Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Reckless Wreck

The spell heckler and I go round and round each day. If it weren't for computers I wouldn't be able to write in an intelligible manner at all. Even my spell heckler is often mystified, just as I am by my English and grammar terrors.

If I feel like a wreck, then it's spelled with a W but if the captain sailed  recklessly, then forget the W.

River Bend on the South Saluda River in Greenville County South Carolina by DearMissMermaid.Com

I spent a lazy day camping here recently. Many summers in my younger days were spent in, around, up and down the South Saluda River.
The Saluda River is formed about 10 mi (15 km) northwest of the city of Greenville, South Carolina on the common boundary of Greenville and Pickens Counties, by the confluence of its north and south forks, each of which rises in the Blue Ridge Mountains very near the border of North Carolina:

The North Saluda River flows generally south-southwestwardly through northern Greenville County, past Marietta.The South Saluda River flows generally southeastwardly on the Greenville-Pickens County border, receiving the Oolenoy River and the Middle Saluda River, which rises in Jones Gap State Park and flows generally southward through northwestern Greenville County. Shown above is Greenville County on the left of the picture and Pickens County on the right. 

Thought, bought, fought and brought all rhyme, but enough, rough, tough, and slough, though spelled similar rhyme with each other but not with the original thought, bought, fought and brought.

Cough is spelled like those 8 words, but doesn't ryhme with any of them and neither does through or bough.

I knew the new gnu.  I've seen that scene.

I'll sit by the aisle while flying to the isle.

Did someone err, it's up in the air whether I'm the  heir.

Then they're  those poeole who think their mind is all here, but I hear they're not all there.

It's a real feat that I can dance with these feet.

I wasn't sure if I won one knot or not.

Rough, tough and enough all end with the same stuff.

Since you have a sense for scents, tell me if this smelly stuff is worth ten cents.

In my crazy little world, I see a reflection of a Mermaid with long hair in this river. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Beryl Has Come To Visit

It is pouring down buckets of rain.  The powers to be claim we are in a drought, but after today, I bet they change their tune!

The outer bands of Beryl are simply giving us a deluge.

Yesterday, I was so confused. I thought it was Sunday. Suddenly some friends and their dog turned up in my driveway. I was a tad surprised as they had driven 60 miles on a whim to come see me.  At some point they told me it was Monday, which really gave me pause for the cause as apparently I lost a day some where. How does that happen?

What's really strange is that I had previously invited them both verbally and in writing by email,  for a cookout this weekend and only received mumbled maybe's and don't know's in their verbal reply.

So, I didn't bother to get organized for anything. Last time I got organized for a cookout, (last weekend!) there was a problem too, and the folks didn't show. So to heck with it. Grumble, mumble, rumble...

In the Caribbean I had the reverse problem. I could invite 4 for dinner and have 8 show up. People were always eating at my place. Matter of fact, sometimes when I fed 8-10-12 people, later someone who heard through the coconut telegraph that I had a little party,  would run into me and act offended that I had not invited them to come eat too. It seems on that little island if you invited anyone to come eat, they almost always said YES 99% of the time and actually showed up too. Of course everyone on the island is late for everything, so you have to lie by an hour. In other words if you want them there at 4pm, you invite them for 3pm.

Other times I didn't invite folks over for lunch or dinner at all, but they would stop by to visit and invariably we would end up cooking and eating anyhow. But, this little island had NO fast food joints. People actually sat down and savored their meal for hours. It was fun!

One time I was at a beach bar, giving some friends a verbal invitation to come eat at my place the next day that also included a "surprise".  A tourist couple overheard us and mentioned the party sounded like fun. So I invited them too, drew out a map and they showed up the next day too.

I am like that as well. If you invite me to come dine, chances are 99.9% that I will say yes and show up too.

The surprise turned out to be live entertainment, in the form of some of my other fabulous friends were visiting on island.  One happened to be retired  from a famous band and he had agreed to come play as a "surprise" for the guests.

Indeed they were surprised and delighted. We had a load of fun!

I love America, but this business of woofing down your food in 3 minutes or less, while driving your car and texting on your cell phone at the same time,  is just not my style at all. I don't even like fast food joints. First of all, if you want to have lots of diseases and health problems, then by all means eat at the fast food joints as much as possible. It supports the health care system, which isn't very caring at all. Your doctor is getting huge kickbacks for  prescribing designer drugs. Commercials and advertisements encourage you to run to the doctor begging for drugs.

OK, let me get off my high horse and step down to my soap box...

But in America, it's different I guess. Many people seem very indifferent about food invitations.

I planned on a quiet weekend, since I couldn't get a "yes" out of anybody. I didn't go shopping, I didn't clean up, I didn't expect any company.

Binga banga boom. Here they are!

I told them I was THRILLED they came to visit, but uh, um, since I didn't realize they were coming, I hadn't prepared a thing, had not gone shopping and was totally disorganized, but if they gave me a few minutes, I could throw something together.

Luckily, they were feeling very flexible, so we loaded up the dogs, hopped in their car and went grocery shopping. This is no small feat, since the closest grocery store is 9 miles of country roads away. But it's a real pretty ride until the last half mile.

Harley was thrilled to ride in their car with their doggy, though he hung his head and half his tiny body out the window while I held onto his harness.  He is clueless how easy it would be for the wind to suck him right out and he would become the next little greasy spot on the road.

