1- 23 Jan 2016; More Time with Family, Birthday, and a Blizzard

Hey folks!  It’s been a while, and welcome to the first post of 2016!  And a winter wonderland post it is.  As I type this at 0430 this morning, I’m looking out the window at a couple of feet of snow.  I will get to that later.  First, let’s cover the past few weeks.

I guess New Years Eve was typical for us…early to bed and missed the ball drop.  Oops again!  The good thing about this New Year is that we are still in MD with Meghan, Jason, Peyton and Logan.  Here’s a photo recap of the past few weeks:

We had Peyton overnight, and I had the privilege of designing a new Space Station with her in the recreation area here at the Fam Camp.

The recreation area here is quite nice.  It consists of a laundry area with fairly new machines, an exercise area, a lounge with play room and dish TV and shower areas.  Quite new and quite really nice.

We got a little creative and tried to expand our low earth orbit outpost! Tinker Toys rock!!

 

Meghan and Jason have found a new way to utilize corn cob holders. Peyton loves her apples!

The weather was really pretty nice early in the month, and we got to spend some great time outside.

The Princess and her yard boy…LOL!

Was a beautiful day in the Fam Camp as well.

It turned cold later in the week, but that did not stop us from exploring.  With temps in the 30’s we decided to take Peyton and Logan back to Annapolis and explore a bit.

In front of the Capitol. Peyton was all about it, but Logan was crashed!

It was cold and windy, but the sun was out and we enjoyed strolling the streets. Logan was still enjoying a nap. Maybe when I get older he can push me while I nap??

We spent the better part of the next couple of weeks just enjoying being with family and getting ready to roll out of here on the 21st (which did not happen by the way…more on that later.)

Not only were we here to experience Logan’s first steps, but his first hair cut as well. Not a happy camper!

Now he’s happy! Got those dang socks off…just like his Grandma!!

It was nice to be here during the playoffs as well, especially for the Green Bay versus Redskin game.  I have a Packer Plate on the front of the truck, so the DOD Guards at the entry gate to Fort Meade enjoyed giving me a hard time every time we came through, telling me how bad we were going to get beat!

The game started out quite bad for the Pack, but after Logan stole my hat, things turned around and we won the game. Too bad the luck did not hold out the next week against the Cards. It was a better season than I expected all considered, and the Gate Guards were awesome, and still are with the banter back and forth when we go through the gates.

Last week we decided to take a road trip and follow some of the trails of the civil war in MD.  It was not a real nice day out, and although our destination was originally Gettysburg, we ended up in Frederick MD at the Civil War Medical Museum.  If you are ever in the area, this is a great place to check out, and is located in the historic part of the city.  The only down side of the visit is that Logan put a nice egg on his head while running up and down one of the hallways…he used his head to make sure the base board was attached to the wall.  Other than that, it was a great day once again.

The museum is fantastic. It covers two floors and the volunteers are very informed. Our entire current hospital and ambulance system was actually started based on the great folks that had to endure the rigor of the Civil War. Many historical documents, stories and depictions of what these great folks went through during the war. Union or Confederate…all were treated by each side.

Early anesthesia. They used either chloroform or ether. They preferred to carry chloroform in the field due to the explosive nature of the ether.

We also learned that most of the soldiers hated the docs because of the high number of amputations that took place during the war; however, most of the amputation prevented death. They have a great detailed section on the advances made based on the acumen of several MDs during the war. They have actual bones from the war with mini balls still in them to demonstrate the difficulty the surgeons in the field had to deal with.

Enough war stories.  The 15th was upon us quickly, and that meant it was Peyton’s 3rd birthday!

What an honor to be here and involved in their lives over the past couple of months! This was birthday night. The party was to follow on the weekend with her friends.

A Princess party for a little Princess. Tons of kids, food, prizes, etc. Meghan put together one heck of a day that I hope Peyton remembers for a long time. When she walked into the room she said to her mom, “did you do this for me?”

Pinate aftermath!

 

Laughed so hard! With all of the kids and stuff going on, Peyton and Logan found their way into the kitchen at the community center and spent a large amount of time playing together in the cupboards!!

She also excused herself from her guests to spend some time with her Dad, showing him her skills on the foosball table.

Sporting the outfit that Grams got her, and using her new Princess watch lip balm to make sure Gramps don’t get chapped lips.

Cody came to visit for a bit, and kept watch over the camp ground while I was working on the computer.

