Jul. 23rd, 2013 01:11 am
greatbear: (jeff and me)
My recent disappearance in these cyber parts was mainly due to me and Jeff taking a much-needed vacation. Per usual, we headed up to Provincetown for a little over a week's worth of rest, fun, sun, friends, eye candy and way too much good food. Arriving the Thursday afternoon prior to Bear Week, the two of us, along with the two pooches, set up our little campsite in the same location as last year. We immediately went out to our favorite carry-out eating spots and put together our meal after all the driving. It was an "official" start to our big vacation of the year. While not as long as last year (we took two weeks worth then), it was still plenty of time to enjoy ourselves. I always seem to say that we go to PTown "despite" Bear Week, a we don't bother signing up with any of the official goings-on put on by the Provincetown Bears, opting instead to do our own thing. We get to see our friends that normally live ten minutes or so from us but never see these days except in PTown, familiar faces from years before seem to be everywhere, and we get to meet interesting new people. No expectations, no stress (for the most part). Running into Armistead Maupin and John Waters on the streets, taking pictures with cast members of "Where the Bears Are", talking with recording and DJ folks, parties with friends, it's a different sort of world for a week. I even managed to get my increasingly creaky old ass on the dance floor. And the food, well, let's say not a day went by that we weren't smiling about having a great meal. It's all good, much needed, and always welcome.

Our good friends from Connecticut, whom we sadly only get to see this one time a year, were once again at the campground, along with not one, but two of their potbellied pigs as travel companions. They brought fresh eggs for us from their farm, which made for wonderful breakfasts. Jeff's trio of buddies were at the other end of the campground again, we kept running into them here and there. Weather on the Cape was much more sane than the heat wave to our west. We went to so many of our favorite galleries and shops, dragging home art and souvenirs as well as a couple boxes of electronic gear I picked up from the church tag sale for way too cheap. It was a challenge to get everything into the truck to bring home. We managed fine, we just had to open the rear doors slowly to catch stuff falling out as it shifted in traveling.

While it might seem this was an idyllic trip free of snags, like all good things there were clouds among the silver linings. PTown had been experiencing some manner of rain practically every day since early June, this resulted in a bumper crop of mosquitoes that rivaled some tropical climates. Lounging outside at the campground was doable with repellants and sprays, but we didn't do too much to speak of. Even parts of downtown were plagued with the bloodthirsty beasts, but it was a small distraction to all the goodness abounding. All the aforementioned good food didn't take long to overwhelm the wreckage that constitutes my lower digestive tract. Some of our plans had to be shuffled or skipped as I dealt with far too many trips to the bathroom. The janky wireless internet access I was getting at the home base of Mobile Mayhem made keeping up with the outside world sketchy at best, and downright frustrating at times. The campground lies at the fringe of 3G mobile data coverage, and the reliability/availability of the connection made my early days of dialup internet seem like fiber optic broadband. As such, I lost out on meeting up with some LJers and Facebookers. Service was better downtown, of course, but I didn't bring the laptop with me, and I wasn't going to be one of the many cellphone zombies wandering around the streets not watching where they're going, or Instagramming their meals, or posting Twitter and FB updates every two minutes. I find it so much better to pry myself away from constant online access, instead enjoying the moments. Honestly, I don't have that many years left, so I am making the best of the time while I can.

I also discovered that, as time goes on, I am taking far fewer photos than I used to. Yes, I dragged four cameras with me, but the SLR stayed in the bag, the waterproof Pentax I brought along had its battery conk out at the beach where I hoped to take pics of the dogs frolicking in the sea, my little Canon compact accumulated less than two dozen shots, while my cell phone camera probably had to most use of all. Honestly, I have no idea what's going on there. My interest in photography has fallen way off in recent years. Still, I have a few good shots that will service as nice reminders of our time. I guess I need to focus (heh) on bringing my hobbies with me more often.

We ended up breaking camp and hauling our asses outta town the following Friday. Since traffic heading on and off the Cape is legendary for long lines on the weekends, we've discovered it best to leave early on weekdays instead. While there were still two good days of beary goodness to be had, we needed to get to Pennslovakia in order to rest up and unpack the trailer on Friday evening in order to take it in for repairs on Saturday morning. We couldn't get the work done on it before vacation as we hoped due to parts availability issues. Luckily the damage caused by the fire in March was not bad enough to keep us from using the trailer for vacation, it was mostly cosmetic. I hauled the trailer up to the RV shop on Saturday, not before running right into the start of a vintage tractor parade in the town of Gratz, where the shop is located. I had to shoot ahead of the parade using side alley streets, once ahead of the vintage machinery, I got back on the main town road lined with people waiting for the tractors. I guess we should've waved or something. Once that was taken care of, we visited Jeff's mom at the nursing home and headed home, We had a Sunday in Maryland to ourselves, working in the gardens and the yard plus running errands. This Monday, of course, was back to the grind. At least we had our fun and are better for it.

