Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving in Tampa


Wesley Chapel, Florida  (high 74, low 54)

The cold front moved in bringing lots of wind Wednesday, and much colder temperatures overnight.  When we got up Thanksgiving morning, it was only 41 degrees.   Of course, we were used to cold weather, so it didn’t bother us.

We’re went to Moms house for Thanksgiving dinner. We picked up a pre-cooked dinner from Publix Grocery store, and it turned out to be very good.   We got to meet for the first time, my brothers new dog, Mickey.  He’s a cocoa colored Husky and is the sweetest thing ever.  He’s not the best behaved, but he sure is sweet.  I didn’t bring my camera, so I have no pictures to share.

On the way home, our route took us by a Wal-Mart.  Apparently, they were open and the parking lot was completely full with people parking on the side roads.  We had briefly entertained the idea of stopping, until we saw the crowds.  There wasn’t anything we wanted enough to go through those crowds.  It looks like the stores being open on Thanksgiving are pretty popular, so you can bet more will do it next year. 

We haven’t been doing much since we’ve been back, except hitting a few stores we hadn’t been able to go to for the past 3 months.  We missed our favorite health food store, Nutrition S’mart, we we’ve made a trip there and also to Sam’s Club, and Target.

We haven’t done anything fun since we’ve been back, but it’s been good seeing our friends here at the park.  Of course a few of them came up to Georgia to visit us.   We have passes for the local zoo, and even two very, very old tickets to Busch Gardens, so one of these days, we’ll have some fun.   The cold front has passed and the temperatures have warmed back up.  Soon, we’ll be running the AC again.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I Should Have Listened to Al


Wesley Chapel, Florida  (high 76, low 66)

We really enjoyed our short stay at Rainbow Springs State Park, and would probably have stayed a few more days if I didn’t have a doctors appointment Monday morning.  Routine physical.

Saturday, was a beautiful warm and sunny day. We decided to go to Swampy’s for lunch.  It’s right on the river.  The food was good, but the view was incredible.

Here is our view from our table.

Rainbow River from Swampys restaurant

It would have been a wonderful day for kayaking, but we decided to wait until next time, since we’ve kayaked this river several times before.

Rainbow River from Swampys restaurant

Rainbow River from Swampys restaurant

We got home and spent most of the day outside reading our books and watching birds.  It was a lovely warm day.

Al had his bird feeders up and there was no shortage of birds.

I finally got a picture of a Towhee


This little guy was black and was hiding in the brush.  At first all I could see was his head.


He finally moved up a little when he started taking a dust bath.




I guess it was Friday when a big tag axel Holiday Rambler, with a Florida tag,  backed into the site right next to us.  I didn’t think anything of it, but Al mentioned that an old dive club friend had that kind of coach and wondered if it could be him.  “Sure Al, that’s the only HR tag axel in Florida.”

I didn’t think much of it, but Al kept watching to see if it was our old friend Ron.  We didn’t see anybody, and wondered if they had gone somewhere and just left the coach there. 

When we were leaving Sunday morning, who should walk out but our old friend Ron Harrell.   YEP, it was him staying right in the site next to us.   I should have listened to Al.  If that wasn’t enough, our other  old dive club friends Joe and Sherry, were just a few sites up!  We visited with them for a few minutes, but had to get down the road.  We felt bad that we missed the chance to see them.  

We had a long 77 mile drive on Sunday.  It was a little breezy, but nothing too bad and we made it safely back to Quail Run Rv Park.


As always, we plug our Progressive Industries voltage and surge protection into the site pedestal and check it before we plug in the coach.


Unfortunately, it showed a problem at the pedestal with high voltage.  We called the park handyman.  He is not a fan of the surge protector systems and always thinks they are faulty, rather than the park pedestal.  The last time we got an error code, and he said it was probably our surge guard, it turned out to be the pedestal.  He had to eat his words that time.   He did check the  pedestal and said it was fine. 

We were still in doubt, given his distain for the surge protections systems, so Al plugged the surge protector into two other sites and it again gave us error codes.  At this time, we were pretty sure it was the fault of the surge protector.  There was some moisture showing up in the readout.  We called  but we called them (on a Sunday) and got a call right back.  It turns out there is some moisture showing on the readout.

We called Progressive Industries on a Sunday, and got their voice mail for emergencies.  We left a message and a few minutes they called back.  They asked right away if we had moisture in the readout, so we’re assuming they had some problems with that.  We told them we did, and they said to send our surge protector back, and they would fix or replace it….at no charge.

