Sunday, March 27, 2011

Is The Trip Over??

Well, we thought we were going to get an early start home on Friday and get to stop and see my brother in KY. Good intentions right? Anyway, when we left at noon on Friday we noticed an oil leak. No phone service so we had to disconnect the car and drive up the mountain to call for service. We were told about a place not to far away for the service. YIKES! The guy was very knowledgable but his shop was scary. He was able to stop the leak, but the engine was really dragging and we think we picked up bad fuel in GA. So we decided to drive it as far as possible and deal with what we had to deal with.

We had to drive up and over Fort Mountain and it had lots of twisty curvies with a lot of elevation thrown in for more of a struggle. We made it to Knoxville TN around 9 p.m. and decided to wait it out and get an early start on Saturday. The mechanic advised us to let the fuel go as low as possible to eliminate as much of the bad fuel as possible.

Saturday 5:30 a.m. we decided to get an early start... the engine would not start. We called for a tow and he arrived around 10:00 a.m. Since no one would be able to work on it til Monday we decided to seperate and I'd head home and he'd wait get the repairs and head home later. Wish we hadn't made this decision, but it's over and we'll deal with it.

I did stop and see my brother and had a nice but short visit. They were talking about severe winter storms in KY and I was anxious to get out of town. I drove 3 hours to their house (even managed to get up their steep rutted driveway) and reluctantly left around 2:00 p.m.

Wanting to get home before dark and outrun the storm I didn't stop for anything but fuel once. I drove for 6 straight hours. A total of nine hours and I can honestly say I don't know how MM does it! The weather did hold out... it was actually sunny in Ohio and southern Michigan and I was home by just before 8. Had to stop to replenish groceries and I was starved! I had breakfast around 9 in the morning and that was over 11 hours without eating.

Talked with MM and he's waiting in the parking lot of the freightliner repair garage til Monday. I feel so bad and I don't think I'll ever make this decision again. I should have stayed with him even if I wasn't able to get back to work on time. But, decision is made and hopefully they'll be able to get the coach in right away and he'll be on his way home Tuesday or Wednesday. So I guess it was a nice vacation with a horrible ending. Lesson to be learned is watch where you buy fuel from. Think we'll stick with Flyin J or Pilot..... no stations in cities that really don't use diesel as quickly as they should. Stay tuned .... MM will be home soon and I'll be as excited as he is.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

In THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, the second volume in the late Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, publisher Mikael Blomkvist and the police are conducting parallel investigations into three horrifying murders -- and their initial evidence points straight at young computer genius and social misfit Lisbeth Salander. Kalle Bastard Blomkvist (as Salander has begun referring to him) hasn't seen Salander in nearly two years, except for one night when he happened to witness a huge man attempting to kidnap her and both she and the attacker eluded him. He's bewildered about why she cut him off cold, but had accepted her decision -- until now. He doesn't believe Salander killed these victims. Well, at least not two of them. He has to contact her, find out how she's become embroiled in this, and help her. Salander, as usual, has her own ideas about who she'll see and when....

I'm always amazed by computer geeks, but Salander takes it to a whole new level. She does things that I can't even imagine let alone do. For example, at one point she has her apartment door rigged to let her know if anyone opens it while she is away. Then she can click a few things on her blackberry, or iphone or something and watch through cameras that she has set up. Not only that, but if the intruder doesn't have the password correctly then she has it programmed to dump a lot of paint on them. Now, who could even think of all this stuff, let alone carry it out? Murder, mystery, violence, the story line has it all. The reviews say that this one wasn't as good as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but I thought it was just as good. Can't wait to start the third one.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hiking the Appalachian Trail - AWESOME!!

Today we went hiking on the Appalachian Trail. AWESOME!! The approach to the AT begins at Amicalola Falls State Park GA with the elevation of 1700 ft and ends 2181 miles later in Millinocket ME elevation 5268. “Thru” hikers usually begin in mid March in GA and plan on hiking about 6 months. There are also “section” hikers… hikers that hike a section at a time finishing after several years. We heard of one hiker finishing after 36 years. We did a little over a mile of the AT going from Woody Gap (mile 20.3) ele 3257 hiking up to Big Cedar Mountain (mile 21.5) ele 3737. We didn’t go prepared for much of a hike at all, but we did have a camera. We talked with lots of hikers (probably a dozen of the 20 - 30 that we saw) most of them having started about the 14th of March. Hikers come in all shapes, all sizes and all ages. The average hiker traveling through was in their mid 20’s and were taking a break from college to find themselves. Greg, was 50 on March 14th and this was his birthday gift to himself. Another gentleman in his 70’s maybe, had been doing it for years and was hiking for about a week. He and his wife plan on finishing up the last section next years doing the last section in ME. Most hikers were eager to talk and they all had a story. We had a blast!

Big Cedar Mountain

After hiking and talking with hikers back at Woody Gap we got back in our car and drove to Neels Gap (mile 30.6 on the trail) where there is a trading post of sorts and a place for hikers to replenish supplies or clean out stuff and lighten their loads. Greg, that we mentioned before, had a pack of 75 pounds!! A girl nicknamed ‘One of the Cajuns’ was traveling with 2 guys. They were from Louisiana, go figure, and her pack was about 40 pounds. She couldn’t have weighed more than 120. The guys she was traveling with were each carrying between 50 and 60 pounds. One even had a guitar (he wasn’t leaving it anywhere) and the other guy had a tambourine. I got the feeling that a lot of the hikers were throw backs to the 1960’s.