Another birthday present arrival from her Aunt Mandi and Uncle Justin.

Whew…fun stuff and busy.  Would not have wanted to miss these past couple of months for the world, but it was time to move south for some other obligations we have.  But as most things in life go…nothing always goes according to plan.  We planned to leave here yesterday and take a leisurely two day trip to Charleston and planned to stay at the Joint Base Charleston FamCamp.  Didn’t happen!  If we had left on Wed, we would have been good, but I had some welcomed work to do on Wed, so that was not an option.  Everything weather forecast wise was good…until early afternoon on Wed when they suddenly said that they were going to get a freak “clipper” snow storm, which happened.  About 3-5 inches on Wed night, but enough to paralyze the area because they were focused on the weekend blizzard and not ready.  We had the Coach ready to roll, and had said our good byes, but it was not meant to be.  Terri and I made a few trips around the Post and on our initial route early into the morning on Thurs, and determined that there was no way we were going to be able to leave until late in the day on Thurs.  Decision time!  The big blizzard was bearing down, and we would have to make it to the southern part of SC at least to avoid ice storms by Thurs night.  Not gonna happen!  So…we decided to hunker down and wait out the storm.

Thursday was sunny and a great day…time to prep for the blizzard. Terri laid in tons of groceries, and I dumped the grey and black tank and filled the fresh water. We stowed all the hoses, and as you can tell, the slides are in…we are Turtled Up so to speak. This is a great thing to do as it makes it much warmer inside, and prevents issues with snow and ice forming on the top of the slides.  Another reason we love this Coach…with the slides in, everything is useable and accessible.

As the blizzard was preparing to blow in, Terri was in full swing cooking in case we lose power. This is a chicken, bacon, cheese, tater tot casserole ready to be “crocked.”. And it was awesome!

Earlier in the day, I headed out to find a couple of 5 gallon fuel cans so I can add some fuel to the rig without having to move the rig itself.  What a mistake! I finally found some, but the people around here were in full-scale “nuts” mode.  An ACE that I went to was packed and I had to wait in line just to get into the parking lot.  Folks were there to get shovels and salt for the ice…hmmm.  I did finally find some fuel cans, and topped off the tanks.

Tech Talk/Tip:  I’ve talked a lot in the past about the hydronic heat we have.  I’ve had some questions in the past about how efficient that type of heater is, so with the help of my math loving wife, we put some numbers together.  I’ll state up front that propane is near $4 per gallon, and diesel is less than $2 per gallon right now, so that alone is an advertisement for diesel fired hydronic heat.  In any case, here are some numbers:

I have 110 gallons of diesel on board.  The Hurricane Hydronic heater burns 1/3 gallon per hour if it is operating constantly (which it does not) but if it did, I could run for 333 hours or 13 days.  Now, the safety precautions built into this Coach will shut the diesel fired heater and the generator (if I’m using it) off at 1/4 tank so you have fuel to drive, so I really only have 82.5 gallons to use, which equates to 250 hours or 10.4 days…again, only if the heater is running constantly.  Now…the Hurricane only runs when needed, and on the coldest of days runs a MAX of 7 hours per day which equates to 35.7 days being able to run the heater and keep us toasty before we have to find fuel!

A good story me thinks…that’s why I wanted the extra cans.  The roads will not be good here for a few days, and if we have to run the heater more than normal, or if the power goes out and we have to run the generator, I want to be able to go get fuel.

Enough of that…what is happening with the storm?  Well, it is 0600 right now, and the wind is kickin, and unfortunately we are getting sleet on top of about two foot or more of snow so far.  I would rather have just plain old snow.  As soon as it gets light, we will clear the roof off and see what else we can see.  Here are some photos of the day:

Start of the storm.

May look lonely, but there are about 20 or so of us in the park.

This tent has been set up since we got here in early Dec…glad I’m not staying in it!!

Some time lapse for you. This was about 8 last night.

About 0100 today.

0400 this morning.

Well…that is about it for now.  So blessed that our Coach has done her job keeping us warm and safe so far.  We have about another 12 hours of this storm (0600 right now) and most RVs are not made to live in this environment.  We are quite happy so far.  That being said, we hope to be gone early next week depending on when the roads clear.  We need to get back to FL to take care of some personal stuff.  We will try to update the blog over the next day or two to keep you updated on the storm!  We are now getting Thundersnow!  Kewl!!

As always, we hope this finds you Happy, Healthy and Living Your Dreams!!!

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