I didn't promise pictures, but here's one of us on the breakwater in PTown. Gadzooks, I am looking older by the day.


We are already making plans for next year.
greatbear: (jeff and me)
Jeff and I returned today from a much needed break from the daily grind. Our shakedown cruise camping trip to delightfully mountainous Western Maryland and the always wonderful Deep Creek Lake was a success with only a few minor issues. Some forgotten supplies, inadequate propane supplies on board (and practically a circus of trying and failing on multiple counts to find a refill), and a few other little goofs did nothing to spoil our mini vacation. Rather than try to do a whole lot of stuff in the few days we had, we just enjoyed the quiet, had our meals under a canopy of trees and sky, slept in, and unplugged. We are better for it. It's been a couple years since we've been out that way, what with time constraints, health issues and such changing our plans. We go the weekend after Memorial Day, and treat it as an extension of Jeff's bday festivities. In spite of a rainy Friday along with a tornado warning (and the two of us inside a trailer surrounded by several more!) we had an awesome time. We are home safe, rested and ready for the week. Better still, at the end of this month we ramp up the fabulousness factor and head on up to Provincetown for two whole weeks. Those minor mess-ups will be all taken care of.

We still have a lot to do around the house as we catch up on stuff, I have upgrades to the truck to install, the Stratus to tear apart and straighten out, some work on other vehihicles in the stable as well. The veggie garden is starting to produce, and I have to finish installing critter countermeasures so we can have at least some of the bounty to ourselves. It's going to be a busy summer for us, but that is not a bad thing. Among the work we are going to take needed breaks, entertain and be entertained. We are worth it. ;)

I return from the four (ish) days after being off the grid and discover LJ abuzz with activity! Sadly, a lot of it is focused on various observations of "the death of LJ" as well as people stating their intents to stay or go. To those saying they are staying out, good on yas. It's youse guys n gals that keep me here, enriching my life in ways I'm pretty certain you had no idea. Those that are heading out, well, I sure hate seeing you leave. All I ask is that you stay in touch, somehow, cause I'm going to miss you.
greatbear: (jeff and me)
You probably didn't take notice, but there has been an extended period of radio silence on this here bloggy-poo. The reason? Some much-needed vacation time. It was actually a two-parter, the July 4th weekend was spent up at Hillside for 4 days, a return home for us so Jeff could do some worky-worky stuff for a couple days, then a return to the road for a trip to Provincetown for Bear Week. I set the controls at the House and Garage of Mayhem on full auto, the antipersonnel laser vaporizing a trespasser (or it might have been the meter reader, I'll see what the electric company says) but apparently missing the sly groundhog that took liberties (and big bites) with some of the garden veggies.

The Hillside trip was nice. We had on board with us a couple friends, one we knew for years on and offline (former LJer Aaron/"fredneckteddy") and a buddy of Jeff's all the way from North Carolina, Tony, whom Jeff had been conversing online for a very long time and met in person for the first time upon picking him up at the train station on Wednesday. A good time was had by all, lots of good food was cooked and eaten, and, as is apparently an unwritten law for Hillside camping, at least part of the time spent there had us rained on. Tony, being a Hillside "virgin", had a lot of fun despite being at times overwhelmed by, well, the people and things going on there. Hell, he's ate it all up and had a blast. Aaron was last at Hillside maybe 8 years prior, and had no trouble adjusting (yeah, that's what I'll call it for now, "adjusting"). Once the extended weekend was over, I towed our 26 ft home back to its summer parking spot at Jeff's parent's place, leaving it connected to the truck and driving home in the car that we also brought up. This allowed us a substantial fuel savings, and the convenience of having the rig all ready to go again in three days.

We headed up to PTown at the crack of dawn on Thursday, arriving about mid-afternoon. After setting up and a bit of a break, we headed into town. Of course, our first stops are at Mojo's for a big cup of Cape Iced tea, and a stop at the Portuguese Bakery. Any familiar faces or "bears" had yet to make any sort of mass appearance since the bear week event did not officially start until Saturday. We were treated to lots of muscled Chelsea Boy types among other homosexual subspecies. Once the official start of Bear Week approached and passed, the eye candy quotient went into orbit. Jeff and I were quite content with finding outdoor seating at restaurants, shops and the town square and watching the parade of hair humans, many quite familiar from years past. Several of our well-known friends popped up in all the usual places once again, and I got to meet quite a few LJ peeps for the first time, more so than in previous years. There were apparently some missed opportunities as well as outright ignoring by a few people, a major (though not entirely unexpected) disappointment,

