Monday, June 18, 2018

I'm Still Here!

Hello to my family, friends, and fans all over the world. I am sorry that I haven't posted on my blog for nearly two months. This is the longest amount of time in the history of my blog that I haven't talked with all of you. I have no excuse other than being lazy, and that's not a good excuse at all. I'll try not to let it happen again. Needless to say, I've got a LOT to tell you about. In my previous post, I mentioned that Gary and Casper (the white cargo van), were going to Georgia to possibly find a new place for us to live. They made two trips, and looked at five big industrial buildings in four different towns. During the first trip, they camped at Little Ocmulgee State Park for one night. The park is relatively close to three of the towns where the buildings are located. A couple of the buildings were totally out of the question. The three buildings of interest are all pictured above. The red brick building (13,804 square feet) on 1.06 acres of land was the one that Gary instantly fell in love with. It's located in Thomaston, GA. It was once part of the RC Cola Bottling Company, and has also been a car dealership and several other things since it was built in 1950. It is packed full of the owner's personal belongings, actually to the extent that it was hard to see some parts of it. What was obvious is that it needs a substantial amount of work, including a full upgrade of the electrical system, plumbing work, door and window work, and possibly some roof work. Gary still loved it enough to make an offer on it, and the realtor wrote up a contract. However, the owner counter offered with a price that was MUCH higher than what Gary felt the building was worth with all the issues it has. Disappointing for sure, but it's not the only big building available for sale, so on to the next one. In Vidalia, GA., Gary looked at the old Southern States fertilizer complex. The main building is 8716 square feet, and the warehouse has that beautiful red brick that Gary and I love so much. This is a 3-1/2 acre property, that also includes a 3280 square foot metal shop building, a 1950 square foot pole barn, and a 3600 square foot open front carport with divided partitions that was originally used for bulk fertilizer storage. This property had a cheaper asking price than the building in Thomaston, but it had worse issues. The roof on the main building needed TOTAL replacement, and there was a structural issue in the back corner of the warehouse that was downright scary. On the second trip, Gary and Casper spent a couple of nights at FD Roosevelt State Park, and went to see two buildings in the nearby town of Manchester. One building was very nice, but totally not right for our purposes. The other building (pictured) was VERY interesting. Most recently, it was a small town hardware store and lumber yard, but had also been a grocery store and a roller rink during it's existence. The main building has a nice showroom in the front, and a warehouse in the back. It's a little over 7000 square feet. The property sits on a combination of 19 lots, and all totaled is a little over an acre. There's a covered lean-to against the main building, and 4 very large open and covered carports outside. Like the property in Vidalia, this place is completely fenced. The electrical had been upgraded, and the roof is older but not leaking. This place was WAY cheaper than either of the other two, but overall not as pretty. The deal killer on this one was the ridiculously high property taxes in Manchester. The taxes on this building would be more than 3-1/2 times what we pay here in St. Augustine. So, I'm pretty sure at this point that we are going to be staying here at the Green Acres Garage, and that's not a bad thing at all. We love everything about St. Augustine except our neighbors . Gary occasionally checks online at the Georgia real estate listings, but nothing exciting has come up. All of the buildings he looked at are still for sale. As far as happenings go here at home, the A-100 van has gone to it's new home over in St. Cloud (near Orlando). It now belongs to the guy that Gary originally bought it from back in 2002. He has big plans for it, and I'm sure he will have it fixed up and on the road in no time. During the weekend that the A-100 was leaving the Green Acres Garage, Dodge and I camped out in the yard for three nights. It would have been nice except for the rain. It has rained here almost every day or night (or both) for weeks, and it is REALLY getting old. Dodge and I are happy to be back inside again, although it seems kind of odd not having the A-100 van sharing space with us. I am sitting closer to the big garage door than I have ever been before, and that's kind of nice. When the door is up, I get to see outside. Well, it's going to be a long and very hot summer, just like it is every year. My air conditioner runs 24/7, and I provide a nice cool hangout for Gary. That's my job this time of year, while I eagerly await the start of our camping season this fall. Gary is busy working on the house, working in the garage, working in the yard, and working on Dodge and all of the other vehicles here. Oh, and speaking of Dodge, Gary dropped the claim he had with the insurance company of the guy that most recently crashed into our old buddy. In order for them to pay the claim, they insisted on totaling Dodge and either taking him from us, or to take his title and have it changed to "salvage" status. If the title got changed, then it's a long process to go through in order for Dodge to be cleared to legally be on the road again. For the small amount of money that they wanted to pay for the claim, Gary figured it wasn't worth his time or the hassle. So, Dodge will be repaired and paid for out of Gary's pocket. It shouldn't have to be that way, but Dodge is 26 years old and has high mileage. According to the insurance company, he is worth virtually nothing, but he's priceless to us. We already have most of the parts here to fix him with.  It's just a matter of time before he's worked on, and whatever Gary can't fix himself, our buddy Chris at the local body shop can do for us. Hopefully, Dodge will look a lot less "wounded" by the time we hit the road in the fall. That's all I can think of to tell you about. That should pretty much bring us up to date.  Stay cool and hydrated, my friends, and I'll try to keep in touch more as the summer continues.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Many Happenings

