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The End Of One Journey, The Start Of A New One!

This is the post excerpt.

This is the very first blog of our new journey through life.  We have just finished selling Leu Cat, our Lagoon 44 Catamaran sailboat which we spent 10 years sailing around the world, and have bought a Tiffin Allegro Bus to explore North America.  We are very excited to begin this new journey and look forward to sharing it with you.

Before we begin, we wish to share with you some very sad news.  The new owners of Leu Cat, Susan and Doug, have just emailed us to say that Leu Cat is no more.  We sold Leu Cat on August 30th and she was anchored in the lagoon at Sint Maarten.  Unfortunately, the massive hurricane called Irma swept over Sint Maarten just a few days later and destroyed much of the island and hundreds of boats, including Leu Cat.  Here is the message that we received from Susan and Doug:

“It is my sad task to tell you that Leu Cat is a total loss from Hurricane Irma. According to the last AIS transmission, she ended up against the Skipjack Restaurant on Welfare Road at the short bridge to Snoopy Island at 5:05 am on Wednesday, Sept. 6. That was almost immediately after the hurricane hit St. Maarten. With that information, Ian found her at that location today under a pile of wrecked boats with only the flags on the forward hulls visible to identify her. She is in small pieces as she was blown through the causeway bridge. We are saddened also to know that he lost his Leopard catamaran (which was a business in addition to his surveying) as well.”

We were so saddened to hear this tragic news.  Susan and Doug are such nice people and this is the last thing we would want for them.  Fortunately, they did purchase hurricane insurance so they should recoup much of their loss.  Also, we are saddened because Leu Cat was such a wonderful home, sailboat and companion to us as we sailed around the world.  If you are interested in sharing the adventure we had with her, you can go go to our blog site by Click here to go to our sailing adventure blog site

In the days to come, we will be sharing with you our new adventures as we start our exploration of North America in our new home.  We have yet to name her and are open to any suggestions that you may have.  We will post photos of her in the next few days as the dust settles from our outfitting her.  She is a beauty!

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Year 2 Day 109 Ice Cream And Oysters

 

This morning we got up early so we could go shopping for one of the many treats that is renowned in Marianna: ice cream!  Yep, as lovers of ice cream, we just had to load up with this delicious frozen concoction while the getting’ was good.

 

Larry and Ruth last night had treated us to some ice cream from the national award-winning ice creamery that is located just a few blocks from their house.  Called the Southern Craft Creamery, it is literally a small mom and pop creamery where they take the milk and cream they collect from their dairy farm nearby, bring it to their little shop, and make some of the most fantastic ice cream we have every tasted.  They only make small batches, each being 20 or so gallons and then fill pint size containers.  What makes their ice cream so different is that they do not homogenize their cream.  Thus, the milk fat globules remain large so the rich milk fat coats your tongue allowing the flavors to be absorbed so well and that makes the ice cream’s texture so unique.

 

They also are very creative in the flavors of ice cream they produce.  Larry and Ruth had shared with us the Buttermilk, Salted Carmel and Sweet Potato-Praline flavors last night.  After rolling our eyes in simple delight, we just had to sample some more.

 

Therefore, early this morning Larry and I waltzed over to the ice creamery and load up with a bunch more containers.  Below is what we got and a brief description of each flavor:

Roasted Banana with Salted Peanuts – Salted peanuts and rich cream compliment sweet bananas roasted in butter and brown sugar,

Salted Dark Chocolate – The perfect pairing of sweet and salty folded into rich, dark chocolate (chocolate: French Broad Chocolates),

Butterscotch – Inspired by their Mama Elsie’s perfect butterscotch pie recipe that she lovingly passed down to them,

Raspberry Basil – Raspberry compote highlighted with sweet basil dolloped into sweet cream with a little Meyers lemon juice, combine for a deliciously aromatic flavor,

Blackberry Buttermilk – The unique buttermilk ice cream flavor is accented with the finest blackberries.

