Thursday, August 28, 2014

Visiting in Durham ...
I am still trying to get caught up with our travels.  From August 20 to 23 we were making our way back to Charlotte and stopped in Chapel Hill to see family.  We found an old mobile home park that is being transitioned to an RV park.  It is called Spring Hill RV Park.  We loved it there.  Most of the residents are camping there while they receive medical treatments at Duke or they work at Duke or UNC or some other place close by on a temporary basis.  There are a few full time residents still in the park.
They have no swimming pool, no camp store, no showers or laundry but they do have lots of trees, huge camp sights that can accommodate the biggest of rigs and they have wonderful peace and quiet!  Because it is an older park the trees have created a mature canopy over the entire park.  We did not try to use our satellite dish so we used their terrific free cable TV.  They also have strong free WIFI with plenty of antennas and repeaters throughout the camp grounds. The staff was friendly and helpful.
My tablet set up and out the window...

was the WIFI antenna. It doesn't get any better than that!

Each campsite is almost lost in the woods.

You could park two Phaeths and Hopes in the site we had.

We had a great time seeing our nephew, CJ, his wife, Angie,
son, Jacob and his mother (Joanie's sister-in-law), Eva.
Lake Wylie, SC Stopover
We are now parked in Lake Wylie Mobile Home Community and RV Park, Clover, SC, and will be here about a month.  We will be very busy doing some banking, seeing doctors and dentists, refill prescriptions and doing a lot of house keeping and hope to see old friends since we used to have our stick and brick house in Charlotte.  If we have time, I may get out my brushes and paints and do some art. 
We always worry about finding a camp site during holidays such as July 4th and Labor Day.  I don't have to worry about that this Labor Day.  This is the least expensive RV park in which we have yet camped, partly because we have the monthly rate and partly because it is not much of an RV park.  We have already had to re-level ourselves twice due the soft Carolina dirt we are on and into which we sink when it rains.  I may ask to move to a better site if it rains and we have to re-level again.
There is a swimming pool here, which us old folks don't use.  There is no laundry nor showers nor store.  No patio or even any gravel to walk on.  Not much shade and no place to put out chairs.  But the streets are paved and wide enough to back into the site without any problems.  We know a couple of the residents here who go to our old church and one, Rose, has already paid us a nice visit. 
We are going through the contents of Phaeth and determining if we need the stuff we have been carrying thus far and what we might need in the way of colder weather gear for when we leave.
We are getting Hope some oil change and maintenance and will check Phaeth over, too.  Oh, and get Lobo's and Juni's toe nails clipped.
For retired folks, we are awfully busy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Comments on the human condition

 “The good old days” is a very relative term.  If you are young, you have not experienced enough days in which to make a comparison and if days were indeed “good”, what made them better than others?  So in examining our condition and making an evaluation, we each encounter different variables.  Were the “good old days” really better?

Anyone wishing to make a statement on the current state of the human condition will have to admit that it will be very subjective and prone to be only one view.

This is mine.

A recent encounter with the dark side of life has caused me to make an evaluation about the current state of human affairs.  Without going into much detail, my encounter with the dark side was having my debit card number hacked and someone attempted to steal from me. I don’t know who this person was; it could have been someone in another country for all I and the authorities know.  I was told that the person will probably not be arrested or brought to justice.

I do know that when I was young this type of theft did not happen. Technology has expanded the ability of an immoral person to be a thief, a robber, an abuser; for someone who lacks values to be evil.  (I have come to the conclusion that by eliminating my exposure to technology, I might limit my exposure to evil people).  Are there more evil people in the world now than when I was younger? Has technology made it easier for people to succumb to temptation?  However you want to look at it, the lack of values in our culture is the driving force of evil.  God has been taken out of our society and without God, society has no basis for values by which to conduct itself. 

So, I have come to the logical and objective conclusion that the current condition of humanity is not better than it was 40 or 50 years ago.  Yes, you will sight the number of advancements in medicine and physics and law that will counter my argument. However, if the percent of people who have no values is greater than it used to be, than all the numbers you sight are negated.  Or, stated another way, there were more “good” people back in the day than there are today.