This will actually be the second one they will be sending us.  Our first 50amp one was damaged due to a bad pedestal at a state park, and they sent us a new one right away.

That’s the kind of customer service we like!   So….if you have one of these portable units that sits outside, you might want to check the readout and look for moisture.  

We are sitting here watching the weather up north.  We’re glad we left Georgia, because they have freezing rain and a possibility of 2 inches of snow.  Although we wouldn’t have minded seeing some snow, I don’t think we’d want all the freezing rain.

The cold front will be reaching us, with some heavy rains predicted tonight and then cold weather tomorrow.  I think we can stand the cold though, since we lived through 17 degrees in the mountains.

We should have a sunny Thanksgiving day but the temperature is only supposed to be in the 60’s. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Bad Start to the Day


Dunnellon, Florida  ( high 81, low 53)

On Thursday, we drove over to the headsprings part of the park, here at Rainbow Springs State Park.  The campground and the headsprings are in two separate areas. 

The campground is along the river, but there are no waterfront campsites.  You can launch a kayak, or swim in the river.

They have a nice kayak launch, complete with a guard.

kayak launch Rainbow Springs


It’s much prettier over at the head springs area.  You walk in, and look down onto the beautiful spring fed river.  It’s quite pretty, but  I accidently deleted my photos, thinking that I had down loaded them.

We were here in October of 2011.  If you’re interested in more information about the campground, or the springs and river, click here.

I am reposting a few pictures here from the previous blog, so that you can see just how beautiful the area is.  We’ll probably get back to the springs today.

Rainbow River

rainbow river1


The water was so clear, that it looked like air.


After we got back home, we spent some time outside on our nice patio area, reading and watching the birds.

There are a lot of Towhee here at this park.  Someday, I’ll get a better picture.


We saw this tiny little bird.  Not sure what he is and haven’t taken the time to look him up.



On Friday, we had the unpleasant job of moving to a different site, after only two nights on site 22. We liked the site pretty well, and we had pretty good privacy, but you could hear and see the road from behind our site.  Site 21, which is where we actually were supposed to have been, was a much better site.

We just had to move a few sites down, so site 16, but when we thought about moving, we wished we hadn’t decided to extend our stay. 

We took a walk around the campground in the morning, and on the way back, as we walked by our next door neighbors site, we heard a loud metallic sounding crash.   We heard some voices, then a female was saying “help, somebody please help.”   Of course, we started over, but their two dogs were barking and warning us away.  They said, “the dogs won’t bite.”  

Once we approached, the dogs calmed down, and they didn’t bite.

It turns out somehow the awning arm fell down and the man got his finger caught between two sections of the awning arm.   He was feeling dizzy and afraid he was going to pass out from the pain.    Al got a screwdriver and somehow pried the metal pieces apart allowing him to get his finger out.   It turns out his wife was a nurse.  She thought she should take him to see a doctor.  I looked up a couple of emergency clinics nearby, gave her directions, and they took off.

While they were gone, we showered, read a while, then decided we’d better get packed up and move to our new site.

It’s much easier packing up when you only have to move down the road, and we got the coach moved fairly quickly. I was working inside, and Al was outside hooking up the water and sewer.  He came in saying a few choice words, holding his head, and bleeding like crazy.

It turns out he managed to crack his head open on the slide out….again.  We really need to get some of those swim noodles before he kills himself.

The wound was about 1 1/2 inches long, but it didn’t look too terribly deep, but it bled a lot.  We put ice on it to stop the bleeding and the bleeding slowed.

We decided to walk back over and visit our nurse friend from earlier, and see what she thought.   We’re not sure of their names, but I think she is Diane and he is Bill (the guy with the smashed finger).

When we got to their site, they were back from the clinic.  His finger was not broken thankfully.  She was up on the roof, and he was working on the awning arm which had become loose from the side of the motor home.

She looked at Al’s head, asked him if he was dizzy or nauseous, then cleaned his wound with saline, then dabbed it with an iodine swab.  She didn’t think he needed to go to a doctor, but advised if anything changed not to hesitate to see a doctor.

While we were there, we helped them with their awning arm.  All that could be done, was to was secure the awning arm to the bracket so that they could travel, since the were planning on heading south.

So, we ended up with two medical emergencies, and each of us was able to help the other one out.  We had been next door to them for two days and only said hello, but ended up getting to know them when there was an accident.

We spent the rest of the day around the house.  Our new site is more private, but a little shorter and sunnier.  Our satellite signal locked on, but we spent the afternoon outside reading.