We came back, threw charcoal on the grill, then cooked up a mess of food. Normally I would have dragged them on foot all over the day use park where I workamp, but since one of the visitors can't walk so well, so far, we settled on a couple of rowdy games of Scrabble which they brought with them and  loaned me for the summer. They also brought their big recliner outdoor chair for me  to "borrow" for the summer too. Yippie!

One thing I did that was "new" to them. I was able to buy corn on the cob still in the husk. I ran it under cold water, then placed it on the grill (in the husk) while the coals were heating up for cooking. The corn stayed on the grill until just before everything else was done. Then I sliced off the ends, peeled off the husks, cut each ear into thirds, then drenched it all in real butter.  I grew up on margarine, why I have NO idea. We never had real butter at all. We were lead to believe that margarine was king. But it's not. In my book, it's evil.  Nothing compares to real butter. When I discovered real butter as an adult, I have refused to buy margarine ever since.

Matter of fact, when I first arrived in the Caribbean, NOBODY sold margarine anywhere at all. I once asked for it and someone said "What is margarine?"  I said "It's fake butter."  Someone else said "Eww!  Why would anybody want fake butter?"

In reality, a little REAL butter goes a long ways. Margarine tastes so flimsy, you need a pile of the stuff just to get any flavor. So why bother?  Furthermore, modern studies have shown that it's far healthier to enjoy real butter than margarine. Yet incredibly, the stores in America are stocked with loads of exotic margarines and just a small pile of butter. It's mind boggling. But then again, I am appalled that most of the grocery stores seem to devote aisle after aisle of junk foods, with the healthy foods taking up a tiny little space called "produce".

OK, I have really got to get off my soap box. 

That was the most fabulous tasting corn ever. Something about cooking it IN the husk really gives it great flavor. I've done this in the microwave too. Cook the corn in the husk, in the microwave, then peel it. The taste is absolutely awesome.

We cooked a mountain of food, so much that their dog and mine were overfed too. Nobody had room left over for the watermelon, so I chopped it up, placing it into big ziplock baggies and everybody took some home, plus of course I kept some. But as you fellow RV-ers know, RV refrigerators are smaller than most house fridges. No way I could fit the entire watermelon into my refrigerator anyhow. Well, I could have if I peeled it completely and chopped it all at once. But that would have been more watermelon that I could eat, though I must say, the stuff is addicting.

Well, I have learned my lesson.   Next time  I issue food  invitations, it will read:

Please RSVP:

2-No way
4-Don't know
5-Keep guessing

Monday, May 28, 2012

Then and Now, Storms and Wars

Last year this was my workamping spot from April 1st through October 1st, 2011.  It's also where I just returned to recently.  Déjà vu.

In last year's picture,  I have set up my patio mat, 3 chairs and a table. The picnic table has old rugs on the benches and a too-short table cloth. The rugs had lost their rubber backing, but I recycled them into picnic bench covers. Eventually I managed to accidentally melt a good bit of the table cloth while ironing curtains and pillows I was sewing up for the interior of the motorhome.  Oops. No good deed goes unpunished.

Of the two red chairs shown, one was destroyed.  The 2nd one will end it's life with this workamping assignment, if the chair even lasts that long.   A sudden storm blew in around July 2011, shredding parts of the awning, tearing a hole in the roof, and mangling the frame.  This was sad, as I had spent months traveling around assembling used parts for the frame that was destroyed in a deluge the previous year in June 2010. That 17 year old awning has been through several disasters.  Some things just don't last forever.

Here is a picture taken this year, a year after the above picture.

Now, a year later,  I use the old awning material for a jumbo picnic table cloth. It's hard to tell, but that is an 8 foot 8 ton picnic table in this picture. It took me a week to move it about 100 feet to where it is now in this picture.  

The director's chair in back, split open Easter 2012. I had just made a new back for it when the seat split. I haven't had time to repair it, but meanwhile I put some boards on the seat part, converting it to a  side table on the patio for crock pot cooking. The old melted vinyl table cloth  has been recycled to keep some firewood dry. Last year I had no firewood, this year I have a  tiny stack. It cooled off tonight as I am writing outdoors, so I have built a fire.

It's Memorial Day weekend and I am retrospecting. Oh wait, is that a real word?   My spell heckler is already having issues with me.

Amazing how much has happened to my little old motorhome since this picture a year ago.  It took me 10 more months to get the awning material replaced, installed and the frame repaired. It's not a project one can do  alone and it required special one-use tools. The new awning fabric is because I could not find anything used affordable. Folks wanted as much for used awning material as for new. Go figure that one out.

Then the installers were going to haul off my old awning material for garbage, but I wouldn't let them. I chopped off all the bad parts, to recycle the rest of it as a picnic table cloth. One of these days I will finish hemming it.

Looking at the old and new picture, reminds me that last summer, I was indoors trying to fix plumbing woes, as my propane hot water stopped working. My friend and I installed an electric hybrid kit. It didn't work either. Finally I got the propane working again. Weeks later, replacement parts arrived, I struggled to get the old ones out, the new ones in. Now the hot water worked both on propane and electric. But the kitchen faucet stopped putting out hot water a few days later. I could have it every where but the faucet where I needed it the most. It became a mystery that took me months to resolve and I don't even remember what trick I did that finally fixed it.

The next big rain after the storm took out the old awning again in July 2011, sent me scurrying 120 miles for urgent roof repairs, as apparently a hole was knocked in the roof and I didn't even know it until weeks later when it rained all over my bed. I couldn't do the work myself at the time and it was urgent I get it done.

