Monday, February 28, 2011

Lack Of Appetite

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 50 degrees, high 74 degrees, stormy

Another bad weather front came through the area today, resulting in some heavy rain for a short time. Along with the rain came the usual high winds and tornado watches. Fortunately for us, the tornadoes stayed away, touching down mostly to the north in Tennessee.

We went in to town before the rain came, deciding to go to Mickey D's for lunch. Hey, it doesn't take much to satisfy us. Besides, since I've been sick, food doesn't have any taste for me, so anything more would be a waste. I have found that about all I can eat at Mickey's is the fish sandwich. It has a little taste, at least more than the burgers.

We were going to take s short ride in the country to check out the blooming flowers, but saw that the heavy clouds were about to let loose with a downfall of water. Instead, I stopped at the nearest convenience store and filled up the truck with diesel. Can you believe $3.499 per gallon? Who knows where these high prices are going to stop? I wish our government would stop diddling around and let our energy producers start developing the energy sources in our country. The prices might still be high, but at least the money wouldn't be going to people who hate our guts.

The rain hit us before we got home, and it fell so hard we could hardly see the road. By the time we arrived at home, it had let up to the point that we didn't get wet going from the shop to the house, Then, here came the rain again. It still reminds me of some of the 12" rains we got in Texas, except it doesn't last as long.

Carolyn has a sister in Florida who's husband Monte had quadruple bypass surgery today. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as Monte recovers from very serious surgery.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Reno, Nevada: The Neon Babylon

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sound Of Winter Going Away

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 60 degrees, high 73 degrees, mostly clear skies

This afternoon, the neighborhood was alive with the sound of mowers, weed eaters, and other yard equipment as home owners started the winter clean up of their yards. With the nice weather, people were walking, riding their four wheelers and bicycles, and washing cars to get the winter grime off.

So, what was I doing? Trying to get a little nap whenever I could, since last night was another bad one for me. Carolyn is doing everything she can to help me during this time of searching for what the problem is, and I really appreciate what she does. Thank God that we should have answers by the end of this next week. I've had just about enough of this mess.

I wanted to try to wash the truck today, but Carolyn insisted that I wait until we know what my problem is. I know she's right, but enough of this inactivity.

Instead of doing anything productive, I used the day for a couple short naps, reading, surfing the net, and watching television.

I apologize for the lack of stuff in the blog. When I start feeling better, I'll have plenty to write about. I have a powerful urge to travel built up.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - New York, New York: The Melting Pot

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I Don't Need No Stinkin' Sleep

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 32 degrees, high 63 degrees, clear skies

Just when I thought I would be sleeping better, along comes a night when I only got about an hour of sleep. I was feeling better yesterday afternoon, but when it came time to go to bed last night, I began having problems breathing when I laid down. Up and down all night, I may have gotten an hour's sleep. Folks, this is not fun. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. My hope is that we will finish the tests this coming week and figure out what is causing my problems. I think I have a good doctor, and he is doing everything he can to help me. I'm just about over this.

Since I didn't sleep well last night, my eyes felt like they had sand in them all day. We had to go to the WalMart Mall this morning to pick up a few things, which wasn't fun. Normally, I don't mind going to the Mall, but today was really a task for me.

When we got home from the Mall and had lunch, I camped out in my chair in front of the television. Part of the time was spent napping, while the rest of the time was spent watching some college basketball. Carolyn has not slept well during this ordeal I'm going through, but she managed to get about two hours of uninterrupted sleep while I was watching the games. She said she felt better after the little break.

Only four more days until we hopefully have a full understanding of what my problem is and how to treat it. In the meantime, I'll dream about RVing and traveling.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Red Bay, Alabama: A Friendly City On A Progressive Path

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 43 degrees, high 51 degrees, cloudy early, then partly cloudy skies

What a storm we had pass through here last! Wind to 65 mph, heavy rain, hail, lightning, thunder. It was almost as bad as a summer Texas afternoon shower. Then, to top it off, the tornado sirens went off, prompting everyone but me to get out of bed and gather in the hall. I, on the other hand, turned over and tried to go to sleep. Sleep has been scarce for me for the last two weeks, and I wasn't going to miss a chance to get some. About ten minutes after the sirens sounded, everyone else went back to bed.

I don't mean to sound cavalier about the weather, but I have seen many examples where people though they were doing the right thing by fleeing from bad weather, only to be injured or killed by something else. I will seek shelter if we're in the RV, but there have been very few times that we have had to go elsewhere.

Lori and her family left this morning, on their way back to Texas, school, and jobs. It was really nice having them here this week. The house seemed a little subdued when they were gone. I'm sure we were, too. This modern way of life sucks, sometimes, when families are separated due to economic reasons, like jobs.

In an effort to buck up our spirits a little, we spent the morning cleaning house and washing clothes. The two spare bedrooms are ready for company if anyone shows up.

I slept a little better last night, compared to what I have been getting. How does almost five hours sound? It felt good to me, since that is the most sleep I have gotten in two weeks. Now, if I can just build on that.

This afternoon, I spoke on the telephone to Carol, a long-time reader of the blog who lives with her husband in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area. They are RVers, also, and have chosen to keep their stick built home. I had a great conversation with Carol, and look forward to meeting her and her husband in person someday down the road.

I enjoyed the call, Carol. Again, good luck with the new truck. I'm sure it will do the job for you.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Chattanooga, Tennessee: The Attraction’s Only Natural

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

More Tests

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 58 degrees, high 72 degrees, partly cloudy, windy, light showers early

The warmer weather is stirring up some unrest in the atmosphere, as we are expecting heavy thunder storms tonight, with the possibility of a tornado. Not a good time to be in this part of the country.

I had more medical tests today, but luckily they were performed in Athens, and didn't take long. I still have more to do, scattered over the next week or so. It would be nice if the docs could figure out what the problem is so I can be treated and stop being so uncomfortable.