 

Their little creamery is Nirvana!

 

Once our treasure trove of sweat icy goodness was safely tucked away in Larry and Ruth’s freezer, the four of us hopped into their extended cab pickup truck and headed down the road.  They wanted to show us some of the beauty of their area and to share with us their very special retreat: Apalachicola.

 

Apalachicola is located about 80 miles south of their house and is where the Apalachicola River meets the Gulf of Mexico.  It is famous for the succulent oysters that are farmed in Apalachicola Bay.  We all love oysters so this outing was going to be a real treat.

 

We arrived just in time for a little walk-about before lunch, allowing us to explore the little town with its restored old buildings and beautiful views of the mouth of the Apalachicola River.  We went inside a very nice galley where we learned about shotgun houses, a unique style of house which typically consisted of four rooms that were each connected by doors leading directly into the next room.  There are no hallways in these houses.  The shotgun houses of Apalachicola were built primarily for mill workers, oystermen and workers in the shrimp canneries and were early examples of affordable housing.  They are called shotgun houses because it was said that you could fire a shotgun into the front door and all of the pelts would pass through the other doors and exit out the back of the house without damaging the house.20180419_124655

After our walk-about, we then went to the Owl Café where we had a wonderful seafood lunch consisting of fried oysters, crab dip with flour tortillas, and sautéed flounder over a bed of angel hair pasta with lobster sauce.  The meal was made complete with pecan pie topped with vanilla ice cream.   Oooooh, it was goooood!20180419_134846

 

After wiping our mouths, we waddled back to the car where Larry and Run gave us a drive-by tour of the rest of the village and then off we went to the nearby St Joseph’s Bay and onto the very thin finger-like peninsula that separates the bay from the Gulf.  Once there, they showed us the beach house they rent each March and then took us to the state park at the end of the peninsula.  The views of the bay and the Gulf beach were wonderful and we just had to walk the sugar white sands of the beach.  It was great and we talked about how much we enjoyed and missed our years of living on our sailboat and sailing around the world.  Ahhh, such great memories!

 

By now it was late in the afternoon and we had just enough time to swing by Larry and Ruth’s favorite oyster shack before heading back home.  We ordered two dozen oysters, prepared two different ways: steamed and baked with a parmesan topping and a dozen shrimp stuffed with crab meat.  Paired with a seafood dip and crackers, we were in seventh heaven.  None of us could figure out how we could eat again so soon and were amazed at how fast the oysters, stuffed shrimp and seafood dip disappeared!  Yum!

 

When we returned to Larry and Ruth’s historic home, we made a bee-line to the freezer and hauled out the five containers of ice cream that we had stashed away this morning.  They had been calling to us during our return trip to their house.  What a wonderful way to close a wonderful day!

 

Tomorrow, Mary Margaret and Ruth will be spending the day cooking for a party that Larry and Ruth are hosting Saturday night.  I will spend my time washing and waxing LeuC while Larry is off being a mediator for a case in the State’s civil court system.  Larry and Ruth are both retired lawyers and Larry enjoys spending some of his retirement being a court appointed mediator.

 

 

Year 2 Days 107 and 108 Larry And Ruth

 

We left our lovely wooded Corp of Engineers campground just outside of Montgomery, Alabama yesterday morning and continued driving south toward Florida.  It was a beautiful day with lots of sun and temperatures hovering around the high seventies.  Maybe spring has sprung and the rest of April will be nice.  We sure hope so.

 

Once we arrived in Florida we turned east and followed State route 73 about 15 miles and entered the little hamlet of Marianna.  It was the site of a little known but very significant Civil War battle.  It fact, it occurred right in front of Larry and Ruth’s house, which was our destination.

 

In September 1864 a force of 700 Union soldiers, including the mounted Buffalo Soldiers, a renowned group of black cavalry, entered Marianna, trying to determine how significant the Confederate forces were.  General Sherman was marching south through Georgia and in that effort, was destroying everything in his path as he attempted to divide the South.  He needed to know whether he should turn east and move toward Atlanta or continue south and enter Florida in search of the Confederate forces.