Then the air conditioning died on a super hot day last summer. No shade awning and no A/C with 100F degree temps. It took me almost a week to find someone willing to repair it versus replace it at great cost.  I drove 200  miles round trip to meet a repairman who actually repaired it with used parts. Meanwhile I was sleeping fitfully under a fan that teased me with motor noise but no air movement.

The AC repairmen didn't install the unit correctly but I had no way of knowing this. I drove home.  The next night it started randomly peeing all over the floor inside the motorhome.  I found this out because  I slipped on the wet floor in the dark,  twisting my ankle.  I wasn't able to drive back the 200 miles to have him fix it again. So he put it off a few weeks, but he finally drove up here to find out the seal wasn't put back right or some such nonsense, but he did fix it.  No more leaks from the AC, but thankfully the weather began to cool back off a few weeks later.

In October 2011 I woke up during a storm on Hunting Island to discover a tree branch had moved inside my kitchen ceiling. Another emergency roof repair.

I thought moving off boats at sea and into a motorhome on land, would make my life substantially drier. What was I thinking?

Apparently staying dry on land is just as hard as it was at sea.

Who'd a thunk it?

March 2012 the front window over the bunk sprung a leak. Amazing since I had caulked it three or four  times in the past year alone. Drastic measures sprung to mind. It was repaired by me and a friend with copious amounts of wide sticky roof tape. So much that we ran out.  Not only did we seal up the window frame, we began adding roof tape on seams that weren't even leaking,  until we ran out. I haven't had the time and energy to finish the project. But currently, I have no leaks anywhere. Thank goodness for small favors. Eventually it will be finished. Some things take time and money. I run out of time so often. Money appears erratically, sometimes not at all, so planning ahead is a hilarious exercise in fun and  futility.

In the fall of 2011, the engine became really needy in a heartbeat, so off to the Lavonia Ford dealer for repairs and maintenance. Nothing was working right, but an electronic sensor fixed the majority of the problems. Thank goodness, as overnight it seemed my engine was going through massive failure. The mechanics comically discovered my engine had also become a storage stash for some curious squirrels who managed to stuff thousands of acorns in every nook and cranny of my engine and undercarriage. I am still finding acorns in my engine area, ten months later.

When I drive, I hear them dislodging, bouncing around the engine then flying out and down the road. They are in the bumpers, more tumbled out of a headlight when it was replaced. They just keep appearing.

If you come across a trail of acorns, they will lead you right to me.

I think the squirrels where ever I go just keep adding more acorns to keep me amused, confused and bemused.

Because I had no shade awning  for months, I bought a free standing canopy I call the gazebo since it is 6 sided.  It was super cheap compared to the final cost of eventually repairing the RV awning on a tiny budget. I am still using the gazebo  10 months later, but despite my best care, it is full of more holes I need to patch and most of the frame is busted but usable. I had hoped it would last 2 years. Dream on.

Most of the damage was done during a storm last winter. I left it set up where I was workamping in Florida at the time,  to go to the doctor 50 miles away. I was too sick to come back for over a week. When I returned, the storm had beat my gazebo up a good bit but my chairs, table and other stuff under it had more or less survived. I had it tied down but the canopy apparently flailed itself against the frame without benefit of chafing gear.

There are also severe manufacturing flaws. The frame and canopy are simply destined to fail, sad to say. A sad mix of flimsy plastic and sturdy metal. The plastic used is far weaker than the metal, so the metal breaks the plastic fittings. So between the flaws and the storm, it's held together now with patches, duct tape, string, wire, Velcro strips and a whole lot of prayers. It's still a work in progress as I have more repairs to effect on it.   But that is the nature of the beast.

Life is just one repair after another.

I don't mind.

I am so super duper lucky to be alive a year later! YAY!

That is a modern day miracle for sure!  I can't believe how hard I have fought for my life the past two years, yet managed to somehow hold myself and my old wheel estate together. It's amazing I ever get anything else done at all.

My health issues have been like spending two years trying to climb a mountain without getting much above sea level. When all is said and done I am still  alive, talking about the adventure of trying.

I am just hoping my pile of recycled things can hold up until the fall, as I am probably going to be workamping here until it gets too cold to stay.  I have engine woes to fix at the moment and a long list of repairs to be done. It's never ending. I am so confused where to start first.  One day it will more or less fall into place. Most of it requires some money first. Ha ha ha.

Like recently the transmission fluid threw up in the middle of nowhere. Another mystery to sort out at some point when and if the money appears.

Framily, fans, friends, readers, subscribers, and angels have helped me out tremendously the past two years of rugged battle.  The RV woes have been the easy part. Trying to get my body to recuperate has been my own private hellish war.

But amazingly many gifties have come my way both new and used thanks the generosity of so many helping hands from so many angels.

Medically things are temporarily stabilized.  I keep praying so much for a miracle, that God may answer my pleas just to get me to shut up already.

I am still alive and making noise about it too.

I am back in the same workamping spot this summer. But thanks to miracles and gifties from uber wonderful generous angels, life has amazingly continued, one day at a time, and well I woke up alive today, what a fabulous gift.

The RV has weathered storms and disrepair. My body survived it's own hellish war.

Funny how that worked out.

I am astonished.

It's just fantastically wonderful to wake up alive today, with a funny little dog and lots of work to be done.

Peace be with you all!  Waking up alive is the greatest gift of all. I am absolutely thrilled!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Round the Camp Fire

I could post pictures of my silly dog all day long. He is such a character at times. He loves to show off when people come to visit. 

puppy dog by Dear Miss Mermaid  at
Other times he like to show his butt off...