I’m reading the Stephanie Meyer novel The host.   She is the author of the Twilight series, which I very much enjoyed.  She has some kind of imagination and is an excellent writer.  I know the Twilight series was billed as a teenage book, but I thoroughly enjoyed both the books and the movies.  The host is supposed to be an “adult” novel, and so far I’m enjoying it.  It’s a little difficult getting into it and keeping things straight, but I think I’ll like it.  It was one that I had picked up at the library in the laundry room at Rivers Edge.  When you stay at RV parks, you rarely need to buy books!

Since, we don’t have to move today, we hope to spend most of the day outside reading.  The weather is nice and warm and hopefully will be sunny today.  I just need to keep Al safe!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Back in Florida


Dunnellon, Florida (high 81, low 60)

We left Twin Oakes Rv Park about 9 am (so much for an early start) and drove 266 miles straight south on I-75.   It was cloudy most of the day, and we ran into some rain, but had no problems.  That’s a lot of driving for us in the last two days, so we decided we needed a vacation!  :)

We decided to take advantage of Al’s 50% discount for camping at Florida state parks.   We got a 2 night reservation for site 21 at Rainbow Springs State Park, formerly known as Rainbow River State Park.  We’ve been here several times before either kayaking or diving the beautiful Rainbow River, but have never camped here.

The old campground was close to the river and just one small camping loop.  It was more for tents and small trailers and certainly not big rig friendly.   A few years ago, they added a new and wonderfully designed campground, complete with sewer hook-ups.   The main road is wide and paved, and all the sites are angled for ease of backing in and they are plenty roomy.  When the new campground was first done, there were only a few trees and no vegetation between sites.  There was no privacy.  Due to the weather in Florida, things tend to grow very quickly and now there is plenty of privacy between sites.  I’ll take some pictures today.

We tried to get a few more nights, but unfortunately nothing was available for Friday and Saturday nights, so we decided to just be happy to be able to stay two nights.

We got backed in.  Al hooked up the electric and water.  I worked inside getting things all back to normal.  We were mostly all set up and decided to take a walk down to the river.   

I noticed that there was a RV in the site right next to us.  I thought that was odd, because that site was one supposed to have been empty, and we almost chose that site.

Then a little bell went off in my head.

Remember, I said we booked site 21?   For some reason, I very expertly directed Al right into site 22!   Uh-oh!

Of course, we couldn’t have noticed it before we got all settled in.  It wouldn’t have been the end of the world, if we would have had to moved, but we sure didn’t want to.  In our experience with other state parks, they would have just told us to move.

We went right over to the office to see if they could change the site for us.  Normally, we haven’t had good experience with State Park staff being overly helpful, but Ranger Cindy and the volunteer (who’s name I do not know) were more than helpful in trying to change the site for us, so that we didn’t have to move the motor home.   Florida State Parks camping is done with Reserve America, and if someone had booked site 22, we could have been in trouble.  The big problem was that the parks computer was down, so they had no access to the system to know what was booked or not.  Somehow they worked it out and we didn’t have to move.  It’s a good thing, because I think Al might have killed me!   :)

We were all pretty tired last night, and couldn’t even stay awake to watch our favorite shows at 8 pm.  For some reason, even the kitties are always tired on travel days, and as soon as they got dinner, they were all in their beds.

We got up early and I went on-line to see if there were any cancellations for this week-end.  It turned out that there were a few, one of which was on this same row with all nice sites.  We jumped up, threw some clothes on, grabbed the flashlight and went to check out the site.  It’s a bit shorter than the one we’re in now, but it’s fine, so we made the reservation for an additional two nights.  So…..we will have to move on Friday, but at least we’ll be here until Sunday.   4 nights in Rainbow Springs SP…..good deal.

Lots of pictures will be coming.   This is a  beautiful  spring fed river.  We hadn’t planned on kayaking the river but now that we have a few extra days, we may either kayak this river or the nearby Silver River.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Word of the Day


Elko, Georgia (high 64, low 39)

Despite our best intentions of leaving by 8am, we didn’t get on the road until almost 9am.  That’s okay though, we wanted to let all the Atlanta rush hour traffic clear out first anyway.

We both felt pretty good about our coolant leak, but we knew the big test would be when we went down the road a while.

We chose to take the slightly longer route through Ellijay, Georgia, instead of the shorter road over Blood Mountain.

We made is safely through Atlanta, with no problems and fairly light traffic, at least light considering we were in Atlanta.  We kept in the center lanes, to keep away from merging traffic.  It gets kind of interesting when there are 8 lanes of traffic, and lanes being added constantly.

