Saturday, May 26, 2018

May 26, 2018 - Scamp's Bathroom

I like to tell people that we have a shower stall with a sink and toilet in it. You are about to see that it is true.

It was a rainy, dreary day today.  When it wasn't raining, it was dripping from the trees.  Two or three times during the day, the sun peeped through the clouds for about thirty seconds before disappearing again. We spent most of the day outside in our screen room enjoying the rain and the sparkling leaves. I did not take any pictures.  Then I decided it was a good day to give you a tour of our bathroom.  It is the smallest I've ever seen.

Here is the door.  It is two bi-fold doors almost as wide as the bathroom itself. There is not enough space to get a good picture. When we use the bathroom, we open both doors straight out to expand the space a bit.  It's still small even then.

The sink and shower head are to the left.  We have been adding little bins to hold our toiletries over the past few weeks.  There are no drawers, cabinets, or linen closets in this bathroom.  There has to be someplace to put the essentials. The bins are divided into his and hers.

Here is another look that includes the floor.

The toilet paper has a cover over it to keep it dry during showers.

I have forgotten and left it open two or three times this past month and drowned the roll of toilet paper. The cover tilts back and into the wall to expose the paper.  When you close it, the roll winds the paper back in a bit so that none hangs out the bottom.  Clever.

There is no room for a trash can!  My solution was a stick-on hook near the floor just inside the door.  I hang a grocery bag on the hook.  The weight of it remains on the floor; the hooks are to hold the bag upright.

The hand towel moves around.  When using the sink, I slide the towel over the toilet.  When I use the toilet, I slide the towel over the sink (usually). Sometimes I just sit under the towel; it's short.

The shower is on the wall behind the sink.  The water pressure is very low to save water.  I have started using less shampoo so it will rinse out faster.

There is a mirror on the wall behind the toilet.  We got two new bins at Tennessee RV Supercenter yesterday. Mine holds shampoo, conditioner, and my cup. Andy's holds his shaving gear. I keep the shower curtain folded up in a knot to keep it out of the way.  After a shower, I hang it spread out across the closet rod to dry.

The toilet a fairly nice.  The bowl is porcelain but the seat is lightweight plastic.  

The exhaust fan is on the ceiling over the toilet.  You push up on the white handle to open it and then push the little red button to turn it on and off.  Then pull the handle down to close it.

There is also a sprayer to spray whatever needs to be sprayed when the job is done. This toilet does a good job of rinsing the bowl.  But, because it uses very little water, sometimes it needs extra.

Now to the crux of the shower taking.  The floor space between the sink and toilet is just big enough to stand in if your feet are not too big. I am wondering if I will have room to turn around to reach my shampoo behind the toilet tomorrow.

The sink is tiny.  I do like the faucet though.  My toothbrushing bins don't stick to the wall too well, so I set them down on the counter.  That leaves almost no room for anything else.

I bought two small, bathroom-sized cups for us.  We keep them in our bins when not in use so the other person can use that counter space too. I have been setting the body wash and hand soap in the sink when we travel.  Now I am thinking of rigging something to hold them in place, maybe a Velcro strap.

The RV stores are selling some nice hooks with suction cups these days.  They hold the promise of staying up better than older styles.  We'll see.

That bathroom is really not big enough to warrant so many pictures!

Friday, May 25, 2018

May 25, 2018 - RV Repairs

Leaves in Sun

Large Tent in Site 2

I was sad to find a very nice pair of hiking boots left next to a boulder in front of the picnic area toilet building. I brought them to the RV, wrapped them in a plastic grocery bag, and set them on the table outside.  No one has come to claim them yet.

Seems like everything is breaking on Scamp.  Andy took to calling it a Winnebreako.  We decided we had a lemon and were most unhappy with our purchase.  I had called several RV dealers in the region last week, but could only get an appointment at Tennessee RV Super Center.  They said they would look at it and order parts, but did not have time to actually work on it for weeks. Our appointment was at 11:30 this morning.  We had time to post registrations at the tent and horse campgrounds before we left. What with a fuel stop and traffic, it took us well over an hour to get there.  I told Andy that, next year, we should volunteer for something in Knoxville.  We seem to be driving there a lot lately.