A curious old man stopped by.  He tells some tall tales. I'm not sure which ones to believe. Meanwhile Harley was cutting up, dragging out his toys, tossing them around, dancing, trying to engage the man in a game. 

Five or ten minutes later the man is suddenly talking about sex. 

Excuse me?    Did I hear that right?  

I didn't say that out loud, but my brain heard the screeching sound of brakes being slammed on, for sure. 

One minute he is stopping by for lake maps and telling me tall tales, the next he is bringing up sex as if I am the wife of the past 50 years. I picked my jaw up off the ground, honestly the conversation went from RV's to sex in a nanosecond. I told him I had things to do, jumped up and started doing things around the patio.  He took the hint and left. 

Dealing with the public has its moments!

Oddly enough, folks keep asking me if I have a gun. I find that a very strange question and to me, it seems rather intimate. 

Do I just naturally give off that aura of "Come discuss sex and guns with me?"

I must take a long hard look in the mirror. Maybe I am projecting the wrong image. 

Is it the cowboy boots?  

Guns are heavily regulated, so it's a trick question all around. But a strange one, or it seems very odd to me.  

When the last person asked me about my gun ownership, I told them I had enough fire power to take out Goldilocks and the three bears with enough leftover to tackle Big Foot, a few hogs, and some deer. 

Yep, I learned a thing or two last winter working in the hunting preserve. 

That person chose to leave in a hurry. I have not seen them since.  Was it something I said?  Was it my camouflaged shirt?

Something about working at the hunting area last winter, made me attracted to camouflaged clothing. I think I was brainwashed by the parade of hunters I met daily.

After Christmas, several  hunters were sporting new camo gear. I commented on a guy's new jacket and he was really proud of it saying it was the best Christmas gift ever. 

Wasps got inside the motorhome!  I guess they are seeking revenge on me. I've been really down and out since getting stung by that nasty vicious one outside. That wasp really stuck it to me, literally. 

I've been running around the motorhome with my fly swatter, leaving a trail of tiny dead bodies. Yuck yuck yuck!  I have foam wasp killer too that I've used outside. I hate killing things, but that sting really made me grumpy. 

I was visiting friends recently when I noticed they had wasp nests on the side of their house. I whipped out my foaming wasp killer can, annihilating the nests in rapid order. My friend duly impressed said "Well... you really come prepared for anything."

I thought this was a big holiday weekend, I expected the boat launch to be nonstop busy, but only one person has launched their boat so far and it's already past 10am. 

Maybe they're scared of the fruitcake on the hill with all the guns. The one in the camouflaged gear wearing cowboy boots. 

Which, this small town has gossip galore!  Someone else stopped by to see if I had brochures from the hunting area I workamped at last winter. Amazingly, I did and gave them away. Talk about a full service information booth.

Harley and I are going for a short walk. Let's see if I can get my stamina back up and moving along again.

campfire by dear miss mermaid at

It cooled off enough for a camp fire recently. What fun!  I love playing pyromaniac. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

In Celebration of Harley

May 25th makes two years since this little starving hitchiker weerily climbed aboard  my wheel estate. At five months old, he was underweight, was severely malnourished and seemingly terrified of everything. He wasn't used to eating much, so feeding him was perplexing.  He looked sad and tired  the first week with energy as exciting as a sleepy turtle. 

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
Two months later, Harley was so cute with both ears down. He loved his little cat bed for sitting and watching me.

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
He was about 10 months old when we rode in a friend's car.  I held his harness and leash  while he hung his head out the window.

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
At Hunting Island State Park he played on the beach at 11 months old. 

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com

Just before his first birthday, he suddenly sprouted so much fur, he looked like the Wolf Man. 

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
That is a circular frisbee type toy he has managed to stick around his body. I threw it outside for him to catch, he came back inside wearing it like this.  He makes me laugh every day.

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
Sound asleep in my favorite afghan. We fight over this afghan in  bed, because we both want to cuddle up with it.

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
Harley dons his rain gear in anticipation of a walk in the rain. The pink sheet was snatched off the clothes line outside just as  the rains hit. Before I could fold it up proper, a certain doggy made his bed in it.

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
One day he just sat up like this in the chair. He is looking at my friend who is sitting in the other chair like this. It was funny.

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
Harley says "I thought you said I was going to the vet to be TUTORED! I seem to be missing a few things down here!"

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
Beach dude.

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
The many faces of Harley...

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
Come real close and I'll kiss you!

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
Harley loves big toys.

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
He hangs his head out the RV window, watching me plug in the electricity.

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
The first time the wind kicked up a pile of dead leaves, he ran off terrified!  His fur is gray on top of his head in this picture. He had a head injury when something spooked him and he slammed his head on the metal step.  He cried for an hour while I tried to console him.   The fur on top of his head turned gray for a few months.

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
If he thinks I am not walking him fast enough, he hops on his back legs like a kangaroo.

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
He was so skinny for so long, it was very hard to fatten him up. Look how short his legs were. His body was so tiny under all that fluff. We had returned from playing outdoors and he was seriously wore out. 

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
This picture is before his right ear popped up permanently.  He loves big stuffed toys. Eventually he ripped this one to pieces.  He still plays with a tiny blue fur remnant.

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
Now his body has filled out like a cute little doggy. He is sleeping by me while I type. 

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com
His first sweater was made out of my black sock.  He was thrilled to wear it. 