Today was the last full day that Lori and her family will be here. They are leaving for Texas in the morning, as they get ready to go back to work and school. It has been nice having them here, and we're hopeful that I'll be better soon so we can visit them.

This afternoon, Lori and her family went to Huntsville to visit John's mother, as well as have supper with some of his cousins. I know John has enjoyed visiting with his mother and other relatives.

Tonight, my sister Judy and her husband Roger visited. While they were here. we watched a college basketball game between Florida and Georgia. It was a game that had Florida trailing by as much as 11 points in the first half, but ended with Florida winning rather handily. I think I like college basketball about as much as I like college football. Especially when my favorite teams win.

There's not much going on, as I have said before. I'm trying to get my health straightened out so we can get the RV ready to hit the road. I have a severe case of hitch itch.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Nashville, Tennessee: The Protestant Vatican

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Mexican Restaurant

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 34 degrees, high 63 degrees, partly cloudy skies

I slept a little better last night, getting about four hours. I can remember when I worked that there were many times that I got by with that much sleep for weeks at a time. It's a little harder to do that now, and I really don't want to. I'll be glad when I get back to my normal sleep habits.

This afternoon, our son-in-law John took our grandkids Julian and Zoe for a hike on the hiking trail that runs through Elkmont. Their interest in the hike was sharpened by me telling them what I had found on the trail, including the site of the Sulphur Creek Trestle Battle of the Civil War. As I mentioned in my post about the battle, it was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, with over 200 men dying in the battle. A person would never know now that a battle that bloody took place there. It is very peaceful and quiet.

I would have gone on the hike with them, but I'm still not up to the walk. Maybe next time.

Tonight, we went with Lori's family to a local Mexican restaurant named Casa Blanco in Athens for supper. This restaurant was a new one for us, and it makes three out of three local restaurants that we would eat at again. The food reminded us of the Tex-Mex style of food that is so prevalent in Texas. I had the enchiladas, while Carolyn had a quesadilla. John and Julian had the mixed fajitas, and they said they were very good. Good food and service, reasonable prices, and I'm sure we'll go back.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Fort Worth, Texas: Where The West Begins

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More Tests, Positive Results

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 48 degrees, high 61 degrees, clear skies, breezy

I had another bad night as far as sleep is concerned, only getting about two hours. The doctor was called this morning, and he had me go to the hospital, where I underwent some more tests. Those tests resulted in a change of my medicine. Some medicine has been stopped, while others have had their strength and frequency increased. This is the most positive thing that I feel has happened since I began having my problems last June in Florida. At that time, the doctors added more medicine, with no apparent positive effects. I am hopeful that positive results will be seen quickly. What will positive effects be to me? Just to feel good again, with the energy to do the things that I love to do. Like RV, golf, fish, RV, RV.....

Our son-in law John's mother lives in Huntsville. Her birthday was today, and we shared her special day celebration by having dinner (supper to country folks) with her tonight in Huntsville at the Macaroni Grill. We had a great meal, and enjoyed seeing Mary again. Here's hoping she has many more birthdays just as good as today was.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Aransas Pass, Texas: Saltwater Heaven

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lori And Family Arrived

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 60 degrees, high 70 degrees, cloudy, windy

Lori and her family arrived here early this morning about 0100 hours. Obviously, they were tired after the long drive from Texas, so after a quick hug, they went to bed. Lori was the first one up this morning, as she's always been an early riser. Much like her parents. We got caught up with what's been going on, and then I had to go to the hospital in Athens for more medical tests. By the time I arrived back home, the rest of the family was up and stirring, so the donuts I picked up in town were welcomed.

After lunch, Lori and John went for a drive down memory lane, looking at the places that Lori remembered from the time we lived here in the 1980s. She agreed with us that Athens hasn't changed much in the last 21 years, except for the traffic being worse. It's good to know that some things haven't changed much.

Carolyn and I went to the WalMart Mall to pick up some things for supper, including a couple of pizzas. Lori's family is vegetarian for the most part, so when they visit, we have to change the way we plan our meals. Tonight's supper consisted of a large cheese pizza and a large supreme pizza, along with a huge salad that Carolyn prepared. Pretty good food.

Shortly after we moved in the new home base, I installed a wireless router so visitors could use the Internet while visiting. Today was the heaviest usage of the wifi signal yet, with four computers online at the same time. The signal worked fine, with no apparent slowdowns. Looks like the plan was successful.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Angleton, Texas: Honor, Heritage, And Tradition

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Getting Better

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 49 degrees, high 73 degrees, partly cloudy skies

Today, I continued my recuperation from the doctor visits and medical tests of the last week. I slept better last night, but better is a relative term, especially when getting four hours of sleep is considered an improvement. I'm hopeful the sleep will continue to improve.

Terri and Thomas were still here today, so we enjoyed having them around. They had to leave late in the afternoon so Thomas can be in school tomorrow. Sure was quiet when they left.

Lori and her family will be here late tonight, as they drive up from Bay City, Texas. I'm sure they will be tired after the long drive, but they can recuperate tomorrow as I go through some more medical tests. I'm hopeful that I'll be feeling well enough to spend some time with them as Lori shows her kids where she lived for several years and graduated high school. Why is it that kids think their parents didn't have a life before they came along?

That's about it for a slow news day from us. The pace will pick up in the next few days.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Missoula, Montana: We Like It Here

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sick, Again

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 50 degrees, high 65 degrees, mostly cloudy skies

Well, this is the first post in three days, and that's unusual for me. Except for being sick or unable to get an Internet signal, I have posted every day since I started the blog. The total number of missed posts now equals about seven.

