Rivers Edge II

Rivers Edge II

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Georgia Mountain Fair

 

Blairsville, Georgia –Rivers Edge Rv Park  (high 89, low 69)

 

The high is predicted to be 89 degrees today, but thankfully tomorrow it will cool down again.

We had such a fun and different day on Friday.  We went to nearby Hiawassee, for the Georgia Mountain Fair.  It certainly wasn’t like the state fair or Strawberry Festival we have in the Tampa area.  It was what a fair should be.  Less commercial and more history.

Parking was free, which is unheard of in Florida.  The entrance fee was $12 a person, but that included entrance into the concerts.  The fair lasted a week and they had different entertainment every day.  When we heard country singer John Berry was playing, we decided to go. 

He had several hit albums in the 90’s.  My favorite song he did was “Your Love Amazes Me.”   He also sang “Kiss me in the Car” and “She’s Got a Mind of her Own.”

We started off walking around the grounds. There were craftsmen selling their wares in little buildings.  No junky flea market things, just beautiful handcrafted items.  One couple sold wood carvings.  He did the carving and she did the painting.  She was working on painting a beautiful loon.  I thought of Sherry and her love of loons.  I have never seen one but it turns out that there are loons nearby, so I guess I’ll finally get to see one.  I would have loved to have bought the loon she was painting.  The detail work was amazing.

There were also some interesting displays.  We particularly liked the one of the boy splitting wood.  It was interesting to see how it was done and how thin and straight he could split them.

wood splitting

This guy was demonstrating how they grind corn, husk and all to make feed for livestock.

corn grinding for feed

The fairgrounds is on a large lake and they had a working grist mill set up.

IMG_6317

The next picture is a box showing the 4 stages of corn. The first compartment was corn kernels. After the first grinding, the flour becomes grits, then corn meal, then  corn flour.  You could actually touch it at each stage.  I found it interesting and learned something new.

corn- grits, corn meal, flour

We also toured an old homestead.  Terry and Ralph were with us.

IMG_6296

There was a huge building full of every sort of old machine you could imagine, and many I could have never imagined.

Al knew just what this was from his days on his grandparents farm in Jamestown, North Dakota. 

Here he is in front of a manure spreader. 

manure spreader

Check out this old wheel chair.  Notice how it can be reclined?

wheelchair

Anybody care to guess what this was used for?   No, it was not for torture, but it might as well have been.

IMG_6319

It’s your first electric curling iron!  

It was fun looking at all these old machines.  If we had known there was so many interesting things to see, we would have started earlier, but we had to cut it short to make the concerts.

IMG_6309

We weren’t really sure how the concert worked.  Would there be enough seats for everybody?  Should we get there early to make sure we had a good seat?

The first show started at 2 pm with the house band. The building was air conditioned and rows of padded bench seats.  We got there just after 2 pm and found plenty of available seating.  There were folding chairs up front with about half of them available.   We wondered if those were reserved seats, but found out later they were available because they were hard.

The house band was very good and we enjoyed them but we really, really enjoyed John Berry.

We ran into 6 other people we knew from Rivers Edge….what a surprise that was.

We had really good seats.

IMG_6336

Of course with my zoom on my camera, I got some really close up shots.

IMG_6342

He played with the band for a while, then sang by himself. He has an amazing voice.

Then he talked and told stories for awhile.  We learned that his wife was in the band.

IMG_6338

One  son was the drummer in the band, and the other one is trying to get a record deal and sang a song for us.

John is on his way to Nashville because he just got a new record deal.  We’ll be watching for that.

He put on a great show, with a nice combination of music and stories.  He did an encore song that brought everyone to their feet.  It was the Percy Sledge song, “When a Man loves a Woman.”  Wow.  That man can sing and hold a note! 

We thoroughly enjoyed the concert and left feeling we knew him.

I posted something about the concert on Facebook and he actually saw it and “liked” it.  I thought that was pretty cool.

 

After the concert, we strolled around the fairgrounds for a few more hours.

Alpaca farming is pretty popular around here and we met these two beauties.

IMG_6373

Check out those lips.

