Home Away From Home

Home Sweet Home

Got up around 7:00 and Jerry had been up for some time. I must have been sleeping harder than I thought because he had closed the door and though I usually hear that I didn’t this morning. We had coffee and then started getting ready to leave. The first order of business was putting the car on the dolly so out I went in my robe, not an unusual sight in a campground from what I’m told. While he strapped the car down I started storing everything away and then got my shower. We pulled out about 9:10 on our way to – well, we aren’t sure. After talking to Steve and Sue last night I decided that Pedro’s Campground at South of the Border would be an ok place to stay so that was our intent. This morning I started thinking about it and realized that we should be there around lunch so suggested to Jerry that we may want to go on to Raleigh and stay at Plemmons tonight.

Passing the Florence exit at 12:15 so don’t know what the plans are. Even though we’ve been accused of and admitted we are fly by the seat of your pants people some of this trip has been a bit adventuresome even for us. Every other trip we’ve been on we’ve had it all plotted out, where we’d stay each night, etc. Neither the beginning nor the end of the trip had those parameters this time. Guess we’re stepping out!

Stopped for lunch when we got gas at Hess in Latta, SC. Gas was $1.81. Unfortunately we only got 7 miles to the gallon. Driving 60-61 rather than 55 makes a big difference!

1:10 and we’re on our way to Bill Plemmons. Going to miss South of the Border this trip! Wonder what he’s got planned for the rest of this day. Umm……

Got in Raleigh a little after 3:00, checked the rig in and transferred all of our clothes and food to the Avalon. Yep, we looked like a packed rat when we left. Got home around 6:00 after stopping in Snow Hill at Food Lion for orange juice.

Ah – home sweet home. Thank you Lord! Time to start planning our next trip!

Home Away From Home

A Day in Savannah

After a poor night of sleeping (think I apparently drank too much decaf tea) I got up about 7:00. We had already decided that we would get up and out this morning to begin our day of touring Savannah so after coffee and breakfast we left around 9:30. Gypsy took us right straight to the Visitor’s Center/Trolley Stop with no problem – no going down a one way street the wrong way! When we got there a trolley had just left so we had to wait a few minutes. They are scheduled every 20 minutes. Jerry went into the Visitor’s Center to get a package of M&M’s for me to carry in my purse just in case he had another sugar drop today. The biggest difference in the trolley tour in St. Augustine and the tour in Savannah is the distance covered. The tour in St. Augustine was shorter and walking between the stops wasn’t a problem. The tour in Savannah is much longer and covers a lot of area so we had to be sure we got off and on when we wanted to. If we missed a stop we just missed it. Walking to another stop wasn’t an option and neither was riding the trolley for a long time to get back to where we wanted to go so Monday night we sort of picked out some of the stops we were most interested in.

The first stop was the City Market. We got off there and went to the trolley store. They had several things we were interested in but didn’t want to buy anything and carry it around all day. One thing was a scallop appetizer dish that was on sale but we decided we would try to come back in the car after the tour. Right! That might happen. We went into a Thomas Kincaid gallery and his pictures are really pretty and affordable, in fact a small framed picture was only $89. I can surely see why he was called the painter of light. We went in one room where we looked at the changes in the painting as the lights were dimmed. Amazing!

We wandered around for a bit longer finding a chocolate shop that smelled incredible. We were able to resist though so left still having our good intentions to cut back. As soon as the next trolley came we jumped on. We were fortunate to be sitting in the front where the “windows” were pulled down so we weren’t in the open air. It was a little cool for that! We rode by the Juliette Gordon Low Birthday and the Chippewa Square which was famous not only for the Chippewa but also because that’s where Tom Hanks sat on the bench when the feather came floating down from the steeple of the Independent Presbyterian Church in the movie Forest Gump.

Forsyth Park was next and that is where the Confederate and Spanish-American War Memorials are. The soldier on the Confederate statue was made in Canada and the stipulation was that it should not touch Northern soil so it was shipped by sea to Savannah.

We rode by the house and the attorney’s office that were significant in the The Garden of Good and Evil. I read the book years ago but can’t really remember any of it so may try to re-read it since I can now picture the places where the events occurred.

We got off the trolley and walked to the Mickva Israel Synagogue. We caught the tail end of a tour so we listened to that and then went into the “chapel” – not sure what it’s called – and it was amazing. We listened to a taped explanation of the temple and then the tour guide took us up on the altar. We saw a Torah that was written on deerskin in the 2700’s. There were plaques around the room with lists of names. Some of the names had lights on beside them and that indicated that it was the anniversary of their death. The latest date I saw was 1953. The columns throughout the church appear to be marble but they are cast iron painted faux marble.

We walked to Lafayette Square on our way to the Cathedral and decided to have lunch there. Yep, Adkins bars and water again. Jerry was getting a little shaky so after the bar he also ate the M&M’s. He’s been eating the Ezekiel cereal each morning for breakfast and it has absolutely no carbs so that may be the reason he’s having a sugar drop. As soon as the sugar got into his system he felt fine so we went on to the Cathedral.

