Monday, August 24, 2015

It’s Been a Difficult Week-end


Blairsville, Ga (high 82, low 58)


First of all, I want to let you know that we got lucky and our boat was NOT one of the 54 boats broken into (out of 180+ in the storage facility).  Apparently, they were looking for high end electronics that are more permanently mounted in the larger and fancier boats. Another advantage of owning a small boat, I guess.    Now, if we can get through another hurricane season unscathed.


Al had a really bad week-end.  The prescription he had for prednisone pills did wonders to help with his poison ivy/rash until he finished the script. With the prednisone, you start out taking 6 pills the first day, then taper it down until you only take one the final day.  About half way through the course, he started feeling worse.  The poison ivy seems to be clearing up nicely, but he has been getting terrible hives on his back and chest. 

We have come to the conclusion that something else other than poison ivy was bothering him. It seems to me the poison ivy triggers an allergic response to other things, like it makes him hyper sensitive.  I  changed laundry detergent and rewashed everything but he still kept having outbreaks of this horrible rash. We also changed soap and shampoo, but so far that hasn’t helped either. It would get a little better then all of a sudden it would flare up again.  It seemed to get worse at night.

Friday night was terrible.  The itching was so bad he got very little sleep.  Saturday wasn’t much better, but Saturday night the itching was much, much worse.  Neither of us slept much. I was afraid he was going to draw blood. It was driving him crazy.

We decided to go the the walk-in clinic on Sunday because we didn’t want a repeat of Saturday night.

The Nurse Practitioner we saw had dealt with a lot of poison ivy and allergies and she agreed the latest problem was from some sort of allergy and not poison ivy.  She gave him a steroid shot, another dose of prednisone and a prescription for the itching that is stronger than Benadryl.  He felt better and was able to sleep well last night.

She suggested he keep a daily journal with everything he puts into his mouth or on his skin.  It will be difficult to figure out what is causing this allergic reaction, and a diary is the only way.  We know he will be fine for a few days while on the prednisone, and we’re hoping to figure it out.  He takes a few supplements, like Glucosamine, fish oil and magnesium. He is eliminating them and then we’ll add them back one  at a time.


He had a few good days last week, so we took a drive down to Helen, GA and look for a little country store that we had heard about.

On the way, we discovered Cool River Tubing and Zip Lines.  They offer tubing on the nearby Chattahoochee River, but also zip line, rock climbing, and aerial adventure courses. 


The aerial obstacle course looked like a great time for kids especially.






It looks like a really fun place, both for kids and adults, but more geared for kids I think.


Al wasn’t feeling great so instead of climbing he decided to smell the honeysuckle.


We left there and finally found the Old Sautee Store that we had heard about.


It had quite an interesting history dating back to 1872. One of the previous owners was from Norway and started to import specialty cheese from Norway.   Apparently, they do quite a business selling Farmer brand cheese. 

The front part of the store was kept as it was and it quite interesting.


My favorite thing was the nickelodeon, which still worked and played very beautiful music. 



We took it easy today, since Al isn’t feeling great. I guess this allergic reaction he is having is what’s making him feel bad, at least I hope that is it.  

Here are some pics from recent golf cart rides.

The deer were in the field and decided to cross the road in front of us. We stopped to let them pass and they kept their eyes on us, but finally got brave enough to dart into the woods.





It’s not quite like a sunset over the Atlantic, but it’s pretty nice.


Our bird feeders are really busy.



One of the unpaved mountain roads we ride on in the search for the elusive bear.


How about this nice house in the woods.


Our sister Rv park.  Everything is so green because of all the rain we’ve had.




This guy was munching in the soybean field. 


I finally got him to raise his head and look at me.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Burglary, Peaches, Poison Ivy and Rain, Rain, Rain


Blairsville, Ga  (high 78, low 68)



Since we’re in the Peach State, we have access to some really good peaches and great prices.  There’s nothing quite like Georgia peaches, so I decided to make a peach pie, so I cut up a few peaches and got to work.