IMG_6378

This guy looks like he had been on a binge.

IMG_6377

When we left, we discovered they have a nice campground with some beautiful lakefront sites.

IMG_6384

They were nice full hook-up sites but were a bit narrow with not much margin for error.

IMG_6387 

We’ve been keeping busy around here.  Our friends Terry and Ralph will be leaving soon.  They like it here and are considering buying a lot, so maybe we’ll end up being neighbors.

We’ve been “bear hunting” every night, but so far no one has spotted the bear. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dead Squirrel Hill

 

Blairsville, GA (high 79, low 63)

 

It’s much cooler here than it was in Tampa so the weather has been perfect for bike riding.  However, these hills will about kill you!   We can only ride about a mile around the park before we come across some pretty steep hills.    There is one hill that I finally conquered.  I call it Dead squirrel hill because on my first attempt to get over the hill, I struggled and gasped and struggled until I could go no more.  I saw the fur of a poor dead squirrel on the road ahead of me and I didn’t want to stop on the poor guy, but I could go no further and ended up stopping  right over him.  There was not much squirrel left, just fur, but still….

The next time I made it past the squirrel, and yesterday, I am proud to report, I made it all the way up the hill!   Yay for me!    Of course, when you get to the top of the hill, you find there is another hill just like it!   I’ll work on that next.  :)   I’m out of shape, but I’m working on it.  Bill and Nancy are coming next month and I’ll bet they will breeze right up both of those hills!

There are a lot of very strenuous mountain biking trails nearby, but they are really not our thing.  Our friends Stephanie and Barry would love them, but not us! 

There are a lot of roads around that are very popular with motorcyclists.  In fact, we often hear the crotch rockets zooming around the curves, and sometimes we hear ambulances.  Some of the more athletic and brave road bicyclists ride up Blood Mountain.  You would have to be in excellent shape for that one.  We would never compete with the cars and motorcycles to ride that, even if we could!

We planned on a nice hike yesterday and after some back and forth, we decided to go to “nearby” Lake Winfield Scott Recreation area.   It was supposed to be only 9 miles south of Blairsville, so we didn’t think it would be much of a drive.  It turned out that was 9 miles as the crow flies, not highway miles.  We ended up on highway 180 and 60 to Suches, GA.  It was one of those infamous motorcycle routes and was as twisty and steep as you can get.  There were no guardrails, so you really had to watch the road.  To top it off, there was construction which held us up for a long time, then it started raining.  Wet, freshly done asphalt on a curvy mountain road made for some extra slow driving!

It took forever, but we finally got to the Lake.  It was a self pay system with 50% discount with Al’s senior pass.  By the time we got the envelope filled out and ready to walk, it started raining pretty hard.

We saw this interesting sign.  Apparently, this tube is where they put the fist to stock the lake.

IMG_6270

The lake was pretty enough, for what we saw of it from the truck.

IMG_6269

We drove around the campground.  It was heavily wooded, most sites were small and not really big rig friendly, although there were a few that would work.

After looking at the radar, we decided it wasn’t the best day for a long hike, especially since we forgot our rain jackets, so we gave up on the hiking.

Al didn’t want to drive the Suches loop back the same way we had just come, so we detoured through the city of Blue Ridge.  We made a quick stop at Mercier Orchards.  They have fresh peaches now, but we’re stocked up on peaches so we only bought some fresh bakes apple cinnamon bread.  Yum.

By the time we got home, it was happy hour, so we took a ride on the golf cart.  We considered a bike ride, but it’s hard to have happy hour on a bike!

We rode over to Rivers Edge II.  The off and on rain make for some beautiful views of the mountains.  The mountains around here are called the Blue Ridge mountains.  The Smoky Mountains are nearby, but from what I understand they are all a part of the Appalachian mountains.

Our mountains sure looked smoky yesterday, probably due to the off and on rains we had all day.

Rivers Edge II, clouds on mountain

Rivers Edge II, clouds on mountain

Rivers Edge II, clouds on mountain 

We’re staying home today and planting flowers.  Tomorrow we go see John Berry.  Remember him?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

We Struck Gold?