Puppy Dog Harley by DearMissMermaid.Com

Old Grumpy

This 2012 Renegade motorhome is being advertised as a Class C for only (drum  roll...) $361,515.00

I had no idea they could make a Class C soooooo pricey. It does come with a fireplace and a diesel engine. Incredibly, it only sports a tiny 2 burner stove top with no oven. For that kind of money, I would expect a gourmet galley for sure yet this one just came with a modest one sink. Even my tiny old wheel estate (a 1994 28' Class C) came with 2 sinks and a 3 burner stove with oven and broiler. 

After looking over the interior pictures, I was pretty let down. The interior designer had all their taste in their mouth... It comes with ho hum beige upholstery, brown maple cabinets and a ridiculously bright orange bed spread is the only thing of color inside, despite the jazzy red and white exterior. Even the maple cabinets look a bit cheesy, like the wrong wood was used or the wrong stain for that type of wood. Can't put my finger on it, but for the price, I would have expected the interior to be eye pleasing candy. It includes  3 jumbo TV's, 2 inside and 1 outside, all 32 inch.  I guess that was their main focus. 

Travel to exotic places and watch TV. Oh boy!  

Well, this is not on my wish list. I stumbled into it, looking for something else. 


This wasp sting has been downright aggravating. The after effects are worse than the sting itself. I was hoping by drinking a gallon + of water all day, that the poison would move along faster.  I've just been terribly weak and very sick  for days now.  Nothing much is getting done at all. I feel extremely frustrated.

The motorhome was scheduled to go to the mechanics Wednesday,  but I was too sick to go. The driving doesn't take long, but I have to hang out at their repair facility  all day while they do the work. I have to "move out" for the day with Harley. They do have an indoor waiting room, but there is nothing else in walking distance. Since I will probably be there all day, I need to bag my lunch, pack up the computer and dog stuff.

Last time I was there,  the TV in the waiting room was turned up super loud,  blaring the news nonstop making it difficult for me to think. I don't like TV news at all. I don't trust it one bit, it's designed to make us depressed and scared. What good is that?  Having it "force fed" just made me feel trapped and anxious. I kept going outside with Harley, but it was an oh so hot and humid day. (This was last fall when I was at this repair place.)

One of the employees suggested I could let Harley off his leash, since we were indoors. Ha ha ha. Were they ever sorry. Harley followed her around meeting and greeting everyone along the way. He wanted to tour everyone's office and flirt outrageously. I had to leash Harley back up again, as absolutely no one was getting any work done at all but he did fill the building with laughter. I ended up playing with him and walking him, though their parking lot is hot enough to grill on, there is a small field surrounding it and some limited landscaping but no shade or trees around.

Back inside, the waiting room emptied out briefly, so I ran over to turn the TV volume very low, then I turned it off.  The next person to turn it back on, was kind enough to leave it set on the low volume. The next problem being that Harley is accustomed to sitting on furniture in the wheel estate and in chairs on the patio when camping. So he naturally sat on the furniture in their waiting room. I kept trying to get him to lay in the floor. I had brought his puppy blanket to lay on the floor but he wasn't interested and kept sitting in a chair next to me. Finally I lifted him out of his seat, spread his clean blanket out on the seat, then sat him back down.

He then ruffled it up into a ball, laid on that, then drifted off to sleep, half on the blanket, half on the chair. 

I feel a little silly, moving out of the wheel estate with doggy, blanket, dog bowl, bag lunch, water glass, computer, cords, plugs, phone. Most people waiting around just stare at the TV but they aren't there all day, they just seemed to be waiting for an oil change. I'm just not a TV person unless I am sick. Then it's the idiot box to keep me company because I am too sick to complain about it.

Anyhow, I never made it in there today to see about repairs. I am not sure I can afford the repairs, but I do need to see what's going on with my transmission that spit out fluid in the middle of nowhere two weeks ago.  I just didn't feel like hanging around their waiting room all day, feeling so sickly.

So, Harley dog and I kept going back to bed, resting up. Every joint in my body aches.  I need to stick really close to the restroom. All this from a wasp sting?  YUCK!

The wildflowers I planted around the place where I workamp have little green half inch shoots growing. That is exciting, at least for me. I smile at them, willing them to grow more. I can't wait to see the beautiful colors.

I did mange to take Harley on a few very short walks. I feel like I am cheating him. He really annoyed me by throwing his tennis balls down the hill then crying hysterically. Dogs have a one track mind. Trying to change his focus to something else isn't working. Maybe I am just grumpy from all the pain and exhaustion. Walking up and down hills fetching tennis balls for a naughty puppy just wasn't making me happy at this point.

I so wish he could understand about "down hill" and stop throwing his tennis balls down it. Oh man, I do sound grumpy don't I?

The other annoying problem, besides running back and forth to the bathroom,  is I keep getting c-c-c-cold. I even tried to build a fire outside this afternoon in spite of the 74F temperature. Soon as I got a roaring fire going, the rains came and reduced it to smoke only. Now it's 4am and my indoor thermometer says 72F and the outdoor one says 63F and I am c-c-c-cold.   Of course it's 4am and I have been up since 230am.

Maybe I will go lay under the covers and try to warm up again. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Random Throws

Hello from Gumlog, Georgia

The heavens just opened up with thunder rumbling, mumbling, grumbling.  Little Harley dog looks so unhappy.  He hates the rain. Poor doggy.


