Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Finishing up with doctors!

Fortunately, we are about to finish up with doctors today. We will be leaving for Indy in another hour or so and seeing Terry's primary cardiologist. We don't anticipate any problems as everything has been going well and he has been doing fine since the implantation of his new ICD in Houston in December.

Yesterday afternoon we headed to Muncie with the girls and visited with friends Dave and Mark and Baxter, their Scottish Terrier! The girls get along well with him. They don't really interact much but the girls love roaming the yard sniffing out squirrels. They were so busy checking everything out, I really didn't get many Kodak moments but did get a shot of Butterscotch sniffing around.

After it got too cool to sit outside, we moved indoors and had a really good dinner. We had chicken pot pie and Cesar salad with sugar cream pie for dessert. Yum yum! Thanks guys! It was a great evening!
 
This morning we had a beautiful sunrise. Hard to photograph it, but it was gorgeous!

Till next time. . .

Dale




Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Found this!

I took some movies of Aenea jumping on the trampoline. Pepper the poodle likes to get on the trampoline when the kids are playing. She lays her toys on it and wants the kids to throw them. It is so cute. Then she will lay on it and bounce along with the kids! Haha. This was taken last week in Charlottesville.

video
Till next time. . .

Dale

Sunday, April 26, 2015

More grandkid time!

One of the reasons we were in Charlottesville was to help grandson Ronan celebrate his eighth birthday! It just doesn't seem possible that he is eight years old. He is growing up so fast and is a very pleasant lad to be around. For his birthday he was able to ask some friends over on Sunday for a play date. They celebrated with cake and ice cream. Since he is eight, all we grandparents got to see of him was when they would run through the room on their way out the back, the front, or to his room. Tom and Sharon, his other grandparents were there, so we spent the day visiting and catching up with them.

His birthday was actually on Tuesday, but I let him unwrap his presents from us on Monday so he could kind of drag out the excitement. We got him a video game and some legos and another game. He really liked everything and was happy to start playing with it all right away.

On his birthday we all went to the park where the homeschoolers were having a get together and he got to play with even more friends. That was Tuesday and since we were leaving on Wednesday we all met back at their house so we could say our goodbyes. I love them all so much and it is very hard to leave. Especially the little ones. Aenea seems to really love having grandparents around and it is hard to say goodbye.

I did get to go to Aenea's gymnastics class. She has a lot of fun there. She walks on the balance beam like Brynlee does and did a head stand as well. It was fun to see her interacting with other kids.

Our time there was too short and it was soon time to leave. We left Wednesday morning amid rain and wind and cold temperatures. We are going to have to plan that better next time. The weather got pretty bad around Lewisburg, West Virginia, so we stopped in a Lowe's parking lot and had lunch. After we had waited awhile the storm passed and we drove on. We really had pretty smooth sailing then. When we leave Charlottesville, we always plan to go all the way through West Virginia because there are very few flat spots to park a big rig, so we drove to our usual night spot at Gallipolis, Ohio. We stay at the fairgrounds there which is normally open all year. However, there were no campers in the park and the campground manager's office had been moved into the campground and no one was there. It was quite strange and we didn't know if we should stay or not, so we moved on. We stopped at another place along the way, but his small camp was overcrowded and it would have been difficult to get our rig in. We drove on and had no idea where we would stop. That's not a good feeling. A Walmart was starting to look good and we don't do those. But we may be desperate. Terry had tried calling the Ross County Fairgrounds at Chllicothe, Ohio, but never got an answer. We decided to try anyway. We got there and the gate was open and there was a residence at the gate. Terry knocked on the door and a very nice woman answered and said we definitely could stay the night. We paid the fee and found a site away from other activities going on and had a quiet restful night.

The next day we drove on to the factory shops in Jeffersonville, Ohio. We used to shop here frequently when we lived in central Indiana. It was a fun stop and I found a couple things. Then we moved on to Buck Creek State Park in Springfield, Ohio. Another of our haunts in our younger years. It was a pleasant stay as well. From there we drove on to our friends in St. Paris, Ohio. Tab and Deanna were the friends we went to Alaska with and we always try to stop and see them. We stayed two nights and had a good visit.

Today we drove to New Lisbon and we are all settled in camp. We are here for the week for doctor appointments. The dogs also have to see their vet and we have an appointment with our tax person as well. We wish the weather was better. It is cold and until today, it was raining a lot. It was sunny today and our furnaces have a break. When the sun heats up the coach we stay plenty warm.

When we leave here, we have to go to Elkhart and empty the basement of the motorhome. Phaeton Place has developed a fuel leak apparently in a return fuel line and it's getting worse. So we want to get it fixed first thing.

Till next time. . .

Dale

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Grandkids visit!

