Thursday, March 31, 2016

It Doesn't Take Much . . .

It's breezy outside, it's cloudy outside, but it's warm and cozy inside . . . just perfect for a little Thursday morning Story.

I don't know about you, but it doesn't take much to make me and The Campmeister happy.  Happiness was found at Wally World yesterday for under $20.  Three simple items in the cart made our day!

Southern Cast Iron magazine . . . Coffee Nut M&Ms . . . new lime green & blue tablecloth

On our to-do list for today is to get my license plate sticker so I am street legal for the rest of 2016.  Short and sweet . . . my Story for the day!  Until I have another one ready for you, always remember . . .

"Peace, Love, & Little Happies"

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Our Creative Trio

Greetings y'all and thanks for stopping by again for Storytime!

While Momma Sharon is working on the upcoming Blue Ridge Rally, getting ready to make some soap, and pulling together her tax info for this afternoon's appointment with H&R Block, I want to share three things with you.  It's become a tradition a create a Shutterfly book of our camping trips, make a collage for Momma's Postcards blog, and change our Facebook cover to showcase our fun.   

So here's our creative trio . . .

Cheerio and pip pip!  Until it's time for another Story, always remember . . . 

"Peace, Love, & Camping Creativity"

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

I've Been MacGyvered

v. 1. To use ingenuity to fix or remedy a problem using only the tools available at hand   2. To jury-rig

n. Someone who can regularly cobble together solutions to problems using only the tools available at hand

On the way back home from my Coastal Caravan last fall, my battery/LP box was hanging on for dear life!  Momma Sharon and I have been babying it for years, knowing that one day it will have to be replaced.  The metal struts have broken, screws are missing, half of the latch assembly has been lost on the road, and there are cracks big enough in the plastic shell to see the road beneath.  

Back in February we ordered a new one from Little Guy in Ohio. Momma Sharon had some lengthy discussions with Elsie about our options and in the end, we went with one exactly like we have now. Little Guy has the paint codes from Dutchmen, so we are confident that the lime green one will match. It was supposed to have been shipped with a delivery of T@Bs and T@Gs to the dealership in nearby Lenoir at the end of February, but that date got bumped back to March 25.  We are anxiously awaiting a phone call from Bumgarner RV letting us know it has arrived.

In the meantime, we have had to use a bit of MacGyver ingenuity so we can keep to our 2016 camping schedule…

Red suspenders & duct tape
One of two holes in the plastic where it is attached to the frame

Momma Sharon went to Walmart and got a pair of nylon straps with cinches on them and put one on each side of the compartment.  Then she took the leftover lengths of nylon and added some suspenders in the front for good measure!

Cinched up snugly around the box and frame
Suspenders added up front for extra support
Here's where the biggest hole is located

Our next trip isn't until April 17th, so we are both hoping our spiffy new box will arrive and get installed before then.  I will keep you posted and until then, always remember . . . 

"Peace, Love & MacGyvering"

Monday, March 28, 2016

My DOG Peeps

Greetings on this Easter Monday!  Momma Sharon shared a bunch of Postcards with you last week that showed all her Chef Peeps.  I want to take a bit of time this morning to feature MY peeps who camped with me at Cheraw State Park.  They are a special bunch . . . quite colorful and super fun to hang out with in the campground.

That's T@Bventure peeking through the trees
My friend Lucy, the Short, Short Trailer
I spy Tangerine hosting a little chit chat
Breezin' fits right in beside Lake Juniper
Momma Lois calls this red beauty Shop, Drop, & Roll
That's my Cousin Pod down around the curve in the road
Another snapshot of T@Bvendure with her little blue awning in place
Tangerine's campsite by the water
This is the first time I've camped with Tupelo T@Bster!
What a lovely shot of Breezin' by the lake
Tupelo T@Bster all decked out in yellow
The newest kid on the block . . . I gotta find out his/her name!

Thanks for dropping by today for my photo album from the SC DOG.  Until it's time for another Story, always remember . . .  

Peace, Love & Camping With My Peeps

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter To You All

Happy Easter Friends and Family!

Momma Sharon, Aunt Becky, and I were camping down at James Island County Park in Charleston several years ago over Easter.  This is the sight we woke up to on that Easter Sunday morning.  It has been and always will be one of my favorite photos.

Have a wonderful day as we celebrate His day and His Story.  

"Simply Peace and Love"

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Vintage Card Holder

Happy Saturday friends and neighbors.  Happy Easter Weekend too!

I have an itty bitty Story to share with you today about an itty bitty mod that Momma Sharon made for me.  Back in February when she and Aunt Becky went to Pigeon Forge for Saddle Up, they went junkin' on Saturday afternoon. At one of their stops, she found a set of three bins or scoops that came off a conveyor belt in a granary.  A repurposing lightbulb went off in her brain and she knew immediately that it would be perfect for holding business cards.

Momma Sharon loves business cards.  She has one for camping with me, one for camping with The Coffee Cup, and even one for camping with the CDO Chefs. They are fun to share with friends, newbies, and folks that stop by for a tour.  Anyhoo, we have been needing a place to put those cards so they are easy to grab and hand out.

