Monday, May 31, 2010
Al and I both came from a military family, as both of our fathers retired from the Air Force. We both lived on Air Force Bases which is just a little different than living near a base. Just wish we could use the military "Fam Camps!"
Al and I met during the height of the Viet Nam war, on the tiny island of Guam. For those of you who don't know where Guam is, you head towards Hawaii.....and keep going! We lived on Anderson Air Force Base on Guam and daily we would see B-52 aircraft loaded with bombs heading off to Viet Nam. We also frequently saw trucks loaded with bombs. The Island was small but it was LOADED with young military men. There was one air force base and 3 navy bases on the island. There weren't so many women serving at that time.
Years later I started working for USAA Insurance, which proudly serves active duty and retired military. They have recently started to include all military that have been honorably discharged. Military service also included, FBI, Secret Service and foreign service members. We served some very high ranking military people to include many presidents. I was lucky enough one time to actually speak to General Westmoreland! He was the guy in charge back in the Viet Nam era! I remembered seeing him on Tv all the time, back in the day. Of course he had long since retired when I spoke to him, but it was still an honor to be able to help him with a claim.
I would frequently get a call from a young soldier that had a claim to report and needed things resolved ASAP because he was being deployed to Iraq, or was going "in the field," and would be out of pocket for a while. It was interesting talking to these young people. Most of them were ultra polite. Occasionally, I would get a call from someone in Iraq or Afghanistan, or Pakistan. I remember talking to an FBI agent one time that was in Pakistan, right after the journalist Danny Pearl was beheaded. I sure would have liked to have asked what his duty there was. It was difficult trying to help someone with a claim while they were so far away, but sometimes they just needed some questions answered.
Anyway, today being Memorial Day got me to thinking about all the military people I have known and dealt with over the years, and especially both of our fathers, who are now deceased.
Pray for our military members and their family's who are serving their country right now.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Of course we are still PO'd at them because of the way they behaved. After all, we've had them more than 8 years, and you'd think by now they'd know we aren't going to hurt them.
Medium lets me pet him when I walk by and Dolly has been sleeping in the bed. She comes up to us wanting a rub! What's that all about? When we were trying to get them out of the motorhome, they acted like we were going to kill them! The little stinkers!
I guess I should be happy they have settled back into their old routine, because sooner or later, we will be hauling them back into the motorhome for another trip!
Saturday, May 29, 2010
We still haven't finished applying the Poli-Glow and were intending to get it done before it got hot! Yeah right.
When we were at the beach last week it rained and we found we had a leak coming inside from the rear window. Al checked the caulking around the window and decided he needed to re-caulk it. That was his project for today. He caulked all the windows. We had forgotten that the window on our front door had slipped and there is actually a little gap there. I think he will have to take the window completely out and probably just reseal it. I think possibly some butyl tape will work That is a project for another day though.
After we got the last kitty out, I was able to get inside and clean. I vacuumed and mopped and washed all the bedding, towels and rugs. Ready to go again! I kept a blanket on the front dash to protect it from kitty claws, but when cleaning I noticed a few small holes. They weren't actually scratching on it, but I think their rear claws may have inadvertently made little holes. I guess I need a covering a little heavier. I had a piece of carpet runner up there but it didn't cover the entire dash. Off to Lowe's to get some more I guess. My plan is to get a carpet type dash cover eventually. I will add it to my list of "wants" for the motorhome.
Friday, May 28, 2010
After we removed Dolly, I was able to tranquilize "Medium" enough to "dim" his wits enough so that we could catch him.
I mixed up one whole tranquilizer in some fishy flavored cat food. I had only been giving him a small amount of food so that he was hungry. The tranquilizer dosage is 1/4 pill per five pounds. I don't know exactly how much he weighs, but guessed he was close to 20 pounds. He's a big boy.
I waited a while for him to eat the food, then went back to the Motorhome, with the hope he wouldn't be passed out under the bed. He was : (
The problem then, was go get him out from under the bed. Remember, he was not under the part that you could see when you lift the mattress, but under that platform where the slide mechanism is. I could not get to him by removing that platform because I couldn't get the slide out for fear of injuring him.
