Whirlwind of a month

My last post was from Big Creek a month ago.

The computer didn’t exactly die, but it was in a coma.  We drove to the Best Buy in Knoxville for the Geek Squad to have a look.  The man said, with some authority, that my problem was that Microsoft Windows was updating when I turned the computer off.  Common problem.  They see it all the time.  Of course, it started right up in the store.  But, it crashed time after time when we got back to Big Creek.

We left Big Creek on Wednesday, June 14.  Spence was supposed to be in Cosby for a safety meeting, however, he stayed in Big Creek to help.  Shortly before were ready to go, Spence drove his Gator to the ranger station.  The Gator ran out of gas.  There was no gas in the tank at the ranger station.  He drove his truck to Hartford to buy gas.  About an hour after we had planned to leave, Spence drove ahead in the Gator to stop incoming traffic.  The potholes were horrific in the motorhome.  Everything not anchored down (dishes in the cabinets and food in the fridge, for example) was rattling and falling over.  I was only driving about half a mile and hour.  The worst part was the pothole that opened the refrigerator and dumped much of its contents into the floor.  (I had forgotten to secure the doors) The worst part of that was the exploded container of sauerkraut.  Bless his heart, Spence came in and helped me clean up the mess.

We loaded the car on the dolly and were finally underway at 10:58.  A tree had fallen across the road next to the Pigeon River.  We sat there, along with several busloads of whitewater rafters, until a truck arrived with chain saws and the crew cut the tree sufficiently for the pickup truck to drag it down the road where it could pull it off the pavement. Underway again.

Then, on Interstate 40, we had a huge backup for road construction.  And so the day went.  And the next day.  All told, we had seven events that set us at a crawl in a long traffic backup before we got to Sister Barbara’s house in Prince Frederick, Maryland the next day.

We spent one night in Maryland and left for Wisconsin the next morning.  We drove the car and my Sister Barbara went with us.  The grandsons, Owen and Cam, seemed almost as happy to see me as I was to see them.  Three-year-old Cam had a green snotty nose and he coughed all night for several nights.  A few days later, I started coughing and sneezing. It was the Cam Crud. I took the computer to another Best Buy and another geek.  They kept it for several days and declared it repaired.  Again, it kept crashing and locking up when I actually tried to use it. We had several great outings with the boys (and George and Jennifer) but I couldn’t put my pictures on the computer.

After about ten days in Grandma heaven, we drove back to Maryland.  Somewhere in there, I got online with a Geek.  He did some research and found that many people are having problems with Photoshop 7 and Windows 10.  But I have been using them together since Windows 10 first came out!  “So, you’ve been lucky until now”.  The only thing to do was get a new version of Photoshop.  Who knew?  They are up to Photoshop Elements 15 now! I got the new version and am having a heck of a time figuring out how to use it.  I just haven’t felt well enough or had time to mess with it.  However, since I installed it, the computer has not crashed even once.

We spent about a week in Rockville with the Misovec grandchildren.  They are very busy with activities and I was still not feeling well so I can’t call it a great visit.  I had planned to take them to an adventure park with ropes, ladders, and zip lines in a forest.  Never felt up to it. But, it was good to see them. At one point, Andy and I decided that I had been feeling crummy too long and should go see a physician. Diagnosis: Bronchitis. A few days on antibiotics and I was feeling much better.

Back in Prince Frederick, Maryland for two days.  I got to see my nephew Jesse and meet his girlfriend Lilly.  Barbara and I teased her a lot.  I think she’s pretty tough.  She liked us.

Now we are in Newport, Tennessee on a book sales trip.  We’ll be here for about a week.

I almost forgot to mention: There is not enough storage space in the motorhome for some things.  I keep my little vacuum cleaner in front of the driver’s seat when we are parked.  When we travel, I put it in the shower stall, along with whatever else looks likely to fall over or move around on the road.

I started a load of laundry as soon as we got settled into our spot in Tana-See RV park.

I know I’ve discussed holding tanks before.  We have two.  One is for gray water from the sinks and shower.  The other is for black water; you can guess where that comes from.  When we drain the tanks in an RV park, we drain the black water tank first.  Then the gray water washes out the sewer hose.  One not-so-nice thing about the holding tanks:  if the gray water tank gets filled, the water backs up into the shower stall.  It is just sink, shower, and laundry water, but it is still yucky.

I forgot to drain the black tank and open the valve for the gray water tank before I started the laundry.  You see where this is going?

I drowned my vacuum cleaner!!!!  And it was the best one I’ve had since moving aboard the boat and motorhome.  I almost cried for being stupid.  Always reassuring, Andy tried to comfort me with, “you’ve been sick” and “you have so much going on”, and “that’s OK; we’ll get a new one”.

The computer is working fine now, but I still struggle with Photoshop.  Don’t worry, you WILL see pictures of my grandsons eventually!








Big Creek is now available in Maryville and Knoxville, Tennessee

We spent most of the day visiting book stores.

Our first stop was Southland Books & Cafe in Maryville, TN, where we had a delightful visit with Lisa Misosky. The store is close to the park so I hope there will be some interest in Big Creek there.  Lisa thought there would be. She took ten copies. The store and cafe both look interesting and I might like to stop in again for the cafe on our next trip.  They are currently in the midst of expanding into the adjacent store space.

So, you Maryville folks, stop in and get your copy of Big Creek.  I would recommend a coffee and pastry while you are there.

Next, we visited a number of establishments in Knoxville.  I need to follow up with several, but Union Ave Books took three copies on consignment.  The classic downtown book store is small and they don’t have room for too many copies.

We have never visited downtown Knoxville.  It looks to be worth another look.  It is historic and home to the University of Tennessee.

Our last stop, on the way home really, was Tennessee RV Supercenter.  Most RV stores have a small book section so it was worth a shot.  Denise Harrell was interested in carrying it but wanted to check with her co-manager before making a purchase.  I gave her a copy of the book for review.

Free Copy of “Big Creek”!!!!!!!!!!!!

Actually, it is not exactly free.  I want to barter with you.

I’ve learned that I really need to get more reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Good Reads. That somehow gets the book more attention and increases sales.  One strategy to do that is to give people a copy in return for a review (or two, or three). Of course, I can’t afford to mail out paperback copies, but Hugo House has a method for distributing e-books (for FREE!).

So, if you are interested in reading my charming, delightful, and informative book, and writing a review of it, send me an email to dinata@gmail.com and I’ll give you instructions for getting it at no cost. Please don’t ask for a copy unless you are serious about writing a review (even a short one).  Time is limited, so please respond right now. So far, I have nothing but five-star reviews on Amazon – and I don’t even know who all those people are.

Big Creek is a fairly quick read at about 200 pages.  It’s not literature.  It’s not scholarship.  It’s just me relaying our adventures (and misadventures) volunteering as campground hosts in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I wrote it because I was amazed at all that transpires in a national park while most of us are admiring the scenery.  There is a huge, dedicated cadre working to maintain order and minimize the impact of over 11,000,000 visitors per year. Even though it is not fiction, there is still a bit of humor, heartbreak, and some interesting characters. You’ll also learn to make biscuits like my Grandma Dorothy.