Our extended week had us doing our traditional whale watch boat trip, typical shopping sprees and general lolling about town, not to mention eating some of the most awesomest food around every day. We took Kodi with us into town every day, where he soaked in rockstar-like popularity heaped on him by dozens of people at a time. It didn't help that, in addition to his adorable doggy-ness, he would ride in Jeff's bicycle basket through town or carried in a over-the-shoulder sling pouch, both of these carriers designed specifically for pooch perambulating. In addition to the miles of walking, toting and riding, Kodi managed over 1200 miles of puke-free riding from Mayhem Acres all the way to PTown and back. It's like he knows it's vacation time, and relaxes immediately. If this could only be the case with every road trip! It was Kodi's first trip to the beach, where he eventually had a blast dog-paddling in the water once getting used to it.

This year, our vacation accompanies a big change in both of us, as we are officially two middle-aged men with major medical conditions. Jeff was not able to ride nearly as far on his bike as in years past, and I still fumbled my way around a bit while walking. Despite this, we both did remarkably well IMO, with Jeff taking the little rides in stride and I didn't end up falling down once. We even managed to take part in the now-standard-feature-of-Bear-Week, Blowoff. This was short lived, as the dance floor at the Boat Slip Resort resembled a sauna, with the heat and humidity oppressive to say the least. The next day Jeff was hit with a case of "kennel cough" and I still have a case of intermittent sniffles. We are either way too old for this sort of thing, or someone has to provide several thousand more cfm of ventilation to that place.

There's much more, but, sad, to say, all good things have to come to an end, after an 11-hour trip off the Cape and back to the trailer's summer parking spot, a night's sleep, then the additional 2.5 hour trip home this afternoon, our vacation for 2011 officially ended. While sad, and seemingly awfully short, we packed a lot into the time we had, and were glad to arrive home in one piece, bettered by our time spent up north. We are already making plans for next year.

More (possibly) to come...
greatbear: (Default)
I'm taking a break from reorganizing the garage and cataloging some of my "stuff" (more on that later). I had started thinking about our little excursion that week and how much it meant to us as far as sending time together, not thinking about work or medical procedures or any sort of pressing matters of the day. It does do a body and mind quite a bit of good. We went during "Bear Week", of course, but the only true reason for that was to simply pad the time with hopes of running into some of our friends while there, and to take in the eye candy. The latter was at higher levels due to IBR Lazy Bear in Cali being non-existent this year, raising the sightings of unfamiliar faces, cover bears and "a-listers" as they packed the streets, shops, eateries and parties. As for us, we managed to take in one "tea" at the Boatslip, and Tuesday night's Blowoff. The Blowoff was our first, despite them originating basically down the road from us in DC. It was a lot more fun that either of us expected, Jeff got a chance to shake his bootay on the dance floor. Of course, I could not even try, having a difficult enough time just getting around. Still, it was a ton of fun for me. We attempted to go to the tea dances again the rest of the week, but found them way too packed and turned right around and left. I can't handle that kinda stuff anymore, and we didn't attempt any more.

We had way too much excellent food, Kodi was a total rock star with everyone he met, and despite having to make my way around with a walking stick, I made good use of my time by taking it easy. I hope next year these medical problems won't be an issue.

I have three cameras worth of a few hundred pictures to go through, but found this one in my first go-round. If one picture best describes our little vacation in P-Town, this would be it. Happy, smiling, having a good time, and a truckload of seafood. Kodi helped Jeff with his ice cream, mine was melting faster than I could eat it. I seem to be storing some of it in my beard.


And, yeah, that's my ever-present walking stick in the pic. It sure beats that old medical cane by a mile. I managed to wear the rubber tip of it off, and tried to make do with stuff from the local hardware store to fix it.

We will do this again.

Edit: Thanks to [ profile] putzmeisterbear for correcting me. *blush*
greatbear: (Default)
I have been away for a little more than a week, first to Hillside then up to P-Town in spite of for Bear Week, in our first true vacation in three years. I'm happy to say that, despite the circumstances with my health, we managed to have a great time. I managed the walks to and from the center of town using my walking stick, and I discovered that bicycling is not a lot different that when I was "healthy" by the simple fact that the hunched over riding position puts minimal stress on my spine and the low impact pedaling beats even light walking. I was unable to try out biking as a form of locomotion (not to mention as exercise) since the bikes had been stored up in PA at Jeff's parents' house since last year. While not nearly as energetic as I was in years previous, I still managed to surprise myself by having a minimum of problems until the end of the week, where it finally caught up to me. Still, the time to relax and get away for a bit was excellent therapy in itself. The weather was decent, with only one rainy Tuesday night to contend with. Despite not doing quite as much as years past, we did manage to take in our first Blowoff, where I watched Jeff sinfully gyrate on the dance floor while I managed to stand against a railing holding it for support and mildly sway to the beat. The walk home in the pouring rain replaced the shower I was going to take afterward, and was not entirely unwelcome either. In fact, it was a perfect Cooloff.