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
I wish I could think of one word that could describe the Cathedral but I can’t. I heard one guy use “spiritual” and “awesome” and they both fall short. To say that it is a beautiful church is a great understatement. The Baptismal Font is just as you enter the chapel and is Italian Marble. The Latin inscription transcribes “He who sent me to baptize with water, he is it who baptizes with the Holy Spirit”. On either side of the church hanging on the wall are wood carvings from Bavaria called the Stations of the Cross depicting different stages of Jesus’ last days. The Confessional was on the left side of the church. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThree glass panels depicted a barren desert representing sin, the Prodigal son representing forgiveness and the Tree of Life representing new life. It was closed and apparently very private. Never having been in a Catholic church before it was interesting to me to see the confessional and the altar where the candles are lit. The church itself is magnificent with outstanding architecture. Only pictures could give the true picture as my words fail miserably.

We got back on the trolley and rode down Rainbow Row. The houses are all alike except for the color which varied in pastel colors. Houses in the Historical District cannot even paint their doors a different color without permission from the Historical Society. While I certainly understand the reasoning behind this I’m not sure I’d like to live in a house where someone else dictated how I decorated it. Right at the edge of the District was a bright pink house only partially finished. You could definitely tell that it wasn’t a part of the Historical District, more like the Hysterical District!

We rode by Emmer Park where the Vietnam Veterans Monument stands. Still can’t believe I saw the Moving Wall in Tampa at the Super Show and didn’t take a picture of it. The Celtic Cross Monument also stands there.

Savannah River Front
Savannah River Front
Next we ventured down under the Factors Walk where brokers used to bid on cotton to the river walk. Full of shops with lots of trinkets it reminded me of a real tourist trap. However we did see some interesting things: pole art which was PVC with some sort of digital screen painting on it. I would love to have one for the screened-in porch at the river but one little scratch would mar the finish so we pass on that. We spent a very short while there and then headed back to the trolley. As we got on we noticed that something was amiss and finally realized that they were trying to get another driver for the trolley because this driver’s wife was having a heart attack and he needed to get back. Really – just go. Hopefully everyone would have understood but I do admire his loyalty to his job.

By this time Jerry said he was getting tired. Although there was more that I would like to have seen I decided it was time to call it a day. I had eaten two Belvitas and one Adkins bar and I just didn’t have enough fuel in my tank to carry on. We got back to the trolley stop and he went inside for a few minutes. I got our parking pass validated and then went over to stand outside to wait for him.

Would you believe that although only one person was smoking it so permeated the air that I couldn’t stay there? We left and then suddenly realized that we wanted to go back to the first store to get the scallop dish. Turned on old faithful Gypsy and easily found the store. Parking was at a premium so Jerry just let me out and I went in and bought the dish, some hand soap and bath gel. Then went outside to wait for him. I couldn’t believe that in the entire city of Savannah there was one guy that came up, stood right beside me and lit a cigarette! Dang!

Went on back to the RV and rested for a while and then went outside intending to walk down to the river bordering the campground. We never made it as we met Steve and Sue from Rhode Island who have a Winnebago Adventurer. We talked with them a good while and then were joined by a couple from Pennsylvania on their way to Florida. By then it was getting dark and time for dinner. Anther couple with a Phaeton had been outside and I really wanted to pick their brain but by then they had gone inside. We went in, fixed some potato salad and peas and heated up the meatloaf. I only drank one glass of tea hoping that it wouldn’t bother me tonight.

Got in bed about 8:00 and watched NCIS. Nothing was on after that except the State of the Union Address so I turned off the RV and listened to a podcast by John and Kathy. I fell asleep several times during the tape but kept waking up. Jerry came to bed and immediately fell asleep. For the second night I had trouble going to sleep so no tea for me Wednesday night!

Home Away From Home

Beautiful Savannah

Woke up this morning freezing! I got up around 5ish to go to the bathroom and it was so cold in the RV. I put the blanket over the spread and climbed back in. It’s a wonder Jerry didn’t fall out of bed because I was right up against him. We didn’t see the need to keep the fireplace or quartz on last night and since it got down to 35 or so it was really cold. Jerry jumped up around 7:00 and turned the heat on and then we stayed in bed until it was tolerable.

Since the trolley tours weren’t operating this morning because of Martin Luther King Day (Federal Holiday) we didn’t hurry this morning. I needed to call the City of Kinston to get the total of our bill. Honestly Kinston – it is time to get technological. I found out how much our bill was and then went online to pay it and found out that First South wouldn’t get it to City of Kinston until the 26th. It’s the 19th! Oh well, as soon as we get home we’ll go downtown and pay it. Ain’t technology great?