There's been a LOT of things happening around here and beyond since my last post back in March, so it's high time I get you caught up. First, there's been very little correspondence from the insurance company concerning Dodge's accident damage. Since Gary wasn't at fault, the other guy's insurance company is responsible to pay for the damages, and they are some little "fly by night" company that we have never heard of before. So, we're still waiting for payment or answers. Next, Casper (Gary's white cargo van) was in DESPERATE need of front suspension work, so Gary spent several days replacing just about everything. At the same time, he built a bed inside Casper. I suspected then that there may be some camping trips coming up that wouldn't include little old me, and I was right. Honestly, since Gary and Dodge seem to be accident magnets lately, I'm okay with being left behind from time to time, just as long as I'm not getting permanently replaced. Dodge doesn't mind being left behind either. After all he's been through, he deserves a break. Once Casper's repairs were done, his first round of camping was soon under way. There were stops at Elijah Clark State Park and Hamburg State Park, two places that Dodge and I have never been to. Gary and Casper had lakefront campsites at both parks. Then they went to Reed Bingham State Park, a place we've all been to many times before. There was LOTS of antique shopping along the way, and Gary got to hang out with our buddies Lou Ann and Dan while camping at Elijah Clark. Apparently, both parks were good, so Dodge and I will likely get to see them in the future. The boys came home for about a week, then headed out for a weekend trip to Little Ocmulgee State Park. We were there several years ago for a few days. Nice park from what I can remember. I didn't know that Little Ocmulgee is located in Dodge County. That's COOL!!! I wonder if there's a Toaster County somewhere. If so, I want to go see it. That brings us up to last week, and Gary got right to work after the Little Ocmulgee trip. The blue and white A-100 van is being sold next month, and the van along with Gary's old Dodge Dart were buried in the back of the garage. After moving a LOT of stuff that was in the way, the A-100 was relocated closer to the garage door, and the Dart was moved outside to the carport. Eventually, there will be tall shelves built where the van and Dart used to be, but for now, all the clutter that was moved around in the garage ended up back there on temporary plastic shelving. While all of this moving was going on, Dodge and I got to spend a few days outside. That's the first time I've been outside since our last camping trip, and it was a really nice change. I had a good time soaking up rays,  seeing sunshine, and watching squirrels. The only thing that scared me was a LONG snake that was lurking around the garage. It was a "friendly" snake, if there is such a thing, but any snake gives me the creeps. Thankfully, I never saw the snake in person, only in the photos that Gary took of him. Now here's the REALLY big news. We LOVE it here in St. Augustine, but we've also grown extremely fond of Georgia during our many camping trips throughout the state. And although we have a good sized garage here, and a shed, and a storage container, we have outgrown the total amount of square footage we have here. So, Gary got the idea in his head of looking for a BIG industrial sized building somewhere in Georgia for us to possibly move to at some point. He is making a trip to four different Georgia cities early this next week to look at buildings ranging in size from 11,900 square feet to 13,800 square feet. Any of those is about four times the total square feet that we have here. I'll let you know what he finds, and if it looks like it will become reality or not in a future post. This is SO exciting, and SO scary at the same time. Like I said earlier, there's been a lot of activity here lately, and it doesn't look like it's going to slow down anytime soon. But such is life here at Green Acres.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Oh NO, Not Again!!!

Poor old Dodge. Just when he was getting over the brutal hit he took on Thanksgiving weekend last year, and the hours of "surgery" he had to repair the extensive damage, he was involved yet again in another accident this past Saturday. This time, a black Chevy Trail Blazer suddenly switched lanes as Dodge was approaching, and the two of them collided. Dodge jumped the curb and ended up on the adjoining sidewalk. His left front fender and the driver's door, along with the parking light and headlight bezel were damaged. This was more of a glancing hit instead of the 50mph impact from the previous accident, but it still did considerable damage. The driver of the Trail Blazer was cited with careless driving. Nobody was hurt, except for the vehicles involved. Both were able to be driven away from the scene of the accident. The damage to the Trail Blazer is more substantial than what you can see in the photos. The pillar between the doors is bent in, and that may be enough structural damage for the Trail Blazer to be considered a total loss. Dodge may be estimated by the insurance company to be a total loss as well, but Gary will NOT allow that to happen. Dodge was saved after the last accident, and he will be saved this time as well. It looks like Rampart the parts donor van will once again supply Dodge with whatever he needs to bring him back to his former glory. And once again, our buddy Chris over at Custom Coatings and Restorations will be in charge of Dodge's "surgery". He did a masterful job of repairing all of the extensive damage from the previous accident. We TOTALLY trust in his skills and the pride he takes in his job. So, that's the bad news for this posting, and I hope to share some much better news very soon. As for me, I guess I am lucky to have not been hitched to Dodge during either of these two accidents. It makes me sick that this misfortune has happened again to Dodge, and that Gary has to deal with all the hassles involved when working with the insurance company. Brighter days are ahead....I hope.