I then decided to turn on the generator, hoping the sound would frighten him out from under the bed. The generator is right below where he was hiding. I started it up and then went and sat on a recliner in the front. Sure enough, in a minute or two he came out. He had a terrible time getting his fat body out from under the bed frame. I think partly because of his weight and partly because he was so doped up! He walked right past me (yes, the drugs were working) and got under the captains chairs. Al had gone into town for mower gas, so I had to wait for him to come back home. I called him and told him I needed his assistance.
I sneaked back to open the bedroom slide, so that he couldn't get under the bed again. There is no way for anyone to get into this area if the slide is extended, so that was my first step.
Al came up and we formulated a "plan." After all, he was out from his hiding spot, and drugged up, but he is still a very large wild cat. In his mind, we were trying to kill him. Remember, all his "brothers and sisters" had already disappeared and I'm sure he must have thought we had already killed them. So in his mind, he is fighting for his life. I finally used a broom and fly swatter to herd him back into an open cage where Al was waiting. He very quickly slammed the door shut before he knew what hit him. Safe and Sound!!! We put the cage on the golf cart and transported him down to the house to let him out. He walked right out, seemed to recognize his surroundings, and saw the other cats and calmed right down. The little STINKER! Later in the evening, he got on the bed and went to sleep. He even let me pet him! The joys of feral cat rescue.
Here's the story on "Medium" and how he got his unusual name. We were camping in October of 2001, right after 9-11-01. It was kind of a spooky trip because the campground was deserted. If you remember that time, not only had we had the attacks on September 11, but there were letters with Anthrax powder being mailed all over, and the country was very nervous thinking another attack was imminent.
We went to High Falls State Park in Georgia. We had a beautiful campsite and like I said the CG was almost deserted. There were feral cats running all over the park and LOTS of small kittens. It broke my heart seeing all those tiny babies with no home with winter approaching. Al and I cannot ignore an animal that needs help, so we managed to catch 3 kittens. There were a lot more, but we weren't able to catch anymore. We got a small furry black/gray and white one. A Medium sized tortoise shell one, and a Large yellow one.
We brought them home and they became "Small, Medium, and Large." I put an add in the newspaper and was able to find a home for "Small" right away. He was very cute and less wild than the other two.
The others grew and "Medium" grew to be the biggest, and "Large" was a small cat. About a year or so, "Large" passed away. He had become pretty tame and was very lovable.
So that's the story of Medium!
The next time we go on a camping trip, it may be a little more difficult catching him again!!
Thursday, May 27, 2010
We were told it is best to not only weigh each axle, but each wheel, to make sure you aren't carrying too much weight on any side. If your front axle is rated for 7,000 pounds and you have 7,000 pounds, that is fine, unless you have 5,000 on one side and 2,000 on the other. Tires need to be inflated to a pressure that will handle the weight they will carry, and not to exceed the tire's maximum tire pressure.
We checked around and found the best place to weigh rigs is on a certified CAT Scale. This is a good link to a certified scale near you.
Cat Scale Location
I just found out that there is a video on this website to explain exactly how to weight your RV.
It turns out there is one near our house, but when Al went there, he was told they couldn't weigh each individual axle and certainly not each wheel. We think the guy he talked to was misinformed and didn't know how it all worked.
When we were in Keaton Beach, we found a Cat Scale in Perry, Florida, when we went into town one day. We decided to go ahead and weigh the MH when we were loaded up and ready to leave. We had the toad attached, and all the things we normally take when we camp.
We had 1/4 tank of fresh water, 3/4 tank of fuel, empty gray/black water tanks. They kayaks were loaded on the back of the truck, so we felt we had a pretty accurate weight. The only thing we didn't get included was me...as I was outside trying to push the button that was up in the air twelve feet! So we figure, we'll need to add another 125 pounds :) ha ha
For those of you who haven't weighed your rig and may have been intimidated, like we were, it is very easy.