 

Blairsville, GA – Rivers Edge Rv Park  (high 82, low 65)

 

It looks like our sunny blue skies are back today, so I guess it’ll be warmer today.  It’s been kind of nice having cooler cloudy weather.

Yesterday was a busy day. In the morning we decided to head over to Raven Cliff Falls.  There is a nice 2 1/2 mile waterfall trail.  We hiked it last fall but yesterday we were on a mission for gold and rocks, so we didn’t to any hiking.  If you want to read about the trail, click here for the blog last fall.  The fall colors were beautiful then.

Our goal yesterday was to find a few rocks and maybe some gold nuggets.  :)

Before we left home, it rained for a few minutes, then the sun came out and we thought the rain was over.

We were wrong.  As we drove up the mountain, it got foggy and cloudy and then it started raining again.

IMG_6199

It was a light rain and fortunately, by the time we got parked, the rain stopped but it was just a little misty, which made it very cool and nice along the river.

IMG_6206

The river was full of beautiful rocks.  How about this beauty?

IMG_6212

This is a large wilderness area with a lot of hikers and it appears maybe some tent campers.  There were several fire rings made from river rocks.  We were wondering if there was a trail from here to the Appalachian Trail.

Unfortunately someone left a lot of trash in this fire pit.  The next time we go, we’re going to bring along a trash bag and clean up a little.  Thankfully, most people were respectful of the environment.

IMG_6210

This gorgeous tree had fallen.  I guess someone wanted some kindling because it was notched out, exposing the beautiful red wood inside the tree.

 

IMG_6219 

Al is really getting into searching for rocks.  We both really enjoy wading in rivers looking at all the rocks. I guess it’s a Lueck thing.

IMG_6230

This little dam and waterfall looks man made to me, but it was still pretty.

IMG_6232

Check out this beautiful rock.  I believe this is the kind of rock that they found in the gold mines.   If we crushed it, could there be a big nugget of gold inside?

IMG_6228

Although the photo doesn’t quite capture the colors correctly, I believe these rocks might have contained copper because that is exactly the color they were.  I know there are copper mines nearby, so maybe they are copper.

 

IMG_6215

IMG_6217

 

Nearby Dahlonega, Georgia was the home of the nations first gold rush.  Once the first nugget of gold was found, word quickly spread causing the gold rush. Men came from all over the country to find their fortunes.  Many died before they even got here.  Many found gold and many found nothing.   Once word came of gold in California,  they all rushed off to seek their fortunes out west.  They say there is still some gold to be found in this area, but I think it’s mostly small flakes.  Did we find any? 

Maybe?

IMG_6226

We found a lot of shiny flecks and small gold colored rocks.  Unfortunately, we don’t think we found any gold, but that’s not to say there is none there.  You can do some gold panning with a chance of finding some small flakes.  We bought a gold pan last year, so one day soon, we’ll go back and see how we do with the proper equipment.  Yesterday, we were looking for nuggets, not flakes.  Ha ha.

 

Last fall we spent the day in Dahlonega, Georgia, and toured the mine and gold museum. It was a very interesting day.  Check it out here if you missed it.  We actually did a little gold panning there and we found real gold.

After a few hours playing in the river, we took a different route home and went over Blood Mountain.  It’s a pretty drive.  We stopped at an  Trail Outfitter, which is right on the Appalachian trail. 

IMG_6239

It was a pretty drive.

IMG_6237

By the time we got home, it was time to get ready to meet Ralph and Terry for dinner. Ralph had spent the afternoon at the local driving range, and and Terry had a day of knitting at home.

After dinner, we all took a walk around the park, walking their dogs and visiting with some neighbors. Terry and Ralph called it a night and we decided to take a golf cart ride and see if we could find any bear.  No one has seen any bear this year, but we keep trying.  We think once the corn crop is ready, they’ll be back.  :)

We did see quite a few deer.  This one was checking out the soybean crop.

IMG_6242

We drove up the hill to Rivers Edge II, which is our sister park.  There is such a pretty view looking down into the valley.

Rivers Edge II

Last summer most of these lots were for sale. This year most are sold.

