Monday, April 30, 2007

Largo, FL 3

Another sunny day in Central Florida. Today we took Monty to the dealership and they measured the slideout cover and will order a new one. We will have to bring it back probably Friday for installation. Seemed silly to break down camp, tow it to the dealership and watch them measure it just like we could have done without the fuss of packing and towing. But, the day turned immediately better. Glenn and Lorraine, friends from the MOC, met us at the dealership and, after towing the rig back and dropping it at the campground, we went to lunch with them. They have been full timing RVers for over three years now and had a lot of insight into the lifestyle. They stay in Clearwater for 6 months over the winter and travel north, east and west in the summer. Glenn also gets his health care from the VA. That is a very nice option for us to look into. It would save us a bundle if Carol got individual BCBC coverage and Jim went VA. Gonna have to check into it again. Wasn't sure after the first look into VA but then, with the costs rising so fast and high, it must be revisited. We went to Glenn and Lorraines camp ground for a while and really enjoyed the day. The full time/long time lifestyle is one that we could really get to like. The MOC has introduced us to some really great people from all over. It was nice, pulling into a strange area (St Pete/Tampa/Clearwater) with a problem, the damaged rig, and knowing someone to call for a trusted recommendation for service.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Largo, FL 2

85 degrees, low humidity and breezes from the Gulf of Mexico - are we in Heaven or what? We are camped only a few miles from the Gulf and it is breezy and comfortable all the time. Today we visited our daughter and her family who are vacationing in Indian Rocks Beach, near Clearwater. This is "between seasons" here and, although there are lots of people, not the jam that winter and summer have. Their condo is right on the beach and we watched the sun set into the water. We have only been gone for almost three weeks and already are running out of "oohs" and "aahs." The raw beauty of the Smokys, the peaceful, lush greens of the Peace River and the calming waves of the Gulf. We are looking for replacement words to describe the sights we have yet to see. The way that we are traveling now is so different from what we have done before. We are finally taking time to enjoy the journey and not warring so much about a destination. Tomorrow we take the Monty to a dealership near here to see if they can repair our crash damage. It is a dealership recommended by another MOC member so we should get good service.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Largo, FL

We moved from Wauchula to Largo today. A scenic, short (two hour) trip - lush and green. Crossing Tampa Bay from the south on I-275 took us over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The view is great. There was some fog in the air but the scenery was beautiful. We can't say that it is a better view than over the Mackinaw Bridge but then what is? There were many boats, both pleasure and fishing, throughout. There is a long pier that can be driven out on that was full of vehicles and people fishing. Some had driven RVs out there so that they could fish and relax in comfort. We had never seen such a "drive on" pier before. We are in Vacation Village, an old RV park. The sites are fully wooded and loaded with leaves. There is a mostly dry stream passing through (a sign of the drought). The temperature is 84 degrees and the humidity is low. A radio report stated that the humidity is to remain low for the next few days. That is surely OK with us.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Wauchule, FL 5, Fossell panning II

Went into the Peace River one more time and came out with some more goodies. Debbie, the Park Manager here, is apparently the on site fossell expert. She helped in identifying some of the finds. There is a good one from a Great White Shark, several smaller "Y" shaped Lemon Shark teeth, vertibrae from Sea Cows and other large animals/fish, Sand Dollar fossells, fosselized turtle shell shards and Stingray barb pieces. Also some other pieces that are not identified at this time. All this means that we will come back here sometime. The park is nice with large sites, full hookups and, of course, the Peace River as a border. The temperature was in the high 80s again today and they talked about a cold front coming in but their definition of cold front and ours are definately different. Clouds started coming in leading this front but brought no rain. This area is in dire need of rain. The Southern Georgia wildfires that we drove through last week could start here if there is not some moisture soon. We leave here in the morning and will go to Vacation Village in Largo, FL for a week or so. We have an appointment with an RV dealership in Pinnellas Park, near Largo, Monday to see if we can get the damaged slide cover/awning fixed that was damaged in the crash in Cincinnati on the way here.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wauchula, FL 3

