bjarvis: (Default)
The past half-month has been a bit of a blur, but it's been good for the most part.

We spent Labour Day as planned at the trailer in West Virginia. All five of us were there, [profile] kent4str, [profile] cuyhogarvr and me, along with co-trailer trash Jerry & David. It makes for a crowded trailer and not a great deal of isolated rest, but it was fun nonetheless.

[profile] cuyahogarvr and I stayed at the trailer for the rest of Labour Day week. Outside of some moments of stress because of a dead car battery --it had a charge but was just shy of its 7th birthday so it didn't retain enough juice to start the car-- I caught up on some rest and reading. More precisely, I caught up on some self-study, working towards my eventual Cisco network certification later this year. Still, I could have used a few extra days to fully recharge.

Work has been active. Our team has been distracted from large outstanding projects by a surge in daily problems-of-the-moment. Not realizing the wave of minor things would run on for days, we didn't prioritize our tasks properly and it cost us some time, but this week we'll be more aggressive about it: a couple of our team will be dedicated to simply addressing the daily minor things while the rest of us attack the outstanding big projects.

That said, I did get two major projects off my plate and a third nearly completed by this past Friday. I'm confident our team overall will be back in a very good position again with in a week.

Spare time will be at a premium this coming week: the Mainstream class with DC Lambda Squares continues for another two Wednesdays, even as a new Mainstream class for Chesapeake Squares starts this Thursday. I have a club night with Chesapeake Squares this Tuesday, then a six hour calling marathon, Mainstream through Challenge-1, with the Times Squares in New York City this coming Saturday. I also have a board meeting with the Mid-Atlantic Challenge Association Sunday afternoon.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to all of these projects but it will require some heavy lifting for the next two weeks.

Vacation!

Sep. 3rd, 2013 12:24 pm
bjarvis: (Default)
I'm utterly delighted to report that I'm on vacation right now. While I've been at the trailer at Roseland Resort since last Friday, the vacation part didn't seem real until I set up the out-of-office auto-reponder for work. Now I'm blissfully plugging away on my laptop on my own personal projects without worry of distraction from more urgent work-related matters.

There were more than 750 people at the campground this weekend, a new record for the place. The staff are understandibly exhausted. The crowds were a little overwhelming for me so I was happy to stay close to or inside the trailer nearly the entire time. As an introvert, it's tough enough being available to the public, not to mention on a stage routinely, during weekdays: I come to Roseland to retreat from the world and recharge.

Nearly everyone cleared out of the campground on Monday. Currently, Wayne & JD are at their trailer, as well as the Bills in their trailer just below. Ron & Derwyn are here too, and another trailer further east of ours is occupied. That's the entire population of Rose Hill, our little neighborhood of the campground. There's perhaps a dozen other people scattered around the place. Wayne mentioned many of these remaining people were planning to depart today, further reducing the population. Yay for isolation!

I'm keeping busy though... I've finished four books, including a history of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a political piece on South Korea, and two books on team management. I've finally found time to catch up on some computer-based training courses I have on my computer, working towards an eventual Cisco certification. I finished one on Xen virtualization (not Cisco-related), and another CCNP-level Cisco course on network switch management. I'll start the next course when I'm finished with this posting.

Tomorrow morning, [profile] cuyahogarvr and I are heading to Cleveland overnight to tackle some minor business. We'll be back Thursday morning. Mercifully, it's only a four hour drive to Cleveland from the campground so it's not a big imposition into our vacation time.

There really isn't much else to report at this time, largely because I'm working very hard to ensure there isn't anything to report. The whole point of a vacation, after all, is to relax and let go of the mundane headaches of life in the real world. You'll let me know if something comes up, right?
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: (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)
Last Thursday, I did an all-nighter at the data center. It was scheduled maintenance, a complete site outage in which we would update our production software, upgrade the RAM in some servers, update the firmware in our storage array and shuffle some existing servers between various racks.

It didn't go exactly as planned.

While the RAM upgrades and software updates went well, there were some challenges. Two of the re-racked servers didn't reboot as they should. One had developed slight amnesia and couldn't locate its boot disk: that was quickly fixed. The other server's motherboard went bad but it was part of a cluster so we were able to run on reduced capacity until a replacement was installed Monday.

The storage array firmware didn't happen either. The upgrade process requires a fully functional array but as we were preparing to begin, we found there was a bad disk. Checking the logs, we found the array did try to tell us but because our service agreement had lapsed briefly while our finance dept quibbled about whether or not to renew it, the reporting mechanism which would automatically issue the work ticket was disabled. And while we did get a replacement disk before the night's maintenance window was out, we couldn't do the firmware upgrade while the disk RAID group was being reconstructed, a process which would take another 12 hours or so. sigh

I got to bed around 4:30am.

I nominally had Friday off work to recover. Later that morning, the guys placed me more or less vertically in the minivan and we headed to the trailer for the last camping season of the weekend.