Our plan was to go to Tybee Island for a bit and then wander around Savannah saving the trolley tour until tomorrow. As we were riding down the highway a ramp was closed by police and as I looked over I saw a horde of people and then realized that people were lined up for a parade in celebration of Martin Luther King Day. Gypsy took us downtown into Savannah and every road we went to was blocked. It was kind of like you can’t get there from here! We decided to just walk around and found a parking place but realized that it was paid parking and we had not one quarter so we pulled out. Jerry dropped me off in front of what I thought was a coffee shop – t wasn’t but they told me that we didn’t have to pay parking meters today since it was a federal holiday so off we went to find another parking place.

Layfayette Square
Layfayette Square
We finally found a parking place and our first stop was the Cathedral of St. John. Wouldn’t you know it was closed for worship so we went across the street to Layfayette Square. David called and Jerry talked for a while and I wandered around trying to find some sunshine. Then we walked over to Colonial Park Cemetery. Graves there went back to the 1700’s and there were over 700 buried there who had died from yellow fever. Many of the tombstones were unreadable due to age.

We walked back to the Cathedral but it was still closed so we went back to the car and had lunch. In a city full of good restaurants we sat in the car and had Adkins bars! Really! Then we finally headed to Tybee Island. Quite frankly it was a disappointment in that it only had a small stretch of stores and they were the typical tourist stuff. We only stopped for Jerry to go to the bathroom in a portapotty and then we left, didn’t even see the water. I guess living on the coast makes us a bit uninterested in seeing another coast.

We decided to go to the Visitor’s Center and ride the trolley. Well – what a ride. Gypsy may have been confused or we weren’t listening but getting to the Visitor’s Center was – well let’s say interesting. Going down a one way street – yep, the wrong way. It was a short street and we didn’t meet anyone fortunately. We finally got to the Visitor’s Center and went in. It wasn’t very interesting plus Jerry began to feel as though his sugar was dropping. I had purposely kept a small bag of M&M’s in my purse for that eventuality but they didn’t work so he had to go buy a candy bar. He soon began to feel better and we walked outside. I walked over to the trolley sales desk to ask if we could bring out tickets from St. Augustine tomorrow and get the discount. Jerry still had his sticker but I didn’t. The guy said it wasn’t necessary, he didn’t need the tickets plus since it was so late he’d give us two days. We were supposed to get $4 off but I think it added up to almost $10! We got on the trolley and rode the entire route deciding to wait until tomorrow to go to specific places we were interested in. I do wish I could remember all the tour guide told us, even half of it. “Lily” was very knowledgeable to say the least.

After the ride we came on back to the campground. Since we will be leaving here and going to Raleigh to Bill Plemmons to leave the RV (more phone calls that took up our morning) we discussed whether to go straight to Raleigh on Wednesday or go half way and spend the night and go on into Raleigh on Thursday. Going to Raleigh on Wednesday and then to Kinston to a cold house seems a bit much to me but Jerry is the driver so I’ll let him make the decision.

Back at the rig we just rested a bit and then I cooked dinner: meatloaf in the convection and it was good and mashed, really mashed and lumpy potatoes and butter beans. A quiet evening. If it were summer we’d be outside walking around or reading or just meeting folks but it’s dark and cold so inside we are. Having only two slides isn’t so bad!

Home Away From Home

A Change of Plans – Headed to Georgia

Woke up a little before 6:00 this morning. Since it was so warm yesterday we had the windows and vents open and when we returned after our ride into Cedar Key the RV smelled like smoke from the camp fires, one next door. We quickly closed up everything but the odor remained. I woke up this morning so stopped up that I had to get up to breathe!

I’m sorry that we couldn’t stay here another day but it is what it is. Jerry too is sad that we’re having to end our trip early but he said we may be able to take another in February. If we don’t get to see much of Savannah today or tomorrow maybe that’s a possibility. I don’t think have the living room slide closed will bother me as much as it will Jerry since most evenings I go to the bedroom. Hopefully we’ll hear from someone at Bill Plemmons tomorrow so we’ll know whether to head to Raleigh or Rural Hall.

Gypsy took us right through downtown Gainsville right by the University of Florida. Gainsville appears to be a very clean town with a lot of students walking around. We saw several walking and biking trails. Loved seeing the horizontal stoplights – they haven’t made it to North Carolina yet.

Well, have mercy! Pulled off the road at a Shell station because Jerry had to go to the bathroom and we couldn’t find anywhere else to stop. Decided to have lunch there as well. I just had an Atkins bar and Jerry ate some ham and chips. While sitting there he asked me to come sit on the sofa with him. Then he started asking me what our original plans had been, how far it was to so and so. After some discussion and Internet search we decided to go on to Savannah for a couple of days. He said with the kitchen slide pulled out he thought it would be ok and we’d just keep the dining room slide in. If it’s not comfortable we’ll go on. We’ll be staying at a campground that has a shuttle to downtown Savannah. More detail to come later. I called Savannah Oaks RV and made a two night reservation and then called Hardeeville RV and cancelled our reservation there.