Our biggest surprise of the week came not from the excellent food, friends both expected and unexpected, acres of eye candy or other sights, but from Kodi, formerly known around Casa Mayhem as CrazyDogInsanityPooch. At our first weekend at Hillside, Kodi was the usual skittish bother with his typical separation anxiety any time either (or both) of us left the campsite as well as a bit too much barking at people and other dogs. This had us reconsidering our decision to take Kodi with us to Provincetown rather than leaving him with Jeff's mom and dad for the week like we had done prior. We decided to give it a try, with me thinking that he'd have a good time and not be too much of a bother. Well, we soon begun to question whether we had accidentally picked up someone else's dog. Since the beginning of the trip, Kodi was a bit calmer than usual, and during the dreaded 9+ hour ride from Hillside to P-Town Kodi quietly sat in our laps or napped quietly in Jeff's lap (a total first), not fussing one bit between the couple stops for food or fuel. More importantly, no tossing his dog biscuits all over the interior of the truck! He was perfectly behaved during stops, and once up to the campsite, pretty well behaved for completely unfamiliar surroundings. We were beyond impressed.

The surprises continued as we took him into town, where he was not only well behaved, but an absolute rock star with the people we encountered. This was magnified even more as Jeff carried him in an over-the-shoulder bag made expressly for carrying pets, and even more so when he rode in a specially designed bicycle basket. People stopped us to pet Kodi and ask about him, kids adored him, and the gheys even more. And the wake of comments, finger pointing and photos that accompanied him while he rode in the bike basket was unmistakable. And he soaked up every minute of it. When it came time for us to go into the center of town without us, he dutifully climbed into his crate without the slightest fuss or peep and cheerfully awaited our return. We were both totally dumbfounded. And this was a daily occurrence! We even took him to a restaurant (Bubulas) where we ate outside and Kodi sat next to Jeff near the sidewalk. The only disturbance came as a drag queen rode up on a little motorized tricycle and began making a loud, humorous fuss over Kodi to the delight of everyone nearby. Kodi did some barking, but it was all in the fun context. :)

Sadly, our time in P-Town had to draw to a close, and, for me at least, not such a bad thing. My legs were giving out on a regular basis, and the effort I undertook earlier in the week caught up to me and left me exhausted, but in a good way. Our trip home was uneventful, with our one and only Kodi Moment happening in Connecticut whereupon Kodi blasted the center console of the truck, along with my cell phone, one of two GPSs and everything else with the lunch he had about a half hour before. This was entirely our fault, as we had stopped to make ourselves some lunch at this midpoint of the trip, giving Kodi just a little bit too much food and delaying our rest stop just a bit too long. This resulted in at least a half hour of cleaning up stuff before heading back onto the highway, where our planned rest area lay about a mile further down the road. This is where Kodi's impeccable timing reigns supreme - he will usually lay waste to a vehicle interior within scant minutes before arriving at the destination. We could not be angry at the poor pooch, after all, it was our fault overfeeding him and delaying the break, and he continued to be his amazingly perfect self the rest of the trip. We ended up in PA where we spent one more night of trailer camping in mom and dad's driveway in air conditioned comfort, and today we headed home. All in all, it was a great trip, much needed, and therapeutic.

Since it's been over a week since I have checked my LJ f-list, the sheer number of posts is overwhelming. I am trying to catch up, but am only able to make it back a few days. I have several tabs full of posts to comment on, and will do so in the next day or two. Still, I missed out on a lot. If there is anything of note that you want to inform me of, let me know. I'll be making some P-Town-specific posts soon.

It's fun to take trips, but it's always good to be back home.


Jul. 6th, 2010 12:52 am
greatbear: (ciggie bear)
Who reading this plans to be in Provincetown for "Bear Week" (or in spite of it)?
greatbear: (Default)
Why go on some ordinary vacation when I can stay home and clean up the yard and make not one, but two trips to the landfill! I got all I need right here! ;)

Actually this has been a much needed task, and today brought a couple of unusual and cool occurrences right in our front yard. There was some activity in an unused field across the street. Come to find out, people from the area made a baseball diamond. And since the process is "if you build it, they will come", today the youngsters from the neighborhood were playing ball in their own private ballpark. Very cool. And just a bit further up the road, the Maple Lawn development put on a very involved fireworks display tonight. We piled in the car, drove to the end of the road and had prime seats. This helped a bit to put me in a slightly better frame of mind than I have been for the past few days.

