bjarvis: (Default)
I'm still at Roseland Resort at our trailer as I write this, continuing to enjoy the long weekend. Sadly, I'm already anticipating the end of the weekend: I could really use another 2-3 days of relaxing before returning to the real world but there are things which must get done this week and they can't be rescheduled.

As expected, I've gained 400lbs from eating 4.25 billion calories this weekend. That's the kind of thing that happens when you have (by design) nothing to do but nap, read and relax, doubly so if one is also procrastinating on some minor tasks. In this case, I've been putting off further study in pursuit of Cisco certification: it's not critical to work, but it's the sort of ongoing education which keeps a résumé looking somewhat current & fresh and the kind of project one takes on during spare time rather than in the heat of battle.

I took a little time this afternoon to use some spray sealant on the trailer roof, touching up the seams around the skylights in the front & back to ensure we have a weather-proof shelter. While the weather was chillier than normal this time of year --we had frost Friday night-- we've been cozy with our fully-fueled propane furnace. The tent campers around the resort were not so lucky but as near as I can tell, no one died of hypothermia. The next time we're here, it'll be the air conditioning getting the workout rather than the furnace.

The campground wifi hasn't been as robust as I remembered it last year but that may simply mean others have discovered it and are using more of the bandwidth. Still, it's more than enough to sustain videoconferencing, not to mention web browsing so I can't complain overmuch. Sometimes I think I have no reason to return to DC at all for days at a time.

This morning, [profile] kent4str and I return to DC while [profile] cuyahogarvr heads to Cleveland for family stuff. I do have a series of appointments this week for work & home, but as it's a short work week, it'll be relatively light (I hope).
bjarvis: (Default)
We had big plans for the weekend. Lots of preparation was made for them. We eagerly looked forward to our scheduled events. And then we totally did something else.

The original plan was to go to the trailer at Roseland Resort for the weekend and spend three days relaxing, napping, reading, exercising a little (well, me), and writing some square dance choreography (well, me). Clothes & food were packed, preparations were made and everything was set to go.

We then collectively woke up Friday morning and decided to bag the whole thing and just spend the three days relaxing at home, perhaps catching up on some minor household projects. Not that we wasted our preparations: most of the food items became lunch & dinner at home instead of at the trailer. I dressed using the clothes from my travel bag instead the closet or dresser.

[profile] kent4str took his minivan for an oil change and its every-other-year emissions check Friday morning. I slept a lot, catching up with an enormous sleep deficit from the prior several days, and generally kept abreast of work developments. [profile] cuyahogarvr worked on a miniature Victoria dollhouse renovation project.

Saturday, we slept in very late and decided to pop out for a couple of trivial errands. Those "trivial errands" actually ballooned into visiting no fewer than eight stores and five hours. It was one of those, oh-I-just-remembered-X-can-we-make-a-slight-detour? kind of drives about the county. We did however stock up on some items for [profile] cuyahogarvr's dollhouse project, some food items, some clothing shopping, some hardware parts and such. Very productive.

Our happiest discovery however was entirely accidental. As we were departing Home Depot (one of the stores which we almost never visit), we passed two Home Depot employees who were promoting the store's contractor services. Since we need some roofing gutter repairs and we'd very much like to have more insulation installed in our attic before winter, this caught our eye and we paused to make inquiries. One of the guys immediately asked when we'd like a contractor to come by to make an estimate, proposing noon Sunday. Sure!

I spent most of Saturday evening catching up on some square dance projects, reading, writing some additional notes and thinking through some fragments of choreography. It was relatively late when I went to bed, but no worse than if we were at the trailer.

Sunday morning, we slept in slight but we were fully scrubbed by the time the Home Depot guy came by to talk to us about the projects we have. In a nutshell, we're having all of the gutters replaced on the exterior and having 30R of fibreglass fluff blown into the unfinished attic on top of the bats of fibreglass insulation already in place. Total price (less a 10% discount): $3600. Putting it on [profile] kent4str's Home Depot card even got us 0% interest for two years. Total score!

We'll be getting a telephone call in the next couple of business days to schedule the actual work, but in preparation, we spent the balance of the daylight hours removing all of the stuff stored in the attic. The height of the insulating fluff will prevent us from using it as a storage space except in an area immediately around the attic ladder which we're reserving for the xmas tree & decorations. All of the boxes of ceramics, keep-sakes, china, paper archives, camping gear, empty boxes from recent purchases (for shipping in case of warranty work) and some theater & lighting stuff all had to come down. It took hours with three of us working.

