Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Long Drive to Atlanta - For Groceries!

Yes, it's true. From Birmingham (Pelham, actually) to Atlanta is about 150 miles. Today, my friends, Carol, Shirley, and I made that trip for the specific purpose of grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. The hardest part of the trip wasn't the long time on the highway, it was getting out of the Birmingham area at morning rush time. I'm sure glad I don't have to deal with that kind of traffic on a daily basis. Jim decided to skip the trip today and so it was just the girls on the day trip.

I had never been to Atlanta before today. I've changed planes a few times at the airport there, but today was my first visit to the city itself. The Midtown Trader Joe's was not hard to find, and actually was fairly convenient to the interstate.

Here's a view of the skyline from the car. Thanks, Carol, for driving today!

Trader Joe's is my favorite small grocery. They carry many organic items, and many low-cost Trader Joe brand foods. I was looking specifically for some granola-type snack bars that are Weight Watcher "point" friendly, and are under $2.00 per box. They did not have the specific bars I was looking for, but they did have a similar bar for the same price, so I'll try these. They also carry a great salsa, and I picked up several jars of that.

Another item they are well-known for is their store brand, Charles Shaw blend wine, commonly called "2-buck Chuck". It's just a little more than $2.00 these days, but still under $3.00. And, it's a pretty good wine.
The stores are colorful and fun, as well as very clean.

We also like a lot of their frozen and fresh food items, but since it was such a long drive, I passed on them today. We'll hopefully be able to shop at some local Trader Joes' later on this summer and fall as we make our way down the west coast.

After the three of us shopped all the store aisles, we piled our bags in the car and started shopping for a place to have lunch before heading back to Birmingham. We ended up at a Mellow Mushroom, which does have more than just pizza. We all had salads and a half sandwich that was excellent.
The drive back went very well, and we ended up the day at Carol's house, where we had dinner. Jim did join us at dinner, and then we all went for a walk in her neighborhood.
What a great day!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pool Time - Enjoying the Warm Spring Weather

Saturday was partially a work day. I got the Castle cleaned up inside while Jim did - yep - the laundry. Chores were done pretty quickly though, as we were invited to Carol's house to enjoy some time in her swimming pool. First, though, I made a batch of Caramel Apple Salad and a Weight Watcher's chocolate cake to take with us.

After the cleaning and cooking was all finished, we headed over to Carol's and jumped right into the pool. She'd unintentionally heated the water when she forgot to turn the heater off a few nights ago when we'd all used the hot tub. The hot tub and swimming pool are connected, so the hot water just circulated right through the pool. It felt wonderful to us!

Her son in law, Scott, grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for us all, and we had a great cook out. After dinner, the dominoes came out for a rousing game of Mexican Train. I had terrible hands all night and lost badly! Oh well, another time, another place, I'll redeem my reputation!

Yesterday was pretty much a kick-back day. We walked in the morning and then I spent a lot of time relaxing and reading.

We'd made arrangements to meet Carol & Steve, and Dortha & Mark at Jim 'n Nick's BBQ for an early dinner. This weekend, Dortha & Mark took a week-end break from Red Bay and stayed with her brother, who lives in this area. Dortha's brother, Dan, his wife, Conley and their daughter, Danielle, also joined us for dinner. It was a great time, and lots of fun introducing Carol & Steve to Dan and Conley. Turns out they all belong to the same country club.

We got home from dinner around 6:30 and just settled in for a quiet evening.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fun Friday

Carol picked me up at 9 this morning. Jim decided he would like to have a day to do what he wanted, so he did not join us on the day's outing. I think he worked on some projects, and made a trip to Publix while Carol and I spent the morning in Homewood.

Our first stop was for a lattes and a shared muffin at O'Henry's Coffee shop. This is a local store that roasts their own beans. They can be ordered online, and I think some grocery stores in the area carry them. It's great coffee!

We did some window shopping in the Homewood area and I spotted a Penzey's Spice Store. Carol had never been to Penzey's - she really enjoyed the visit to this little store.