We spend part of every day in at the kids' house in Charlottesville, but we have to get back after several hours to walk and feed our dogs. So usually we don't go back in. Sometimes the kids come out to the motorhome for a visit which is what they did last night.

It's always fun to have them here, but I don't have much for the little ones in the form of entertainment. I just can't carry a bunch of kid's toys around the country. I can't afford the space. But they usually bring their own toys anyway.

Yesterday morning we took a brief road trip over the mountain back to Stuart's Draft. There is a "Little Debbie" outlet store there and Terry wanted to stock up on his granola bars, but they didn't have any good deals on what he wanted. Last fall he bought his favorite low sodium granola bars for $8 a case. That's $1 a box. A bit cheaper than the grocery store. On the way back down the mountain, we stopped at the overlook. So many times when we are up there it is foggy or overcast and good pictures are impossible. But this time I got some pretty good shots.

One thing we saw was a bit scary. I know they have bears here, but this bear scat was just on the other side of the fence, which isn't really a barrier fence. Just some sturdy boards to keep you from falling over the edge of the mountain. The scat was within two feet of where we were standing!

Tomorrow Jocelyn is having a birthday part for Ronan with some of his friends. Tom's parents are coming as well, so we will seeing them for the first time since fall. Ronan's birthday is actually on Tuesday, so that's when he will get our gifts!

Till next time. . .

Dale















Thursday, April 16, 2015

Charlottesville!

We arrived in Charlottesville about 2:30 p.m. yesterday. We started out in Charlotte, NC, in rain and some wind, my too least favorite driving situations. But it wasn't raining hard, just constantly, so I didn't run with the cruise on and kept a good distance back from other traffic in case I had to stop.

We stopped for fuel in Virginia and a short time later stopped for lunch at the Walmart in AltaVista, Virginia. We ate in the motorhome, but they were tacos from Taco Bell. Score! From that point on, the rain was gone and it was a big more pleasant drive on to the KOA. It was a 250 mile day, though, which is pretty long for us and I was tired and glad by the time we got to Red Hill Road. We got checked into one of our favorite spots and walked the girls one last time before heading into town.

We got to see the kids' new car. They bought a 2012 Honda Odyssey with third row seating which is really nice for the kids and the dog. They have space for gear which is a plus. It is a very nice car and I hope they get many years of use out of it.

We had ordered a play kitchen for Aenea for her birthday. We weren't able to be there for her birthday, so I had sent some other stuff then, but waited till we got here for the "big" gift since Terry would put it together. She sat on my lap the rest of the afternoon while Terry and Jocelyn put the kitchen together. It is bright red and really cute. She was very patient while they were working on it but watched the entire build. Once it was done, Ronan helped her put stuff in it and she was still playing when we left. I would have stayed longer, but we were tired from our drive and left around 7.

Since it was Terry's birthday, we stopped on the way home to get Terry some birthday cake. He turned 65 yesterday. It's a bit of a milestone. When he was 47 he had three heart attacks in one week and we didn't know if he would live the week, let alone 17 more years! And he's doing very well. We are thankful for his health and modern technology! Happy Birthday to the love of my life!

Till next time. . .

Dale








Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Heading to Charlottesville tomorrow

We have been in Concord, North Carolina, for two days now. We drove out of the ugly camp and we drove up here to the Tom Johnson Camping Center and Campground. This is a great campground and a reasonable price at $30 for FHU and 50A. Once we got in and settled, we headed out to explore a little. We ended up doing a little shopping at Concord Mills. I also got laundry done. Sure do miss having my washer/dryer. The belt is broken on it and it will get fixed when we get to the service center in Elkhart. Today we spent time at the IKEA store about five miles away. We had an enjoyable morning and afternoon there and even took time for lunch there.



The weather has alternated between rain and mist with occasional sun thrown in before the next rain. But this is a nice place to be. It is mostly paved with gravel sites and a few bits of grass around the roads. So it's good to walk the dogs and it drains well, so we don't drag anything in. We can see the Charlotte Motor Speedway out our window and on the other end of the camp are other venues, a dragstrip and maybe a dirt track. This place is really hopping when there is an event going on as there was last weekend. But there are other campers here in the campground and we have met a few of them.

Tomorrow we leave here and head for Charlottesville to see Jocelyn and family. We are excited about seeing the kids again. Aenea turned three last month and Ronan will be eight in another week, so there will be a party!

Till next time. . .

