Sunday, July 31, 2016

Route 88 Is Grrrrr-eat

Well hello there Storytime Peeps!  I'm glad to see you again after a few days. I am back home, safely tucked in my T@Bport.  We took the long way home today and cruised the Parkway down to Highway 441 instead of taking that twisty-turny Highway 16.  It's certainly a more beautiful and less stressful drive home!  I waved goodbye to Pod when I turned off in Wilkesboro to head to Newton.  We had a grand time camping beside each other this week.  It's a trip I look forward to every summer.

I've got a little Story to tell you today about the Saturday cruise that the folks took on Highway 88.  Both Momma Sharon and Uncle Rob said it was GREAT!  In fact, Pod got to blog a little bit about it last evening. Since his Camper Dad did all the driving, he left it up to Mom to snap the photos.  She did her hanging-out-the-window thing and had a great time.

Route 88 runs from Jefferson over to Tennessee and that was the Road of the Day yesterday.  I understand that it's pretty popular with motorcyclists because it's full of mountainside-twisties and long sweeping curves.  Throw in some great scenery and you have the makings of a fun day trip.

The first interesting thing that the folks saw was a small power plant - the 1931 Sharpes Falls Hydro-electric plant.  The dam is only 150-feet wide and harnesses the power of the North Fork New River.  Momma Sharon thought it would make a very cool house!

I think that my Camper Mom would like to go back up there and cruise 88 in the Miata with the top down.  She saw lots and lots of places to stop and just as many more things to get a snapshot of.  Who knows, it might be a day trip in the fall.

The real destination of the day was a visit to Elk Knob State Park. They had to leave Route 88 and turn to the left on Sutherland Road.  The views were beautiful and thankfully it was a perfect weather day to enjoy them.

Elk Knob is one of the newest North Carolina State Parks.  It was saved from developers wanting to build housing in the late 1990s.  It features one of the highest peaks in the high country at 5,520 feet. There are lots of hiking trails, with more trails being developed.  They try to stay open in the winter for cross-country skiing (the only NC park to do this).  They have primitive, backcountry campsites too.

Since it was lunchtime, you can predict what came next.  Yep, the last picnic of the week!  Every single lunch item was pulled out of the Yeti and Aunt Trisha's picnic bag.  You never saw such a conglomeration of stuff going on sandwiches.  30 minutes later, it was pretty much all gone!

Afterwards, Levi took them back down to the new Visitor Center to see if there were stickers for Uncle Rob (he and Mom like to get all "stickered up").  There were indeed stickers to be had, but what really got them excited was the NC State Park Passport book.  Oh great . . . something else for her to collect!!

They made one last stop for photos down at the entrance before turning left on Meatcamp Road to head home to me and Pod.

So that gets you caught up on Saturday's adventure and the last full day of our Parkway Camping Trip. I've got a bunch of Stories left to tell, so please stop by this week for Story Hour compliments of me, Splash, the traveling T@B.  Until then, always remember . . . 

"Peace, Love, & Great Roads"

Friday, July 29, 2016

Bed Makeover, Part II

Two days of Story Telling during the same camping trip . . . unheard of, but oh so exciting for me!!

Momma Sharon's camper-friend named Sandy has been waiting (not very patiently) for part two of my bed mod Story.  I told Mom that she shouldn't make Sandy wait any longer and I was going to tell her today.  So Miss Sandy, this Story is especially for you.

Now if y'all remember, on the 19th, I told you about a change in sleeping arrangements that we were thinking about when Aunt Becky isn't around.  It involved building something to support the cushion from underneath on one side only.  I'm here to report that it is an EXCELLENT mod and is working PERFECTLY for Momma Sharon and the snoozing pups this week.

When the two legs are extended, it butts right up against the seat box underneath the cushion.  Mom actually sleeps on the door-side, but she found it easier to photograph over on the Cool Cat side.

This is the view from the floor and lets you peek up underneath it.  It could just as easily be used on this side for real since it doesn't block the converter.

The side cushion is pulled out and extended over the platform.  The support really needs to be 14.5 inches wide, but since boards at Lowes come in only 12" wide pieces, the cushion overhangs it by a couple of inches.  We've found that's no biggie!  The twin memory foam mattress simply rolls out from under the back cabinets and rests perfectly on the cushion.

