Saturday, April 28, 2012

When Did “No Problem” Replace “You’re Welcome”?

It is about time for another social commentary……..

We both grew up being taught the liberal use of please and thank you.  But in our era, the standard response for thank you was “you’re welcome”.  But in the last few years we have noticed that more and more “you’re welcome” has been replaced by “no problem”.  You go into most restaurants anymore and receive your food and your thank you is met with “no problem”.  We thought maybe this was just a Michigan thing, but as we travel about we find that it has hit every area we have have traveled in.  Now there are times when a “no problem” is a good and appropriate response.   For example, you ask someone at the campground to give you a quick bit of help with something and you say thank you.  In this case a “no problem” is an indication that your request wasn’t an inconvenience.  Maybe we are old fashioned, but for us the appropriate response at a restaurant to “thank you”  is “you’re welcome” and we cringe a bit each time we hear “no problem” and we find that we are doing a lot of cringing anymore.

Monday, April 23, 2012


100_1548We had passed through Asheville, North Carolina back in September.  At that time, we passed on the Biltmore tour as the entry fee was $55 each.  But we then somewhat regretted not having visited even though it was pricey.  In conjunction with the rally, we were able to get an advance-purchase group discount and at $40 each this time we went.

The Biltmore was constructed  in the late 1800s by an heir to the Vanderbilt fortune.  He commissioned renowned architects including the landscape architect who designed New York’s Central Park.  A railroad spur was built into the site to transport construction materials.  The house has 250 rooms and is billed as the country’s largest residence.

100_1528Off to the side of the house are some beautiful gardens including a conservatory filled with exotic species.  The azaleas were still in bloom, but it was just a bit early for the roses.

It is speculated that the construction and operation of the Biltmore took most all of George Vanderbilt’s fortune.  However, his heirs have been able to continue ownership of it, maintaining it through the entry fees.  We were glad to think that it was self-sustaining and not relying on government subsidies and earmarks.

No one is allowed to take pictures inside the house, but we got a lot of great shots of the gardens and flowers:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Our First Rally

100_1553What is a rally?  In this context, the best definition I read was: “a gathering with a common purpose”.  Rallies are very popular with many RVers.  There are motor home rallies,   There are rallies of people who pull fifth wheels with Class 7 and 8 tractors.  There are rallies of people from internet RV forums.  For some RVers, rallies are the main use of their RVs.  Well, we had never been to a rally.  But we saw that Escapees, the premier organization of full time RVers that we belong to, would be having an east coast rally that fit with our travel schedule and plans.  So we are attending our first ever rally in Marion, North Carolina, just east of Asheville.

What does one do at a rally?  The first thing we did was have a weighing of our motor home.  Escapees conducts four corner weighing at their rallies.  In our case as we have a tag axle, we had a six corner weighing.  We knew we would be well under our maximum weight ratings, but we wanted to see if we had any uneven loads and we also wanted to be able to adjust our tire pressures to the exact weights they are carrying.  Gary had known how the motor home had weighed coming out of the factory and he loaded it to try to keep the weight uniform side to side on each axle.  I don’t get it.  The only corner weight that is relatively somewhat high is the front passenger side – the corner I sit at.  I don’t weight anything remotely close to what Gary does on the other side.  How can this be.  Well, maybe it has something to do with the big propane tank being over there.  We did find that we were running with a lot more tire air pressure than we need to.  We can lower them at least 10 pounds each and still have plenty of safety margin which should smooth out the ride even more.

100_1554Back to the rally – they have a daily schedule of events and seminars and of course there are socials and pot lucks.  Many of the people attending this rally are full timers so you learn some things from some very experience people.  The RV park is full of Texas and South Dakota license plates, the two main choices of full timers.  The park is a part of the Tom Johnson RV Center.  This dealership is one of the most respected in the country – within an industry that doesn’t always earn great respect.  They maintain two campgrounds, and we are at the rally center which has a large pavilion for rally events.  The rally park is a win-win.  Users get a great facility at a reasonable cost and the dealership which is right next door gets a new influx weekly of RVers to shop for RVs, parts and service.  Tom Johnson has another location near Charlotte that is noted for selling and servicing RVs for the NASCAR circuit.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, Leeanne


Monday was Leeanne’s birthday.  She said she wanted a cake so I whipped one up and iced it, or maybe I found it at a nearby grocery.  And she got some roses as well.  We were in the Greenville, South Carolina area for the day.  We actually spent most of the day cleaning the motor home inside and out, but we did go into Greenville the night before and had dinner in their downtown restaurant district.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Visit With Our Niece in Alabama

From Panama City, Florida, we headed north into Alabama.  We are on our way to a rally in western North Carolina but we detoured slightly to visit our niece in college near Birmingham, Alabama.  She is from the Indianapolis area so not a lot of people beyond her immediate family has the opportunity to visit her.  We hadn’t been in that area in her years there.

100_1464She attends Samford University and is in the final year of their nursing program.  She gave us a tour of the campus.  It is a very hilly and treed area.  The campus is self -contained which has allowed the  architecture to be kept consistent.  The university has been endowed by a number of benefactors including this rather stiff one shown with Karen.

