CDBaby Player

You can listen to some of my songs here:

Saturday, September 30, 2006

There is a house in Fredericksburg, they call the Rising Sun...

This week, being more adjusted to the night shift and not having to have glasses repaired, I found time to explore Fredericksburg. I am hoping to get back there soon: there's lots and lots to explore. Next time, though, I'll take the motorscooter with me - parking the motorhome in Fredericksburg was a serious challenge.

One of the ladies at Curves told me about the Ferry Farm, which is where George Washington spent a major part of his childhood. Not being sure of the route, I stopped at the Visitors Center and as luck would have it I arrived just in time to catch a carriage tour through the town - and have it all to myself. I decided to leave the Ferry Farm for another trip and take the carriage tour.
This is definitely the way to get an overview of what Fredericksburg is about - and the weather was absolutely beautiful.

My tour guide, Bob, introduced me to Peggy and Jeff. They are Belgian Draft Horses. Then off we went.

Goolrick's Pharmacy has the oldest continuously operating soda fountain (though I don't remember whether that's in the state or country or what).

And this is the House of the Rising Sun.
Well, really it's the Rising Sun Tavern. It was a Proper Tavern. That means that a lady traveling alone could stay there without tarnishing her reputation. There were separate lodgings for ladies. Men liked a Proper Tavern also, as they were not allowed to sleep more than 3 guys to a bed.

Thomas Jefferson and others drafted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in Fredericksburg in 1777. The legislation established that "no man shall suffer on account of his religious opinions and beliefs". This bill inspired the First Amendment, which was incorporated into the Constitution in 1789 and provided for the separation of church and state. Jefferson considered this one of the three things he was most proud of during a lifetime of great accomplishments. The Thomas Jefferson Religious Freedom Monument (which doesn't show up too well - I was in a moving carriage and couldn't exactly set up the shot) commemorates that event.

This is the other Washington Monument. This one's to George's mother, Mary Washington. George had bought her a house (you'll see it later) in Fredericksburg, and Mary lived there for the last 17 years of her life. She used to walk from there to this site, which she loved, for prayer and meditation, and asked that she be buried there.

The funds to build the monument were collected by women, from women, during the 19th century.

This house took a cannonball hit during the Civil War. If you look closely, you can see it in the shadows between the first floor windows.

This Presbyterian church is the oldest church in Fredericksburg, and was used as a hospital during the Civil War. Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, nursed soldiers here.

This is the block at which slaves were auctioned in antebellum Fredericksburg.

And here is Mary Washington's house. It is now a living history museum. Next time I get to Fredericksburg I hope to check it out.

After the tour, I stopped in at
Pickers' Supply.. It's a wonderful store for musicians. I did not know that Martin made camo guitars!
I would think that if you're playing your camo Martin in the woods, maybe the deer wouldn't see you but they'd still hear you. Go figure.
Work Happens

The week that ended 9/23/06 I was in Stafford, VA. I'm sure it's got neat stuff to discover, but we were working long hours at night and I did not discover it. My glasses broke - the lens fell out - so I spent time at the optometrist getting them fixed. I found a park which was not at all picturesque but had a perfectly adequate grill for my burgers. I found a Curves - there are in fact two, but I went to the one near the optometrist. I found a bead store right by the supermarket. Most of my time was spent on important stuff - like sleep. Night sets are like that.

Meanwhile, back on the internet, one of my readers posted a comment - "I am curious about your work." OK, since that's mostly what I did this week, I'll write about it.

The work I do is different each week, which I love. I do supermarket resets.

Some weeks I work with a retail project team. These teams have a regular route of maybe 16 stores relatively close to one another, and visit each one monthly, doing various projects. We'll rearrange a few sections of the store and be gone. For instance, a few weeks ago I spent the week rearranging frozen entrees in four Food Lions.

Other weeks I work with a traveling set team. These teams travel for the purpose of remodeling stores and setting up new stores. We're at one store for 4 days - or 4 nights - and when we're done everything is different. For instance, this week we converted a regular Food Lion into a Bloom store.

Most of the people who do these jobs work for one or another food broker or merchandising company as employees - Acosta, Proctor and Gamble, Advantage, Crossmark, Keebler, Nabisco... These companies also get help from other merchandising companies like the ones I work through. I'm an independent contractor. I get jobs through a kind of temp agency for merchandisers. This gives me more freedom and flexibility, and enables me to travel by motorhome rather than stay in corporate-approved motels. Plus I get to work in many different towns, with many different teams, on many different projects, and even in different chains.