I found a few spices that really need to be in my kitchen, and Carol found a few for her own. We spent quite a while browsing the store, taking advantage of the many "smell sample jars" placed throughout the shop. Our favorite today was the Dutch Process "High Fat" Cocoa. I will be making a Weight Watchers Chocolate Cake recipe with that!

We regretfully left Penzey's and went back to O'Henry's to buy coffee beans before lunch. We both got stocked up on coffee.

Lunch was at O'Carrs - another local favorite. Below is Carol in the center of the picture at our table. There are prints all over every wall, as you can see by the picture!

We each had a variation of the restaurant's well-known chicken salad. Carol had the fruit and chicken salad:

And I had the crackers and chicken salad:

After lunch, we made our way to Veterans Park on Valleydale to walk:

There are many parks in this area with beautiful walking trails. We walked over 2 miles in this beautiful location.

It was time to have a rest, so Carol dropped me off at the Castle, with a promise to be back with her husband, Steve, to pick us up for a dinner out.
We went to a small town, Fayetteville, near Sylacauga, to meet another friend, Gail, and her husband, Danny, at a tiny local Barbeque Restaurant there called The Hog. Gail has lived in that area all her life. Her brother owns a business that makes pallet-building machines, and Gail works in the office.
Here are Steve, Carol, Danny, Gail, Me and Jim in front of the official menu board at The Hog:

Well, I can tell you that I really needed that 2-mile walk today after all the meals out! Another 2 miles tomorrow would be a good idea too, now that I think about it!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fun and Busy Days

We are enjoying sunshine and warm weather in Alabama. And, we're enjoying spending time with friends Carol and Steve. Yesterday morning I attended a Weight Watchers meeting. Yes, I lost a little bit. After the meeting I stopped at Walmart and picked up a few things before heading back to the Castle.

In the afternoon, we gathered some laundry, a chair we were giving Carol and Steve, and some special gifts for their very special grandchildren, and headed over to their house. We visited, I helped Steve groom their dog, and I played with 3 year old granddaughter, Sam, for hours. She and I put puzzles together, pushed each other on the swings, colored in her coloring book, and put more puzzles together. Steve makes a killer pasta sauce, which was the main feature for dinner, along with the pasta, and a salad. After dinner we changed into our swimming suits and got into their salt water hot tub for a great soak. Finally it was time to head home again.

Today, Carol picked us up for a day at the Riverchase Galleria, shopping. We did stop for lunch at the food court, but got right back to the shopping after lunch. While we were there, I made an appointment to get a pedicure next week. We're almost caught up with shopping, although I still have a few more stops to make.

Tomorrow we are going to a special coffee shop, then to lunch, and then for a walk. Sounds like another great day coming up!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Recall Complete - Time to Relax

Last night I slept better than I expected to, parked in an industrial area, pretty much out in the open. Jim was up several times checking things out, but we had a quiet night.

We were up and in the Cummins service office just after 7 a.m. this morning. We were shown to our bay and the mechanic got started right away.

Here is the catalytic converter and exhaust pipe, which they had to take out to get to the part they needed to replace, laying next to our 8 ft. ladder:

Just a few hours later, we had our Castle put back together with the new parts installed, and we were on the way to our destination, the Birmingham South Campground:

We stopped to check in at the office,

And then got parked on site #31:

After we got settled and had our showers, we met our friends, Carol and Steve for dinner at Up the Creek Fish Camp and Grill:

There is even a waterfall and fish pond on the property:

We had wonderful meals. Carol and I both had Tilapia in a bag, and the guys both had fried catfish. After a great visit that included some plans for the time we are here, we headed out.

Carol and Steve outside the restaurant:

On the way back to the rv park, we stopped at a Publix grocery. Wow, that was a highlight - it's been forever since we've shopped at Publix!

I have a feeling we'll both sleep much better tonight.