[profile] kent4str and I took a large number of items to Goodwill. The crude floor boards used as a storage platform in the unfinished attic had to be taken up as well. Some were nailed down, some were just laying there, all were filthy. They're now piled up curbside for garbage pick-up. Everything else is stacked in the basement or dining room.

After dinner, I finally returned to the only project I had actually planned on doing this weekend: writing more C2 square dance choreography for a gig coming up this Wednesday. I've knocked out an additional two dozen sequences, not bad for a few hours but about four dozen short of where I thought I'd be by this time Sunday. I'll have to squeeze in more writing time Monday, Tuesday and early Wednesday.
bjarvis: (Roseland Sign)
I've been at our trailer at Roseland Resort since the Friday before Labor Day, enjoying a full week away from work. Both [livejournal.com profile] kent4str and [livejournal.com profile] cuyahogarvr were here for the long weekend, but [livejournal.com profile] kent4str had to return to DC for work this week; he'll be back this coming Friday.

We have a hummingbird feeder hanging on our trailer deck, a gift a friend. I didn't think the birds were all that interested but within hours of it appearing, one hummingbird staked its claim and a second one keeps trying to invade. Here are some pics from dusk on Saturday. )

I know hummingbirds are territorial but I have no idea how large the territory for such a tiny bird might be. I'd like to put a second feeder at the other end of our deck (about 35' away) but I have no idea if that would be too close.

Last Sunday, a number of campers joined up at the campground observatory to send chinese lanterns into the sky. It's just a large paper bag with a small paraffin flame below, but if the wind isn't too strong, these things can travel quite a distance. Normally I would be concerned about accidentally starting a forest fire or burning down New Martinsville, but we had a good soaking rain thanks to Hurricane Tropical Storm Thunderstorm Atmospheric Disturbance Isaac just prior so we were probably safe. Pics behind the cut... )

Sadly, we've had a dense cloud cover until today so star-gazing and satellite-watching has been sharply curtailed. The rain has made most of the hiking trails a muddy mess but we hope to go for an extended hike Friday morning, provided we have a couple of days to thoroughly dry out. In the interim, our walks around the campground have had their own particular charms...Read more... )
bjarvis: (Default)
The past two days at the trailer have been wonderful for both relaxing the body and stimulating the mind.

We have two major projects now in the works, neither of which I can say much at the moment but hope to within a month or so. Brainstorming yesterday and again today has produced a lot of great ideas and refinements of possibilities. I need to do a tonne of research and produce a business plan for one, and handle some business operations stuff for the other. This is the sort of planning and research at which I excel so I'm delightfully busy right now.

Between the discussions, we've done some minor work around the trailer. Early this afternoon, we used a power washer and scrub mop to clean the exterior: the accumulation of dust, pollen and other environmental insults were obvious against the white panels. I'm amazed how much better the trailer looks now.

I've been playing with the campground wifi, learning what I can about it. We get about 700kbps download, 500kbps upload speeds, not a bad rate overall compared to either my mobile phone's feeble 1X data rate or the campground prior meagre wifi offering. Our home FiOS (25Mbps download & upload) has spoiled us.

Sure enough, logging out of the wifi service on my laptop doesn't allow me to log back in with my tablet or wifi-enabled mobile phone. Checking on other stats, I found that IPv6 is supported, the packet loss rate is high at 8-14% and DNS lookups are largely fine but the NAT node seems to have a potential security vulnerability.

I found time to sit in the sun for a brief period in the mid-afternoon. I regularly have commented that I have only two skin colors: fish-belly white and lobster red, and the transition between them is about 30 seconds. I'm trying to get small doses of gentle sun in the early spring so I can endure longer durations when needed during the summer. I also suspect my vitamin D production isn't what it should be since I spend so much time hiding from the flaming yellow ball of pain in the sky.

Memo to self: ebooks are a bitch to read in direct sunlight so consider having an audio book handy for the next time.

We return to Maryland tomorrow morning. *sigh*
bjarvis: (Default)
Another camping season at Roseland Resort has begun!

Actually, since the campground is open 12 months of the year, it's always been camping season here, but the trailer is not exactly comfortable in the depth of winter so we close it up in early November and open it again when weather & scheduling allow in the spring. Since spring seems to have come early this year, we de-winterized in mid-March rather than early April.

De-winterizing was a breeze: connect the utilities, flush the antifreeze from the lines, install the battery & propane tanks, power up the appliances and park our asses.

