Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Another Road Adventure...

Randy is the name we gave to the GPS device that we have in Phaeth.  She tells us where to go.  I didn't think I needed to be told (you girls are now commenting, "Typical male.") how to get from New Bern to Lake Wylie since we have lived in both places and made the trip many times.  Joanie thought Randy might know a better way.  So I programmed Randy and we sat back to see how she would take us.  It was a good route for the most part and for us probably a fortuitous one.

New Bern is in the middle of the eastern coastal plain on the North American continent and to get from New Bern to Lake Wylie you must traverse the rest of the coastal plain, the sand hills and into the piedmont. The route Randy had selected for us was west on US-70 to I-40 to US-1 to NC-24 then on to Charlotte.  We had wide multi lane and divided highway until NC-24.  It was rolling, winding two lane country road with blind curves and hills and with several one stop light towns in North Carolina counties we had never visited before. 

It was on an open country stretch of two lane road that a large semi, going too fast, blew by us from the on-coming lane.  We felt the wind blast and immediately heard a ringing sound. I said, "What's that?" and looked at the rear camera monitor to see if Hope was OK which she was not.  A clevis pin on one of the arms had sheared off and fell out leaving that tow arm dragging on the pavement making the ringing noise. The safety cables did their job and the other arm held but Hope was moving about in an undisciplined manner behind us. That was a scary moment!

[Tow devices for vehicles being towed with all four wheels on the ground are designed and engineered to allow the towed vehicle to pitch and yaw but remain a constant distance behind the towing vehicle.]

The road was pretty much level, in a sort of short valley between two hills, farm fields on either side of us but also ditches.  Our guardian angel saw to it that there was no traffic from either direction as we slowed carefully but Hope rolling freely now, caught up with us once and her front bumper hit the hitch end of the tow bar and did some cosmetic damage.  I pulled off the to right shoulder as much I as dared and at least would not be blocking the whole road.  Phaeth suffered no ill effects.



We did not want to try to analyze the damage on the open road nor try to attempt a repair so we disconnected Hope and Joanie said she would drive her the rest of the way - still two hours.  Remember Joanie is suffering from shingles. 

My navigator was now no longer next to me and Randy was on Joanie's side of the dash. I had to rely on where Randy was telling me to go without being able to look at the map screen and in a small town I took a wrong turn.  I had learned my lesson on making "U" turns last year and was able to get our little caravan back on the right road. Joanie, I sure missed you!

Joanie brought Hope along in good order and we made it to Lake Wylie Mobile Home Community and RV Park with only a slight delay but thoroughly exhausted.

So the next couple of days we will rest around going to our post box over in Charlotte, grocery shopping, ordering repair parts for the tow bar, doing laundry, going to the bank...

Sunday, May 24, 2015

New Bern Visit...

While here in New Bern Joanie has come down with shingles even though we both had the shingles vaccine about a year ago.  We hope it will be a curtailed and minor bout since she did have the vaccine. 

We have also been visiting with old family and friends here.

This is our camp site at the KOA in New Bern. 

Candle (our unofficial foster daughter), Peggy (AKA Peggers and official foster daughter) Joanie, me, Jeanie (another unofficial foster daughter) and her daughter, Sidney.

Sidney performs the "magic" trick of turning the glass over and the water stays in it.  And she did it!

Who woulda thunk our foster daughter, Peggers, would one day become a biker babe? Ok, it's not as far fetched as you'd think.

We have also been looking for a some property to buy.  No, we have not halted our adventure of living on the road.  We need a permanent address because the government wants to keep track of us and without a permanent address it is very hard to get a voter registration card.  Other institutions have trouble with our current address so we have decided to help them out.  The property will also one day be our final parking place when we do decide to pull the parking brake for the last time.  The search has not been an easy one and will take some time to complete so we will probably be back here soon.

Most fulltime RVers use a family member's address to avoid the problems we have encountered or set up residence in an RV friendly state like Florida or South Dakota. We don't want to burden any of our children with this responsibility because they might move themselves. We will keep you updated.

Tuesday, we break camp here and head to Lake Wylie, SC for bunch of doctor visits. Not sure where we will go from there.

Friday, May 15, 2015


We took our time yesterday to break camp, probably because we were so tired, topped off our propane tank at the Wilmington KOA, back tracked a bit to a truck stop to do the same to the diesel tank and then head generally north for a short trip to New Bern, after all it was one of those glorious late spring days that the Masterful Creator shows us how much He loves us.

The short route would have been up US 17 through Jacksonville and Camp Lejeune which we have traveled hundreds of times over the years and is anything but scenic.  We had plenty of time and decided to take a more leisurely path.    