On a fun note, this weekend we had our information booth set up outside on the patio that came with the camping lot where I workamp. A friend of mine I had not seen in ages, drove down to visit. We were sitting outside.  A man in a golf cart stopped by with questions. I invited him to sit a spell.  Harley was flirting with him because he just loves golf carts. Eventually while the adults were chatting, Harley went over to play in the golf cart. He got in the floorboard carrying his tennis ball. Then he tried out the front seats, settling on the driver's seat.

We are on a hill.  Harley has thrown his tennis ball down the hill many times. Then he cries like a baby because his tethering system won't allow him to run free.  Typically it rolls down the driveway, across the road, down the long length of the sloped boat trailer parking lot, then sometimes it rests on the grassy lot to the side of  that and other times it simply lands in the lake, never to be seen again.  Harley can cry like a baby until I leash him up to go for a walk to find his tennis ball or golf ball or whatever he has lost next.

Today, I was laughing, telling the golf cart owner how much Harley loves golf carts. See?  He has moved right in, tennis ball and all. About that time, as if on cue, Harley threw his tennis ball down the hill. His tether wouldn't reach beyond the golf cart, so he sat there in the front seat,  crying like a hungry baby. This prompted the owner to hop in the cart to zip down the hill for the tennis ball, which was incredibly nice of him.

But Harley didn't get to ride. I know that's what he really wanted, was a ride in the golf cart. But when the man came back with his tennis ball he was ecstatic. He wanted to play fetch next and show off his tricks. He is such a clown to have around, he makes me laugh.

When I have company, Harley likes to sit in a chair  and visit with us too.

Does he know he is a dog?  When should I tell him?  Do you think he will be devastated when he finds out he is adopted?


Living on boats and far flung islands, one learns a good bit of creative recycling. Years back, I was in an apartment on a tiny island that had screens over some of the windows. One day a big gust of wind blew in so stiff, that it knocked the screens right out of the windows. The little plastic doodahs that held the screen in place, simply broke off. They were now useless. No way to hang the screens back up. Local hardware stores were a joke and not local at all. The closest one was about an hour away and not likely to have anything near as handy as screen clips.

Another sailor was visiting me. We scratched our heads, then he dug in the garbage, finding some beer caps he had discarded. He  knocked a hole in each cap, then used the retaining screws that had previously held the plastic doodahs to attach the beer bottle caps.  Now  the window screens were back in place. We laughed about our ingenuity.

Once in awhile someone would ask me why beer bottle caps were on my window frames. Others would look it over, then claim they were going home to fix their screens with bottle caps  too.  The caps worked so well, they were still holding the screens in place when I moved out years later.


A wasp stung me the other day. I flushed my hand with copious amount of water. I thought since nothing bad happened in the next hour I was fine. Well late in the night, when I became ill,  I found out through internet research that wasp stings can have lots of yucky effects:

Systemic symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea due to mast cell activation in the GI tract. Coughing, dyspnea, and wheezing can occur after mast cell activation in the airway.

 It was a scary night, but *WHEW* I survived.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Boondocking Part One

There are many ways to creatively boondock.  Boondocking is camping in your RV fully self contained without paying camping fees. It can also be living off the grid with smaller fees, as some parks charge an entrance fee or a fee or permit for dispersed camping. 

One way is to drive  by night and park by day at picnic areas in public parks. Many are owned by cities, counties, states and the federal government. Most are stunningly beautiful. 

Nobody questions a parked RV during the day, it's only at night time they come under close scrutiny when boondocking. Many picnic areas are free and you can typically  stay there from the time the park opens until it closes. These types of parks generally don't have camping, but parking at the picnic area all day into the evening is no problem. 

Many day use parks close very late in the summer like 9-10-11pm. One can stay until closing, then hit the road late at night.  If you stick to the 24 hour places, you can generally do your provisioning at night too, such as buy gas and food. 

If you need to stay in one area for a few days to rest up, then try to locate a day use park and a night time boondocking close together. For instance spend the night at Walmart (if allowed) then at daybreak move to the park until it closes, then back to Walmart or somewhere else in the area such as a Flying J. 

You can download the Flying J guide that tells you which ones have RV parking. 

Also consider joining the WalMart RV-ing yahoo group:

This group is the positive voice of WalMart Rving. We are the original WalMart RVing group. The purpose of this group is to discuss overnight parking of RV's at Wal-mart, K-Mart, Flying J, Travel Centers of America, Camping World, Union76 Truck Stops, Love's, Pilot Travel Centers, AmBest Truck Stops, casinos, and similar hosts that allow free overnight RV parking.  We promote a voluntary standard of conduct for RV Parking, as opposed to RV Camping. 

Having a solar panel can give you a lot of passive power, particularly in these days and times when modern solar panels keep charging even when in partial shade.  Mounting a wind generator can also give you power to keep the house batteries fully charged even at night, if there is any wind. You may want to make your wind generator removable so you don't increase your overhead clearance height. 

The Complete Book of Boondock RVing: Camping Off the Beaten Path RV Boondocking Basics: A Guide to Living Without Hookups
Complete Book of Boondock RVing:

Off the Beaten Path
Boondocking Basics:

Guide to Living Without Hookups
Go Power! GP-RV-80 80-Watt Solar Kit with 25 Amp Digital Regulator

Go Power! 80-Watt Solar Charger is a high efficiency polycrystalline panel
using the suns rays to create DC power to charge the batteries. Will produce some charging power in overcast weather and provide up to 4.6 Amps of charge per hour of good sunlight. averages up to 196 Amp hours per week. It includes a 25 Amps digital regulator capable of handling up to 395-Watts of solar, all mounting
hardware to mount the panel flat on the roof, 25 feet of UV resistant cable for wiring up the solar system. Contains all instructions.

