johnny December 30th, 2007
We hope everyone had a great Christmas. We spent Christmas with my parents in the middle of nowhere. Well, 10 miles or so outside of Boone, NC; but 10 miles is a long way in a place where everything is uphill both ways and not even the crow flies in a straight line.
As you can see from our Charlie Brown Christmas tree, Jenn, my brother and I went for a hike until we found something roughly Christmas tree shaped. The process of hiking in, choosing a tree, sawing it down and carrying it out took less time than the last tree we bought off a lot. It’s apparently a lot easier to choose a tree when you’re trying to convince yourself that something looks like a Christmas tree than when you’re trying to decide which Christmas tree is ‘best’. I’m not sure if we were completely on Dad’s land when we found this one, but I doubt the neighbor will miss it.
We spent the first couple of nights down on the road leading up to my parents place. We got in after dark the first night and weren’t brave enough to try the driveway. It’s something like a 30-40% grade and would have our rear jacks dragging if we hit it at the wrong angle.
We got lucky and Santa still found us way up in the hills. Jenn got a shiny new CB radio and I got an oxy-acetylene torch. Dad gave me a couple of quick lessons. Now, I can cut an almost straight line in metal and stick two pieces of metal together as long as it doesn’t have to be pretty.
I also got around to finally installing the new Wilson trucker antenna while we were up in the hills. After trying a few things and not being happy with any of them, I finally grabbed a handy C-clamp and stuck the EVDO antenna to the top of our TV antenna. Now it lays flat when we’re moving and has the highest profile possible when we’re stopped. All of that still wasn’t enough to get us an internet connection where we were though. Eventually, we moved the camper up the hill and finally got an internet connection. It dropped in and out, but we haven’t set up an amplifier yet. I think an amp on the antenna would have got us a pretty solid connection. If you look closely, you can see the omni-directional antenna mounted on the TV antenna. If you look REALLY closely, you can see the ugly red C-clamp holding it together.
We didn’t see any snow for Christmas, but we did go through a bottle of propane staying warm. And spent about a gallon and a half of gasoline keeping the batteries topped up for six days. I’m trying not to think about how much diesel fuel it took to go from Orlando to Boone and back, but we averaged about 10.5 mpg running 65 and 13 mpg running 58. Unfortunately, we were on the interstate. Instead of enjoying our driving time, we were barreling down the highway in traffic trying to deal with everyone’s schedule. Ah well… a few more months and we can make our own schedule.
We’re back in Florida for the New Year, but here’s one last view from the high country.