The metal bins were only five bucks each, so she picked out the nicest and cleanest one, with no dents or rust.  Instead of using nails or screws, my Camper Mom opted for Velcro and had the ideal place in mind for it…right underneath the outlet on my countertop.  It's within easy reach of the door too. Perfecto!

Okie dokie…Short Story over.  Thanks for stopping by and until I see you again (probably tomorrow), always remember . . . 

"Peace, Love, & Cool Little Mods"

Friday, March 25, 2016

Me & Splish

Back in 2009 when Momma Sharon was thinking about getting a new tow vehicle for us, I was secretly hoping it would be a truck.  But she chickened out and got another Honda Pilot.  That was OK, because Pilot was a good SUV, dependable, comfortable, and did a fine job of getting us where we needed to go.

We both started to get the new car itch last summer.  Mom started researching trucks (yippee!), talked to Uncle Rob, chatted with retired GM worker Bob up in North Adams, and visited some Chevy/GMC dealers locally.  In November, she made the big decision!  I did a special Story back on November 22 and introduced you to SPLISH, our shiny new partner in adventure.  Aunt Becky came up with her name and the rest is history.

We were both kinda anxious about hitting the road together last week, but I am here to report that everything went smoothly and our trip down to Cheraw State Park was a breeze.  I didn't drag coming out of Aunt Becky's driveway, I didn't wiggle down the road, and Splish could hardly feel me behind her at all!  We stopped in Wadesboro to eat lunch and the first of many photos of us was snapped.

Splish backed me into site #11 at the campground with ease.  I know it's not a contest, but my Camper Mom likes to slide me right into the site without a whole lot of going back and forth.  She kinda gets into a zen-parking-state-of-mind and that always makes me laugh.  With Aunt Becky's help, we dodged the trees, the water faucet, and short pole to put me in the perfect spot.

Our site was a happening place all weekend.  It was level, graveled, wide enough for the Cottonwood, and was perched above Lake Juniper.  With our wonderful view and spaciousness, we hosted all our CDO cooking events, March Madness activities, and even a Scottish dance.

If you look closely at this snapshot of Splish's hood, you might see the layer of yellow pollen that covered everything at Cheraw State Park.  One morning, we even watched a cloud of it drift across the lake.

Once I got back home and settled into the T@Bport, we checked our gas mileage and were both tickled to death to see that it was 16 mpg!  That was much better than Pilot's average of 13.  Score another one for Splish.

Next up on the camping calendar is a trip back to South Carolina to camp at Lake Hartwell and Croft State Parks.  Lots of my buddies (and some Newbies) will be joining me for a gathering we are calling Carolina Lakeside.

Thanks for dropping by today for my Story about Splish.  Tomorrow I'll have another Tale for you about a little interior addition to my decor.  Until then, always remember . . . 

"Peace, Love, & Camping With My Buddy Splish"

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Itching To Go!

Is it time yet?  I am itching to go!!

Momma Sharon's checklist is full of red check marks.  She only has 3 that she's working on . . . LOL!! One is for the things we will need for the SC DOG, another is a pre-season list to get me ready, and the third is our menu and grocery list for all the cooking we are going to be doing.  There's simply a lot to do to get ready for the first camping trip of the 2016 season.

Now on top of all that, there's the whole issue of packing up Splish for the trip rather than Pilot.  Let me tell you something, Momma Sharon's hair sprouted wings because she was so hot outside packing and unpacking, arranging and rearranging, moving stuff here and there.  Splish has a bunch more cargo room, but it's a whole 'nuther thing to pack a truck rather than a SUV.  There are those big tall sides to deal with!!

I think this might have been the 2nd arrangement Momma Sharon tried

The biggest obstacle is our Yeti.  For this trip, it's going to stay where you see it.  I think it's going to be a big hassle no matter where we put it.  It's simply too heavy when filled with ice and food to lift in and out of the Canyon, especially since Aunt Becky has only one good arm. No worries…we'll figure it out this weekend!

There are a few items to go in tomorrow morning: a couple picnic tins, DOG goodie bags, Aunt Becky's chair, and my little broom (if Momma Sharon can ever find it).  And as you can see, we still have lots of room!

I will turn the computer back to my Camper Mom so she can send out Postcards each evening, but I'll be back next Monday with Stories from Cheraw State Park and the SC DOG.  Until then, always remember . . . 

"Peace, Love & The Excitement Of The First Camping Trip Of The Season!"

Friday, March 11, 2016

Time Out For A Non-Camping Project

Splish had her formal truck initiation yesterday.  She and Momma Sharon headed over to Lowes to get supplies for a CDO station that would be built on the deck.  Splish did a fantastic job on her first official truck duty!

Now to tell you the Story about our new CDO Cooking Station.  My Camper Mom has had plans for a wooden patio table for many months.  Her grand plan for them included making a longer, narrower, taller table to serve as a food prep area and serving area.  After the area along the long rail on the deck was cleared, it was determined this would be the perfect spot for it to sit.

