Friday, May 19, 2017

Cabin Rehab May 2017

We went to the cabin in late March and spent 7 weeks working on the place.  We also managed to have our grand kids with us for a weeks stay.  THAT was fun!  Kathy and I decided to paint the cabin ourselves and save a few $1,000 so we just worked a few hours a day until we got tired.  Here are some pics:

Ebin playing on the lap top.  This is our "office area."

Kathy with Declan and Nellie

Screened in patio

We made this kitchen island from a dresser.  Perfect to two people.


Mounted a bike horn on the top of this sign.  People honk it to let us know they're entering the yard area.

Justin Howe, Declan and Ebin

Looking from the street

This is where Mumu sits when we're sitting under the gazebo :)

Solar lights on the archway

One of my favorite signs!
Declan Howe

Brought this from our house.


We're ALMOST done!  All we have to do on our next visit is paint the outside decking and then Kathy wants to paint the interior of the "bedroom" trailer. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Paradise Valley Campground Flyover

July 2014
This is the place where we visit now in the summer, and part of Spring and of course - Fall.  It's a lot of fun!  The video was taken by Sam O. and I found it on You_Tube. Thanks Sam!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Joe Brown Hwy., NC. A mistake in a car!

We went to our cabin for a few days on 2-18-17 to meet the contractor who was doing some repairs.  We wanted to get to Sweetwater, TN on one day to explore a possible meeting place where we could pick-up and drop off our grand kids.  I followed my GPS and ended on a road named Joe Brown Hwy in NC.  I did not take this video - I borrowed it from you-tube.  Here's a video of the 10 mile long gravel road that we drove in my Hyundai Genesis.  Took us an hour to go 10 miles.  Needless to say, we WON'T be going this way again!  The road seemed to be much worse than what this video shows.  I would never even try to ride a street motorcycle on this road because of the ruts and rocks.  Maybe a small dirt bike.  We finally made it  in the car though. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Disney World - Oct 2016

So, we finally made it to Disney World with the Grand kids.  Surprisingly enough, we planned the trip for 7 months and kept it a secret from the kids!  When they drove thru the Magic Kingdom Gates, they went wild!  We stayed in two cabins on Ft. Wilderness, tooled around in golf carts and took the boat back and forth to the Magic Kingdom.  Fast Passes helped a lot!  My poor little Ebin, got stuck with Mia riding "The Barnstomer", A CHILD'S ROLLER COASTER!  I screamed like a little girl and must have scared him silly.  When they came back to Jax, I found out Ebin didn't make the height requirement for Space Mountain (they stayed and extra 2 days and we brought Declan home.) So, I asked Ebin, which ride did you get to go on instead of Space Mountain?  He said "the one that made you cry, Mia".  It was too cute.  Nellie got to "see" some Princesses, from Frozen, but wasn't allowed to speak to them.  Good thing I wasn't there for that!  And a really special cast member let us use the Fast Pass to meet Mickey Mouse, Declan's hero at the time.  I think it's Snoopy now.  In any case, it was the best week of my life, being with all of them.  Pictures below.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Escape Pad. Before Renovation

We made an offer on a completely furnished cabin ( including dishes, silverware and even the coffee pot) at the foot of the Smokey Mountains.  We're scheduled to close on 10-27-2016.  These are the pictures taken before we closed.  It's a 400sf one room cabin with a trailer sitting next to it.  On the front of the cabin there's a 200 SF screened in porch.  Absolutely beautiful!  The cabin has a full size kitchen, a little laundry room and a full bath.  The trailer is a 2000 30' travel trailer that has been converted into just sleeping quarters.  There is no kitchen or couches in the trailer as everything has been removed except for a queen size bed.  Where the bedroom used to be has been converted into a walk-in closet/dressing area or a bedroom where the grand kids can sleep on a blow up bed.  The previous owners lived and ate and took showers in the cabin - and slept in the trailer.  It's a very cool little getaway!  We can't wait to make it "ours."

Ever since we sold our last motor home we have talked about either buying a 5th wheel, another RV or a cabin in the mountains.  I wanted something to break up the boredom of sitting in my house, watching TV all day and just getting fatter and fatter.  We also wanted to get away from the summer heat and humidity of Florida AND I especially wanted a "getaway" or an "escape" location if this country goes completely mad - which I believe is half way there now.  If SHTF, we can absolutely live here full time.  Easily.  It's a gated community and boy are they strict about letting people in!  We weren't allowed in to preview and real estate for sale without our Realtor.  I like that.  Makes us feel safer. 

Before pic. Front of cabin and trailer.

Gazebo.  Wood burning fireplace.  This is the place where we'll probably spend most of our time.

Before pic.  Screened in front porch.  This porch is huge!  It has a TV mounted in one corner and we're getting a couple of small recliners to be able to watch in extreme comfort!

Before pic.  Kitchen area.

