Saturday, December 15, 2018

BIG Changes and Time to Update the Blog

Blairsville, Ga  (high 64, low 42)

There have been a LOT of changes and it's hard to know where to start.

After Hurricane Irma struck the Keys and destroyed our fifth wheel, we decided to hold off on putting another RV there.  There are some issues with the county and permanent rv's, so we're waiting to see how that all plays out.  With no rv there, we are able to rent the lot out when we are not there.  If anybody wants to spend Christmas in the Keys, let me know.

We decided to purchase a small trailer that we could easily tow and find campsites that we would fit.  We purchased a pre owned Forest River Rockwood Mini Lite.  It's only 21 ft.  It has one slide, a walk around bed, ducted AC,  a sofa instead of a booth, two door refrigerator and dual axle.  All the things that we had been looking for and all the things that are hard to find on a rig that size.

The new trailer fit just fine on our Keys lot.  We spent 3 weeks in the Keys in the little trailer, which we have named "The Dingy"   We were surprised at how comfy we were.  It turns out the layout was perfect and very liveable.  We now know that we could easily spend months in it.  It looks tiny outside, but is surprisingly roomy inside.

During our Keys trip in April, we finally got the boat in the water. It was the first time we had been able to take it out on the water after the hurricane, and we wanted to make sure everything was ok. We found a few issues with the trailer, but Progressive was great about adding a supplement to take care of the additional damages.  The motor ran fine and we got out to do some snorkeling.

Last January, we lost our live in caregiver for Mom, but we finally ended up finding someone else who is working out well (knock on wood).  Between her and the ones provided by her long term care insurance policy, we are covered which allows us to travel some.

While searching for a new caregiver, we stayed in Tampa for several months we took the opportunity to do some Florida camping in the new "Dingy."   We spent a few days at Rainbow Springs, where I picked up a few very tiny ticks.  Apparently, I missed one because a few weeks later I found one embedded in my skin with the bulls eye mark of Lyme Disease.  I went on antibiotics for 3 weeks for that.  Fortunately, I have had no further symptoms.

With the new caregiver in place and settled in, we headed back up to Blairsville, GA (where we had 2 rv lots).  The Dingy was parked at our rental rv lot and we moved back into the Cameo which we keep here.

This is Old Federal Campground which is a COE campground on Lake Lanier in Georgia. We stayed there on the way back to Georgia. We decided we really like the COE campgrounds, plus the 50% discount is nice.  We planned on doing some traveling during the summer but that didn't happen.

While in Blairsville, we decided to take a look at some houses for sale, just for kicks.  We love the north Georgia mountains the city of Blairsville and knew that we would end up here someday.  We especially love the area where our RV lots are because we have the nice country back roads where we can  ride our golf cart and "bear hunt".  Plus it is a great area for walking and there are wonderful hiking trails (Appalachian Trail is 3 miles away).  We didn't want the house to be up a long twisty road with a steep driveway,  no neighbors, or an area with no building restrictions and dumpy places next door.

It turned out that one came up for sale right next to the Rv park and ended up buying it.  It has a long driveway with a big parking space behind the house, which is perfect for us to park the little trailer.

The cats love their new house.  We still have our big boy Baxter and our old boy Chatty, who is going on 19 and has end stage kidney disease.  We never thought he'd be around this long, but he's doing ok.

During the summer, someone dumped a pretty little female cat and of course we ended up with her.  We didn't want another cat and didn't plan to keep her but she had a terrible skin condition, no one wanted her.  She had some sort of skin condition and was losing her fur.  With the help of our friends and neighbor who is a Veterinarian, and plenty of medications and care, she improved after a few months. She had to be kept isolated from the other cats so she lived in our cabin during the process. It was a process of elimination and we didn't know if she had ringworm or demodectic mange. We didn't expect our old guy would still be around so we figured we could take in another one. Which we did.

So, on Halloween, we closed on our new house.  The house backs up the the Nottley river which is  behind the RV park, making us  close to our friends there and have all the benefits of the the area we love.  It made it much easier to move all the STUFF we had in the fifth wheel and TWO cabins!

Here is our new house.  It has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a double car garage, with rv parking in the back.  It is on 1 1/4 acre on the Nottley River.   We have a covered front and back porch and we will probably screen one of them for the cats.  We have an empty field in front of the house and an empty lot next door for privacy. We will be purchasing a riding mower soon.

It seemed strange at first living in a house again.  So much room.  A little clutter doesn't trash the entire place like in a Rv.  You don't know it's raining unless you look outside! It's easy to stay warm even with the cold weather we have now.  We never missed our house while living the last 8 years in our rv's, but now that we have one again, we really are enjoying it.  Of course, it's cold outside, the grass is brown now and there are no leaves on the trees.  We are anxious to get outside and plant a garden and some flowers.

The front porch looks out over Brasstown Bald which is the highest mountain in Georgia.

Our good friends and neighbors Heidi and Suzanne and their three sweet little dogs.  Heidi was our hero taking care of Nottley (the cat)  for us!

We had a very rare Piebald deer around this year.  Isn't she a beauty?  It's a genetic mutation but still beautiful.  I hope the hunters don't get her.

We had some bear sightings this year.  We expect we will have bears in our yard here in the house.  Our neighbors had one in their garage during the daytime.  

We are still here in Blairsville and have experienced snow a couple times already.  We really need to get back down to Tampa, but are dreading it.  We are so enjoying our new house.

 This is Brasstown Bald from our porch with the help of my camera zoom.