I love my work.

So when you go to the supermarket and the cat food, which has always been on aisle 4, is now on aisle 8 - we did that ;)

Friday, September 15, 2006

This week took me to stores in Virginia and West Virginia, along route 60. I have only one picture, even though West Virginia has some truly great scenery even here at the edge of it. I worked some long hours in the freezers, and after work did such things as buy propane and work out at Curves and buy a pair of pants in a size I haven't worn in 3 years - AND THEY FIT! But that's hardly blogging material.

Last week, however, I worked in Winchester, VA. It was a treat to stay at the Izaak Walton League's park.

(You have to be a member.) It was quiet and peaceful - and dark! I usually camp where I'll be working and supermarket parking lots are generally well lit. While camped I grilled the ostrich burger I'd bought frozen on my way back from NC last month. It was delicious. Then I sat out in the evening playing my guitar with a couple of deer for an audience. It was neat that they didn't mind my presence; they just went on munching on the pear trees. I tried to get a picture of them but it was too dark.

I went to the State Arboretum, which is on Rte 50, east of Winchester, just past 340. Lots to see. The Quarters, the main building, is supposed to have been slaves quarters for the plantation of which this was once part.

There are many trails and many many plants. I took the native plant trail.

It was brought home to me that Fall has befallen us.

Many plants I know well in their summer glory were there, nearly brown, nearly bare. Definitely fall. (Besides, Sue says, the lightning bugs are gone.)

I had to get a picture of this grumpy ol' tree

My last assignment for the week was in Chantilly. I went there via Snickersville Turnpike. Besides having the interesting name, this road was a tantalizing treat to drive. Miles of overhanging trees and fieldstone walls. A large tudor / fieldstone barn. A really really neat log house. Another house (?) with many pointy roofs that I wanted a closer look at. Well-fed trees. And not a single place an RV could pull over so the driver could take pictures!

The one picture from this week is one I've wanted to take for a long time. There's a house along Route 60, just west of the Buena Vista Food Lion, that is the most unusual architecture I've seen. Complete with handle and spout, it's a coffee pot! There's not a real convenient place to park a motorhome within sight of it, so this pic was taken on my phone's camera while I was in the turn-around.

It's empty right now but it used to be the James River Basin Canoe Livery. Although the website,, where I found that info claims it's been shorn of its coffee pot elements, it obviously still has them.

And what I forgot to say - I'd have sworn I posted this - but the roof repairs worked. After we patched the roof with the eternabond, we've had LOTS more rain, but none inside!

Sunday, September 03, 2006


"I can see clearly now, the rain is gone..."

Friday, in the rain, Danny & I went to the RV shop and bought their only roll of Eternabond. The scary thing about having repairs to do on labor day weekend is what if you need materials and you can't get them. But they did have Eternabond so I breathed a bit easier. Saturday dawned clear with a light breeze, perfect for this sort of work. I pulled the big blue tarp off the motorhome and pulled it into the sunny part of the yard. Pulled a tall stepladder alongside and started investigating. Along the drivers side of the roof, there were a few places where the rubber roof was cut - ripped - broken at the corner. The roof had a coating, and there were patches under the coating - not solidly glued down and apparently no longer effective. I pulled all that goop off the edge and found C-shaped cuts in the rubber roof membrane along the edge of the roof. I wish I'd thought to take pictures. I didn't. Blogging was far from my mind; I was pretty focused on tracking down leaks. When I had removed all the junk, I could see that we needed to repair from the high point of the cabover all the way down to over the bathroom. I cleaned the area, Danny removed the molding from the side, and we cut Eternabond to fit. Then we did the same at the rear, where I had crunched it, and replaced our duct-tape patch on the sidewall with Eternabond while we were at it.
The Eternabond was easy to apply and should take care of the problem. I checked the whole roof and could not find any other apparent source for the recent deluge. Clouds came through just as we were finishing up, and we thought it might get a test, but they passed on through with no rain. The repair looks good - we'll see what happens when it rains.
I still need a new roof - eventually - but it's not allowed to leak in the meantime.

