Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hello, Number Seven!

This post really doesn't have anything to do with me, but I promised I would let you know about the latest happenings here at Green Acres, so here it goes. As you're well aware if you read my blog very often, my best buddy Gary is just about as crazy about old Dodge vans as he is about vintage (that's a more elegant way of saying old) travel trailers. There's eight travel trailers here including me, and the van population is beginning to catch up. As of today, the seventh van to join the fleet arrived via flatbed tow truck. It's a sad example of a van, but some of my trailer relatives here aren't any better. We are what we are, right? Gary somehow sees beauty and value in a lot of things that most other people would quickly discard. That's why most of the trailers and vans here can call Green Acres home. It's kind of a safe haven for the sad and neglected. I'm EXTREMELY fortunate to be one of the ugly ducklings that got saved from death by my visionary bestie. Like most of the other two-wheeled and four-wheeled residents here, this van was found on Craigslist. I've watched Gary correspond with the owner on the computer for several days. They finally agreed on a time to meet up, and the rest, as they say, is history. I've heard so much about this van in the last few days that I had a dream last night about what to name him. He's a RAM van, and he'll be used for PARTS, so the name RAMPART popped into my head. Gary liked the name when he heard me mumbling it in my sleep, so the name was a keeper. Rampart has a good engine and a relatively new set of tires. He's a 1992 model, the same year as my other bestie and tow vehicle Dodge, so interchangeable parts between the two may be helpful in the future. Rampart had a pine tree fall on him recently, and that heavily damaged his roof and windshield. He's driveable, but neither safely or legally. That's why his previous owner was selling him, and for a super cheap price. Gary has a wild idea about putting Rampart's 3.9 litre V-6 engine into his old 1965 Dodge A-100 van that currently doesn't have an engine of it's own. With all the pending projects around here, I'm not sure that will ever happen. But it doesn't hurt to dream, does it? Dodge hung out with Rampart for awhile today. They reminisced about the good old days at the Pillette Road Truck Assembly plant in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, where all of the "B" Series vans originated from. The factory has since been demolished. Sad. Rampart knows his time is limited, but we will all try to make him happy while he's here. And being a parts donor, he will live on for many years to come. Welcome to Green Acres, Rampart.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Poppy's Pirouette

With indoor space growing more and more valuable around here, it was time to make some changes inside the garage. I'm sort of "grandfathered" in, so I was obviously not going to lose my spot. The non-running '71 Dodge Dart and the engineless '65 Dodge van in the back of the garage were going to be too difficult to move. So, by process of elimination, my little sister Poppy was elected to lose her spot. She's been sitting right next to me since she arrived here at the Green Acres Garage over three years ago. Getting her turned around and headed towards the front door of the garage looked like as much of an issue to me as moving the old car or van would have been. But Gary had a plan and the right tools for the job, and along with Poppy's cooperation, she was ready to head to her new home within a matter of minutes. To begin, Gary jacked up both sides of Poppy with a floor jack, and put a Harbor Freight wheel dolly under each of her tires. Then, he used his Harbor Freight transmission jack to lift Poppy's tongue. Next, I was hitched up to my buddy Dodge and moved far enough out in the yard to not be in the way. With plenty of room to do her thing, Poppy performed the perfect pirouette, spinning around almost effortlessly in the space that the two of us used to occupy. She was then hitched to Casper the cargo van, and the transmission jack and wheel dollies were removed. And just like that, Poppy was headed out the door of her former home, and heading towards her new home in the Green Acres Carport. We said our goodbyes as she passed by me out in the yard. Well actually, I said goodbye and she just listened. Poppy isn't a "talking" travel trailer like I am. That's a VERY rare thing, and I am one in a million to be gifted with the ability to actually talk. I'm sure that Gary is sometimes not too thrilled that I have that talent. Anyway, Casper delivered Poppy to the carport, and Gary used his Harbor Freight trailer dolly to maneuver her into place behind his two other vans, Max and Connie. She fits perfectly, and I think she will like the view and the fresh air. I got to spend one night under the carport recently, and I really enjoyed it. Right now, there's nothing but empty space between me and the side garage door. Shelves will soon occupy Poppy's old spot. Helen the Husqvarna is the only girl that remains inside the Green Acres Garage. And as for me...well, I'm definitely going to miss my cute little sister.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The First Day Of Summer?