Monday, April 20, 2009

And We're Off to the Big City!

Finally, the countdown is complete and we've made our way out of Red Bay, Alabama. We took our time this morning. First, we got checked out of the office and got our walking papers to check out of the campground. Then we (read Jim) checked the roof of the motor home to see if yesterday's storm had indeed left us with any damage. This is what looked like towards the end of the storm yesterday. Glenn & Sylvia's motor home is on the left below:

Jim found some bent fins on the air conditioners, and a few on the radiator, but otherwise the motor home is ok. The bent fins can be be fixed easily enough. Mark wiped down the cars and he found a couple of slight dents on both theirs and ours, but not enough to be concerned about. By the time we would contact our insurance and make a claim, we'd end up with a lot more trouble than solution, so we'll just live with the tiny dents. You have to be bent down and looking across the back of the car to even see them, so no big deal.

We spent the morning visiting and puttering to get things ready to go. We said our "See Ya's" to Glenn and Sylvia and then went with Mark and Dortha to the Mexican restaurant one more time for their lunch buffet. It was pretty good, with some reasonably healthy options.

When we got back from lunch, we waited for the technicians who were making their way around the campground inspecting each motor home for hail damage. They were just taking notes for people who had damage so they could make claims to their insurance companies if they wanted to. Once they'd looked at our rig, confirming what we already knew and thankfully not finding anything that was missed, we fired up our engine and headed out, going east on Highway 24:

Past picturesque farms:

And then on to Highway 157 South:

To get on I-65 South to Birmingham.

It was a drive of about 2.5 hours to the Mid-South Cummins facility on the northeast side of Birmingham. We'll spend the night here in their lot to be ready for our 7:00 a.m. appointment tomorrow morning. Then we'll be on our way to the Birmingham South Campground to spend the next 10 days, relaxing, shopping and enjoying a visit with friends.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Riding The Storm Out

Today was our last full day at Camp Red Bay. We spent the morning doing necessary chores like laundry and cleaning. One of the "features" of being here is putting up with the fine, white dust that gets kicked up by the motor home traffic. It's either that, or the river of mud from the rain. Either way, there's a lot of cleaning to do. Oh, today we got the rain and mud, more about that later.

Dortha started her day by baking a breakfast pizza to share with us. Mark delivered our hot breakfast and we enjoyed every bite. Thanks Dortha!

When breakfast was over, Jim headed out with the laundry and I got busy with the cleaning. Jim got back with the clean clothes. I guess all that folding and hanging was pretty hard work, he was hungry when he came back. The choice today was to go out to Gills Grill instead of cooking, and we decided to go at lunch. Jim and Mark both ordered hamburger steaks, Dortha and I both ordered grilled shrimp. Some things never change, I guess.

After lunch, Dortha and Mark came over and we talked more about our summer plans and visited for awhile. The rain came and went, and after a couple of hours, they went back to their coach. Well, the sky looked pretty threatening at that point. Dortha called out her window that we had a severe thunderstorm warning with hail the size of golf balls heading straight towards us. She and Mark headed over to the customer lounge. We pulled in our slides, but decided to stay here.

It got pretty noisy when the storm hit, and yes, we did get some golf-ball size hail. If we had to be in a bad, possibly damaging storm, this would be the best place to be, I guess. However, we did not have any damage, thank goodness! The storm passed through quickly and we all settled back in.

Tomorrow is travel day. We'll be staying in the lot at the Cummins facility in Birmingham tomorrow night so we can be there early Tues. morning for our appointment.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Countdown Continues - Saturday

Even though we're in "countdown" mode, we haven't been just sitting around watching the clock. We've gotten quite a bit accomplished in the last few days.