Go Power! GP-RV-80 80-Watt Solar Kit with 25 Amp Digital Regulator

RV Wind Power 400 Watt 12V Wind Generator Back Up Power Water Proof

Generates continuous power day and night. Great for power failures, remote and back up power! Quiet operation from carbon fiber composite blades Woks in low wind speed Includes a Wind Generator MPPT Controller that
prevents overcharge/discharge Water proof and lightweight Tower kit
sold separately

RV Wind Power 400 Watt 12V Wind Generator Back Up Power Water Proof

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fits Like A Glove

Reading other people's blogs always gives me food for thought.

And other times... churns my stomach...

I saw a picture on a blog of a guy handling his RV sewer hoses at the dump station without any gloves on at all.  For you non-RV-ers, a dump station is where you go to empty your gray water and black water holding tanks.

Some campgrounds have sewer hookups right at your campsite but many do not. In that case RV-ers use their "holding tanks" to hold the waste water. The gray water is from the kitchen sink, bath sink and shower. The black water is from the toilet. RV's come with two holding tanks. One gray and one black. Eventually you have to go empty the holding tanks.  Not a pretty chore, but it's part of the thrill of living and traveling in wheel estate.

While many times things go fine at the dump station, when they go wrong, they usually do so with about a nanosecond to spare and  zero warning. If you aren't already wearing gloves, then things can get real icky, sticky, gooey, stinky, nasty (and did I say messy?) in a heartbeat.

At that point, there won't be time to go don gloves if you are to rescue the sewer situation (before you are permanently banned from the campground.)

You may be forced to jump into action with your bare hands. Do you really want to handle your toilet waste that way?

OK, now I am churning your stomach.  So sorry!

There are multiple choices for gloves. Leather, vinyl, neoprene, rubber, and disposable. I have an outside faucet/shower, so I make sure it is open for use before I don my gloves to handle the sewer hoses.  Typically I wear these heavy duty leather gloves, which I immediately wash afterwards with soap and water at the outside faucet.

Nothing goes wrong when you are wearing gloves. Only when you are not. 

Everyone who travels or rides in an RV should have a pair of work gloves, even if you don't do any work because the spouse or someone else does it all for you. There may come a time when you have to help, like it or not.

The one time you need that extra strength or extra protection, you will be ultra glad you had sturdy work gloves.

Have you ever been forced to break camp and depart during a deluge from the heavens?  All the umbilical cords are covered in muck, leveling boards are soaking wet and everything sticks to them. Outdoor patio mats, while often self-draining will act like a magnet attracting everything within 30 yards.

I've seen people cursing in the rain, as they tried to break camp during a downpour with no gloves. Sometimes schedules are such that you can't wait for a prettier day or the camp spot is already rented and you have to be off of it in time.  Or your name is mud. 

Leather gloves can give you surprising strength to tighten or loosen things.

I must be a glove-o-holic. I have thick leather work gloves and sleek spandex gloves with leather soles that Velcro snugly around the wrists.  Matter of fact these were labeled as mechanics gloves when I bought them on sale deeply discounted. They were the perfect choice for standing on a step stool to reach into the bowels of my hot engine to check the transmission fluid without getting my hands burnt. I also have heavy rubber gloves, disposable gloves and some vinyl type snow gloves someone gave me that are actually pretty good in a pinch for handling wet things.

Also, when I have company traveling with me, this means I have extra pairs of gloves for them to wear should they volunteer to help me with the donkey work.

When the macho  types tell me they don't need any gloves, I just smile and whisper under my breath "You'll be sorry one day!"

That is typically when things will go wrong. When you or them is glove-less.

Matter of fact, I did burn my hand. I tried to check the transmission fluid without gloves. I felt like a pure idiot because I knew better but I was in a hurry. So the next time, I wore gloves. I didn't get burned.

Recently I drove to the Lavonia Georgia Ford dealer to discuss my vehicle mysteries. (Nothing is fixed yet, seems they require money for that type of work!)  But I figured I would drop by anyhow, since I had to go to the nearby grocery store.

Upon my return to my camping area, it was nice and sunny.  I hopped out of the driver's seat, opened up the electric compartment, pulled out my electric cord and plugged  it into the utility box that is on a post at my workamping site.

No gloves.

Dry hose, sunny day, what could possibly go wrong?

Am I hard headed or what?  Sheesh...  My mother must be in heaven just rolling her eyes at my gaffe.  

Um, gaffe is about to be plural...

I opened the electrical box. I did not know that a big wasp nest was hiding in the cover, in such a place that one would never see it, unless one were laying down on the ground, looking up at the top of the underside of the outer cover.

An angry wasp flew out, stinging me on my hand. My glove-less hand! My burnt glove-less hand!  I screamed so loud I am sure they heard me four counties over. I used about a hundred gallons of water trying to wash away the poison, but I have been feeling poorly ever since.  That wasp sting really did a number on me with numerous unpleasant side effects, worse than handling a broken sewer hose.

Shame on me.  That's twice I screwed up by not wearing gloves.

Buy gloves. Wear gloves. Don't be hard headed like me.