Through the magic of LJ and Facebook, I get to see all the fun that so many of you are having without me. Have a drink and think of me.

As I have come to expect, when in need of some help, my local friends are conspicuously absent. I should be used to this as it has been the norm for ages, but it still hurts. I will still help them out as usual, hoping the pangs of guilt will prod them into some sort of action one day. Or not.

I guess I should not post when both in pain and with a bitchy attitude, but it fills up the time.
greatbear: (old graybeard)
In spite of losing out on the Provincetown trip, I've decided to use the time for much-needed repairs. Some of these involve my rickety old body. I will be making appointments to have hernia surgery in a few days as well as trying to find out exactly why my Achilles tendinitis has gotten so bad in the past few months that I can barely walk. That, coupled with the fact I eat like a pig and slowly have been losing weight makes me believe there's something else at play here. I'll find out soon enough I hope. I also have to make a dentist appointment (I know it's been more than ten years by now) as well as another trip to my ophthalmologist to see how the glaucoma is doing. Yeah, I'm falling apart big time.

My main issue in all of this is having the time off for the procedures (and accompanying recovery in the case of the surgery) held against me by management. This started many years ago with one particular manager that for one reason or another, disliked me intensely and delighted in making examples of the slightest faults or issues. This put a big flag in my records that to this day seem to haunt me from time to time. Not long ago I heard he had kicked the bucket, and when told this among others in our group I applauded the news and hoped for some really good rot to take place. Yeah, not nice, and shocked some, but as a reference, he got what he had coming IMO. I need to make sure these procedures will not be held against me, and if they appear to, I will hold off and possibly begin some legal action. All I ask for is equal treatment. Sound familiar?

Also, now that these pesky vacations are no more, I have more time to work on stuff. While my eyes might need some work to improve my vision, I can only hope it's as easy as this:


On Sunday while awaiting the final outcome of our trip, I finally did something about the sun-clouded headlights on my Stratus. Both lights had clouded badly over the past nine years, and the right-side lamp had some deep gouges from the time that Mom had gotten run off the road by some mofugger (that I was ready to go find and beat to a pulp) into a row of orange traffic barrels. Some sanding and polishing with my new Baldor two-speed monster buffer, and the things look practically new again. I should regain a noticeable amount of illumination as well.
greatbear: (headsmash)
I used to enjoy this time of year. As a kid, school would be out, the weather would be warm,I'd be outside all the time to the point where my hair would practically bleach white. This feeling continued into my adult years, being outside, helping Mom with her gardening, working on cars until the wee hours of the morning, building stuff, lots of activity. In the past few years, what once was like pure freedom has become more like some sort of wet blanket. Momentum I had about a month or so ago has completely ground to a halt, supplies I have accumulated for needed work around the house is just sitting, and many recent projects are stuck partially completed. A lot of this is due to this being the time of year I'd spent involved with Mom's decline in health and eventual death, but it also seems to be a lot more at play as well. Work absolutely sucks, with some downright nasty backstabbing and political shenanigans coming into play as we face being relocated to an off-site facility which will serve to make my job (and many others') a lot more difficult while allowing management and their bootlickers to build a fiefdom of ego beyond what they have already accomplished. I don't know how much more of this I can take before I snap. And that will not be pretty.

Of course, that which I look forward to, our little vacations, is a big help. However, as has become tradition it seems, as we close in on our holiday, turmoil at Jeff's workplace rears it's ugly head and threatens to put a damper on our fun if not cancel it entirely. Bless his warm, fuzzy heart, Jeff has been working extremely hard to get folks to fill in for an employee in a critical position that was just let go. So far it's been a success, but it would not take much to come apart. There is absolutely no extra coverage, and if someone can't make it in, Jeff will have to fill in. That means no trip to PTown, or cutting it short. At least at his current employer they've been a bit more accommodating than some previous ones, where Jeff had been stuck taking over for others and having no day off for a month or more, along with 10-14 hour days to boot. Still, this casts a cloud over the limited time we get to spend together having some much-needed "us" time. All I can do now is ask all of you in LJ land who reads my scribblings to keep your fingers crossed.