 

The union troops marching through the pan handle of Florida were searching for Confederate troops to provide information of their strength for General Sherman.  The Battle of Marianna convinced the Union forces that the bulk of the Confederate troops were up near Atlanta so, as a result of this battle, Sherman turned east and attacked Atlanta.

 

During the Battle of Marianna, the local Confederate troops were routed, however, a number of buildings were destroyed and the mansion where Larry and Ruth live was struck by numerous bullets and a cannonball blew a hole its roof.  This house, which Larry and Ruth have restored, was built in 1840 and is known as the Ely-Criglar Mansion is one of Florida’s most beautiful antebellum homes.  During the Reconstruction era, freed African Americans held political rallies in the pecan grove behind the house. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

When we arrived, we had to park LeuC across the street, behind a restaurant so that we and Larry could figure at a way to bring LeuC onto their property.  Their driveway is very narrow with palms and other trees lining the driveway.

 

However, after pacing the driveway and measuring its width in numerous places, we decided we could squeeze in if we tied back a number of palm fronds and cut a few of them down.  With this done, I hopped into LeuC and brought her over.  Mary Margaret directed me in and soon we were safe and sound in Larry and Ruth’s backyard.

 

After hugs and kisses we received a tour of their remarkable house and beautiful grounds.  Wow!  It was like stepping back in time and being in the 1850s.  I will let the photos I took do the talking as my words would not do justice.20180418_110000

 

 

Year 2 Days 105 and 106 On The Road Again. Whoo Hoo!

 

After spending a bit over three weeks at the Tiffin Service Center in Red Bay, Alabama, we are finally on the road again.  Yippie!  This morning, for the last time, we bundled up LeuC and drove over to a service bay.  This time it was Bay 44, where the Diamond Shield technician applied his clear protective sheeting onto our right front quarter panel which had recently been repainted.  This was the quarter panel that was hit but a big, burly mule deer way back in September of last year.  At that time, we did not notice any damage to that panel but it was later discovered to have a few, almost invisible, micro-cracks in the fiberglass.  Most of LeuC’s exterior is fiberglass, much like the hulls and decks of our beloved sailboat, Leu Cat.  This makes for a very strong, flexible but light exterior for our bus.

 

Also, when the deer hit that panel, it must have loosened the bolts holding it onto the bus’s frame because after driving many thousands of miles after the deer was hit the panel had moved just a fraction of an inch.  I say this because when we were in Baton Rouge last month the steps that automatically slide out when you open LeuC’s door, caught on the edge of the panel and cracked it.  Ouch!  Thus, while in Red Bay we had this quarter panel re-fiberglassed, repainted and then a new Diamond-Shield applied.  The amazing thing about this work was that the Tiffin people insisted that they not charge us for this work!  We had told them that we thought the repairs were all tied to the fact that the deer hit us but they said that since the power door step caught on and cracked the panel long after the deer hit us, it would be covered under warranty.  Whoo Hoo!  I am not sure how much this saved us but we were in the paint and body shop bay for three days and it took another 3 hours this morning for the Diamond-Shield technician to do his work.  At $95/hour, the labor charges would have been significant.

 

In general, we were very impressed with the Tiffin people we worked with during our stay at their service center.  The vast majority of issues they worked on were covered by their warranty.  We ended up only paying for the rear ladder we bought and had installed and the replacement and painting of four side panels that I had scratched while driving on a very narrow curvy road in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  Going around a tight hairpin curve, I pressed the side of LeuC up against a side rail for a brief second.  The replacement of these four panels, their installation and repainting, along with the new ladder and its installation only cost me $2,500.  I had visions of the costs going as high as $10,000 and had budgeted for that expectation.  What a wonderful surprise the actual costs were.

