Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pod Gets to Post.....

Happy Sunday Evening everyone.  It's Pod here this evening making this blog post.  I told Rob it had been forever since I had made a post so he said, "Go for it!!"

Now Rob and Trisha went to the mountains camping this weekend to enjoy the fall scenery.  But I think with all the great pics Rob took of me, it was just to hang out with me!!

Here's a few examples of the pictures Rob took of me (good thing I'm so photogenic).....

Now Rob tells me he and Trisha had a great time out and about Saturday, and that the scenery was breathtaking, but I really think I know better.

They also told me they had a great dinner of homemade pizza and craft beer Saturday evening......

 I still think what they enjoyed the best was hanging with me at the campground.....

Heck, even Trisha graded some school work while enjoying the afternoon at the campsite.....

I will admit though, we did see some pretty amazing scenery this weekend along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and here is a picture or two.....

Well I guess I'd better wrap it up here this evening.  It's been a blast blogging for everyone this evening.  I hope to get blog again soon.

Until next time, stay safe out there.....-Pod 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Mountain Saturday......

Happy weekend everyone.  We hope all of our readers are enjoying the same beautiful weather we're enjoying this weekend!!

We are back in the North Carolina High Country camping this weekend.  Rob had same pretty painful oral surgery this week, so he took Friday off to recover.  He's still taking ibuprofen on a regular schedule and slowly feeling better.  

As soon as Trisha got home Friday we were off, arriving about 5:30 with just enough daylight left to set up camp and then we hopped back in truck to a favorite Mexican Restaurant for supper.  

We sat out by the Little Red Campfire to enjoy the evening and were off to bed about 10 p.m.  

Today we managed a breakfast buffet, a quick stop by Wal-Mart, a quick stop by The Soap Shed to say hello and chat a bit, a stop by an outfitters, then it was back north on the Blue Ridge Parkway to view the sights.  Followed by a stop by Linville Falls Winery to sample and even buy some wine.  Then back to campground to just relax and for Trisha to grade some papers.  

Here are just a few pictures of our day so far......

Thanks for checking by today!!  

Until next time, stay safe out there.....-R & T (J is grandma sitting this weekend)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Gathering Supplies......

Happy Sunday morning everyone.  We never did finish telling about our camping trip this past weekend.  There simply wasn't very much to tell. 

We slept in till about 8 a.m. Sunday, dressed, ate breakfast, broke camp (the temperature was about 33 degrees when we got up so we weren't in such a big hurry) and pulled out of the campground about 10 a.m.  

We could have drove straight home, but there's no fun in that, and since the morning dawned bright and clear, we chose to make about a 30 mile detour north along the Blue Ridge Parkway just to see the fall color.  The views were spectacular as always, and even more so on this crisp clear morning.  

That wraps up the last camping trip, so onto the topic of today's post.   If you remember, the purpose of this weekend's camping trip was so that Rob could attend a class on the art and science of soap making.  Rob thoroughly enjoyed the class, and has been busy gathering supplies, and building some items for his foray into soap making for himself.

But first, a soap update.  Here's the very first batch of Castile soap Rob made in his class, moments after it was poured into the mold....

And here it is, seven days later when Rob popped it out of the mold so it could breathe better for another seven days....

In another week, Rob will cut it into bars and then it will dry another few weeks before being ready for use.  So far, so good with this first batch of soap.

As we said earlier, Rob has spent the week ordering and gathering supplies.  From the dollar store, Lowes, Amazon, other online companies, Rob has ordered a scale, base oils, Lye, fragrance oils, essential oils, and a few other odds and ends.  

This weekend he has spent building two pound wood molds to pour the soap mixtures into.....

He has even built a wire hand cutter to cut the soap, and a mitre box to help keep the cuts straight.  

He's even pressed into soap making service a couple of old stainless steel cooking pots to mix the lye solution in, and now he's on the lookout for old crockpots.  

That's about it for today.  It's a cool, rainy, dreary day here in our part of the world.  A perfect day to just stay inside and read a good book.

Until next time, stay safe out there.....-R,T,&J.

Monday, October 6, 2014

School On a Saturday......

Happy Monday to all.  Yup you read the title of this blog post correctly.  Rob did indeed have school on a Saturday.  From 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Rob spent his day with Tim the owner of The Soap Shed in Spruce Pine, NC and one other student to learn the art and science of soap making.  

The morning was spent learning some of the history of soap making, chemistry involved,  the safety requirements of working with caustic soda, the math calculations needed, the different oils used and why, reviewing the supplies needed to be successful maker of soap, and making a batch of lye soap.