Al kept a real close eye on the thermostat and of course about every two minutes, I asked  “how’s the temperature?”

After a while the word of the day was shortened to “temperature?”  He went from telling me exactly what the temperature was, so saying “good”.   I must have asked 50 times!   Poor Al.

The first rest area wasn’t for almost 190 miles so we didn’t have a good place to stop and check for coolant leaks until then. Something inside me told me to just keep on going and not look for trouble.  :)   I shudder to think what would have happened if we had broken down in Atlanta. 

We had lunch at the rest area then went outside and checked for leaks.  We didn’t see any leaks and the overflow tank was exactly where it had been, so we felt pretty comfortable that we could make it the rest of the way.

We ended up at Twin Oaks Rv Park, just south of Perry, Georgia.  We had a kind of PDD day, as we drove about 235 miles!!!  It is a real nice park, just off I-75.  The nice lady let us to our reserved pull through site.  It was plenty long enough for both the coach and the toad.  We’ve been to some sites where their idea of pull through is that you can pull in forward.  Never mind that your toad sticks out in the road.  :)   I think this will be our rv park of choice the next time we come this way. 

It doesn’t look like we’re going to be able to get into the Cummins shop this week, without sitting in their lot and waiting for them to squeeze us in.  We had hoped to go to the one in Ocala, Florida, but  I guess we will have to make an appointment at the Cummins in Tampa.  The service guy did tell me that coolant leaks are more common in cold weather. 

So, we are working on some fun plans for tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Gotta go.  Someone is having a birthday and I need to buy him a nice dinner.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Still Waiting and Watching


Blairsville, Georgia (high 63, low 34)


It started drizzling yesterday morning, which gradually led to heavier rain that lasted well into the night.  I did get a chance to crawl under the coach before the rain started and checked for leaks. I’m a little lot more flexible than Al, so I am trying to save him some of the crawling underneath.

No little green drops were found, but I felt some dampness near another clamp. Of course it could have been just dew.  I think I may have smelled some coolant when I touched the area, but was not completely sure.  Just to be on the safe side, Al wants to put a double clamp on that hose as well.  Boy, there are sure a lot of hose connections for the coolant.  You would think there would be one in and one out, but we keep finding more hoses, leading to different parts of the engine.  On the plus side, I did get a nice tour of underneath the engine of our motor home.  :)   I didn’t see any signs of rat, mice, or bird nests.

We did manage to find some of the off brand rescue tape that was the better quality, so Al will tape up the new area before he puts the other clamp on. 

We are planning on heading south tomorrow.  It looks like we should have a few good weather days. 

We have some extra coolant on hand in case we need it.

Paul, of  PDD fame, sent us a very helpful link from RV Cruzer,  regarding what types of coolants you should use for a diesel engine.  It explained in fairly simple terms why regular automobile anti-freeze was not to be used in big diesel engines.   If you have a diesel engine, I would recommend you read the post.  Thanks so much Paul, for the excellent link.

The home page of the RV Cruzer webpage, has some very good information not only on diesel engines, but rv travel, modifications, and much more.  There was a good article on installing MCD shades.  After reading it, I now think we could do it ourselves.  Check it out.  It’s a good web page for RV’ers.


Our hearts go out to the victims of the tornados in Illinois. I sure was glad it didn’t come this way, but I kept a close eye on the weather last night.  Later in the evening, some of those storm bands started heading this way.  I didn’t go to sleep until I was sure everything was quiet.  We got about 2 minutes of strong winds, and then it was gone.   Thank goodness.


Thanks to all of you for your advice on our little leak.  We’re hoping we have it resolved and that is is over kill, but we’d rather spend a few bucks on clamps and tape than a new engine.  We’ll be watching the temperature very closely.


****  Pete and Jean****   I didn’t get an email from you and I couldn’t find your email address.   Can you re-send it?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Watching for the Green Drip


Blairsville, Georgia  (high 65, low 53)


We’re watching the weather since there is a possibility of a tornado outbreak today in the Midwest.  We are expecting to get some of the storm front here in Georgia, but it is not predicted to be anything severe.  (hopefully)  Of course, being the weather wienie that I am, I will certainly keep an eye on things.   No storms will sneak up on us!   :)


Thanks for all the advice, tips and well wishes on yesterdays post.

I really think the cold weather may have caused some of these problems.  Jo Beth said her Dad says it often happens to his tractors after a cold spell, and if I remember right her Dad owned/owns a John Deere dealership.  Thanks JoBeth, that makes me feel much better.

