Sometimes we look at sights in nature but don't really see. While hiking in the woods the other day, it became a realization that we need to open our heart and eyes to see the beauty of the simple things in nature with each season. There is so much order and purpose in His creation. God has given us awesome beauty in this world to see and enjoy... if we would but stop to see and feel it. Join us as this blog is about stopping to see the real beauty around touch and feel it... "Through the Lens".

Our Friends

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Through the Lens

When we began full-timing 7 years ago we both bought relatively nice cameras to capture some of the things we would be seeing in this lifestyle.   Mike bought a Nikon D60 (remember this was a while back) and I got a Sony point and shoot.  We never realized at the time how much we would grow to enjoy photography.   We even changed the name of our blog to "Through the Lens."


Fast forward 7 years, we decided to revisit our enjoyment of photography.  We will be out in nature more with our Ollie (Oliver) and capturing those memories just makes sense.

 So after much research, Mike was finally ready to pull the trigger on a new camera.  There is a fantastic camera shop in Auburn, you don't see those much anymore, owned by a local resident that also happens to teach photography at Auburn University.

 He has talked with us all week about the various models and we all came to the conclusion that Mike would be happy with a Nikon 7100 with the Nikkor 18-140 and 55-300 lenses.  So yesterday the purchase was made.  John was so nice, he set the camera up, attached the filter and strap.  He then went over several settings and such.  He holds classes there at the camera shop so we will both be attending a few of those.  In the meantime, he encouraged us to call him or Henry if we are out and need advice.  So Mike will be trying different things in the uocoming week to get used to this new camera....learning it.



What did I buy?  Nothing yet!!  Getting the first one was a huge hurdle.  I will most likely get an entry level DSLR or another point and shoot.  I certainly don't have the knowledge Mike has about the DSLR.  Until then I'll use my trusty cell phone!!

One thing for sure, our blog has the perfect name....Through the Lens.  " Join us as this blog is about stopping to see the real beauty around touch and feel it.... "Through the Lens."


                   " A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera. "
                                                     Dorothea Lange

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


I forgot how scary really bad weather can be in an RV.   We had some real nail biting weather this past weekend here in the south.   Rains began Friday but by Saturday things were getting ugly.  Lots of thunder and lightning and tons of hard rain.  Along with that came the tornado watches.  A watch is just that...a watch.  Weather is conducive to a tornado so be on your toes.

It rained enough for this little creek to have a little waterfall

Early Saturday morning that watch went to a warning!!!  When there is a warning the sirens immediately go off.  The pole that houses the horn for the siren is just outside our RV.  Talk about falling out of bed and getting dressed quickly....we did.  We immediately headed for the bath house which is also in the inner circle of the campground loop we are in.
Bath house pic taken after the storms had passed

The most disturbing thing was nobody in any of the other RVs came out to go to the bath house.  I know the odds were in their favor that no tornado would come through the campground but you want to take that kind oif chance?  Especially when you can spend some quality time with your fellow campers in the men's room.

This scenario would repeat itself several times during the weekend.  Tornados did touch down in Auburn and Opelika and did create much damage.  AND....a tornado did come through Chewacla State Park and took the roof off of a mobile home.
I am happy to report that by Sunday the campers were taking shelter at the bath house.

Nobody in the campground was injured and the weather finally cleared up today.  In fact, this afternoon, the sun actually came out.  Boy was it nice to see that big bright beautiful ball of fire in the sky.
A pretty sight after 4 or 5 inches of rain in 3 days

I can't stress enough to stay safe and take these weather situations seriously.  An RV, no matter what it's size, is no match for a tornado, floods or extreme winds.  There are several really good apps for your cell phone such as...Weatherbug and Accu Weather to name a couple.  Many full-timers also have a weather radio such as the NOAA weather radio.  You should also know where to go in your campground if there is dangerous weather.

Take care and always stay safe!!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

It's the Little Things

What do you do in a very small mountain town when you have a few days to kill??  You start with a place to stay especially when your home is going to be in the factory.  The good folks at the Oliver factory paid for our stay at the Commodore Hotel.

The Commodore is located right downtown in the very quaint town of Linden, Tennessee.  We drove up Tuesday evening and noticed the sidewalks lined with trees covered at the bottom with tiny white lights.  Mike went in to register and when he came out he was smiling.  The lobby was like something from a time capsule. You could close your eyes an imagine Archie Graham from the movie Field of Dreams walking out the door and down the street.  I'll let the pictures paint the story.

The nice lady at the desk took us outside and to the corner adjacent to the main part of the hotel.  There we found a glass door entrance to a huge foyer that obviously housed the remainder of the Commodore Hotel.  This part had been purchased later and added to the existing hotel.  We opened our beautiful wooden door to a very large room....nicely appointed with a pencil post king bed, beautiful tiled bath and a kitchenette.  We also had a 32 inch TV with Direct TV channels.  Nice!!
The Commodore is a Linden landmark since 1939.

Across the street from the Linden is the Perry County Courthouse which was built in 1928.  The locals say the courthouse is a great meeting spot for all kinds of town activities.

Another day we did a little exploring at a nearby state park, Mousetail Landing.  It got its name during the Civil War period when an area tannery caught fire and the exodus of mice fleeing was so great that the area near the park became known as Mousetail Landing.
This park is located on the Tennessee River.  While we were there we saw this barge going down the river.  This is a nice area but the camping sites didn't impress us much.  A nice day use area though.