I luckily have three days off this weekend, and that time will be spent, hopefully, getting things done around the house and yard so we can get all set for our trip in a week. Friday I have an appointment to take the truck to the dealership for a recall notice and minor warranty work. Unfortunately, I will be stuck in a waiting room reading new vehicle brochures when I could instead be doing more productive stuff. Let's hope it's not a long wait.
greatbear: (Default)
Another Hillside camping weekend has come and gone. Somehow all the effort that goes into these weekends - the packing, driving, setting up/tearing down, cooking, etc - almost makes us wonder if they are all worth it for the relatively short time. But, meeting up and spending quality time with old friends as well as making some new ones offsets the efforts. This outing had [ profile] churchbear and his beau "The Pork" plus Jeff's good buddy Dean staying on site 22 with us, along with Kodi the WonderPooch. Across the road from us once again was [ profile] rockybear02 and his beau along with a mutual friend staying in their newly acquired luxury pop-up trailer. Aside from some rather intense rain on Friday afternoon, it was pretty decent weather overall. [ profile] climatebearnj and [ profile] churchbear both had their chances to feel up my arms. Meals were total awesomeness as the two Jeffs, Dean and "The Pork" were almost playing "Battle of the Food Network Stars". I bought three radios from Hillside's little 'treasure store' (basically a permanent yard sale) for five bucks and took a few minutes tonight to clean the pots and switches to make them work like new once again. We delivered the trailer to it's summer home in Jeff's parents' driveway but not before Kodi tossed his cookies half inside and half outside my truck along with half all over Jeff. That's three halves simply because it was that much. We drove home in light traffic with no incidents at all for the whole weekend. I give it all a B+.

I look forward to these weekends as a chance to unplug from the world's events. I did bring my hugeass laptop along, but I mostly did a lot of updating of the system and installed programs since I had not touched the thing since last August. On the radio we had heard about the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. Along with the loss of Ed McMahon, that was three big names from my younger years that are now gone. This prompted a lot of discussion among us as well as with our friends the entire weekend. Thus, the weekend was weighed down with talk of death at a time when I had hoped to not have it on my mind, being that tomorrow, the 29th, marks the the third anniversary of losing Mom to cancer. I had warned my supervisor at work that there'd be a chance I would not show up on Monday if my frame of mind was in shambles. I'm still not sure how tomorrow will turn out in that respect.

Once home and back online, Jeff found out that loudmouthed infomercial pitchman Billy Mays died too. It's ironic, in that "But wait! There's more!" respect. Unreal.

That mostly sums up what has gone on with me during my LJ absence. A lot of really good trying to stave off the specter of really bad with the memory of the absolute worst standing by. My brain is an awflly small batteground for such things.
greatbear: (forearms)
Jeff and I are safely home after our first camping trip of the year. It's also become the way Jeff and I celebrate his birthday. He's 47 now! Doing this one relatively close to home is a way to start off easy, make sure we have everything in order and iron out any sort of problems that might crop up. The latter did make a showing and really could have been serious.
Pics and text of what happened, plus a rant... )

Though it rained on and off on Friday, Saturday was absolutely perfect, and exactly what I had ordered for Jeff's big day. Though our 'mystery guest (sounds like 'camp caddy') could not make it, Jeff and I along with a remarkably well-behaved Kodi had a most enjoyable day.


This is our spot, same as last year. There were more people camping this time than the previous two years. Surprising, but makes sense, since camping is still one of the cheapest and most fun getaways that can be had. We love camping, and do so several times a year. We are on tap for P-Town again this year, plus three trips to Hillside. We can't wait.

A Flickr photo Set of the Deep Creek trip can be found here.
greatbear: (forearms)
It's coming down to the wire as Jeff and I work at getting things ready for our first camping trip of the season at Deep Creek Lake in western MD. We're still hoping for a mystery guest to join us, but have not heard anything back yet. I hope this post serves as a bit of cage rattling.

I installed the new water pump, fixed up all the fans, added RFI filtering to two of them that, when running, completely wipe out radio reception and the television. No more. The new water pump is in as well, with some mods to the mounting to make it quieter when it runs. The replacement is not quite up to the capacity of the original, but will do. I plan to add an accumulator/pressure tank in order to even out the water flow and minimize the pump cycling. I should be able to squeeze a one or two gallon tank in the compartment the pump hides in.

Trying to clean up the exterior has been a nightmare. We evidently live in a land of mutant flies which leave permanent 'specks' in the finish. Jeff managed to scrub through the paint in a couple areas and the specks (a polite term for fly shit, as well as crap from our swarms of box elder bugs) remain. We'll keep working at it and get the trailer looking spiffy. In the meantime, I only have to finish replacing the electric element in the water heater and flushing the heater tank out and the maintenance end of things will be done on the trailer. I have to get the truck ready with an oil and filter change, a fuel filter change (somewhat of a pain but made easier by removing the front right wheelwell liner), a good scrubbing and detailing inside and out and we should be good to go. I cant wait. We need this vacation badly.