It just reinforces to me what others have mentioned and that is to check all nuts, bolts, and fittings periodically and tighten them as needed.

So….yesterday,  Al crawled under the motor home and saw what he thought was where the leak was coming from.  He tightened a loose bolt and we bought some more of the Wrap it repair self-fusing silicone tape.

We had a few rolls of this stuff that we had bought at the Tampa RV show, and it’s come in handy a few times.  It is wonderful stuff.  It sticks to itself, it stretches, and it holds up to very hot and very cold temperatures.  We didn’t have much of the stuff from the RV show left, so we went to O’Reillys Auto Parts and picked up one roll of a similar product.  It seemed to be even thicker than the old stuff we had.  It worked great.  Al wrapped all around the pipe and then he put on a second clamp.   We let it sit and still got a few drips.   Crap.

We went back to O’Reillys Auto Parts for some more tape and another clamp.  We planned on getting a few rolls, but they only had one roll left.  It was the same as the first roll we had gotten from them.

This is the stuff we got.   Part number 82110.  No mention of it  being made in America, right?


We we went across the street to Auto Zone to pick up another couple rolls.  Overkill maybe, but better than being on the side of the road.

This is what we got.

It looks the same, right?

Notice it says proudly “Made in USA.”

The part number is the same, everything appears to be the same.


Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same stuff at all.  It stuck to itself (notice the stuck piece I pulled off).  It tore when I tried to unstick it and it was wayyyyyyy thinner. 

In other words, it was junk.

We had also found some more of what appeared to be the same type of self-fusing tape at Home Depot.  


It’s supposed to seal under water, plumbing, high pressure hoses, and in extreme hot and cold temperatures.

Guess what?  It was the same thin crap that we just bought. 


Fortunately, we found another roll of the stuff we had previously gotten at the RV show.  I distinctly remember the guy there telling us that other places sold this stuff, but it was not the same quality.    He was absolutely right.  I will go online and order some once we get back to Tampa.

Rescue Tape is the stuff that we had from the RV show.  We will definitely buy some more.   Al has used if frequently on water hoses, the metal spray wand on his pest control gun, and many other things.

Welcome to Rescue Tape    Main   Rescue Tape


Anyway, Al worked on the leak, and he thought he had it fixed.  He didn’t find a bad hose, and thought the loose connections were the main problem. 

He was getting a little tired of crawling under the motor home, so I volunteered to go and look for leaks.

I was disappointed to crawl under and see the tell-tale little green drop.  It was on the bottom of a hose and not near a connection.  I felt the hose and examined it as well as I could.  I didn’t feel any damage so it made me wonder what was above that little drop.  Mind you, I know nothing about engines, so I don’t know which hoses lead to which part, but when I looked up directly over the little green drop, I noticed another little green drop.  

This drop was near another connection that apparently is another place the coolant travels through the radiator and engine.  I pointed it out to Al and he had to crawl under again.  : (

He found another loose heavy duty hose clamp.   He tightened it, we wrapped it in more tape and hoped for the best.  We started the engine, ran it a while and saw no leaks.  We turned the engine off, waited a half hour and checked again.  No more drops.

This morning, we checked again and saw no green drops.

So….our next step is to go have Sunday Brunch at the all you can eat buffet, then we will start the engine again and see what happens.  It could be that we have the problem solved, or it could be that we have taped up a leak that will eventually start to leak again.

We’re sure hoping it’s solved.

We have some extra anti-freeze and will keep a real close eye on the engine temperature as we drive. 


I have another question for all you experts out there.  According to our Cummins engine manual, we have to use their anti-freeze.  It has to have the correct additives in it….blah blah blah.   When we got the anti-freeze changed at Lazy Days last year, they apparently used Zerex brand anti-freeze and we have about a gallon of that left over, all mixed up and ready to add.  Al asked the guy at O’Reilly’s and he sold him another Zerex type antifreeze that was supposedly okay for Cummins and Cat diesel engines, with all the additives.  You just need to add the water.

Al thinks I’m being paranoid, but noting knowing nothing about these diesel engines, I worry that we’ll put the wrong anti-freeze in and blow up the engine. 

If we use this anti-freeze that says it has all the additives needed for a diesel engine, will we be okay?   Unfortunately, Cummins is closed until Monday, or we would call them.

Al has changed anti-freeze and radiator hoses on many cars, but a diesel engine is so different, and he doesn’t want to do anything to cause additional problems.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Houston, We Have a Problem


Blairsville, Georgia  (high 62, low 54)

The weather warmed up, but of course that means another cold front is approaching bringing rain, and possible thunderstorms on Sunday.