There are several distinct sections on the scale. You need to get your front tires on one section, your rear tires on the next section, and your toad on the third section. I read since that it's best to try to center each axle, but we didn't know that then.
There are instructions there. They tell you to let off the brake, hit the button for service, then come inside the store/building for your ticket.
I went inside to ask the lady to start the weigh because the button was too high to be reached from the ground and Al couldn't reach it from the MH either. It is geared more towards truckers. The lady inside asked me my "number." She didn't specify what number she was talking about....my tag, my home telephone...what???
I'm not sure she really knew either, but she finally just keyed in a number. I now think this is the truck number and they also wanted the name of the company.
Anyway, I paid the $9 while Al parked the MH. I got my little yellow ticket.
It read as follows:
Steer Axle - 6,380 pounds
Drive Axle - 11,780 pounds
Toad - 3,700 pounds
Gross weight - 21,860 pounds.
According to the paperwork we have on our motorhome, we cannot exceed 7,000 pounds for the front axle, so we're goo there.
Our rear axle cannot exceed 13,500...okay there too.
max total w/o toad should be no more than 20,500...okay
max total with toad, no more than 25,500
The way I read this is.... WE GET TO BRING MORE STUFF!!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
We had this cage in the MH, and left the door open. She had come out from under the bed and into the front of the MH. We blocked her path with this cage and the open door. I scooted her towards it with a fly swatter. She had no where else to go and finally got inside the cage, and Al quickly shut the door. She fought like crazy for a minute and we were afraid she was going to hurt herself. We quickly loaded her on the golf cart and took her inside. Finally.
BTW....she got her name because when we found her she was producing milk and wouldn't stop. The vet said something must have happened to her kittens but she didn't stop producing milk. Her little "breasts" were so swollen that the hair was gone, and they were very shiny and hot. Each one was the size of a small orange! She was so sick that we were able to catch her. The vet gave her an injection to stop the milk production, but it didn't work, so the only option was to spay her, even though it was risky in her condition. So now you know why she became Dolly Parton!
Wish me luck!
Keep the suggestions coming everybody.
Karen, thanks for the sardine idea. We actually used a very strong tuna cat food in the live trap, and someone got inside, ate the food and was able to escape. These are both pretty large kitties and I'm wondering if when he/she got in the cage, their back end was sticking out and that prevented the door from closing properly. Dolly weighs 14.5 pounds and Medium is quite a bit bigger, but I don't know how much he weights. Dolly actually let me pick her up a few weeks ago and I was able to weigh her. I doubt that will happen again, anytime soon!
We got up yesterday, had our coffee and then slowly started packing up to head home.
The biggest problem was getting the kitties back in their carriers for travel. Our two wild ones never would let us catch them, so they rode home “loose.” They have to get in their cages in order for us to transport them to the house and they are afraid now, knowing something is going on. They still don’t realize we won’t hurt them. We have a live animal trap which we set with a can of food as bait….I think they will spend the night in the motorhome and will get real hungry if they don’t “take the bait.” The little buggers.
We saw our injured Cormorant before we left again. He still had a problem with his wing, but it looked a little better. He was swimming around near shore. I read that they eat crustaceans and there were plenty of little crabs along the shore for him to eat. Someone from the fish and wild life department told Lynn that sometimes they injure a wing and then favor it a while until it heals. I certainly hope this is the case here. We feel sure he will be able to eat. We’ve seen them dive 30 feet straight to the bottom of the water in pursuit of a fish, so I think he should be able to dive for fish also, as they don’t just their wings when diving.
Follow up note…
It is now Wednesday morning. We set the live animal trap for the kitties. The food/bait is gone, the door sprung shut and there are still two kitties in the motorhome! Now they are REALLY afraid!
I guess we’ll have to go to plan “B”, I just wish I knew what it was!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
We were having our morning coffee yesterday morning and Al noticed a Cormorant sitting on the dock with one wing kind of spread out at an odd angle.
Cormorants often spread both wings out in order to dry them, but this one looked kind of odd.