Why didn't I post the last three days? A little matter of being sick, and having many medical tests performed to try to find the reason. I have been having some problems for a while, and like most people, I waited until I couldn't go any longer before going to the doctor. I had a general idea of what my ailment was, and had an appointment in two weeks to see a doctor for a second visit about it. However, I got worse, and called to see if I could see the doctor sooner. An hour later, I was in his office, being given a barrage of checks and tests. I walked in to the doctor's office, and shortly after, was being moved in to ICU in a wheel chair. How's that for a kick in the pants? I didn't realize I was as sick as I was.

Without going in to too many details, the problem concerns my heart. I remained in ICU all day, and was released late in the evening the same day as my condition stabilized enough so I could go home and be ready for more tests at the cardiac unit of Huntsville Hospital the next morning.

The next morning, which was Friday, I underwent more tests. Some possible reasons for the problems were ruled out, but one test revealed a problem that happened several years ago that I had been unaware of. Luckily, I did not have to undergo any treatment after the tests, and was released late in the day.

So, what does all this mean? I'm not sure yet, as more tests are scheduled, and my doctor will have to review the results of everything that has been done so far. I do know that I don't feel any better. I have a lot of problems sleeping with the symptoms that I am experiencing, so I have gotten very little sleep over the past week. Help for the symptoms will have to wait until we find out what's causing them.

I did find out that apparently my lifestyle habits were a plus as far as preventing worse damage to my heart. But..... Like many men, I put off going to the doctor when I should have, often finding a reason for what I felt, or rationalizing why I didn't need to see a doctor, when perhaps I should have. You can bet I won't do that again.

Sometimes, getting sick brings unexpected bonuses. Our daughter Terri and her son Thomas, who live in Tuscaloosa, were going to visit next weekend. With my stuff going on, they decided to visit this weekend. It's great to have them here. Then,
our daughter Lori and her family will be here tomorrow from Bay City, Texas so Lori see for herself that Dad is okay. That touches me deeply. We were planning to go to Texas in a couple of weeks, but with what I'm going through, we may have to put that trip off for a short time.

So, that catches up what we have been doing. It's not nearly as much fun as RVing.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Beaufort, South Carolina: 300 Years Of History By The Sea

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Leaks Stopped

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 50 degrees, high 69 degrees, cloudy until about noon, then clear skies

We allowed the toilet repairs from yesterday to mature overnight. After breakfast this morning, I checked to see if the repairs had held, and found that we had no leaks inside the house. The next check was under the house. I crawled under the house and had Carolyn flush the toilet several times. Again, no sign of a leak.

But..... As I was cleaning up everything and putting the tools away, Carolyn brought my attention to a verrrrrry slow leak for the hot water side of the guest bathroom lavatory faucet. Since I was already in the repair mode, I took the faucet apart to see what I needed for repairs. Then, it was off to town to find the parts.

My first stop was at Lowe's, but 30 minutes of checking what they had was unproductive. The next stop was at a local plumbing supply store, where they had what I needed. The parts seemed a little pricey for no more than what it took to do the repairs, but at least there is no linger a verrrrrry slow leak on that faucet.

After lunch, I rested for a short time, almost falling asleep. Rousing myself up, I got the new hedge clippers and extension cord, and started trimming some long neglected shrubs in front of the house. I asked Carolyn to look at the trim job as I went so I could get another set of eyes on what the job looked like. With her help, I got all of the shrubs but three finished. I'll finish those tomorrow, plus clean up my mess. And, I'll probably do some pruning on a couple of trees in the front yard.
And, see if I can talk Carolyn into giving my hair a little trim. As thin as my hair is getting, it doesn't take much to trim it now.

Tonight, a local restaurant was having a seafood special for senior citizens - meaning old folks - that was a good enough deal that we went to it for supper. For the money, it wasn't bad. Plus Carolyn didn't have to cook, and I didn't have to was the dishes. Winners all around.

This house stuff is getting too much like work. We need to take a trip.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Clemson, South Carolina: Biggest Little Town In South Carolina

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Toilet From Hell

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 32 degrees, high 62 degrees, partly cloudy skies

I got a good reminder today of why we enjoyed not having the responsibility of taking care of a house for several years while full time RVing. The home base we recently bought was in good shape when we bought it about three months ago. That means it had new paint, new carpet, new wood and tile floors, all new appliances, new heat pump and air conditioner, and just about anything else that could be replaced. So, there wasn't much for us to do to the house since we've been here.

That is, until yesterday. I wrote in yesterday's post that we had to do some repairs to the guest toilet when I discovered that the wax ring seal was faulty, allowing water to leak on to the ground in the crawl space.

I discovered this morning that the washers around the bolts holding the tank to the toilet were allowing a small leak. Deciding that it was best to put new parts in, I took the tank off the toilet, which involved removing bolts that were so rusted that I couldn't use a screw driver for help. Instead, I had to use vice grips to hold the bolts while I removed the nuts from the bottom of the bolts.

Finally, the bolts were removed and I wen to town to get more bolts and a wax ring to reset the toilet so the leak in that area would be stopped. As might be expected, the wax ring replacement was uneventful, and that problem seems to be resolved.

The installation of the tank bolts was not as easy as it might have been, since the directions included in the hardware package gave the wrong sequence of parts for installing the bolts. In other words, the directions said to use a metal washer inside between the tank and the rubber washer included to prevent leaks. Following the directions resulted in a worse leak than we had to start with. So, I followed my instincts, which I should have done to start with, and removed the metal washers, leaving the rubber washers to stop leaks. Success!!

Now, the toilet is sitting there with water in the tank, waiting for me to check it tomorrow to see if any other leaks show up. My fingers are crossed that the problems are fixed.

I know this was what seems to be a long, drawn out explanation of an issue we had today. My relating it was to remind myself that we don't want to get too complacent, just because we have been in a house for a couple of months. Things can and do go bad in a house, just like in an RV. However, for some reason, it seems easier in the RV when something needs to be repaired. It could be that I stay on top of repairs in the RV, not allowing things to get to the point that it becomes so difficult.