The list of needed repairs had grown since I made the appointment.  I thought we had some electrical problems as I had smelled a funny smell a few nights.  Clyde suggested a mouse had chewed on some wiring.  We had enough of that here in the past with Sao. The woman at the service desk sighed when I added more work.  We walked over to the Waffle House and ate breakfast while they looked it over.

Happing Camper Getting Breakfast

Later, she came into the customer lounge to report and give us our bill.

They had replaced the motor in the bathroom exhaust fan. That must have been that smell.  The reason our awning would not extend was a bad fuse. Cheap and easy fix. The backup camera/radio/other-stuff monitor stopped working the last time we were out.  The monitor would not work for two reasons, combined.  1. It was set to operate on the house batteries.  2. One of us had apparently kicked the house battery switch to "off" while going in or out the door.  That is a dumb location for it.  It was similarly placed in Sao.  There must be a reason for that.  They also put screws in the shower head bracket that had fallen off the wall the other day. They were all quick and easy fixes so they did the work today.  Yay, we don't have to make two trips. One thing they did not fix is the sliding screen door.  They said it needs to be replaced.  I'll see if I can find a second opinion on that.

On the way home, we decided that maybe Scamp is not a lemon after all. We had seen a terrible tractor-trailer accident on I-40 on the way to Tennessee RV and decided to take a circuitous route through Sevierville and Newport to avoid what must have been a long and horrendous traffic backup with all the holiday traffic on the road. Andy decided we should stop at Doc's 321 Cafe in Cosby for a late lunch.  It is a cute place that Michele had recommended last week.  I liked my sandwich, but Andy was not thrilled with his.

Doc's 321 Diner

Inside the School Bus Diner
 There were bumper stickers all over the bus windows.  Here are a few I like.

My grandma had a washing machine very much like this one.  It was out on the back porch.

We ate outside.


I asked what kind of a doc he is.  Answer: Barbecue.

As we crossed the Pigeon River heading back to Big Creek, we saw a backpacker who had just come off the Appalachian Trail (in the woods).  He was still on the trail on the bridge but looked lost and confused.  Whenever we see hikers standing there, we stop to point the way.  The man was German and his English was not good enough to understand Andy's directions to Standing Bear Hiker's Hostel across the river and on the north side of the interstate.  We told him to get in the back and we would drive him there.  He was absolutely thrilled!

We were home early enough to help out a few campers.  The tent campground is full tonight and through the weekend.  We have three horse sites occupied and it looked as though there were plenty of horses camped just outside the park.

May 24, 2018 - PBS and America's 100 favorite books

Deann, at Our Place, posted this comment on Facebook:

So, of course, I had to go to PBS and find out what that was all about.

This list is interesting, with old classics and books with the same title as blockbuster movies (which I have not seen).  I copied the list to Word and highlighted the ones I have read.  Only about 30%!  I might not be illiterate, but I'm not as well read as I thought either, if I've missed all these favorites. In my defense, I do read a lot of nonfiction, maybe 50%.

Therefore; I scanned the list and downloaded one I have never read or even heard of. (See?  You can end a sentence with a preposition.  I just did it.)  The book was The Notebook. I started reading a few pages and did not stop until I finished the book.

And, that is why I didn't post a blog last night.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

May 23, 2018 - The Holiday Weekend Has Begun

Big Creek Campground is going to be full through the holiday weekend.  They started arriving yesterday.  We were super busy helping campers today.

Backpackers In From Hike

Two women arrived in a panic when they discovered that the campground is by reservation only now.  I brought them back to the RV and let them use the computer to reserve the last available spot for two nights and then move to Cosby for the next two nights.  When they got on the reservation site, though, someone had canceled their reservation for Site 2.  The women were thrilled to get a site and not have to move their camp.