It is really hot, now. It was 91 earlier and "dropped" to 89. We went to Lakeland because we had some things to get at Sam's Club and that was the closest. There is one in Brandon, FL and we almost went there but it is farther and it is hot. (Sorry Brandon P.) The Monty is working great in the heat, meaning the AC is fine and fans are too. When we travel with our own motel room it makes for a comfortable trip - Our own bathroom, our own bed and linens, our own kitchen and silverware. Will probably go fossell hunting again in the morning.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wauchula, FL 3 Shark Teeth Panning

I finally panned for sharks' teeth. This is a fabulous place. The Peace River is low and one can wade probably all the way across. The park provided a scoop and sifting tray and off
i went, not knowing what I was doing. Immediately small sharks' teeth were discovered. Then I started noticing and finding larger ones. Also there were fossolized items that I haven't a clue what they are. As I was about to stop for the day, the sun was starting to turn me into a crispy critter, a lady who sounded Australian arrived with a shovel tied to a floating sifting tray. She looked like she had done this before. She quickly obtained several fossolized items that I believe were the same type that I had discarded earlier and showed me that they were former Indian jewelery, a talon and some other items. Now I will have to return tomorrow just to see if I can find some of this treasure. The river is very low. The park has cancelled canoe trips and recommemded fossell hunting instead. This is history that neither of us knew anything about. A camper here said that he has seen two gators since Sunday around here. We will be ok with that as long as they let us walk and dig for fossells without their company. The humidity is starting to rise along with the high temperatures in the upper 80s so the air finally was turned on. The water temperatures were reported to be mid 70s in Clearwater Beach in the Tampa paper so when we get there we will have to stick our toes into the Gulf of Mexico.
We are going to try something new - add a picture of the sign warning us of the alligator and snakes along the river. If we understand Tiny Pic, this should work. If not, oh well we'll try again later.

Last test pic

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Test pic 3


Test pic 2

Test Pic

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wauchula, FL 2

It is HOT today. In the mid 80s and luckely the humidity is not too high. That is supposed to come soon, though. Who-da-thunk-it when we were freezing in KY and NC that it would get so warm now. We are not complaining, though, because we woke up this morning and, for that, there is gratitude. Filling prescriptions while on the road is really great. We changed our pharmacy a while back to Sam's Club/Walmart and they are like stink on a skunk - everywhere. It has been so simple to get refills in GA and now here in FL. Tomorrow morning is shark's teeth panning. Can't wait. We have an appointment for Monday near Tampa to have the Monty estimated and hopefully fixed for the damage caused by the semi sideswipe in Cincinnati.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Wauchula, FL

We arrived at the Thousand Trails/NACO Peace River Campground this afternoon. It is located right on the Peace River and US 27, south of Wauchula. A beautiful park with combinations of trees and open spaces. The trees have Spanish Moss hanging from them. Tomorrow will be a day of panning for sharks' teeth. Along the water are signs "Danger, alligators. Look out for snakes." That should make for an interesting morning walk and digging for sharks' teeth. The temperature is in the mid 80s and the humidity is low. The humidity is supposed to return later this week but we will be moving to near the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday so that should even things out. The "Snowbirds" have left for cooler climes so most of the people in the campgrounds down here now are either longtimers like us or full timers getting ready to chase the sun north.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Wildwood, FL 2

Today was the Sam's Day that we hoped for yesterday. That is suprising - planning something and actually doing it when planned. The Sam's is in Ocala and their pharmacy was closed so we went to the Walmart in Leesburg for prescription pickups. Ocala is in the heart of Horse Country around here. There are huge horse farms all over the area. They are so beautiful - clean and apparently brushed because they all seem to shine. Leesburg is a sprawling community containing many new "retirement communities" of all sorts. It seems to be growing rapidly. We just got back from our evening walk and will leave in the morning some time for Wauchula. Five nights there and then, instead of Port Richey we will go to Largo, FL, in the Tampa/Clearwater area. Being members of membership campgrounds makes it nice when we are looking for a spot for a night, week or more. We wanted to get to this area but got Prime Season rates quoted when we looked a couple of months ago. Most of the "Snowbirds" are back up north or heading there now so the prices have come back down. Living on a fixed income makes us even better shoppers than we were before.