 

I compare these costs to our typical costs of annual maintenance costs and retrofitting costs of our sailboat, Leu Cat, after each major ocean crossing.  We averaged about $5000 a year for general maintenance and about $25,000 for the each of the 5 retrofits we did after crossing the Carrageenan, Pacific Ocean, Java and South China Seas and the Atlantic Ocean.

 

On top of that, our 24 days of staying at the Tiffin Service Center campground and sucking up their 50-amp power, guzzling down their water and using their disposal sump was all free!  Double Whoo Hoo!  We must admit, we are very impressed with the Tiffin Company and their dedication to make our RV home the best they can.  While we were there, we talked with many other RVers and listened to the horror stories they had experienced in previous motor homes built by other manufactures.  They all agreed that Tiffin stands behind their product better than any other company on the market.  Our experience here confirms that.

 

Even though we are very impressed with and grateful to Tiffin for the quality of services provided and their commitment to making our experience the best, we certainly were ready to leave after 24 days there.  Their campground is basically a huge RV Park and we just are not RV Park people.  Most of the people we met there were very nice but, after a while, people tended to drift into cliques, including those that shared their values and excluding others that did not. While we did tend to socialize with a particular group of people that we enjoyed being with, Mary Margaret and I really enjoy mingling with all types of people.  This allows us to better understand the basis behind peoples’ views and beliefs and exposes us to all kinds of different perspectives.  However, given how polarized and tribal the US has become, we found a few of the cliques were just not interested in our views since we tend to be on the more “liberal” side of the spectrum.  At times it seems like you are walking on egg shells in your efforts not to point out the various myths or lies that one fraction or the other are professing to be the truth.  Thus, with that in mind, we were anxious to get on the road again and continue our adventure of exploring North America.

 

Today, we drove 4 hours and arrived just west of Montgomery, Alabama.  Our day’s destination was the Gunter Hill Corp of Engineers campground.  Since we were not sure of the exact time of our departure from the Tiffin Service Center, we did not make a campsite reservation.  However, I had research this campground and knew that it was mostly empty and we could just walk right in.

 

From our research, we knew this was going to be a lovely park and this was confirmed with our arrival.  Tucked in the middle of a beautiful oak forest, nestled up along a river, the campground was just the reprieve we have been looking forward to.  I will let the photos I took show you how beautiful it is.

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Our only regret was that we were only spending one night here since we are anxious to arrive tomorrow in Marianna, Florida, where our former brother-in-law, Larry, and his wife, Ruth, live.  However, we did vow that if we come back this way again, we will be sure to stay at this park for much longer so we can explore it and really enjoy all that it offers.

Year 2 Days 102 to 104 Planning Our Breakout

Yesterday, the Diamond-Shield technician came to our RV to inspect the front left quarter panel to see if the paint had cured enough to apply this protective sheeting.  Diamond-Shield is a clear plastic like sheeting which protects the paint from rock dings and paint etchings caused from bug splatters and bird poop, and other environmental impacts.  After his inspection, he recommended that we wait until Monday before the Diamond-Shield is applied.  He was worried that if the paint was not cured enough, it would pull off as he applied the sheeting.  Not wanting to have to return to the paint bay to repaint this panel if that should happen, we agreed to wait.  Ugh!

 

On the positive side, we now know that we will be able to return to the road and continue our journey of exploring the US this Monday.  Also, even if he had been able to apply the sheeting on Friday afternoon, we had already made the decision to stay put and hunker down here in Red Bay, Alabama on Saturday.  We had been watching another massive cold front working its way toward us, bringing high winds, possible tornados and tons of rain.  We certainly did not wish to be out on the road as it slowly passed over Alabama on Saturday.  Thus, we are only postponing our departure one day by waiting until Monday morning to have the Diamond Shield applied.

