Thursday, December 7, 2017

Our New Camper

Every winter we spend a great deal of time up at Tower Camp.

A few years ago there was talk of a cabin being built. We even bought a shed, took it apart and hauled it up there.

It's still laying in the field – in pieces.

Money and time became a problem so we continued staying in our tent when we went up there.

The cabin has become a “one day” project and the shed is still a pile of wood.

On Thanksgiving we were at my sister's house and someone asked about the camp.

I laughed and said that we were getting too old to sleep on the ground (air mattresses are great – until the air seeps out and you wake up on the ground) so now we're going to take twin bed mattresses every time we go.

My BIL laughed and said “We should give you our camper.”

Wait. What? Give us your camper?

It's a 29' Dutchmen 29Q.

They've owned this camper for almost 10 years but have only used it about 6 times.

I said something about it being worth money and he said why sell it when they can just give it to us.

Not much else was said and since he'd been drinking I assumed he'd wake up the next day and be glad he hadn't signed the title over to me.

I even sent my sister a text later that night asking how much more alcohol he needed to give away their boat.

She thought that was pretty funny since she's the one who uses the boat and it would be over her dead body before he gave that boat away.

A few days went by and I forgot about the whole thing until my sister called.

Do you still want the camper?”

We talked for a while and even after my BIL sobered up he thought giving us the camper would be a good idea.

We talked about it being worth a lot more than free but she said they've had it in a storage lot for years and after talking about it decided they wanted to give it to us.

It's funny – I'm a writer and I can't come up with the right words to express my gratitude. “Thank you” doesn't even come close.

There is one problem though.

Our truck is dead. Like, real dead. So I don't have a way to pull the camper.

But...

My Dad has a truck so I called and asked if he'd go with us to get the camper and bring it to our house.

I know I'm putting the cart in front of the horse but I'm not letting a dead truck stop me from getting a free camper.

On our way to pick the camper up Dad told me that he was at dinner with my sister, BIL and some of their friends a few nights earlier and that when my BIL mentioned giving me their camper his friend offered him 4k – on the spot.

My BIL told him no and stuck with his decision to give it to us.

So the Island King and I drove to Gulf Breeze, got my Dad and his truck and out to Perdido Key we went to pick up the camper.

It took quite a while to get it hooked up and rolling but after a picnic lunch (in the storage lot) and a lot of cussing on his and the Island King's part, they got it hooked up to his truck.

We were worried about the tires possibly being dry rotted but thankfully we made it to my house with no problems at all.

Because it's been sitting in storage it needed a good deep cleaning but since they bought it new and then hardly used it there wasn't any dirt or grime – just dust.

And, when they bought it, my sister stocked it perfectly. Dishes, pots and pans, silverware, sheets, towels and every gadget needed for pumping out the tank, hooking things up in a camp ground and anything else you can possibly think of.

We won't be getting a new truck until after Christmas but in the mean time I have what is a basically brand new camper in my driveway.











And as hard as I've tried I still can't come up with the right words to say thank you.

What I can say is that I have the best sister and BIL anyone could ever ask for.

Until I come up with something better, thank you will have to do so THANK YOU BOTH for giving me such an incredible gift!

I love you both and hopefully one day I'll be able to do something extraordinary for y'all.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Mistaken Identity

The Youngest Island Boy started dating a girl not too long ago and it didn't take long to figure out that this girl is Bat Sh$t Crazy.

I'm not being mean or judgmental but I know crazy when I see it and she is full blown, boil your bunny, crazy.

They dated for a few weeks and then she pulled some seriously bad stuff that really hurt his feelings. He broke up with her and we told him that under NO circumstances was he allowed to EVER see her again.

Well, last night I had to go pick him up from work. He works in a really busy place surrounded by lots of other busy places so we have a designated spot to pick him up.

I pulled up and there, standing on the curb, was a guy and a girl. AND the girl looked just like the crazy one.

I was absolutely stunned that the Youngest would be standing there with her.

I pulled up to the curb in front of them and they both stood there looking at me.

I sat there looking at them, deciding if I was going to get out of the car and rip her a new one for the stuff she pulled on him when they started walking up to the car.

It was about then I realized that the guy had short hair.

The Youngest has long hair and I was so thrown at seeing the girl that I thought “When did he cut his hair?”

My brain was misfiring left and right and then I had a moment of clarity.

I took him to work and he had long hair. I knew he didn't cut it at work and as the guy reached out to grab the car door handle, I realized he wasn't the Youngest and the girl wasn't the crazy one.

So just as the guy went to open the car door I sped off.

As I'm driving away I see the Youngest in my rear view mirror chasing me through the parking lot.

He'd been standing a few feet away from the couple and saw the whole thing.

I stopped and when he got in he was laughing so hard he could barely talk and wanted to know what had just happened.

I told him I thought the girl was his crazy ex and that I was so shocked to see her that it took me a minute to realize it wasn't her or the Youngest.

He said that when I drove off the guy looked at the girl and said “What in the hell is wrong with our Uber driver?”

We both had a really good laugh but then he told me that he thought it was weird that I'd think he would have anything else to do with the girl.

I explained to him that it was that very thing that threw me in the parking lot and that my brain completely shut down for a minute.

I'm glad it wasn't her but I'm especially glad I didn't let those people in my car, thinking I was their Uber.