On Wednesday, Dortha and Mark were moved to the site next to us and just across from Glenn and Sylvia. That afternoon, Jim got his new little Weber gas grill which he ordered from an online grill store. Even though he was anxious to try it out, we ended up going to the local Mexican restaurant for dinner.
Thursday was the installation of our new tank level indicators. Over time, the original gray and black tank sensors have stopped working accurately. That was one of the items on our list that the Tiffin repair folks were not able to resolve to our satisfaction. Their solution was to tell us we need to use a cleaner called Pine Power every time we use the tanks. (Which of course, is all the time!) We've tried that but it doesn't work all that well. We found out about a local company in this area that works independently on rv's (primarily Tiffin products), and we were able to get an appointmentto have "SeeLevel" sensors and indicators installed. We got up and packed up the place early Thursday morning and headed over to Custom RV, about 7 miles from here.
Jim is watching the installer prepare the tanks for the sensor panels. They are attached to the outside of the tanks on the passenger side of the coach.
The little green square in the center of the picture below is the sensor on the gray tank. You can see the top of the one on the fresh water tank in the bottom of the picture. With the sensors on the outside of the tank, there is less chance that any "gunk" or soap scum inside the tank will interfere with the accurate level reading.
Once the sensors were attached to the tanks, they were wired in to the control panel inside the coach, in the same location that the previous level indicators were. The readout is in percentage, so when we check the level, we can see the exact percentage the tanks are full.

Mark has recently become a distributor for a cleaning/polishing product called "The Solution", so we wanted to try it out. We have been using a product called Dri-Wash n Guard, which we like very much. But since we live in a great big vehicle, we're always needing to clean the outside as well as the inside, and having more than one cleaning product may not be a bad thing. So, on Thursday after we got back from our installation appointment, we got out our cleaning and polishing cloths and got to work. In just a couple of hours we had our home shining brightly. But we had run out of energy, so the car would wait for another day.

Jim got to try out his new grill with a batch of chicken breasts, which turned out really good. I think the little grill is a keeper! Dortha and I collaborated on the rest of the dinner.
Yesterday seemed like a good day to take a run over to Florence to do some shopping at the mall. The six of us, Glenn and Sylvia, Mark and Dortha, Jim and I, piled into two vehicles and headed out. By the time we got going and reached the town of Florence, it was getting close to lunchtime, so before we started shopping we stopped at Applebees for lunch. Then we made the rounds of several stores.
After our shopping, we were ready to enjoy some ice cream before we came back, and we stopped at this little ice cream stand in Florence:

And that brings us to today. The weather has been a little "iffy" today, with rain predicted. I decided to try to get the car cleaned anyway, so I took the vacuum cleaner outside and got that done. I cleaned both inside and outside, so that's done for a little while. Now, if we can just keep the rain away...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday of Countdown Week

Tuesday morning started just like all the other weekdays here - the roar of the diesels begins right around 6:30 a.m. Some folks believe that the technicians don't know that they are waiting at the door at 7:00, and feel the need to blow their air horns, just to be sure no one is left sleeping.

So, up and around with our coffee. Tuesday is also Weight Watchers day, and I was on the way to Muscle Shoals a little after 8:00. It was the last meeting for me at that location. I've enjoyed it, as I do most of the places I go. It's interesting to find how alike, yet different, the meetings are in different locations. Yes, I did lose a couple more pounds.

When I got back home, we started watching for Dortha and Mark. They pulled in just a little after noon and got sent to the runway with no hookups to wait for a site to open. I expect they will get one soon, as many people don't like to hang around here, gee, I wonder why. We went over to their rig to greet them, then Mark stopped by here.

Jasmine was so excited to see him she nearly wiggled herself out of her furry skin! To say she loves Mark is a drastic understatement! I didn't get a picture of the moment, but here they are a little later, catching up with each other:

We decided to go to Subway to grab a quick bite. When we got back, we were going to leave Mark to hold down the fort, so to speak, while Dortha, Jim and I made a run to Walmart. But just as we were getting ready to head out, Mark called Dortha to say they were moving to a partial hook-up site. We waited for that to be accomplished, and then all four of us made the journey to Russellville.
When we got back, it was time to start getting things ready for dinner. Sylvia baked a huge piece of Halibut, and I fixed sides and dessert. We all gathered here at the Castle and had a wonderful meal and visit before we called it a night.
Joe (aka Speedy) left me a few questions in a comment a day or so ago. Speedy, here are your answers, as best I can figure:
Is this the only facility to repair these MH's? Can they repair them at a dealer?
----This is the location of the factory, so they have the most ready access to all the parts, or can make them on the spot if they need to. Yes, they can be repaired at a dealer's, but sometimes it's better to get things done at the source.