Rivers Edge II 

Rivers Edge II was built by the same person, so once the trees grow, it will look very much like ours.

Rivers Edge II

During our ride, we met quite a few neighbors, including the lady who paints rocks to look like animals.   Now, we need to find just the right rock to have her paint.

We ended up driving the golf cart home in the dark.  It’s a good thing for headlights.

 

We’re going hiking today, but haven’t decided exactly where.  It’s between waterfalls and the Appalachian trail.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I am Not a Robot, Quit Asking!

 

Blairsville, Ga – Rivers Edge Rv Park (high 81, low 65)

 

We’ve seen very few sunny days since we’ve been back here in Georgia.  The forecast has predicted rain and thunderstorms most every day, but thankfully, we’ve only had one day where it rained most of the day.  We’ve had a few showers, but mostly just some clouds.  We don’t mind the clouds because it keeps the temperature cooler.  The  predicted highs in the low 80’s haven’t happened for a while, and that’s good.  Our cold front is gone and with it the lows in the 50’s.  

Yesterday, we decided to get the LED light strips installed around the deck.   This is what we used.  It’s the same as we put in the coach over the slide.

LEDwholesalers IP66 Waterproof 16.4 Ft RGB Color Changing Kit with LED Flexible Strip 44 Button Controller and Power Supply  2038RGB 3315 3215   Amazon.com

The light strips are waterproof and I assumed okay for outdoors, but I happened to notice the power supply box said indoor use only.   We ran two sets together, using only one power supply and had to figure out where to put it that would be out of the weather.  We ended up putting the power supply in the bay of the motorhome.  It allowed us to hide the cords and worked out real well.

I neglected to take any pictures last night, but will try to remember tonight.  They look nice.  We had rope lights around the deck before, but these are nicer and you can change colors.

A couple comments on my last post about the snake in the wet bay mentioned Mui and Erin’s idea to prevent critters in bays. 

HERE is the link.  We think it’s a good idea, so we’ll do the same thing.  Thanks Mui and Erin!

 

A year or two ago, many blogs started using “comment moderation” on their blogs.  After you left a comment, it would take you to another screen where you had to “prove you’re not a robot.”

It looked something like this.

Fullscreen capture 2162012 105332 AM.bmp_thumb

I rarely see these darn things anymore, but when I do, if it’s a new blogger, I may leave a comment once, but rarely the second time.  I see some blogs where they say they love getting comments.  Then why do you make it so difficult????  Do they not wonder why they rarely get comments?

Okay, rant over.

 

I think we’re going rock picking today.  There is a nice trailhead a few miles up the road.  It’s on a shallow part of a river and it’s full of beautiful river rocks.  I love looking for special river rocks. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Heed the Warning

 

Blairsville, GA –Rivers Edge Rv Park  (high 80, low 68)

 

Our friends Terry and Ralph have settled nicely into life here in Rivers Edge and we think they actually know more people here than we do. I think it’s partly because they have dogs to walk, and partly because they are more outgoing than we are. 

Ralph volunteered to help Al fix the lights on our deck that quit working while we were gone for the winter.  They spent a few hours and with the help from another new neighbor, we have lights again.  Today we’re going to take down the old rope lights and install the new led lights that we bought from e-Bay.

Our new neighbors behind us have a cute little girl that they call their “late life joy”.  She’s probably about three years old and she is a live wire.   Yesterday, he (Russ) went to dump his black tank and when he opened the bay, there was a sleeping water moccasin (he thinks) coiled up in the bay.  He grabbed a stick and flung it out onto the ground.

Al and Ralph went running to see what was going on. I was able to get a quick photo before the snake disappeared into a drainage ditch.  (remember I have a big strong zoom lens and I wasn’t very close) 

IMG_6198

Apparently, the snake entered the wet bay by crawling up the water hose.  Russ and Erica are only here on the week-ends, so the snake has been left undisturbed until now.  It’s a good lesson for us to remember there is a lot of water around here and we all need to be more vigilant. Thank goodness the snake didn’t hurt that little girl.     Al has decided we’re going to get something to wrap around the water and sewer hose to block entry for any wildlife.  We have been careless by not blocking entry to the bays.  That will change now.   How about you?   Could a snake enter your bays from the sewer, water or electrical cords?   Be careful when you open your bays.

