Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's A Small World

On Monday afternoon we took a walk around Williston Crossings Campground and met a nice couple with Giles County Tennessee tags. They were in an Everest. They were customers of Columbia Campers and we shared a few Jerry Jester stories. Later that night Wayne and I wondered if they might have been the first owners of Evie. We recalled some of the things they had said and began putting the puzzle pieces together. We took another walk today and saw them again. We told them we thought we might have their old camper and sure enough, we do! They are Jerry and Elaine Helton and they spend every winter here at the campground. They told us that our Evie had been here with them the winter before they traded her in October.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday, December 27th: A Day Trip

We signed on to stay another night at Williston Crossing RV Resort Campground so we'd have today to look around for a more suitable place. Driving out, I couldn't resist a photo of these two old Williston Police cars.

We selected two Florida State Park Campgrounds to see today: Manatee Springs in Chiefland was nearer what we like but the roads are dirt/sand and the roads into and out of the sites was just too narrow to try to manuver Big Ole Evie.

We returned to Chiefland and enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Bill's Barbecue.

Leaving Chiefland, we rode to Cedar Key, a place we've often heard about, particularly in weather reports, but had never visited. I took a few pictures of the area.

The other Florida State Park Campground was Rainbow Springs at Dunnelon but it was a scrubby, open design that we don't favor. The park is very nicely done though. It appears to have been recently created or renovated. We returned to Williston Crossings Resort around dark.

Williston, Florida - Saturday night 12/26/09

The Garmin Nuvi paid for herself this evening as we would have never found our way to tonight's destination at Williston Crossings RV Resort in Williston, Florida. The travel directory gave directions of 12 miles off I-75. In fact it was 17 miles followed by at least four turns through a neighborhood (some of it quite scary). This is a very "pristine" (to quote Wayne) place with a gated entry. We are in Site #525 at $33.30 total per day. It's a little to regimented for us though. We're going to unhook and drive around to some state parks today to see if we can find a more "rustic" campground. I'm really into campfires and we can't even have one here. I don't think we can even use the charcoal grill. The rules say, "NO FIRES" --

The weather is about 10 degrees warmer here than where we left on the panhandle yesterday. We can't escape the rain, though. It's overcast today and about 60 degrees. Better weather tomorrow, I think.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Lunch at Popeye's Chicken!

We couldn't resist chicken strips, beans and rice at Popeye's. So conveniently located right there in the TA!

Then back on the road with 149 miles to I-75 junction. What a life!

Finding Warmer Weather

Another good nights sleep, we woke to another cold morning. The sun is shining though and that's good. It's suppose to remain pretty cool all week so we decided to move along to try to find warmer weather. By 10:15 we were ready to roll. Ocala is our destination as we take I-10 east to I-75. We don't have a park or campground in mind... just going along our merry way.

We stopped at the Truckstop of America (TA) for fuel and lunch. I couldn't resist this photograph of Wayne under the "professional driver" sign coming out of the office.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Last night's rain made for good sleeping. We rustled sometime around 5 am, but fell back to sleep until 6ish. The rain seems to have passed, but sand has washed all around and splattered onto everything. Good thing we didn't get all the patio seating out last night. It's cool and still a bit cloudy but there are "sun sightings" occasionaly. The forcast is for better weather today but looks like a good chance there's more to come. Drat!

Mid-afternoon the sun came out for good and we took a long walk around the campground. There are very few campers but the campground is impressive by virtue of being spotless.