Roseland has changed a little since we left last fall. The rec hall has been expanded by about 50%, making it much more spacious and including a wrap-around porch. An ATM is now available for those who need quick cash. Internet access has been outsourced to WVHotSpot.net who has installed wifi hotspots across the campground: we can even get a signal inside our trailer instead of the machinations I employed to find an open wifi signal in the dining hall last year.

The wifi is a bit less than optimal for us geeks. One purchases a block of time as one would at an airport: $4/hour, $10/day, $15/week, $30/month, $50/60 days, $70/quarter, $100/half-year. Alas, the purchased account is tied to that single device and isn't transferable. If I purchase wifi access on my laptop, I can't logout and then login with my tablet. If anyone has an idea of how to work around this limit, let me know.

If you're reading this right now, it's because I purchased a day's wifi bandwidth for testing & evaluation. If only Verizon Wirless' 3G or 4G signal reached into these rural parts of West Virginia, I could use my phone's hotspot instead. *sigh*

While talking over schedules a few hours after arriving, we realized we don't actually need to dash home Sunday afternoon. After all, Michael is effectively self-employed, I telecommute and Kent is job hunting right now: what's the rush to be home & refreshed for Monday morning? Accordingly, we're going to stay at the trailer until Monday morning, then head home at our leisure. I can handle my regular work remotely from the back seat of the minivan as we trek across western Maryland for home.

I had a long nap this evening as I was still exhausted from a late night work shift. This probably means I'll be up half the night, but that's no tragedy: I have lots of reading material, a couple of writing assignments, a business plan to compose and some square dance choreography to create.
bjarvis: (Default)
Dear Lazywebz:

My campground has a new wifi offering. One can purchase relatively speedy wifi from an outsourced provider by the hour, day, week, month, etc.. Alas, once one has purchased the wifi access, it isn't transferable between devices: if you bought it on your laptop, you can't just logout & login with your tablet or mobile phone.

Is there some novel hardware or software mechanism by which I could create an in-house (in-trailer) shared hotspot while purchasing just a single $100 per season package for one device?

Alternatively, I already pay for hotspot functionality with Verizon Wireless via my mobile phone but the signal strength in extreme rural West Virginia is so feeble that I get only "1X" data rather than 3G or 4G LTE, and even that meagre offering is only available on good weather days from the south end of the trailer deck. Does anyone have a recommendation on a repeater/amplifier which could boost the gain enough that my phone could latch onto the 3G network and thus use my Verizon hotspot instead of the camp's wifi?

Help me, Obiwan: you're my only hope!
bjarvis: (Default)
The camping season hasn't begun yet but there have already been developments of the interesting kind.

The past two seasons, there has been wifi available from the dining hall and fellowship hall. It wasn't an especially speedy signal but it was good enough for casual web browsing, and it was free. The signal though didn't reach to our trailer so I spent some time at the end of the 2011 season trying to devise means by which I could extend the coverage enough that we could browse the Interwebz from the comfort of our own trailer.

Earlier this week, there was a broadcast announcement from the campground that they've contracted with an outside provider to provide pay-per-use wifi services. Because of the terrain, they can't assure complete coverage over the entire campground, but if it's a strong signal from the dining hall or there's a repeater somewhere on Rose Hill, odds are good we'll be able to tap into it from our trailer.

The downside is that it will cost: $10/day, $15/week, $100/six months. There are 30, 60 & 90 day rates as well but those don't really matter: if we bought, it would be the six month interval.

We stil have questions: Is our trailer within the area of coverage? What's the overall bandwidth? If they cancel the contract, can we get a refund for on a pro-rated basis? Is it tied to a single device exclusively or can one's use be moved from one device to another so long as only one device is active at a time? Is there a usage limit or all-you-can-eat?

If we don't like the coverage, another option for us is to get some sort of cellular signal booster/repeater so I could use my mobile phone as a wifi hot spot. Equipment for that won't come cheap, but could pay for itself within 2-3 years. The downside is the extra expense, that the equipment basically travels with me so my guys & co-trailer trash would be SOL if they're at the trailer without me, and the extra headache of maintaining the system ourselves (presuming it works at all).

At the moment, our plan is to de-winterize the trailer next weekend. I'll sign up for a day rate to run some tests and we'll see how it goes. More news as it develops.
bjarvis: (Default)
Roseland Resort, the campground where we keep our trailer, has wifi connectivity at the dining hall and the fellowship hall. It's not great bandwidth and the latency sucks but it's better than using pigeons to deliver packets.