I'm ready to get back out on the road.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Reedsport, Oregon: Gateway To The Dunes

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 35 degrees, high 65 degrees, clear skies

The weather was the best today that we have seen in about three months. We'll have more cold weather before winter is over, but maybe there won't be any more snow.

The warmer weather encouraged us to do a few housekeeping chores outside that had been put off. Carolyn said she had been hearing what sounded like a leak when she washed dishes, but we couldn't find any evidence of it inside the house. The house has a crawl space that's easy to get in to, so I crawled in there to see if I could see the leak. After looking for several minutes with the water running, I couldn't see any leaks. What I think she heard was a drip from the drain line out of the kitchen sink that was hitting a 45 degree elbow drain where the line comes out of the wall and goes under the house. Further looking didn't find any sign of wet or rotten wood, or any wetness at all. I think I can cross that little job off.

The next little problem was evidence of a slight water hammer when the toilet in the hall was flushed. Looking this issue up on Yahoo gave me several tips on how to fix it. But, there is a bigger issue that we didn't know about before today. When the toilet is flushed, water leaks by the seal and runs out on the moisture barrier on the ground. I took the toilet apart and found that the wax ring had been installed improperly, allowing the water to leak. I repaired the issue with the water hammer, but I'll have to get a new wax ring tomorrow so I can repair that item. At least we don't have to use that bathroom, since we still have the master bath available.

So far, those are the only problems we have found in the new home base. We've got our fingers crossed.

I had hoped to trim the shrubs in front of the house, but ran out of ambition before I got to that. Maybe tomorrow, or the next day. If the weather stays nice.

I had to go in to town to run a couple of errands this morning. One place I needed to go was to the library so I could drop off some books and checkout more. What I didn't know was that the library doesn't open on Monday until 1300 hours, and I was an hour early. Not wanting to wait an hour, I went home. Again, maybe I can do it tomorrow.

Carolyn made a really nice chicken salad for supper, along with garlic bread and Romaine lettuce salad. Pretty good stuff.

If this nice weather keeps up, I may go get the RV and start getting it ready to travel. I know I'm ready to hit the road.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Las Vegas, Nevada: Capital Of Second Chances

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lewisburg, Tennessee

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 25 degrees, high 60 degrees, clear skies

Could spring possibly be on the way? Today was the warmest day we have seen in about four months. The same is forecast for tomorrow. Maybe we can do a little puttering in the yard.

I was feeling better when I woke this morning, and Carolyn was getting a little bored sitting at home. So, we decided to take a ride north of here up I-65, then back south on US 431 to see if there was anything interesting.

About all we saw worth noting (it still is winter) was a lot of ice hanging off the rocks next to the interstate. Of course, the route goes through some beautiful countryside, but we're getting a little tired of seeing nothing but different shades of brown.

We drove about 45 miles north on the interstate, then turned east, going through several little towns, including Lewisburg. The Tennessee Walking Horse Association is based in Lewisburg, and it made our day to pass by a place where a rider was putting his Tennessee walking horse through it's paces. Sorry, I couldn't get any pictures.

Lewisburg is the county seat of Marshall County, named after the first chief justice of the United States, John Marshall. here's the obligatory picture of the courthouse. In case you haven't figured it out yet, I like to read about the history of the places we visit.

After leaving Lewisburg, we drove south on US 431 to Fayetteville, where we took Tennessee 110 to Ardmore. There was a reason for going through Ardmore that I didn't tell Carolyn about. Since it was my turn to pick a place to eat out, I wanted to try a local Mexican restaurant that looked interesting. Plus, it was always busy when we went by there. So, that indicated to me that the locals liked it. I was willing to give it a chance.

When we got in to Ardmore, I asked Carolyn if she was ready for lunch. She said if we can a place to try. I suggested the Mexican restaurant, reminding her that it was my turn to pick. She went along with the selection, so we pulled in.

The restaurant is named El Olmeca, and was named after the Olmec culture of Mexico. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted and escorted to a table, where our waiter showed up about ten seconds later. Our orders and were quickly taken, and then we had a chance to look around. Wow! What a visual experience, with rich, vivid colors dominating the decorating, along with heavy wood chairs and tables.

The food was very good, but the one thing that convinced me these folks know what they are doing was the salsa and chips. The salsa had the right amount of spiciness and heat, and the chips were just right for dipping.

When we were leaving the restaurant, Carolyn said that was a keeper, indicating that I made a good choice, and she wouldn't mind going back. Well, good enough, I'll take that as a compliment. Now, I'll look for an American family style restaurant to try next. Who knows, maybe we can stop using the chain restaurants as much as we do.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Lewisburg, Tennessee: The Center of South Middle Tennessee

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Battle of Sulphur Creek Trestle

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 21 degrees, high 52 degrees, clear skies

We enjoyed eating out with Judy and Roger last night, but I must have gotten something that didn't agree with me. I was was under the weather all day, staying in my chair and watching television most of the day. I did get up enough ambition to go to the old railroad bed walking trail so I could try to find where a Civil War battle took place in 1864.

As soon as I was on the trail, I saw an interesting twisty tree. I wonder what made this tree get it's twisted shape?

Another interesting thing I saw was some old power line poles that had apparently been left in place when the trail was being built. I wonder when these old poles were installed?

Black walnut trees are becoming hard to find as people clear land or cut them down for use in furniture. I found some of the trees today, including some of the nuts on the ground.

When I got to the site of the Sulphur Creek Trestle Battle, located about 1.25 miles from where I started walking, the first thing I saw was the creek. There wasn't much to it, since it was only a few feet wide. The railroad was an important supply route for the Union Army, moving supplies from Nashville to Athens and Huntsville. A Union fort was in place to protect the railroad and trestle. In 1864, the Confederates attacked the fort and took it after a battle of several hours. This battle was the bloodiest of the Civil War in Alabama, with over 200 men being killed.

