Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Weaving and Smoke Pork Butt With Rib Rub

October 29, 2014

There are so many activities at the clubhouse here, you could keep busy with them all day, seven days a week.  Socials, exercise, music jams, cards, beading, dominoes... The list goes on and on.

Yesterday I felt like warping up one of my rigid heddle looms, so I took one down for the a Stitch n Bitch hour. Unfortunately, no one showed up, so I joined an exercise class that was also scheduled.  It was a nice half hour, easy exercises but they felt good after not having moved much in the past few days.  Afterwards a woman did come to SnB so I warped up my loom and she watched while we chatted. It was a very pleasant time, my loom is now warped, and I have a new friend.

After lunch Bob set up the smoker to smoke a pork butt we had purchased and cut into three pieces.  Two went into the freezer for another week. It took just a couple of hours and I must say, it was the best meat I've ever had. We used our Cameron smoker which is small but holds plenty of meat for four servings or more.  It was so juicy and flavorful.  We use a rib rub I found on the Internet a long time ago, and it is a favorite.  You make up a mixture in a small bowl.

                                             Rib Rub

1/2 tablespoon of each of the following:
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Ground black pepper
Ground cumin
Chili powder
Brown sugar

3/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon Paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Stir together and rub all over ribs or brisket.  I use it all and make it fresh each time. It is spicy and oh so good!

Gulf Shores, AL

October 28, 2014

We had an uneventful trip to southern Alabama on Saturday, and were greeted by a very friendly man when we arrived  we are staying at a park owned by the Escapees, an RV group that prides itself on friendliness and support. I must say, this is absolutely the friendliest park we've ever stayed in.  Virtually everyone waves and most people stop to chat as you pass them. Most people here live full time on the road, and they are a wealth of information on all subjects pertaining to the RV lifestyle. 

On Monday we went for a drive with Auggie to see the Gulf of Mexico. We were unable to find a beach that would allow us to take him on it, but I went down to dip my toes in by myself.  The water is beautiful and colder than I expected.  Still not as cold as the ocean at the coast of New England or New Jersey!

We met a lovely couple about our age who were on a driving trip around the US for their honeymoon.  We took their picture for them and they took ours. 

I want to go back to the beaches before we leave for TX on Saturday-- sure hope there's time.

Noccalula Falls

October 27, 2014

On Friday we drove from Baileyton, TN in the mountains to Noccalula Falls in the city of Gadsden, AL.  When we arrived the camp host marked a campground map to show us where our site was, and we proceeded to park and set up.  Shortly thereafter I started feeling chills and realized I was running a fever.  I had noticed for the past couple of days that I had some post nasal drip and just didn't feel myself, but now I felt sick.  I changed and went to bed.  

A few minutes later the camp host was knocking at our door. I reluctantly answered it and was told we were in the wrong site and we had to move right away--someone else had reserved this spot. I told him I was sick and feverish, showing him the map he had marked a couple of hours ago with this site circled but he still insisted we had to move. So we stowed everything away, unhooked connections, and pulled in our slides.  By this time it was almost dark and Bob had to back into the new site with little light.  He did a great job, as he always does, and we resettled in. I slept like a person with a fever that night and for the next two nights, feeling tired during the day and feverish at night.  We left Noccalula Falls the next morning, however, and headed to southern Alabama where we had reservations to stay a whole week.  Bliss!

On Monday I called the campground manager and explained our experience (the host had outright lied when he told his side of it.)  She is comping us for a night in the future, so we may go back to Noccalula Falls again on our way to NJ next spring.

Friday, October 24, 2014


We have been driving long distances, 250-300 miles per day in order to reach a campground in southern Alabama on the Gulf Coast.  We have reservations there for a week starting Saturday.  It's hard driving 5 1/2-6 hours per day. We take a break at lunchtime, typically at a rest stop, when we make sandwiches in our kitchen and take Auggie for a walk.  

Yesterday we traveled from New Market, Virginia to Baileyton, TN.  We have been pleased to find campgrounds that take our Passport America card which saves us 50% off a one or two night stay.  This is perfect when you want to get to a destination and just need a place to sleep, maybe run the washer and dryer, and take showers. In New Market we stayed at Endless Caverns and I was tempted to stay an extra day to see the local sights.  But our desire to get to someplace warm as quickly as possible won out!  We have been experiencing cold nights, in the 40s and 50s, and it may get as low as 30s tonight.  I had thought it would get warmer as we moved southward! Since tomorrow night we will be in (northern) Alabama, maybe we will start to see temps rise.