Banana Peel on Rock

There was a tent on Site 7, but no reservation on the website.  I left them a courtesy notice to come to the host site to register.  Later in the day, they came and showed me their reservation confirmation. They had registered on Monday.  I can't believe I missed that reservation for two days.  I double-checked it when we got back to the RV after our morning walk.  It's another digital mystery.

Crooked Tree on Campground Road

A man came to the host site to say he had reserved Site 8, but there was already a tent on it. The other camper was not there. I was pretty sure that we should not move the other tent (based on previous experience here).  It was Boss Larry's day off.  I called the Elkmont campground and got the Visitor Use Assistant there (Larry's title).  She said we would have to get a Law Enforcement Ranger to move the tent.  The registered camper decided he would just wait a while for the tent's owner to return.  When we walked up to the campground later. The registered camper said the tent's owner returned, took his tent down, and left. He was probably surprised by the change in our system.

Two of the men camped in Site 12 stopped in to visit us on their way back from buying ice.  They took the grand tour of Scamp.

Mossy Rocks and Ferns in Campground

Spence had told us in the morning that the men's room door had come off the hinges. We heard on the radio that two repairment were on their way back from a Cataloochee repair and they would stop in Big Creek in a few minutes.  What service! After they fixed the door, they stopped by to let us know the job was done.  Then they took a quick tour of Scamp too.  Everyone is curious about how they crammed everything into a van this size.

Another couple came to us to make a back-country campsite reservation.  I let them use my computer to complete that transaction and they were on their way.

Yesterday was Andy's monthly birthday but he didn't get a cake.  I baked it today.  This time it was a box cake mix and a can of frosting.  This RV is too little to bake from scratch. Andy was happy that it was chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

There was some rescue operation going on from the Cosby campground. We missed the beginning, but we figured it was a lost woman on a Mt. Cammerer trail.  Her husband was the reporting party.  We didn't hear if she was hurt or not.  Rangers formed a rescue team and brought Rescue One to the trailhead. They spent a good bit of time looking for her and finally found her an hour or so later.

 I always look forward to the group in Site 12.  They come the week before Memorial Day every year. The tradition began as buddies and friends of buddies years ago and now includes three generations of "guys" camping.  Four of them were having a rousing game of Corn Hole when we walked around this afternoon.  We had to stop and kibitz with them for a while.

I don't know which team was winning.

May 22, 2018 - Our Fabulous Weekend Away (Not)


  • We took our weekly trip to Walmart for odds and ends. I think we forgot more things than we packed in this little RV.  I was thrilled that we finally got cups for the bathroom and can stop using those plastic hotel room cups.
  • Our Place to deliver some more copies of Big Creek - This was really a good time.  They took five more copies.  While we were talking with Deana, a customer asked a question about the book and then she bought one.  Andy got himself a cup of decaf espresso. I love this bookstore and really had to put on imaginary blinders to keep from buying an armload.  I have too many books on my "to read" pile right now.
  • We were heading into Gatlinburg when we decided to stop for lunch at the Alamo. We ate there the first year we volunteered in Big Creek on a deluge-rain day.  We got soaked in the rain and the river of water running down the parking lot.  It started raining as we headed to Gatlinburg and that reminded me of that time.  "Since it is raining, we should eat at the Alamo".  Dinata logic.  The Alamo burned to the ground in the big fire the year before last.  We saw it being rebuilt when we were here last year.  We were told that it had been reopened for about eight months.  Lunch was reasonably priced and delicious.
  • Grocery shopping at Food City was our next adventure.  Unfortunately, we bought more food than we had room for in the refrigerator.
  • I really miss my washer/dryer in Sao.  But doing laundry at the Cosby campground gives us a good visit with Clyde and Debbie, and their dogs. It was late in the day so I only did one load to get us home before dark.