According to the calendar, today is the first day of summer. Could have fooled me! When you live in Florida like I do, there isn't much of the year when it doesn't feel like summer. There's basically just varying degrees of humidity, and when May and June arrive, the intensity increases. July and August are the worst months, and I am NOT looking forward to that at all. UGH!!! Anyway, I'll try to be good and keep my complaints to myself. My buddy Gary has it worse than I do. In addition to the heat and humidity, he has to deal with biting yellow flies, mosquitoes, gnats, wasps, fire ants, and other things that leave me alone, but are not kind at all to humans. I'd definitely rather be a travel trailer than a human. You guys have it rough. Speaking of Gary, he is working diligently on a wide variety of projects. I don't think I've ever seen him work this hard. He has a goal in mind to be reached before we go camping in the fall, and he's making good progress so far. In preparation for our fall and winter camping, the Georgia State Parks annual pass was ordered last week, and arrived just a few days later. The annual pass is a great deal at full price, and since Gary turned 62 years old in February, he now gets the senior citizen discount. That's an additional $20 savings. SWEET!!! Florida doesn't offer senior discounts until you turn 65, so that's just one more reason to spend most of our camping season in Georgia, not that we needed another excuse. We LOVE their parks! During my idle time, I've been spending lots of time surfing on the net. I saw an ad recently for personalized Coke bottles, so I ordered a set. Aren't they cool? The Three Camp-A-Teers immortalized on 8oz. glass bottles. I LOVE them! Gary REALLY shouldn't leave his credit cards around for me to shop with. That's DANGEROUS!!! We once had a pair of plastic flamingos that traveled with us, but they were stolen more than a year ago. They are the only things that have ever been stolen from us in all our years of camping. We suspect that some rowdy kids took them, but couldn't prove it. Through all of our camping trips last year, we missed having our colorful mascots along. Gary was shopping on eBay recently, and thought about buying another pair. Cost wise, it didn't make sense to only buy a pair. So, he bought a box of TEN!!! We will likely only carry a pair of them along with us on trips, but now we have back-up flamingos in case any go missing. Some of them will stay here at Green Acres and decorate the yard. Besides the intense heat that we'll have to deal with in the coming months, I also have to have some tongue surgery. Needless to say, I am SUPER nervous about that. My original Atwood tongue jack quit working during our trip to St. Petersburg last month. Since then, I've been jacked up with a vintage K-Mart bottle jack. It serves the purpose, but isn't as good in any way as my old Atwood. Since my original jack was welded in at the factory when I was born, it will have to be cut out and replaced. It makes me sick just thinking about it! That's going to HURT!!! I hope to be healed up and ready to go in the fall, and I know my buddy Gary will make sure that happens. He ALWAYS takes good care of me. Well folks, that's the latest happenings. It's been quite awhile since I posted, so I thought I'd better check in. Be well, be safe, and have fun. Love, Toaster.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Ten Nights At The World's BEST Campground

After our camping trip to Anastasia State Park in March, I thought for sure that I would be locked up in the Green Acres Garage until next fall. Then the need arose for Gary to travel across the state to St. Petersburg, so that he could spend a few days working on his house over there. Our best friends Bill and Sandy, graciously volunteered to let us camp on their driveway again, just like we did on our last trip to St. Petersburg about two years ago. So, Gary got me and my dog Serra ready for the trip, gathered his tools, clothes, and essentials, and off we went. When we arrived at Bill and Sandy's "Campground", we were surprised to find that they had moved their vehicles to the front yard, so that we could have our choice of whatever area of the driveway we wanted to camp on. We chose to be under the canopy on the side of the driveway closest to the house. The "Welcome Toaster" sign on the canopy was both funny and really thoughtful. We TOTALLY loved it! It stayed up during our entire visit. Even though the weather was sunny and hot for the majority of our stay, and it rained for a night or two, I was safely protected from the elements. TV reception was perfect, so I had no problem keeping up with my favorite shows. And when I wasn't doing that, the two big oak trees in the front yard were full of squirrels, and you KNOW how much I love watching them. Gary definitely wasn't thrilled with all the work he had to do on his house, but hanging out with Bill and Sandy when he came home in the evenings was LOTS of fun. It's a shame that they can't get together more often. When Gary was off working, our camp hosts would occasionally say hi to me, or give me a little pat to let me know that I wasn't alone. They're SO considerate! Gary thought that our stay would be no longer than four days, but there's always more work to do than he expects. We ended up staying for a total of ten days and nights. He did everything from painting, to replacing fence posts, to relocating an air conditioner, to sweeping leaves off the roof. Even with all of those things accomplished, he's already got a list started of things to do on our next visit. We're planning on returning to St. Petersburg and Bill and Sandy's FABULOUS campground again in October. The work load should be substantially less, and the fun with our best buddies will be just as great as ever. We can hardly wait!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Booked Up And Raring To Go

Hi, Folks. I am pleased and excited to tell you about our fall 2017/winter 2018 camping schedule. Due to all of the ongoing work here at home, we'll have a somewhat abbreviated schedule, but we will still be spending a total of fifty-one nights on the road. I wish the summer wasn't so unbearably long, because I'm EXTREMELY anxious to hit the highway. The fall can't come soon enough for Gary and Dodge and I. We'll be making five trips away from home. Thirty nights will be spent in Georgia, and 21 nights will be spent in Florida. We'll be camping at ten different parks, all of which we have been to before with the exception of J.H. Floyd in northwest Georgia. We wanted to spend Christmas at Watson Mill Bridge, but the campground there is small and was already booked solid. So, we opted to stay at Fort Yargo instead. It's still in the same basic area, just not as pretty as Watson Mill Bridge is. Most of the places we are camping at were booked because of their proximity to Gary's favorite antiquing spots. We'll also be visiting with family and friends along the way. It's going to be FUN to say the least. In other news, there's been a TON of activity here at home lately. Gary's hard work is paying off, and he's feeling a little less stressed as projects are either getting done or well on their way to be completed. I predict that he's going to feel much more relaxed during our upcoming camping season than he has during the past two or three. He's always had fun on our trips, but at the same time, he always worries about the things that aren't getting done at home while we are out on the road. If things continue to progress the way the have during the last two months, he will be as carefree as I am by the time our first camping trip rolls around. I'll update you on the happenings around here soon. Love to you all. Your buddy, Toaster.