Poison Ivy

Al continues to suffer from poison ivy.  Most people do not realize  how miserable this is. It itches, blisters, weeps, and spreads.  He feels horrible internally as well and is afraid to touch anything for fear of spreading the rash. According to what you read, it  cannot be spread by touching the rash, but Al strongly disagrees.  From his experience, if he touches clothing that has touched the rash, it spreads to the area where it has touched.  Before we learned that washing clothing once was not good enough, he could put on some clothing that he hadn’t worn for a year and get it started again.

He has gotten worse and finally decided he needed a prescription for Prednisone.  Fortunately, his Tampa doctor called in a prescription.  He only takes Prednisone as a last resort, and he was at that point.

Here is the rash on Tuesday.  We thought it was starting to clear up.

poison ivy, Al

On Wednesday, it got worse.  It was “weeping”, spreading, and becoming darker red in color.  

poison ivy, Al

poison ivy, Al

We have spent a fortune on gauze trying to keep it covered and away from his clothing.  I have washed everything he touches every day, at least twice.  Thank goodness for my big washer and dryer we have here. He has quite a few other rash areas, but the leg seems to be the worse.



Sorry about the disgusting pictures.  I decided to take some pictures to document how bad he is and to help determine if there is any improvement.  He has started feeling better since taking the Prednisone.  I hope that continues when the 6 day dosage is finished.

We have come to the conclusion that we both have to stay completely away from any dogs around here.  Dogs like to come up and say hello and most of them jump in the golf cart with us.  That is where this problem started this year.  If a particular dog doesn’t get into poison ivy, it’s  almost certain they have been around another dog who has, and with Al that’s all it takes.

We have some friends coming down in October and their little dog Toto loves Al and loves to sit on his lap. That’s going to be a problem because Al loves Toto too!



Last night I was reading Facebook and just happened to read an article from a Key West newspaper.  The headline caught my eye when it said there was another big rash of boat burglaries in the lower Keys.

I wasn’t too worried at first but when I read it was at BLK Storage on Big Pine Key, my heart sank.   That is where we keep our boat.

54 boats were burglarized.   Many had lower units stolen.  We are worried about that since we have a brand new motor.

The canvas tops and covers were slashed so that they could get the expensive electronics inside.   Our electronics were not in the boat, but no one would know that until they slashed our cover.

It happened over the week-end and we’re hoping since we haven’t heard anything yet, it was good news.  I guess we’ll know this morning.  Wish us luck.

We just spent $300 on a new boat cover.  I sure hope it wasn’t slashed.

canvas boat top with bad seams

Fortunately, we have comprehensive coverage on it with only a $125 deductible.  As a previous insurance adjuster, I know the importance of being honest with the insurance company, so I made sure they knew the boat would be used and stored in the Keys.   I am sure there are many others who look for cheaper rates and don’t tell the insurance company where their boat is stored.  I fear many will be having some problems when they try to file a claim.

Wish us luck!

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Day of Firsts


Blairsville, GA, (high 82, low 68)


Rain was predicted yesterday, but all we got was a lovely nice cool day with some cloudiness. 

We puttered around home yesterday, planting some flowers, blowing the deck and doing laundry.  I’m doing a LOT of laundry lately trying to wash off the poison ivy from Al’s clothing. Every time he wears something,  if I don’t wash the clothing several times, it seems to cause him more problems the next time he wears those clothes. According to the research we’ve done on the internet, poison ivy doesn’t spread from touching or clothing, but we don’t believe it.  Maybe you have to be hyper-sensitive to it like Al is but it sure seems to spread on him.  The patch on his leg is growing despite all the care he has given it.  Last night, I thought he was getting better, but now I’m not so sure.    I’m sure glad we have our big washing machine in the cabin. It would take forever to double and triple wash everything with my little machine in the motorhome.

