Our Schedule

Saturday, December 29, 2018


Cullman,   NJ

We started the Christmas season off with a dinner here at home with our son Lennie, DIL Lois and grands Maddie and Jordan.

 My attempt at being festive

Leonard holding Jordan, Lois, Madison and Lennie

We left Cullman on Thursday the 20th.   We drove 410 miles to Rural Retreat, VA where we stayed the night at nephew Jasons house.  It was so nice of Jason and Kelly to move to that area.  It is almost exactly half way between our house and my daughter Terri's near Hershey, PA.  Jason is my sisters 2nd son.  His brother Jim and family also live in Virginia in nearby Wytheville.

On the 21st we arrived at daughter Amy and SIL Scott's  house in Maryland.   Here are granddaughters after opening one of their gifts.

Abby loves her diary

Regardless of Charlotte's silly face making she really liked her sketch book.

On Sunday the 23rd we took the girls with us and drove over to NJ to surprise all our friends at the church we attended when living in NJ.    Later that day we had dinner at my nephew JRs and his wife Vadra's new house.

Vadra getting ready for the crowd.

Vadra and JR  (sorry that I didn't get a pic of their son Ryan)

Abby (on the right) Charlotte (sitting by the tree) and two of my sisters grandkids, Natalie and Jon.

Another of my sisters grandchildren.  Siani.

Leonard and my sister Debbie

Then on Monday, December 24 we traveled to my daughter Terri's.

Christmas eve dinner.   Leonard, SIL Steve, Terri, grandson Justin and his girlfriend Carlie.

Terri outdid herself again.  Both Christmas Eve and Day dinners were fabulous.

Shame on us.  We should have gone to church Christmas Eve.  We were all exhausted. So a little poker playing and early retiring.

Terri wants all to know.   She was wearing a very large, baggy sweatshirt.    Had I been in the picture whatever I wore would not hide the fact that I've eaten WAY too many cookies, candy and good stuff this past month.  

We left Pennsylvania on December 27 again staying at Jason and Kelly's half way home.

Jason, Kelly and Lance who is another of my sisters grand kids.  He recently moved to Virginia also.

All in all, we saw so many friends and family in our quick 9 day trip.   And as always it's good to be back in Sweet Home Alabama.


Until next time.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Family, Friends, Family, Friends

Cullman, AL

Family Part One

Thanksgiving 2018. 

We were invited to our son and daughter-in-laws house for dinner.  They live about 20 miles from us.    I didn't take any pictures!   I forgot.   Lois sent me a picture of the group and it is on my phone.   Not being terribly tech savvy I have no idea how to get it on to my laptop.  Lois, I need your help next time you are here.   Please.

Regardless, it was a fine day.  Lois was especially thrilled as her daughter, husband and 3 kiddies came to visit from Louisiana.

Friends  Part One

Late November 2018

This is Bob and Linda Webster

We know Linda and Bob from when we all lived in New Jersey.   We met them through the Marriage Encounter program.  They retired approximately the same time we did and spent a year traveling before settling (mostly) in Maine.   They are also NOMADS.   Bob is a retired United Methodist minister, Linda a retired teacher.   They were  traveling back from  Texas where they did some NOMADS work and visited with a daughter at Fort Hood.   We invited them to park in one of our RV sites. When they left here they were headed to Virginia to visit two more daughters before going home to Maine.   We were so thrilled to have them stay overnight and visit for the evening.    Hopefully they will visit  again when they return to Texas in March.

Family Part Two

This past weekend we took a little drive.    606 miles each way.  We left early on Friday, over-nighted near Hammond, Louisiana and moved on to Len's sister Sissy and her husband Davids home in Orange TX.   Why?   Sissy was hosting a dinner for Lens siblings and spouses.

The brothers and sisters:

The siblings with their spouses

What a great night.   It's always fun to get together with this rather large family.   Heck, this ain't nothin'.    Should see them when the kids, grand-kids and great-grand-kids get together.          Needs a W I D E lens.

We left Orange yesterday and drove straight on through the 606 miles and got home last night.

Friends Part Two

Before we went to Sissy's on Saturday we stopped for a visit with our friend Diana who lives in Sulphur, LA.    We try when in the area to spend some time with Diana.   It wasn't a long visit but it was a cherished one.