  • Andy wanted to leave at eight o'clock in the morning to get to the car dealer in Knoxville for our oil change.  He wanted to have time to stop for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel.
  • The oil change for Scamp went well but was shockingly expensive.  They said they could not work on our rear-view camera monitor because it was bought and installed by Winnebago.  They also could not fix the sliding door because the kitchen counter is blocking access to the inside of the door.  An RV dealer needs to do that job.
  • The next stop was back to Costco to pick up new glasses. Then we each ate a slice of pizza for lunch. I haven' broken the news to Andy yet but, the last three times I have had pizza, I've gotten terrible heartburn.  My pizza days may be over.  He'll cry when he gets that news.
  • Then we went back to the Cosby campground to do the rest of the laundry. And, we got in another great visit with Clyde and Debbie.
  • Again, we got home just before dark.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

May 20, 2018 - Memorial Day Men Arrive

We had heard Spence using a blower or string trimmer earlier.  Then he showed up for a cup of coffee while we were eating breakfast. Then he headed up to the tent campground to clean the restrooms. We were heading to the campground when Andy decided to stay in the picnic area parking lot so he could direct traffic to the horse camp day-use lot.  I walked around the tent campground myself.

Does this car have enough stickers?

I had taken a resupply of brochures and newspapers for the registration kiosk.  Someone had taken the rock paperweight away!  It is necessary to keep the newspapers from blowing around.  I rummaged around the campground until I found another suitable rock. There were only two sites with tents on them and only a couple there that was just leaving.  A man and woman with two small children drove in to look at the campground.  I described my favorite spots and told them to take a look around.

When Bill and Mary were here yesterday, I kept aking them to taste the Licorice of the Woods.  Most of them tasted more like turpentine than licorice.  This morning, I tried one and it was delicious.  Then, a few yards farther down the campground road, this one tasted terrible.

Licorice of the Woods

The parts I've been tasting are those flower-bud-looking things. I can't figure out why some are so good and others awful.

Two young men (early teens) had walked up the horse trail while we were eating lunch.  Before we were done, they came back by.  One of them excitedly told us they had seen a large bear on the far side of the creek.  He said the bear had moved off when he saw the boys.  We said we would warn the campers not to leave any food out to attract the bear into their campsites.

Also, during lunch, Andy said he thought he had seen a golf cart go by the parking lot.

As we walked up to the campground in the evening, we saw a car parked in the handicap parking space.  I have called Dispatch to report such a number of times in the past, but no rangers ever came to give them a ticket.  So, I did not call it in this time. I'll ask Boss Larry for advice.

We were delighted to see the Memorial Day men in Site 12.  This is the group that comes every year the week before Memorial Day.  We stopped and chatted with them.  They said they had bought a copy of  Big Creek at the Big Creek Country Store.

They had two large tents on Site 12.  I reminded them that tents are supposed to be on the ten pad.  Then I added that I was not going to give them a hard time since they had three huge racks of ribs over their fire. Then they told me that when they called for a reservation today, they were told that only Site 12 was available.  When I look it up in the reservation system, there are seven sites available.

As we were walking back to our host site, a four-wheel vehicle came cruising through the parking lot.  Andy said that was the one he had seen from our picnic table while we were eating our lunch. They were two men and two women with a big cooler on the back.  The vehicle did not have a license plate.  I could not help but wonder if they had driven it up the Big Creek Trail.  It had been several hours since Andy saw them drive in.

Mushrooms have sprouted up by the tree next to the toilet building.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

May 19, 2018 - Fancy Camping and Bill and Mary

Friends Bill and Mary are traveling through the area with their fifth wheel RV (the kind that attaches on the bed of a pickup truck).  They are heading home to Maine and spent the night in the Cosby Campground last night. They arrived here in Big Creek this morning, just as Spence was leaving.  Bill was happy to see Spence since he is currently reading Big Creek and Spence is the main character.

Bill and Mary walked around the campground with us for our morning rounds. Mary pointed out that Site 1 is the kitchen for the fancy, luxury camping group with the A Walk in the Woods company. It looked rather fancy from a distance.

Apparently, they had a lecture before leaving for a hike to Ramsey Cascades this morning.  The camp chairs were set up for an audience.

The picnic table had become the dining table under the blue canopy.  There is a table cloth with placemats.    A small folding table was set at one end of the picnic table. It held a pot of flowers and two candles.