Arrived a little after 3:00 and checked in. The girl in the office, Julia was very nice and helpful. When I saw a brochure about the trolley tours I mentioned that we had gone on one in St. Augustine. She said if we had our stickers we could get a $2 discount. Jerry has his but I think he threw mine away. The trolley will pick us up here at 9:00 and bring us back at 5:00. Sounds like a deal to me! Anyway, the campground is gated and can only be entered by code. Someone led us to our campsite, 109 and guided Jerry into the paved parking area. It’s nice to be on pavement for a change.

As soon as we got everything set up we went to Walmart for creamer and a few other groceries, then back for Jerry to watch Seattle in the playoffs. I thought about going on a walk but just didn’t!
Salmon for dinner and an early to bed night.

Home Away From Home

A Lovely Day in Cedar Key

Woke up a little after 7:00 and immediately looked out of the window for our wonderful view. I don’t know what kind of tide they have here but it is definitely low tide. It looks like PB when the water blows out! Still pretty though. Slowly working through coffee! It does take two hours.

Well, it looks like we may be heading home. 😦 We called Dick Gore’s RV in St. Augustine, Jacksonville and Savannah and it could take up to a week to get the frayed cord on the slide repaired. Jerry is just afraid to keep putting it in and out and I agree. That was a loud pop yesterday! He also called Jamie at Bill Plemmons in Raleigh and Jamie is going to try to see where it can repaired first: Raleigh or Rural Hall and call us back. He transferred us to the service department in Rural Hall and Jerry left a message. Waiting for call backs now. Jerry thinks we should head on home driving a couple of hundred miles a day. It’s almost 600 miles to Rural Hall and we could make it in two days if we needed to. Hate that our trip is ending this way but after reading boards it’s not unusual to have problems on the road. People often spend more time in one place because of repairs. Because we aren’t that far from home we can just head on back. We could continue to stay in the RV without putting out the dining room slide but it would be cramped for sure! Will update later.

Jerry showered and dressed and then went on to start the laundry while I dressed. I also e-mailed Robbie at Bill Plemmons in Rural Hall informing him of our situation. To make a long story short he is working on it. Although we had hoped to stay here another night they could only accommodate us if we moved and if we move we’ll have to pull in the slide so that wouldn’t work.

After I showered I went over to the lounge where Jerry was chatting with a teacher from Florida. Apparently Florida doesn’t treat their teachers very well either! Jerry returned to the coach and I visited with her. She mentioned going to Tony’s for clam chowder so I suggested to Jerry that we do the same.

Oh my gosh! That was absolutely the best clam chowder ever. In fact he won the World’s Best Clam Chowder Contest held in Rhode Island three years in a row forcing him to retire from entering. They sell it either canned or frozen. It seems our plans for pork chops for dinner have changed and we’ll be going back to Tony’s for a seafood dinner tonight so we’ll be getting some chowder to take home.

After returning to the campground and finding out that we couldn’t stay another night I started on a search for a campground 300 miles away. One is too far, one is not far enough and one is too expensive. Actually the halfway point would be Beaufort – been there, done that! Finally decided on Hardeeville RV. Reviews are extreme but whatever we’ll only be there one night. It’s only 22 miles from Savannah so we could go in if we chose to. It’s also a Passport park so we’ll save $25 right off the bat. Our membership was $41 so after tomorrow night we’ll only be $16 in the hole!

Jerry is watching the State-Florida State game on TV. I really wanted to go into Cedar Key but since Jerry didn’t get to watch the State-Duke game on Sunday or the State-Carolina game on Wednesday night I’m not going to mention it. He deserves to see his boys play once in a while.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAfter a victory for State we rode into Cedar Key and walked along the dock. Fortunately I had changed clothes as it was much warmer this afternoon. It is a lovely little town full of restaurants and just a few shops. I ended up buying a Cedar Key sweatshirt. I have more t-shirts than I can wear but I did like the sweatshirt and it was only $25. I saw a football jersey I would have liked to have but it was $50 so I just went with the sweatshirt.

We returned to the campground in time to sit on the dock for a while. Jerry finally got out his camera which has traveled all around and not been taken out on this trip until today. He took lots of pictures of an incredibly beautiful sunset. We talked with the new neighbors who are from Canada and in a small trailer, a casita. Of course it is new. They had been spending a lot of time in a pop up A-Frame on the back of a truck! More power to them. I still like my creature comforts. We sat on the dock with them and watched the glorious sunset. I wish we could have stayed another day for another sunset. 😦

The pier at Cedar Key
The pier at Cedar Key
Afraid we’d be waiting in line and late for the Saturday night jam session we quickly got up and went back into town to Tony’s for dinner. We didn’t have to wait at all and had hardly finished our salads before our meal came. We had the seafood platter for two: boiled shrimp in the shells, fried shrimp, fried fish, hard shelled crab, scallops and clams. Who said anything about eating healthy? It was delicious and between the two of us we ate it all! Eating hard shelled crabs though is – well, hard. Where is Landy when you need him? I finally got up just before I finished and washed my hands!

We came back to the campground and immediately went to the meeting room to listen to the music jam. The musicians are good and though most of the music was unfamiliar to me I enjoyed it. I might like blue grass if I could understand the words! They had three guitars, a banjo, a bass and the banjo player who appeared to be in charge also played the doh bro.