After we left Sissy's on Sunday we grabbed breakfast with our dear friends Judy and Leonard who live in Baton Rouge.   We always try to make it a point to meet up with them on our way through.  We met Judy a few years ago when we were camping at Raccoon Valley Campground near Knoxville, TN.   She's is a dear friend to both of us.  And it's easy to remember her hubby's name.

Well that about brings us up to date.   Next trip........ NJ and MD and VA and PA.  More friends, more family.

Until next time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Gotta keep him busy

Culman,  Al

Yup.... We (I) keep coming up with ideas of what needs to be done.  Len, who loves to work, always agrees.   This time it is a walkway from back porch step to the carport.

This is how it looked back there.

The area between the heat pump and the steps is where we keep the trash receptacles.   We first made a form for that area.

Then mixed the concrete.

Next step

One section done.

Forming the next section.

Life is so much easier with the tractor.    We bought a pallet of concrete mix at Lowes.  They loaded it into our enclosed utility trailer.  At home I would drive the tractor to the back of the trailer where Len would load 80 pound bags of concrete on to the pallet he built and put on the tractor.  Then I would drive the tractor up close to the mixer where two bags were loaded into the mixer.  Once mixed, I held a wheelbarrow under the mixer while Len tilted it.  Then I pushed wheelbarrow to dumping area.   We "sometimes" work well as a team.  Not always..  This time we did.

Here we are bringing fill dirt to the walkway forms. 

We have had much needed rain the last few days.  Once things dry, it's back to work on the walkway.

When complete I will think of something else.  Wait!  I already have.

Until next time.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

NOMADS Project with a little blimp.

Camp Sumatanga
Gallant, AL

On October 6 we hooked up the travel trailer and set off to volunteer at

 only about 55 miles from our home.

We have had a variety of things to do.    Building a life guard chair and painting it along with 3 previously made chairs.

Running electrical wires and hanging lights in a large social hall.   Repairing and replacing screens on cabins.  Building a sort of pool table where instead of cues you roll the balls.  Making  and installing darkening shades for the game hall.

The first few days Leonard was in his glory.  Driving the dump truck and delivering the dirt to repair a path.

Repairing and painting part of a roof  and eaves that was damaged by a fallen tree.

This campground is the 3rd largest Methodist campground in the country.   It's huge.  This is the lake.  No swimming allowed,  there is a pool.

We have great WIFI here courtesy of the camp.   But no cell coverage as we are down in valley surrounded by mountains.

Since we work only Monday to Thursday our plan was to return to the house Thursday afternoon and back to camp Saturday.  Lawn to be mowed and bush hogging to do.

Last weekend we left according to plan.  But Thursday night Leonard showed me his legs and feet.  Severe swelling.  And I had been telling him his breathing is off.   So to the ER Friday morning where all sorts of tests were done.   Congestive heart failure.   They injected Lasix while still in the ER that got him moving FAST.   He was admitted to the hospital for overnight.   By the morning there was a big difference in the size of his legs and face.  Breathing better too as the fluid was being drained from around his heart.  We returned to work Monday late morning.

We went home this weekend too.   Had a doctor follow up yesterday.  She reviewed his most recent blood work and cut the Lasix in half and also the meds to control his potassium as it was too high.

Now we are back at camp.   One more week of volunteering here.

The camp has provided us with lunch each work day of which we appreciate so much.  We attend nearby Lester Memorial Methodist Church each Sunday and their Wednesday night dinners.

This is the first time we've worked with Dennis and Nancy Williams and Cheri and Butch Frey.  I have to say we are a great team.

Nice to feel the cooler fall weather.

Until next time....

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Our black cloud is spreading.

Cullman,   AL

Our annual NOMADS meeting was held last week in Memphis.   We were scheduled to drive over on September 21.    We get hooked up and ready to pull out.    No directional lights, no brake lights or trailer brakes.    We unhook and go to Ford thinking the issue was with the truck.  $5.99 for a fuse, $190.00 for them to put it in.

We come back home.  Hook up trailer.  No directional lights, no brake lights or trailer brakes.  Back to Ford.   The fuse was blown.  This time no charge for a replacement.