After a while, the bird still hadn’t moved so we went out for a closer look, and found out he was injured. It appeared he may have had a broken left wing.
Al and I believe if you find an injured animal, then you should help it, so I got on the internet to try to find a Seabird Rescue group in this area.
I ended up calling a seabird rescue group in Miami, because I couldn’t get an answer anywhere else. They referred me to a lady in Tallahassee, so I called and left her a message.
In the meantime we checked with Lynn, the owner of this campground to see if she knew of any one here that could help the bird.
She called around but we never could find anyone who could help us with this bird. We were still waiting for response back from a few people, but in the meantime, the bird disappeared. He was sitting on the dock for 5 or 6 hours, right in plain sight, but suddenly he was gone. We looked around up and down the coast and even offshore, but never saw him again. We don’t think something got him and we sure didn’t see any animal rescue people come, so we don’t know where he could have gone. We didn’t think was able to fly.
His wing looked broken, but I am choosing to believe he is going to be okay, and that he flew off.
We ended up getting a pretty strong afternoon thunderstorm with some pea sized hail. In Florida it is common to get daily afternoon storms in the summer. The hot air mass over land meets up with the cooler air from the water and boom…thunderstorms. They last a few minutes then the sun comes back out. Some can be extremely violent though, especially in the Tampa area, which is known as the lightning capitol of the world!
In Tampa, people frequently get killed by lightning. I remember a few in particular that freaked me out. One was a lady talking on a phone inside her kitchen..lightning struck and killed her. One was a tourist rollerblading at a place we rollerbladed often, it was a bright sunny day, but a lightning bolt appeared to come out of nowhere and killed him dead. So when I hear thunder and see lightning, I get a little nervous, but today’s storm, wasn’t too bad and moved off pretty quickly.
After the storm, it was real cool out, almost to where we needed a sweater :)
We started packing up in preparation for our departure. We loaded the kayaks, so no more early morning kayak trips.
We finished up our last evening here, having tacos for dinner, watching Dancing with the Stars and Two and a Half Men.
It stayed cool all night and we slept very well.
Today, we have to head home, and I have a sneaking suspicion that our grass may need to be mowed :) .
We’re anxious to see how our garden fared and if the squirrels ate all of our peaches. I’m sure our birds will ber hungry since they haven’t been fed for a while.
Monday, May 24, 2010
We anticipated another hot humid day, so we decided to go for a morning kayak trip.
Since we store the kayaks right on the dock in front of the RV, it is an easy and quick launch. Here are the kayaks on the dock, with the motor home in the background.
We so enjoy our morning coffee hours here with the beautiful view, open windows and cool sea breezes, that it’s hard to get motivated to get up and head outside!
We finally got going, but were worried that we had dallied too long and that it would be too hot on the water. Fortunately there was enough sea breeze that we had a very pleasant paddle.
We planned on making it a short trip, but ended up going quite a distance over a couple of hours. It was a slack tide so paddling was easy….at least until we headed home and the tide started going back out :)
Some photos from our morning paddle.
All the houses here are up on stilts.
The water is all of 3 feet deep!
How do you like my pink beach shoes?
After we came in from our paddle, we hung out inside, read and watched tv, and I might have had a short nap :)
Our plan was to go to “The Hot Dog Stand” for a late lunch. After hearing about the owners struggles making a go of the restaurant while struggling with breast cancer, we decided we needed to give her our support.
Unfortunately about the time we were going to leave, it started to thunder and the sky got very dark. I am a big coward when it comes to storms, plus we aren’t sure we have solved the leak problems we have when our slides are out. We left the LR slide out and it didn’t leak…that’s twice it rained and no leaks were found….maybe we have it fixed? The Bedroom slide still leaked on the last rain…I think I over “goobered” it, so I removed some silicone. We didn’t really test it yesterday though, because we pulled it in before the rain started. We did find a dribble around the rear window. I guess we need to re-caulk it. With a RV, it’s always something.
We waited for the storms to pass and it was about 4:30 before we got out. We both decided on bacon cheese burgers and fries. They were VERY good! They were out of grouper due to a very busy week-end, hence the burgers!
