Sunday, August 11, 2013

Rainy Weekend

Friday we drove to Ashland, VA to the Bear Island Paper mill where Ted had arranged a tour for us.  We were met by Laura who did a fantastic, informative, almost two hour tour for just us.  I could take pictures but not post them to the internet so no photos!  Ted has been to mills all over the country and Canada and I have been to the mill at Augusta, GA, but Tom and Eileen had no idea how paper was made. 

We started in the wood yard and saw the tree trunks being put into the debarking drum.  That debris is used to create steam used in production.  Then the bare logs are chipped.  Some chips are purchased and kept in a separate pile.  Next we went to the recycling and de-inking shed.  There were 1000s of bales of recycled content being pulled apart and "fluffed."  It is pushed into a trough and mixed with water and a surfactant to clean the fibers and remove the ink which rises and comes off in a scum.  At the end we saw the reject matter tumbling out.  That ends up in a landfill.

How the fibers are treated, cooked and bleached until it is pulp and usable was explained in all the labs.  Many factors are monitored constantly and eventually the wet pulp is put on a nylon screen and water starts being removed.  It moves along the screen for 300 feet getting drier and drier.  Eventually it goes through four rollers called the calendar to remove the last of the water and smooth the sheet.  Then it is wound into a 300 inch by 90 inch cylinder and is cut in widths to accommodate customer needs.  It is wrapped in brown paper with end tabs glued on and marked for shipment to specific customers.  

It was really hot Friday and even hotter in the mill but we sure enjoyed our day there.  I had a meatloaf in the crockpot so dinner was ready when we got home.

We decided we would see "The Millers" on Saturday, then go to church and finally eat dinner out.  The manager here and Ted have gotten friendly and he recommended a new restaurant called The Two Drummers."

The language in the movie was again terrible and the subject matter tasteless in a lot of places but it was laughing out loud funny.  A comment about "a hot dog down the hallway" had me almost in tears.  There was a scene inside a camper and I couldn't tell if I was hearing rain and thunder from the screen or outside.  When the movie went off and the lights went out, I had my answer. We sat for about 10 minutes until it came back on.  When we left we could see where a terrible storm had gone through.  There was debris in the streets and trees snapped off in the campground and church parking lot.  Thankfully we had no problems at the RV except our director chairs got wet and muddy. 

We went back to St. Olaf Church and the usher who recommended Rick's Grille last week remembered us and asked if we went and if we liked it.  We felt very welcome there.  We had a deacon give the sermon and he was not as interesting as the priest was last week.  But his subject matter, count your blessings, certainly is an appropriate one. 

We found our way to the restaurant and ordered the family combo.  We had ribs, pulled pork, chicken and brisket.  This was accompanied by collard greens, hush puppies, beans and cole slaw.  All was good except I thought the chicken overcooked and "mushy."  The others agreed with me.  Everything else was gone and we all enjoyed it.  I had two glasses of great sangria!

Today rain was predicted and Eileen was cooking a chuck roast in her new crockpot under my tutelage.  She has never used one as much as I do and sees the ease of having dinner ready when you come home so she is trying some of my recipes.  It turned out great and we had another good dinner.  

Midday she and I went to the nail salon in Walmart.  We got the works - hands, feet, eyebrows, etc.  it was a nice relaxing afternoon.  Afterwards we picked up a few groceries and returned home to finish up dinner.

I think we will hit some of the shopping areas around here tomorrow that we have driven past for the last two weeks.  Ted and Tom did a lot of departure check up work today so tomorrow will be easier.  Tuesday we head to an overnight stop in Lumberton, NC on our way to Jacksonville.


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