More work has been done in the garage, and after we get back from vacation I hope to finish the door trim and front interior wall project that has been taking too long. The roofs get done soon, and I can finally work at getting the sunroom finished off, some intricate woodwork for trim and soffits, some too-cool lighting ideas to get built into said woodwork and much happiness will hopefully ensue. The next major project will be a refinishing of the deck.This will be a big undertaking since I will be removing each cedar board from the floor and running it through the planer to smooth out the wood and replacing the old galvanized nails with stainless screws. The railings will get a similar treatment, section by section. Everything gets a good coating of stain/finish. Despite the recent years of neglect, the deck is still amazingly solid for it's eighteen plus years. I did that one right the first time.

Jeff must work early tomorrow morning, but I will have Sunday and Monday off. This will be a short week for both of us and Friday we hit the road for our camping trip. Our next outing will be at Hillside, then P-Town, then two more Hillsides. I'm so looking forward to them all.
greatbear: (Default)
Now that the 'net is acting a bit less flaky, I can write about it. Last night the area was hit with a winter ice storm (funny how they always happen in the winter, eh?) making for a chorus of crashes, tinkling, crackling and distant (and not-so-distant) sounds of arcing and explosions. Needless to say, I did not sleep well at all, and kept getting up to check on things and shut stuff off. We managed to escape any damage and long-term power outages, unlike a few years ago. I rolled out of bed, called work and told them I'm staying off the roads for the day and climbed back into bed. Since getting up later I've been doing household stuff and installing a new battery in the UPS connected to Jeff's PC.

It's times like this which make me not like winter very much.
greatbear: (Default)
My little stay-at-home vacation is officially over. Monday I go back to work. Gonna be rough after having almost two weeks off. At least I got a lot accomplished around the house and garage as I took care of much needed (and much delayed) chores and projects. If things keep going as they have been, it's going to be a pretty good year.


Aug. 24th, 2008 11:43 pm
greatbear: (forearms)
This weekend was our last camping trip to Hillside, wrapping up four trips there, a trip to Deep Creek Lake, and, of course, Provincetown. Seems like it was not long ago that Jeff and I were planning these trips and so looking forward to them. Now they are ones for the history books. Where does the time go?

The weather could not have been better. Hillside is notorious for having freak storms, total rain-outs and snow in May. This is to be expected in a northern, mountainous region. This time, though, we enjoyed a perfect summer, full of friends, fun, frolic, food and dogs.

It was not a perfect trip for everyone, though. Jeff was stuck working on Friday, leaving it for me to me to fetch the trailer from his mom 'n' dad's place and haul it to the campgrounds solo, with Kodi never leaving my lap. Jeff calls me later in the day saying he will be much later due to problems with one of his staff. Two of our guests were completely unable to make it due to similar coworker problems, interrupting a tradition we've had going for a while. Chris, another friend staying with us had a damper tossed on his time by a troublesome tummy bug. But, we all made the best of things and had a good time despite the setbacks. We managed to find some old friends we havent seen in ages and took some time to catch up, picking up as if we had just seen each other yesterday.

Finally got to meet [ profile] _angry_alan, smiling and looking anything but angry, relaxing and kicking back with his buds.

My Achilles's tendon was bothering me too much to do a whole lot of walking around this time around. Still, I made it up to the bonfire on Saturday night where we hung out with more friends and LJers. The strangest part of that evening? A rather excited youngish man came up to me and said he had seen me before, at first not sure where. He then matched me to the lip-sync video I did as part of the meme started by [ profile] chrisglass a few years back, who he also mentioned by name. He knew the song I used as well ("Heartbeat" by The DeFranco Family). We chatted a while about all the videos that ended up being made and how much that meme made my day(s) at a time when I needed some cheer. I felt like an unwitting rock star, with my fan club of one. It made my night.

I woke up this morning to one of the most intense charleyhorses ever in my right calf, causing extreme pain for at least twenty minutes and a limp for the better part of the day. It still hurts, and I am afraid it might fire off again some time during the night.

We said our goodbyes, dragged the trailer home and relaxed, watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. We have one more camping trip in October at Knoebels, continuing a tradition we started last year. After that, the trailer gets mothballed until next year, hopefully to take with us to many new places. And old ones.
greatbear: (vacation)
Well, another vacation has come and gone. This one definitely ranks well in the upper percentile. The weather was perfect, the food to die for, and the friends, both old and new, sealed this one as one of our best. So much to catch up on, it will take a few posts. I'll never begin to catch up on past LJ entries, so I ain't bothering. If there is something of note I should know about, let me know.