We went outside for a short walk. The beach area here is surrounded by marshes, which are very pretty. It reminds me of the marshes in Savannah.
The low tide was very low tonight. See how shallow it is? Those rock pile things are actually oyster beds and scallop shells.
The sunset was blocked by clouds last night, but I was able to get a few shots…of course :).
Today is our last full day here :(
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Yesterday, we decided to go for a walk down to the “Hot Dog Stand” restaurant. It’s at the very end of Keaton Beach. Miss Lynn (owner of this campground) gave us some history of this restaurant. It seems for years it was owned by people and it just sold hot dogs….hence the name.
Over the past few years there have been a few different people to lease the restaurant, but the building and land have been up for sale for two million dollars.
This is it, and it’s not any nicer or larger than it looks! Anyway the lady who is now leasing it is doing a good job and is working on building her business. She’s a little disturbed that the owner has it up for sale, and she can’t afford to purchase it, but Miss Lynn feels no one will buy it for 2 million. Would you?
We had breakfast there yesterday and it was very good. Eggs, bacon, grits and toast and all cooked exactly to my liking. We’ve heard they have excellent seafood, so we may have to give them another try, especially since Al hasn’t caught any fish yet.
Property values have dropped here significantly since the housing bubble burst. We saw condos on the beach listing (not selling though) for $200,000 and we were told they originally sold for $400,000.
Lynn has been here since the 80’s and was telling us her personal stories of the “No Named Storm” of 1993. Her house and two cars were flooded, but enough of her house remained (the floor) that she was allowed to rebuild. It’s a double wide mobile home and it ended up in two pieces! If the city had condemned it, she would have to rebuilt on stilts, which is very expensive! There are very few homes here that are not high on stilts. We are sitting just a few feet above sea level, so if a storm or tidal wave come, we are flooding. Fortunately since the 1993 storm, they have weather buoys off shore that warm of abnormal increasing tides. She is very concerned about what the oil spill is going to do to her business and the environment.
There is nothing much here at Keaton Beach, besides fishing, boating and tourism. If the oil gets here and coats the oyster beds and grass flats, then fishing will be done, for many, many years to come. It may never come back. It doesn’t seem BP, or our government is concerned about the consequences to the environment. Obama claims he is interested in the environment (Cap and Trade (tax), but he’s been conspicuously silent regarding the oil spill.
After our walk to get breakfast, we stayed inside most of yesterday, due to the excessive heat. We were getting a little bored (and grouchy) by the end of the day. Al went for an evening kayak paddle, and I sat on the dock and tried to finish my book.
This is our view when the tide is very low. Remember, this is not your typical Florida white sand beach. This beach is oyster beds and grass. No white sand here and it is NOT typical of Florida beaches. We still like the view though.
You can see the water was flat calm, which is not good for cool ocean breezes that lull you to sleep. Last night was the first night we had to run the a/c all night.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
I don’t know if it was the fact that we were so busy on Thursday, or because it was so hot outside, but we stayed inside most of the day and relaxed.
We are both reading books by the author Vince Flynn, but neither of us could get much reading in without falling asleep! I think our new recliners are just too comfy! I think we ended up having two naps before noon.
It was just so hot outside yesterday that every time we’d go outside to do something, we’d be back inside within a few minutes.
We ended up watching the old movie, “Donnie Brasco” streamed through Netflix on our Roku player. We sure do like that setup. It was a great movie. We’d seen it before but one of the good things about getting old, is your memory goes, so you can just keep watching the same movies over and over :)
It finally cooled down about 8pm, so we took the kayaks out for a sunset paddle. It was very nice. The water is so warm and clear.
Here are a few pictures.
It was very nice and peaceful.
We came inside and fixed frozen pizza, and then watched our favorite tv show, “Friday Night Lights.” It is a wonderful series…if you haven’t seen it go to the video store and rent season one! You’ll be hooked!
We weren’t sure if it was going to cool down enough to turn off the a/c, but we did and actually had a nice cool breeze for sleeping!