By that time we knew we were not heading out that day.   Our temporary solution was magnetic lights on the back bumper.   Len had to crawl under the rig and run wiring from those lights to the truck.

The next day we were off and running with no issues.

We have a 3 week project starting on Monday in Gallant, AL.  I got to thinking.  We are on the route of the other 2 team couples as they travel from Memphis to Gallant.   We invited them to park in our RV sites for this week.   From left to right,  Cheri and Butch Frey, Dennis and Nancy Williams and of course Leonard.

We left Memphis on September 28 as did the Freys.  The Williams left on September 29.    As we were on the way home, the Freys called us.  On the way out of the park they heard a loud noise from their trailer.    A spring had broke.   They found a new one and replaced it and arrived here late in the afternoon.  However, their check engine light on the truck came on.  They took it to the Chevy dealer Monday morning.  There was a problem with the DEF system causing unexpected costs.

The Williams arrived on September 29 as planned.  But a few days ago they found a leak under their bathroom sink.  A trip to Loews for parts and it was fixed.

In the meantime we took our rig back to the dealer.  We got it back today.  The problem was some wires were caught between (I forget what Leonard told me and I'm not asking again) something and something causing them to short.

On Tuesday night we all were sitting in our living room.  I became very uncomfortable and asked if anyone was hot.  Cheri was.  I checked the A/C and it was set on 75 but it was 84 inside.   Leonard checked the registers.  Hot air was blowing out.  We turned off the A/C, waited a bit and turned it back on.  Still hot air.  We called our home warranty company.  They contacted a service rep who said he would be here yesterday.   He called and cancelled.   He said today no later than 10:30.  It's 2:30.  We called his number. Mail box full.

This is SOOOOO typical here.  Five no shows by Verizon people.  Two no shows by a Lowes installer.  A no show by a man scheduled to pick up metal.  One no show by a person to give us a quote on digging the pond.  Thinking there are more but they escape me just now.  I am learning this is a common occurrence in this area.  Get used to it.

We are sweating it out.    89 outside.  A/C man just called.  Said will be here in 12 minutes.  We will see.

While in Memphis we didn't do much touring.  Took a drive around.

Of course there had to be certain entertainment at the meeting.  That's one hour I'll never get back!

It's been a joy having the Freys and Williams' here the last few days.  Even through our black cloud extended to them.

Until next time.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Another project started.

Cullman,  AL

We never get done one project when I think of another. 

There are flower beds and shrubbery around most of the house.   The previous owner had white stones as a bed.  At one time it looked really good.  The header picture is how in looked before we moved in.  But the stones are sinking and more and more weeds are taking root.   I HATE TO WEED.  But I love flower beds.

What to do.   

So off to Lowes for weed barrier material and mulch.   They were having a sale of mulch.   Instead of $3.66 a bag it was $2.00.    Our credit card discount brought it down to $1.90.  We bought 20 bags thinking it would be enough.    Nope.

We started on one side of the house where there are only shrubs.

It made quite a difference

I've since trimmed the barrier edges.

Then we worked on the bed in the front of the house.


Starting Wednesday we worked each morning from 8 am to about 10 am when the heat became unbearable.  Then we would do more in the evening.

Today we returned to Lowes for 7 more bags.  Sale over yesterday.  But I had a coupon for $10 off a purchase of $50 or more.  Not a problem.   Got some lumber and two potted mums.

Notice in the above picture the lattice around the bottom of the porch.  I wanted a more finished look.  The after picture.

Eventually we will strip  the porch decking and stain to match this trim. The mulch looks like two different colors but that is because the darker mulch was just spread and is still wet.  

We needed the lumber today because the other side of the porch also has a flower bed and lattice.  It might be some time before this project is completed.  Not only is there the other side of the porch but shrubbery goes all the way down the other side of the house and half way across the back.  Gonna take a lot of mulching.  And work.

Next major project?    Len bought a cement mixer.  Will be laying concrete floor in his shop and also in the carport.    Now, what can I think of next?

Until next time.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Too much rain, Not enough rain.

Cullman,   AL

We arrived back in Cullman yesterday afternoon following an eventful 3 weeks away.  The first week was spend parked in Salem, VA Ford dealer parking lot while the truck got it's new engine.  As I reported I did manage getting away for a few days.  At the hospital. 