Ipso facto: They were the “good” old days!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Visiting in New Bern, NC

We drove to New Bern from Sunset Beach on August 16 to visit old friends.  Candle, Weelou and Jeanie grew up with our sons and foster kids while we lived in New Bern; they lived just around the corner from us.  Actually, the kids used a path and small foot bridge through the woods behind our houses - a shortcut - to get from house to house. The neighborhood kids become extensions of your own family and you begin to love them as you do your own. They really never leave your heart.
Back row: Weelou, his son Chris, Candle, Joanie, Weelou's wife Diane
Middle row: Jeanie and Candle's son Brandon
On the floor: Our son Chris holding his daughter Emory and son Deaglan.
Brandon and Joanie

Candle, Jeanie's daughter Sidney, and Jeanie

Sidney and Jeanie
New Bern KOA
We stayed at the KOA which is across the Neuse River from historic New Bern.  The river is quite wide at this point as it prepares to empty into Pamlico Sound. The waters are brackish and influenced by the tides.  This makes for some good fishing!  The flounder gigged here are as good as any from the Chesapeake and the shrimp are plentiful.  Flounder is my favorite!
This KOA is owned by the same folks who own the KOA in Wilmington, NC.  While the price is premium as far as campgrounds go, the amenities are plentiful and worth the price.  The attention to detail, customer service and personal touches are what make these two RV parks tops on our list.

Some of this campground's features:
Two fenced in dog walks
Doggie washing station
Horse shoes
Boat dock and gazebo
Canoe, kayak and paddle boat rentals
Inflatable horse race for the kids
Miniature golf
Swimming pool
Patios at the RV sites
Strong WIFI
Cable TV
Eastern North Carolina is FLAT.  So all the RV sites are naturally level.

We left New Bern on the 20th headed to Chapel Hill, NC to visit family in Durham.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Visiting the Kids

If you feel that I have been neglecting my post (pun intended), I have but I have a very good excuse.  We have been camped at Sunset Beach, NC and running over to Ocean Isle Beach to see the kids.
It has been a great two weeks and we have enjoyed ourselves immensely!  It has also been very busy with little down time to write posts. 

One of our adventures included a trip to Myrtle Beach to the Pirate's Voyage show.  For the day we were all pirates or mermaids.  The show is top notch!  We all had a good time, even the little ones!  Fire, water, cannons and pistols booming, feasting, sea lions, dogs, parrots flying, mermaids diving, acrobats, songs, ghosts and treasure! Arrgh!


We spent a day with Kaylee shopping for school clothes at Belk in Wilmington and a day with Dorothy doing the same.  I used my retiree's discount which helped somewhat. We stopped for lunch at a local eatery near the mall. This is Dorothy.  She has grown up since our last shopping trip.  We had to go to the junior department for her wardrobe.

This part of the coast of the Carolinas faces the Atlantic to the south.  The sun rose at one end of the beach and set at the other.
The best place to have ice cream is out on the deck where it can be washed off easily. This is Emory, Deaglan and Kaylee.

Sit around and watch a movie when ya' get tired of running on the beach



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

More on seeing old friends ...

I had the privilege last Friday to be invited to a regular luncheon of retired Belk associates who live in the Wilmington, NC area.  These people are part of the most successful group of retailers I have ever had the good fortune to work with. They were hand selected by a couple of men who influenced me almost as much as my own parents.  I am proud to have worked with these fine people. 

Katherine Brandi, Farrell Teague listen to a Bill Starling story.  Bill is a great story teller in the Southern tradition and all of them true!

Ken Bishop, Bobbie Coxe and Andy Coxe.  Another old associate from that era was Amos Irwin.  Mr. Irwin and Mr. Coxe almost always followed each other at business meetings.  We used to call it the "Amos and Andy show".

Jim Murrill and Ken Bishop still listening to Bill's story.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

It's All About Popcorn

Our itinerary today has us still in Sunset Beach, NC at the Brunswick Beaches RV Resort.  It is not really a "resort" by any stretch of the imagination.  We have been to RV resorts and this is no RV resort.  It has been my experience that some RV campgrounds change their name to include "Resort" and then charge you $20 a night more. We have been here for a week now and although it is the peak of the summer vacation season the park has never been half full. There are bad ruts in some of the interior roads that are still full of water and bad pot holes in the entrance hard top road.  A couple interior roads are pretty much flooded so they are not putting any campers along those roads. The shower/bathroom facilities are barely adequate for a campground of this size.  But because of all the rain, the grass camp sights are still muddy. Their customer service attitude leaves a lot to be desired, too.

