Thursday, March 28, 2013

Leaving Melbourne

On our last night in Melbourne, we met at Brandon and Megan's and had dinner on the grill. Really good steaks. We got in some quality time visiting and then presented Megan with our gift for the baby. She had been looking at strollers/carseat combo's and we had figured out what she wanted when we were shopping a couple days before. The color wasn't available locally, so we ordered it using Brandon's "prime" account so we would have 2 day delivery.

After dinner she and Brandon uncovered the box and she was surprised that we managed to get her just what she wanted in such a short time. Truth be told, I don't know that she was that surprised, but I think she was well pleased.

So then the big event for the evening was having two men put together the entire project without the aid of instructions. I think Jax offered them some consultation and the end result was that it fit together perfectly and is a great combination that will afford Baby Pace protection in the car and from the elements when her parents are out walking her. We can't wait to see them all when we return from Alaska!

I almost forgot that they launched some type of satellite/rocket while we were there and even though the kids live about 50 miles away, the rockets are visible from either the front or back yards of the house. When we remembered to look, Brandon checked and the rocket had launched six seconds prior, so I didn't have time to get my camera out to see the rocket itself, which shows up as a glowing cigar shaped object. But I did get the plume it left. After it disappears from view, you can hear the thunder and the roar of the launch.

When we left Melbourne the next morning, and were surprised to be passed by the Batmobile driving north on I-95. You just don't have that happen every day!

We drove into Georgia and stayed a night before going to Richmond, Virginia, for three nights. There we stayed at the Pocahontas State Park and it was beautiful. They have two sections to the campground and the back section is well suited to big rigs. There are some pull through sites and then there are very large sites that are back-ins, but level with large sitting areas, etc. The unfortunate part of our stay there was that the weather forecast changed and we ended up with about four inches of very wet, heavy snow on Sunday night. We had a knock on the door about 8:30 p.m. and it was the park police. They wanted to know if we needed anything (no, we're fine), wanted to know if we needed out to go home (no, we ARE home), and asked us to stay put for the night and in the morning they would plow at 7:30 a.m. They left us a phone number if we had an emergency and said they would bring a tractor in to plow us out. We thought that was very good service.

By morning, the roads were actually clear because the ground was not frozen and I was able to get up on the roof and clean off the heat pumps and the slide toppers which were heavy with wet snow. We were able to leave shortly after noon. It was cold and it snowed and rained on us most of the way to Charlottesville. While I would have preferred being in Charlottesville to begin with and not having to travel in the cold wet weather, it was probably good to get the snow load off the motorhome and the drive took care of that.

We arrived Monday afternoon and went to see the kids after we gotall setup. We took birthday presents for both Aenea and Ronan since her first birthday was a couple weeks ago and his is coming up in a few weeks. We watched them unwrap their gifts and they both liked what we got them. Aenea is doing wonderfully, having started life out as a preemie at 28 weeks. She stands on her own and "cruises" along the couch. She is vocal and a very happy baby. She comes to me even from her Daddy, so that really warms my heart. Ronan is doing well also. He is a very articulate and smart little boy of almost six and very inquisitive about most everything. He and Grandpa Terry put Legos together that first day from his birthday gift. We got him the "Museum Break In" and there were several parts to it. Later that evening his Dad helped him complete the rest of the items in the set. It has been great to see the kids and the grandkids. Unfortuntely Jocelyn and Tom have been sick with colds, but so far they are keeping it to themselves. We've been taking "Airborne" before we stop into their house every day and again once we leave, so hopefully that is helping.

We got some sad news the other day that one of Terry's first cousins, Floyd (51), passed away. He has had a number of health problems for several years and had managed to work through most of them, but they have taken a toll on his body. He recently developed some infections and was not able to recover from them. RIP Floyd. You will be missed.

Till next time. . .


Monday, March 18, 2013

Melbourne, Florida

We have been busy hanging out with the kids since we arrived. Actually Brandon was in Orlando for the first few days. He was attending some training for his company. We took Megan out for lunch on her day off. Then on Friday we met at their house and went to dinner with them. Megan's brother and his family and her Mom and Dad joined us at Grills north of town.  Her niece and nephew were both in their wedding and they have grown a lot. It was good to see her family again.