After lots of figuring and scribbling on paper, it was time to start cutting out the pieces and screwing them together.  Ordinarily, Momma Sharon would do all the work out in the carport where her power tools are, but she was lazy yesterday. Instead, she walked back and forth between the deck and carport. It drove the dogs to distraction because they couldn't figure out where they needed to be.

The work area on the deck wasn't ideal, but all the pieces came together successfully and within a few hours, the base was completed and in place.

Some feet on the bottom of the legs made it quite study.  With the top boards in place, it was time to stow our CDO gear underneath.  Mr. Werner, the charcoal bin, the bucket, and charcoal chimney slide right under the top, with room to spare.  Miss Murphy, the Camper Dog, gave her approval and we are now ready to start cooking!

Until Momma Sharon can get some sealer and/or stain on the boards, she might just throw a plastic picnic cloth on top if rain is in the forecast.  She plans to christen it tonight by cooking Test Kitchen dish #5 on it.

This was a fun project, but now we have to get back to our preparation for the first camping trip next week.  Y'all have a good weekend and until it's time for another Story, always remember . . . 

"Peace, Love, & Projects"

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

My New Hitch 'er Up

Howdy campers!  I have a Short Story to share with you today about my new "Hitch 'er Up".  I guess I should tell you that it's really called a Ball Mount Assembly so you don't get confused.

Before Momma Sharon said goodbye to Pilot last November, she removed the Honda hitch ball assembly.  We had a sneaking suspicion that it probably wouldn't fit Splish properly, but she kept it just in case.  You see, Honda puts the receiver hole for the retainer pin in a different place than on a standard, universal mount.  In our humble opinion, we think it's so they can sell you another part.

Anyhoo, yesterday we checked to see if the Honda one would work and guess what?  It didn't!  Surprise, surprise.  Not only did the holes not line up, but the hitch was close to 3 inches too low, so we couldn't have used it anyway!  So off to Auto Zone we went.

A very helpful car dude got us all squared away with a new one.  The first thing you notice is the drop on the new one isn't as great…just 2 inches. The second thing that you notice is the new one is shiny and doesn't have any rust.  The one on top was my Pilot Hitch 'er Up for seven camping seasons, so it covered a lot of miles in all kinds of weather.

With the label removed, it's easy to see that the holes do NOT match up.  Momma Sharon will clean up our protective ball cover and get all the grease off before she puts it on Splish's new ball.  We reused the locking pin, so that's good.  There's a little wiggle room, so we'll attach the Quiet Hitch that we used last season to take out all the clunky noises when rolling down the road.

The height is perfect and it will keep me nice and level heading to the campground.  It has a 6,000 pound capacity, so it will be all I need and more, because I weigh a lean, mean 1,800 pounds.

Tomorrow Momma Sharon is off to take care of another item on our to-do list.  Until it's time to tell that Story, always remember . . . 

"Peace, Love, & A New Hitch 'er Up"

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Ode To Mr. Werner

Today I have a Story to tell you about Mr. Werner.  Who is Mr. Werner, you ask?  Mr. Werner is a what, not a who…LOL!  He is technically a platform that painters stand on and he comes from places like Home Depot and Lowes.  Now I'm sure you are asking yourself why in the world is Splash telling me a Story about painting platforms.

Let me back up a bit and tell you the whole Tale.  You know that Momma Sharon and I are gathering week after next with a bunch of our Chef buddies. Not only are we kicking off the 2016 camping season, we will do it in grand style while cooking with cast iron!  One item that will be present at practically every campsite is a Werner platform. We cook on them, we start coals on them in chimneys, we double them up, we use them as buffet tables, we use them to eat off of, sit upon, and hold our Rule #9 beverages.  They are probably our most versatile piece of CDO equipment.

My Camper Mom keeps ours set up on the patio for cooking on the spur of the moment in any season. She and Aunt Becky put a TV on top of it while camping at Tybee Island so they could watch the Panthers play on Monday Night Football.  It may be covered with a cool beach towel when not in use, but it's always there when we are camping and it even holds our bucket light.  It hides Mom's Luggable Loo during the day…tee hee.

How did the Werner come to join our CDO adventures?  Momma Sharon first saw one while camping at Jordan Lake in 2014 with some of her Sisters.  Chef Bill saw one featured on a Facebook CDO group last May.  Chef D'Nise used one for painting and realized it would work perfectly for Dutch oven cooking back in June.  Before you knew it, our folks all owned one (or more!).

Chef Ava cooks on her porch, out of the weather
Chefs Bill & Elaine set up in their yard in the fall
Buffet line at the MD DOG last August
Chefs Rob & Sharon cook 3 pizzas at a time at Raccoon Holler
Soup's on in MD with double platforms
The perfect place to hold your brew while cooking
Chef Fran's cooking set-up
Chef Mary with a wind screen while cooking
No picnic table?  Put the Werner to use!
Saturday night potluck at the MD DOG
Double platforms in the dead of winter
Everything is handy on a Werner
Need a Christmas present?  Just talk to Chef D'Nise!
Chef Mark has everything at his fingertips

So there you have it my friends - the perfect cooking companion - the Werner platform, coming to a campsite near you!  Until it's time to pack Mr. Werner in Splish, always remember . . .

"Peace, Love, & Mr. Werner"