Today is Saturday, so all the week-enders are here. This campground is mostly permanent rv’s. I think there are only 5 open sites not rented. The week-enders start arriving Friday afternoons with their boats and golf carts and stay the week-end in their rv’s. It’s much nicer when we have the whole place to ourselves!
Friday, May 21, 2010
Al came back from his third kayak trip of the day, without any fish. Surprise, surprise. It’s a good thing I had a plan “B.” We had sesame ginger marinated chicken on the grill, along with corn on the cob and fried potatoes. Not the healthiest of meals, but it was good :)
The owner of the campground has 2 Poodles, a Yorkie and two cats (the one who bit me and another cute blue eyed white kitty named Cotton). Anyway, all 5 of her critters kept Al company while he was grilling the chicken. It was kind of cute.
This is Cocoa. He is very tiny, but he doesn’t know it. He keeps everyone and everything here in line. He weighs all of 4 pounds.
This is the one that bit me last time. She and I are still friends.
This is Cotton. She has no tail and the prettiest blue eyes.
We had a beautiful sunset last night, so I interrupted my dinner to go outside and take a few photos.
After dinner, we managed to stay awake long enough to watch the finale of Gray’s Anatomy. As usual, it was shocking and very good. I have watched that show from day one and still love it.
Today, we are planning on being kind of lazy. We slept good last night with the a/c off and the windows open. It was actually a little cool this morning….just like I like it!
The week-enders should start arriving today and ruining our little piece of paradise. The good thing is they usually leave on Sunday.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Our plans for the day were to drive south about 17 miles to the next little town of Steinhatchee, (pronounced steen ) It’s another seaside town with a pretty black water river leading out into the gulf.
The gulf waters looked so calm and inviting this morning, that we decided to take the opportunity to take a quick kayak trip first. We have been keeping our kayaks right on the dock in front of the motorhome, so it’s pretty convenient.
The following are a few of the pictures I took. The water was so calm that it blended right into the sky and it was difficult to tell where the horizon and water met.
Al was trying to catch some fish, but didn’t have much luck :(
He had seen this little island that he wanted to paddle out to. It looked to be too far to me, but it was so calm today and an easy paddle, so we headed out. There were no breezes and it was slack tide, so it was an easy paddle. The best fishing time is on an incoming high tide, but we were a little late.
With no breeze or waves we could see the bottom and saw some starfish, crabs and Al even saw a big stingray.
This is the island. It’s not like the kind of islands we were used to in the Tampa area, but it was good to be able to get out and stretch our legs.
You can barely see the island out in the distance.
The area here is grassy with the occasional oyster bed, so you don’t see the white sandy beaches we’re used to. In a few weeks it will be Scallop season and people will flock here to load up on them. They like these grassy waters.
After we rested on the island we headed back. It was a pretty good distance. Do you see the rv?
After we came back, we had lunch and then headed to Steinhatchee. There are some pretty good rapids on this river and even a waterfall.
The water level is very high now so the falls aren’t too visible, but the water was really ripping!
We decided to put in below the waterfall and paddle downstream. We normally head upstream, thinking that we can paddle until we get tired and then have an easy paddle back downstream. This was not an option here, with the waterfalls and rapids, so off we went downstream. The water was really flowing strong, so we wanted to be sure we could paddle back upstream. Al did a little turn-around test paddle and gave it the okay. Anyway, we paddled just a short distance and saw more white water ahead! We could hear the rapids, so we knew we weren’t going any further. No way am I going to go over any rapids that I don’t know anything about. In fact, since I’m such a chicken, I don’t think they make a “rapid” that I want to paddle!
It was a very pretty black water river, with beautiful scenery. It’s too bad we didn’t choose a better spot to put in.
We pulled the boats out and headed back home.
When we got back, we noticed a “crab invasion” had started. There were thousands of little Fiddler Crabs on the march. All those little spots are crabs.
It’s just a little after 6pm and Al is out fishing again. We’re either having fish or chicken for dinner.
I did marinate some chicken, just in case :)