We were going back to our old  "home town" where we had raised our family, made life long friends and where Joanie's parents are buried. Going back is like putting on a pair of your old, well-worn jeans - it feels good.  There is a peacefulness that comes over you on riding through the old small villages that are not big enough to be towns, really. The back roads that carry you past warm fields, aged farm houses, rusting silos and countless little churches.  Some people would describe this as God's country and they would be absolutely correct.  These people have an attachment to the land and to their Creator.  Our little family went to one of these little churches in Jones County 30 years ago.  The road was carrying us back to a place and to a time in our memories.

Tim Buchman photograph of Christ Episcopal church in Trenton, NC.

We traveled up North Carolina highway 41 past places you may have never heard of - Chinquapin, Beaulaville, Potters Hill, Trenton and Comfort. 

We pulled in to the New Bern KOA early and after setting up most of our camp sight, I crashed and had a nice, comfortable nap.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I have a good excuse...


You might think that I have been negligent in keeping you posted on this blog but I have a good excuse!  We have been busy.  Our younger son and his family has just begun the process of moving and we have been helping out.  It is tiring work for old guys like me who have been on retirement vacation for a year now. 

We have been baby sitting a 4 year old and a 6 year old which is tiring in itself but we have been running errands and cleaning the new place, etc. which about knocked me out.  Joanie seems to hold up better than me.

Tomorrow we break camp and head to New Bern where we will get some rest.  I hope....

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Day (or two) with the grandson...

Waiting for the ferry that runs from Ft. Fisher to Southport we took a walk up to Battery Buchanan.

A six year old hanging out with old folks in a 36 ft motorhome might go a little nuts.
 The trip from Deaglan's house to where we were staying in Southport was to see the Aluminum Overcast -  A B17G built in 1945 but never dropped a bomb nor fired a round in anger as the war in Europe was over by time she was deployed over seas.
I find that the weight of this weapon (50,000 lbs) compared to the weight of its ordinance (4,000 lbs) to be amazing. Each engine burned so much oil that each one had it's own 37 gallon oil tank.
Isolated from the rest of the crew was the tail gunner who laid on his stomach shoot his weapon. No armor - thin plastic and sheet aluminum. Yes, the wind whistled through this aircraft from all it's openings at 30 degrees below zero.
This is the bombardier's station.  He sat on the stool and was not strapped in. He knelt to use his bombsight.
All of the flight instruments are "working" instruments.  A modern pilot will recognize the GPS nav instruments and some of the other flight instruments which are necessary to make this a certified airworthy craft.  Throttles and yokes are original.
This is the bomb bay and to access the rear of the aircraft the crew had to traverse this thin catwalk.  Only after the aircraft was safely airborne did the bombardier arm his bombs (aircraft were known to crash on take off and they did not want any of the bombs exploding if the plane did indeed crash on take off.)
None of the B-17's were pressurized. At altitudes above 5,000 feet, oxygen was necessary.
To endure the freezing temperatures of high altitude flight the crew relied on their electrically heated flight suits.  These outlets were placed throughout the aircraft so the crew could move about and plug in.
All of the equipment is original to the aircraft as it came off the assembly line.  When the Aluminum Overcast was mothballed many parts were removed from her.  Restorers painstakingly sought out all the original parts and brought them back and installed them. Some, like this radio equipment, are not necessary for flight today.  Radio navigation is no longer used since the inception of GPS. The Aluminum Overcast uses updated nav  and com equipment.
The waist gun positions were 30 caliber machine guns.  The ammunition feed was the wood box in the rear of the photo. Yes, they used wood in parts of the aircraft.  In the lower right corner you can see they used wood for the floor. The ammo feed was 9 linier yards of continuous rounds. To fire continuously, using up all your ammo in one long burst was called giving them the "whole 9 yards". Yeah, that's where we got that phrase. 
The "nose art" on warplanes was inspired by the figureheads that decorated sailing ships which began in the middle ages. 
The ball turret gunner actually sat outside the fuselage, isolated from the rest of the crew.  He was a small and wiry young man - had to be to fit in there. Thin sheets of aluminum was the only protection (if you could call it that). 
Waist gunner's 50 cal had an electric gun sight on the B-17G instead of every 4th or 5th round being a tracer because a tracer bullet has totally different aerodynamic characteristic than the regular lead round.  The tracer rounds in air warfare were really worse than useless because they gave the gunner the wrong information.

Deaglan got to tour a moden CAP (Civil Air Patrol) aircraft which was on display. The Civil Air Patrol had it's beginnings during WWII watching our coasts for enemy intruders and later Nazi submarines. 
The Aluminum Overcast is owned and flown by the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) and tours the country as a living history event.  Flights can be booked on the aircraft.
EAA photo.