Camping, Camp Cooking, Campfires, Dog Training, Friends & Joy

Camp kitchen and my embarrassingly smoky campfire!

Some days are just perfect.  Like today.  Sunny, brisk, energizing… and filled with the sheer joy of living!

I don’t take days like this for granted.  They are too special — too precious!

I thought that these little fleabane flowers looked like a bridal veil against the brush.

When we first started camping, we had a campfire every night.  It was just a part of the camping experience.  But since we get out so often, it is no longer necessary most of the time.  Some nights there are other things we want to do besides tend a fire.

Today was different.  My first hint was wondering what the neat little cache of paper towel rolls, empty cracker boxes and other cardboard was doing on the counter.

“To help start the fire,” Ron explained.

So I put fire building on my to-do list for the evening.  🙂

Hanging deadwood for fire starting

I had planned to grill dinner this evening.  But the thought of having to clean the grill was more than I wanted to deal with.  One of my blog readers from Florida told me that soaking the grill overnight in water with a dryer sheet added to it would loosen the most stubborn baked on grease.  She tried it on some of her oven ware and it worked.  So that’s definitely something I will do later.  I can’t do it here, though, because I don’t have a container that the grill rack will fit into flat.  But when I get home, I will try it.

Chicken breast strips cooked in olive oil with garlic and spices.

Anyway… instead of grilling this evening, I decided to cook chicken breast strips on the stove.  It was quick, easy, tasty, and the cleanup was a breeze.  All that was needed to complete the dinner was heat a can of green beans and open a deli carton of potato salad.  Sweat-free camp cooking!

Ron injured himself today.  He went to look for hanging deadwood down by the lake to help start the fire.  He found some he wanted up on the bank and thought he would be able to reach it with his hiking pole to steady him.  Instead he fell — onto rocks.  He bruised his hip and got some nasty scrapes on his arm.  He had fallen into red clay mud and was a mess.  So I got him in the shower, cleaned his scrapes and bandaged them, then gave him Aleve.  We think he’s going to be fine… just is stiff and sore this evening.

Tree roots down by the lake

All that to say is that I got to take Sheba on all of her walks this afternoon and evening… which I really enjoyed… because Sheba is starting to learn a few manners… finally!!!

My first hint that something was changing was, after jumping all over a woman who made the mistake of wanting to pet her, I told Sheba to SIT.  Instantly she looked at me and her little butt hit the ground.  I was shocked!  Progress!  Of course it didn’t last long, but I praised her to the sky.

Tree roots stretching over rocks

On the next walk, we passed by a Dad and his two little boys.  Sheba tugged on the leash and wagged her tail furiously, but made no effort to lunge toward them!

Then, on the way home, three deer ran across the path.  Sheba got very excited, but not the out-of-control excitement that she usually displays.

So I think my little dog-girl is showing some very encouraging signs of eventually being trainable!  😀

Today is the last day of this camping trip.  I’ve been reminiscing about the wonderful people we met this trip.  The high point of the Cherokee rally was meeting Lynne in person.  I had previously only known her through her blog, Casita in the Desert; Casita in the Mtns.  Once in a while you meet a person that you just click with and feel instant friendship with.  That’s how I felt about Lynne.

I am always intrigued by rocks that are aligned differently from the ground and wonder what long ago forces pushed them up at that angle.

And what was amazing is that she was going to surprise us and camp here at Lake Allatoona with us this weekend… only there were no sites available.  But she’s going to be at the Ft. Pickens rally in December so we’ll see her again then (if not before)… and probably at the Green Eggs & Ham rally in Alabama in March.

Another special person I met at the rally was Lois from West Virginia.  I sat at her dinette in her Casita and felt so comfortable chatting with her.

And then there was Jean, here at McKinney Campground, who gave me such helpful tips on how to train Sheba, and was so non-judgmental at my puppy mother ineptitude!

Our campfire this evening

My life has not always been happy.  There were some really tough times in the past.  But in recent years I’ve felt peaceful and content much of the time.  And there are increasingly frequent times of sheer joy.  Camping in our Casita with Ron has contributed greatly to that, and I am so grateful for all the opportunities it has opened to us.

Life is so very, very good!

