Thursday, July 26, 2012


26 July 12
Vonore, TN

Hopefully sooner rather than later!

Exumas - 2006

Earlier in the year, after talking with our friends Mike and Lynn on Wombat of Sydney, Greg and I got more serious about going sailing.   We talked about the timeframe, and how we could get there quicker than we were going to at the current pace.  

When we returned from our cruising of the Exumas back in 2006, we had originally set a goal to be back out on the water again sometime after he was 55 years old, but before age 60..........a 5-year timeframe. 

We had originally thought about buying the boat, making a large down payment, and then financing the rest.  We figured with our house paid off, and with the rental income we would generate from leasing it while we were gone, we could more than pay for the mortgage on the boat.  

After much discussion, we decided we didn’t want to cruise with any debt.  Too much pressure, too many things could go wrong.  We didn’t want to have to have the rental income….we wanted it to be ‘icing on the cake’, so to speak.  

In order to do this, we needed to make mo’ money!  Greg started looking and researching for job opportunities that would allow him to make more money, to retire earlier, and to buy the boat we wanted. 

If you have read our earlier blog entries, you know that Greg had an interview with a company called AAR.   The interview was via Skype, it went well, and he was told he was getting an offer letter.  He already knew what the pay was, what the schedule was, what the living conditions were like, etc.  So, he knew what the offer letter was going to be.  

Oh, I didn’t tell you the job was overseas……in Afghanistan.  Yeah, not a great place to be, but that’s the reason the pay is sooo much better.  Work 2 years there…..or 5 years here in the U.S. ?  That was/is the debate.

After a few weeks of not getting the offer letter from AAR, he began to investigate and found out that a lot of their upper and middle management were ‘let go’ and this included the chief pilot who had hired him.  A complete revamp was underway.  After hearing this, Greg decided they might not be a stable enough company for him, and focused his efforts elsewhere.  

He had applied with several companies with overseas opportunities at same time he applied with AAR.   Within a week of him finding out about the AAR managerial-overhaul-thing, another company, DynCorp contacted him.  It was only a couple of weeks later he had an offer letter from them to fly a Sikorsky 61 in Afghanistan.  

He has a report date for in-processing and training on 16 Sep at Melbourne, FL.   WOW.  It’s really happening.  Everything is moving fast.
So, it looks like Greg’s next trip to SC to work will be his farewell to Med-Trans tour.  He really has enjoyed the job…flying in Andersonville and Sevierville with the Lifestar folks, and getting to travel around in the motorhome doing the float pilot thing.  He just can’t turn down this opportunity to retire earlier.

Friday, July 20, 2012


20 July 12
Paris Mountain State Park
Greeneville,  SC

 Small lake near the campground headquarters.

Well, it has been a while since I had a blog rant so maybe this is overdue.  We headed back to Paris Mountain State Park in Greenville, SC again.  I was scheduled to work the night shift for the next week to 10 days, and I was looking forward to the peace and tranquility that we normally have when staying in state parks in the motorhome. 

That wasn’t going to be the case this time.  It wasn’t too long after we arrived that we noticed that every single camper coming into the park had multiple dogs.  Now, it is not unusual for some of our camping neighbors to have a dog, or even a couple of dogs.  And don’t get me wrong, I like dogs….I have had many dogs throughout my life and they all became a big part of the family.  But, when every single campsite has multiple dogs you begin to wonder what the heck is going on. 

As it turns out, there was a big “dog show” at the Convention Center in Greenville on the weekend, and folks had started arriving early to enjoy the area.  That’s cool.  At least it is cool until people in the campsite next to me pull up with 13 dogs.  Yes, 13 dogs !! …. all in dog travel cages (prisons)….all yelping…..all the time….all day long….while I try to sleep after flying night vision goggles all night long.  Dahleen did say that the dogs calmed down during night (big deal….I was working then).
Note: Dahleen could sleep through a 7.5 earthquake and I am a light sleeper who ALWAYS sleeps with ear plugs.  

I spoke with the owners and explained my situation….while they did listen to me and acted like they cared….nothing changed.  I went to the park office and asked if there was a limit on the number of dogs per campsite.  The lady said she wasn't sure, but she thought maybe two was the limit.  She then asked me if there was a problem, and I told her about the 13 dogs being kept in cages all day and night; and about them barking all day while I tried to sleep after working all night.  She acted truly shocked that anyone would bring 13 dogs into a campsite.  She assured me they would check into it.  

I left the office thinking the park rangers would handle it…..nope.  Nothing.... except continual barking from next door, 25 feet away.  All.   Day.   Long.  Wednesday.  Thursday.  Friday.  Saturday.  Sunday…..and yes, they stayed an extra day after the show was over.  Monday.

A most miserable, tiring, sleepless week.  Oh, and the funny thing (hahahahahaha) ……the park rules state there is a 6 person limit per campsite.  Guess you can have 50 dogs if you want, but you’d better not be a father and mother with 5 kids.  

Beautiful, wooded, winding roads throughout the park.  
Kinda challenging for a motorhome passing another motorhome.  :-)

 Home for a couple of weeks.

View from our outdoor dining room.  Motorcycles ready for the beach in the trailer.

 Our quiet neighbor.....unlike the loud, annoying ones directly next door.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012


12 July 12
Anderson, SC

Random Participant in the N. Georgia Mud Run

While working in Anderson, SC I had the opportunity to fly over into the mountains in NE Georgia to provide medical support for an annual ‘mud run’ event.  This was my first exposure to this type of event…….I had no idea that there WAS such a thing, much less the popularity.  The little local town was PACKED with people from all over the U.S.  There were thousands in attendance and 400-500 participants.  As I understand it, there is a circuit of these events throughout the States beginning in the Spring is the south and moving northward as the temperatures warm up. 

It is an endurance type race, 3-5 miles in length, with all sorts of obstacles involved.  As you can see….mud is one of those obstacles.  There is running, climbing, swimming, jumping, etc. involved and just to finish is a pretty good accomplishment.   There is a very festive atmosphere surrounding the event, with people dressing up and competing in various costumes…..the more ridiculous the better.