So, after that excitement, it was time to go to church.  Some other neighbors invited us all to a picnic at their church.  We got to feast on some good southern style home cooking.  Al and I particularly liked a wonderful home made peach and raspberry pie. 

The other night we saw this huge moth on the outside wall of the cabin. It was 3-4 inches wide.

IMG_6182

IMG_6186

Baxter has gotten to go on a few golf cart rides.  The other night ne met three dogs and a bunch of people. 

IMG_6195

The hot tub has been feeling pretty good.  Here he is afterwards parading around in his robe.

 

IMG_6188

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Winning Streak Continues

 

Blairsville, GA  (high 79, low 66)

 

We’ve had a lot of rain since last Thursday, although most of the time it was light rain with no lightning or thunder, Rain without thunder and lightning seems pretty unusual for us coming from the lightning capitol of the world (Tampa).  The nice thing about the rain was that we also had some cool temperatures along with it and haven’t had to run the AC for several days.  I don’t think it got above 70 degrees yesterday. It was wonderful even though we had to dodge some rain showers.

On Saturday. we had plans to go to the farmers market,  the Butternut Festival in  Blairsville, and the Watermelon jamboree here at the park.  Rain was predicted all day, but as it turned out, most of the rain went around us and we were able to get to all three events.

At the event here at Rivers Edge, we played a few games of bingo and we were hoping Al’s good luck would continue at bingo, but it didn’t.  However, they passed out raffle tickets and Al won a glass top convection oven.  It’s kind of like the Nu-wave oven we already have and love.  We’re hoping we’ll be able to take it back and exchange it for something else.

 

If you remember a week or two ago, I wrote about having an engine oil analysis done on the motorhome.  Our Monaco has a Cummins Diesel engine and we recently had the oil changed at the Cummins shop in Ocala, Florida. 

I had read some posts on Rv-Net Forum about having an engine oil analysis done on the used oil in the engine.  I went so far as to order the free kit back in November of 2012.  The problem is that you have to drain some oil and get a clean sample.  You send the sample back to  them and for $25 they analyze the oil, which can give you insight in any problems in your engine, and hopefully before much damage can occur.

I ordered the free sample kit from Blackstone Labs. Their cost for the analysis is $25.  It was highly recommended on the forum, presumably from people in the know.

We never had it done, due to the difficulty of draining a little oil at a campground. 

The following is a sample of what the report could look like.  It’s way too technical for me.

 B17682 Diesel Report 1

We had considered having our oil change done at Speedco (per Paul Dahl’s recommendation) and I discovered Speedco does these oil analysis right at their facilities.

We ended up at Cummins instead of Speedco, since we needed a new belt for the generator, but we asked them about the oil analysis.  They said they could get the sample and send it in for $35. 

They were supposed to send us an email with the results, so imagine how  scared we were when they called us on the phone with the results.  It’s kind of like when the doctor calls!

We were told this company rates the engine from 0 to 4, with zero being the best.  Ours was a zero.  Thank goodness. 

Anyway, it’s just something to consider.  Apparently it’s done for gas engines as well as diesel.

 

We’re being lazy this morning, enjoying the cool morning.  I believe I see the sun trying to peak out, so it probably won’t be as cool as it’s been.

Friday, July 18, 2014

It Was Our Lucky Day!

 

Blairsville, GA – Rivers Edge Rv Park (high 78, low 64)

 

We are still marveling at this cool weather.  We can’t quite believe how much nicer it is here than it was in Tampa, and we spend as much time outside as possible.

We were up early yesterday morning as usual, trying to fit everything into these very short days.  We run out of day before we run out of things we want to do. 

We spent the morning visiting some friends around the park, then sent our friends Terry and Ralph off to Babyland in Cleveland, GA for a trip to the Cabbage Patch. They had an appointment to adopt some Cabbage Patch kids for their granddaughters.  I’ll post some pictures tomorrow of their new family members.