Dale

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Travel time

We left Friday morning and we should have re-thought that. It's spring break down in Florida and on any given Friday this time of year, you're going to have spring breakers heading home. And they will all be on I-95 and all headed north. It was a parking lot! It was three full lanes of stop and go, fast then slow, wrecks, road construction and at one point "all three travel lanes closed, drive on the shoulder!" Who came up with that one? We saw one car that had probably rolled and the driver's door had been cut off. They were just cleaning up the wreck. Think it had happened some time before as there were no ambulances or victims. Fortunately there were no active accidents that slowed us down, but it was a mess. We pulled into a rest area for lunch and when we left, the traffic was crawling past the rest area. Stop and go as those who had stopped were merging in with the nearly stopped traffic on the interstate. I have to say I have never driven in traffic like that. It was not fun, but fortunately, most drivers appeared to be alert and nobody gave me any grief.

We actually drove out of Florida to Brunswick, Georgia, and stayed at a new park, Coastal Georgia RV Resort. It was a very nice park and we scored the last campsite they had. They had a nice pool and very nice shower houses, nice landscaping and paved roads and sites. The area we were backed up to had a fence row of bottle brush trees. They are gorgeous this time of year. Brandon has one in his yard and he didn't know what it was! But the line of red flowers on the trees behind our rig was very pretty.

After we got our rig set up, we headed off to the Hofwyl-Broadfield plantation. This is a farm that had been held by the same family for five generations. The family started out as rice farmers and over the years other enterprises, such as a dairy, were tried. It is an interesting story. The last family member died in 1973 and left the farm to the state. It wasn't what I would have called a plantation, as the house was not a grand plantation house as others we have toured. But it was a large farm and slave labor was used to farm the rice prior to the Civil War. We have always wondered about this place when we see the signs on I-95. It was worth a stop.



We have friends, Ron and Linda, who volunteer at The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge which was about an hour's drive from our camp. We haven't seen these friends for several years as our paths had not crossed. They read about my driving ordeal and said they would drive the hour to where we were and we could have dinner together! It was their day off and they were glad to do that rather than have us drive more after our day. So we met them at Zachary's Seafood and Steak at the exit where we were camped, exit 29. It was really quite good. I had the blackened flounder and it was done to perfection. We sat and talked over our dinner and dessert. It was great to see them both again and we were glad they had made the drive up to see us. Thanks, Ron and Linda!

Yesterday we started out about 9 and the traffic was better. Still worse than normal, but passable. . . that is till we hit road construction. . . then it was just like before. But we hit that with about 7 miles more to go on the interstate before we jumped off, so we weren't in it for a long time. We ran 321 up through Georgia which is a route we have taken several times before. Except for some rough road at one point, it was pretty easy going. There are some little towns to go through, but it was not a bad drive. The only problem that we ran into was when Terry called to make our reservations for the next two nights, the park where we wanted to stay was 100% occupied. Bummer. So we had to find another park. That's a big problem around Columbia, South Carolina. We ended up in the Woodsmoke Family Campground. It is a pit with a capital "P." We got here, got in, and stayed two days. Today we drove across the dam on Murray Lake. There are actually two dams here because they determined back in the 90's that reinforcing was a good idea so they built another dam in front of the first. There are four lanes of traffic and those travelers going north actually drive down between the two dams. It's really different. We drove on and visited two different flea markets. Didn't buy much but enjoyed getting out and walking.


Tomorrow we roll and hopefully will be able to camp in Concord, North Carolina. We will stay two nights there. They have some beautiful campgrounds there and hopefully we will be able to snag a spot. We are anxious to get to Charlottesville, Virginia, to see our daughter and family. Our plans are to arrive there on Wednesday.

Till next time. . .

Dale

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Kid time!

We've spent the last week visiting with Brandon, Megan, Brynlee and Jax. Sorry I haven't posted, but we spend every day with the kids doing different things and when we get home it's usually late and I'm too tired to post. So I spent the week enjoying our time immensely and will just try to recap the week.

We stayed at Wickham Park again, which is now only about one-and-a-half miles from the kids since they have moved. We alternated with time spent at both their house and the motorhome. A couple mornings Brynlee and Megan came out to the playground at the park. We would meet them there. I am really impressed with Brynlee. She goes down the big slides by herself and can hold onto bars and pull her legs up. I think that's pretty good for 20 months!

On Saturday, Megan and Brandon went to a movie and we got to babysit. It's so hard with Brynlee. She just plays and plays and when you tell her it's time for bed, she walks into the bedroom. Change her pants, put her jammies on and put her in bed. That's it. . . no drama. She lays down, I turn the nightlight on and the sound machine and she goes to sleep. And it's like that every night. We babysat for her when the kids went to trivia night at Buffalo Wild Wings and it was the same scenario. She seems to be getting a little fussy from time to time, but she is cutting FOUR molars at the same time, so she's entitled to that. Tough gig for a wee one.

On Easter Sunday, Brandon and Megan hosted dinner. Megan's Mom Diane made most of the meal, which was roast pork loin and twice baked potatoes. Megan contributed roasted vegetables and I brought a fruit plate. It was a very good dinner and we all had a good time. Diane and Percy  played Easter bunny and organized an Easter egg hunt for the little ones, so Brynlee and her cousins Kerrigan and Kaiden all got in on the hunt!

