Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bull's Eye(s)

Two days on the road, one in terrible weather and one in gorgeous weather and we landed at the Van Hoy Farm Campground in North Carolina. We had been here previously for Cinco de Mayo and found the twice monthly Mexican Community festivals held here are a good time, and have some great eats! REAL Mexican food- no re-fried beans from a can here. It was late in the season, even for this far south, so the pool was closed. I got a kick out of a "must shower" sign on a pool that was closed for the season, but full of dead leaves and algae rich green water still waiting to be drained. Gotta love signs! This is a beautiful property so don't take anything from this image other than an amusing seasonal shot.

Down at the arena, they were getting ready for some rodeo style bull riding. One bull in particular had some serious objections to being photographed and he actually charged me a couple times. Classic: head down, hoof scratching, nose snorting, horns waggering back and forth. I was grateful for the iron fence rail between us, but the charge still made me jump back a bit. It wasn't til I put the shot I took of him in the computer that I saw those devilish Halloween eyes. Bull's Eyes! Focused on me!

I decided that if they asked the Gringo (that would be me) to ride a bull, I would pick this one. Then I promptly left the arena before anyone had the chance to do just that.....

On the way back to the coach, we stopped for some Mexican style "carne" tacos, fresh shaved off the roast, grilled, toasted, hot peppers, pineapple, toppings added...yum. I had two, but found that two demanded that I eat one more before walking back. Oh man that was good! It's hard to find good Mexican food, but there is nothing better when you are able to find it.

There was an important soccer match in the state so the usual crowd that converges for these festividades was late to arrive on this occasion. Plenty of time for the little caballeros to hone their skills with the ropes.

Tomorrow morning we'll head out for a short hop, skip and a jump over to Vein Mountain and the LDMA Gold Camp there for the annual local outing. That camp is one of our favorites and the people there are super. Cell phone service is weak there and computer hookups? Maybe, maybe not. So we'll have to see just how regularly we can keep up with postings. We'll be at the camp for 17 days if the plan stays the plan. So for tonight..., adios, amigos.

Friday, October 23, 2009

What Next?

I've told you a few of our current woes. i shall continue that in this post. but should you discover a lack of capital letters and correct punctuation in this post- it is because now even my keyboard has decided to give me a rash of crap. oh joy! I'm tempted to leave the numeral 1 wherever it pops up for now because since the cap (shift) key became problematic there are no exclamation points- case in point11111.

after nearly three weeks sitting it out while repairs to the coach and quigley van were carried out, the weather was horrid. rain 3.9 days out of every 4. So when the clouds broke and the sun appeared, the geese took to flight and the fall colors hit the trees fast and furious. It felt good. positive energy. encouraging. enlightening. energizing.

so I was a happy camper pulling out of camp and heading back to Tom Schaeffer's RV Superstore for the final piece of the puzzle- the replacement of the cracked windshield which was scheduled for a two day stay....and then onward. Driving was easy. gauges looked good. peace to the world1 it came as a bit of a shock that I couldn't get heat to the dash as the morning temps were a tad on the chilly side. maybe a few more minutes to warm up. then Marilyn smelled something a little funny1 Not me! through the intersection in Ephrata we went. but then the temp gauge shot up to the red zone and the dash alarms started to scream. Without hesitation we pulled over- forget that we were blocking traffic and on a double yellow line representing somewhat of a traffic hazard. call the police; let them know. An inspection quickly showed antifreeze pouring out of every basement compartment. a tsunami of coolant, a tidal wave of terror came over my otherwise happy morning moment. this was a problem. call the insurance company, the auto club, the tow truck, the rv center where we were NOT going to make our scheduled appointment- no matter what.

45 minutes later the tow truck turned up, hooked us up (that was another story in itself) and off we went. whatever was to be was now out of our hands. we followed the tow in to the dealer. way too fast for comfort- also another story. but get there we did and unhooked. Whatever had busted and caused the rapid coolant loss was now complicated by a cracked and damaged front end where the coach had bounced on the boom of the tow truck all the way from the point of the problem to the parking lot of the dealer. stay calm. deal with it....

The sight of the drive axle laying on the parking lot next to the disabled coach made for a sinking feeling in the head and the stomach. But not to worry. Tom Schaeffer RV to the rescue...and another three days and some few more bucks got things back under control. negotiations with the tower eased the concerns and so now we are about ready to head out once again.

can't say enough about Tom Schaeffer RV service. Phenomenal! over and above. anything and everything you need- provided by a fleet of master mechanics and a support staff second to none. fair. always fair! i hope not to have more problems, but if i do have them, i hope i have them VERY close to them. if everyone ran their business like they do- then no businesses would ever have any trouble staying in business and being a profitable and thriving entity. kudos to all you guys (and gals)... and thanks for everything1111! hey i got at least one exclamation point1

Sunday, October 11, 2009

In The Beginning...

Back in Thousand Trails, Hershey (actually the camp is in Lebanon but only a short hop to Chocolate-ville) and still licking wounds from the last big Alaska trip- but gaining! Had the occasion to sit at my old 'puter and look back at some of the nearly 6000 digital pics I took since our full time travel adventure began three years ago. This is one of my favorites (Marilyn's too for obvious reasons) That first post was made in November of 2006. It went like this:

Shake Down Cruise:

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and Deer Lake Fossils

Well sir, the coach is in the shop for a couple weeks worth of repairs. Ouch! The Quigley is in the body shop to repair the "hit and run" damage the Fifth Wheel driver did to it in the Yukon on the way to Alaska. But problems with turkeys are no reason not to soar with eagles, so off we went to see the sights from the vantage point of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. Some of you will remember a few posts back I mentioned that my father had been given the Warden's Award for a lifetime of contribution and achievement from this prestigious wildlife preservation organization. I had accompanied my dad with the rest of the family many times as a child to hike up the mountain and look out over the ridges and valleys through a pair of binoculars, and watch the eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, and whatever else happened by on the seasonal migrations. The place hasn't changed much, ("The rocks are still all in the same place," said to ranger on the ticket counter) although it is clear that the number of visitors who avail themselves of the magnificent collection of trails and lookouts has increased 10 fold or more.

It's only a mile hike to the north lookout (a not too difficult rocky climb if you will) and a much shorter easy walk to the south lookout. We carried our walking sticks and one child asked us, "Hey where did you get them?" When we told her we brought them from Alaska, she remarked: "Oh I didn't know they had trees there...." You learn something every day.

It was fun visiting the mountain again. We saw some ospreys, some Sharpie hawks, one Redtail and a few other non raptor species. But for us the visit was more about the mountain and the views than it was about the birds. One of the nicest things about traveling all the time? We see hawks, eagles, all kinds of birds, nearly every day. On a wire, a pole, a fence, the brush by the side of the road as we cruise on by. It's a neat way to go birding and does NOT require getting up with the sun to get out in the field with the old binoculars.

Hawk Mountain Slide Show:

Once we drove back down the mountain, we decided to try to find a spot nearby where my family used to go fossil hunting. We found Deer Lake and the adjacent rock quarry just as I had remembered it. Well, almost- enough to recognize right off. And we were finding fossil shells, aquatic plant life, even a few trilobites almost from the moment we got out of the (rental) van we are using while our repairs are being done. It was good to put our geology picks back into rock and ground...and we have a few small pieces to add to the collection. If you watch the slide show, you may see the praying mantis that was (I guess) looking for fossils as well. He kinda looked like a living fossil!

Deer Lake Fossil Hunting: