Countdown to Christmas

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

With Thanksgiving past, we’re now counting down to our annual flight out west for Christmas. Until that time, however, it’s generally more work for Malcolm, and various day to day activities as shown in pictures, below.

Right after the Thanksgiving weekend, it finally rained more than a sprinkle here in Alabama. Most of the state has been in a severe drought situation and the ground has been dry and dusty. Other than about 1/10th of an inch of rain in October, this is the first real rain in the past two months. It is raining again as this is being written. Though the drought condition only dropped a notch, the long-standing burn ban was lifted several days ago.

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Some much needed rain.

After purchasing our vehicle, we sent off the required paperwork and a check to the tax office in Polk County, Texas (where we are “residents” via the Escapees club). They sent back new license plates and registration paperwork to us just a few days later. So now the Escape is an official Texas resident. (Next time we are in Texas, we’ll have to get both vehicles and the trailer inspected).

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Plates for the new car

We’ve really enjoyed having the smaller vehicle to drive around in. We’ve already put about 2,000 local miles on it (plus 400 miles traveling to and from Panama City Beach in November). That is 2,000 miles less on the truck and a savings of half of our fuel bill or better (the truck gets 14 mpg around town and the Escape about 26).

David called us after we got back to Alabama and asked if we could make more Buckeye candy for his fellow airmen. Val made up another batch and we took an afternoon to go meet him halfway (in Dothan, Alabama) to drop off the candy and to buy him lunch at Cracker Barrel. While there, we found a couple new Christmas albums in their store.

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New Christmas music

Speaking of Christmas candy, Malcolm was really missing having Bourbon Balls for a holiday treat. When Val’s grandmother was alive, she would give some to us each year. Malcolm decided to make his own this year. The recipe said it would make 24, but we ended up with 39. We gave out a bunch here in the campground as well as to our friends the Miltons. Malcolm made sure to take care of the rest.

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Bourbon balls cooling in the fridge

Val was busy last week getting all our various Christmas presents together and boxing them up to ship. We loaded them all into “Santa’s Sleigh” and hauled them the three miles to the Wetumpka post office to ship them out.

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Santa’s sleigh all loaded up

Speaking of Santa’s sleigh – after owning it for a couple weeks, we noticed that the speaker in the passenger front door had a bad rattle in it. Malcolm ordered a new pair of speakers from Crutchfield, which included specific wiring connectors for the Ford as well as extra mounting hardware, if needed. This was our only Black Friday/Cyber Monday purchase since the speakers were half price. The stereo sounds much better now.

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Speakers ready to install

We’ve been hit or miss, but have been trying to get outside and exercise more (see Bourbon Balls, above). Our daughter, Elizabeth, has been our remote exercise buddy and cheerleader. We’ll try to do better, especially after this current round of rainy weather passes.

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Hoofing it

Speaking of weather, we had a bit of a cold snap last week. Rather than keep unhooking our water and running off our pump each night (we had at or below freezing temperatures three nights), we decided to buy a short heated hose off Amazon. Malcolm hooked it up last Thursday morning as Thursday night’s low as forecast to be in the upper 20’s. The campground staff had recently insulated the pipe and faucet area. The hose did really well, although 28-29 degrees for a few hours in the morning is not really a hard test.

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New heated hose

Other than those highlights, we’ve generally just been doing boring day-to-day stuff. We’ll be traveling to Nashville this coming weekend for Malcolm’s company Christmas party. We’ll be staying in a hotel and leaving the trailer behind in the care of friends here.

The weekend after we’ll be flying out to Seattle for the Christmas and New Year holidays. David plans on coming up during part of that time and will probably use the trailer for sleeping quarters. Otherwise, we’ve got several friends here at the campground to watch over everything for us.

 

 

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