That would have been a really uncomfortable conversation. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Our Mountain Journey Ends

After we left Cade's Cove, our destination was Cleveland, TN. We were going to spend the night there and do some exploring the next day.

We stopped in Maryville for Dad to stretch his legs and got a call from my sister.

The storm had shifted more to the east a little so she'd gone over to my parent's house and secured everything outside.

Hmmm.

We pulled up the latest advisories on Nate and not only had it shifted, it was coming sooner than expected and would remain a Tropical Depression all the way up into lower Tennessee.

Where we were.

We didn't want to be in a tropical event up there and at that point both of us felt like going home was what we needed to do.

Should we drive to Birmingham and then get up and leave early the next morning?

What if Nate sped up more or shifted a little more to the east?

Once wind speeds hit a steady 40mph they close the bridges here and I wouldn't be able to go home if we missed our window.

So we left Maryville, TN at about 7:30 and drove until we got to Gulf Breeze at 3:45 in the morning.

And from there I had another hour's drive to get to my house.

The sun rose, set and rose again and that was the end of day 3 of our 10 day adventure.

Meaning, our 10 day adventure turned into a 3 day wild ride.

I was sorry that we had to miss the geocaching event and cut our exploring time down but we had such an amazing time it was all worth it.


Even that brutal all night drive home. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Exploring Cade's Cove

In what was now a daily routine we checked the weather on the morning of day 3.


Ok. Hurricane Nate's path has shifted back to the east a little but it still looks like our houses will be ok, It might be raining harder than we thought on our drive home but there was no need to hurry so if it got bad we'd just stop somewhere.

We both agrees that skipping the geocaching event was a good idea because it would be raining in the mountains just when we would have arrived, meaning we might not have been able to do and see as much.

The storm would be over, with the possible exception of some rain, by the time we were ready to go home so all was well and our adventures could continue.

As we walked out of the hotel we saw a trash can that had been knocked over and dug through.

A bear was here! I can honestly say that if I hadn't seen the bears the day before I might have cried because while I was looking for a bear in the pool, I missed the bear on the porch.

Oddly, this hotel has regular trash cans instead of bear proof – which probably explains why there's a bear hanging around their parking lot at night.

After a pancake breakfast we were off.

Our first stop was Sugarlands Visitor Center where we hiked a beautiful trail to the John Ownby Cabin.




It's so easy to immerse yourself in the history of the area here and I could almost see the Ownby family going about their daily lives.




From there we drove on to Cade's Cove.

I was really proud of myself for making it to NewfoundGap without having a panic attack but this road was completely different.

The road leading to Newfound Gap was nice and wide with a guard rail and the feeling that there was plenty of room on both sides for cars coming and going.

The road to Cade's Cove was NOT my kind of road. I felt like the oncoming cars whipping around the curves were going to run us off the road at any minute.

And Dad wasn't much help. “Look over there. Hey there's a guy fly fishing in the creek.
Did you see those rocks?”

No, I didn't see anything because someone has to watch the road!

We went up to 5,000 feet yesterday and I didn't need a Valium but today we were only traveling to 1,000 feet and I was looking for a Pez dispenser to deliver Valium fast enough for me to make it up the mountain.

We passed a waterfall with a scenic overlook and he said “Oh I wanted to stop there” and then acted like he was going to turn around.

NO NO NO!” I did NOT want to turn around on that narrow road and after he made a u-turn on the side of Cheaha Mountain with a Snickers in his mouth and a Coke in his hand I knew I never wanted to be in the car when he made a u-turn again.

So we passed the waterfall and went on up into Cade's Cove.


Words can't describe how beautiful this valley is! I really enjoyed seeing everything we'd seen so far but once we got into the valley I felt like I was home.


Which is weird for a woman who's never lived farther than 10 miles from the coast. I've always said salt water runs through my veins but the views and serenity brought the same sense of calm and home that looking at the Gulf does.

I am truly the daughter of a son of a son of a sailor man but this area really spoke to me.



Once we got back to the car we drove along for a short while and then had a picnic at a scenic pull over.

It was incredible seeing the mountains circling us.




Wildlife in the Cove is abundant and a lot of people were watching the tree line for bear, deer or whatever else might wander into the field.

I've heard so many stories of bobcat, bears, and deer wandering the valley but all I saw was a squirrel. A grey squirrel – the exact same kind we have at home.


Interestingly, the fact that I didn't see anything on this day didn't bother me. I think the time we spent climbing the mountain cut into time we may have seen something but I'd seen bears, turkeys, elk and chipmunks yesterday.

I can say without a doubt, the adventure on the mountain was worth it. I also know that I will be back.

Soon.

After lunch we drove on the the Cade's Cove Primitive Baptist Church.




I would love to travel back in time and attend a service here.

The cemetery behind the church had some very interesting old graves but one in particular caught my eye.


Murdered by North Carolina Rebels?

I had to know that story so I did a little reading and discovered this and this.

No one knows for sure but interestingly, his son is buried right behind him in the Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery.

There is also a Methodist Church 




As well as a Missionary Baptist Church.


I would have enjoyed wandering around more of the old cemeteries and cabins but my hip was screaming and the idea of walking anywhere wasn't appealing.

And as I said, I'll be back.

We made the loop and ended up at the Visitor's Center/Campground Store.

Sad to leave but armed with large cups of coffee we were off on our next adventure,

The sun rose and almost set and so far day 3 of our 10 day adventure was a success.


Little did we know that in a few short hours everything was going to change.