While wandering around with my wifi tablet last night, I discovered the dining hall's wifi can reach as far as the nearest row of trailers, just below the ring road around Rose Hill where our trailer is located. If it would just extend another 100-150 feet, our trailer would have coverage.

I've giving some thought now to attaching a high gain antenna to the rail of our deck stairs nearest the dining hall. I still need to think through the rest: what kind of extra hardware is required, where to run a cable into the trailer, etc.. We only have one more visit to Roseland this season so I'll have the winter to think this over and devise a plan.
bjarvis: (Default)
I love travelling. Per the usual maxim, it's the trip not the destination that makes it all worthwhile. For me, it's the trip which gives me uninterrupted time to think, and I made good use of it yesterday.

While driving (well, being driven... [profile] kent4str was driving) from DC to Roseland Resort where we have a trailer, I:
  • fixed a problem with a server at the office;
  • responded to a number of emails;
  • accepted an invitation to be a panelist at the 2012 CALLERLAB convention;
  • created a draft of a plan to create marketing videos for DC Lambda Squares;
  • arranged getting a pop-up sign for our ACDC square dance event to an upcoming C1 concepts square dance weekend;
  • thought of a number of things I can do to upgrade & improve my web site; and
  • obtained & installed the EverNote client for my netbook.

I've also finished reading three ebooks!

The vacation is off to a great start!
bjarvis: (trailer)
I'm at our trailer currently, at Roseland Resort in the western edge of West Virginia. It's a trek from DC to get here, but it's worth it. Sadly, this is only my second trip here since we de-winterized the trailer back in April: we've had a very, very busy schedule this year with tonnes of scheduling conflicts.

A lot of the other campers are here to socialize, lounge by the pool, have some drinks at the bar, go hiking and such. I'm here for the quiet isolation. While here, I have no square dance responsibilities, no board roles, no work-related worries. While I do have some Internet connectivity, it's akin to working through a 2400 baud modem --it can be done but it's slow enough that it's painful for all but the most trivial or must urgent exercises. This is my best chance to get away from the routine of my life for a little personal reflection.

Essentially, I write lists.

This afternoon --between naps and snacks-- I've composed lists of:
- things I need to do at work lest they accidentally fall of my radar;
- things I need to prepare for the coming week in my square dance calling gigs;
- things I need to do in the next couple of months for my personal & social life;
- things I need to look into but don't fall neatly into the above categories. :-)

At the moment, there's about ten tasks in each list. I'm sure there will be other tasks added as I think things through this weekend.

My next most important task begins in about one hour: a light evening of me-time, star-gazing on the deck.
bjarvis: (trailer)
I'm at our trailer currently, at Roseland Resort in the western edge of West Virginia. It's a trek from DC to get here, but it's worth it. Sadly, this is only my second trip here since we de-winterized the trailer back in April: we've had a very, very busy schedule this year with tonnes of scheduling conflicts.

A lot of the other campers are here to socialize, lounge by the pool, have some drinks at the bar, go hiking and such. I'm here for the quiet isolation. While here, I have no square dance responsibilities, no board roles, no work-related worries. While I do have some Internet connectivity, it's akin to working through a 2400 baud modem --it can be done but it's slow enough that it's painful for all but the most trivial or must urgent exercises. This is my best chance to get away from the routine of my life for a little personal reflection.

Essentially, I write lists.

This afternoon --between naps and snacks-- I've composed lists of:
- things I need to do at work lest they accidentally fall of my radar;
- things I need to prepare for the coming week in my square dance calling gigs;
- things I need to do in the next couple of months for my personal & social life;
- things I need to look into but don't fall neatly into the above categories. :-)

At the moment, there's about ten tasks in each list. I'm sure there will be other tasks added as I think things through this weekend.

My next most important task begins in about one hour: a light evening of me-time, star-gazing on the deck.
bjarvis: (trailer)
This past weekend, we made our final visit to Roseland Resort for this camping season.

It's been a good year: we made a number of small repairs to the trailer, replaced the window blinds with much nicer blinds, discarded some unused items to free up storage space, and did some additional landscaping around the trailer itself. The campground itself changed ownership, alleviating the cloud of uncertainty which had hovered around since the early part of 2010. The new owners made a series of very smart changes and more are in the pipeline: we're very happy with the state of things.