At this time, the location where the fort was located has a modern, large home located on it. I wonder if they know the significance of their home's location?

Here's what the creek looks like. Not much to it.

That's about it from here. I hope I feel better tomorrow.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Virginia City, NV: History For The Taking

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Released From Doctor

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 14 degrees, high 40 degrees, clear skies

I thought the warmer weather in the afternoon would make me more inclined to get out outside and do something in the fresh air. Nope, no ambition at all. It's going to have to be warmer than 40 degrees to make me feel like things are warming up.

I had to make another trip to the south part of Huntsville to see the doctor who operated on my wrist almost six weeks ago. The bad part of the trip is going through the traffic mess in Madison. It seems like once I'm through there, the traffic in Huntsville is nothing.

When I saw the doctor, he said the wrist was doing as he expected, and I was not going to have to go back to see him again. At least for that particular problem. I'm having some problems with that hand going numb and hurting at night, and he diagnosed the problem as carpal tunnel syndrome, which I had repaired on the other hand. At this time, I can stand the numbness and pain, but the doctor said if it gets worse, to give him a call and he'll do surgery on it. You can bet that I'll have to be hurting bad to call him. Not that I'm afraid of the surgery, but maybe it'll get better over time. Am I optimistic that it will? Well, no, but I need a break from surgery and doctors.

While I was in Huntsville, Carolyn did some more housekeeping, since I was out of her way. I do my best to keep her from doing anything that might cause her a problem with her vertigo, but I can't stop her if I'm not around. As expected, the vertigo flared up after lunch, so she was down for the count until late afternoon.

We met my sister Judy and her husband Roger for supper at one of the chain restaurants. I know it was my turn to pick a local restaurant, but this particular restaurant was having a seafood buffet, and Roger said it was good. We'll try anything once (almost).

The food was good, but I have found as I get older that buffets of any sort tend to hurt me worse than I can hurt them. I can remember when I would get my money's worth from a buffet. Not anymore. Now, I think I actually lose money on them. The food was good, but I couldn't eat nearly as much as I might have at one time. That's okay, since we enjoyed supper with Judy and Roger.

By the time we got home, the food lethargy had kicked in, and it was a struggle to stay awake until the normal bedtime. The television programming didn't help as Friday night seems to be our least favorite night for television. I'm going to have to set up the television and computer so we can receive Net Flix or something like it.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Andrews, North Carolina: The Little Town With The Big Heart

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Snow, Cleaning, And A Banjo

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 21 degrees, high 33 degrees, clear skies

The little snow storm that passed through here last night only dropped a little over an inch of snow, but it was enough that the local schools were out again. These kids up here will be going to school until July to make up their snow days.

So, how did an inch of snow cause the schools to be closed again? The snow mostly fell after dark, and it froze on the roads. That made it dangerous to drive on icy roads, so I feel the authorities made the right decision to miss another day. Can you imagine the uproar if a school bus had wrecked on an icy road, and kids had gotten hurt?

The sun came out brightly about 0900 hours, and by 1300 hours, the snow was gone except where it was in the shade.

Carolyn went on a cleaning tear today, and it was all I could do to hang on as she pulled me along with her. She did the dusting and mopping, while I put stuff up in better places and vacuumed. Part of the house is closed off, since there's only the two of us, so it doesn't take that long to do the cleaning. Still, when Carolyn gets on one of these tears, the best thing to do is just go along and help so it will be over as soon as possible.

After lunch, we decided to go for a drive down another country road, but didn't see anything of particular interest. The countryside continues to be beautiful, even with it's winter coat on. Some of the trees are starting to get little leaf buds, so spring should be around the corner. Temperatures in the 50s are forecast by Sunday, so maybe we'll get a break from the cold.

When we started fulltime RVing, Carolyn got rid of many things that she liked to use in the kitchen. There's only so much room in the RV, and it made more sense to get rid of stuff than to store it. This past week, I ordered two items that she has been missing a lot, a potato ricer and a banjo slicer. The items arrived today, and she is tickled with them. I wonder if she has any good stuff planned to prepare with the new tools?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Columbia, South Carolina: The Magic City

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

USB wifi Adapter

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 22 degrees, high 35 degrees, cloudy, breezy, snow

I wanted to continue my good health efforts of the past few days with my walks, but decided to check the weather before setting out for another trek. Good thing I checked, because when I was planning on going out, the wind chill was in the low 20s. I learned my lesson yesterday, when the wind chill was in the high 20s, and I could hardly talk when I got home. That meant no walk today, but at least I didn't almost get frost bite.

Instead of the walk, I puttered on the computer some, finding that the internal wifi card was not working correctly. Actually, the switch turned off on it's own, and nothing I did fixed the problem. I went to the HP website, but all I found there was plenty of other HP users with the same problem. Apparently, there is a problem with the software, and HP has chosen to ignore it. They will allow you to ship the computer back to them so they can fix it, but the cost is more than a new computer. Many of the frustrated users installed an external USB wifi card that bypassed the internal wifi card, so wireless signals can be received. The cost was much less than what HP wanted to charge, by a factor of about ten.

So, I drove into town and picked up a USB wifi adapter and installed it in the computer. The installation was fairly easy, even for a non-geek like me. When I attempted to connect to our router, I discovered that the router was not working correctly. I did some poking around and troubleshooting, but it still didn't work. Eventually, I gave up for the day. I may have to reinstall the router, but that's a last resort.

The snowfall started today about 1540 hours, and the area is expected to have accumulations of about three inches. Carolyn says she's sick of the snow. I don't mind the snow, and believe me, it's better than an ice storm. The snow shouldn't last on the ground more than a couple of days, as the weekend is supposed to be sunny.