Neels Gap is the only spot on the trail that it goes through a covered portion of a building. There is also a tree out front that has a lot of worn out boots thrown up into it. Can you see the boots on the right? The soles are literally falling off of them!

We had a great day and would love to do more of the trail … it would be nice to be better prepared and maybe even train a little for it lol. Walking sticks (like ski poles) are an absolute must! Everyone had them and the old guy said it really saves the knees. With my balance (or lack thereof) I could really have used them. Lots more trails in the area… wonder where we’ll go tomorrow?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunny and Warm in Georgia!!

On the 11th of March we headed to an FMCA Rally in Perry Georgia. While at the rally I made a cool sock monkey...

We made friends with the people on either side of us. Toni is an rv technician and had lots of tips on repairs and such. The other side was Ginny and Jim. Real nice couple we had a lot in common with. We also had dinner one night with a couple we'd met last fall in Branson MO.

The weather was gorgeous except for rain on Tuesday. We did lots of cruising around on the motorcycle and just plain enjoying the sunny warm weather. On Monday we also did a little side trip with Ginny and Jim. There was a tour to a quilt shop in another town and it was a little pricey so we just went on our own. It was further that we'd expected, but we found it relatively easy to find. They had lots of cool ideas and sweet fabrics. I held back and just bought a few fabrics and patterns. We also went to the new aquarium at the Agricenter. Everything was new and beautiful and right there on the fairgrounds.

The best entertainment was the last night we were there (Thursday). It was Jeanne Robertson. I had seen some of her youtube videos before so I was really looking forward to the show. She did not disappoint. I laughed for the whole show.

When we left there on Friday we headed to Stone Mountain GA where we had another 4 nights reserved. Again, the weather was great and we did a lot of motorcycling. The hills are enormous and we didn't even get the bicycles out of the car. On Sunday we climbed Stone Mountain and made it to the top.

Some of the grade was 20% and that is pretty steep. There was a handrail at that point. The rest of it you just walked up the sheer rock. I think it's about a mile long and 823 feet high. The other side of the mountain has a sky lift for those that want to see the top but can't or don't want to climb. Going up we stopped 5 or 6 times for me to catch my breath... MM didn't need to, but he was glad I stopped :). On the way down it was all knees and ankles. Pretty easy, but you wanted to pay attention so you didn't turn your ankle.

Today we rode the motorcycle around a little and went to see a video on the carving on the side of the mountian.

Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis. The carving began with the carver that did Mt Rushmore and was halted when he went out west and for the Civil War and WWII. Having seen Mt Rushmore I have to say this is much smaller, but then again the mountain is too. We also hiked around Venable Lake... nice hike and the weather was perfect. Not too hot and not buggy either. Lots of turtles sunning themselves. Stone Mountain Park is Georgia's #1 attraction and has literally miles of hiking trails and that many people using them too.

We're heading to another park in Georgia tomorrow morning and plan on staying there for 4 days too. Hopefully the weather will hold out for us. I had a few more pictures to upload, but the service is exceptionally slow and there's stuff to do outside :).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner

He knows everything about you—including the first place you’ll hide. On a warm summer night in one of Boston’s working-class neighborhoods, an unthinkable crime has been committed: Four members of a family have been brutally murdered. The father—and possible suspect—now lies clinging to life in the ICU. Murder-suicide? Or something worse? Veteran police detective D. D. Warren is certain of only one thing: There’s more to this case than meets the eye. Danielle Burton is a survivor, a dedicated nurse whose passion is to help children at a locked-down pediatric psych ward. But she remains haunted by a family tragedy that shattered her life nearly twenty-five years ago. The dark anniversary is approaching, and when D. D. Warren and her partner show up at the facility, Danielle immediately realizes: It has started again. A devoted mother, Victoria Oliver has a hard time remembering what normalcy is like. But she will do anything to ensure that her troubled son has some semblance of a childhood. She will love him no matter what. Nurture him. Keep him safe. Protect him. Even when the threat comes from within her own house. In New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner’s most compelling work of suspense to date, the lives of these three women unfold and connect in unexpected ways, as sins from the past emerge—and stunning secrets reveal just how tightly blood ties can bind. Sometimes the most devastating crimes are the ones closest to home.

A great book that I wouldn't want to read on a spooky night that I was home alone. But really, this was a good read with twists back and forth. The mind is a powerful, scary thing. Summer is coming (no really) this is a great read.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Angel Falls by Kristin Hannah

When Mikaela Campbell, beloved wife and mother, falls into a coma, it is up to her husband, Liam, to hold the family together and care for their grieving, frightened children. Doctors tell him not to expect a recovery, but he believes that love can accomplish what medical science cannot. Daily he sits at her bedside, telling her stories of the precious life they have built together, hoping against hope that she will wake up. But then he discovers evidence of his wife’s secret past: a hidden first marriage to movie star Julian True.

Desperate to bring Mikaela back at any cost, Liam knows he must turn to Julian for help. But will that choice cost Liam his wife, his family, and everything he holds dear? One of Kristin Hannah’s most moving novels, Angel Falls is a poignant and unforgettable portrait of marriage and commitment, of an ordinary man who dares to risk everything in the name of love.

Another really good read by Kristin Hannah. She really made you think. We all have pasts. What would happen if you woke up one day and 15 years had been forgotten and you were back in your memory to 15 years ago? I shudder to think. Kristin really goes into every family member's emotions and thoughts. We grow every day... 15 years!!