 

By this time we were hungry, so we went into town for some lunch at Monte Alban, our favorite Mexican restaurant.

After lunch, we went to Ingles grocery store.  It’s the nicest grocery store we’ve ever been in, which is surprising, because Blairsville is a very small town.  We enjoyed looking around the store and finding all the hard to find things that we like and can’t find at most groceries.

Do you remember a blog post a few months ago where Al tried some free samples at a local Whole Foods store in Tampa and got food poisoning?     I thought we had agreed no more free food samples when they were left laying out.

So…..guess what he did yesterday?    Yes, he did.  He is like a hunting dog on a scent, when there is free food around.   As soon as I reminded him of the food poisoning episode, he remembered he wasn’t supposed to eat things like that.  Al, Al, Al……..    So far, so good.

 

As we were wandering around Ingles, I remembered a recent blog post Merikay wrote where she had been searching for some unusual food products.  She was happy to have found walnut oil, and oyster mushrooms.  I decided to see if Ingles would live up to her expectations and have those two items (which I had never heard of before).

Guess what I found?

0

Right next to the Walnut oil were a few other interesting oils.

IMG_20140717_130739_321

I’m not sure exactly what you would do with any of these oils, but maybe Merikay will chime in and give us some ideas.

 

The other thing she mentioned was oyster mushrooms.  Guess what I found?

IMG_20140717_130943_586

 

and how about these?   Do they taste like lobster, I wonder?

IMG_20140717_130953_183 

So, Merikay, did Ingles pass the test?   I think you’ll like the store when you get here this fall. 

 

As we wandered around Ingles, I was admiring the nice bags of frozen okra and butterbeans, wishing I had room in my small Rv freezer.   Al reminded me we have a big residential refrigerator here in the cabin.  Well, it’s not exactly a big by home standards, but by Rv standards it’s pretty big!   I grabbed some okra and butterbeans, and was also able to take advantage of a buy one, get one free deal on frozen blueberries.   It is nice having more room for this kind of thing.

 

We spent the longest time browsing around Ingles like kids at Disney World.  As we were getting ready to leave, I was paying, and Al walked over to buy a scratch off lottery ticket.

As we walked out, he was scratching the ticket as I was pushing the cart.  He said,  “I think I just won $100,” and then “No, I think, I just won $10”,  then,  “no, I think it’s $100”   I think he was just too excited to look at it carefully enough, so he just walked over to cash it out and see what he had actually won.   

Here he is when he came back with his loot.   It was indeed $100 and he was a happy camper.

IMG_20140717_133642_195

So, a prudent person would take the $100 and enjoy it right?   We weren’t so prudent and decided it might be our lucky day, so we took the cash right back in and bought a couple more tickets.  I bought a $5 scratch off ticket which was a loser.  Al gambled big and bought a $10 scratch off ticket which believe it or not was another $100 winner!

So, he won $200 off of two scratch off tickets!   Way to go Al.  

 

We spent the rest of the day putzing around outside.  I planted some more of the flowers and Al did a little metal detecting, trying to find a survey pin showing where our lot line is located.

The birds have once again found our bird feeders and we’ve enjoyed watching them.  It appears we have a family of juvenile Cardinals.  It’s amazing how many birds are in this area.

Cardinal family

We have a few goldfinch.  We had a lot of them last year, so we’re hoping more will come.

gold finch

IMG_6149

We have at least two hummingbirds, but I haven’t gotten any pictures of them just yet.

We have a neighbor that has a LOT of bird feeders on his lot.  He keeps them full and the birds are quite happy.  It is not easy to lure them away and it took us quite a while last year.  This year, we had the same problem.  The birds hung out at his place and ignored our feeders.  This year, it only took  a few days for the birds to find our feeders again. We provide the “good stuff” so once they discover our tasty treats, they tell their friends.

We buy shelled sunflower seeds at Wal-Mart, and all the birds LOVE it, including gold finch. No messy shells laying on the ground and there is no waste.  Anything that falls on the ground is quickly taken care of by doves or some other ground feeder.

We’re not sure what we will do today.  We may get rain, so I guess we’ll see. We have a big week-end planned, providing there is no rain.