Saturday, August 29, 2009

MP3 Books

About a year ago I purchased a Sony Walkman MP3 player, on sale of course. Being cheap I didn't want to buy music to put on it. I found it cumbersome to transfer cds I own, or audio books from the library to the computer then onto the MP3 player.

I thought about Podcasts but couldn't really get into them.

I happened to come upon audio books from the public domain. I can't tell you how many books I have listened to in the past year. Sinclair Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, Lucy Maude Montgomery, Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald and first-hand accounts of historical events. Surprises abound.

Many restless nights I have been lulled to sleep listening. It does take a little bit longer to finish . . . zzzzz . . . . as there is much backtracking to catch missed chapters.

Volunteers record chapters or entire books and most are quite good.

I have downloaded a stockpile of books for our trip if I have time to listen.

This is a terrific resource I highly recommend.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Over the Hump

Arts & Crafts on the Lawn-2009 is over.

Our little historical society's biggest fundraiser. Thanks to our wonderful volunteers and committee chairs.

90 craft vendor spaces were sold this year. Fewer than last year, which was fewer than the year before. The downturn in the economy has had an effect on crafts people. Quite a few are calling it quits as fewer people have disposable income to buy extras.

Our day begins when we arrive at 6 a.m. to help vendors locate their booth space, put up posters, signs, haul equipment to the food booth, set up soda stands and the raffle booth, etc.

The society also hosts an ice cream social, food booth, raffle and museum tours, in addition to managing one of the largest craft shows in the area.

We finally left for home at about 5:30 p.m.

But to deal with the aftermath. Ah. . Craft vendors for 2010 must be posted to the database. Jury photos for 2009 transferred to 2010. Tax forms must be sent to state. Reports must be made for the board. Money to be counted, a good thing. Money does not match receipt book, bad thing. Money must be counted again and reconciled to receipt book again. I do hate counting money. Weird isn't it. But it is very difficult to concentrate on what you are doing when the phone is constantly ringing and people are coming and going.

I just keep saying--our trip is getting closer.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Natchez Trace 2007

In September of 2007 we met the Hoffmans, from our camping group, south of Nashville at the beginning of the 444 mile Nachez Trace then carravanned with them as far as Jackson, MS.
We first went to the Illinois Samboree (Good Sam (camping) Club) over the Labor Day weekend. From there we went to Carlyle, Illinios and stayed at Carlyle Lake. Tom did some genealogy while we were down there and also met with Judy a distant cousin that he found through the Clinton County Historical Society.

While we were in Carlyle, Quark became ill and we found a good vet in Breese, IL. We were told he had pancreatitis. Too much people food. Milton Vet. Clinic faxed his records to Breese vet and he got a shot, pills and special food that he would not touch. He was much better after a couple of days and within a week showed no signs of illness.

From Carlyle our next stop was Land Between the Lakes for a couple of days. This too is one of our favorite places to stay. It is heavily wooded at the COE Canal Campground and most of the sites are tiered. Some spots are lakeside and offer a nice view.

From LBL we stopped to visit with Tommy and Grigsby for 2 days then met the Hoffmans on the Trace. The Trace was great. The maximum speed was, I think, 45 -50 mph. For an RV the road was quite narrow and undulating. There was no shoulder either, but going at a slower speed made it less exciting than at a faster rate.

I won't go into all the details. Here are a few of the places, beside stops on the trace, that we visited on the trip--Springfield Plantation (the caretaker/guide was quite the character), Longwood(just awesome), Elvis' birthplace (we can say we went anyway), Natchez, MS historic district, Corinth, MS and Battlefield (thumbs up), Shiloh Battlefield (thumbs up, too) and the Lincoln Museum and Library in Springfield (superb).