This took us to nearly 1:00 p.m.  After a break for lunch which was provided as part of the class fee, we then made our own batch of soap.  Rob said he really had a blast taking this class and it was way fun to talk with Tim to learn some of the tips and tricks he's learned over the past 17 years or so in the soap making business.

Yes, Math is involved.

Tim, mixing a demonstration batch of lye soap.

Tim checking his notes as the other student watches.

At last, Rob's first official batch of homemade soap.

After class, (and paying for Trisha's soap purchases) we headed back to the campsite, to talk with the owners a bit, run and get our propane bottle filled, and then head to supper.  

Tonight we chose Italian for supper, and it was really good......

That's it for this evening's blog post.  Be sure to check back tomorrow to hear about the rest of our weekend camping adventure.

Until next time.....-R,T,&J (who is sleeping in Rob's lap as he types this post!!)  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A New Campground.....

Happy Sunday afternoon everyone.  We've been to the mountains camping this weekend.  Rob had a soap making class at The Soap Shed in Spruce Pine, NC.  Trisha just wanted to have a weekend of shopping without Rob to bug her.  

This past week had been a bit of a chore with Rob finding out on Wednesday he needed to have a old dental bridge replaced, and with Trisha finding out on the same afternoon she needed a new crown.

Can you say KA----CHING??

At any rate, we set out Friday afternoon just as it started to rain here.  We arrived at the Linville Falls Trailer Lodge and Campground about 5:30, after the rain had left.  The owner told us it had been drizzly all day.  We quickly set up camp and set off to a Mexican Restaurant in Pineola, NC.  

As you can see from both of these pictures it was a grey, over-cast evening.  After a delicious supper, we headed back to camp to set beside the Little Red Campfire a bit before heading in for the night.

Before going to bed for the evening, Rob set out the ceramic heater so if we needed it through the night, it wouldn't take but a minute to plug in and turn on.  Sure enough, about five a.m. Rob had to plug in the heater.  About three minutes later, the power went off.  Now it was real windy all night long, and this campground is under a heavy tree cover.  So Rob switched on the propane furnace, switched the fridge over to propane, and switched on the propane for the hot water heater and went back to bed.  All was good until about 7:30 when the propane tank ran empty.  Now you have to understand we've used this same tank of propane since buying Pod in December 2009.  So Rob simply switched over to the spare tank and we were back in business.  

Having to be at Soap making Class (another blog post, hehe) in Spruce Pine by 9:30, we showered, dressed, and loaded up in Truck to head out after talking to our neighbor's to confirm the power loss was more than our site. 

On our way out of the campground, another camper stopped us to see if we had some jumper cables.  Rut-roh.  Of course we did, and we stopped, helped this poor cold tent camper get his truck started, then were finally on our way.  

As we hopped on the BRP, Trisha suddenly remembered she didn't have her purse.  Rob offered to go back to Pod and get it, but no, her purse was locked safely in her car back home.  Oh well, Trisha got to do a bunch of looking and very little buying.  

At this point, we'll stop our story and give our impressions of Linville Falls Campground.

1.   Very, very clean bathhouse.

2.  Very quite.

3.  $35.00 (cash only) a night included 30 amp, water, and sewer.

4.  The site was a good sized pull through.  (the only pull through)

5.  This was one of the only six or so 30 amp sites available.  The 
rest were 15 amp service, water, and some sewer.  

6.  This entire campground is wooded, so lots of shade.

1.  Power issues.  When our power went out, Rob checked the outlets at the power pedestal with his Fluke meter.  The outlets were not energized.  The only reason this is a con, is when talking with the owner later that afternoon, he said he never reset the breaker in the main box for our site, so he couldn't understand why we didn't have power.

2.  The five 30 amp sites are a nice size.  The other sites could be a bit small, but totally do-able for r-pods, T@Bs, etc. In fact we're in site 27 in three weeks for the weekend again.  It's $25.00 a night for just water and 15 amp electric.

3.  Not sure if this is a con, but if your in one of the 15 amp sites in cold weather, you need to have a way to heat other than a small electric heater.  Also, in summer, no A/C could be used, but at 3800 feet in elevation, most likely wouldn't need it.

In sum up, if your looking for a quite, small, rustic, campground, high up in the NC mountains, less that half a mile from the BRP, this is it.  If your looking for a more "resort" type of experience, keep on driving.  

We enjoyed our time here and as we said earlier, have reservations for a return trip in three weeks.  This weekend was extremely busy as camping weekends go, so check back tomorrow for the next part of our story.

Until next time, stay safe out there.....-R,T, but no J (grandma sitting again)