Why is it full all the time? Gosh it seems like they have so many repairs going on all the time. Must be a very busy place.
---- It's not full all the time. They make 3 appointments per day (usually booked at least a year in advance) and everyone else is "walk-in" and gets serviced according to urgency of repair, extent of repair and when they check in. There are peak times of the year, what I call "Snowbird Migration Seasons" when people are either heading North for the summer or South for the winter. If you consider that Phaeton is the top selling motorhome in the country, there are a lot of them out there. Looking around the campground, you would find probably 40-50 Phaetons here at any given time. Overall, that's not really a big percentage of the ones that exist. Plus, there are a lot of year's models here - anywhere from 70's vintage rigs to the very latest models.

There are all kinds of work getting done, not all of it is repairing. Some people come to have routine maintenance. Others are getting some sort of upgrade or modification. Yes, it's a very busy place.

I guess only fulltimers can use this unless you could use your vacation time to repair your rig?----

I think many people who are here are fulltimers, but lots are part-timers too. I'd say more are retired folks who, as I mentioned, are on their way home after spending the winter in the South. A lot of people just bring their rigs here and leave them to be repaired, and come back to get them when they're done.

I hope that answered your questions, Speedy!
And now, I'm off to see what today has in store...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Countdown Begins

Today begins our last week in Red Bay - not that we're anxious to go or anything! We have our reservations made for the Birmingham South Campground just off I65 in Pelham, AL. It used to be a KOA. We'll be staying there for 10 nights, then start heading towards Colorado.

We spent a lot of time over the weekend working on some cleaning and organizing tasks, planning routes for our westward trek this summer, and researching campgrounds. We also had a mini-yard sale, with several items put out in front of the motor home with prices marked. We sold a couple of small items - gotta make room for new stuff!

The picture today was taken last summer when we were here, it's in Tishomingo State Park in Mississippi.

We visited with Glenn and Sylvia a bit yesterday. When I talked to them today, Glenn told me they will be scheduled in an express bay sometime this week. Express bays are reserved for those repairs that can be completed within about 3 to 4 hours. That's pretty good news for them, as it means they will be on their way soon.
Mark and Dortha are on their way and should be here tomorrow at some point. We hope they can get a full hook-up site without having to wait for one, but it's a catch-as-catch-can kind of thing around here. Over the weekend, there were quite a few empty sites, but yesterday afternoon and today, many of them got filled. If enough people have their repairs completed and hit the road tomorrow morning, Mark and Dortha could get a spot. We hope so!
Today we went to Russellville, 24 miles away, to get a few groceries at Walmart. We also made a run across the county line for some adult beverages, since Franklin County, where Red Bay is located, is a dry county. We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant in Russellville. It was ok, but certainly not very diet friendly. But we made up for lunch by having a healthy dinner.
Another fine day in Red Bay!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Road Trip

It was time to get out of town - at least for a day.