Our new renters arrived from Maggie Valley, NC yesterday.   I knew they had a Toy Hauler, and I knew it was a large one, but I never knew exactly how large.

We advertise our Rv site to be big rig friendly, but when I saw the size of their rig, I was a tad worried.

It’s a 46 foot 5th wheel toy hauler!   I never knew they made them that big.

Here they are unloading the motorcycle.

46 Foot toyhauler

Ready to back in.

46 Foot toyhauler

The only casualty was the new 911 lot signs that the county insisted on putting up for the police and fire departments. 


46 Foot toyhauler


46 Foot toyhauler

Dan did an amazing job backing that monster into the site.  It’s a beauty, isn’t it?

46 Foot toyhauler

Welcome to Rivers Edge Janice and Dan!  This was the first time we’ve had a rig that large and now we know if they can fit, than no one else should have any problems!  We’ve done well renting the extra site out this year. It’s been booked solid since June and we only have a few weeks vacant in September. 


I started my new thru-hiker book yesterday and sat outside under the awning reading.  This true story was written about a hike in 2008 which was the same year the guy in my last book did the AT.  I was sure surprised when I recognized one of the characters (hikers) from the last book! Everybody who hikes these trails gets “trail names” and I remembered hiker “Padre” from the last book.  It was like meeting an old friend!


After hanging around home all day, we decided to take our usual evening golf cart ride searching for the elusive bear.  We didn’t see a bear, but we found something almost as good.

Last week we took our other renters Mike and Lisa out on the golf cart.  When we went over this rickety bridge over the stream, she noticed this wood and said it looked like a beaver had chewed it. 




After we rounded the corner, inside the farmers garden which was surrounded by an electric fence, sat this handsome guy.


Our first Beaver sighting.   We have never seen a beaver in Florida. Al Googled them and found there are some beaver in Florida, but we sure have never seen one before.


We noticed where he had been making his dam.


We were thrilled, but evidently they are seen around here often, so no one else was too impressed.  :)


We continued our ride until it was pitch black outside, but never saw that darn bear.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

My Addiction


Blairsville, GA (high 82, low 60)


I’m sitting here in my recliner with my furry robe on and a blanket on my legs.  It was a nice 60 degrees overnight.  We are loving this cool weather.  Soon, we will need the heat, I’m sure.

Yesterday was a lazy day.  Al is zapped from the poison ivy and the Benadryl he has to take.  He has a big patch of oozing poison ivy on his leg and a few other smaller patches in different spots on his body.  Poor guy.  He’s so sensitive to the stuff and no matter what he does, he seems to get a bad case several times a year.

We did manage a trip to the all you can eat buffet and we wandered around a few shops in town.  We came home and had a nap.

The campground had an ice cream social yesterday and bingo last night. We skipped the ice cream (might have something to do with the fact that we’d been at the all you can eat buffet) but we made it to bingo.  I won a $25 gift certificate at a new seafood restaurant in town.  Al usually wins at bingo, but last night it was my turn.


Our previous renters left yesterday.  I had been a little worried their big rig would fit on our site, and still have room for the 4 slides and awning.  It turned out that they fit just fine, don’t you think?


Rivers Edge lot 53

We have some new people coming today with a big toyhauler.   Sure hope they fit.  :)


I finished my 2nd Appalachian Trail thru-hiker book. I seem to be addicted to these stories. Each one I’ve read is so different and with a totally new perspective.  I really enjoyed  “Hiking Through” by Paul Stutzman and was sad when I finished.  I  would recommend it to anyone who is interested in reading about thru-hiking.  It’s amazing what they go through to do this very difficult hike of roughly 2180 miles that takes months to do. They encounter rain, cold, snow, heat, blisters, near starvation, loneliness, extremely strenuous climbs and still they go on.  I love to read these books, but I have no desire to hike that trail. It’s too tough for me. It seems a common thread is that they have lost a loved one and go to heal.   Sherry told me about a new book about a guy who hiked it with his 8 year old son.  I’m not sure how I think about that.  It seems to me it might be child abuse. I didn’t like the couple Sherry posted about on her blog that had the puppy with them.  Dog abuse!

