Road Trip #12 – The Panhandle

Looks like it’s time to run my mouth or rattle my fingers on the keyboard.  Road Trip #10 was a fun Christmas visit with the family on the east coast of Florida.

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Road Trip #11 was a warranty service trip to Fort Myers and unremarkable so no blog entry.  We also had a tow-bar mounted on our “Toad”, a 2015 Chevy Equinox.

Road Trip #12 was in April and May and served as a recuperation and rest period after my March hospitalization.  We spent two nights on the road getting to Pensacola, a day drive to Carrabelle Beach and a night out going home.  Spending a week at each location made this a trip of total relaxation.  At Pensacola we stayed at the Blue Angels Navy Recreation Area campground right on Big Lagoon and only a couple of miles from Corry Station.

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While there we spent a day touring the National Naval Aviation Museum and the Pensacola Naval Air Station.  To top it off, an F14 from my former squadron, VF-41 is displayed at the entrance to the museum.

While there we spent a day touring the National Naval Aviation Museum and the Pensacola Naval Air Station.  To top it off, an F14 from my former squadron, VF-41 is displayed at the entrance to the museum.

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What an awesome collection of aircraft.  We were fortunate enough to watch a “Winging Ceremony” while we were there.  One female and seven male flight students were in the graduating class and their assigned nicknames at the ceremony were Snow White, Sleepy, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy and you can figure out the rest.  Can you imagine Top Gun with pilots by those names?

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The rest of the week at Pensacola was thoroughly relaxing.

It took us a day to travel across US-98 from Pensacola to Carrabelle in the Big Bend and we stayed at the Carrabelle Beach Resort, an encore visit.  This is really a nice campground.  I let Barb drive our “Toad” and she cut the sidewall of the left front tire.  My fault though because I wanted to go down to the docks and see the fishing boats and it was a dirt road with a lot of potholes.  Otherwise Carrabelle was uneventful.  We found a couple of new restaurants to make an encore visit the next time we’re up there.  Here’s a sunset picture from the campground.

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And now we head back home to Parrish via an overnight stop at Sandy Oaks RV Park in Beverly Hills near Old Town.

Road Trip #9, Part 7 – Daytona to Parrish

I guess I’ve kept everyone in suspense for long enough.  Some of it wasn’t intentional as I was confined to the hospital.  The last hospital visit in March of this year (2017) was the most beneficial and my breathing has improved immensely.  Anyway, here’s the conclusion of Road Trip #9.

She said “that grinding noise.”  I listened carefully and although I didn’t want to hear a noise, YES I could hear a grinding noise when I applied gas.  So……. We found a place to pull off, and made reservations for one night at the Speedway KOA in Daytona, called AAA RV Plus again and had the truck taken to a repair shop.

The diagnosis on the truck was the straw that broke our back:  At some point the left rear wheel seal failed, our axle grease leaked out and we burned up the differential.  Repair was going to be exxxx-pen-sive and would take about 2 weeks.  The replacement “chunk” would have to come from California and we had no choice but to get the truck repaired in order to get home.

With the camper set up at the KOA we rented a car and waited for the truck to be repaired.  This is when we got into trouble.  To prevent boredom from settling in and to sightsee an area we had never been to we drove around Daytona.

Back at the trailer we decided that the truck was too old (20 years) and had too many miles (141,000); and the driver and navigator were also in the same condition as the truck.  We discussed the pros and cons of trading in our year and a half old 2016 travel trailer for a 2017, Class C Motorhome.  This will surely make our setups and teardowns a lot easier, and Barb will be able to share the driving with me.  The Pros won.  Done deal!!  La Mesa RV has a sales lot a couple of miles from the KOA and we visited the lot and looked at some motorhomes.  We found a Thor 2017, 32 foot Class C motorhome that we fell in love with. With 46 years of RV experience and NINE prior units we decided to make the step up to our first motorhome.  On November 11, we made the trade and finally on November 16 we made the trip across the state to Parrish and Home with our new motorhome and brought Road Trip #9 to a close.

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Our original 45 night trip turned out to be 83 nights, of which 40 were spent at 13 different KOAs and we covered 5700 miles by the time it was all over.  We learned that we’re not getting any younger and to continue our traveling life style, we had to make things easier.  Barb says she wishes we had traded to a motorhome a couple of years ago.

Now it’s time to lay back a little bit with the exception of a short Christmas Road Trip (#10)and a stack of Doctor Appointment cards that will keep us busy until March.  Then more Livin’ the Dream” with George & Barb”, but shorter trips.