We enjoyed a dinner out, eating what else than southern BBQ. It was very nice to be able to visit and hopefully we were on our way before we wore out our welcome.


Friday, April 13, 2012

You Know It’s A Small Town When………

100_1395it has the world’s smallest police station.  Yes, a phone booth as a police station.  Our amazing campground on the Gulf coast was very near the town of Carrabelle, Florida.  Before the town built its first police building, its police cruiser used to park outside this phone booth and residents could call there it they needed to reach their cop.  Thanks again to for directing us to this little gem.
From Carrabelle, we drove over to Panama City and spent yet some more time outside an RV service shop.  We had this nagging little oil drip from the engine and it took a couple of days for two different batches of parts to arrive to hopefully finally have fixed it right.
Our pictures from the Florida Panhandle are at:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tallahassee, Florida–An Alarming City?

2012-04-05_16-28-34_559In a blog post about the capital of Florida, why are we showing a picture of a slice of pizza?  Well, there must be a story in there somewhere.

We drove up from the gulf coast to Tallahassee for a day, planning to do some shopping and some sight seeing.  We took on the shopping first including a stop for lunch.  Someone had recommended a pizza place, saying they have really big slices.  Yes, they were mighty big slices.

So, where are the sight seeing pictures, the pictures of the state capitol building and Florida State University?.  Well, just about the time we had finished the shopping portion of the trip and were heading toward the capitol building, we received a call from the campground.  They informed us that the alarm on our motor home was going off and wouldn’t quit.  It is a really loud alarm and we could hear it in the background of the phone call.  The darn thing just wouldn’t shut down.  We were an hour away so we explained where the hide-a-keys were stowed and how to shut down the alarm once inside.  At that point, we concluded that we needed to go directly back to the campground and just skip the sight seeing portion of our trip.  They called back a short bit later to say they had gotten in the motor home and turned off the alarm.  But we thought is best to just go back anyway as Alley cat was no doubt freaked out from all the alarming and activity.

We purchased some flowers for the women of the office who had done all the calling, provided a bit of reward for the man who had to crawl under the motor home to find the key, and apologized to as many of our neighbors as we could.  I think they all took it much better than we probably had.  So there you have it – a slice of pizza is our photo memory of Tallahassee.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Amazing Campsite

100_1432We have had some very nice campsites during our travels, but there are times when your campsite is truly amazing, and this was one of those sites. We are on the Gulf of Mexico in the Florida Panhandle, near the town of Carrabelle, about an hour south of Tallahassee,  And as you can see, our campsite is literally right on the coast of the Gulf.  It is amazing to look out the front window of the motor home and there is the water.   The campground may not 100_1433have amenities such as swimming pools and sports courts, but boy does it have a view. There are a string of barrier islands in this area of the Gulf, including the one in the picture, Dog Island.   Not too far away is the town with the very cool name of Apalachicola.  We have taken in some of the white sand beaches of the area and eaten some of the local shellfish catch.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Metal Detector Works!

We have moved on north in Florida to the Gulf Coast of the Panhandle.  We went to a pretty white sand beach and Gary tried out his new-to-him metal detector again.  He didn't get more than about 10 feet from where we were sitting until I saw him down on his knees a digging.  He told me that the detector was reading that it was a coin and and not a bottle cap or pop top.  Sure enough he found his first ever coin with it.  And what was it?  Let's just say that at this rate we will only have to go to the beach 6,499 more times to pay off the $65 that he paid for it.  But he was thrilled just the same that he had actually found something.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gainesville, Florida

After touring Cedar Key, we also took in Gainesville from our campground in Williston, Florida.  We were thrilled when we first pulled into the beautiful heavily treed campground and set up.  But soon we found we were overrun, no pun intended, by thousands of caterpillars.  We have no idea what these things are going to turn into, but there are going to be a ton of them whatever they are.

And we were also attacked (at least I was) by the “no-see-ums”.  These things are reportedly so tiny that they can pass through window screen.  One night we were sleeping with the bedroom window open just above my head.  The next morning I had small itchy welts all up and down one arm and a bunch of other bites all over me.  In total, I must have had over a hundred  bites on me.  Gary, who sleeps on the non-opening side of the window barely had any.  I guess it is because I am sweeter. 

We toured a bit of the University of Florida.  We had read about the bat houses and stayed until after sunset to see the bat show.  Different reports say there are anywhere between about 50,000 to 150,000 bats living here.


We didn’t get over to “the swamp” until after dark so it was really tough to take pictures.

Our pictures of the campground, Cedar Key, and Gainesville are at:

Monday, April 2, 2012

Who Is That Behind The Wheel?

2012-04-01_11-17-50_437Leeanne hadn’t said much of anything about driving the rig since obtaining her motor home license back in Texas in September.  But as we were recently preparing to move, she said said she  might like to drive a stint again.  After we were all hooked up and I was sure the rig was ready, she took the wheel and drove 75 miles, her longest drive yet.  It was on a beautiful Sunday morning on a four-lane non-interstate road – a perfect time and place.  The total rig including the towed car weighs around 40,000 pounds and she handled it like a top.  Just look at that driving form and control in the picture.  There could be lot more driving in her future.