Yesterday was a quiet day, other than a little house cleaning and grocery shopping. Mr. Bo Jangles was moving a little slowly, but doing fine. He spent pretty much the whole day just snoozing in his spot on the couch.
We were expecting to see Glenn and Sylvia (Avery's Wanderings)pull into the campground at some point, and wanted to have a meal ready for them. They arrived as expected and we fixed spaghetti, salad and garlic toast, with berries and angel food cake for dessert. It was great to see them again. They're parked just across the way from us, so I'm sure we'll get some more visiting done over the next week while we're still here.
This morning, we decided to take a road trip to Birmingham. We will have another recall taken care of at the Cummins repair facility there, and then stay in the area so we can visit with friends for a week or so until time to start heading west. Checking out places ahead of time is always a good idea when we can do it.
It took us about 2 hours to get to Birmingham and find the Cummins facility. Then we had a nice lunch and went on to check out a campground close to Carol's house. Carol is one of my friends whom I met through Weight Watchers. She and her family live in Helena. We stopped at the Cherokee Campground on the way to her house and took a look around. No way is that going to work for us. The place is run down, to say the least, but the worst part is the sites are not even close to level.
We went on to Carol's house and visited with her and her family for awhile. We had one more campground to check out on the way home, and thank goodness that one will be fine. Most of the bad weather in the area managed to go around us, and we only had a few minutes of rain before we got out of the city.
We're looking forward to our time there!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mr. Bo Jangles Update

He's back home and doing fine...the vet said he took out not one, but two, fatty tumors. He has several stitches that will need to come out in a few days, and a bottle of antibiotics to take.

This picture was taken a couple of months ago. He didn't want to have his picture taken today! He's ready to have some quiet time.

Thanks for all the prayers and well-wishes!

Red Bay Report, Wednesday, April 8

Yes, here we are...still in Red Bay and surviving the cold snap. We've had wind and cold but no rain - yet. That's coming tomorrow evening, I guess.

Not much has been happening here, at least with us. Business is brisk at Camp Red Bay, with rigs coming in and going out and all about. Each night the overflow area down the runway has several coaches parked there. Then the next day, several people have their work completed and open up more spaces for the runway people, they move, and more people come in. This is definitely Snowbird Migration season here.

On Monday morning, I spent a lot of time on the phone with the manager of the mail forwarding service in South Dakota, going over paperwork and so forth in preparation for switching our residency. That particular service also offers to take care of vehicle registrations, so we were taking advantage of that to save us some time and hassle. Well, there's a lot more to the story than I will go into here, but the long and short of it is, it turned out to more expensive than we thought it would be to get insurance, mail service, and vehicle registrations in South Dakota. As a result, we have decided, "if it ain't broke - don't break it" - we'll stick with Texas.

Yesterday was Weight Watchers day. Jim went with me - not to the meeting, but to wait for me. It was a good meeting, and I showed a loss, even though with the cold weather I was pretty bundled up! After the meeting, we went to Cracker Barrel for a late breakfast (yes, I know, I don't like to eat out at breakfast!). Then Jim took me to the mall in Florence, Alabama. Yes, a real mall, with a Dillards, Belk's, Penney's, and Sears. We shopped there for hours, and then went to a bookstore nearby, and a Sam's Club. Whew! That was a lot of shopping. We each found a pair of jeans (he's needing smaller sizes now, too). I also found a few other items to supplement my wardrobe.

By then, we'd worked up an appetite and had a late lunch at Applebees before heading home.

This morning, Mr. BoJangles has gone to the local vet's office for a minor surgery to have a cyst removed from his chest area. We are a little nervous about him, of course, but I'm sure he'll be fine and ready to get back home later this afternoon.

Meanwhile, we're looking for a little warm-up today!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hanging Around in Red Bay

When we last posted, I mentioned something about a 3-day weekend? Well, that turned out to be just a dream. As we were just getting up and having our first sip of coffee Friday morning, my phone rang. It was the Tiffin paint shop, instructing us to be in Bay 21 ASAP. So, coffee forgotten, we hurried around and packed up everything we'd happily unpacked the day before and moved the Castle over to the paint shop.
Leaving things in the paint guys' hands, we headed out to Russellville, 24 miles up the road, to shop for groceries at Walmart. We made a stop at Swamp John's for a quick breakfast before shopping. Used to be, I loved to go out to breakfast, but now I consider eating out at breakfast pretty much a waste of valuable "points". But, since we didn't have the leisurely start to our day that we'd planned, and we were both hungry, I agreed we needed to get something to eat. Swamp John's is not known for it's fresh and healthy cooking, so I made do with a small amount of scrambled egg, a piece of bacon and a quarter of a biscuit.