Wildwood, FL 2

Today was the Sam's Day that we hoped for yesterday. That is suprising - planning something and actually doing it when planned. The Sam's is in Ocala and their pharmacy was closed so we went to the Walmart in Leesburg for prescription pickups. Ocala is in the heart of Horse Country around here. There are huge horse farms all over the area. They are so beautiful - clean and apparently brushed because they all seem to shine. Leesburg is a sprawling community containing many new "retirement communities" of all sorts. It seems to be growing rapidly. We just got back from our evening walk and will leave in the morning some time for Wauchula. Five nights there and then, instead of Port Richey we will go to Largo, FL, in the Tampa/Clearwater area. Being members of membership campgrounds makes it nice when we are looking for a spot for a night, week or more. We wanted to get to this area but got Prime Season rates quoted when we looked a couple of months ago. Most of the "Snowbirds" are back up north or heading there now so the prices have come back down. Living on a fixed income makes us even better shoppers than we were before.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Wildwood, FL

We are now in Wildwood, FL. We will be here for two nights before going to Wauchula. It is warm and partly cloudy. The campground is about 1/3 full. When we usually camp here in the winter it is always completely full. We are going to take tomorrow and make a Sam's Club trip to Ocala and the rig is ready for a bath so it will probably look better tomorrow afternoon. Today was the longest we have traveled in one day on this trip and it is sure nice to go at our own pace and not trying to meet a deadline. The pictures of the grandkids are on the table between our recliners so that our home even looks like home, now. We are trying to decide if we are going to Sonny's BBQ tonight or tomorrow. We have been following our diets quite well and just can't pass up a stop at Sonny's. They are a southern chain that can't be missed.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Unadilla, GA

Well, today was a short trip to Unadilla and a one nighter here. This is a time to recoup. The little washer/dryer is working very well. Guess that now we are completely self contained while on the road. We are at the Southern Trails RV Resort. This is a nice park with big sites, full hookups and cable. It is quite close to I-75 so there is the noise factor but we have used this place in the past while traveling north from Florida. This is usually where we winterized the rig. At least we wont have to do that this trip. Feels like nap time now so chat with you soon.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Greensboro-Fort Gordon GA

Today we went back into Jim's history. 45 years ago next month he was separated from the US Army at Fort Gordon, GA, just outside Augusta. We went there and nothing at all was recognizeable. It is now a modern army post with new and newer buildings all over. The barracks looked like hotels. The post hospital is now the Eisenhower Medical Center. I stood Ike's last review as Commander in Chief while here. He was the President then. He had a cabin at the Augusta National Golf Course which was his Camp David. John Kennedy was then elected Paresident and said "Ask not what your country can do for you but ask what can you do for your country" and extended my tour of duty for 27 days. When he made the announcement, I was a "short timer" and so only got 27 days. Others got up to 6 months. The only thing familiar was the sight of soldiers all over in fatigues. We were allowed through the main gate and toured for a while and then got out when we were in a woods and saw a sign that said "Impact area." That sounded ominous so we said "We've seen enough" and left. Seeing all of those young faces in uniform and knowing where they just came from or were preparing to go to brought a sense of warmth, joy and sadness all at the same time. God Bless You, GIs. You are in our prayers.
Tomorrow we are heading for southern GA somewhere, not sure of just where yet.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Greensboro, Ga 2

Today we stayed at the Montana for most of the day. Carol finally ran her first load in the new washer/dryer and it seems to work just fine. Now we will not have to go the laundramat for clean clothes. We have been to some real dirty ones in our travels, along with some decent ones of course. Jim got the bugs off of the nose of the Monty. Bounce fabric softener sheets work well getting bugs off. Just rinse well after and it will shine like new. We traveled to Madison, GA this afternoon. This is a very old, small, southern town. Shops, cafes and friendly people abound here. The trees are all green and the flowers are in full bloom. Wonder what joys tomorrow will bring.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Greensboro, GA