The Christmas '09 Holiday Trip

We awoke and rolled out of bed at 4 a.m. Christmas Eve. It was still dark. The camper had been loaded the day before so all we had to do is drive over and hook-up. The temperature was mild but sprinkles of rain were starting. They're ahead of severe rainstorm due to come all across the south. By 6:30, we pulled out of the storage lot to see the "red sky in the morning; sailors take warning". Using our new solar and wind-up weather radio we heard of wind warnings for high profile vehicles. A last minute check of the weather from Mobile Bay to Orlando indicates our best bet for sunshine is the panhandle of Florida, so we took I-65 south. We intalled and were using our new Garmin Nuvi. We came into Birmingham with only a few sprinkles on the windshield and no noticeable wind. The same as we drove through Montgomery and on down I-65. We took Exit 94 and traveled south on Al 41 through Brewton. That road turned into Fl 87 at the state line. We were heading to Blackwater River State Forest Campground. We turned east at Berrydale onto Fl 4. Wayne didn't have a good "gut" feeling about the 30-site state park campground with dirt roads. As usual his "gut" instinct proved accurate. The road was wet and muddy so we just drove right by. My first frantic search for a new destination using the Garmin (now named Nuvi) was nerve wracking. The Trailer Life Campground Directory showed two more campgrounds in the area and now we just had to find out how to get there from here. We always had good success using the map. He drives; I navigate. This system works but I miss all the local scenery. That's the reason for the GPS. After a few frantic minutes, I found the "lodging" button that magically showed the two campgrounds. We followed the Garmin directions: From Hwy 4 we turned right (south) in Munson onto Hwy 191 to Milton. At Milton we took US 90 east to Hwy 87 to I-10 where we traveled east to exit 45 going south to River's Edge RV Campground. It's about 2:30p.m. Still only sprinkles of rain. No downpours. We drove about 440 miles.

River's Edge is at the end of this road and it's to our liking; mostly shady, wide sites and without frills. At the office there's an "open" sign but no one is in the locked office. It is Christmas Eve, after all. The "after hours" instruct travelers to choose one of the available spots. We drove around the grounds (about 80 sites total) and were flagged down by the resident host who suggested Site #3. She told us to wait until we were set up to check in. It a pull-through with full 50 amp hookups for $24 a night. We chose it, pull in and set up. Sprinkles turn into raindrops as we get the water and electric connected.

Supper was ready by 5 and we enjoyed eating. Rain began falling more steady and soon fell in torents. After supper we settled in to watch some Christmas movies, but fell asleep in the recliners quickly.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Planning the 2009 Christmas Trip!

Looks like our Christmas / New Years trip is back on the drawing board! Within the last few working days, Wayne found the workload will allow him to be away after all. We've rekindled the idea of taking the winter trip.

There are some loose ends to tie at home, but we're thinking we'll get away by early morning of Christmas Eve -- maybe sooner.

Some problems are associated with taking a trip this time of year. The camper has been winterized and to replace the anti-freeze after the trip might be a problem. Most stores are out of it now. Another factor will be to take all the liquids and foods back after having just removed them a few weeks ago. None of that seems to matter to us. We're just so glad to escape the gloom of winter weather.

Not sure of the destination -- but it will be south!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pre-Christmas Weekend

Next Friday is Christmas and our shopping (actually online ordering) is finished. Saturday was rainy with a threat of snow. Sunday isn't much better. We plan to stay inside all day. The fireplace is warm, as I wrap gifts and Wayne prepares for the Titans - Dolphins game on tv. We're both snuggled into our Joe Boxer fleece and look a little like Mr & Mrs Michelin Man in navy blue. In this photo, Wayne is preparing Florida Chili we'll enjoy all afternoon. That's chopped chicken, great norther beans, onions and chicken broth. It's delicious. I made 4 pies from the wonderful pecans Helen sent for Christmas. Also delicious.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Preparation

The Grandchildren
Christmas 2008

Our Christmas shopping is finished; most done online to avoid traffic. Another thing I like about getting old is to just NOT DO things I don't like to do. We ordered an Ed Hardy shirt for Cole, an MP3 player for Harley and toys for Buddy. This will be the first Christmas we won't give clothes. Buddy hates getting clothes so he should be happy.

