Premature On-Line Bliss

My online happiness did not last long. After the last post, I was knocked offline, never to get back on (of my own accord). As it turns out, it was a blessing in the end.  Kind of.

I spent half of Wednesday messing with the computer and the hotspot with every combination of options I could come up with.  Nothing worked. We had an appointment at Rusty Wallace Toyota for the car’s 10,000-mile service on Thursday morning.  So, afterward, we went back to the AT&T store in Sevierville.  Turns out there was an option I had not chosen.  That was easy.  Then, the young woman told me I had already used most of my data.

“No, I haven’t.  I have an unlimited plan.”

“No, you don’t. You have”……blah, blah, blah, whatever she said. It’s a good thing we went into the store and discovered that or we would have gone over the plan and had huge extra charges. Making that discovery was the blessing.  We spent several agonizing hours trying to get the computer to “see” the hotspot.  Then, when we got back to Big Creek, it worked fine for a short while.  Then, not at all.

I waited for the store to open before calling this morning.  The guy in the know had gone to the bank.  I called back an hour later when I figured he had enough time to deposit and withdraw all his money. He was with a customer. My annoyance and anxiety were growing. Finally, he called back and got me online after instructing me to take out the battery and reinstall it.

Digital happiness again.

Things are slow in Big Creek. It has been cool and damp all day. We only had two campsites occupied this morning. This is Spence’s weekend, so he did not stop in for coffee. The people with group site reservations have not shown up.  I haven’t checked the horse camp yet. That just might have to wait until morning. It is raining heavily with rumbling thunder in the distance.  That is forecast to last several days.


We’re Back on Line

It was a beautiful, sunny, and warmer morning.  Here are a few pictures from our walk around the campground. This little ledge and two or three small waterfalls is a favorite spot of mine.  It is not on the main channel of Big Creek, but a little side channel with very little water flow.

These are some of what I call impossibly tiny flowers.  I couldn’t decide which one to post so I posted both.

I’ve posted at least a million pictures of this bridge.  At least.

These Yellow Trillium are in better shape than the last ones I posted.

These tiny things are growing atop the wall around the door to the men’s room in the picnic area. They are not half an inch tall

Friend Beth stopped by Big Creek to visit us, but we were not here yet. She chatted with hosts Richard and Pat, who complained about the lack of cell service.  Beth noted that she had four bars with Consumer Cellular.

I looked it up and found that Radio Shack in Sevierville deals with Consumer Cellular and we headed over that way.  We stopped to pick up Maintenance Linda on the way and ate lunch at the Mellow Mushroom in Pigeon Forge.  Yum.  The tablet GPS (Google maps) took us right to the address, but there was no Radio Shack.  I called them and the man told me that they had moved a few months ago.  We drove to the new location, only to learn that Consumer Cellular does not have data plans or phones that serve as hot spots.  He recommended that we go back to AT&T (right across the street from their old location).  There, we got a free phone that serves as a hot spot for our computers, unlimited talk/text/and data for $45 a month.

On the way home, we stopped at the Harrisburg Covered Bridge.  I had seen the sign in the past, but we never went down that road to explore it.  Linda directed us. The bridge is over the Little Pigeon River.  Fortunately, there was a spot to pull off the road for a better look.

The bridge was originally built in 1875 and was restored in 1972.

Linda posed for me in front of the bridge.

The bridge was surprisingly high above the water.

Look at the size of those timbers!

When we got back to Big Creek, a note on the motorhome door confirmed that the National Park car I had seen on the Foothills Parkway was, indeed, Boss Larry. We missed him.


We are in Big Creek

We arrived in Big Creek on Friday.  But have NO cell signal.  We are offline and out of touch.

I am doing my b/logs with email.  That way, I can create them in the park and send/receive when we take the computer to town for a signal.  If you want to get the b/logs while we are in Big Creek (the most interesting part of our year (except for the grandchildren)) send me your email address (if I don’t already have you on my email list) and I’ll add you to the list.

Still Mourning Paul

Daughter Kathy had the great idea to make some posters with pictures of Paul for the viewing and the funeral service.  I was not able to access mine so I decided to post a few here.

We are pretty sure this one is his high school senior picture.

He was a New York City fireman for his whole career.

Here are Paul and Andy at Sea World, maybe in 2003.

I took this one at the assisted-living facility in 2015.  He had grown a huge bushy beard before that.  Kathy told me that he had been shaving for several months now, but we had not seen him without the beard until this week.

We left Alliance Coach in Wildwood, FL on Friday morning and got to Rockville, MD on Saturday evening. We made posters and other preparations on Sunday for the viewing in the evening.  The funeral service was Monday morning.  Afterward, the whole family went to an Italian restaurant for a long lunch with way too much food.  Everyone had stuffed themselves with appetizers before the meal arrived. We packed up two whole shopping bags with leftovers.

We headed back to Florida on Tuesday morning and arrived at Alliance Coach on Wednesday evening.  This morning (Thursday) we paid our repair bill and left Alliance at 11:11.  Tonight, we are parked at the rear of a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Perry Georgia for the night.


We’re in Hot Water

Mechanic Dave showed up at seven o’clock this morning and drove the motorhome into the shop. He asked what my problem with the kitchen faucet was. For a while now, the hot water has come out in a dribble rather than a good flow.  The cold water comes out just fine.  The hot water in the bathroom has a good flow. Dave thought it might be the diverter valve in the faucet; they sometimes go bad. But the faucet is only four years old.  He decided to check the water-heater-bypass valve. To do that, he had to drain the water heater (ten gallons).

The is the back side of the water heater, from the outside of the motorhome.

Dave removed the cap from the drain.

Andy and I stood there watching the ten gallons of hot water drain out and onto the pavement. I said I should have taken a nice, long hot shower with that water. Andy said, “I have to go pee” and headed to the men’s room.

From the inside, the water heater is in a locker underneath the washer/dryer. Dave got busy removing the bypass valve.

It was a mess.  The O-ring was broken and the check valve was in pieces.  He installed a new valve and refilled the water tank. The hot water flow in the kitchen sink had not improved. Then Dave decided it HAD TO BE the faucet. Andy and I headed to Lowe’s in Leesburg to buy a new faucet.  When we got back, the old faucet was off the sink and the stuff stored under the sink was on the floor.

Dave installed the new faucet and the hot water flow is great. It looks pretty much like the old faucet.  This time, I had him mount it so the lever is on the front rather than the side. It seems a bit more intuitive to me.  After four years with the old one on the right side, I still messed up regularly and turned it hotter rather than off.  You would think my burned hand would send a message to my brain and I would have learned.  But I didn’t.

Now, the lever straight up is in the cold position.  Pulling it toward me in on.  To the left is hot (that seems more natural).  Pushing it away from me is off.  We’ll see if I can manage this one a little better. This way is easier to reach with either hand.

Dave inspected the old faucet and decided the issue was not the diverter valve, but corrosion.  The faucet was clogged with calcium and, maybe, crud from the water heater. I suppose we could soak it in vinegar for a month and clean it out. But, I couldn’t wait that long for water in the kitchen sink.