 

Today, Saturday, as copious amounts of rain was belting LeuC throughout the day, Mary Margaret and I spent our time planning our escape from the Tiffin Service Center this Monday.  We have decided that our goal will be to arrive in the Washington D.C. area by May 24th.  Mary Margaret has two sisters who live there.  One of them, Gaby and her husband are going on a cruise during the end of May and early June so she wanted to arrive in time to see them before they left.  Also, we wish to participate in the celebration of our niece’s eldest son’s high school graduation.  Katherine, who is one of the daughters of Mary Margaret’s other sister, Lonie, also lives in Washington D. C. with her husband, Morgan, and their two boys.  We figure that by spending two weeks in the D. C. area, we would be able to do the above plus spend time visiting Lonie, her husband, Rich, and Lonie’s youngest daughter, Sara, who also lives nearby with her young daughter, Finn.  Lots of family in that area and what a great way to see them again and catch up.

 

With this destination and timing in mind, we rolled up our sleeves and poured over our various resources to determine where we wanted to stop and explore as we headed north.  Of course, with the knowledge that we needed to go north, we decided our first stop would be south of us! Red Bay To Reston

 

Two days drive to the south is where our former brother-in-law, Larry, and his wife, Ruth, live.  They were kind enough to drive to New Orleans to visit us last month and we have been anxious to swing by their home in Marianna, Florida.

 

From there, we will head east to explore the famous Okefenokee Swamp and the Suwannee River which flows from it.  The Okefenokee is the largest “blackwater” swamp in North America and covers roughly 700 square miles. It is mostly located in the southeastern corner of Georgia but does extend into the northern edge of Florida.  We plan on camping first at the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park for a few days and then move on to the Stephen C. Foster State Park.  The difference between these two state parks is the former is located on the Suwannee River in White Springs, Florida while the later is located in the heart of the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia.

 

From there, we actually do turn north and head up to Savannah, Georgia.  We will be exploration that wonderful and historic city using the Fort McAllister State Park as our base.  We then move on to Charleston, SC. We will be staying at the James Island County Park.

 

Our next major destination will be the Jamestown – Williamsburg, VA area.  We last explored this area way back in the 1970’s.  Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in North America, founded in 1602. Williamsburg is home to the Colonial Williamsburg Historic District which is the restoration of a colonial American city, with exhibits dozens of restored or re-created buildings related to its colonial and American Revolutionary War history.

 

From there, it is just a short hop up to Washington D.C.  We will actually be staying nearby in Reston, VA at the Fairfax Lake Recreation Area.

 

In total, this trip will be a bit over 1500 miles and will take us a bit over 5 weeks to reach Washington D.C.  We are very excited and are anxious to start.  Whoo Hoo!

Year 2 Days 100 and 101 The Miracle Worker

 

As I mentioned in the last blog, last Monday we drove up to Florence, Alabama to visit a few sights as we waited for the work on LeuC to be completed.  While up there, we visited Helen Keller’s birthplace, a Frank Lloyd Wright house and the Muscle Shoals Music Studio.  In the last blog, I described our time at the music studio and embedded into the blog a number of the famous songs that were recorded there.  Today, I will be sharing with you our visit to the Keller home and the Frank Lloyd Wright house.

 

My guess is that most of our readers may not be too familiar with Helen Keller.  However, when Mary Margaret and I were growing up, “The Miracle Worker” which was about the life story of Helen Keller, was required reading in Junior High School.  The book was based on the play of the same name which Anne Bancroft made famous on Broadway in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

 

It is a story of a little girl who within the first two years of birth (June 27, 1880), contracted a disease that left her deaf and blind.  Being so isolated from the world due to this disease, she was growing up as a near-feral child since her parents did not know how to deal with such a challenge.  Helen was very frustrated due to her lack of stimulus and would have massive temper tantrums throwing and breaking anything that she came in contact with and hitting and scratching her parents and their servants.  She was viewed as being totally uncontrollable.

 

In desperation, her parents contacted Alexander Graham Bell who was working with deaf children at the time.  Graham referred them to the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston.  A partially blind young woman had just graduated and was available to move in with the Keller family in an attempt to work with Helen.  This woman was Anne Sullivan, who became “The Miracle Worker”.