Back to the RV afterward and soon to bed. Other than the one night I ate the Creme Brulee (think sugar) I have slept so well on this trip. What a blessing!

Home Away From Home

On Our Way to Cedar Key

After a very sleepless night (I should have known better than to eat the Crème Brule) some of it spent on the sofa because I didn’t want to wake Jerry I climbed back in bed for about 30 minutes and finally got up around 6:30. The coach was cool so we turned on the fireplace and the quartz heater. They very quickly warmed everything up. We had an appointment with Susan Krystal at Lazy Days at 9:00 so we had to hustle to get everything packed up and loaded, e.g. car. We pulled out of Tampa East about 8:50 knowing we were probably going to be late and wouldn’t you know there was an accident ahead that caused a slowdown. I think it was about 9:10 when we arrived. When entering Lazy Days you have to go through a manned gate and they gave us an exit pass. I guess that’s to prevent anyone driving off with one of their rigs. We met Susan shortly and went to her office where we discussed what was available within our budget. Then we got on a golf cart and she took us on a tour of the grounds, 123 acres and then began to show us Tiffin Phaetons. I told her we were open to other brands but because of my pretty specific wish list especially the washer and dryer Tiffin was our best bet. After showing us several coaches, some 40′ and some 42″ and one really smelly one, we went back to her office and discussed particulars, e.g. deposit, time, etc. She actually said that she might have something for us in a couple of weeks. Wow – fast! Guess we have some quick thinking and praying to do! (A little caveat here – we never heard from her again.)

We got some nuts to snack on when we left about 11:30 and headed to Cedar Key. Wouldn’t you know the sun has finally come out? It is a beautiful day, sunny and perhaps a bit warmer. Actually I’d rather travel in overcast skies because there is no glare and you can read electronics easier. Right now we’re traveling on a toll highway and have already paid $3.75. Here we are thinking about buying a new coach, a diesel at that and we are quibbling about $3.75. Go figure. Three tolls on Sun Coast Highway.

Stopped in Homosassa FL at a Walmart and did a little grocery shopping and then ate ham sandwiches in the coach. Now on the road again, about 75 miles from Cedar Key. Asked Jerry what he thought about buying a “new to us” diesel. I think he’s a little shell shocked about the possible rapidity of it happening. We both think we need to call Robbie and let him know what’s going on and give him a chance. They don’t sell Tiffins so doubt he can help us.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe got to Sunset Isles RV a little after 3:00 and upon arriving it looked, well a mess. They are doing construction on the motel rooms connected to the main office. I think the office is also part of a short order restaurant and it looked like they had delicious fudge. Despite my “aversion” to sugar I’m going to have to try some of that. Since we pre-paid and had given them all of the information early check-in was a breeze. I don’t think I was in there 3 minutes! We’re on site 7 right on the water. Our pier is – well, broken! It looks like most sites have small piers and I think you can walk on any of them. It doesn’t have to be on your site. Sunset is supposed to be beautiful. In fact when I made the reservation the lady said we’d be right where we could watch the sunset.

We drove around to the back and there are lots of rigs back here and while the spaces aren’t large they’re ok. I think we could let out the awning and set up the chairs if we wanted to. Jerry got us backed in and I set the jacks. Then as I was letting out the dining room slide I heard a pretty loud pop. Another piece of the wire had snapped. Do we go home, keep on and not let out that slide or what? Jerry called Robbie who told him we were members of Priority RV Network so we need to download the app and find the nearest dealer and they should repair it. The nearest dealer is in St. Augustine, Dick Gore’s RV so Jerry called them. Of course it was right at 5:00 by that time so the service department was closed. He’ll call back in the morning. We may be going back to St. Augustine.

We hopped in the car and rode into Cedar Key and Susan Krystal was correct. It is a quaint little town. We didn’t see a single grocery store though and I understand the nearest one is about 45 minutes away. Kind of reminds me of being at PB. It looks like a neat town to wander around in except it is cold!

We got back and walked around the park and saw the neatest old trailer. Hopefully I can get a pic of it tomorrow. It is OLD! We noticed that someone was building a fire so we walked over and he invited us to the potluck dinner and country music tonight in the meeting room. He said residents just got together and played and sang. Sounds like fun.

We came on back to the RV (we forgot to watch the sunset 😦 and I began to investigate Passport campgrounds in the St. Augustine area on the off chance we go back there. Jerry read for a while and then went to sleep. We decided not to go to the potluck dinner since we had nothing to contribute. Tonight was left over night – burgers from Wednesday night and anything else left in the fridge.

Sunset at Cedar Key
Sunset at Cedar Key
We walked over to the meeting room about 8:00 and it was already packed and the music was playing. They had a couple of guitars, a bass, a banjo, a steel guitar (I think), and a couple of other stringed instruments and they were jamming! It was great. Apparently they do this each night on the week-ends. Hope they do it Saturday night. We’ll get there earlier and get a better seat.