We went to the zoo one day. That have a little water park for the little kids and we met her friend Pepper there. They put their swimsuits on and played in the water. They had a great time. It was really fun to watch. She and Pepper and best friends and it's fun to watch them interact.

It was pretty hot while we were there. It was in the 80's and Terry was complaining. Course he was complaining about the cold in Texas and now the heat. But it's not the heat so much as the humidity. That has been the hard part. We aren't used to that. It gets hot in Texas, but it's a "dry heat." Big difference. We had maybe one rain storm, but it was at night, so it didn't bother us much.

We went to "Tumbleweeds" a couple mornings with Megan and Brynlee. It's kind of like "Gymboree" but a little more advanced. Brynlee really likes trying all the bars, trampolines and balance beams out. She can walk across the beams really well. I was impressed!

We were not disappointed with wildlife sightings at Wickham Park this time. We normally see a lot of armadillos and we didn't see but one. That was late at night on our way back into our camp. It was sauntering across the road. We stopped and waiting for it to cross. We have occasionally seen gopher tortoises there and they were out every day this time. They are pretty big. Their shells are contoured around their legs and head. They really don't like being around people, so it's hard to get a picture up close. I had to take their pictures with the zoom lens. They come out of the scrub and eat the grass. They are curious little animals.

Our last night there on Thursday night, Megan had a Mom's group get together, so we stayed at the house and "helped" Brandon watch Brynlee. He has really made me proud of the way he handles his father duties. He is a very good dad and Brynlee lights up every time she sees him. My son-in-law Tom is a great dad too. My grandchildren are really blessed to have not only great moms in their lives but also dads! This is a picture of Terry and Brandon. Love these two men!

Our time with them was too short, as it always is. But we will see them again. We leave Friday morning, the 10th, for Virginia to see the other kids/grandkids!

Till next time. . .

Dale

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Otter Springs to Griffin Lake State Park, Fruitland, Florida

Otter Springs was a nice little camp, with the emphasis on "little." Our site was spacious, but the lane getting there was narrow and we brushed tree limbs all the way back to our site. We couldn't turn into our site because of trees, so we got out and walked to see where we needed to go. Surprisingly, if we had driven to the end of the lane, there was NO turnaround. Hmph! Good thing we hadn't tried that. And there were RV's parked at the end, so we would have had to back up to get out. As it was there was a fairly large site we could drive through which we did and came into our site from the other direction, which is what we needed to do to have our hookups on the correct side. Too many park managers do not understand camping nor the dynamics of big rigs. While it looks like you could turn right into the site, it's not likely you can turn 40 feet of motorhome into the site. But we got in and hooked up and spent the night. We just hoped that the guy who rented the site next to us didn't come in before we left because we had to back out across his site to get out.

So we got on the road about 9:30 this morning, not in a big hurry because we didn't have far to go. Griffin Lake State Park is off of 27 south of the Villages and is a very nice park, albeit a little rustic. I take back everything I said about Otter Springs park because this place is sooooo much worse. If we were in MinnieMee, we would be fine. I don't know why parks can't just say, NO BIG RIGS! I would not be offended. Instead, I am a little miffed when they tell me "no problem" and the narrow road has sharp turns and overhanging branches that scrape and brush the sides of the coach. It is a hammock! And the one lane road is one way, so once you start, you are committed. We finally found our site, which is definitely long and adequate, except the approach is a 90 degree turn with no swing room and . . . you guess it. . . trees and low overhanging limbs. At this point, we unhooked the toad. I had driven us in and we then switched and I guided Terry into the site. That was a piece of cake but he complemented me on getting him in there. We work well that way and I can usually look at the site and know what needs to be done. And getting out won't be much of a problem because our pull through site faces straight out to the entrance road. I will probably go ahead in the truck, however, because the entrance road is about a lane and a half and two-way. Grrrrrr. Smaller rigs. . . no problem. . . big rigs. . . problem-o. But we will be here two days and we will get out.

We will probably do some exploring tomorrow. Today we are tired and will probably hang out the evening here. There is a bear in the camp, so we have removed everything from the car that is suspect. To walk the dogs at night, I think we will drive them up to an open area and walk them. We really are in the "hammock" and we wouldn't be able to tell if a bear was lurking.

When we leave here we will be heading to Wickham Park in Melbourne, Florida. Anxious to get there and spend the week with Brandon, Megan, Brynlee, and Jax!

PS: A quick walk around our camp this morning revealed bear tracks! Not 40 feet from our rig! Oops! Thanks goodness we were diligent with the precautions yesterday.

Till next time. . .

Dale