Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Better Late Than Never

I know many of you reading look forward to my posts. When I am remise, it does weight on me. Sorry it has taken me so long to post something. Hopefully it will be worth the wait.

This past weekend we headed out to Pittsburgh to visit with my good friend Ace and his family. On the way to Pittsburgh one must pass through some of the most beautiful country in all the United States, Western Maryland. We have talked of relocating to another part of the country for many years now, Western Maryland has been gaining on the list of choices. On a side note; look at that rusty bumper. Sure could use a sand blasting and painting. It looks like crap!

So, back to Western Maryland. There are many farms in Western Maryland still feeding America. The mountains might not look big and rugged like Colorado, but they are very beautiful none the less. Our mountains may never exceed tree line, but they hold many treasures for those desiring to find them.

One of those treasures is a 37 acre tract of virgin forest. Swallow Falls State Park contains this little slice of forest that somehow escaped the Woodsman's axe that has taken 99.1% of all the virgin forest in the entire United States. Staggering statistic is not? Only .9% of our virgin forest remains. For what it is worth, the United States is 2.3 billion acres total. The hemlock forest of Swallow Falls does not contain giant trees as Sequoia National Forest does, or like some of the National Parks out West, but it is a primal forest for sure.

Swallow Falls also contains a number of beautiful waterfalls. This is Muddy Falls. At 54 feet it is the highest free falling waterfall in the state.

Lower Swallow Falls is classed a cascading falls. It is not very tall, but the deep pools below it are very inviting.

This is Upper Swallow Falls. The last time Beth and I were here was in the Spring of 1994. The water was very high and was flowing from one side to the other.

The Upper Falls is right in the area of the largest trees. It was cool seeing both my girls with their lower lip hanging down as they looked up at the canopy.

I was in awe of all the textures of moss, fern, rotting bark, and little critters scurrying about the forest floor. We headed back to our campsite to build a fire, grill some pork chops and roast some potatoes over the fire. Since it was a Thursday, the campground was a virtual ghost town. The nearest occupied campsite was 7 spaces away.

Thankfully Swallow Falls State Park is not too well known by most of the population. Most people coming to this region stop off at Deep Creek Lake to rent a condo, run their speed boats up and down the lake, and never venture into the dark hemlock forrest up the road.

Back on the road. Pittsburgh bound....

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Another Year Older

Yes, it happens that I move another year of my life in the "DONE" column this Monday. As a gift to me, Beth shuffled the kids out to their Grandparents so we could have "Date Night". She made reservations at what, until last night, was our favorite nuevo tex mex restaurant so I could have my fill of margaritas with dinner, then walk around the corner to the 8 X 10 to hear some music. As most of you that read my blog know, I listen to music all day. My tastes are very eclectic for the most part. The 8 x 10 had two acts playing that we had seen at Crawfish Festival this past June. We loved them there, but to be 5 feet from the stage for the whole show was even better. Even though I am an early to bed early to rise type guy, I found my inner Amanda Collimore and stayed up way late. It was actually easy to do since the music was INCREDIBLE!!!!
The first act to play was the Honey Island Swamp Band. These guys put on one hell of an excellent show. They played for a solid two hours with an incredible energy. The show was promoted by our local college station, so using their video clips seems like a great fit. I apologize these are not from a live show, but the music speaks for itself. Enjoy...

The Headliner was Anders Osborne. Anders is a mind boggling musician. He absolutely blew me away. Beth was commenting that she often looked at me to see standing there motionless with a completely dumb founded look on my face. The sounds that this guy can produce with his guitar are astounding. I am going to really stick my neck out here with this comment, but what the hell. Jimi Hendrix ain't got nothing on Anders. Yes, Jimi has been eclipsed. Go hear him play live and you will soon realize I am right.

This little clip shows how he can just take it to different level. That is drums, bass guitar, and Anders making all the rest. Go see him, thank me later. Oh, I might ad, some acts are best seen live. The crowd adds an element not achieved in a studio recording.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