Back in around 9:30 and then to bed. I left the shade in the back window up hoping I’ll be awaken by the sun in the morning – that is if the sun shines! After my previous sleepless night I’m sure I’ll have no problem going to sleep. I could feel the cold coming in through the window since the shade was up so I put an extra blanket on the bed. It’s supposed to get down to 44 tonight. Sunny, warm Florida!

Home Away From Home

Tampa Super Show 2015

We spent two days at the Tampa RV Super Show and it is indeed a super show. We got up early Wednesday morning because I wanted to make sure we got to the show in time for the 10:00 seminar on RV Maintenance. Ken was having problems with his motorcycle so he stayed behind and planned to join us later in the morning. Donna, Jerry and I got to the fairgrounds a little after 9:00 and wow – there were already so many people there. We wandered around just a bit and then went on to the seminar. Rob Cochran of Myrtle Beach and Kissimmee spoke and gave some good ideas. I was taking notes but he said we could request his power point which I will do but it only gives the bullets. He gave a lot of additional information. Wish I could have taped him!

Then the wandering began. There are over 1100 units at the show and it is definitely a maze. We went in one that cost nearly a million dollars and I have to say if someone were giving me any one unit out there it wouldn’t be that one. We saw some nice ones though. I had planned to look at the Holiday Rambler, the Winnebago and the Tiffin Phaeton LH. Somewhere along the line of my research I had seen the Holiday Rambler Vacationer and the Winnebago Adventurer and Grand Tour 2HL and thought they might be good floor plans. We went in all of these and for one reason or another I didn’t like them. Then we went to the Tiffin area and I went in the 40′ Phaeton LH. There may be some amenities that it doesn’t have that I would like but at this point I surely don’t know what they could be! It is definitely my dream coach. Unfortunately it is not within my budget! 🙂

Ken joined us and they found a Grand Design 5th Wheel that they liked. After looking at them we were all starved. We found a place to eat and they were serving Angus beef hamburgers. It was absolutely delicious, the best hamburger I’ve ever had in that type of venue. Unfortunately they didn’t have any seating so I ended up sitting on a rubber mat that was covering electrical wires. All was fine until I heard the generator start – it was a little eerie sitting there.

Next on the agenda was a tour through the exhibition or suppliers halls. When we entered I couldn’t imagine that there could be more people on Saturday. The first part was so crowded, elbow to elbow. One of the booths was for the group including Tampa East. They asked me how I liked our campground and I was very honest. It is the most expensive campground we have stayed in and the least impressive. We are in the very back with the seasonal and fulltime park models and the Internet is awful plus there is no cable! Other than that …. She was a bit nonplussed and then ask me to please visit the campground she represented.

The rest of the two days were spent attending seminars, visiting various dealers and wandering through the vendors. After talking with a salesman at Lazy Days we made an appointment to meet one on the next day as we were leaving Tampa.

Donna had to fly out Thursday night due to work and it was Ken’s birthday so we went out for dinner to celebrate before Donna had to leave. We went to a very nice restaurant and had a delicious meal ending with a delightful crème brulee. After dinner we took Donna to the airport and then returned to the campground. Ken is going to be staying in the area for a while doing volunteer work so we said good-bye. Tomorrow we start on another leg of the journey.

Home Away From Home

Headed to Dover, Florida

After falling asleep before 10:30 I was up by 6:00. Almost eight hours is a record for me. That was the good news. The bad news was that I gained two pounds yesterday. Wonder why? Had a quiet couple of hours, caught up on some things: financial (the payment to Tideland has finally cleared), journaling (can’t remember in what order we did things yesterday), etc. Jerry finally got up at 7:45 and then we started hoping getting showered, dressed, and packed up to leave. Leave time is 9:30 and I think we’ll make it. I took a couple of pictures of the campground sign and the main building. I want to try to start doing this to help me remember where we’ve been. I know after a while memories will become blurred and all merge together.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESHad a nice ride to Dover and for the most part easy driving. I’m glad Jerry was driving around Jacksonville though. There were times it was really close! We pulled in and Donna and I checked our rigs in and then someone directed us to our sites. We were not side by side but on the same row with only about 5 or 6 separating us. They had no pull through so we had to stop in the street and unload the tow dolly. We put the hand two wheeled dolly on the car dolly and moved it out of the way. Jerry immediately noticed that the tires on the two wheeler needed some air but he was going to wait until he was parked to deal with it. Our neighbor, an older gentleman from Michigan came out and started chatting with us and before I knew it he had pulled out his air compressor and we added air to the tires. Jerry got backed in and we set up everything putting the “carpet” and the chairs out for the first time on this trip. After we got the inside set up Donna and Ken came down and we had ham sandwiches for lunch.

It was getting close to 3:00 so we piled in the car and went grocery shopping. Of course there was a detour so it took longer than expected. Jerry took the towels and dark clothes down to the laundry and got them washed. In the meantime I had taken some spaghetti out to thaw so I got dinner ready. Donna brought over some salad and then after dinner we had slices of pound cake drizzled with amaretto and topped with ice cream. Yummy!