This is Nottley, our new kitty.  She had to live in the cabin for a few months until we cleared up her skin issues and make sure she wasn't contagious.  We didn't have much trouble introducing her to Baxter and Chatty, but she does like to pick on both of them.  It's ok if she picks on Baxter. He can take it and defend himself.  He weighs 18 pounds to her 6, but Chatty is too old and frail, so we don't like her attacking him.

She is young and agile, and likes to explore.  We caught her on top of the cabinets in the laundry room. Al had to help her get down.

This time she was on top of the door to the laundry room.  We made her find her own way down this time.

We were under a winter storm warning.  Nearby Clayton, Ga and Asheville NC got a 12-18 inches of snow but we only got a little which was mostly slush.  We were hoping for a nice thick fluffy snow like they had here last year.  

This is the view of our snow from our front window.

We have no snow shovel and Al was afraid the slush would freeze, so he used a plastic lid to scrape the thick slush off the upper part of the driveway.

Hey, we're Floridians, so snow is a big deal to us!  We took a drive up to Brasstown bald to see more snow.

It was a beautiful day, but freezing cold with the wind at the higher elevations.

The plan for now it so head back to Tampa before Christmas.  We will hang around there a while then take the dingy out for some local camping trips and then to the Keys mid March when our renters leave our lot in the  Keys.  We may make a trip back here to try and see some snow.  Despite the very cold weather here in Blairsville, it is very hard to want to leave this year.

So, that about catches us up.  I think it's time I find a new picture and delete the one of the destroyed RV after Hurricane Irma.  I can't seem to remember how to change the header photo. Any tips would be appreciated!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Hurricane Irma and Information on our Boat

We are trying to enjoy the fall activities, while still dealing with hurricane and insurance issues. Things are moving very slowly due to the massive amount of damage and the remote location.  We are being patient.

We know our fifth wheel is a total loss and are waiting for the insurance company to find a company capable of picking the pieces up and towing it away.

We are hoping to get more info on our boat today. It is stored on Venture Out property in a secured storage lot.  There are 100-150 boats in the lot, all in assigned spaces.  At least they were.  Now they are in a jumbled up mess. Some are some off their trailers, some on top of other boats and in all kinds of conditions.

It is a big mess and one boat can't be moved without the risk of damaging others.   It needed to be a coordinated well thought out operation.

With the extent of other damages, the boat lots were not the highest priority and we completely understood that.  There are still people without electricity to their lots.  Ours included since our Rv destroyed our power and water pedestals.  Many homes were destroyed or badly damaged.  I do not believe anyone escaped some sort of damage.

The other night, we got a message from the HOA president stating Sea Tow has been contracted to begin untangling the boats and that we would all be responsible to pay their fees.  Sea Tow is the company many of us use in case we breakdown offshore, they will tow you in. They were bringing in a crane and if your boat needed crane services, the cost would be $175 a FOOT!  Most boats would need some sort of crane service to right the boats or put them back on the trailers.  We weren't given any choices, or notice that this was being done and no further explanation was given.

Needless to say, we were extremely upset knowing this had all been decided for us without any input, or the opportunity to involve our insurance companies.  We were going to have  a $3000 bill to move our boat when we had insurance that would have taken care of it with no cost to us.

After a day of phone calls, and research, we found out that marine salvage was a whole new deal and could not be done by just anyone.  There was the possibility of spilled fuel and battery acid that needed to be considered.  Plus the liability of  possibility damaging another boat while trying to get your boat out.

We determined these charges were pretty much standard, and that most insurance companies would pay Sea Tow's outrageous fees. I think these charges are excessive but it was not my call and as long as Progressive pays the bill, we will not argue.  I'm sure it will be expensive picking up our trailer as well. I am sure there are boats with no insurance which would leave these ridiculous fees up to the boat owner.

We saw a post on Facebook the other day where a guy was looking for someone to pick up his car.  He had no insurance on it because he didn't use it during the summer and took the coverage off.  A lot of people do that but you always need to leave comprehensive coverage on it and this is a perfect example why.

I made a phone call to Progressive who insures both our boat and trailer and confirmed Sea Toy was one of their contractors and there should be no problem with them paying for their fees for our boat. I will feel better when I know that for sure.

I then contacted Sea Tow and Progressive and got an appraiser scheduled to inspect the boat today once it was moved away from the other boats.  They are not allowing anyone on the boat lots except employees of Sea Tow and Insurance adjusters.  We do not think our boat will be a total loss, but until the adjuster is able to inspect it, we won't know for sure.  We do not know what kind of water intrusion we got or if there was any damage to the motor.

This is an example of what Sea Tow has to deal with.

The small boat facing out in  the picture below is ours.  As it turns out, our boat had been shifted from our trailer a little bit, but our boat and trailer was on top of another trailer.  We will definitely need crane services.

 The Proline boat is ours. You can see how tight of a space it is in.  We were not able to view the motor at all.   You can see what was probably the waterline on our boat.

This is also part of our boat and the jumbled mess it is in.

This is a picture we took from above with our drone. Our boat is towards the left next to the white car with the yellow cushion and bait bucket in the front.

These were also  taken from our drone from above and a good example of what they have to deal with.

We knew it wasn't going to be an easy job to separate all these boats without damaging others.

I am also in the process of making a detailed list of every item that was in our trailer that we were not able to salvage. 

I am trying to document our Hurricane Irma adventures so I apologize for another boring disaster post.  We have been doing fun things and I have some pictures taken from our drone and of our adventures.   We are doing ok and dealing with this one step at a time.