While the campground now is running 12 months of the year rather than shutting down entirely at the end of October, we've opted to stick to our original camping schedule. Being able to visit in December or January is nice on paper, but the water system would still be drained because of the risk of freezing and it would cost a fortune in propane to keep the trailer interior comfortably warm. Instead, the trailer has been cleaned up, emptied of all perishables, winterized and wrapped until spring. We might yet return to Roseland but we'll rent a cabin or guestroom instead.

Weather permitting, we hope to re-open the trailer in mid-March and winterize it again in early November of 2011.

Want to see what it all looks like in October? Click here! )
bjarvis: (trailer)
This past weekend, we made our final visit to Roseland Resort for this camping season.

It's been a good year: we made a number of small repairs to the trailer, replaced the window blinds with much nicer blinds, discarded some unused items to free up storage space, and did some additional landscaping around the trailer itself. The campground itself changed ownership, alleviating the cloud of uncertainty which had hovered around since the early part of 2010. The new owners made a series of very smart changes and more are in the pipeline: we're very happy with the state of things.

While the campground now is running 12 months of the year rather than shutting down entirely at the end of October, we've opted to stick to our original camping schedule. Being able to visit in December or January is nice on paper, but the water system would still be drained because of the risk of freezing and it would cost a fortune in propane to keep the trailer interior comfortably warm. Instead, the trailer has been cleaned up, emptied of all perishables, winterized and wrapped until spring. We might yet return to Roseland but we'll rent a cabin or guestroom instead.

Weather permitting, we hope to re-open the trailer in mid-March and winterize it again in early November of 2011.

Want to see what it all looks like in October? Click here! )
bjarvis: (Roseland Sign)
We've had a trailer at Roseland Resort since 2005. As mentioned here previously, the campground was sold to new management August 3, 2010; the new managers are all long-time members of the campground itself and while many things have stayed the same, they have made some reasonable and thoughtful changes.

One of these changes just arrived in my mailbox.

The campground is now going to be an all-year-round operation instead of being closed November through March. Trailers won't have running water naturally because of the cold and I personally don't fancy spending half my trailer weekend digging out the beast from the snow to be able to move around on our deck. For that matter, the cost of propane trying to keep the thing warm in January would be astronomical. Still, the format would allow us to chose our own winterizing & de-winterizing dates rather than being bound to the campground's schedule.

The downside of the revised schedule is that the lease rates have risen 16% over last season, to $2,000 per year. Ouch.

The terms of the contract haven't changed much but there are some explicit clauses to restrict construction and colour schemes on one's site, new charges on late payments for the lease & office tab, terms to cover abandonment of one's trailer and/or site, a clause confirming trailer owners are responsible for their own insurance and a clause confirming the lease agreement is binding on any new owners should the campground be resold.

Now I have to figure out how to get together with co-trailer trash [livejournal.com profile] jearbear65oh so we can get these contract, lease and membership forms signed, copied and submitted.
bjarvis: (Roseland Sign)
We've had a trailer at Roseland Resort since 2005. As mentioned here previously, the campground was sold to new management August 3, 2010; the new managers are all long-time members of the campground itself and while many things have stayed the same, they have made some reasonable and thoughtful changes.

One of these changes just arrived in my mailbox.

The campground is now going to be an all-year-round operation instead of being closed November through March. Trailers won't have running water naturally because of the cold and I personally don't fancy spending half my trailer weekend digging out the beast from the snow to be able to move around on our deck. For that matter, the cost of propane trying to keep the thing warm in January would be astronomical. Still, the format would allow us to chose our own winterizing & de-winterizing dates rather than being bound to the campground's schedule.

The downside of the revised schedule is that the lease rates have risen 16% over last season, to $2,000 per year. Ouch.

The terms of the contract haven't changed much but there are some explicit clauses to restrict construction and colour schemes on one's site, new charges on late payments for the lease & office tab, terms to cover abandonment of one's trailer and/or site, a clause confirming trailer owners are responsible for their own insurance and a clause confirming the lease agreement is binding on any new owners should the campground be resold.

Now I have to figure out how to get together with co-trailer trash [livejournal.com profile] jearbear65oh so we can get these contract, lease and membership forms signed, copied and submitted.
bjarvis: (trailer)
This was supposed to be a simple, relaxing weekend at the trailer in West Virginia. While we did eventually get to that, it was a little more work than we were anticipating.

I had a late, late night at work Thursday: I ultimately went to bed at 4am. The guys let me sleep in a while so we were on the road later than anticipated.

We were about 1/4 of the way to the trailer when we realized we hadn't packed the barbecue propane tank. It was refilled the prior day and spent the weekend lounging in our garage at home. *sigh* At least we remembered in time to call the co-trailer trash, Jerry & David, to ask them to bring their spare.