The next two weeks were at either Gettysburg Farm Thousand Trails or Hershey Thousand Trails.  Life is strange.   For 7 years or so I loved RVing.   Then I got tired of it.  Really tired.  It no longer holds the interest I once have.  There is no place like home.  We came home two weeks before we planned to.

About the weather.  Those living in MD, NJ and PA where I have family have had more than their share of rain this summer.  I've talked about my one daughter who owns a converted grist mill built in 1832 near Hershey, PA.    Part of a stream that operated the mill is diverted to under her house.   For almost 200 years this building has withstood flood and high water.  Her brick floored basement has seen much flooding as has the five foot thick stone walls.    This year saw their highest basement flood.   Several feet.  It doesn't take long for it to drain and then the rains come again.

Each time there are heavy rains debris gets lodged under the house.   Each time they don their waders and attempt removal. 

Daughter Terri and Grandson Justin working to remove debris from under the house.

Len and Son-in-law Steve pulling out part of a large tree that was stuck under there.  Grand-dog Cain supervises.

They have more rain than needed while here in Alabama we have had so little.   We came back to dead flowers and a garden in bad need to a good watering.   Really feeling the draught it is our pond.  This is how it looked a month ago.

This is how it looks now.

To compound the situation, a neighbor about 1/2 mile away is putting in a pond.  It looks more like a lake.  It's huge.  Our closest neighbor also has a pond.  He told us that until this new pond/lake fills ours will continue to lose water.  The new pond is on the major spring that feeds our ponds.  So it has to fill and the overflow goes into the ditch/stream that runs in the middle of our closest neighbors land and fills his pond and then the ditch along our property line.  So the first neighbors lake fills, the overflow goes to the 2nd neighbor, his overflow runs to our ditch that fills our pond and our overflow runs back into our ditch and along it goes.  We have a spring also but it does not put out enough to make up for the underground water than is now filling the pond/lake that is being dug.  All this would change with a good rainfall.

We were greeted by our friend when we arrived home yesterday.

Until next time

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

This has been an experience

Hershey Preserve Thousand Trails
Lebanon,  PA

This is the week that was.

Yup, we left Cullman August 12.  Our plan was to spend two weeks at this campground.  Then move on to Camp Driveway at our friends Lyn and Shirley in NJ.  From there a week at Sea Pines Thousand Trails near Cape May, NJ

The best layed plans.

As the previous blog told you, in Salem VA the engine on our truck died on August 13.  We can not say enough good about Berglund Ford.  They got right on it.  They kept us informed and had no problem with us dry camping in their parking lot.  We sure are glad we left home with a full fresh water tank and all holding tanks empty.  Could have been a problem if we didn't.

For the last month or so I have had a few nights when I felt bad.  I had stomach pains that lasted about 4 hours.  I suspected maybe gall bladder?    The night of the 14th I woke at 11:30 with a stomach ache.  I took a Tums.  It got worse.  I played on the computer, I tried to go back to sleep.  From our bed to one of the bunks.  Nothing helped.  Finally around 2:00 am Len woke.  He said let's go to the ER.  I said no.  I lay  back down in bed.

Let's back up a bit.  Early in the evening we had gone to DQ.  I wanted a Blizzard.   I had one.  Flavor of the month.   YUMMY.  Reeses peanut butter.  A small size. 

So, I lay back down in bed.   I felt nausea.  I made it to the toilet.   I lost the Blizzard.  I felt faint. So off to the ER.  I told them what I suspected.   I made a spot on diagnosis.   That afternoon (the 15th) the offending organ was removed.    I stayed that night in the hospital.   I've felt fine since. A  little sore but nothing bad at all.

As I was on the phone at the hospital telling daughter Amy I was being admitted,  her husband got the call that his mother had just passed.   It was expected.  We drove down to Milford, DE today for the funeral.  We are glad we were here at this time.  Not only for Scott but it must have been frightening for the granddaughters.  The same day one grandmother passed in the hospital, the other one was admitted to a hospital.  In their grief, glad they could see I am fine.

I was told I was to see a doctor in two weeks.  As we planned to be in NJ  the plan was to see our previous doctor.  I know she would be glad to see us.