Why I need a new roof: Rubber roofs are rubber membrane over plywood. When they leak, the plywood gets soaked and delaminates and gets all ripply and icky - then you patch the membrane but there's no way (PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong about this!!!) to dry out the plywood beneath short of peeling off the rubber entirely and running a fan in a very tall garage, which I don't have. The sun shines on this, and forever after, your roof consists of rubber membrane over steamed plywood.

If you look at the first picture, you can see the ripples of the damaged plywood beneath the rubber. This roof has had a few leaks over the years and really needs to just be taken off and replaced.

When this happens, I'm wondering about other kinds of roofs. I'm not real impressed with the rubber roof. Trees are too much a part of my world. Although I was not the owner when this particular string of C-shaped cuts happened to this roof, I'm sure it will meet low hanging branches with me driving too. This was not such a worry in my DodgeLodges with their aluminum roofs. On the other hand, the rubber's a lot easier to work with than aluminum.

With that chore completed, since I am parked at home instead of at Rendezvous as planned, I installed the traverse rods I'd picked up at a yard sale a few weeks ago. Got rid of the obnoxious green curtain-tops on their 3 inch wide rods that liked to come apart. Now I will be hunting the perfect curtains. Opaque powder blue, I think.

If you are thinking "what's Rendezvous", go to and that'll tell you what I like to do on weekends when I'm not fixing RV roofs.

Friday, September 01, 2006

When It Rains, It Pours.

This past week took me to Rocky Mount and Roanoke/Salem, VA. What's cool about Roanoke/Salem is I have friends there. I was able to hook up with them for lunches and Wednesday dinner. The Curves in Salem is in the courtyard part of a the shopping center. Very pretty. Sorry, no pics.

Now about that rain.
Last week, Danny put his truck in the shop for major surgery - something about the oil pump and or valves. So he was going to use my Mercury until it was done. Over the weekend, I loaded the Mercury with Rendezvous gear for this weekend's event, then headed out with my visiting friend Jacki to go see another. I heard a couple of clunks and started worrying about transmissions. I put it through its gears while Jacki looked under the hood and she said motor mounts. OK, so when we got back, I asked Danny to take it in and have the mechanic check the mounts after work Monday. Tuesday he calls me for my towing service number. Towed it in, yep, all 3 motor mounts are broken, and some peripheral damage. Now 2 vehicles are in the shop. He still has to go to work so he unplugs HIS motorhome to drive that to work and it won't start. His truck finally came out of the shop Wednesday or Thursday.

Meanwhile, back in Salem, I come out of the supermarket and go the wrong way on Apperson. I find a parking lot to turn around in but misjudge the building. My rear end swings around just a tad too far and connects with the roof overhang. I think I ran over a curb - oops - drive to the next store and level the motorhome. Oh *expletive deleted*! I see a ding in the left rear side - small but there - and the roof's a bit buckled behind it. I duct tape the little hole I can see just as it begins to rain.
By Thursday morning we're getting rain bands from the hurricane and it's raining cats and dogs and it's doing it in my kitchen cabinet. The same one that water came in when I had the rip by the TV receiver. I've been through torrential rains since that was fixed and no leaks. Now I have more water than that rip ever produced. I rig a dishpan in the cabinet to catch it and go to work. On break, I bail it out. At lunch I bail it out. After work, as I step into the motorhome my weight makes the full dishpan slosh over and dump water all over the sink and surrounding area. At least it was the sink. Now water is coming from other places and the covers on my light fixtures on that cabinet are full of water. I bail, set bowls, cancel my weekend plans and drive home. The Escaper is back under its big blue tarp waiting for the rain to quit so we can figure out what I really did to it and how to fix it.

Now, since it's still raining cats and dogs and little babies, my motorscooter is not an option either. At this point I'm glad the potential buyer for the Dodge Lodge changed his mind, and that it's still got insurance and tags. What it doesn't have is a mattress. I have to work in Winchester VA next week and I don't fancy doing it in the old rig with all my stuff moved out of it. But it will do fine for going to the post office and bank and hunting down some Eternabond in hopes of repairing whatever I find on the roof of the Escaper this time.

I've been in Vehicle Hell before. There was a time when every time I said hello to a mechanic it cost me $1k minimum. I couldn't even ride in other people's vehicles without them breaking down. I'm praying this time it is a short trip and I'm out of Vehicle Hell by Monday.

"Raindrops keep falling on my head..."