Saturday, January 30, 2010

Winter Weather In South Carolina

These are photos of the weather we woke up to this morning at the Flower Mill RV Park. The snow, sleet and rain moved into the area about 6 P.M. yesterday and continued throughout the night.

Conditions like this are rare for South Carolina, so there is no traffic on the roads and the landscape is unusually quiet. Happily, we have not lost power and plan to do nothing today except bake bread and enjoy the view.

copyright 2009-2010 Lane A Geyer
photos by Deb & Lane

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Sounds Of Silence

Two postings ago I wrote about the pleasures of a quiet place like the Flower Mill RV Park here in Taylors, SC. One of the greatest gifts we have been given over the past eight months is the opportunities to stay in places that are devoid of constant human noises.

We have stayed in campgrounds that are as far off the grid as one can get; places like Beaver Springs Lake Campground in upstate New York or Skidaway Island State Park in Georgia where we had no TV signals or phone connections and really didn't care. After managing, and living in, a forty room resort in Hollywood, FL for three years it has been nice to enjoy the sounds of nature as opposed to street traffic or idiots knocking on our door at 3 A.M. asking if we had change for the soda machine. Now we fall asleep to the sounds of loons on a high mountain lake, awake to the shrills of hawks flying in a clear morning sky and to the songs of chickadees, titmice, cardinals, blue jays and other birds at the feeder outside our window.

There is much to be said for silence. While our lives may never be truly without noise, there is a huge difference between human noise and the sounds of nature. Even with the sounds of wind in the trees, the songs of birds or the cries of coyotes on a cold, clear night a sense of silence still prevails. Within that silence there is a great space for the spirit to rest, grow and mature.

This paraphrase by Mother Teresa best captures what we have found in quiet spaces: We need to find Spirit, and it cannot be found in noise and restlessness. Spirit is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...We need silence to be able to touch souls.

copyright 2009-2010 Lane A Geyer
Photo by Deb

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Road Tested: Grilled German Bratwurst

It is a very rainy, damp day here at the Flower Mill RV Park in Taylors, SC. It's the kind of weather where I look forward to the aromas of a warm meal being prepared.

Here is another recipe we have found works well in an RV kitchen. It can be easily completed with only an electric skillet and toaster oven.
  • 4 bratwurst
  • Cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 can (12 oz.) beer of choice
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. onion salt
  • 1/2 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 4 frankfurter buns


  • Cook bacon until crispy, crumble and set aside for topping.
  • Brown bratwurst in cooking oil over medium heat in electric skillet.
  • Add onion and beer with bratwurst, then simmer uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • While brats are simmering, stir together butter and onion salt and spread on buns.
  • Make a lengthwise cut in finished bratwurst to within 1/2 inch from each end. Spoon in drained onion and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Place filled bratwurst on foil "boat", leaving sides open.
  • Broil in toaster oven, 4 inches from heat, for two minutes.
  • Place in buns, top with crumbled bacon and serve.

For a different flavor, this recipe can also be done ahead of time and completed with final heating over a charcoal grill. Just place filled bratwurst on a baking sheet and bring to heat under covered grill. It does not take long to bring them to heat, so be careful that the bottoms don't burn.


copyright 2009-2010 Lane A Geyer

photo by Lane

Monday, January 18, 2010

In Praise Of Smaller RV Parks

In Praise Of Smaller RV Parks
It is a glorious day here in Taylors, SC. Temps are in the low 60s, the sun is warm in a cloudless sky and we are loving it! After several months of cold weather it is nice to have the door and overhead vents open again. We know there are still chilly days ahead, but for today it is a blessing to feel a touch of Spring.

Our stay here at the Flower Mill RV Park has turned out to be longer in length than anticipated, but in hindsight has proven to be a blessing. The park is close to my parent's home and, although basic in amenities, has provided everything we need. While there are no bathhouses we have full electric and sewer hookups, over 70 channels of cable TV, free wifi access and numerous shopping areas within a very short drive. The best part is the rate is only $250.00 per month plus electricity. We were amazed that, even with two space heaters running almost constantly last month, our total electric charge was only $16.00. All things considered, for all it lacks in amenities, this place has been comfortable with friendly neighbors, inexpensive and provides a feeling of home.

That being said, the Flower Mill RV Park would not be a preferred stop for the usual RVers seeking an on-site store, swimming areas or family activities. Most sites are not level and poorly drained. This park is maintained as a place for long-term or permanent stays at a reasonable price. It does not pretend to be anything else and should be appreciated for what it is; a quiet place in a wooded setting with no hassles.