As Len and I continued to talk, we both felt the need to just go home where I will see our doctor there.    So I've cancelled the NJ visits.  Why push it.  We will stay here until the 28th as we had  planned.   We still have things we want to do and visit more with daughter Terri and SIL Steve.  Also want to catch up with friends Darlene and Jim.    It is about 100 miles shorter to home from Hershey PA area than Cape May,  NJ area.   And a much nicer route.  Just hop on I-81 and head south.   That's the plan. 

So some changes.  The truck got something put in.   I had something taken out.  And our investments got the biggest hit.

Until next time.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Another bump on the highway.

Salem,  VA

Our plans were to leave Cullman on Sunday August 12, spend two nights on the road and arrive at Thousand Trails, Hershey PA on Tuesday, August 14.

As is quite normal for us.... didn't happen.

We did leave Cullman on Sunday around 10:15 right after church.   We drove 283 miles to a church campground in Dandridge, TN where we over-nighted.  Didn't even unhook the truck.  We needed a 50 amp site due to the hot weather and having the girls with us. 

We got back on the road Monday morning with the expectation that we would overnight in Lexington, VA (271 miles) and arrive at the TT park in Hershey  mid afternoon on Tuesday.   Then came the bump on the highway or better known as how can Leonard and Phyllis get screwed again.   Suddenly we heard a clattering.  At first we thought maybe a flat tire.  Oh how we wish it were.

We pulled over and as Leonard was walking around the trailer checking tires, I heard the sound coming from the engine.  Not a sound we want to hear.   The truck odometer had just turned to 200,000 miles the day before.   We were hoping to get 350,000 miles on this diesel engine.  It was not to be.

There was an exit only about 100 feet from where we stopped.  I got on our on-board GPS and found a Ford dealer 1 1/2 miles away. 

So... here we are.   Instead of  a lovely campsite on a lake, river or even in a RV park, here are our views.

New engine needed.  Hopefully it will be installed by Friday.  We don't count on it.  They did give us a nice loaner.  Brand new F150.   Thinking they want a sale.

Glad we brought a generator with us.  We ran it overnight and just cranked it up again a few minutes ago.   Have to keep things charged.

One of the first things I did when we got to the Ford dealer was call my daughter Amy.  She asked if she should come get the girls   Yes.  She left work around 3:30 near Baltimore and got here after 7:30.  She said she got back home 1:15 am.   It is better the girls be home and not have to sit here for the next several days.  Better for them, BETTER FOR US.

I have a nephew who lives about an hour and a half south of here.   Jason and Kelly offered to come get us.  We would have taken them up on the offer if we were not provided with a loaner.  Thanks for the offer Kelly and Jason.  We will be fine.

Leonard getting some sun and enjoying the view????

Hopefully no further problems.  Heck, who am I kidding.  There will be.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Looking for rattlesnakes.

Cullman,  AL

Almost time to head to the northeast and take the granddaughters home.  We leave Sunday morning stopping overnight at an Escapees park in Heiskell, TN and again at an RV park in Lexington, VA.  We will arrive at Hershey Preserve that will be our home away from home for 2 weeks.

Since moving to Alabama we have heard about the Rattlesnake Saloon in Tuscumbia,   Al.   Yesterday we drove the 81 miles each way to check it out and have dinner.   What fun.

You park on a higher level than the saloon.    You are picked up and driven down in a truck "taxi".

Lousy pictures.   We were moving.   It is a steep drive.  Coming back up was even more fun.

The saloon is built into a cave overhang.

Lots of outside seating under the rock overhang.

And seating in the saloon.   Alcohol served after 5.

This attraction is only open during the warmer months.... April to November and only on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Live music after 6 with closing at 10.    They have a limited menu but reasonably priced.   We had a huge bowl of nachos and salsa.   Abby had a corn dog with fries.  Charlotte had nachos with queso and chili.  Leonard had a nice burger with fries.  I had a wedge salad with bacon, pecans and crasins with blue cheese dressing.   We each had soft drinks or ice tea with refills.  Total cost only $36.00

On the upper level near the parking lot are RV sites, a gift shop and horses riding stables.

We will go back.  Try it when in the area.

Until next time.