I was planning to spin some more during yesterday's travel, but instead I spent the trip reading "Proud Eagle" by Kathryn Ardell on my Kindle.  One of the best books I have read in a while, it was impossible to put down, even while traveling through some
gorgeous countryside.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


We left 10:00 am from Kristen's house yesterday and headed for Virginia.  It was drizzling rain for much of the trip but stopped raining before arriving at the campground at 4:15.
We have had problems in the past getting through Baltimore because we carry propane, and it is illegal to use the tunnels with propane on board.  So this time we used the following route:
95 S to exit 64, 695 east
695 E becomes 695 south
Stay on 695 South until it joins with 695 west
Exit 11b to 95 south
Ex 27 to 495W, heading towards our campground in western Virginia.  It is a bit out of the way to use this route, but at least we are legal on the roads!

In Virginia we stopped for fuel, putting $309 worth of diesel in the tank.  At which point our Visa card stopped working.  I paid with another card before calling Visa to see what was up.  Because I had used the card the day before in NJ, then such a large amount in VA, the fraud protection services flagged the account.  I had a lovely conversation with a man in fraud protection who restored the card after hearing my explanation, then he proceeded to tell me about his dreams to retire to a motorhome in a few years.  I gave him some advice on where to get information, and we were best buds by the end of the call.  Perhaps we will run into him and his wife on the road one day.

I spent much of the trip spinning with my Jenkins Aegean Turkish Spindle, and it passed the time nicely.

We planned out the rest of our stops and called to make reservations, so we are all set for the next ten days or so.  Tonight we should be in Tennessee!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Savings Catcher Update and We Head South

Kristen told me yesterday about a deal that Bluebird is offering for a limited time.  If you have or sign up for a Bluebird account, you can redeem your Walmart Savings Catcher money by depositing it into Bluebird.  Bluebird then doubles your Savings Catcher money.  It was easy to do and I immediately went from about $14 to $28 and suddenly I have some real money in there! This deal ends by February 28, 2015, but Bluebird can end this at any time so jump on board now!

Yesterday was a quiet day--Bob's face was swollen and uncomfortable so we stayed home.  But today we are on our way south! We should be on the Gulf Coast in a few days.  Hopefully we can find wifi to post blog updates.

It is so hard to leave the kids and grandkids but this is something we just have to do while we are young enough to do it.  And we are only a phone call away!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"How Can I Miss You if You Won't Go Away?"

A few years back when we were newlyweds Bob had a small, irregular pale brown patch on his back that was itchy.  I urged him to have the doctor check it out, and when the ointment she gave him had no effect I made an appointment for him to see a dermatologist.  It turned out to be basal cell carcinoma, much less aggressive than melanoma and easy to treat by removing the lesion.  The doctor has been seeing Bob regularly ever since, and removes a small lesion almost every year.  Early this year a lesion appeared on Bob's nose.  This time the dermatologist referred Bob to a plastic surgeon, and yesterday was the big day.

She removed some tissue, did a quick biopsy and then removed a little more. At that point there was a hole in his nose the size and shape of three stacked dimes.  By the end of the day (we were there from 8:45 until after 4:00) the hole had been neatly stitched up, with instructions to remove stitches in one week.

Poor Bob. His face swelled on the side of the lesion and as of last night he could barely open his left eye.  A large bulky bandage covers the wound, making it impossible to wear his glasses anyway.  We are here for another night it looks like.  Kristen and Jason are so sweet about not minding time to heal, but I really don't want to wear out our welcome. I guess we will be playing it day by day.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Somebody's Getting Married!

I apologize for the few posts last week.  On Thursday we left our campground and drove to eldest daughter Kristen's house in preparation for our son's wedding on Saturday.  Kristen and I spent all day Friday shopping for last minute wedding necessities in a nearby town with lots of upscale shops.  It was a tough job, but had to be done! ;)

Saturday was wedding day! My sisters Cheryl and Gail, and Cheryl's husband George arrive about 12:30 and we quickly dressed to leave.  We drove to the church, an easy 25 minutes away.  How fun to see family arrive and have a few minutes to start to catch up with family news!

The church was lovely, as was the wedding service. And the bride and groom, my son Tim and now daughter-in-law Bernie, looked great together.  Bernie was beautiful and radiant, and Tim handsome in his wedding suit. And the children of course were adorable.