If you look carefully, you can see that tiny bit of overhang.  The neat thing is that Momma Sharon can swing her legs out of bed and have room to stand up!

And lookie here . . . it can also be used as a coffee table when the bed's been put away for the day!! I always make up the bed each morning, so I fold up the support and it fits perfectly under the back seat storage area.


So Sandy, that's Part II of the Bed Makeover Story just for you!!  I doubt very seriously that I will be able to wrestle the computer back from my Camper Mom, so I'll just wait until I get back home Sunday to start composing a few more camping Stories for you.  Until then, always remember . . . 

"Peace, Love, & Bed Mods That Work"

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tales From The Holler

Hey everyone!  This is a red-letter day for me.  It's the first EVER day that Momma Sharon has let me send you a Story while camping. Normally, she will turn the blogging duties over to me once we get home.  That's how special this is!!

I'm sitting up on the hill for this outing instead of down under the pine trees.  I'm parked in site 123, the same one I had last summer.  It's a good site until about 1:00 when the sun comes around the trees and the shade disappears.  Man oh man, it can get hot, hot, hot if there aren't any clouds.   Mom and the pups head next door to hang out with The Cousins because they have SHADE.

Momma Sharon and Uncle Rob talked to Helen today in the office and made their reservations for next summer.  Pod and I are moving to different sites so I can have some shade!  That will be sweet.  Pod is next door this week in site 125.

Murphy and Baby Gracie are camping with me this week.  It's been a long, long time since that has happened and we are having fun,  The sleep a lot, take lots of walks, and drink a lot of water . . . LOL.  They love heading out in Levi (Rob's truck) every morning to go exploring.

The temperatures have been abnormally hot in The Holler this week, but it's a lot cooler here than at home.  During the day it's in the mid-80s, but it cools down quickly, and drops to the 60s at night.  That lets me keep my windows wide open at night and that's the way Momma Sharon loves to sleep in a campground.

Splish is enjoying her first time at RHC and here she is on Monday afternoon during the rain storm that blew through.

I'm wearing my new awnings this week and they really set off my splashy colors.  Mr. Werner is close by and doing triple-duty by holding my bucket light, ice maker, and fan.  Aunt Becky packed both sets of dog pens for us to use this week, so they are set up too.  Our camping flags are in place for all to enjoy.

If you've never been to The Holler, I think you would really like it . . . I sure do.  The bathhouse is a close walk for my Camper Mom and there are lots of roads that she can take the pups for a walk on. She really likes to walk around and look at all the seasonal trailers and their cute decor.  There's lots to love about Raccoon Holler Campground and it's one of my all-time favorite places to camp!

Well, that's my Special Edition Story for you!  I'll have some other Tales to tell when I get home on Sunday.  Until then, always remember . . . 

"Peace, Love, & Camping In The Holler!"

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Bed Makeover, Part I

Whew, it's a steamy day here in the Foothills.  I'm hanging out under my T@Bport in the shade, but crazy Momma Sharon is working outside on the deck. She's had an idea for a bed modification for me rattlin' around in her head for some time now.  Once it was decided that Murphy the Camper Dog and Baby Gracie would be traveling with us to The Holler next week, it was time to put her idea into action!

Basically we have only two sleeping arrangements . . . with Aunt Becky and without Aunt Becky.  When Mom is solo camping, she makes the bed from side to side rather than pulling out the bed slats and using both twin mattresses.  It's much easier to leave the single bed out throughout the trip.  Here's what that looks like . . . 

Sleeping single when camping solo

It looks nice and neat and is definitely a low-maintenance way of keeping the bed ready for each night. The big hiccup here is that the Camper Mom likes to hang her feet off the end of the bed and that won't work when there's a wall over there where her feet go.  She ends up angling herself in bed at night and usually doesn't sleep very well.

The last time we camped by ourselves, we tried unrolling the twin mattress back to front, but it hung over the cushion by about a foot and flopped about at night.  Heavy sigh . . . there just had to be a solution!  That's when Momma Sharon had an epiphany.  If she built a support that would rest on the bed slat rail and extended outward from the side cushion, then the mattress would be supported!!  Here's our sketch and measurements . . .