The brown tarp covered the whole tent pad and the galley.  I took advantage of my job of checking for food left out to get a picture of the complete kitchen. There was no food left out.

The man in Site 4 had a very small pup tent.  He was sitting at his picnic table under an umbrella clipped to the edge.  I noticed that he was opening a can of beans. I chatted with him a bit and we laughed at the contrast between his camp and the luxury one.

These three women had just shed their backpacks on the creek path and scrambled over some boulders to get to this fine perch in Big Creek.

Andy said it would be too much work for me to fix Bill and Mary a dinner and we should take them to The Beantrees in Hartford.  This is just the next exit on the interstate.  That was easier than cooking in the RV, but I had planned a campfire dinner.  Turns out, Bill and Mary were anxious to continue on to Maine so eating out was the fastest way to feed them lunch.

Here is a better look at Yuki, one of the best little dogs in the whole world.

I had expected Bill and Mary to stay all day and spend another night in Cosby so I was disappointed that they left right after lunch.  Maybe we'll have S'mores by the campfire another time.

Friday, May 18, 2018

May 17 - 18, 2018 High Maintenance Woman

Yesterday was another foray out to civilization - and a long drive to the west of Knoxville, Tennessee to the endodontist. No one looks forward to a root canal, but I was anxious to get the tooth fixed.  It has been bothering me for a long, long time and been worked on several times.

I really liked Dr. Case. Never felt any pain.  Not even the shots to numb my mouth. In the end, though, he did not finish the job. He said he wanted to give me another week or so of antibiotics to clear up the infection.  He also thought he saw a crack in the tooth.  He will look at the CT scan and decide how to proceed by the next appointment.

My face was swollen when we went to Costco to order a new pair of glasses for me.  Andy is absolutely no help in choosing frames.  With every pair I tried on, he said, "Looks good".  The anesthetic seemed to be wearing off so I ate a Costco hot dog and part of my right cheek for lunch.

It had been raining heavily at Big Creek when we returned and the rain continued through the night.  It was clammy humid when we walked up to the campground this morning.  Eleven of the twelve campsites turned over today.  I placed the registration cards on the board and we walked around the nearly-empty campground before heading back to our site.

This couple could not reserve the same site for their stay so they moved this morning.  They said they will move back to their first site when it is vacated.

I had noticed that four sites were reserved by the same person. It turned out to be "A Walk in the Woods", a company that runs guided hikes in the Smokies.  We have seen them here in the day-use parking lot, preparing lunch out of the back of a van for their hiking customers.  Today, the hikers must have gone up the Big Creek Trail.  There were three or four people setting up their large tents.  It looked like a deluxe affair with cots, mattresses, and a rug inside the tents. Here they are in Sites 5, 7, 8, and 6, left to right.  That is empty Site 4 in the foreground.

I have seen and photographed these plants since the first year we volunteered here in Big Creek.  Most of my pictures are of the clusters of tiny white flowers.  A few years ago, unthinking, I pinched off what looked like a flower bud and put it in my mouth.  Yummy delicious licorice flavor!  I had to look it up again.  It is Sweetroot, a member of the carrot family. It is also called Licorice of the Woods.  According to what I've read about it tonight, I'll be safe sampling the leaves tomorrow and maybe even add them to our salad.

Here is another plant I have not identified yet.  I know I have seen it since childhood.

Boss Larry stopped by in the early afternoon.  We have hardly seen him since we arrived.  We had a nice visit with plenty of laughs.  I forgot to take a picture of him again.  I did remember to ask for more park brochures though.  They disappear at a great rate at the tent campground.

The sun came out for a while in the later afternoon.  This is a walkway past the group picnic table to the bridge

Today was the first time a got a decent picture of the rock wall across the bridge.  I finally figured out to take a picture other than straight on.

Andy waited on the bridge, apparently looking for fish.

These leaves are hanging above the bridge.

Today there was a cute little standing wave at the top of the drop, just downstream of the bridge.

This rock in the creek upstream of the bridge caught my attention today.  I guess it was the way the light was shining on it.

When I zoomed in with my camera, I noticed that a little tree is growing on it.