The couple had planned for a reception at a barn in Swedesboro and it was a perfect venue.  Decked out in fall colors and glittery lights, it had plenty of room for the dinner and dancing afterwards.  The children who were old enough to sit away from their parents had a table with coloring books and crayons, stickers, goodie bags, and nibbles.  They had a blast sitting together and then playing inside and outside the barn. What a great party we had!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sewing Projects

I had a list of sewing projects to complete yesterday.  First off, we needed a curtain for the bathroom window, so that we could have privacy when the window was open, or when the shade was up. I picked up this fabric a few days ago and it was perfect for what I had in mind.  I'm really happy with the way it turned out.  A tension rod holds it in place.
Next up was hemming three wash cloths from a sample I had woven.  Pretty!
And last, I wanted a "stealth bag" that Auggie could fit into.  He hangs his head out of the bag and settles right down in this.  I decided to simply make an outer cover for the canvas bag I had been using, since I knew the bag was the right size and because I wouldn't have to make or purchase straps for it.  This fabric was on clearance for $3, and I bought a piece of black nylon mesh to top it.  A drawstring closes the opening, and even with his head hanging out, Auggie is somewhat camouflaged. He seems to enjoy being in it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Crocheted Slippers

I like slippers, and wear them often during the day.  So I have had my eye on this pattern here for a while.  My sister Cheryl gave me some Red Heart Jeweltones in pink and RH Supersaver in cream, so I crocheted up a pair this week.  I did go down to an F hook because the H hook specified made for a huge slipper with this yarn.  It was a fast project, about 11/2 hours per slipper for me (and I'm pretty slow.) I may or may not put the button on--what do you think?

Yesterday was cloudy and damp. We took a walk but otherwise stayed in.

Monday, October 13, 2014


Monday morning

On Saturday my youngest daughter celebrated her birthday.  Emily is a lovely young woman with a great husband and two adorable little girls. She put herself through Optician school and has earned her license to practice.  How would I describe her? Emily does not see closed doors as locked, but barriers that must be opened. She is very social and loves to be around others. Even as a child, she enjoyed helping people, and accepted them as they were. I could not be prouder of the person she became. I love you, Em!

Sunday was a very nice day, and Bob and I decided to go for a drive.  We visited Craven Hall, a historical home in Warminster that was saved from the wrecking ball by a group of local residents.

Erik Fleischer, President of the Craven Hall Historical Society gave us a tour of this lovely house.  I
was excited to see that there was a framed wedding certificate on the wall with some Bennetts listed.
In my family, my great great great great great great great grandfather was Captain John Bennett, who
served in the first Seminole War and brought back a Seminole woman as his bride.  There is a John
Bennett who signed the wedding certificate, but it is doubtful that it is my ancestor.  Still, who knows?

The Hall boasted a flax wheel

And a great wheel

Plus a very interesting loom.

Next to the Hall is a small museum commemorating John Fitch, the man who invented the steamboat.  And you thought Robert Fulton had done that! Nope.  Fulton's steamboat was actually built 22 years after Fitch's steamboat.  Unfortunately for John Fitch, however, he was not able to obtain financial backing or public support for his.  Fulton's was backed by some strong investors, so it became a success while Fitch died penniless.

Friday, October 10, 2014

New Campground

Friday morning
We moved yesterday to a new campground near Quakertown, PA that has WiFi, but the signal is so poor that if you try to use it after 7:00 a.m. it doesn't work.  I was able to upload yesterday's blog but when I went to view it a minute later, someone else must have gotten on the internet and was trying to download a video or something.  At least, that's what I blame it on.  :)  This post may have to wait to be uploaded later today when we can stop in at a McDonald's.

We took a drive yesterday around 4:00 and found that we are in an area that has a WalMart Supercenter, a JoAnne Fabrics, and a Lion grocery store. And a Lowes, if Bob needs to go visit some tools that we have no room for.  Whoo hoo!  We also have full hookups and supposedly cable, although we were not able to figure out the set up yet.  But we will eventually.  Until then, we have our own videos.

I realized that I don't have nearly enough photos of our cat, KC.  I will try to remedy that.
The people in the motorhome next to us have gone out, taking their YouTube-loving teens with them, and WiFi suddenly works. Coincidence? I think not.


The bloodiest single day in American military history took place near Sharpsburg, MD and Antietam Creek on September 17, 1862.  For both sides, 22,717 soldiers were killed, wounded, captured, or declared missing.  The battle was considered tactically inconclusive but was declared a Union victory as Confederate troops withdrew first from the battlefield.  President Lincoln gave his Emancipation Proclamation following the Union "win."

It has been years since I studied US history, so our trips to historical sites have been (and will continue to be) fascinating and educational. Yesterday we drive about an hour through back roads of PA and MD to see the site of the battle of Antietam.  It was a gorgeous, warm day with blue skies and puffy white clouds.  We walked around and read informational signs describing the events of so long ago.  I could almost hear the musket fire and cannons roar,  the shouts of the soldiers and the screams of the wounded.  We pondered the effects of this battle on local farmers who had spent all summer storing up bounty for the winter, only to lose it to the armies who passed through and took it from them.