We arrived at the campground around 5pm. Traffic was heavy in bits and there was inclement weather over stretches, including dense fog. We quickly unloaded the minivan and unlocked the trailer but efforts to extend the slide-outs on each side failed: we pressed the magic buttons but the mechanical bits did not respond as they should.

This is a serious problem: with the slide-outs fully withdrawn into the trailer, the back sleeping area and storage space was entirely inaccessible. The dining space slide-out was severely impairing our access to the bathroom, vanity, pantry and kitchen space. Only the front bedroom was reasonably unimpaired.

The fuses and circuit breakers all seemed intact. Other systems --the TV, microwave, fridge and lights-- all worked perfectly. We suspected the 12V battery. Upon inspection, we found the electrolyte levels were practically zero and [livejournal.com profile] kent4str found a clause in the operations manual for the slide-outs & their extension mechanism that the primary source of failure was a dead or dying battery. Refilling the battery with distilled water didn't help. Since it was the original and therefore five years old, [livejournal.com profile] cuyahogarvr and [livejournal.com profile] kent4str headed into town to purchase a replacement while I put away the perishables and found hiding spots for our bags in case of rain.

90 minutes later, a replacement battery was installed and the slide-outs miraculously opened upon command. Yay!

Jerry & David arrived just before the battery did; they noted the slide-outs seemed sluggish previously but didn't think much of it at the time. I'd love to know what the internal battery sensors thought but it was inaccessible at the time because of --yup, you guessed it-- the slide-out.

The evening was uneventful after that. We even had a spectacular light show of the trailing edge of the Perseid meteor shower with crystal-clear skies.

The following morning, we headed back into town to refill one of the trailer propane tanks. The larger 30lb tanks of the trailer run the water heater, the furnace, the kitchen range & oven and, in case of an electrical failure, the refrigerator. We get them filled at the Southern States outlet in Moundsville, WV, but we knew they were closed before the prior day's battery adventure, otherwise we'd have tackled both issues.

One propane tank was still very full and with only the water heater to tap it, it would remain so for months. Still, having once run out of propane one very cold fall evening, we were in no hurry to repeat the experience. Getting the tank filled out our convenience now would give us more leisure time in the future.

We also combined the refill adventure with some additional supply shopping --a new pastry brush and a door latch for the trailer-- then rewarded ourselves with ice cream at Dairy Queen before returning to Roseland.

I'm happy to say the rest of the weekend was fully relaxing. I caught up on reading and some sleep (although I still feel as though I'm short-changed many hours of snoozing) and had lots of time to chat with Jerry & David.

Note to [livejournal.com profile] tdjohnsn and [livejournal.com profile] rlegters: Jerry & David cooked the cobs of fresh sweet corn per your olive oil & salt/pepper method. Delicious! Thank you!

The campground itself seems to be rolling along nicely with the new management. There were many comments about improvements in the dance music with the new DJ although I can't confirm this personally as I really don't have an ear for such things. There is new framing for a greenhouse along the south basement wall of the fellowship hall, outside the shower spaces: we're told the potted plants will live there during the winter months so more interior space is available for people.

We've also learned that the trailers will indeed be fully accessible 12 months per year with the obvious caveat that the water lines won't be operational December-March. I can't honestly say a West Virginia winter in a trailer has any interest --not to mention driving through the backwoods hills of West Virginia in show-- but it means we can probably extend our regular camping season to be March-November instead of April-October. We have no clue yet how this will affect our annual lease rates.

We're hosting a birthday bash at our trailer on Saturday, September 4, 6-8pm, in celebration of [livejournal.com profile] kent4str's 50th birthday. Drop in if you're in the area!
bjarvis: (trailer)
This was supposed to be a simple, relaxing weekend at the trailer in West Virginia. While we did eventually get to that, it was a little more work than we were anticipating.

I had a late, late night at work Thursday: I ultimately went to bed at 4am. The guys let me sleep in a while so we were on the road later than anticipated.

We were about 1/4 of the way to the trailer when we realized we hadn't packed the barbecue propane tank. It was refilled the prior day and spent the weekend lounging in our garage at home. *sigh* At least we remembered in time to call the co-trailer trash, Jerry & David, to ask them to bring their spare.