We had planned on leaving today, but we had a problem yesterday that we’re hoping is not going to turn into a big problem.

We started the engine so that we could use the onboard air compressor to inflate the tires.  We had just aired them up a week or two ago, but the cold weather shrinks the air and our tire monitor was going off alerting us to low air pressure.  If you check the air pressure when it’s 70 degrees out, you get a much higher reading then if it’s 20 degrees.  We have been told if you’re in colder climates, you need more air, and then if you head south to warmer climates, you might need to bleed a little air out.  It sure makes it difficult deciding how much to inflate the tires.

Anyway, after letting the engine run a few minutes while Al aired the tires, we noticed a coolant leak. That tell-tale green fluid.  Uh oh.  This is not good.

It wasn’t a lot of coolant, but of course any coolant leak is worrisome.

Al tightened a few clamps that were a little loose.  He was thinking due to the cold weather, maybe the rubber hoses shrunk a little causing them to become loose.  Or they just vibrated loose over time.  We were hoping that would solve the problem, but later on we ran the engine again and still saw a few drops leaking out.

Al crawled underneath the coach and thinks it is coming from a hose near where the clamp is attached.  We are unsure what to do from here.  There is no reliable truck or diesel repair shop in town that we would trust.  The nearest Cummins repair shop is a long way away.  Do we try and patch it and hope for the best until we can get to a Cummins dealer?   Do we have it towed?  (that could get real expensive).   We have Coach Net roadside assistance, but they will only tow you to the nearest place that can fix the problem, and we would prefer a Cummins dealer.

We went into town and got another clamp and some of that silicone tape that stands up to heat.  Al thinks he will try to put the tape on, then put another clamp on along with the main clamp.  He was thinking of trying to replace the hose, but the hose has a nearly 45 degree angle, so you would need a special hose.  Plus, when I was reading in our manual, it mentioned the system must be filled properly to prevent air locks.  So we don’t think Al needs to be tackling changing a hose.

There are no cracks or holes in the hoses that he could see, and the hoses look to be in good shape, at least as far as we could tell.

So….here we sit, trying to figure out what to do.  Any suggestions or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

By the time we got a new clamp and the tape yesterday, it was too late in the day to start working on it, plus it was raining.   He will work on it today and see what happens.

Once Al puts the clamp and tape on, we will need to make a decision on what to do.  If it quits leaking, we’ll probably head south on Monday.  It might be a good idea not to travel during the week-end.

The good news is that the weather should be nice all next week.  The other good news is that we noticed the leak before we pulled out.  The bad news, is we’re so far away from a good diesel repair facility.

The joys of having a home on wheels.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

We Saw Atlanta


Blairsville, Georgia  (predicted high 56, predicted low 29)

My Weatherbug app on my phone has missed the mark on low temperature predictions.  It was supposed to “only” get down to 23 degrees last night, but when it was 24 degrees at 8 pm, we knew it was going to get much colder.

When we reluctantly got out of our warm bed this morning, it was  17.8 degrees!

This was  supposed to be our last extremely cold night, but who knows.

After the sun came up yesterday morning, it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day.  The sky was blue, and the air was crisp.

We had been wanting to go back to Brasstown Bald (the highest peak in Georgia), because we were told on a clear day you could see the Atlanta skyline.  Cold weather makes for clear skies.

We didn’t get a very early start, but took the drive over to Brasstown and found mostly bare trees at the higher elevations.

bare trees on road to Brasstown Bald

This is the view as we approached Brasstown Bald yesterday.

Brasstown Bald

This is how it looked in August.

Brasstown Bald

This next picture is how it looked a few weeks ago.

Brasstown Bald

It turned out that the cold air did make it more clear and we could actually see the Atlanta skyline, which is about 80 miles away as the crow flies.

Here is the view we saw.   Atlanta is there.  Can you see it?

Brasstown Bald, Atlanta in distance

You really needed binoculars or a good zoom lens on your camera. 

Here it is with my “stalker” lens on my little Canon.

Atlanta skyline from Brasstown Bald 

You can just make out the Atlanta skyline.

Atlanta skyline from Brasstown Bald


We have been wondering if this area would still be pretty once the leaves all fell.

We got our answer yesterday.

Yes.  It’s still beautiful.



I believe this is Lake Chatuge.


This is a nice little campground that we haven’t been able to find yet.

Campground at Fodder Creek near highway 288

Here is the same campground a few weeks ago.