One day we decided to drive over to the small town of Centerville.  Centerville's claim to fame is the birthplace of Minnie Pearl.  Some may ask....who is Minnie Pearl?  She was a country comedian that appeared for 50 plus years at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.  She also appeared on the TV show Hee Haw for over 20 years.   Mike is from Nashville, Tennessee and just so happens his father actually knew Minnie Pearl.  She bought furniture from Pop for several years and I remember Pop saying what a fine lady she was.
So we excitedly set off  to see her birthplace . The only problem was we were a little late.  The old homestead burned down just a few years ago.  Not  wanting to waste a day we decided to eat lunch at a place called The Fish Camp.   Obviously known by the locals for their home raised catfish.  You can see their pond in the picture.  We opted for the BBQ which is also one of their specialties.  Unfortunately we had to picnic in the car because we were traveling with our furbaby, Nick, our little Shih Tzu.  The food was good and with our bellies full we made our way back home.

So how do you entertain yourself in a small mountain town in Tennessee?  You explore areas of this awesome country that you would not normally know about or see.  These places are just as much of what makes up our country as the big name places we all hear about.  It's all a part of the adventure!!!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Heading in the Wrong Direction

With the temperatures in the chilly range heading north is NOT the direction of choice.  Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

Several weeks ago after a major rain storm of several days Mike and I noticed a small leak at one of the side windows. Then we began to notice a leak on the other side.  Not a good thing at all for a brand new travel trailer the quality of the Oliver.  We called the factory and the service manager walked through several things with Mike and nothing seemed to work.  The only way to really fix this issue was to let the folks at Oliver put their eyes on the Oliver.  So off we went to Hohenwald, Tennessee to visit the mother ship.  



I can't begin to say enough good things about the people of Oliver Travel Trailers.  They have been there for us giving us a place to stay at the Commodore Hotel in Linden Tn.  More about that in another blog.  

They found a couple possible places that could have caused the leak.  In mounting the surround that houses the day/night shades a longer screw than necessary was used and it pierced the window.  

Also, the two outside lights above the windows were found to have some water behind them.  Instead of putting a bandaid on the issue Oliver decided to replace all of the double pane windows.

They re-caulked the lights and double checked all items on the roof and added more caulk if necessary.  If something needed to be done they did it.
I could be upset by all of this, after all it was a new trailer, but all things built by man can and does have issues.  They have never had this issue before and I believe them.  How do you say....Murphy's Law!!!

All is well that ends well!!  We picked up our Oliver and headed back to our site at Chewacla!!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Baby It's Cold Outside

Baby It's Cold Outside...But who do I need to tell this bit of information to?? The entire country has been blasted with cold and some with lots of the white stuff. No, I'm not talking about sand!! In our area, Auburn Alabama, it has only been the wet clear stuff called rain. we've gone from drought conditions to flash flooding conditions. If only we could just pace ourselves.

During the drought time last month, there was a fire ban at our current location, Chewacla State Park. That really disappointed Mike and I because we love to build a nice fire in the firepit, sit back and relax and just let the flames mesmerize us.  As soon as the ban was lifted we immediately built a fire. 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 33:14 

This verse came to mind as I was looking at the fire and the heat it was producing.  This verse helped me to walk through the fire of my cancer treatment.

Friday, January 6, 2017


Seasonal changes are so very visible in many ways, but there is one I never thought about.  Toward the end of fall, usually a dry season, in the first part of November Gerri and I were staying at Chewacla State Park and visiting our son.  We walked to the dam to see the waterfall from the lake…wrong.  It had been so dry for so long, there was no water coming over the dam.

November pic of water approaching the dam

January pic of water going over the dam

We came back to Chewacla for the holidays and walked down to the dam again…and boy what a difference the rainy season makes.

Man walking below the dam early November

Below the dam in January
Similar pic as above but I played with the film speed

Sunday, January 1, 2017


Most people take time to reflect on the past year on new years eve.  For us, it's been more than a year since we were active in this lifestyle.  A lifestyle we grew to love in the short time we full-time.  So perhaps a short reflection might be in order.

Where did we go?  We returned to a permanent home, a sticks-n-bricks as it is called by many.  We needed to take care of some family type things that we felt then and still do were God's calling.  
Much happened in those 6 years but to sum it up....God healed and all was taken care of.  

Why return to full-timing?  Now that explanation might be a little harder. The good part is those reading this will probably "get it."

Gerri was diagnosed with cancer August 2015. She underwent surgery and even though the pathology report was a great one with all margins clear and no lymph node involvement she underwent 12 chemotherapy treatments.  Those of you that have experienced chemo either personally or with a loved one know how difficult it can be.  We are happy to report she finished March 14th and all scans and blood work since has been clean and clear.  

Because life is short at its longest we decided that sitting in our home with little or no real activity was not a healthy idea.  We needed to be more active.  That is when the thought came to both of us to return to the RVing lifestyle.  Something we truly love and enjoy.  A place we can explore, hike and become more active with photography again.  After all, God's creation just screams to be photographed and shared.  

So, you know the rest of the story. We purchased an Oliver this time around to do our living and exploring in.  Yes, it is quite a bit smaller than our previous Dutch Star but it is an awesome little machine of double hulled molded fiberglass.  The good news, we haven't killed each other yet!