Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr '05

This will cover 4 months. Mainly due to the fact that we stayed in Fl til mid-March and then stayed in Savannah for awhile.

  Right after New Years we got a call from Kay's sis (Clara) in Savannah. Her hubby, Mike, has cancer and was in the hospital. Kay's dad was still in Savannah so Kay took a train to Savannah to help with her dad and help Clara with taking care of the house. That would free Clara up to be able to spend as much time as possible at the hospital with Mike. He had 2 surgeries and was in the hospital for 2 months and after everything heals he will start chemo. Kay ended up making about 4 round-trips up there til things settled down and her dad went back to Illinois.

  During this same period we got a call from Kay's Aunt Pat back in Illinois and she had colon cancer. They operated on her and said they got it all and she wouldn't have to take chemo.

  Then we got a call from RI. My Aunt Kaye (birth family side) had passed away. We couldn't get away to go up there due to helping out Mike & Clara. Plus, we don't have the MH winterized and very hard to find a campground open this time of year. And, as most of you know, I have a dislike of flying. Thought about driving up in the truck but after watching the weather decided against that also. They really got hit this winter.

  So now maybe you can understand why I didn't update the site for Nov & Dec in Jan or Feb. I just wasn't up to it. Finally started this update in April and hope to have it posted by May.

  OK--Got that out of the way. Our next project at Paynes Creek was painting the visitor's center. It hadn't been done for a few years and was in need of some paint. It is a large building and tall. First we pressure washed the building and then started the painting. I did the high stuff on the extension ladder. Remember--all of us are retired volunteers and some can't use ladders for health reasons. Or just don't like them. They don't bother me so off I went. Gotta clarify--Bob Tydd did some of the high painting on the first side plus did most of the washing. I think there was 7 of us working on it on & off. I have to say it looks great now. As we were painting we could see where the previous paint job was poorly done. Found out that it had been painted by a work crew from the local jail. And it was obvious they didn't really care what kind of job they did.

  Bob Tydd worked on cleaning/fixing the monument. It was damaged by the hurricane and was under water for awhile. Looks like new. Good work Bob!

  Next we moved on and painted the restrooms in the picnic area. Wasn't too bad, small building. From there we painted the shop building. It is about the size of a 6 car garage. It was in dire need also.

  Marty & Linda arrived 1st of the year and they worked clearing the trails. They look good now but still lots of work to do.

  Bob & Barb Tydd left at the end of Feb and Andy & Merline arrived for a couple of weeks. He had been talking to the rangers beforehand and said he would work on the old diesel tractor that had broken down while cleaning up hurricane damage and was just sitting there. Found out it had a blown head gasket plus other small things. He does nice work. Kept everything clean & orderly. When it came time to put it back together I helped him put the head back on and torque the head bolts for him. His back was bothering him so I did the 'grunt' work. So I just stayed there and helped him put it all back together. It ran great. Just purrs. It wasn't charging the battery so I traced it down and fixed part of it but couldn't trace all of the problem down. I emailed the company that made the alternator and asked for info. It arrived after we left the park so, hopefully, they have it fixed now.

  Next big project was painting new stripes on the 2 parking lots. This was for Bob, Donna, Kay & I. First we had to fill the water truck and then using the portable gas pressure washer with the tank, wash down the lots. Then the painting started. It was backbreaking work but the result was worth it. Plus we had some laughs while doing it.

  We didn't go out much during our stay this year because our designated driver was spending a lot of time in Savannah. Mainly to the Elks for dinner.

  Near the end of Feb we got some very heavy rains and lots of flooding. Had to close the picnic area as the road was underwater. I tried to get to the river & creek for some pics but all the trails were flooded also. And it was nowhere near as flooded as during the hurricanes. The rangers said the water was up to the ranger station and there were gators near the station. The actual creek & river are quite a ways from the station.

  In March I got an ear infection that wouldn't go away. Kept trying home remedies for 3 weeks. So off to the Tampa VA Hosp. Nice folks and took good care of me. The nurse said that if you have an ear infection that lasts more than a couple of days--go to the DR--DON'T WAIT. It could be dangerous. Threw that in here and hope it helps someone. On the way back we stopped at the strawberry shortcake place where we took the pics last year. Still great eating!

  I took some more pics of the baby gators from the previous year. They have grown about a foot. And still hanging together. Also had to chase 2 cows back across the river & had my camera ready in case the big gators just downstream were interested in the cows. Sorry—no action shots.

  I got an email from someone about my website and deleted it by accident when using "Mailwasher". If you sent me one and I didn't answer---I either didn't get it or acted like a dummy and hit the wrong key. I do answer all emails.

  Middle of March we moved on to Savannah. First weekend Jared, Julia & Ryan came up from Ft. Myers, Jason McKinley came over and we put a Bank's Kit on Mike's diesel truck. I did the underhood stuff, Mike did the electrical, Jared & Jason did the exhaust. I’m glad they were here as I sure didn’t want to be crawling in & out from underneath to do the exhaust. New turbo tubing, new charge air cooler (can't see it in the pics), new exhaust plus some electrical stuff. Basically the kit should give more HP & torque. And that it did! The six-gun part of the kit allows you to dial in the power you want. And from 3 on up to 6, that diesel will burn the tires! I never thought I would see that out of a diesel. Makes me want to put a Banks on my MH. Don't think it would spin the tires tho. LOL. Actually I have been thinking of adding one to the MH ever since we bought it. The kit for a MH is actually cheaper than for the truck but still pricey. Maybe after winning the lottery.

During April we got a call that Kay’s dad was in the hosp again. He said he didn’t want us to come up there but we were ready just in case. He thought it was another heart attack but Drs say no. But they haven’t said exactly what it was even after tests were done.

  Mike & Clara’s son, Jason, bought a new (to him) house and I spent most of April helping him remodel the kitchen. He tore out the old walls (I couldn’t help on that—makes my breathing problems flare up) then we rewired the whole kitchen and added some new circuits. Rewired the A/C unit also. The house had conduit running under the eaves to wherever the previous owners thought they needed new circuits. We tore those down and ran them all thru the ceiling. Looks a lot less cluttered now. I am comfortable working with electricity so I enjoyed the redo. Then we hung the sheetrock and taped it. Jason sanded (again my breathing kept me from this part) and painted then I came back into the picture and we hung the cabinets & microwave, installed the stove and dishwasher. Now he is waiting on the countertops and tile for the floors. We will be leaving here on wed (May 11) so I won’t be involved in that. But he promised to send me some pics so I could post them. Oh yeah—I helped him move also. We haven’t done much touristy stuff lately but we have been able to be where we were needed, when we were needed. That is a big plus to fulltime Rving.

  While I was doing the remodeling, Kay went thru & organized all the paperwork for Mike’s hospital bills and insurance stuff.  It took a few  weeks but needed to be done and took a load off of Clara. The reason it took so long was all the phone calls to be made & then waiting for people to return the calls with answers, etc. We’ve all been there before & frustrated by the system.

  We feel comfortable in leaving on wed (today—mon), they have everything under control & know if they need us back to just call. 

These last few days here I added a shelf in bedroom and ran a cat-5 wire under the MH for a project I have in mind. I have everything I need, just wanted to run the wires while I had a concrete drive to crawl on.

  Future plans are: N. Ga; Cherokee, SC; Birmingham, Al; Tunica, Ms, Branson for the Vietnam Vets Welcome Home, up to Bob & Donna’s in Mo, Central Il for my nieces wedding, Effingham, DC for the 40th anniversary of the Ia Drang Valley battle activities.  We’ll see how this plan works out. :>)

  Later                     Pictures