After staying in fifteen RV campgrounds - both state and private - over the past seven months we have come to appreciate the difference a smaller place like this provides. While the larger places may have their added "extras" they also can be noisy, crowded and overpriced. A lot can be said for a small campground with just the basics. It is a welcome change to look at the trees outside our window and the numerous birds at our feeder, not to mention the friendly waves from our neighbors, instead of RVs packed together like sardines. Sometimes simple is best.

copyright 2009-2010 Lane A Geyer
photos by Deb

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Road Tested: Spicy Southwestern Spaghetti

Here is another recipe that can be easily prepared in an RV kitchen using only an electric skillet and electric burner. It's tasty, reheats well and saves us on LP costs.

Spicy Southwestern Spaghetti

  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 lb. lean ground sirloin
  • 1 lb. thin spaghetti
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. worchestershire suace
  • 1-2 tsp. chipotle Tabasco sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 28oz. can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (i.e. Muir Glen)
  • 1 15oz. can tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shredded cheddar cheese and chopped scallions (to taste for final topping)


  • Cook spaghetti in boiling salted water, drain and set aside.
  • In electric skillet over medium-high heat, brown chopped bacon then drain on paper towel and set aside.
  • Remove bacon grease from skillet, reserving 1 tbsp.
  • Brown ground sirloin in reserved grease until cooked and crumbled, drain and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in skillet, then saute onions and garlic until translucent.
  • Return ground sirloin to pan. Stir in worchestershire sauce, chipolte Tabasco sauce, crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add drained spaghetti, mix well, bring heat to low and simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until thickened.
  • Serve in pasta bowls topped with chopped bacon, cheddar cheese and chopped scallions.


copyright 2009-2010 Lane A Geyer

photo by Lane

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Keeping Busy & Staying Warm

I normally do not like going so many days between postings when we have a reliable wifi connection, but life has a way of constantly proving that change is inevitable.

On December 30th my Mom was once again rushed to the hospital by ambulance because of heart problems. She was there for three days while doctors adjusted her meds and recalibrated the settings on her defibrillator implant. Happily, she is now resting well at home without further complications.

Needless to say, since that day Deb and I have been busy with trips to the hospital and, after her return home, helping around their house. Most of this week was a blur of leaving early each morning to spend time with Mom while Dad was taking care of business in Gatlinburg, TN. Because of the cold weather, I returned to our current spot at the Flower Mill RV Park each afternoon to keep the unit warm while Deb helped Mom with cooking and cleaning. Although it's been a hectic schedule, we both feel blessed in having the time to give whatever support is needed without other obligations or distractions.

Wintertime and RVs do not mix well, which is why our original plan was to be further South by this time of year. Most models are designed for Summer weather and staying warm in an RV when temperatures dive below the freezing point can be a challenge. As it turns out, we would not be any warmer in Florida than we are here in Taylors, SC right now. While it's meant a daily routine of keeping the chill out of the interior, we have enjoyed constant warmth even during nights when temps. have fallen into the teens.

We have a furnace in our unit, but choose not to use it for a very good reason; RV furnaces are notorious energy wasters. Just stand outside an RV when the furnace is on and feel the heat blowing out of the exhaust. That is wasted propane. Instead, we use two space heaters that have proven very reliable. We cannot keep them running when we are gone, but they heat the space quickly while using very little energy. With almost constant use last month, our total electric charge was only $16.00.

We have decided to stay here for another month and look forward to warmer weather. Until the next post, we wish everyone warmth and happy travels.

copyright 2009-2010 Lane A Geyer

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Both Deb & I hope it's the best year for you; one filled with love, happiness and good journeys.

As I look back on the past year it is amazing how drastically our lives have changed. One year ago today we were co-managing a 40 room resort in Hollywood, FL and had no idea we would be parked at the Flower Mill RV Park in Greenville, SC today. The best decision we made over those months was to jump into the full-time RV lifestyle. It has brought peace, joy and unexpected discoveries.

I am either growing more cynical or wiser with each New Year Day, but I've given up on resolutions; they just seem to be goals most people undertake that set themselves up for self-defeat. The one thing I have absolutely learned over the past six months is that each day is a new beginning. Why dedicate only one day each year to make resolutions towards being a better person when everyone has the freedom to do that each and every day?

Who knows what the year ahead will bring. All we can strive for is to not miss the blessings along the way and be willing to embrace whatever may come to the fullest potential. To paraphrase motorcycle racer Bill McKenna: Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out and proclaiming, WOW, WHAT A RIDE!!!

copyright 2009-2010 Lane A Geyer
photo by Jim Geyer