Because we're down to the bare minimum in home furnishings, we won't try to have our traditional Italian homecooked dinner this year. Instead, we'll have finger food and make a casual gathering. After all, we really had planned to be camping during the Christmas and New Years weeks. That plan was foiled by bank examiners and the extra work they have caused.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's Good To See Pink

We've been in hopes of taking a camping trip around Christmas but it looks like work will prevent that from happening. So.... with the weather looking worse; temperatures dropping to the low 20's with a snow/rain mix, we've reluctantly decided to winterize Evie. Yes, our fifth-wheel camper has a name.

Last weekend we made an attempt but were not successful. You see, the RV antifreeze is a noticeable pink color so you can see that it's going through the waterlines (and also so you won't drink it, although the maker swears it's not poison). I think the day we poured it in, there was already a little frozen water in the lines because the pump wouldn't. Pump that is.

But after temperatures rose over the freezing mark we tried again. We poured a gallon of water on the three gallons of pink stuff and turned the pump on while we held our breath. It worked. All spouts produced the foamy pink liquid.

That's the good news. The bad news is that we are probably stuck in the "brix and stix" house until spring. Ugh.

My Visit to the Dentist

Another pre-retirement item checked of the list. Dental checkups. We feel fortunate to have found a dental group we like. Doctors Brent Miller and Thomas Lokensgard at McKay's Mill here in Franklin. I went in for a routine cleaning and to chat with the dentist about his recommendations to be sure my teeth are healthy for the long term. We decided the old silver fillings had to go. They would be replaced by nice, new, white resin ones. Seven really needed to be changed. Two more weren't too bad. I'd come back Wednesday morning early to get it done.

On arrival Wednesday morning, I decided to go ahead and get all nine fillings replaced. It took about 2 hours and at least five of those really nice injections somewhere between my gums and lips. When I left, I couldn't speak and wouldn't regain that ability until nearly dinnertime. A "mirror check" was frightening. My mouth drooped uncontrollably.

I finally took aspirin and went to bed. Yes, to bed. Not just a couch nap;
I mean getting up under the electric blanket in the darkened bedroom. When I awoke at 4:15, I could form words but the tenderness in my right jaw had begun to show signs of brusing. I enjoyed a nice cup of bean juice and soft biscuits for supper.

Today, Thursday, I can eat soft food but the bruise on my right jaw is really big, dark and sore. Wayne's been sympathetic because he knows his appointment is on Monday.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Iron Bowl - Game Day

Friday, November 27, 2009. Auburn, Alabama

Game time is 1:30 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Cam and Wayne go to the game but the crowd is too big for me and Amy stays at the campsite with me. While I alternatively stoke the campfire and sip hot tea, Amy finishes a book she's reading for her book club. We both take naps.

The satellite signal went out and we caught glimpses of the game from a neighboring campsite. It was a much more exciting (and close) game than most 'bama fams had expected.

Wayne and Cam were back just before dusk and both were cold and tired. We ate Italian Sausage Ziti for supper before Cam and Amy left for the long drive home. Cam has a gig with Showgoat Saturday night and Amy will go antiquing with her Mom.

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Thanksgiving 2009 Iron Bowl Weekend

Wednesday, November 25 - Sunday, November 29

We left home around 1:30 Wednesday afternoon for our Thanksgiving trip to the lovely village on the plain.

Driving in heavy traffic along I-65, the sun was warm and we enjoyed the ride.

Suncoast RV in Calera, Alabama was our overnight destination where we had another good nights sleep. It was really cold the next morning (Thanksgiving Day).

The photo here was taken to show Wayne just how his new "bug-eye" sunglasses look.

When we arrived in Auburn on Thanksgiving morning -- before lunchtime -- the Fish Biodiversity Lab field was already filled! We found a space in which to sqeeze Big Evie near our usual spot and set up camp. The day was warm and sunny again.

Thanksgiving dinner of Publix Deli roast chicken was delicious!
Late Thursday evening, Cam and Amy arrived!

They slept on our "not-so-comfy" pull-out sofa.
Hey! Amy! Surprise

Gameday (Friday) warmed to the mid-60's. We enjoyed a campfire. Cam and Amy took a very long walk from the field to campus and back.