Saturday morning I went with Brandon and Megan to the hospital for an ultrasound. She is officially 20 weeks and the baby showed up quite clearly on the monitor. It is a little girl and she moved a lot, arching her back at one point. Everything is great with Megan and the baby and sometime around the fourth of August is her due date. That's about the time we get back in the states from Alaska.

Last evening we spent some time with Brandon and Megan looking at baby stuff. We went to Target and the kids started a baby registry there picking out things they would like for the wee one. It's been nice spending time with the kids and helping them to celebrate becoming new parents. It's an exciting time and they are looking forward to it.

Today they both went back to work, so we had the day to ourselves. We started out with a walk. It was the first morning since we left Texas that it was warm enough for us to walk. It's been cooling off so much at night, which is good, but we have to walk when it's warmer. It was a warmer day today so we went out without jackets.

We drove up US1 to Patrick AFB. Brandon had told us about a good place to watch for manatees. There is an inlet where the waters are apparently warmer and they like to hang out there. We found the spot with no trouble. . . in fact, there were several people there watching. We parked and I took my new camera. At first we were off the main road at a culvert near a subdivision. There was activity there, but the water must be deeper because it was hard to see the manatee as they swam. We did see this heron and I got a close up shot of him. So we walked across the street and over to the main road bridge. There they were. All the way back as far as you could see. It looked like stepping stones in the water, but actually you are looking at the backs of the manatees. It was so cool.

Up closer to us were several small ones apparently with their mothers feeding on vegetation. They were quite active in that small area, so I got quite a few good pictures. A large turtle was also swimming with them. One kept rolling over and showing his fins and tail. They were very peaceful. We observed them for quite some time and got a lot of good pictures.

We came back along A1A, the highway along the ocean. We know this stretch of road well, but it's always fun. We stopped at a couple of beach parks and snapped some pictures. There was quite a lot of surf and the wind was pretty strong, so along down the beach you could see salt spray. I zoomed in on it and it almost looks like a rainstorm. I thought it was an interesting shot.

Some of the parks have walkways that span over the dunes area so you can see what the dunes and vegetation look like. I was hoping to maybe see a sea turtle nest, but no luck. We did see this beautiful cactus in beautiful bloom. The colors were beautiful and made me miss Spike, my barrel cactus down in Texas. Mom says Spike has three big beautiful yellow blooms now.

We had a leisurely drive back to camp and visited with some new neighbors. They are from Alaska, but are now retired and living in Georgia. We talked with them about our upcoming Alaska trip and they gave us some tips on where to stay and what to see.

Brandon came out after work and visited with us. We fed him lasagne. . . he didn't complain. Tomorrow we are going to dogsit for Jax I think and have dinner with the kids one last time. We leave on Wednesday and are headed to Virginia to see more family!

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Today is our granddaughter Aenea's first birthday. What a milestone for her! She was born at 28 weeks and she is a happy, healthy one year old today! She gave us all a scare when she was born, but her parents maintained a constant vigil at her side and she made it through those first months in the NICU in great form. She is perfect today and we love her dearly, as well as her brother and her parents!

We left New Orleans last week and continued our journey to Florida to see Brandon and Megan. We spent a night in Steinhatchee, Florida where we were able to watch a beautiful sunset. On our waythere, we passed through a couple areas where wildfires are burning. There were warnings posted so we were alert to the smoke and it didn't get really bad. We were always able to see. But we did pass through an area of a controlled burn and when we passed the burning trees by the road, we could feel the heat of the fires through the cab of the motorhome. That was really quite amazing. The next day we drove on to Silver Springs, Florida, where friends Bill and Helen live. They are in a very nice park and we have enjoyed visiting with them and running a few errands here.