If you are ever camping in Mississippi (and I suppose in other areas of the South) beware of sugar ants. You need a can of Sevn Dust and you must create a perimeter around your RV, tent, picnic table or anything touching the ground that will come in contact with any of the above. Just by dumb luck we parked the Flair in a space that had been dusted by the previous occupant and we were safe. Not so the poor Hoffmans. Those little buggers were everywhere and it took days to get rid of them. Lesson learned.

I almost forgot our encounter with hurricane Humberto. Hurricane Humberto set a record for being the quickest storm to change from tropical depression to Hurricane and make landfall. That all happened in just over 12 hours from the time it formed. The National Hurricane Center in Miami states that only three others did the same but those stayed at sea. Humberto, was also the first hurricane to make a U.S. landfall in two years, and it hit less than 50 miles from where Hurricane Rita made landfall in 2005.
We were located near the 2nd circle from the top (near Stanton, MS) just 5 miles from one of the resulting tornado touchdowns.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Tale of Three Screenrooms

Last summer our screen room, which we use when camping collapsed during an overnight rainstorm. We had it for several years and really liked it for it's size and ease of assembly.

Last fall Tom was out bargain hunting and found a screen room by the same manufacturer at Wally Mart. We didn't need to use it at the time so just packed it away for a while. Well we figured we needed to bring it on our trip so set it up in the yard the other night. It was a bear to set up. We really could have used another set of hands. Our former screen room was rectangular and fit nicely next to the motorhome on a narrow campsite. The 15 x 13 footprint of the new one was just too large.

Returning it was no option as the 90-day return period as Wally Mart had passed. So a posting on Craigslist did the trick. It was sold in a matter of hours. So we store-hopped until we found a new one. It is not as easy to set up as the first one but much easier than the 2nd.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Patiently Waiting

Our 1995 Fleetwood Flair
Preparations have begun. The Flair's breaks checked, tires replaced, it has been greased and the oil changed and Tom has waxed the whole thing which took almost a week. Oil has been changed in the car.
I purged our inside storage removing anything we haven't used in a while. Compartments were rearranged. I made space under the bed to put 2 laundry baskets for hampers. This freed up space in the wardrobe (where we previously had a hamper) for more clothes, shoes and other necessities.

Tom did the same for the outside compartments, removing fishing tackle and poles, extra chairs and other items we have been toting around for years.

Carpet has been cleaned, floors have been scrubbed, and everything has been spiffed up.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Upcoming Month-Long Trip

Our long-anticipated trip to Utah is drawing near. It has been 5 years since we have been out west. Our itinerary includes: Flaming Gorge, Dinosaur National Monument, Salt Lake City (Family History Center), Heber City (a visit with friends), Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Zion NP, Cedar Breaks NP, Escalante/Grand Staircase NP, Capital Reef NP, Bryce Canyon and Mesa Verde with a stop in Dodge City, KS on the way home. The schedule is very ambitious.

Here is a photo taken in 2004 on our last trip to Utah. Pictured is our Flair and Suzuki toad with the "big" rigs.

I purged the laptop of unnecessary files to make room for the many photos we plan to take. Photos and important docs went on to our external HD but many programs that I no longer use were uninstalled and all temporary files and Recycle Bin were cleaned up. I managed to free up 7 gb of storage space for a total of 11 gb.

Tom has been plotting our route using MS Streets & Trips, Trailer Life Camping Directory, Mountain Directory West: for Truckers, RV, and Motorhome Drivers: Locations and Descriptions of over 400 Mountain Passes and Steep Grades in Eleven Westerns States, other books in our travel library as well and online travel logs and blogs.

Lists, lists and more lists. Food, clothing, supplies and accessories for the dogs, cameras, laptop . . . Good thing we purged some stuff.

The kitchen table is one of our "staging" areas for gathering our various electronics, reading material, games, file box with maps, guidebooks and our receipt file. It is quite cluttered.

Arrangements have been made with our son, Joe, and girlfriend, Heather, to watch the house, mow the lawn, take care of the plants and the bird. Joe, friends and neighbors have been told to please pick tomatos, peppers and zucchini from our garden.