The campground was very quiet: we had perhaps a dozen people attending. I had hoped the trees might have more leaves so I could photograph some fall foliage but they were nearly all barren, the bulk of the leaves taken down by the weight of snow the weekend prior. That snow had since melted away and despite that unexpected cold snap, our weekend was bright, warm and sunny. And I spent nearly all of it catching up on sleep.

I'm happy to report my Droid Bionic mobile phone works well at the campground in rural West Virginia. Having a working mobile phone and wireless Internet allows me to work from the trailer if I want a long weekend or need to deal with a work-related emergency. The campground is remote enough that most AT&T and Spring users have spotty voice access at best; while Verizon has better coverage there, not every model of phone can pull in sufficient signal to be reliable. My old Blackberry Storm worked well enough even if my old wireless broadband modem only worked if I was outside the trailer. It's a huge relief that my new phone and its mobile hotspot functionality seem to work solidly.

Winterizing and wrapping up the trailer was all very routine. It's always sad when another camping season comes to an end but we're planning to open early, possibly mid-March next year so the interregnum will be shorter this time.

We were home by early evening and the real fun began.
bjarvis: (Default)
Today is our last full day at the trailer this vacation. It's been a fun eight days here and I'm a little sad we have to return to the real world Sunday.

We completed a lot of small maintenance jobs: resealing the rear window and bathroom vent, cleaned out the heating and AC vents and lubricated the slide-outs and seals. The barbecue propane tank needs to be refilled but we'll do that at home before we return in October.

I've nearly finished my must-read list... I'm forcing myself to complete the rest tonight.

The last day... sigh.
bjarvis: (Default)
So far, our week-long vacation at the trailer hasn't exactly been what we hoped. At the same time, it's actually everything I had hoped for. Contradictory, but that's life.

It has rained here. A lot. OMG, it has rained. For three days. By definition then, we haven't gone out hiking, sat by the pool or spent a lot of time lounging on the deck. There are probably only 10 people in the entire campground at the moment because (a) it isn't a weekend and (b) the weather, but that largely means fewer distractions. Besides, I come here to relax in a modicum of isolation, not to party all hours of the day & night.

We also discovered the trailer roof leaks in two spots, now repaired. PITA.

I had thought of using various quiet spots around the campground to sit and read but the rain has scuttled that idea. I could still curl up inside the trailer to read.

So far, I've finished:
  • MongoDB
  • What Bugged the Dinosaurs
  • 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People
  • The Presentation Secrets Of Steve Jobs
  • Deep Space Craft
  • False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World
  • Amazon EC2
  • Elastic Beanstalk
  • Google Power Search
  • Rabies
  • IPv6 Essentials
  • Migrating Applications to IPv6


I've also obtained Evernote for my netbook, my Android tablet and my Blackberry Storm and have delighted in porting my misc small notes which have accumulated over the years. I've also watched three movies via my tablet, made some updates to my web site (mostly about dates for upcoming calling gigs), begun organizing another square dance caller workshop chez nous for Oct 29, kept up with a tonne of email, updating my latest to do list and made some minor online purchases.

I haven't read as many books as I had originally planned but we still have five more days here before returning to the real world so there's opportunity yet to catch up.

Verizon is releasing my dream telephone, the Droid Bionic, to the unwashed masses today but I won't be in line unless I drive to DC immediately. While in Moundsville, WV, yesterday, I asked the salescritters what the odds were of finding such a model in the area: she said they probably won't see one for another six months. Seriously, how do people live out here? Lord knows how long I'm going to have to wait when we do get back to DC next Sunday. I wouldn't be surprised if they're sold out & back-ordered for a while. *sigh*

Update: I've been able to order my Droid Bionic online, transferring my existing number and grandfathering in my unlimited data plan, as well as getting a $50 purchase discount and keeping my employer's monthly discount. And by adding wifi hotspot functionality, I can cancel my mobile broadband service too! Unless there's a severe back-order, my new beast should be waiting for me when I get home Sunday.

Update2: My phone has shipped already! I just got the email with the tracking number. Yay!
bjarvis: (Default)
Tomorrow morning, I'm heading to the trailer for a ten day vacation. I'm sure I'll be spending some time working on square dance choreo but I'm planning to spend the bulk of my time catching up on some professional development, technical skills and pleasure reading.

Here's a quick list of some of the eBooks I'm taking to read:
  • The Prehistoric Earth
  • A World Undone: The Story of the Great War
  • City of Fortune: How Venice Won & Lost a Naval Empire
  • Deep Space Craft: An Overview of Interplanetary Craft
  • False Economy: A Surprising Economic History
  • History of Scotland
  • Rabies
  • Thames: The Biography
  • The Ellipse: A Historical & Mathematical Journey
  • 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People
  • Elements of Influence
  • Effective Selling for the Small Business Owner
  • Javascript: The Definitive Guide
  • Mobile IPv6
  • IPv6 Essentials
  • IPv6 Security
  • Hadoop Installation
  • Programming Amazon EC2
  • Programming Android
  • The Ruby Programming Language
  • Fundamentals of Python
  • 4G LTE for Mobile Broadband


I have a few extras if time allows but this seems a pretty good list.
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!
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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