It was a little chilly up on the top, but look at those blue skies.


This is a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the view…..on a warmer day.


This sign was something we haven’t seen a lot of. 


Mt Yonah

panoramic from Brasstown Bald

We are still dragging our feet on when to head south.  Now we are thinking of leaving Saturday.   I hope we haven’t made a mistake, because now they are predicting a 20% chance of rain on Saturday, with increasing rain chances on Sunday.  We’re trying to pick the best weather, with the least amount of Atlanta traffic.


I got a comment on yesterdays blog, reminding us to use the diesel engine heater before starting the engine.  We never even thought of that.  We looked at our manual and it said we would need to warm up the engine, if the temperature was 15 or below.  It looks like it will at least be in the 40’s Saturday morning, so we should be okay.

My question for all of you with diesel engines.  If you try to start a cold diesel engine, will it just not start, or will it damage the engine if you try?   At what temperature do you turn on the engine heat?   How long do you need to heat up the engine, or do you just plug it the night before you plan on starting the engine?  I assume you don’t need to do that unless you intend on starting the motor.   Our manual wasn’t very specific.

Thanks for the reminder Gin.  We’re not used to cold weather and never even thought of it.

We were talking the other day, and had to laugh that we may need to run the heat when leave here.  We almost always run the generator and house air conditioner, but have never had to run the heat!  This might be the first time.

While I’m asking questions.  Have any of you had any problems with the black or fresh water tank freezing?  We disconnected the hose overnight, and are using water from the fresh water tank.  The black tank is almost full, and we left the gray tank valve open. There is a heater in the in the wet bay and we turned it on.  It’s pretty warm in the house, but we did leave the cabinets open under the sinks.

Is there anything else we should be doing?   We’re certainly not used to weather this cold.   Any suggestions or tips will be appreciated.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Record Breaking Temperature


Blairsville, Georgia (high 47, low 23)

It got down to 18 degrees this morning.  Not exactly record breaking for this area, but record breaking for us.  We haven’t seen this kind of temperatures since we lived in south Georgia.  

We survived the night, snuggled under our electric blanket, but it was hard to crawl out of bed this morning.

There were about a dozen birds waiting for Al to bring out the feeders this morning.  He takes the feeders in at night to prevent attracting any bears.   Now the birds seem to be coming form everywhere.  We’ve seen more varieties this morning then we have all summer.

The farmers finally harvested their corn and soy beans during the past few days.  The deer liked the soy beans, and our local bear spent every night in the corn field.  We feel really bad for them.  We assume the corn is being used for feed, because it has been brown for months.  The bears will have to find another source of food.  Poor things.  I was hoping they were going to leave some for the wildlife.  Should have known better.

We finally got the cabin ready for winter.  We figured we had better winterize the washing machine, which was a new one for us.  Although the cabin in well insulated, we didn’t want to take a chance on having anything freeze up, so we spun out all the water, and drained all the hoses.  For good measure, we ran some RV anti-freeze through it as well.

The water heater in the cabin was a different issue.  For some reason, previous owners plumbed the water heater by running PVC  pipe out the drain valve of the water heater, directly into the sewer.  So there is no way to open a spigot and drain the water and flush out the tank.   That made it a challenge to get the water out of the water heater and pipes.  Al ended up using his little wet/dry vac to blow water into the water spigot outside, and when we opened the pressure relief valve, the water flowed out.   I’m making note of this here, so that we can remember how we did it next year.  :)    We’re hoping the water is all out of the pipes.  I guess we’ll know next summer.  The people we bought this lot from never winterized the water heater and didn’t know how to drain the water.  Evidently the first owners are the ones who came up with that creative way to install the water heater.  The people we bought it from never had a problem, so perhaps the way it was plumbed allowed the water to drain from the pipes.  We were more worried about the pipes than the actual water heater.

It’s amazing how settled we got here during the past three months, so now we’re having to move back into the motor home.  The longer you are at one spot, the longer it takes to leave.

Al just got the hot tub drained and covered, so the big things are done.  The golf cart needs to be moved into the shed on the other lot.  We bought a trickle charger to keep the batteries charged. 