We are now in the North Shore Resort in Greensboro, GA. The temperature in in the upper 70s and the sky is cloudless - This is what we were looking for. Our site was a little difficult getting into because it is on the side of a hill and the road is narrow but now that we are in this is very nice. This is a wooded, hilly area. The birds are singing and the air smells fresh. Another Montana is parked near us so we will probably go say "Hi" later. The sun shone on us during the entire trip and the wind was not nearly as wild as it has been lately. The forcast is for possible showers tomorrow and sunny the rest of the week with temps in the 70s. We will probably visit Augusta tomorrow and then it is time to give the Monty a bath Thursday.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Smokies 4

Well, the Strong Wind Warnings have been extended to 6:00am tomorrow and we will have to see what the new day brings in order to decide if it would be ok to leave in the morning for Greensboro, GA or wait another day. Today was a full day. We went to Asheville, NC and checked out the town for a while then drove into the mountains and, with the sun shining and the snow in the higher elevations, it was beautiful. We have to get out of here for a while because we are running out of adjectives to describe the beauty of the mountains. The wind is still blowing with heavy gusts as it has been all day long but it looks great. We ate lunch at another recommended restaurant today in Asheville, the Moose Cafe. Southern, homemade cooking with fresh veggies and meats from the nearby farmers' market. This calls for another day of strict Nutrisystem and walking. It seemed quite unusual to be looking from the warmer lower elevations at the snow at the higher elevations and then driving up to it. The air was not all that cold around the snow, either. God is quite an artist. Well, we hope to leave in the morning for Greensboro and kick around Augusta and maybe Atlanta for a few days (or else just take some naps). Jim was stationed a thousand years ago outside Augusta, at Fort Gordon, for a while.

Smokies 3 Wow, what a night

The forcasters calling for strong winds were not wrong - these winds are STRONG! It was supposed to get below freezing, too, so we disconected the water. The winds started rocking and rolling yesterday afternoon and got stronger as the night wore on. A large tree branch fell and landed on the roof but, at the time, we did not know what it was because it was too windy to go onto the roof to see what was up. This morning the branch was taken down and Jim climbed the ladder and saw no damage but did not go onto the roof to check closer because the winds are still quite strong. The water is hooked back up so we will go check out the area some more. The wind advisory is still on until 8:00pm (it is blowing very hard now, too) and tomorrow is supposed to be only 30 mph winds so we will head to Georgia then.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Smokeys 2

As we look out our windows we see SNOW!!! We left Michigan to escape this and discover that there is no escape. We are still at Pride RV Resort in Maggie Valley and will stay until Tuesday because there are high wind warnings for tonight and tomorrow, calling for 40 mph winds with gusts over 60 mph. This region of the mountains also has a freeze warning for tonight. Good thing that we can snuggle up in our Montana. No air leaks and good heaters do wonders for those type of days and nights. Today we went to Cherokee, NC and "tourist shopped" with Carol getting a clear plastic block with horses in it that sits on a moving pedistal that revolves and changes the light and color being transmitted through it. Very nice. We then went to the town of Maggie Valley and went to near the top of a mountain that has a ski resort on top. What a view of the Smokeys! This entire area is full of history and raw beauty. As we travel the winding mountain roads, we see a fascinating view around almost every curve. Today was as good as it gets and tomorrow will be even better.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Smokey Mountains 2