One day while we were out, we decided to try and find the Jumbolair subdivision. This is the place where John Travolta has his Florida home. It is a "fly-in" community where the home are built around an airstrip and you can literally taxi out your driveway to the runway and take off. Maximum privacy. It's hard to read the "Jumbolair" sign on the brick gates, but it is there. The runway ends at the round concrete fence and you can see a little more of the runway in the picture. Travolta's house is midway down the runway on the right. You can google it and see it from the air. 

This morning while we were relaxing, we saw a Scottish Terrier out for a walk with her master. So cute. We waited for her to come back, but we didn't see her again. This afternoon I went out for a walk to see if I could find her and I did! Her name is Lady and she's very friendly. Her master raised them for awhile and has five left, but he only had Lady with him. He told me to take her back to the motorhome to meet Terry and I did. I couldn't believe he just let me take the dog I was fussing over back to my place. Hah. But I brought her back and coaxed her up the motorhome steps and she went in to see Terry. He was really surprised. She made herself at home and I took her picture. . . then I took her back home

We went down to say goodbye to Helen and Bill this evening. He had some oral surgery today, so we tried not to stay long. He's doing well, but starting to have some pain.

We leave here tomorrow and head to Camelot RV Park in Malabar, just south of Melbourne. Can't wait to see the kids!

Till next time. . .


Friday, March 08, 2013

New Orleans a.k.a. NOLA a.k.a. The Big Easy. . .

Yesterday we headed into New Orleans about 9 a.m. and parked along the waterfront a couple blocks from DuMond's. We had decided to ride the streetcars and get a feel for the city. That worked and it didn't. We walked a bit, found where we could get on the one line and paid $3 for an all day ticket. We figured we would be able to see a lot of the city, but that really didn't happen. We ended up going through the Garden District, which was one thing we planned to do. There were many beautiful houses and we enjoyed the unfettered travel in the street car. We got to the end of the line, however; and because they were doing construction on the tracks, we had to get on a bus. The buses were not as easy to see out of and we got on one we thought was going back to Canal Street. It actually did, but not before going through the neighborhood where Tulane University is and it wasn't very scenic.

When we did get back to Canal Street, we walked on down to Bourbon Street and Royal Street. We stopped and had some lunch at a great little restaurant. It was good food and they weren't very busy, so we got a lot of attention from our waiter.

We continued walking and checking out various shops which was fun. We also walked into the Cathedral of St. Louis which is right at Jackson Square, probably the most famous square in the French Quarter. We had never been in the cathedral and it was breathtaking.

We had spent about six hours walking around and listening to street musicians and checking out one "mime" who positioned himself like a statue. That was pretty cool. The musicians all had buckets in which people would throw money and at one point we saw two girls counting their haul. I bet they had several hundred dollars in their bucket. Gary said he saw they had some $10 and $20 dollar bills. We also saw one dude who was apparently left over from Mardi Gras. Not sure what his game was, but he really looked stupid.

As we were leaving New Orleans, the traffic coming in was brutal and we expected to be delayed for quite some time, but Terry followed the GPS out and we actually were back at the camp in a half hour. We relaxed the rest of the evening.

Today we all got up and were on the road by 9 a.m. Actually Gary and Jo left earlier. We took the "old" bridge back across to New Orleans and actually circumvented the main part of the city. It was an easy route except for the road construction on the bridge. The lanes were extremely narrow, but it wasn't long and we were off of it. We had smooth sailing the rest of the way out of the town and continued on I-10 through Mississippi and Alabama. Once we crossed into Florida we saw warnings about smoke and I remembered reading that there are some wildfires burning again. We have seen this before on our trips into the Sunshine State, but we passed through the one area and are camped in a very nice RV park in Holt, Florida. We can see a smoky haze on the horizon. Terry has the grill going and I'm doing laundry.

Life is Good!

Till next time. . .


Thursday, March 07, 2013

Bayou Segnette

We traveled across I-10 this morning with Cabelas as our destination in Gonzales, Louisiana. . . just south of Baton Rouge. As we were getting near Terry called Gary and Jo to see where they were. We thought they would be ahead of us, but when we pulled into Cabelas, they were just about five miles out.