We are thinking of leaving tomorrow (Thursday), but Al is kind of voting to wait until Friday.  It will be a little warmer Friday morning for the last minute preparations like hooking up the toad.    Whatever day we leave, we plan on unhooking everything but the power and being ready to go with as little outside prep to do as possible.   We wanted to leave on Sunday, but since rain is predicted, we decided to leave earlier…….  I guess we’ll see how it goes today.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Treasure Hunting


Blairsville, Georgia  (high 64, low 40)

Yesterday was a beautiful day, with sunshine, blue skies and no wind.  It only got into the 60’s, but it felt warmer and we enjoyed being outside.  Those kinds of days are becoming more rare.   We’re hoping today will be just as nice, because things will be going downhill tomorrow with predicted temperatures down to the low 20’s.  We usually are a few degrees colder than what is predicted, so we may even see some teens.  There is a 30% chance of snow, and we’re hoping for it.

Yeah, it’s getting cold here, and people wonder why we haven’t left for Florida already.   It was a really HOT summer in Florida this past year, and even though we weren’t there all summer, we got really sick of the heat, humidity, and rain.  Remember, we have lived most of our lives in Florida, so cooler temperatures are a nice change for us.  Plus, it’s nice to know that we can leave here anytime we want, and that warmer temperatures are waiting for us. 

We have been pretty cozy, with our little Source Green Quartz heater (which we love), and our electric blankets (one for us, one for the kitties), and all our warm clothes.  Of course it remains to be seen how we will feel it it gets down into the teens.  :)

Here is a view of our patio table this morning.  Notice the pretty sparkling frost?

frost on deck

This week is being devoted to re-organizing and winterizing things in preparation for our departure, but last week we did some more sight seeing.

We decided to go back to Consolidated Mines, in Dahlonega, Georgia.

Click here if you missed my post on our previous tour of the gold mine.  It’s well worth visiting.

We enjoyed the gold mine tour so much, that I’m sure we’ll go back another time, but this trip was to do some gem mining.

You can buy a bucket of sand with prices starting at $15 all the way up to $100.   We split a $30 bucket last time, but we decided to splurge and get the $100 bucket this time.  Each bucket of sand has the “chance” to find gems.

It’s a lot of money, but we rationalized it by telling ourselves, that since we very rarely go to a movie, this was our “movie money.”   :)

Here is Al searching for treasure.


You do the gem mining and gold panning inside of a building.  We’ve been to a few other places and had to be outside in the cold.  The water flowing through is pretty cold and your hands get pretty chilly, so it’s nice to be inside. 

The gold mine is right below us.  The blue tub was was our $100 bucket filled with sand and gems???

Would we find any treasure??

Here is our stash taken about 2/3 of the way through. The box on the right is where you put the sand. You put it down into the water to wash the sand away and find your stones.

The box on the left were my treasures.  We kept our stashes separate. :)

gem hunting at Consolodated Mines, Dahlonaga Georgia


The big blog in the top right of the picture is a big chunk of amethyst.  These were Al’s treasures.

gem hunting at Consolodated Mines, Dahlonaga Georgia


We ended up with 5-6 large garnets, sapphires, a few emeralds, lots of quartz, rubies, a piece of petrified wood and lots more.

We ended up with 6 plastic bags full. The small bag on the right front was the stones that could be cut.

gem hunting at Consolodated Mines, Dahlonaga Georgia

The emerald I got was a pretty good size stone.  They have gem cutters on the  premises, and I was told I could have it cut into a nice stone for about $300.  Yikes!   I think I’ll just admire it like it is.

I don’t know how much of this gem mining is set up and how much is real, nor do I want to know. I do know they get their stuff from North Carolina.  Every bucket seems to have gems in them, so I’m sure there is a little “preparation.”  We don’t care, we enjoy it and always find lots of pretty gems.

On they way home, we drove by Lake Blue Ridge.  It’s another man made lake formed by a dam.

Lake Blue Ridge

The water was a little low on some parts of the lake, don’t you think?

Lake Blue Ridge

I couldn’t believe how high the stilts on this house were.  Anything to get a better view, huh?


house on stilts

I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if any of that ground eroded?


Some trees are really getting bare.

bare trees 

There is still color in a lot of areas.

fading fall foliage

view of Mt. Yonah.

Mt Yonah

The grass around our RV park is brown, but some areas have the most beautiful green pasture grass.


This is one of the back roads where we ride our golf cart.


This is a dilapidated old building we see along one of the golf cart roads.  Now that the leaves are falling, it’s a little easier to photograph.


Remember this beautiful tree in our front yard?

our lot at Rivers Edge Rv Park, Blairsville, Georgia


Here are those same leaves now, laying in the grass.  You can’t even see the grass for all the leaves.

our yard with fall leaves on the ground

Today, we will drain and winterize the hot tub, but we plan on getting in one last soak.

I guess I’ll let Al drain and winterize the washing machine too.  Boy….am I going to miss that!