The rest of the day was spent like a typical cold winter day - reading, surfing the web, television, etc. Someday, the weather will warm up enough for us to bring the RV home so we can get it ready to travel. I know we're ready to hit the road.

More later, be safe,

Today's Town - Cuero, Texas: Turkey Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Elkmont, Alabama

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 24 degrees, high 40 degrees, cloudy until noon, then mostly clear skies

Hoping to build on my attempt to be healthier as evidenced by my long walk yesterday, I bundled up and went on another walk today. Big mistake! The wind was blowing, but didn't seem to be blowing that hard. But, it seemed that no matter which direction I was walking, the wind was still in my face. I toughed out the cold wind, but when I got home, I could hardly talk because my lips felt frozen. If I had taken a minute to check the temperature, I would have waited until the afternoon to walk. When I got home, the wind chill was down to 24 degrees. Sheesh! That's just too cold for these old bones.

About lunchtime, Carolyn asked if I wanted to go to town for lunch. Well, I didn't mind going to town, but I wasn't really wanting to eat at one more fast food restaurant. Instead, I suggested meat loaf sandwiches. She said that was a good idea, and that she had forgotten about the meat loaf. The sandwiches were very good, and probably better than anything we could have gotten in town.

We still went in to town after lunch, and stopped at a thrift shop operated by a homeless persons shelter. We have been looking for a side table for the couch in the living room, and thought there might be something there we could use. As might be expected in a place like this store, most of the stuff was old and wore out. We found one table that might have worked, but we thought the price was too high. Heck, we could probably buy a new one for what they wanted. Maybe we'll check the furniture store where we bought the couch.

When we left the thrift store, we took a ride down another of those many country roads in the county. Eventually, we ended up in the little town of Elkmont, which is where our address is located. We live about two miles away from Elkmont. I decided to take some pictures of the downtown area. Now, you need to understand that Elkmont is well off the beaten path, and you have to want to be going there to get there.

I have written many times about how much we like small towns. We think they are the backbone of the country, and are the most likely places to find evidence of the American values that we grew up with. Life is a little slower, people have time to stop and talk, and the American flag is flown. Front porches are still used for visiting and watching the traffic go by, high school football is the biggest thing around, and most people have a back yard garden. They remind us of our younger years.

This first picture is of the Elkmont train depot. The trains stopped running years ago, and the tracks were removed and the right of way converted to a walking trail about ten miles long.

These next two pictures pretty much sum up what downtown Elkmont looks like. None of the stores are used any more, except for a small gas station/convenience store around the corner.

This next picture is of the old railroad bed, which has been converted in to a walking trail.

Most of the houses in town are older and modest. There are a few newer homes, and a new post office was built to accommodate the people moving in to the surrounding area.

So that's Elkmont, but could be many other little towns that we have visited across the country.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Tupelo, Mississippi: Birthplace of Elvis Presley

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Garbage Day

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 34 degrees, high 45 degrees, cloudy skies, scattered rain showers, windy

Just as I was turning over in the bed and thinking I would get another half hour of sleep this morning, I realized that today was garbage day. Putting the garbage out is one of my jobs, and once that little bit of reality nosed it's way in to my sub-conscious, there was no chance of more sleep. Carolyn would have taken the garbage out if I hadn't gotten up, but I can't have her doing my job. After all, this marriage is a union.

Since I had gotten up a little earlier than usual, I went a little farther with the madness by taking a walk of almost an hour in the cold, windy weather. Fortunately, I'm able to dress warmly for this type of weather, but today was the first time I've walked in about a week because it has been so cold. I guess it really was madness that had me out there this morning. I can't promise I'll do the same thing tomorrow.

Once I got back from the walk, I spent about two hours recuperating from the infrequent exercise and cold. Then, I went to town to pick up a couple of things at Lowe's and a few groceries at the grocery store. We are fortunate to have a Lowe's here, since the closest Lowe's or Home Depot elsewhere is about 20 miles away in Madison. I'll do just about anything to avoid going to Madison because of the traffic.

While I was at the grocery store, I saw that they had fresh collard greens. We have been wanting some collards for a while, but everything I found until today was always old and wilted. The ones I found today were fresh, and there are plenty of them for a good pot full. I got them home too late to prepare today, but they will be cooked tomorrow. Good eats coming up!

Before I came home, I stopped at the library to get more books to read. Even though their choices seem a little limited, I still keep finding books to read. We're going to be traveling before too long, so we're saving our personal books to take in the RV with us. Also, when the weather warms up and people start having yard sales again, I'll be buying books for traveling. Some of our best books were found in yard sales or purchased at libraries all across the country.

One of my favorite foods is meat loaf. We hadn't prepared that in some time, so we decided that the meat for supper was going be meat loaf. I prepared the meat loaf, while Carolyn prepared potato salad and green beans. Not bad at all, and plenty left for tomorrow.

Did you hear about New York Times columnist Paul Krugman blaming global warming for the Egyptian riots? That's strange, I thought the riots were because the people wanted the old regime out and democracy or something like it in it's place.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Asheville, North Carolina: Land Of Apples

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ruby Tuesday"s

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 24 degrees, high 50 degrees, mostly clear skies

The sun was shining today! Will wonders never cease?

The sun made us want to get out a little today. Carolyn has been wanting to go to Ruby Tuesday's in Athens, so we went there for lunch. We were lucky to get there before 1100 hours, which means that we just beat the lunch rush. If we had been 30 minutes later, we would have had to wait for a table, or found another place to go.

It has been years since we last ate at Ruby's, so we didn't quite know what to expect. As I have said before, I'm not a fan of these chain restaurants, preferring to try the local places in an effort to find the gems that make you want to go back. However, sometimes, I have to go where Carolyn wants so I can keep trying the local places. So, don't be surprised if we try a local place soon.