Stay tuned for future Road Trips

Road Trip #9, Part 6 – Leaving Pennsylvania Behind

We had spent about two weeks in Lancaster before continuing our trip.  During this leg mechanical issues developed in the truck:  the alternator/voltage regulator stopped working properly and the headlight switch also started to fail.  All of this developed on our way to the Fredericksburg, VA KOA.  The next day these issues continued on our way to Virginia Beach and at the junction of I-95 and I-295, north of Richmond, VA, the truck “died” on the left shoulder of the Interstate.  I placed a call to AAA.  Thank heavens we carry AAA RV Plus.  A wrecker was dispatched and when it arrived, he ran a test with his voltage meter and everything indicated normal, so we opted to continue our trip east.  We managed to go about 30 miles before we broke down again.  I called AAA again, and this time we dropped the trailer, got the truck up on the rollback, hooked up to the trailer and continued the 80 miles to Virginia Beach.

What a way to arrive at the campground (dedicated campers.)

We had planned a week with Bob and Donna, (Barb’s brother), so we had plenty of time to get the truck repaired and have a super family visit that residential geography and employment restrictions had prevented in past years.

Our next leg took us to Mount Pleasant/Charleston, SC via the KOAs at Rocky Mount/Enfield, NC and Lumberton, NC.  During this trip I noticed that the trailer seemed to be riding a little bit lower than it should have and upon arrival at Mt. Pleasant, SC I had it checked out at Palmetto RV Sales and Service.  Inspection revealed that the right rear shock absorber had failed and we had the shock replaced at a local Firestone repair shop.  We stayed a couple of days longer to sightsee the area.  We had also acquired some hitch damage to the trailer during the tow to Virginia Beach, so we bought the replacement parts at Corbin’s Hitch Shop and I made the repairs at the CG.  During a shopping visit at the local Camping World, Barb wandered around the RV showroom and “checked out” some Class C motorhomes.  She had never been in one before and seemed impressed with her window shopping.

Our original 45 day trip has now reached 54 days and we still have about 10 days left.  Whew.  Both of us are getting a little tired, and set-up and tear-down has become a physical chore that neither of us relish.  Next trip will be shorrrrr-ter.

Anyway, the next stop was Palm Coast, FL to spend a couple of days with our youngest nephew and his family.  We had a fantastic visit which included a ride in his Grady White fishing boat out to the Intracoastal Waterway and lunch at “Captain’s BBQ”.

We finally started our last leg, the one day trip home, on November 2.  We weren’t 10 miles up the road from Flagler Beach, where our campground was located, when Barb said “Do you hear that?”  I said “what?”  She said “Don’t you hear that?”  I said “Hear what?”

 

Road Trip #9, Part 5 – Headin’ Back South

Following an enjoyable 6 days in Rhode Island we decided that it was time to head back south, so on September 30 we packed up and headed out across Connecticut for the Hudson River.  Our destination campground was the NYC North KOA in Plattekill, NY, just north of Newburgh.  An intended stop while here was the US Military Academy at West Point, but with the rainy weather and “Post 9/11” visitor and tour restrictions we were physically unable to take a tour.  When we hooked up our electric in the campground, we apparently didn’t securely plug our 30 amp power cord into the receptacle and we blew a circuit breaker and suffered an electric failure.  The KOA folks were very helpful and we finally resolved the issue.  We were going to stay for two nights, but a continued rainy weather forecast and my breathing issues were slowing us down so we decided to forfeit one night’s camping fees and we moved on the next day.  Our next destination was the Allentown KOA in New Tripoli, PA.  This was another nice KOA.  We spent a night here and then on October 2, we moved to the Lancaster, PA area and the Country Acres Campground in Gordonville, PA.  After setting up we enjoyed a free supper at the US-30 Diner.  Evidently a former sailor spotted my Retired Navy hat and bought our supper.  Thank You Shipmate!!

As we were working our way south, Hurricane Matthew was working his way north up the east coast and we recognized that we would have to make some adjustments in our planned route.  The first thing we did was scratch Annapolis, Washington, DC and the Viet-Nam Memorial from our itinerary and sit out the storm in the Lancaster area.  Also, my portable oxygen concentrator had become almost a constant companion and my breathing issues made our setup and teardown more difficult.  Barb was having to do more and more of the heavy work as I was getting winded so quickly.

