Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Dahleen/East TN and Eastern KY
March 2012

This Little Fellow was Doing a Little Dumpster Diving 
Behind the Hanger at the Base in Jenkins, KY

1 Mar 2012...After a week off, it was time to hit the road again.  As much as we like to travel, it was good to spend some time at home catching up on things and sleeping in our big bed.  Greg says he likes the mattress in the motor home better, but to me it is too hard.  Neither of us had a hard time getting some much needed rest.
27 Mar 2012.. Gregs next assignment was at Jenkins, KY (located one hour and half from anywhere.  LOL.  After making a list of what to do with our stuff off we left to Jenkins Ky.  The travel was relatively short, compared to the long 2.5 day treks to TX, at approximately 5 hours.  As we drove through I-40, then Hwy 81 to Tri Cities International Airport in Kingsport, TN, I picked up the rental car and followed Greg the remaining way to Jenkins. The scenery was beautiful. the red bud trees where blooming all along the highway and you can see that spring is near.
We drove through Wise Va. along Hwy 23 to Jenkins KY  reaching our destination for the next week.  After we got the motor home settled in, Greg and I decided to explore the town in the rental to familiarize ourselves with the surrounding area (especially me so I would not get lost when I needed to get out).

A couple of days later, Greg had started his usual work schedule (nights), so, while he slept during the day I explored the area and took pictures.  Then, I remembered I needed to look for upholstery material to finish up the couch cushions in the motor home.  I had looked for material in Texas, with little success, so I figured, why not?  I searched on my smartphone for an upholstery shop and came across one not too far away in Wise, VA.  I used the navigate feature on my phone to wind my way off the main drag to a driveway between two houses.  The shop was located in the back of one of those houses.

It was in a mobile home that was converted into an upholstery shop.   I walked into the shop and met the owner Mag Mullins.  She was in her late 60s, spoke with a real country accent, and constantly had a cigarette in her mouth.   We talked for a little while, then I her asked to show me her fabric books.  After quickly looking through a couple of the books, I asked her if I could take them with me to see if Greg had a strong opinion on any of the choices.

I returned the next day back to Mullins Upholstery Shop to return the books while Greg slept during the day.  I had found some regular material at a local store that I could use with our existing (ugly) bedspread to make a new bedspread.  I asked Mag if she would allow me to use her machines to sew it and she was very kind to allow me to do so.  I was so excited to do something constructive, and have somewhere to go during the mornings while Greg slept.

So for a whole week I woke up early, got dressed, and went to Mags for 4-5 hours a day working on my project.  I had a blast visiting and being taught different sewing techniques needed to work on upholstery.  Mag enjoyed my company and we became very good friends after having known each other for such a short period of time.  My project (the bedspread) turned out great… ....Greg thought it was cool the way I had integrated the new material into the old spread. The time had come for me to return to Tennessee and Mag was very sad to see me go.  I enjoyed my time at Jenkins with Mag.  She will be a good friend and I will make sure to keep in touch with her.

Thursday, March 15, 2012



Jenkins, KY

Another Beautiful Bahama Sunset at Big Majors Anchorage - 2006

For those who are familiar with cruising in a sailboat, you have all heard the definition of cruising as "boat maintenance in exotic locations".....well, there is a lot of truth in that rather 'tongue-in-cheek' definition. There is a lot of maintenance to be done on a sailboat; both preventive, or scheduled, maintenance and  unscheduled (i.e., fixing things that break) maintenance.  The further south you get the more direct the sun becomes and it can be pretty harsh on all things marine that are exposed to it......canvas, sails, fiberglass on decks, teak, etc.  When you combine that with the salfwater and the rust it can cause on all things metal, you have your hands full with maintenance.  Cruising is still a wonderful, full, rewarding, and peaceful's just not all-the-time-umbrella-drinks-in-paradise easy.  

To take that a step further and apply it to RV is "motor home maintenance in non-exotice places", like Ft Stockton, TX for example.   Because the distances that we travel (from TN to W. TX) on a regular basis is so great, we have a lot of preventive maintenance that we have to do.....mostly in the form of oil and filter changes, air cleaner changes, brake pad replacement, etc.  Add to that, to a lesser degree, the maintenance on the other systems (fresh water, generator, propane, etc.), and you have a lot of things that you have to do, or you have to pay for someone else to do them.  Having limited resources (i.e., still working for a living) I choose to do most of these things myself when possible. 

One reason for doing it myself is the obvious........savings; the other reason is if I do it myself I know it is done correctly.  I recently paid a local Knoxville Ford dealership (I can't even remember the darn name of the dealership right now....repression is the phenomenon, I think.  Your mind tends to repress those experiences that are irritating or 'unpleasant'.  It's probably a good thing for my blood pressure) to rotate and balance my tires.  Not only did they incorrectly rotate them, but during the process one of my tires just "decided" to explode while the vehicle sat on their lot after the road test.  Yeah, right.  My dog ate my homework quite frequently when I was 8 years old too.  According to them, they were totally not at was just bad luck.  I told them it was their bad luck since they had possession of the vehicle and it was in their care.  The tires had 18k miles on them....75% of the tread was still  remaining.  They had all kinds of BS excuses and rational that they threw out there as the reason it happened.  (You ever heard of throwing stuff on a wall and seeing what will stick?)  I doubt that I will ever get any monetary reimbursement, but they will never see my face in their place of business again, and if you value your hard earned money, they won't see yours either. There is a lot more to this story and it all paints them in a very bad light, but my blood is beginning to boil just recalling the experience, so I will stop.    

Oh, and I just remembered the dealership.....Ted Russell Ford, Parkside Drive, in Knoxville.  If you ever think about taking a vehicle there for service, take a deep breath and RUN..... RUN as far away as possible.

Be careful, there is a lot of STUPID out there....and you know you can't fix STUPID.