Here is Dunkers Church, where the armies battled it out.

We had brought Auggie with us, not wanting to leave him home alone for hours.  At the Visitors Center I popped him in a large tote bag and he sat there under my arm, with just his little head sticking out.  Not wanting to be stopped and possibly incur a fine, I walked up to the ranger at the desk and asked if we were ok to come in like this.  He smiled and said that if I had not said anything he would have never noticed Auggie, but now that he had seen him we could not bring him in.  He was a very nice man and we had a little chat before heading back outside. But it gave me an idea, that if I were to attach some black mesh to the top of a tote bag no one would see Auggie's head and we could bring him almost anywhere. As long as they didn't search my bag, which has happened at a few museums.

I'll have to work on that.

Last night we watched the first two episodes of the old TV show Northern Exposure.  I got the complete set for Christmas last year, and have been looking forward to watching them all this time.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Yes, I Still Weave

My son in law wrote an amazing article about his son, my grandson Robby and his brain tumor.  Please check it out and leave a comment here:

I am amazed every morning when I emerge from the motorhome to let Auggie water a tree, how sparkling the air is here.  Living in NJ for so long I became used to the pollution that we breathe daily, but out in the country the air smells so clean.  We have also been having evening showers, which energizes the air.  Even the light is different.

We are getting ready to head out tomorrow for another campground but as of this moment we have not decided where we will be. The whole world beckons!

I bought a loom about nine months ago in preparation for living on the road.  I have been through a lot of looms in the past few years, having owned and sold an eight harness 36" and a four harness 22" Harrisville Designs loom, a four harness Saori SX60, a tiny 8" 8H Structo, and a 4H 20" table loom from England who's name escapes me.  I have primarily been weaving on my tiny Piccolo 2H 15" floor loom and the rigid heddle looms. But I wanted a small floor loom that had 8 harnesses, so I decided to get a 20" Baby Macomber. I talked by phone with the representative, Sarah Haskell, sent off money, and waited impatiently.  In theory the Baby Mac was just about perfect for on the road life.  It has enough harnesses for fairly complex weaves, so hopefully I would not outgrow it.  It is small and folds up to a tight package. I had been weaving on 20" rigid heddle looms for years and knew that 20" makes a nice dish towel and can be used in making clothing.  I also knew from experience that even a 36" wide loom is really too narrow for baby blankets so piecing panels would always be necessary. Not that I would have room for a 36" wide loom!  One area of concern was the weight of the Baby Mac.  At 50 lbs it is not easy to move around, and I would not be schlepping it outside to weave en plain air like I could with the Piccolo.  I decided to load it up with a nice canvas apron for both beams and a friction brake for ease of use.

After my loom arrived, I admired its tiny form and moved it to an empty room where I passed it daily and looked at it longingly.  Because we were in the middle of moving from one house to another, then from house #2 to our motorhome there simply was no time to play with it.

Two days ago I decided it was time to give it a go.  I removed about a third of the yarn, tools, and
fiber out of the closet to get to Baby Mac and dragged him out.  I measured out a sample warp and carefully threaded the loom.  Macomber looms come with metal hooks for tie ups, and every time you want to fold the loom you have to remove every hook.  Then to weave again you have to crawl under the loom and set it all up again. So when I got Baby Mac I also purchased Texsolv and replaced all the hooks so the loom could be folded without removing anything. And boy, am I glad I did! Tieups were easy and I can just leave them in place when we move our home.

I have to say, this loom is a delight to use.  That heaviness means that Baby Mac is solid and stable. The back folds in and the harnesses can be held up to allow for easy threading of heddles. The friction brake is a joy. The tension I get on this loom is amazing.  It is fun to weave on.  Altogether, I am very pleased with this loom and I know I will have lots of fun with it.

So here is a picture of my sample.  I think I am going to do something a little different for my actual project, but I really like this pinwheel design.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Mercersburg and Gettysburg

We took a drive yesterday to the local McDonald's to upload yesterday's blog post.  However, I thought Bob had the bag full of computer and iPad and he thought I had it, so we missed our opportunity.  Instead we took a walk through the town of Mercersburg to see what we could see.  Here's the house where James Buchanan grew up.