The library is closed today and I wanted another AT thru-hiking book to read so I bought a Kindle version from Amazon.  It was only $4.99 so I splurged.  I think I am addicted to thru-hiker stories!  Isn’t it nice how you can search Amazon and have the book in seconds?  I don’t buy many books, but once in a while we do.


We were out on a golf cart ride the other night, doing our usual bear search.  No bear so far, but we do see quite a few deer.

It was getting pretty close to dark when we saw this group of about 4 deer.  The picture was  blurry because it was dusk, but I thought this was a great shot anyway.  They were getting a little frisky.


The following are other photos taken from different golf cart rides.



This is Pete and Jean.  Pete is our electrician friend who so kindly helped replace the 50 amp breaker on our rental site.   Their golf cart is a Cricket.  They can be folded up and I’ve seen them fit in the back of a Honda Crv.  He kept up with the rest of us.


We found a cute wall decoration for the cabin. Isn’t this cute?




We bought two, the larger one and a baby.  They look pretty cute in the cabin.


Years ago, we bought a pair of loppers.  We weren’t sure when or where we bought them, but they took a beating when we owned our 11 acres in south Georgia.  This year, we finally broke them when cutting a large branch.  We figured we’d need to buy another pair, but when we looked at the new ones, Al noticed the tag said they had a lifetime guarantee.  Yay!


They are Fiskars brand.  I went online, filled out a warranty form, sent them a picture of the damaged loppers and a few days later, we had a brand new pair of loppers identical to the old ones (but for the broken handle). 

So, the moral of the story is, if you have any Fiskars products, don’t throw them away if they break!  Great company.  Thanks Fiskars!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Al’s Nemesis is Back


Blairsville, GA (high 78, low 65)


A few days after we got here, there was a lost beagle running around the park.  Several people were caring for him and looking for his owner.  His owner was finally found and he returned home, some 12 miles away.  I wasn’t so sure they deserved to have him back, since he was not neutered, but it wasn’t my decision.   Before he left, he visited Al in the golf cart and left him a nice present of poison ivy.   We have discovered that dogs seem to carry poison ivy from running through it in the edge of the woods or rubbing against other dogs who do. They have enough oil on them to share with Al.  Al is very, very sensitive to it.

So……  Al got his first batch of PI of the season.  He did all the usual things and thought he was getting better, when he started getting a rash all over his body, which kind of came and went from one area to the other.  

It took us a few days to realize that this newest rash was from his recently acquired allergy to regular laundry detergent.  We had changed to the hypo allergenic laundry detergents, but when we got here, I was so happy to have my big washer and dryer back, that I went to the store and got some of the Tide pods that I had used and liked last year (before we realized that was the problem).   I felt so bad that I had caused poor Al to suffer even more.    I have since washed everything again with a hypo allergenic detergent and he is slowly getting better.  He’s had to take Benadryl, which makes him extremely sleepy.  He had a few days of mostly sleeping, but yesterday we did get out and go up to one of our favorite spots.


Here are some pictures from Brasstown Bald mountain, which is the highest peak in Georgia at 4784 feet.  

It was nice and cool mid afternoon.

Brasstown Bald

The dying vegetation in the forests below cause a haze.  Some days it’s hazier than others and yesterday was one of those hazy days.  We always like it up there and have even gone up on rainy cloudy days.   Sometimes you can even see Atlanta which is 90 miles away.

Brasstown Bald

It’s always pretty.

Brasstown Bald

Brasstown Bald



Brasstown Bald


Here is a picture I borrowed from the internet.  I thought it was spectacular.


Today is farmers market today, so if we can get motivated, we’ll be going into town for some nice fresh produce.