Only issues I encountered was a schizoid navigation unit that sent us on some strange routes when it was somewhat functioning, otherwise it sat stupidly, constantly searching for position. Looks like a bit of technology destined for the junk box in the basement. I also know that I can run the fuel gauge completely to 'empty' for at least 30 miles with no ill effects. We had a prime spot at the campground, with great neighbors who could always be counted on for good conversation (aside from a strange pair of silent, isolationist Quebecois with ill-mannered dogs who spent most of their time either inside their RV or outside in it's screened-in 'porch' encased in black privacy curtains). I did not take as many pictures as I had done last year (I accidentally left my memory card pouch home and I needed more space), deciding to enjoy the moments instead. Still, I have several hundred photos to pick through and upload as time permits.

I've had folks prior to and during our trip stare and give winced looks when I tell them I pulled our trailer all that distance to and from P-Town given today's prices for diesel fuel. Last year, diesel fuel prices hovered around $2.95/gal, this year a solid two bucks was added to that amount. I budgeted enough for fuel knowing that this year, diesel will hit that magical 5 dollar-per-gallon figure the oil companies have been salivating over. My prediction was spot-on.

Total miles driven: 1296
Average cost of diesel fuel: Roughly $4.95/gal
Average MPG: 11.3
Total cost of fuel: Don't remind me. :)

Worth every damn penny.

I'll be posting more as I can. As planning and luck would have it, I have only four days of work this week before my next free Friday. What are we planning to do with it? You guessed it, more camping. This time at Hillside. I'm going to need another little vacation to recover from such a rough week. ;o)
greatbear: (Default)
In a few hours from now, Jeff and I will be heading up to Provincetown for Bear Week. A stop tonight in PA at Jeff's 'rents to drop off Kodi and hitch up the trailer, a good night's rest and an early rise on Friday morning to head on up. Hopefully we get there with some time to spare, allowing us to set up everything then head downtown for a while. Last year we arrived late, in the middle of a downpour and had to set up in the dark while getting soaked.

Both of us can't wait.

How many LJers plan on being on town anywhere from from the 11th to the 19th? I know [ profile] rootbeer1 and [ profile] qbear will be there, [ profile] slothel and his giant pooch are going to be there all week, and [ profile] griffmoss will make a showing later on. If anyone wants to get together (and since my internet access will be nearly zero), IM me via my profile page or call me at 443- eight one two -6030. I will have email via my cellphoneofmanybuttons as well.

Can't wait to see y'all!
greatbear: (forearms)
Sadly, our long weekend draws to an end. While Jeff was stuck working Friday and Saturday, I had the three days off, and with it a chance to catch up on stuffs. Much of the usual goings-on, interleaved as the days went along. No going to overcrowded fireworks displays, but we did have some eats typical of the holiday.

We worked hard in the yard today, cleaning out flower beds and spreading a half ton of mulch. Things look a lot better outside now. Kodi had an afternoon with the groomer and is looking doggie fierce. The server I recently built got put into service, with only a bit of frustration and is currently behaving and helping to bring this post to you. I was using an old keyboard with a built-in trackball that had seen better days. When the trackball would resist all my attempts to clean in order for the thing to actually control the cursor, I finally lost it and put my fist through it repeatedly. Sometimes beating the shit out of recalcitrant hardware is like therapy. Having to clean up dozens of keytops scattered about the room is it's vengeance, however.

Saturday night we went out to the movies. We saw WALL-E. Once again, Pixar had me charmed in my seat. I highly recommend this film, and I see it as one that will grow with repeated viewings. I don't know how the folks at Pixar do it, but they manage to explore the human condition so well, not needing to use humans. In this case, not having to use many words either. Go see it. You won't be disappointed.

This is a short week for me. I get to use my first 9-80 Friday off to travel up to Provincetown for the week. Both of us can't wait for this, our first 'real' vacation of the year. Because of time constraints, it will most likely be our only long vacation as well. We still have a couple Hillside weekends, and one at Knoebels in the fall. Hey, I am happy just having the ones we have planned. All work and no play makes me one grouchy, emo dude.

Hope everyone has a good week.
greatbear: (forearms)
We have achieved camping. Friends have been spotted and chatted with, good food has been eaten, it's great to finally unwind.

And there are as many unsecured wifi connections as there are trees.

Wish y'all were here. Really.
greatbear: (forearms)
The grass was mowed tonight, more stuff packed in the trailer, other tasks done... not much longer. Both of us need a few days away. And, yes, the transmission filter has been changed.

Anyone else going to be at Hillside this weekend? Stop by site 22 and say hi. You'll even get a bearhug or two.


greatbear: (Default)

December 2016



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