Now about the popcorn... We are about an hour's drive south of Wilmington, NC where we lived from about 1986 to 1996.  It was a great place to live and we developed many nice friendships.  On Friday nights we celebrated the end of the work week by having a pizza delivered, going to Blockbuster's and renting a movie, (yeah, it was VHS in those days).  I discovered a couple of doors down from Blockbuster's a store that sold popcorn.  Popcorn and a movie - how American can you get?  This popcorn store sold the best cheese flavored popcorn I have ever tasted and anyone who tastes it agrees: Best ever! Finest kind! If anyone knows gourmet popcorn, it's me!

It was a popcorn franchise called Vic's back then and about 2 decades ago a local family bought it and continued the original fare.  (Later I found out we were related to them, sort of, by marriage). For me it was a ritual that I continued even after we moved away from Wilmington by purchasing my precious cheese popcorn on-line and having it shipped.  And every time we visited Wilmington, we had to stop by Vic's Popcorn and buy them out of cheese popcorn.

Well, it almost goes without saying, this close to Wilmington, I had to make a popcorn run.  They have changed the name to "Always Corny" but it is still the absolute best popcorn ever!

I have yellow fingertips now and my tummy is very happy!  If you are so inclined, try some yourself and see if you don't agree with me.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It's About Family Now

The drive from Lexington, South Carolina to Sunset Beach, North Carolina was mostly in the rain.  I  don't mind driving in the rain as long as it isn't heavy rain.  I prefer overcast skies much more than bright sunlight as it is less fatiguing on the eyes and Paeth doesn't heat up inside.

I had one of those quick panic moments when on US76 we went under a railroad bridge that showed a 13ft 8in clearance warning sign on it.  We are 12ft 8in at the top of the roof air conditioners. We have a couple of CB radio antennas a little higher but they are on springs.  I have subconsciously always checked to see 13ft on viaducts and knew that that was our "mark twain".  But if the road had been resurfaced a couple of times and the department of transportation had neglected to change the sign, we could "scrape top" or worse still, knock all the stuff off the roof or even rip the roof off.  I backed off our speed quickly and hoped we made it.  Afterward I had time to think that if the semis made it, I would, too.

When we arrived at our camp sight in Sunset Beach it had already been raining hard here for two days due to tropical storm Bertha.  The camp is semi flooded.  The interior roads at the campground are dirt/light gravel and a mess.

This is a fire ring.  It is where you can have a camp fire or cook out if you want.  Kinda hard to light a fire in 4 inches of water. 

Juniper wants to know why we can't go outside.

"He won't take us out in the dang rain", says Lobo.
Our second day here, with Bertha still off the coast, the kids came to visit. The day was all about family.  Our older son, Donald, and his wife, Sherri, and two daughters, Dorothy, 10 and Kaylee, 6 arrived at the camp ground for a visit. Our younger son, Chris and his wife, Katie, and our grand son Deaglan who will be 6 in October and Emory who is the youngest at 3 then arrived.  Joanie and I were in our glory hugging on our babies.

The youngest, Emory, on Joanie's lap with her mom, Katie, looking on.
Dorothy is the oldest grandchild.
Left to right; Sherri, Don, Dorothy, Emory, Kaylee, Chris, Deaglan and Katie.

A Meemaw and Emory moment.

Sherri and Dot.

Don looks on as Kaylee and Dot show grandma pictures and videos of themselves.

Cousins share a moment.
Ten people in a motorhome on a rainy day will eventually get tight so we headed out to the perfect rainy day place - Planet Fun just up US17 in nearby Shallotte.  Here's what we did at Planet Fun:
Had lunch at Starz Grill
Played video games
Watched the little ones climb through a vertical maze
Played video games
Played miniature golf in black light
Played video games
Played air hockey
Played video games
Went Bowling
Played video games
Played laser tag
Played video games
There was more stuff to do than play video games that I have not listed here.
Uncle Don gives Deaglan some help.

Joanie shows pretty good form.

Dot gets some refreshment while she waits for her ball and hopes to pick up her spare.
It's not raining today so I hope we get some drying out weather for the next few days.  We will be here for the next couple of weeks and hope to see the kids several more times.