A simple little drawing would lead us through the project

Off to Lowes she went last month for wood and hardware.  With a 12" x 6' pine board cut to her dimensions and hardware purchased, she was ready for a bed makeover.

3 pieces of wood, 3 packages of hinges, and a slip of sandpaper

All the edges were sanded smooth, out came her cordless drill and bits, and today was construction day.

Out comes our favorite cordless drill and container of drill bits

Our CDO table makes the perfect workbench

Brass hinges will hold the legs in place

All holes are pre-drilled

Coat the screws with soap and the wood won't split . . . Mom's magic trick

Despite the heat on the deck, this project took no time whatsoever and we both know it's going to be a brilliant bed modification!  The cool thing is, the hinges allow the side legs to fold up, and the extension can be stored away under the side storage area.  The mattress gets rolled back up and we are ready for the day.

Ready for camping next week

Folded for easy storage

We are considering putting a 3rd piece of wood under the middle as an extra bit of support.  We've got a piece leftover that we can use. There's also the possibility of an added L-brace on the end so it won't collapse.  We'll give that some extra thought between now and Sunday.

I'll be telling you Part 2 of this Story after we put this nifty modification to use next week.  Until then, always remember . . . 

"Peace, Love, & Bed Makeovers" 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Dollar Tree Diva

Greetings Peeps near and far!

I bet you didn't know that my Momma Sharon is a Dollar Store Diva.  To be exact, she is a Dollar TREE Diva!  She goes into a happy dance when headed there to pick something up.  That happened this week when she and Aunt Becky went to two Dollar Trees in search of pool noodles.  Too bad the rest of the world needed noodles and there were none to be found.

But, she found something else that made her equally happy . . . a cute green tray (that matches me, tee hee) for eating off of or carrying food next door to someone's camper for supper or playing Yahtzee on or coloring on top of.  Multi-purpose for sure!

As a Camp Dutch Oven Chef, she has already earned her "Dollar Store Diva" cooking award.  Did you know that Dollar Trees have a grocery section?  Our store here even has a refrigerated section where you can buy ribeye steaks for a buck!!  How awesome is that?!

Here's what her Dollar Store Diva Award looks like and I'll also throw in the two recipes that earned her that award . . . 

We've got so many projects going that we are having the time of our lives today.  I hope your day is special as well.  Until it's time for another Tall Tale, always remember . . . 

"Peace, Love & Dollar Tree Divas"

Friday, July 15, 2016

Stickers And A Stool

Mornin' Camping Peeps!  Looks like we have safely navigated another July week.  Some of you are out there camping and others just relaxing and staying cool.  As for me and Momma Sharon, we are just drifting through our summer days, biding our time until the next several trips roll around.

Yesterday Mom and Aunt Becky headed off to Bed, Bath, & Beyond with a shopping list and 20%-off coupons in hand.  That shopping list included some camping items believe it or not.  I'll tell you about one of them right now.

Splish has a neat feature in her rear bumper . . . a step to make it easier to get up into the cargo we carry in the bed.  It works well for us, but it's a little awkward when the Camper Mom needs to grab something to steady herself as she takes that big step from the ground and then swings her foot up onto the tailgate.  

Levi (Cousin Rob's ride) has an actual step and railing that descends from the tail gate making it easy to get up into the bed.  Hmmmmm, maybe a step stool would work for us.  After looking at what was available out there, we decided on this one . . . 

Foldable, light-weight, & has a handle to grab onto

It works on the left

It works on the right

We will give it a trial run week after next and see if it meets our expectations.  I suggested that we attach a rope to one of the cargo hooks inside the bed that can be grabbed if need be.  Momma Sharon is still mulling that over.

While Splish's tail gate was down, Yeti got some new stickers applied. We've had them for quite awhile and it's been one of those little chores that gets put off and put off for some reason.  Done and done!

Thanks for stopping by for a little Sticker & Stool Story.  Come back in a day or two and I'll tell you about another little project.  Until then, always remember . . . 

"Peace, Love, Stickers & A Stool"