We arrived at the campground around 5pm. Traffic was heavy in bits and there was inclement weather over stretches, including dense fog. We quickly unloaded the minivan and unlocked the trailer but efforts to extend the slide-outs on each side failed: we pressed the magic buttons but the mechanical bits did not respond as they should.

This is a serious problem: with the slide-outs fully withdrawn into the trailer, the back sleeping area and storage space was entirely inaccessible. The dining space slide-out was severely impairing our access to the bathroom, vanity, pantry and kitchen space. Only the front bedroom was reasonably unimpaired.

The fuses and circuit breakers all seemed intact. Other systems --the TV, microwave, fridge and lights-- all worked perfectly. We suspected the 12V battery. Upon inspection, we found the electrolyte levels were practically zero and [livejournal.com profile] kent4str found a clause in the operations manual for the slide-outs & their extension mechanism that the primary source of failure was a dead or dying battery. Refilling the battery with distilled water didn't help. Since it was the original and therefore five years old, [livejournal.com profile] cuyahogarvr and [livejournal.com profile] kent4str headed into town to purchase a replacement while I put away the perishables and found hiding spots for our bags in case of rain.

90 minutes later, a replacement battery was installed and the slide-outs miraculously opened upon command. Yay!

Jerry & David arrived just before the battery did; they noted the slide-outs seemed sluggish previously but didn't think much of it at the time. I'd love to know what the internal battery sensors thought but it was inaccessible at the time because of --yup, you guessed it-- the slide-out.

The evening was uneventful after that. We even had a spectacular light show of the trailing edge of the Perseid meteor shower with crystal-clear skies.

The following morning, we headed back into town to refill one of the trailer propane tanks. The larger 30lb tanks of the trailer run the water heater, the furnace, the kitchen range & oven and, in case of an electrical failure, the refrigerator. We get them filled at the Southern States outlet in Moundsville, WV, but we knew they were closed before the prior day's battery adventure, otherwise we'd have tackled both issues.

One propane tank was still very full and with only the water heater to tap it, it would remain so for months. Still, having once run out of propane one very cold fall evening, we were in no hurry to repeat the experience. Getting the tank filled out our convenience now would give us more leisure time in the future.

We also combined the refill adventure with some additional supply shopping --a new pastry brush and a door latch for the trailer-- then rewarded ourselves with ice cream at Dairy Queen before returning to Roseland.

I'm happy to say the rest of the weekend was fully relaxing. I caught up on reading and some sleep (although I still feel as though I'm short-changed many hours of snoozing) and had lots of time to chat with Jerry & David.

Note to [livejournal.com profile] tdjohnsn and [livejournal.com profile] rlegters: Jerry & David cooked the cobs of fresh sweet corn per your olive oil & salt/pepper method. Delicious! Thank you!

The campground itself seems to be rolling along nicely with the new management. There were many comments about improvements in the dance music with the new DJ although I can't confirm this personally as I really don't have an ear for such things. There is new framing for a greenhouse along the south basement wall of the fellowship hall, outside the shower spaces: we're told the potted plants will live there during the winter months so more interior space is available for people.

We've also learned that the trailers will indeed be fully accessible 12 months per year with the obvious caveat that the water lines won't be operational December-March. I can't honestly say a West Virginia winter in a trailer has any interest --not to mention driving through the backwoods hills of West Virginia in show-- but it means we can probably extend our regular camping season to be March-November instead of April-October. We have no clue yet how this will affect our annual lease rates.

We're hosting a birthday bash at our trailer on Saturday, September 4, 6-8pm, in celebration of [livejournal.com profile] kent4str's 50th birthday. Drop in if you're in the area!
bjarvis: (Roseland Sign)
Last night, we received a weekly update email from Roseland Resort, the gay campground where we have a trailer in West Virginia. This was the first official communiqué in which the sale of the campground was announced. Troy Evans & Matt Cunningham are moving into the on-site residence from their trailer on Rose Hill near ours while Ben Breslin will maintain his own trailer in the Ruins area of the campground.

The core content of the email however was a warning that the change of ownership requires a new liquor license so the campground will be BYOB for a while, possibly the rest of this season. As a non-drinker, this affects me not at all but it will affect the boys' ability to get a spur-of-the-moment cocktail at the bar.

I also see the website has been updated. On the 'staff' tab, Matt & Troy are shown as the new owners but Ben isn't there: perhaps he's aiming to be more of a silent partner. I see Randy, the events coordinator & DJ, has been replaced. There's a new guy running customer relations & reservations. The rest of the staff largely seem unchanged.