Thanks, God!  🙂

Cherokee to Lake Allatoona

Pretty impressive drive for a flatlander Florida native!

On the way to the rally in Cherokee, I didn’t take any photos.  Mainly because it was my first experience with twisty, winding, steep, two lane roads bordered on one side by mountains and on the other side by white water churning just feet from my window.   I was a nervous wreck!

However, since I knew what to expect, the drive back was simply awesome.  Unfortunately, the white water was on Ron’s side and I didn’t get any good photos through the windshield.  But the mountain scenery was glorious!

We are at Lake Allatoona again this evening.  It is so beautiful and so peaceful.  We’ll be here for 7 nights, then head back home until we leave for Florida in November.  I’ll post pictures of the campground tomorrow.

And, as promised, I’m posting a photo of Scott and Allison and family with their new Parkliner.  It is so much fun to see a young family with a new camper and think of all the camping experiences and memory-making adventures that lie ahead for them.


I hope we see them at other rallies.  It was so nice to see little ones being exposed to camping and hopefully a lifetime of enjoying the outdoors.

Scott, Allison & Family with their new Parkliner at the Cherokee rally

The Cherokee Rally – Day 2

Our campsite

The Egg Parade today was fantastic!  It is hard to believe how people can take such similar trailer interiors and turn them into unique, creative, living spaces perfectly suited to their way of camping, traveling and living. We ended up having about 30 trailers show up.

The campground’s mountain background

One thing I definitely plan to copy is Jean’s battery drawer mod which allows the battery to slide out to be serviced instead of having to manhandle the battery to the ground — and back — to check the water levels.

And, after sitting at the dinettes in 3 different trailers, I realized how much I miss a dedicated dinette.  I will keep our twin beds, but I will always probably feel a twinge of envy at others who have a place to sit, prop their elbows, and visit over.  My little table works fine for us, but it’s not quite the same.

The legendary Shorty!

Right before dinnertime, a very nice young couple with two small children and two dogs pulled in and parked next to us — with a new Parkliner!  They had picked it up at the factory today and driven directly to the rally.  Needless to say, they were swamped with visitors before they could even set up.  I heard someone say there have only been 15 Parkliners built so far.  I’ll try to get some good photos of them tomorrow morning.

We enjoyed the potluck this evening.  I would have liked to stay for the music afterwards, but today was a big day for me and I was exhausted.  So we walked the dogs and I propped up in bed with my puter by 8:30 this evening.  Feels so good to begin to unwind!

Steve and Jean

We would like to leave for Lake Allatoona early tomorrow morning, but I doubt we will get out as early as we’d like.

The potluck

A couple of cute 13 footers

The fresh-from-the-factory Parkliner



Our First Rally — Cherokee, NC

A few of the little fiberglass eggs at the rally

It is so much fun to be camping with so many other little fiberglass trailers.  I’m not sure how many are here, but I would guess a couple of dozen.

The little stream behind our trailer

I finally got to meet several people who I had known as just usernames on the fiberglass boards.  Lynne, whose blog I love following, and her husband David.  Jean, who travels with her two small dogs and has done so many fantastic mods, Wilco (Steve) who is as much fun in person as he is on the boards, along with lots of others whose names kind of run together for me right now.  I’ll try to get them straight tomorrow.  🙂

Joe fishing for trout

Tomorrow is the Egg Parade, where we get to see the interiors of everyone else’s trailers.  I got a sneak peek inside Lynne’s beautiful little 16′ Casita today (which made me realize how much I really miss a dedicated dinette), a gorgeous Scamp 13 Deluxe and a 13′ UHaul with a fireplace today.   So I can’t wait to see inside the others!

…and three trout

There’s a crystal clear, bubbling stream running a few feet behind our trailer.  It’s a happy, peaceful background sound.  I wish it was warm enough to sleep with our windows open so we could listen to it at night when we are inside.

The high point of our day was following Lynne and David to a nearby waterfall.  I had Sheba pull me up the steep steps to the short trail to the waterfall, which made the climb a lot easier. 🙂

Our biggest problem has been controlling Sheba when she is around other people.  She insists on lunging toward — and jumping on — every person who gets within leash range.  Holding her back is a major job.  It will be a relief when she outgrows puppyhood!

The waterfall

Lynne and David

… and Sunny and I

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