November 2011

November travels included a trip from Huntsville, Alabama to Brunswick, Georgia with a short stay in Rincon, Georgia.  Total distance traveled with the motor home was about 520 miles.

We left Huntsville bright and early, heading for points south and Camp Carr, but not without having supported the local area economy with our dental and medical visits and numerous dining-out get-togethers with friends.  Our two weeks went by too quickly – we’ll try to catch up with those friends we missed this go-round when we return next fall.

While at Camp Carr, lots of routine stuff got done – carpets cleaned, visits with Lucille’s mother, multiple phone calls and trips to complete paperwork to get her mother’s VA benefits re-instated, and one major motor home improvement – installing our MCD shades. 

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The MCD shades have two rollers; one is a solar screen and the other is opaque material.

When we were at Newmar Corporation in October getting warranty issues taken care of, we had a meeting with customer service representatives, expressing our disappointment in some of the problems we had had, especially with the potentially fatal propane tank snafu.  As a gesture of goodwill, they offered us the shades for free.  We have never been fans of the day/night shades that typically are installed in RVs but these in particular frustrated us – the night portion of the shade was too thin to block out light, natural or otherwise.  It was like sleeping with low-level lighting on all night. 

The MCD shades are two-part – one is a black-screened material for day use whereas the night shade is a light-blocking vinyl-type fabric.  These roll-up shades are being installed in many high-end motor homes and some fifth wheels and are offered as an option in the Newmar line.   We had gotten a quote from Newmar, for both the shades and the installation, but because of their popularity, we would have had to wait several weeks longer than our stay in Nappanee for delivery.  Our plan was to order them and Larry install them at a future destination.  Because Newmar was aware of our intent to buy and install them ourselves, they made the offer to pay for the shades – a win-win situation for us.  However, the installation is very labor-intensive.  The quote for installation was as much as for the shades themselves, and after Larry spent over twelve hours installing ten shades, we can see why the high cost.  Each window provided its own challenge.  We are extremely pleased with these replacement shades - what a difference they make not only at night when parked next to outside lighting but also during the daytime when the sun comes shining in – great insulation from the heat.

Time to head down to Brunswick where we’d be parked for the remainder of the year, working with Dave and Mary and our other hammer-swinging friends for the local Habitat affiliate.  First up was a visit to Fox’s Pizza Den, our favorite pizza place in this area – good to be back!

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Soon after arriving in Brunswick the Habitat contractor poured the slab that would allow us to start building.

We were just four the first few days but that worked out well.  Time was spent getting the Habitat tool trailer re-organized and re-stocked.  A few days later, Tom and Chris arrived next, just in time to start building window and door frames for the first house we’ll be building.  These are built in the warehouse and later transported to the job site, one of the few assemblies that can be done in advance. 

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Saturday, volunteers from FLETC helped with the framing.

Tony and Mary and Tom and Diane were the next to pull into our ‘gated’ community here at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds.  Our Habitat crew was now up to full staffing for the rest of the month.  We got quite a bit done on the house, starting with picking up trash on the site of the future home.  One Saturday, volunteers from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) helped us get all the framing done – it’s starting to look like a house.  Click here to see pictures taken by the local volunteer coordinator of the hard-working crew that day. 

The local affiliate has purchased this small corner lot on which four Habitat homes will eventually be built.  Our goal this season is to get at least two of those homes pretty much done on the outside so that when our crew leaves in the spring, local volunteers can take over the rest of the year and finish up the interior.  Kassie and her sons will be getting this first house while Chelsea and her daughter are in line for the second one.  We’ve had the pleasure of working with and getting to know both of these future homeowners.

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We enjoyed the Sunday breakfast buffet at the Jekyll Island Hotel.

Not to be missed while we are in the area is the Sunday morning breakfast buffet at the Jekyll Island Hotel – a wonderful way to start off the day.  Because we’ll be here through the end of the year and will be returning to Jekyll Island often, we bought an annual parking pass.  It will get well used during our stay here - attending services at the Methodist church there, future bike rides on the multiple bike paths throughout the island, and return visits to the historic village.

Ontario friends Harry and Marie stopped in for an overnight stay on their way to their winter home in Frostproof, Florida.  Marie brought us a few grocery items we requested that can’t be found in the US.  We enjoyed happy hour, introducing them to the gang here, and then the four of us had a great meal, as always, at Fox’s Pizza Den.  Lots of laughs as we caught up on our lives since we saw them last.

Lucille is also training to take over the registration desk for the Habitat RV Care-A-Vanners, currently being run by Mary Campbell, who with her husband Tony, managed to salvage this great program and figured out a way to run it remotely – the powers of the internet!  Mary thinks it’s time for her to retire – imagine that!  To give you an idea of how much work she was doing, it will take up to four people to run the desk that she was handling by herself, at the cost of not having much of a personal life.  Lucille will be responsible for registering the Care-A-Vanners (CAVers) when they sign up for builds, and maintaining the CAVer database.  The four of us trainees - Lucille, Joyce, Mary V and Brenda - will all be together here in Brunswick – a great time to learn personally from Mary C as she and Tony winter here also. 

Friend Ron is working for Poppell Farms this year, selling Christmas trees here in Brunswick – same folks we worked for last year.  We paid Ron a couple of visits, answered some of his questions as this is his first year doing this.  And of course, we got in our dog fix with Buddy, his four-legged traveling companion.

And November is most notable for Thanksgiving and what a memorable day we had!  We picked up Lucille’s mother in Richmond Hill on our way up to the Carr residence for their annual holiday gathering and feast.  It is always so much fun to visit with our families then, as we enjoy the scrumptious dishes everyone contributed. 

Another highlight to the month was re-connecting with Karen, one of Larry’s former co-workers from Texas who is now living on St. Simon’s Island with her husband Jeff.  We met for fun, fellowship and food at Crabdaddy’s on St. Simon’s.  We plan on seeing them again before we leave the area.  Jeff is in the beverage industry and between his business contacts and their frequenting Crabdaddy’s, the manager comped us on the appetizer and their signature dessert – bread pudding.  What a huge portion which the four of us shared.  Note to self:  order that first next time!

Lucille had a significant birthday towards the end of the month – she is now Social Security eligible – woo hoo!  Mary and Dave provided cupcakes and cookies that day during our morning break.  In the evening, the two of us went to dinner at B & J’s Steak and Seafood in nearby Darien, based on a local’s recommendation.  Good call – we enjoyed some of the best fried shrimp we’ve ever had – definitely have to return for more.

Coming up:  We continue to work in Brunswick through the end of the year.  January we move back up to Camp Carr while we take care of routine medical appointments.  February we’ll spend a week in the Mt. Dora, Florida area, attending a dulcimer workshop towards the end of that week, before we move on to Palmdale till the end of March.  Karen and Galen are heading east from Texas and will beat us to Palmdale by about a week – we can’t wait to get back together with them and hanging out at the one truly relaxing place we’ve found in our travels.

 

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