Ken had forgotten to get something at Walmart so he and Jerry went back. I cleaned up the kitchen and then tried to find NCIS on television but couldn’t find CBS. Needless to say Jerry found it as soon as he got back.
Early to bed after NCIS New Orleans and slept well.

Home Away From Home

Another Day in St. Augustine

Got up and had our usual slow morning with spark, coffee and for breakfast I had sausage balls. Apparently I wasn’t thinking when I set the microwave on 2 minutes and it suddenly dawned on me when 28 seconds were left – yikes. They were hard as rocks. Since no one else is eating them I threw them away and started again. Got dressed in my turtle necks and boots, went outside, came back in and took my turtle neck off. What a difference a day makes. It was sunny and much warmer. I decided to just take my raincoat and not a heavier jacket but I still wore my boots.

We parked at the Sebastian Winery and then walked to the Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church. Along the way I was bemoaning the fact that I had on hot boots and warm socks instead of my flats. The church was erected in memory of his daughter and granddaughter. The church is amazing. Although supposedly one of the nine most beautiful churches in the US it still doesn’t compare to the Bascilia in Montreal but it is indeed beautiful. The stain glass windows each portray a fragment of the Apostles Creed. Henry Flagler built the church for the Presbyterians so he could have the property that the original church was on and amazingly enough this church was built in less than a year, 351 days I think. 500 people worked on it. The floors are small tiles and they were laid one at a time, not in sheet form. The chandeliers are in the form of gold crosses and are lovely. The ceiling looks like tiles but since the architect advised against using tiles due to their weigh the ceiling is faux painting. Interestingly enough Flagler’s third wife is from and is buried in Kenansville, not far from our home. I never knew the connection between Kenansville and Carolina (UNC) before. Kenan and Flagler were good friends.

Next we headed downtown and took a picture with the statue of Flagler. We walked over to the Trolley stop and waited for the next one to arrive. Since we didn’t have our stickers to indicate that we were trolley riders we stopped in the booth to get some. They were remodeling today so they told us to get one from the driver when we got on. He didn’t have any either! We took a ride all the way around the corner and then got off! Went into another store that was at the trolley stop to get a sticker. They didn’t have any either and told us we could only get them at stop one – no way we were walking there or spending that much time on the trolley.

We wandered on down the street and Donna and I went in the Filthy Rich store. Don’t know what I expected but it wasn’t replicas of Hollywood stars’ jewelry. Rodeo Drive this wasn’t! The prices were great but I’m quite sure my finger would be black by the end of the day if I bought one of their rings. LOL

We finally located the oils store that we had been on the lookout for. They had many different oils along with lots of samples. I sampled a balsamic vinegar with tangerine and it was really good. I almost bought it but decided that since we rarely eat bread we really didn’t need any more balsamic vinegar. I’m sure I’ll regret not buying some.

We then went to the Lightner Museum and wandered around the lobby. We decided against going in since it was an extra charge and it consists mainly of sets of collections obtained during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Lunch was next on the agenda. Donna and I checked out the cafe at the museum. It is located in what used to be the huge swimming pool. It is obviously very slanted as you head to the deep end. It was very picturesque with tables mainly for two set toward the deep end but it was extremely cool in there. I guess on an extremely hot day it would prove to be a respite from the heat. We decided against eating there though and the menu just didn’t seem too appetizing.

Then we started the hunt for somewhere else. Using Yelp Donna and Ken located a restaurant and we headed for it only to end up on the waterfront at the White House. I had a Crab BLT (crab salad with lettuce and bacon), crab bisque and FF’s. One could look at my plate and know it was delicious. Jerry had a Cuban sandwich on Cuban bread, a new treat and he said it was very good.

What a shock when we walked out. The weather had changed dramatically. I was mighty glad I had on my boots and warm socks! Flats would have been very wet and cold. Not only was it raining but it was pretty chilly. The tour guide told us Monday that if we didn’t like the weather in Florida to just hold on, it would change. I thought that was a NC thing! Guess it’s pretty much everywhere! We lingered around waiting for the next trolley. We went in the alpaca shop and Ken bought some gloves he can use as liners with his motorcycle gloves. The rugs in there were oh so soft and oh so warm and oh so expensive! We also wandered around an art gallery. Jerry maybe has found a new hobby, oil painting. The paintings were quite good, some very large and all very expensive, one over $100,000. I don’t quite understand why you would want a painting of someone you don’t know but there were several paintings of various women and people are obviously purchasing them.

As we were waiting for the trolley Ken discovered that is we took the trolley we were going to be on for a long ride going places we’d already been so we said heck we wouldn’t melt so off we went. It was raining pretty hard but Donna and I got the wettest when a car went by pretty fast and hit a puddle and splashed us pretty good. I’d only seen that in movies!

