in a camp. He was willing to give us a change, but we had to come right away. Work was waiting. I told him that my wife had to quit her job, which was something that would not be hard to do, and we would be in a few days.

We got hired on Sunday, and got to camp on Wednesday. We left the dog with our son and daughter in Milwaukee to start with. We wanted to check out the camp first. From day one we always felt that we fit in there. The manager and maintenance worker and us hit it off good from the start. We knew we made the right choice.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It has been a long time since I wrote anything here or on my other blogs. So let me catch you up on some of the tings that have been going on for us.

Well in August of 2009 after a couple of years of searching we found a motor home through a website "dreamfinders.com.". They put me in contact with a women in Monterrey California who was selling a 1998 Rexhall Airbus 36' long.

We communicated with her via email and telephone for the next couple of months. After Judy and I decided to buy it, we decided there was no turning back. We went around the house and decided if it did not go in the motor home, it would be sold.This is not as easy at it seems. We told our three children speak up on what you want or it will be sold. We sold most of our possessions. It took three weekend rummage sales, and putting the big items on "Craigslist", we got it done. Then we signed the paperwork it only took a couple of days for the deal to go through.

After the rummage sale, decisions needed to be made. Judy stayed home to keep working at her job. She works in retail, and it was Christmas seasons and could not get off work. I needed some one to go with me. Luckily our good neighbor Mike agreed to go with me to get the motor home.
The plane tickets were bought. The car was rented.

On November 3,2009 at 4:00am the adventure began. Sara and Judy drove Mike and I to Dayton Airport to take off for San Fransisco California. The plane took off at 6:25 EST from Dayton Airport. Mike got pulled out by security because he took a XBox 360 and my luggage because I had tools in it. We had a layover in Denver and went on to San Francisco. We got there at 10:30am PST.

Then we got the rented car at San Francisco Airport. We got a Ford Focus and drove to Monterrey. We arrived at the Monterrey Pines Navel Campground where the motor home was. We were given a walk through and got the keys. The previous owner bought us a night at the campground. After the walk through, Mike and I drove to Carmel California to see the ocean. This was the first time I had ever seen the ocean. I had to put my toes in the ocean. It was very cold. We went into Monterrey to buy some groceries. We spent the first night in the motor home. It was a early night. It was a long day, crossing the country and three times zones.

The next morning, November 4, 2009 we got up and the lady we bought the motor home helped us return the car to the airport in Monterrey. We came back to the motor home and started for home. Judy had mapped our way home, using interstates all the way. We got on the interstate and after about an hour Mike is looking the the atlas and finds a short cut or so we thought. We took it and it took us up and down, round and round through the mountains peaking a height of 7000 feet above sea level. It was not a highway just a mountain road, but if was worth it just because of how beautiful it was. We also came across a wind farm, bigger than any one I had ever seen.

This first trip went pretty uneventful. We would drive about 500 miles a day. We stayed on the interstates. But we did have some excitement in Arkansas. Here we got pulled over for not having the motor home registered and searched for weapons and guns. Luckily we only got a warning and they didn't find any drugs or weapons. If took us five days to get home, but we made it and I got to be with Judy again, oh yeah lets not forget about Rocky.

December comes around and not only do we have the hassle of the holidays, but Sara has her baby, our first grandchild on December 18th. She had the baby a week early. Her name is Kaitlyn Alexis Hickman. She is a very good baby. Sara and Keith are great parents and Kaitlyn is almost as pampered as Rocky. Grandpa and Grandma have fun spoiling both of them.

Now there only reason we are still here is that we are grounded. We can't get the motor home out of storage because it is snowed in. Who isn't after the last 2 weeks. Once the snow is gone, so are we.