Before pic. Living room area.  The previous owner removed some of the things on the walls and we took down the rest to give to our daughter-in-law who will make wonderful things out of them.  That black box on the wall is an electric fireplace that actually puts out a good amount of heat when it's turned on.  Very cool :)

Before pic. Living room area. All that stuff belonged to the seller.  They took some of it with them.
Our 6 person golf cart.  We bought this separately and boy is hard to turn when not moving, but we got a fantastic deal on it!

What the "tiled" kitchen counter top looked like.  A little too rustic for us, so we're getting a new counter top.

Before pic.  Back of cabin.  Storage shed.  Lot's of tools can be stored in the shed.

Here's a video of what our trailer looked like before the previous owner converted it to a bedroom.

Escape Pad - Clean Up 11-16

We closed on the cabin on 11-1-2016 and headed to the mountains for 3 weeks to get a closer look at what we bought.  Oh boy - what a surprise we got!  The previous owners left EVERYTHING in a complete mess and it literally took us 3 weeks to just clean it up.  We worked our asses off.  We made 25 trips in our SUV to the roll-off dumpster.  EVERYTHING in the place had 16 YEARS of dust and greasy grime on it.  There were at least 5 complete sets of dishes that we just threw away.  The attic was FULL of Christmas crap and we gave all that away to some local residents.  We just don't decorate for Christmas anymore :)

During the clean-up we discovered that there used to be a small kitchen island in the cabin and they removed it, slapped a piece of plywood over it and covered it with carpet.  We didn't look under the carpet when we initially looked at the cabin before buying it.  ALL the tile was installed incorrectly ( directly over plywood without cement board backing) and was cracked throughout the cabin.  I only saw a few broken tiles before we bought, but as we walked on it, more and more continued to break.

I want to say it was a nightmare... BUT the cabin appraised for more than we paid for it even in it's poor condition and the inside furniture, the patio furniture, gazebo, fireplace, etc. more than made up for the "sweat equity" we put into our clean out.  We also got a VERY good deal on a golf cart that the previous owner had so we have a 6 passenger golf cart to run around the campground in!  Weeee.

We hired a contractor to replace the tile floor (and sub-floor if needed), install new kitchen counter tops, rip out and re-build the patio railings (they were falling off and not safe for small children), clean up all the stuff left under the cabin crawl space ( 2 old water heaters, power tools, and other stuff) and add new insulation, and paint the entire out side of the cabin while we winter at our home in Florida.

I also learned how to winterize a place!   That was interesting.  You get a small air compressor and just blow out all the water out of the lines. Easy peazy.

We have more work to do when we return in April.  I still have a 8'x6' tool shed to clean out which has a TON of misc. stuff in it.  Some yard work to do, some wiring to figure out.  The previous owner was a DIY guy who didn't know squat what he was doing.   Now I get to go behind him and try to figure out which breakers turn power off to which switches/wall outlets.

Here are some pics of what the cabin looked like when we left (before renovations):
Plywood in the middle of the floor where an island used to be.

  When we looked at the property there was a rug covering the plywood so it was a surprise to us.
Porch area. Work in progress
Interior of a similar trailer before the kitchen area was ripped out.  On our trailer, on the left side, the entire kitchen was removed and all furniture was removed. The bed now sits where the 2 recliner chairs are.

Cracked tiles in the kitchen floor.  The entire floor in the cabin had to be re-tiled due to improper installation.  Cracks everywhere!

Kitchen before any renovations.

Kathy in the trailer AKA our "bedroom."  We love the locally made, hand made bed frame!  We have to get used to a queen bed instead of a king, but the bed is very comfortable.

I removed the original bath room door because it opened into the front door entrance and installed a "sliding barn door." Needs a little touch up on the top.  Gotta find a stain that matches!

One of 25 loads in the SUV taken to the dumpster.

We filled this puppy UP!

Gazebo and fire place covered for the winter

Mumu hanging out on the couch.  She got tired too!

Our 2000 Brookstone 33' trailer that serves as a bedroom only.  The cabins are not allowed to have a bedroom in them.  Has something to do with zoning laws I think...

Wall unit.  Will have a TV in it one day...

More pics of the finished product sometime next year.... LOL

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Hurricane Matthew - 10-7-2016

So hurricane Matthew came through Jacksonville yesterday.  Kathy and I decided to stay in town and sit it out.  We had everything we needed including food for a month, 200 gallons of fresh water, full gas tanks and full propane bottles.

We were lucky!   The wind blew some branches down off our Willow tree in the back yard, but that's all the damage.  No leaks either.  Heck, we didn't even lose power which I find amazing.  Well, we DID have a couple of electric flickers, but it was only for a second.

People at the beach didn't do as well, and that's one of the reasons we didn't buy a home on the beach!  One good hurricane can wipe you out!

Cheers, Steve

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Can't miss Drives in the USA

Happy to say we have done ALL these recommended drives across our country! Weeee.