When we went in to Ruby's, it was just as I remembered. It seems all these chain places are the same, no matter where they are located. A little brass, some greenery, dark wood, music playing in the background (I have no idea what was playing because it was so quiet), some kind of patterned carpet on the floor.... I think you get the idea.

Since it had been so long since our last visit to Ruby's, we took a few minutes to look at the menu. They were really pushing their brunch menu, but it's hard for me to order something that can't make up it's mind when it's supposed to be eaten. After looking over the menu and realizing that it contained no semblance to what I remembered from the last time, I looked through it until I found the sandwich section. Aha, this is more like it. About the only thing I found that I wanted was a bacon cheeseburger.

I have to say that the hamburgers were cooked perfectly. Carolyn will only eat meat that is dead, Dead, DEAD!. That means it has to be charred to a semblance of what it used to be. I, on the other hand, like my beef to be cooked medium rare. As I said, both of them were cooked exactly as we requested, and mine had just a touch of pink. The burgers were very good, as were the fries, and the drink glasses never ran out. The service was outstanding. We brought about half the food home, since neither of us likes to eat a lot for lunch.

Will we go back? Carolyn says yes, so I guess we will. First, though, we're going to a local place. It's my turn, now.

After eating, we took a short ride on one of the numerous country roads that we hadn't been on before. I guess if we live here for another ten years, we might go down all the roads. When we got home, the weather felt warm enough outside that I cleaned up the shop where I park the truck. I had thoughts of cleaning up the truck, but got over that when I saw that rain is in the forecast for tomorrow. No need in doing work that will be wasted.

The Super Bowl has dominated the sports news for the last few weeks, I don't know about everyone else, but I'm glad it's finished. By the way, who won? But, who cares?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Miami, Florida: The Magic City

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

More Snow Today

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 28 degrees, high 33 degrees, cloudy windy, snow flurries

The weather was supposed to be warmer today, but guess what? It didn't warm up, and the snow was totally unexpected. The cold weather story continues.

With the weather being what it was, we stayed inside until the afternoon, when we went to my sister Judy's house to visit with her and her family. We had no sooner gotten in to the truck and started it up when Carolyn asked if we really wanted to leave the warm house. I told her the truck would warm up quickly, so toughen up. Actually, I didn't say the last part of that sentence, because things would have probably gotten rather warm, right there in the truck.

Our visit with Judy and Roger was enjoyable, with some good joking and laughing going on. Their daughter Traci was also there, so we saw the entire family in one visit. We made plans to get together for supper at a local restaurant in the next week or so.

On the way home, we stopped at Publix to pick up one of their excellent deluxe sub sandwiches for supper. At one time, I could have eaten the entire 12 inch sub, but now I'm lucky to eat half of one. The store was busy, as it usually is, so it took about 30 minutes to get served and out the door. But, the wait was worth it, as the sub was very good. Roast beef, ham, turkey, pepper jack cheese, and all the trimmings. Yum!

I have some RV blogs and discussion pages I check out every day. Yesterday, i happened across a discussion about a family that was looking for help in thawing out their holding tanks, which had frozen. The family and their RV are located in Oklahoma, which has been catching it in this latest bad weather. It appears the sewer hose had frozen, and then shattered, so it was not usable. Then, the black water and gray water tanks had frozen, and possibly ruptured. Apparently, the roads are not passable, so they can't go get repair parts. Then, there seems to be a matter of low finances restricting what they can do. With everything going on, this family seems to have found the perfect storm, at least for them. The wife of the family is ready to chuck the RV lifestyle and move back in a house. I have to say that with everything that has happened, they might be better off in a house. At least they would probably have plumbing that worked.

It's too bad these folks are having the problems they are going through. It's probably a safe bet that there will be one less RVer on the road.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Ada, Oklahoma: City Of Pure Spring Water

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Little Ice

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 30 degrees, high 38 degrees, cloudy skies, rain most of the day

The weather didn't get as bad as was threatened here. That is, until about daybreak this morning, when the rain started and ice began forming on the trees. We didn't get out all day, so we don't know how bad the roads were, but people were in and out of the neighborhood. So, I guess conditions were not too bad.

About mid-afternoon, the ice in the trees started melting and the rain stopped. The temperature is forecast to be below freezing tonnight, so if the roads are wet, there will be ice on them tomorrow. We'll stay home until the sun gets up and melts the ice.

Since this was an enforced stay at home day which we expected, we did the usual things when the weather is bad. Did a little reading, watched a little television, surfed the web, watched some television, checked the weather, looked out at the ice on the trees, fretted about whether the power would go out (it didn't), surfed the web..... I think you get the idea.

I do have some pictures to share tonight that we took previously. This first one is of an old railroad trestle no longer being used that crosses the Elk River a couple miles north of us. When I see scenes like this, I often wonder when it was built, what the circumstances were that caused it to not be used anymore, what happened to the people that built the trestle, and so forth. The bridge is located just north of Veto.

This next picture is of an old house that was probably being used until what looks like a fire occurred. The house is located in the middle of no where, also north of Veto, and just inside Tennessee near Prospect, so it was probably owned by a prosperous farmer long ago. Don't you just love the names of these towns? Actually, they are not even towns. Neither of them have any businesses, just a few houses. I think the best thing they have going for them is their names.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Dahlonega, Georgia: The Heart OF Georgia Wine Country

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Columbia, Tennessee

Elkmont, Alabama

The weather gurus here are making noises about bad winter weather coming over the next 2-3 days. When most folks hear bad weather is coming that might keep them housebound for a day or two, they make sure they run to the grocery store to stock up on food. And toilet paper. What do we do? We get out and take a road trip so our travel bug doesn't get too bad while the weather keeps us in. So, today's trip took us all the way north to Columbia, Tennessee.