 

She faced numerous difficulties in breaking through and reaching into the dark place that Helen had retreated into.  Many of those difficulties Sullivan created herself.  Being a northerner with an Irish background, she had a real distain for slavery and everything surrounding it.  This caused real problems with the Keller family who were traditional southerners.  Helen’s father had been a Captain in the Confederacy, his wife was related to the iconic southern general and leader, Robert E. Lee and many of their servants were former slaves.  This antagonism between Sullivan and the Keller parents never abated.

 

Despite this self-inflicted difficulty, Sullivan was able to work with Helen and within a few months had broken through Helen’s isolation and started her down a path of communication and learning.  As it turns out, Helen was extremely intelligent and rapidly soaked in techniques to use palm spelling, Braille and methods to learn multiplication tables.

 

Within a few years, it was agreed that it would be best for the Keller family and Helen if Helen and Sullivan were to move up to Boston and attend the Perkins School for the blind.  Helen never again lived with her parents.

 

Helen’s formal education included attending the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf, the Horace Mann School for the Deaf, the Cambridge School for Young Ladies and in 1900, Radcliffe College, Harvard University.  She graduated from Radcliffe, becoming the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

 

Over the years, she learned to speak, wrote numerous books and articles and became a prolific speaker on aspects of her life.  She traveled to twenty-five different countries giving motivational speeches about deaf people’s conditions, she was a suffragette, pacifist, radical socialist, birth control supporter and helped to found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).  On September 14, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the United States’ two highest civilian honors. In 1965 she was elected to the National Women’s Hall of Fame at the New York World’s Fair.

 

Keller suffered a series of strokes in 1961 and spent the last years of her life at her home.  She died in her sleep on June 1, 1968, at her home, Arcan Ridge, located in Easton, Connecticut, a few weeks short of her eighty-eighth birthday.

 

Here are some of the photos I took while visiting Helen Keller’s birth home.

 

 

Year 2 Days 97 to 99 Exploring The Area

 

Today we got a peek of Spring.  Since we have arrived here in Red Bay, Alabama, the weather has been mostly wet and cold.  We have had an isolated day or two where the sun was shining and the temperatures snuck into the mid-60s.  However, this only happened during brief hiatuses between cold fronts that were bearing down on us, one after another after another.  Sigh!

 

This week is going to be different.  The forecast for the week is sun, sun and more sun, with temperatures building toward the 80s as the week matures.  There is another cold front coming toward us but it should not arrive until this coming weekend.

 

To celebrate the arrival of Spring, we hopped into our little Fiat and drove about an hour north to Florence, near the Tennessee border.  We wanted to visit the Helen Keller home, a Frank Lloyd house, and the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio.

 

I will write about the Helen Keller home tomorrow, along with our brief visit to the Frank Lloyd house (it was closed so we could not go inside) tomorrow.  Today, I am focusing on our visit to the sound studio.

 

It was kind of odd for us to go to a sound studio for a tour.  We love music but are not real music aficionados.  However, we thought that since we were in the area and there really is not much up here to see, we would take the chance and drive over to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio because so many great artists have cut recordings here, especially in our hey days of the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

 

To put this in better perspective, you need to understand that this studio was created way back in the hippy era, when drugs, booze and free love was the credo.  Back then, young people were a bit more willing to take a risk and start up something that was their dream.  In this case, there were four musicians, who played backup at the FAME (Florence Alabama Music Enterprises) studio.  They were Barry Beckett (keyboards), Roger Hawkins (drums), David Hood (bass), and Jimmy Johnson (guitar) and they called themselves the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section.   Their nickname, “The Swampers”, was given to the group by the music producer Denny Cordell during recording sessions for Leon Russell because of their “funky, soulful Southern “swamp” sound”.