Well, today we had lunch at a quaint, former stage stop in Dillsboro, NC called The Jarrett House. We heard about this place from other Montona Owners Club members and they highly recommended it - they were right. We will now go back to our Nutrasystem ASAP. They have been serving people since the late 1800s. This area is loaded with wonderful towns to explore. We then took a ride through the Smokey Mountain National Park and it was awsome. It is difficult to describe except to say "WOW!!!" It was cloudy on our way from Cherokee, NC to Gatlinburg, TN and rained on our way back. This gave us contrasting views of the Smokeys and they were both fabulous. The trip is about 35 miles one way and took us almost two hours. if we had stopped and tried some of the trails along the way, it could ahve taken days. Our youngest grandchild celebrated her 3rd birthday today and we called Sarah and sang "Happy Birthday" to her. That put a smiling capper on our beautiful day. A weather advisory was just issued with high winds and maybe accumulating snow tonight through Monday night. We were planning on leaving for Georgia Monday but may stay another night. Tomorrow we are going to tour Maggie Valley and Cherokee, unless the weather is bad. If it is, we will try our new Splendide washer/dryer. Maybe both, huh?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Smokey Mountains, NC

Happy Friday the 13th. Well, we finally made it to the Smokies. We are camped at the Pride RV Resort, south of Waynesville, NC. This is a beautiful area, mountainous and green. There are cattle and homes on the sides of the mountains. It is starting to rain again but the drive was sunny. We finally reached temps in the 60s. Looks like rain and thunderstorms for the weekend but we will use that to view the Smokies from inside the truck and also see some of the shops and restaurants that we have heard are worth going to in the area. Weather stopped Carol from seeing her horses in Lexington but this summer is open to go there.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Berea 2

The storms passed and it is now 45 degrees and windy, showers possible this afternoon. We decided that, since the weather is not the best, we would see the Kentucky Horse Park this summer some time and take today as a "kick back" day. We will see the artsy craftsy places of Berea today. We ran out of propane and just got back with full bottles of the gas. Be Prepared, the old scout motto goes, but this shows that we were not as prepared as we thought. Now the furnace and water heater are going strong.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Berea, KY

We broke camp in Ohio this morning in a driving rainstorm. As we were driving through Cincinnati in the heavy traffic and rain, a semi drifted into us clipping us slightly. The side view mirror was knocked for a loop and later we found a scrape on the side of the Montana. The conditions were so poor that we didn't see the damage on the 5er until we later stopped. The truck was last seen southbound on I-75 into the rain. This is the only snag of our journey. We are truly blessed - we woke up this morning, we were not injured, the damages were minor and we still have a couple of months or so to go on this trip. If the weather improves tomorrow, we will go to the Kentucky Horse Farm, in Lexington. Then to Maggie Valley, in the North Carolina Smokies this weekend or so.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Wapakoneta, OH

We finally got out of Michigan. Tonight we are staying at the Lakewood Village RV Resort in Wapakoneta. This is north of Dayton on I-75. It was 20 degrees when we got started this morning and was probably in the mid 50s and sunny here. We are maybe going to Berea, KY tomorrow - "Where the Appalations (sp) meet the Blue Grass." Maybe we can get to some horse farms near Lexington from there. Then we will decide where we will go next and when - probably The Smokies. The first day is always our hardest and this was no exception. Carol's arthritis is telling on her and I am just tired. We are snug in our Monty now and not going anywere else today. Wouldn't trade it for anything that we know of, though.

Monday, April 9, 2007

All loaded and ready to roll

We finally got the Monty all loaded and will pull out in the morning. With these nights in the 20s, it is about time. The next posting should be from on the road.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter

The kids have all left now and the house is quiet. I have, once again, been in "Grampa Hog Heaven." Tomorrow we finish loading the Montana so we can leave early Tuesday. CAN'T WAIT!!!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Happy Easter

It is the day before Easter and the kids and grandkids are all coming over tomorrow for our Annual Easter Egg Hunt. Monday will be our last day of preplanning for our long awaited trip and then we are off in our Montana to begin our first Longtimer RV adventure. We will travel to Florida, probably through the Smokies camping at Wauchula, FL where we can "pan for sharks' teeth," then to Port Richey, FL on the Gulf coast for a while and then meander northwest to Mt Rushmore. It will be like a treasure hunt - each day will have its own suprises and we will keep you posted on what they are. We have no planned route and are wondering ourselves where it is going to take us.