We all shopped for a while at Cabelas, then we headed toward toward Bayou Segnette State Park, south of New Orleans. We followed Gary, which was great. Living and working in the area, he knows all the short cuts and I had envisioned a deadly drive down through New Orleans on I-10 and eventually getting across the river to the camp. We took mostly four-lane routes the back way and crossed over the river at another location. We got to the camp having not traveled through any of the congested fast paced traffic, but having a nice relaxing drive.

We registered and set up camp next to each other. We have 50 Amp and water. After having lunch, we went for a drive around the park. Bayou Segnette was the site for a Bass Master's Classic a couple years ago and Gary was down to watch. While we were looking at the area where the competition took place, two guys were reeling in a large redfish. We had to stop when we saw them struggling with it and I got a picture after they got it in. Nice redfish! Then we left the park and went to a boatyard Gary knew about. It is almost a boat graveyard. . . there are a lot of boats there that had been sunk, but there are a lot of used boats for sale as well. From there we went to explore the little town of Jean Lafitte, Louisiana, a town named after the pirate, or privateer, depending upon which story you believe. We crossed over several bridges and went to another boat yard where we saw some big boats. We also saw this metal sculpture of a mosquito. We don't know what it represents, but I hope we don't find out! We decided to head back to the camp because tomorrow we are going into New Orleans and we needed to do some planning.

We have decided on touring the city using the cable cars. That is something different we have never done and an all day pass costs $5. It will be an adventure!

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, March 05, 2013


Before I talk about frogs, I wanted to share some photos of our journey out of Texas. First, about 60 miles from Mission is the Falfurrias checkpoint on 281N. This checkpoint is featured on "Border Wars" and is known for the amount of illegal drugs seized and for the smuggled illegal aliens that are found in vehicles passing through the checkpoint. Fortunately we sailed right through.

A day later we were in our spot at Lakeview RV Resort so Terry could touch base with his radiation oncologist. Great news! His PSA is lower than it ever has been and at two years out, they now consider that his cancer has a less than 5% chance of recurring. He talked a little about the controversy surrounding the use of the PSA test as a routine screening test for prostate cancer. The doctor said, "In your case, it saved your life." He released Terry with the understanding that his internist order a PSA every year and send him the results. So thankful we are. While we were there, we passed by the Reliant Stadium and the Astro-dome. The Houston Rodeo is in full swing and, as you can see, Styx was playing there Monday night. No we didn't go.

Monday evening we visited with my cousin Jim who lives within three miles of our campground. He fixed us a lovely dinner and we stayed and chatted till time to leave. It was great seeing him.

Today we left Houston and stopped at the Welcome Center for Louisiana for lunch. The site is built on a bayou, so we went out back to take some pictures and enjoy the sun briefly. What we found were some "NOT so Welcome Signs" close to the water's banks. LOL We also saw a lot of crawfish ponds along the road. We have seen these before and they normally alternate planting rice in the ponds and raising crawfish.

We drove on to the town of Rayne, Louisiana. This is the Frog Capital of the World. We drove into town and saw some frogs. LOL They have frog statues all over the town. They are all the same pose, but are painted up very differently. Some have themes to them, etc. There are also many murals painted on the buildings. Interesting little town, but I think that is their only claim to fame.

I did take some pictures of their cemetery. They claim it is the only cemetery in the world that has the gravesites running north to south instead of east to west. Graveyards down here are very different than Indiana ones. Here they have concrete boxes above the ground. I guess you'd call them mausoleums, but they are for one person. Occasionally a family will be buried together in a larger one, but almost everything is above ground. It's really kind of creepy and I tried to make sure "nothing" followed me out.

We had a nice dinner this evening at Chef Roy's Frog City Restaurant. It was quite good. I had shrimp and Terry had a shrimp pasta. We eat out very rarely and this was a real treat.

Tomorrow we are heading to New Orleans and will be visiting with Gary and Jo, Terry's cousin and his wife. They are bringing their motorhome down and we are all camping at Bayou Segnette, near the city. What great fun!

Till next time. . .