Our route led us through Pulaski and up US 31. We went up that way because we saw on the map that there was a town named Waco, and thought that was unusual. We had not heard of another town with that name except for the one in Texas. Well, when we passed through Waco, we didn't know it, even though we were looking for it. A little disappointed, we decided to go another 15 miles to Columbia.

As soon as we arrived in Columbia, we started looking for the courthouse so I could get a picture. Here's the required picture of the Maury County Courthouse, and the building is still being used.

Most of the buildings around the courthouse square are used by lawyers.

The temperature was 28 degrees while I was out taking pictures. Look at the ice on the Peace Fountain, just across the street from the courthouse.

Columbia has a population of about 34,000 people. The town was settled in 1808 as the county seat of Maury County, which was formed in 1807. The area has many old homes, and has been the setting for several movies. The headquarters of The Sons of the Confederacy are located here. James K. Polk, the 11th president of the United States, was a native of Columbia, and his ancestral home is open to the public.

The Duck River flows through the town, and has over 50 species of fresh water mussels and 151 species of fish, which makes it the most biologically diverse river in North America.

By the time we discovered all the facts listed above and took pictures, it was late enough that we decided to head back home before the threatened bad weather hits. On the way, I stopped and picked up some milk, because you're supposed to buy groceries when bad weather is coming. Right?

Let the bad weather come. We scratched the travel itch a little, and maybe even built up a little resistance. For a day or two.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Columbia, Tennessee: Mule Capital of the World

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Old Houses

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 22 degrees, high 32 degrees, partly cloudy skies, windy

We didn't stir out of the warm house until 1100 hours, when we drove in to Athens to find a new place for lunch. Since we're not moving right now, we don't eat out as much as we used to. When we do eat out, we try to find a new place that we haven't been to before. Today's choice was a quick seafood type of place that was advertising Wednesday as Senior Day. They had something like 15 different meals that were $4.99 each, including a drink. That caught my eye (naturally!), so we pulled in to check it out.

Carolyn had shrimp, cole slaw, and fried okra while I had fried fish, french fries, and cole slaw. It may not have been outstanding, but what can you expect for $4.99? We've had much worse meals for a lot more money, so it worked out.

After eating, we drove out one of the numerous country roads in this area. The temperature at the time was about 30 degrees, but it amazes me the number of people we see up here out side with shirt sleeves and no coat on. I look at these people and start shivering. I grew up in the deep south, and when the temperature gets below 60 degrees, I start looking for more clothes to put on. How do these people stand the cold?

On our drive, we saw the first water fall that we've seen in Limestone County. Granted, it's not much of a water fall, but it'll do.

Many years ago, this area was much less settled than it is now. During our rides, we have been finding old houses and barns, and wondering what kinds of stories they would tell if they could talk. We found a couple today that the type and location tells a little about why they were located where they were. This one was placed on the south side of a hill for protection from the wind. In addition, the south facing location helped with warming in the winter. Just behind the old house was a creek, which may have been used for drinking water or watering crops.

This next old house just looks forlorn to me. Abandoned, forgotten, breaking down...

Eventually, we made it back home for some meditation and napping. Late in the afternoon, I attempted to take a walk, but the cold wind drove me back inside before long. Just in time for supper, which consisted of breakfast - scrambled eggs, thick bacon, and pancakes. Ummmm!

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Tampa, Florida: Cigar Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cold, Wet, Rainy

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 45 degrees, high 52 degrees, heavy clouds, rain, strong winds gusting to 35 mph

Today was not a good one to be out and about. Yet, I did go into town to the bank and library. This cold weather means we're reading even more than normal, because it's just too cold to do much outside.

Sitting in the dining room and looking out at the cold, gray, rainy, windy day (how's that for a number of adjectives to describe a cruddy day?), I couldn't help but think of how nice the weather was when we visited Big Bend National Park last winter. The weather at that time was just perfect, with clear, warm days, low humidity, and cold nights that made you want to snuggle under the covers. This weather makes you want to snuggle under the covers, too, but that's where the similarities end.

I was intrigued by the stories I had heard and read about Big Bend, but knew better than to go there in the summer. Carolyn would have probably pulled a mutiny on me if I had insisted on going when it was hot. Even though I'm the captain of our ship, it is with the understanding that Carolyn allows me to claim that title. Just kidding!

In addition to the park, I wanted to see what the town of Alpine was about. Can you imagine a town in Texas with the name of Alpine? My research made me want to go even more, because I couldn't miss seeing the Alps of Texas.

One other thing I wanted to see was the lights of Marfa. I had heard about these mysterious lights for a long time, and wanted to see them, if for no other reason than to say I went there and saw them.

I have to say our trip to Big Bend, Alpine, and Marfa was outstanding. Big Bend was much more than I expected. Located at the end of long, lonely roads, this is one of the largest national parks, yet one of the least visited. The highlight of that visit was the Chisos Basin, a paradise located in the desert.

We stayed in Alpine for about a week, and I came away from there with a much greater appreciation for the area and the people who live there. If it wasn't so far from everything, it would be just about the perfect place to live in Texas. Of course, that isolation might be what appealed to me so much.

Marfa was more than the mysterious lights. Sure, people go there to see them, but how many people knew that the movie Giant was filmed there? Plus other films, as well. The night we saw the lights, I thought I would freeze, it was so cold. And just beyond the viewing area for the lights was an old army air base that we couldn't see until I looked up the area on Google. As far as the lights are concerned, we saw them, and have no explanation for them. It wasn't weird or scary, but it was interesting.

Are you starting to get an idea why we love to RV so much? It's memories, experiences, going places we've never been, meeting people we wouldn't have, and doing it in our own little house on wheels.

I can't wait to get back out on the road.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Alpine, Texas: In The Alps Of Texas

Not all who wander are lost.