Custom Leathercraft 125M Handyman Flex Grip Work Gloves, Medium
G & F 2002 Grain Pigskin Leather work gloves, Premium Washable leather, Size Large. (Value Pack: 3 pairs)
Mechanix Wear MG-72-520 Womens Glove Pink Camo Medium

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wild Wild West At The Park

This day-use park where I volunteer in Georgia as a workamper is like the wild wild west.  It will settle down soon I hope.  Last year the season started out wild and crazy, ditto for this year.

Usually the park is sedately quiet, with the occasional boater using the boat launch ramp. Other times it comes alive with eclectic visitors.

Maybe it's just a serious case of spring fever has seized the brains of otherwise law abiding citizens.  Or maybe there are just too many laws all around and folks come out to the country to sow their wild oats.

Four simple rules are posted at the park entrance but are mostly  thoroughly ignored.

15 MPH Speed Limit
No Alcohol 
Pets Must Be Leashed
Park in Designated Areas

Seems like folks are always trying to figure out how to get their vehicles off the road and into the woods as if the lake is just not near as nice unless they can have their vehicle parked up front,  blocking their view.

A scant few people take advantage of our scenic picnic areas. 

Harley and I were chased by an unfriendly loose brown and black pitbull that was rather frightening. Luckily we were almost home.  We had to run hide inside the wheel estate to avoid being attacked. Incredibly this family had brought their dogs to the park without leashes. The parents ignored my yells for them to come get their dog, instead dispatching their little kid who appeared to be 8 or 9  to come get the pitbull while they stood about 800 feet away staring at the lake pretending not to notice the commotion.

Somebody left behind two unlabeled 5 gallon square vats of a golden liquid at the far parking lot where the scenic picnic tables are.  I found the identical generic containers on the internet selling for $15 each empty. I was poking around the internet to determine what exotic liquids might be inside, since there were no labels. No telling what the liquid is but some body spent $30 on just the containers, filled them with something, then drove out here to the boonies just to bring us that treat. They were thoughtful enough to put them inside one of the garbage cans.

But isn't that just weird? What's in the containers that they drove all this way just to dispose of them?

The folks that left behind the overloaded baby diaper 10 feet from the garbage can were not so thoughtful. (These idiots are raising the next generation?)

I found the strange vats because the Budweiser brats are back. They  cruise the park tossing out Budweiser beer cans along the side of the park road, despite our dozens of trash cans. They also smashed a few Budweiser bottles in the parking lot. I had picked up all their cans, to throw away when I found the two strange 5 gallon containers hogging  the garbage can.

This park is at the dead end of a very curvy 2.5 mile country road that makes a hard 90 degree turn then dead ends at the scenic picnic area. The closest town is nearly 10 miles away. People come flying down here at 60 miles an hour, right  past the 15mph signs, taking that hard turn with screeching tires.  I hear them turn around at the picnic area, then I watch them race back out at 70mph. Loads of folks cruise through here swerving down the park road while talking or texting on their phones. That must be the in-thing to do these days, ride around remote countryside texting or talking while frantically driving like they are racing to a fire. 

On a funny note, the volunteer fire department drives down here once a week.   You can tell when the new recruits are learning to drive the trucks. They loudly grind the gears while bunny hopping with the clutch.

While walking, several times in the short 2 weeks I have been here,  Harley and I have had to leap into the woods because of distracted drivers that were playing with their phones and running off the road towards us.  I figure we'll have another fender bender any day now when a tree jumps out in front of them.

A boy and girl came roaring down here on an ATV. They took the 90 degree right angle turn so fast, the ATV leaned  up on 2 wheels, almost laying down on its side,  for what seemed like 3 minutes, it looked like they were going to flip over then roll down the sloping boat parking lot landing on their silly heads.The ATV had no roll-bars. The boy was laughing loudly but the girl was screaming hysterically so the folks two states away could hear her. I'm just grateful the ATV righted itself, like a giant unseen hand reached down from the heavens above and saved the fools at the last split second. I don't think a Hollywood stunt driver could duplicate what these kids did. I was walking the dog about 20-30 feet away at the time.  I am sure my jaw fell to my knees while I was fumbling for my cell phone thinking we were going to need an ambulance (or a shovel and a hearse.)

Garbage and cleaning aren't on my official park duties, but I am often seen retrieving crap out of the bushes. There is a maintenance crew that drops in daily to clean the restrooms and pickup the garbage from the cans liberally scattered throughout the park. But during the day and night, there is more roadside garbage  thrown out windows of speeding park visitors. I try to pick it all up as I walk the dog but it's frustrating. Last year I was hit by a flying soda can thrown from a speeding car.

I want the park to be beautiful without all this rubbish cluttering up nature.  I surely don't understand the mentality of visiting an exquisite remote public park just to toss garbage out the car windows. I found McDonald's litter today in the middle of the park road,  yet the closest McDonald's is 14 miles away. It's mind boggling!  Are the raccoons getting take-out from McDonald's?  

The fist night of the fishing tourney, not a single soul remembered to pay their boat launching  fees in the honor box  which is referred to as the iron ranger.  Only one had an annual exemption permit displayed.

Oh and the lovers. We get more lovers than swimmers, picnickers or boaters. Sometimes I think half the county must be having clandestine love  affairs out here.  It's rather comical when you think about it. Some of things Harley and I see on our walks is not G-rated at all.  I leave this up to your imagination, so as not to offend any readers. 

Spring fever must be in the air and folks are just plain wild and crazy lately.

Even my dog acts goofy some days. Small wonder that rumors abound of a monkey in the park.