The web site also has a new category under the cabin rental rates: low season, Sept 22 to April 2011. Typically, the campgrounds are closed from the end of October until the opening in late March or early April. It appears they are indeed trying to have the guest houses & rooms open all year long. I doubt the trailers will be available 12 months per year but perhaps the camping season itself might be extended to, say, an early March through mid-November season.

We're heading back to the trailer August 13-15... we'll have more news then I'm sure.
bjarvis: (Roseland Sign)
Last night, we received a weekly update email from Roseland Resort, the gay campground where we have a trailer in West Virginia. This was the first official communiqué in which the sale of the campground was announced. Troy Evans & Matt Cunningham are moving into the on-site residence from their trailer on Rose Hill near ours while Ben Breslin will maintain his own trailer in the Ruins area of the campground.

The core content of the email however was a warning that the change of ownership requires a new liquor license so the campground will be BYOB for a while, possibly the rest of this season. As a non-drinker, this affects me not at all but it will affect the boys' ability to get a spur-of-the-moment cocktail at the bar.

I also see the website has been updated. On the 'staff' tab, Matt & Troy are shown as the new owners but Ben isn't there: perhaps he's aiming to be more of a silent partner. I see Randy, the events coordinator & DJ, has been replaced. There's a new guy running customer relations & reservations. The rest of the staff largely seem unchanged.

The web site also has a new category under the cabin rental rates: low season, Sept 22 to April 2011. Typically, the campgrounds are closed from the end of October until the opening in late March or early April. It appears they are indeed trying to have the guest houses & rooms open all year long. I doubt the trailers will be available 12 months per year but perhaps the camping season itself might be extended to, say, an early March through mid-November season.

We're heading back to the trailer August 13-15... we'll have more news then I'm sure.
bjarvis: (trailer)
Trailer weekends are sadly all too rare this time of year. June is impossible for us because of square dance and pride day commitments but July gets better. Of course, July is incredibly hot so I’m actually spending more trailer time under the air conditioning.

And the weather was hot & humid this weekend. We could see lightning on the horizon most evenings but saw not a drop of rain until a torrential downpour and intense lightning & thunder Sunday morning, lasting about an hour.

There were minor moments of big drama this weekend to be sure. We discovered Friday evening that we forgot to pack any dressings for the dinner salad so we had to purchase some Italian dressing at the campground store. And we were out of olive oil for the grilled squash skewers Saturday night. Tragedy!

On a slightly more serious note, we did run out of propane for the barbecue when the enormous chicken breasts were only half-grilled. It took a little effort, but we took a propane tank from the trailer itself to finish cooking dinner.

In our leisure time, I was able to work some additional square dance choreography and do a little light reading. I could really use another two days to catch up on my various projects though.

Stargazing was less than optimal this trip. The full moon didn’t help. Upper atmosphere haze complicated matters. And the campground had a “Christmas in July” theme so many campsites were decorated and lit so brightly they could be spotted from orbit. Photos will be available later, if any of them look decent.

We did get some very good news this weekend, however: confirmation of a rumour that Matt & Troy, two regulars on the hill above our trailer, are purchasing Roseland Resort. The final papers haven’t been signed yet but it’s all over but for the notarizing. I hardly saw Daniel, the still-current owner, this weekend but I hope we’ll stay in touch when he moves on: he’s a great guy to know. I have high hopes for the new owners: as regulars, they’re familiar with our particular culture, have prior experience running businesses in Columbus, OH, and will be keeping the place open as a gay resort.

Troy also mentioned he’s looking to turn it into a year-round enterprise instead of seasonal. This makes a lot of sense: it’s a huge investment in facilities to use only 7-8 months per year. Of course, I’m sure he’s referring only to the cottages or primary guest houses rather than the trailers since there’s no way they could economically keep the various trailer paths cleared of snow or the water lines from freezing. In any case, there should be a big announcement coming up soon, probably well before the leases for trailer lots are up for renewal in September.

I’m writing this on my netbook in the minivan ([livejournal.com profile] kent4str is driving) on our return trip to DC. As we approach home, we’re getting word of a severe electrical storm earlier this afternoon which has killed the electricity to huge stretches of DC proper and Montgomery County where we live; the Pepco outage map is covered with huge stretchers of orange and red.. [livejournal.com profile] trulygrateful is at the house right now so we’ve told him via cell phones where to find the candles & matches if needed. Lord knows what the traffic lights will be like and whether the Metro is affected –something [livejournal.com profile] bearfuz may need to know in order to get home tonight.

More news as it develops!

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