 

When the owner of FAME offered the foursome, a longer contract locking them to both the studio and a major New York music label, they decided it was not for them so they refused the contract and left to form their own studio.  With no money and a pipe dream, they leased a little building that was a former casket sales room which was located right across from a cemetery.  A minister had renovated the old building into a little music studio so he could practice and record his church’s choir.20180409_113209 20180409_10581320180409_111119

When Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records heard that the Swampers were trying to open up their own studio, he offered to invest in their enterprise as well as bring them some up and coming artists.  And, as they say: “The rest is history”.  Through the years the Muscle Shoals Music Studio recorded such music giants as The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Willie Nelson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joe Cocker, Levon Helm, Paul Simon, Bob Seger, Rod Stewart, Cher and Cat Stevens. Over 75 gold and platinum songs were recorded there.  The studio at this location closed in 1979, and the recording facility was moved to new premises at 1000 Alabama Avenue.

 

To give you examples of what songs were recorded, I have put together some samples below.  Just in case you are not familiar with the titles, you can click on the audio bar below the listing and listen to the song.

  1. “Brown Sugar” The Rolling Stones;
  2. “I’ll Take You There” Staple Singers;
  3. “Wild Horses” The Rolling Stones;
  4. “Respect Yourself” The Staple Singers;
  5. “Sitting in Limbo” Jimmy Cliff;
  6. “”Night Moves” Bob Seger;
  7. “Loves Me Like a Rock” Paul Simon;
  8. “Kodachrome” Paul Simon;
  9. “Gotta Serve Somebody” Bob Dylan;
  10. “Valotte” Julian Lennon;
  11. “Torn Between Two Lovers” Mary MacGregor;

Year 2 Days 95 and 96 Rain, Rain, And More Rain

We are s-l-o-w-l-y making progress on the last stage of our visit to the Tiffin Service Center here in Red Bay, Alabama.  We discovered today that we will be delayed in our anticipated departure by a few days.  We learned that after the paint is applied, we have to wait three days for it to cure before they can apply the top protective covering that is called Diamond-Shield.  It is a clear plastic sheet that protects the paint from rock impacts, bug etchings to the paint and general scratches that occur while driving down the road.  Furthermore, the application of this protect shield can only be done by a specialist and he, at times, can have his scheduled impacted by those in front of us.  Thus, our potential departure is now toward the end of this coming week, instead of this weekend or Monday.  Ugh!

 

We are also being further delayed because the people at the Tiffin paint and body bay discovered micro cracks in the front right corner of LeuC that were caused when we were hit by the mule deer that ran into us in New Mexico this last September.  They recommended that they re-fiberglass this area to remove the micro-cracks.  Therefore, yesterday they applied the fiberglass and today they sanded it smooth and applied the base primer paint.  They also sanded rough the side aluminum panels and applied the etching primer to them.  Here is what everything looks like as of today.20180407_12291920180407_122848

 

It will not be until Monday before they start painting these areas.  We are not sure how long the painting will take since we are dealing with hand painting the scroll work and multiple colors that will be used.  We hope the painting will be done by Monday late afternoon but that may be a pipe dream.

 

While we are waiting for all of this to be done, my “itchy butt” is getting worse and worse.  Normally, we would be taking day drives in our cute, little Fiat 500 to explore the area.  There are lots of neat things to explore that are not too far from here.  These include the Helen Keller home and the Muscle Shoals, Alabama music studios (where such artists as The Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Wilson Picket, Bob Seger, Aretha Franklin and others recorded numerous famous songs).  We are also close to Tupelo, Mississippi, where Elvis Presley was born and raised and his birth home and museum are there.  There is also a wonderful golf course here in Red Bay with green fees of only $25.

 

Unfortunately, the weather has been just crappy with lots of rain and cold temperatures.  For example, it has been raining continuously for the last 24 hours with temperatures hovering in the low 50s.  This has dampened our desire to go outside and explore the area.  During our two weeks here in Red Bay, we have faced wave after wave of cold and rainy weather fronts passing over us.  This weekend will be no exception so it looks like we will just be hunkering down, staying warm and dry inside LeuC.  Sigh!