On October 3rd we celebrated Barb’s Big Seven-oh with breakfast at Dienner’s Country Restaurant in Ronks, driving around the area and sightseeing and then dinner that night at Miller’s.  The food in the Lancaster area is out of this world and I’m sure we put on a couple of pounds.

The Amish farms are immaculate when it comes to cleanliness and being well maintained.  It’s hard to believe that these folks live without the convenience of electricity and modern machinery.  Notice in one picture the scooters on a bicycle frame.

For Barb’s friends at the MCSO, how’s this for a jail?

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My breathing issues progressively worsened and on a 6th of October emergency room visit for my severe shortness of breath, I was admitted to Lancaster General Hospital for four days.  I was released on the 10th and we hung around the area four more days while I regained my strength and on the

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14th as we sang “On the Road Again” and headed for Spotsylvania, VA and the Fredericksburg KOA.we were “eyeballed” by a youngster in the buggy in front of us.

Road Trip #9, Part 4 – Rhode Island

Having left Copake on September 24 it only took a day to drive to North Scituate, RI for a six night stay at Holiday Acres Camp Resort.  We spent our first day touring Newport including the harbor area and the town with its sailboats and mansions from Bellevue Street to Ocean Drive. What a beautiful sailing city.  We also took a drive to Narragansett to see the Point Judith Lighthouse.  Barb was reading a book centered around this area and the visit added credibility to her story.  Dinner was at Aunt Carries where Barb had fried clam strips and I had delicious fried bay scallops.

While we were camped in “Little Rhody”, we had lunch in Sturbridge with my cousin Janet, whom I haven’t seen since the 1950’s and her daughter Lisa.  What a great reunion we had.  We also had lunch at the Red Wing Diner in Walpole with Ken & Carol’s oldest son, Ken.  Our route took us past Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, home of the Patriots.

A day trip to Cape Cod was also on our agenda during the week.  We were both a little disappointed in Cape Cod as there weren’t the large seaside mansions that we had expected, but, we didn’t have the time to tour the entire cape either..

Road Trip #9, Part 3 – Fall Colors? What Fall Colors?

After leaving the Skyline Drive and the mountains of Virginia we took a route leading us to Cooperstown, NY, and the Baseball Hall of Fame.  I had been there years ago and Barb had never been, so our visit to the Hall of Fame was awesome.  Of course we saw the plaques of all of our favorite Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, notwithstanding those of our other favorite players from over the years.  Here are a couple of memories.

After two days in Cooperstown, we moved on to Copake, NY and a one week visit with our longtime friends, Ken and Carol.  We stayed at the KOA in Copake where the theme for the weekend was The Wizard of Oz topped off with a Saturday morning Hot Air Balloon fest.  The owner of the CG gave us a premier campsite right across the street from the balloon launch zone when she found out I was a photographer.

While in Copake we took a day’s ride to Poughkeepsie, NY.  I have a Revolutionary War ancestor, Casper Casparus Westervelt, who served as a private in the NY Militia in the 1700’s and is buried there.  We spent the day in the Dutchess county courthouses in Poughkeepsie unsuccessfully trying to locate the grave yard and came away with a copy of his will and the deed to his property.

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Upstate New York has such picturesque farms.

We had a fantastic visit with Ken and Carol but we were about a month too early for the change in colors in Copake.  Maybe we shoulda gone to Maine.  We heard that their trees had color.  Anyway it was time to move on to the next leg of our journey, so on September 24th we headed for Rhode Island, a small state in which we had previously spent a small amount of time.

Road Trip #9 Continues, Part 2 – Fall Colors in New England

From Kingsland, GA to Wytheville, VA was non-eventful, just driving a few hours each day and set up in the campground for the night.  We stayed in Walterboro, SC; Fort Mill, SC, on the NC line, and then to Wytheville, VA.  We stayed there for two nights to allow us a little sightseeing time.  The “smallest” thing that attracted us was this “Smallest Church in Wytheville”.

The church was built by the Outreach Ministry of one of the Baptist churches in Wytheville and in memory of one of the members who was extremely active in the ministry.  It is one of the smallest churches in the United States.

dscn3494-edit-1While in Wytheville we also had a super lunch at this 1776 Log House.

We left Wytheville, but not Virginia and drove north 187 miles to the Harrisonburg KOA, another scenic mountain campground.  This KOA is close to the Skyline Drive and we dedicated our second day here to take a ride on the drive and get some pictures.

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