We got to Walmart and did our shopping. Wow - I guess we were critically low on a lot of items needed to keep eating healthy at home. Just the groceries part of the bill was close to $200! We had taken a cooler with us so we could keep our frozen and refrigerated items cold on the way back. When we got back, it was lunchtime for the guys, so we put away the groceries. By that time, the guys were back and announced they were finished with us. But, when Jim checked some of the places that needed buffing, he discovered that some of it hadn't been done, so he had to bring the guy back to finish. Even with that, we were still back in our spot early afternoon, with everything on the list completed.

We got set up and settled in once again. The plan now is to hang around and make sure that everything that got fixed stays fixed. We're still a little hesitant about the gray and black tank level indicators, we may need to revisit that issue. But the kitchen counter is level, the cupboard doors are level, and everything else seems to be just fine.
The afternoon was spent in discussing plans, reservations and routes. We now have our reservations for Colorado Springs starting May 15, and Custer, South Dakota, starting June 17. We've talked about other stops, but so far don't have reservations made.
Jim grilled chicken and I put together a salad for dinner. We had Hoppin John with rice to go along.

Today we got our leisurely morning. For the first time in many days, I was able to enjoy 2 cups of coffee at my own pace. We had a good home-cooked breakfast. Then I did my strength training exercises while Jim did the laundry. I got the dogs out for a good walk before lunch.

We decided to get out and enjoy this beautiful day, since we're once again expecting bad (read: COLD) weather again in the next few days. After lunch, we all piled in the car and took off in search of Bear Creek Lake.
Along the way, we saw some beautiful dogwood in bloom:

Ah, finally, the sign we were watching for:

A very pretty reservoir:

with campgrounds, picnic areas and a boat landing:

We stopped at the campground store and found this hummingbird enjoying a meal:

It was good to get out and enjoy a beautiful day before we have to get our rain gear out again:

Another healthy dinner tonight with leftover chicken used to make chicken/vegetable "fried" rice.

Maybe we'll do some cleaning tomorrow...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Rainy Day in Alabama

Although the weather predictions were dire, and even the local schools let out early in anticipation of severe storms, Red Bay, Alabama, seems to have escaped the worst of the storms, at least so far. We had a little wind and lot of rain this afternoon, but a while ago, the clouds broke up and the sun peeped through.

Yesterday morning we were assigned to Bay 25, the countertop and wood shop area. We've had issues with our kitchen counter and the cupboard under the sink since day one. The problems didn't seem all that major to us, but after several attempts at repair, we ended up with more problems than we started with. We started with a cook-top cover that rattled. It was replaced by the dealership where we purchased the Castle with another topper that also rattled. Another dealership worked on it but didn't fix it. The Tiffin folks worked on it last summer and fixed that problem, but worsened the problem of the counter not being level. But once TJ, the countertop expert got through with it, not only does the topper not rattle, but we now have a level countertop.
This is how the work in progress looked. The tile backsplash had to be removed, and the areas under the counter had to be accessible.

They finished the major part of the countertop yesterday afternoon. This morning, we again reported to Bay 25 for the last of the countertop work.
Once that was finished, the wood folks came in. In 30 seconds, the cupboard door under the sink was level. That's another thing that we've had at least 3 people attempt to fix over the last year. I'm glad to have that one done! The few remaining things were taken care of and we were sent on our way before lunch.
The last items on our list are all paint issues. When we first arrived here, the paint shop was actually caught up - no waiting. Of course, in the meantime, about 15 rigs have been placed on the list. So, it may be a few days yet before the paint shop calls us in. that's ok with us, it's still a little early to show up in Colorado.
We're happy to relax for a couple of days and get caught up with grocery shopping, cooking, and, did I say relaxing?