On the Fence

I have been in a number of situations that qualify me as a fence sitter. I have also, often walked a fine line between disaster and success. Which blog this post should get written on had me doing a little fence sitting. Where to post, where to post? This blog won out.
Yesterday, I went on an evaluation or consultation to look at a trailer for a possible client. Because it was a professional visit, I though my Frank's Trailer Works Blog was the right place to post. However, because no money exchanged hands and I even went back today socially, I knew the post needed to be right here. There is a funny story associated with this visit. It is actually kind of a circular story, for like the Wheel of Life in Buddhism, it always eventually comes back to the beginning.
I got a call from an Internet Airstream friend named Ken (that is his real first name for I do not believe in protecting the guilty. All names in this post are real, and they all are guilty) because he got a call from a co worker that there was an Airstream for sale in the Hanover Pa. paper. So what, right? The Hanover paper has about 65 readers and the chances of 6 people seeing the ad was very slim. Very poor advertising means a seller that will most likely not want a lot of money. Ken's co worker thought he should jump on it, Ken, in turn thought I should jump on it. Unfortunately the 401K (my extra Airtreams) was not too flush and I sat on the fence a little trying to decide if I wanted to go after what the nice little old lady described as her "late husbands deer camp trailer."" I think everything works and he towed it out to the woods for a few weeks every year."" Oh, how he loved taking that Airstream deer hunting". At the same time I was helping a very nice lady named Susan sort out what to look for and what to stay away from while she attempted to navigate through various Ebay bids(all of which fell through very fortunate for her). Since I was not really able to go after the' Airstream deer camp,' I just passed the number on to Susan and guess what.... she and her husband Bo, bought her.

What a nice view as I turned onto their driveway. Bo and Susan do not cut most of their property and the wild flower field was spectacular. Sitting at the top of it was their beautiful 1961 Safari. When they went and picked up their trailer it needed new rubber very badly. While getting the tire changed out in Littlestown Pa, who would show up, but Charles Ollis, the guy that polished Anna for me, and Ace's Caravel. They had a good laugh over how we all were intertwined with this little old Airstream. This Safari will polish up real nice, though it has been clear coated at some time.

They are both so very proud of their new Airstream. And, yes, they got a fricken sweet as hell deal. Susan's Mother told me "she is acting like that kid that got exactly what she wanted for Christmas!" I loved that statement. I did ask Susan's Mother if I could quote her. Actually they got a great deal, for this old girl is in really good shape and she is also (in my never humble opinion) the best built era of all the Airstreams.

The skin has a few war wounds, but on a scale of 1-10, 8.5 for sure, maybe a 9.

No obvious signs of rotten frame, though the back end does have a bit of rotten plywood in there. And also by the door. I say it over and over and over, they all have some rotten plywood in there. And also the axle, you know, they need those too.

These 58-63 have such nice padunk a dunks. I always dig the rear end shot.

A classic door with in a door even if it does open the wrong way, against the wind. I won't hold that one against the trailer though.

The front had the gaucho removed at one point and a dinette was fabricated. Not a perfect match but very comfortable and highly functional. We ate lunch here and talked for a good while. Awesome conversation I might add. I also kind of like (in the same way I like Winnabagos, so ugly it is beautiful)the burlap used as wall paper.

Double bed pull out side gaucho. A bunk was added above the bed and to their luck, I have an upper unit that can be put back in to the original spot.

All this storage sure is a nice thing to have. I like this about the double. The window is framed by cabinets and creates a real intimate dresser. Can you dig the carpet? They can't either, but for now it is better than what is under it.

Here's another view of the dinette where we ate lunch. That makes a double also.

Fully functioning kitchen. The stove was spotless and it appears only the oven was used. The regulator was leaking badly and not enough pressure would get to the fridge or the furnace to light. I feel fairly confident they will once a new regulator and hoses are installed. Both the fridge and furnace are fairly new installs. We plugged her in and the lights all worked. The converter came on and was charging up the battery. The electrical system looks to have been altered a few times however. I think that it all works, but is not all a smooth professional affair. The plumbing looks to be in order, but all still original copper style feeds. Copper has been replaced over time, however I could not find any evidence of leaks or Harry Home Owner work. The pressure pump for the system would not come on and we were not able to get water to push through the lines. Bo said today that he is going to try and fill the whole system and use city pressure for right now.
My evaluation was that it needs a complete restoration in the not so distant future. It needs axles as soon as possible, but they should go and enjoy for now. When they are ready they can either choose to take on the job themselves or they can bring it to me and I would get them on my waiting list. Great little trailer owned by two super nice people. I really hope to get to know Susan and Bo very well in the years to come. Both my daughters loved picking berries and seeing the goats. They both like Susan and Bo very much also.

I was sent off with some goodies. Some tomato preserves (awesome on chevre cheese and crackers. It was and it is all gone after a happy hour with the neighbors last night), some green pickle relish, and some honey. All these things came out of their incredible garden. They should read Jezebel's blog if they have not. Incredible nice little framette they have. Now they have a beautiful Airstream to round it out.