I had noticed when we first drove through town that between the houses on the main street there were alleys, and they were all named.  This intrigued me, so when we stopped to chat with one of the two full time police officers outside the police station I asked him why the alleys had been named.  He told us that only a few years ago the town had decided to name the alleys to make it easier for police and fire departments to respond to 911 calls.  Plus, he noted, the alleys actually serve as addresses for people whose front doors are located off the alleys.  I discovered later when I looked up homes for sale in the area that many of the beautiful and historic homes in town have been converted to condominiums. Somehow, that is sad.

Our weekend was very nice.  Saturday was a relaxing and reading day for me, while Bob fixed the broken cabinet door.  He did a great job, of course!

On Sunday Bob and I took a trip out to Gettysburg, PA to walk around.  We had been been out there two years ago with our oldest grandson for a camping trip, and we enjoyed the history that abounds there.  Because we had Auggie with us this time we were limited in what we could do, so we stopped at the Chamber of Commerce and picked up a brochure describing the Civil War era houses in town.  Boy, there were a lot of them! Gettysburg has managed to keep a multitude of historic homes, and they all have a story.

Here is Bob hanging out with President Lincoln and some other guy.  Forgot to get his name.

I really love this little part of Appalachia.

Our 15th President

On Friday we settled in and then decided to go for a drive.  We came across a sign that said Buchanan State Park, so we drove in to see what was there. I really didn't know much about President Buchanan, so I was interested in learning a little about him.

Dedicated in honor of our 15th President, James Buchanan, the state park marks the site of his birthplace with a stone pyramid.

What a beautiful setting!

Since the actual cabin had been moved to the Mercersburg Academy, we drove over there as well.  It was a cute little cabin, but we were not able to go inside.

I was able to photograph the room through the window by pressing the iPad against the glass.

We later stopped at an Amish farm stand and picked up some veggies.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Settled in, in PA

I was not able to upload yesterday's blog post because wifi doesn't reach our site. Today I am walking up to the office and hopefully I can get these posts online.

We lest Kristen's house at 10:30 yesterday morning, lifting up he overhead wires with a long broom to allow the motorhome to pass under safely.  And we were off!  It was a nice travel day--no rain, some clouds but very pleasant. We were happy to leave Philadelphia behind. I don't enjoy city driving even as  passenger.

We too our time and drove at or below the speed limit the whole way, stopping for lunch at a rest stop where we witnessed a small car taking up a whole long-rig parking space.  Since the lot was pretty full, this inconsiderate boob who could have parked anywhere made it more difficult for the truckers and RVers to find a spot to take a break.  People just don't think!

Back on the road.  We followed the directions on the website to find the campground, ignoring our GPS.  We have finally learned that lesson--when it come to campgrounds, don't follow GPS! I can't tell you how many times we have been led astray by them.

Our campground is fairly small and very quiet, with a lovely view.  We tend to avoid "big box" campgrounds that offer family amenities.  Those are usually much more expensive and sometimes have loudspeakers announcing children's activities on the hour.  Since we are just the two of us, we put more value on less expensive, quiet, friendly places that have some interesting attractions within driving distance.

Bob's brother, Tom, had given us a bottle of champagne to celebrate our new adventures, and we cracked it open last night as we enjoyed our peaceful surroundings.  It was very nice!

Last Day at Kristen's House

We spent our first day without a house to care for running errands and rearranging things in the motorhome so they would fit better.  Bob and I decided not to leave until tomorrow, so we still had to mark reservations at a campground somewhere.  After some internet surfing I found one about an hour from Gettysburg, PA that was reasonably priced and was not too far away.  We booked it for a week and may extend our stay an extra week if we like it.

We had given our gas grill to Kristen and Jason during the move.  Since they had no experience grilling, we decided to have a cookout last night.  Kristen and I picked up the fixin's for burgers and salad, with pineapple and mango salsa on the side.  Bob helped Jason work the grill and together they did a fine job--it was yummy!

After dinner the boys had fun "visiting" Grandma and Pop in the motorhome.  We are going to miss those guys!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

We Finally Close

We went to settlement on our house after a nail biting day. It was not even definite that the closing would happen until last minute, as the buyers' mortgage company dragged their feet at each step of the way.  Our realtors took us out for a celebratory dinner afterwards in Lambertville, NJ and we had such a great time.  Thank you, Faith and Yogi, for a wonderful evening and for the fabulous job of getting us to the closing table!

Today we are spending some time going through and discarding papers, and figuring out where we will be spending the next two weeks until our return.  The plan has been Virginia, but as RVers are wont to say, our plans are set in Jello. So we may change our minds today and go in a different direction.  It's all good.

I'm also going to be enjoying my last day in this area and doing a bit of shopping with Kristen and Emily.  So far I am loving retirement!