Our next stop was the Whetstone Chocolate Factory. We had about 45 minutes to wait for the next tour so Donna and Ken shopped. I went to the bathroom where I set my purse on the trash can. Yep, it fell in and then I couldn’t get it out! Hopefully it was just full of used hand towels! After a brief video we donned our lovely sanitation hats and trekked through the rain next door to the factory. We sampled about seven pieces of chocolate and I definitely was on a sugar high. I did worry about Jerry’s sugar level although the printed information stated that the dark chocolate was good for diabetes. Um… the candy was delicious but we didn’t buy any.

Running through the rain again we made it to the San Sebastian Winery. We slipped in just in time and watched a video, took a brief tour and then went to the wine tasting. The tour guide started off with the dry wines, not good to me, and ended up with the sweeter wines. I don’t think I have ever had sherry before but that was delicious and again, I’ll probably be sorry that I didn’t get it.

Our next visit was the St. Augustine Distillery. Another trip through their small museum, another video and a tour. They had finished for the day (as had the chocolate and winery) but we were still able to go through. It reminded me a lot of the brewery and reminded me that I really need to go on a tour of the brewery. Then we sampled vodka and gin. The vodka was some kind of kicking mule concoction and was OK. The gin was – well piney! One sip was quite enough for me. A short trip through the shop and we were finally on our way “home” after a long day of sightseeing. There is a lot to see in St. Augustine and you can’t see it in two and half days but we gave it our best shot.

A brief stop at Camping World for Ken to get something he needed and then we were home and guess what – it had quit raining. Since the Oregon-Ohio State game was at 8:30 we planned for dinner at 7:00. I had the spaghetti and Donna brought a salad. After dinner we had pound cake with amaretto drizzled on the plate topped by ice cream. I have to say – it was absolutely delicious!

Donna and Ken stayed to watch a bit of the game and then I worked on the computer for a while and what a memory that brought back. I sat at the dining table to work and when I got up my shoulder was hurting just like it used to when I worked at Parrott and in Craven County.

I got ready to bed, turned on Castle and have no idea how it turned out. I never even heard Jerry come to bed and I don’t know who won the game! Good night all!

Home Away From Home

Touring St. Augustine

We got up this morning about 6:15 and for once Jerry had forgotten to fix the coffee the night before so we had to wait a few minutes to really wake up! We puttered around reading e-mail, showering and were ready by 9:00. We were supposed to meet Donna and Ken at 9:30. I couldn’t decide what to wear – didn’t want to be too hot but surely didn’t want to be as cold as I was yesterday. Fortunately I wore a turtle neck along with warm pants and my boots. With my Patagonia coat and raincoat I was warm most of the day.

Jerry and Donna selecting their gems
We went directly to the first stop on the trolley tour where we had free parking. First we went into Gator Bob’s Trading Post. Donna bought a scarf with mittens on each end and Ken brought a cap. Then both Jerry and Donna got very interested in the “gems”. $5 for a bag full so we all spent considerable time selecting just the right stones. Jerry is going to take up a new hobby and start making jewelry!

We got on the trolley then and enjoyed a tour of St. Augustine. It began to rain and unfortunately we were seated in the second section so we were getting rain in the face. Glad I wore my waterproof mascara! Ken said there was coffee at the 15th stop so we anxiously awaited that destination. When we found the coffee shop, the Bunnery, they were still serving breakfast so we had an early lunch – breakfast with a couple of cups of warm coffee!

We got back on the trolley and finished the tour. When we arrived back at the starting point we took a tour of the Historical Museum and the general store. The guide said that if it wasn’t in the store it wasn’t anything that had been needed. Two ladies posed as period actors and explained the various things in the store. It was quite interesting. Some of the things I remember Mom having or perhaps I remember seeing pictures of them. After that we went on a tour of the jail. The harsh conditions in which the inmates lived was unbelievable. Some cells which were so small you couldn’t turn around in would house up to eight inmates and the temperature could get up to 110 degrees in the summer. Needless to say there were many deaths.

We got back on the trolley and rode some more. We had a very good guide, Poppy and we were close enough that we could hear everything he said. We wanted to tour the Presbyterian Church but it wasn’t open for tours so we rode on to the distillery where we were told we wouldn’t have a ride back if we went on that tour so we decided to put both of them off until tomorrow.

Sitting in front of the jail with the sheriff
Sitting in front of the jail with the sheriff
By the time we got back to the Gator Bob’s Trading Post it was raining again and it was nearly 5:00. A day full of interesting things but time to end the sight-seeing.

Donna and Ken came over for dinner again. We had meatballs and I fixed some mashed potatoes – mashed, not creamed as Jerry had to chop them up with the chopper and then mash them with a spoon! Necessity is the mother of invention. Donna had brought over some green beans and I cooked them and then when they came for dinner she brought salad. We discussed what we were going to do tomorrow. Looks like the church, the distillery, the winery, the chocolate factory, Lightner Museum are all on the agenda. Two days is not enough to see all of St. Augustine especially when it’s cold and rainy but it’ll have to do for this trip!

Got to FaceTime with Trent and Eva tonight – love my children! Off to bed now. It’s nearly 10:00, the latest I’ve been up since we left home!