Our Schedule

Monday, April 23, 2018

Meet the Easts

Sulphur, LA

This past weekend we traveled to Louisiana for the 3nd formal reunion of Lens siblings and their families.    Leonard is the 3rd oldest of 10.    There are 9 surviving siblings.  Seven attended the reunion.  In the front is Laura (Pet), Lydia (Monkey) Angelitta (Sissy).  In the back is Robert, Leonard, Myron and Royce.   A typical display of baseball caps.

Our plan was to leave home last Thursday, take two days to drive the 560 miles and leave today to come home, again taking two days.  We were going to tow our travel trailer and stay at a local RV park. Plans change.  Our truck went in the shop last Monday for a new rear.  We were assured it would be done Wednesday at the latest.  This is Monday again and the truck is still not done. They tell us tomorrow.  We'll see.

For two days we had to rent a car.   Finally the dealership gave us a 2018 Ford Escape to use.  We are used to the leg room and the comfort of a F350 Super Duty.   An Escape has very little leg room. Not the most comfortable trip.  But we sure did save a bundle on the cost of fuel. 

Due to these changes, I cancelled our RV reservations and we stayed at Lens brother Royce and SIL Susies.   And we left home on Friday, drove straight thru and back on Sunday, straight thru.

The reunion, as always, was a delight.  One hitch... Leonard woke up Saturday morning with a gout flare-up.   The worse ever.  And he didn't bring his gout meds that he takes when he feels a bout coming on.  By yesterday he could not walk on his own.  He had to grab on to something to be able to keep off his foot.   He took two long naps on the drive home.   Once home I retrieved a set of crutches we have here so he could get in the house.   He collapsed in his recliner ( after taking those gout meds) about 4:30 yesterday afternoon where he has mostly remained since.   He was asleep by 6 and slept til 7:30 this morning.    He is asleep again now as he has been most of the day.   He says the pain is substantially lessened.

Some random shots:

Each year each "team" (Team Lydia, Team Royce, etc) are assigned a color.  You will note many people are wearing pink.   That was the color assigned to Sissy and her family.   Her one son told us their shirts should have said  "The Sissy's". 

Games are played throughout the day with points awarded.  The team with the most points have their team name engraved on a trophy and get to keep the trophy until the next reunion. 

We thank daughter D'Juana for handling the ordering of our team shirts this year.  She also was REALLY good at herding and leading our team in each competition.   We couldn't have done it without her.

I'm not saying which team won this year but with humility post the winning team holding the trophy.

It will be proudly displayed at D'Juana and Joe's house.

Until next time.....

Friday, April 13, 2018

Dang it!

Cullman,  AL

There are so many things we want to do.  One of those has been to restore a pond that used to be on the property.    Another is take down many cedar trees that were planted some time ago.  Another is a clear approximately one acre of overgrown brush and trees at the back of the property.

We met with an excavator.   We agreed to the cost of getting all done.  He was to start work in a few weeks.

Then.... we heard a grinding noise in the truck.   Dang it!  Plans change.  That grinding noise meant a new rear.   $5,000.    Some of the excavating will have to wait.     We decided to still have the pond restored and the cedar trees removed.    The back acre will have to wait.   I am thinking mowing 3 cleared acres now takes me a few hours.  Do I really want to have to mow another acre? 

These cedar trees can be no older than 17 years as the house was built in 2000/2001.  Look at the size.   Can't wait til they are gone!!

Looking from the house toward the shop and road:

Along side of the house:

Blocking the view between house and future pond.  The cedar trees are on the right.  On the left are two beautiful cypress trees just starting to leaf.  They are gorgeous when fully leafed.  We can't see them from house because of the cedars.  The cypress will remain.

Another view of cedars and cypress:

Leonard had taken out one of the cedars but it was quite the challenge.  When they were planted, they were staked with green metal stakes.   Several remain.  Tree roots have wrapped around them and some even have the tree growing around the stake.

There are two cedars that are beautifully shaped and sit off separate.  We are keeping them.  They will look great lit up during the Christmas season.

As I said... Dang it!  The best laid plans............

Until next time.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Test Run

Hidden Cove Resort
Arley, AL

We took this opportunity to travel all of 26 miles to one of our favorite campgrounds .... Hidden Cove in Arley, AL.     The purpose of this 4 day trip was to test out our new Grand Design Travel Trailer.

The first day out was a pleasant sunny day.   We managed to sit outside for a spell.   Can not say the same about the remainder of our stay.  That night the winds kicked up, the rains pelted and light hail hit the area.   As Hidden Cove sits on Smith Lake in northern Alabama, it can really get cold there.

Our 3rd day was spent driving back to Cullman, about 36 miles each way where we both had medical appointments.  Len for a knee that is bothering him and me about the continuing pain in hip.  All part of getting old I fear.

On Friday we packed up and came home as planned.

So..... how did the Grand Design hold up?   No leaks, kept us warm on those cold days, everything worked as expected.

How did we like it?    There is a LOT less counter space than our previous RVs.   That is expected as they were much larger rigs and all had center islands.  Going to take some getting used to.

Along with a smaller kitchen comes a RV refrigerator.   We had gotten accustomed to a large residential fridge in our last two RVs.   Not only that ..... I HAVE TO MAKE ICE CUBES.  How primitive.    No ice maker, no water and ice without opening the door.   But since we do have an outside kitchen with small fridge, we are fine.   But too cold to cook outside those few days.

I never cared much for booth seating.  We always had table and chairs.   I like this one though.  It is not the traditional setup with a stationary table and two booths.  This table is movable and the booth is U shaped.   The table is in the down position in this picture.

Len noted that we can move the table closer to the cooking area when more counter space is needed.  Great idea.

We both love the bathroom.  It's roomier than any we've had before.

We were worried about storage space.  However, since we won't be living in the Grand Design but only use it while on NOMADS projects or vacations, it has more than enough.

We purposely got a unit with a bunk house.   There are times when I go searching for a quiet place to rest or sleep.   That will be lessened when Len finally gets this sleep  apnea thing evened out.   But having a bunk room is great for guests and grand kids who travel with us.  Lots of storage in that room.   That is another bunk that folds down over the sofa.

Yes, this will take some getting used to.   Next Saturday is Len's family reunion in Louisiana.  So off to another trip.  Hoping for much better weather.

Early this past week we planted tomato, pepper and cabbage plants.  Expecting to go down to 29 tonight.   In a while we will go outside looking for buckets, flower pots, etc to put over the plants.  Wish we knew that in this area they recommend not planting until April 15.   We were too anxious I suppose.

Until next time.