Apr 11 2011

What can I say?

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What can I say? It's been a tough winter on our electronics. First, our MacBook Pro died a slow and painful death and we were a few weeks without a computer. Finally, we ordered one online from Best Buy and picked it up at the store in Lakeland, Florida. While restoring all our information from our Time Machine, we discovered that our Internet connection had suffered a breakdown. That took some effort to repair. In the meantime, we did have limited Internet access through campgrounds and "borrowed" connections. 

But we did win in the end and we're back online. I will now try to summarize our travels and catch up. It's been an interesting year and a half of travels and loads of fun! 

More to come. 

Oct 31 2010

The first year

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With our first year behind us, we’re starting to feel like seasoned RVers. We have definitely learned a lot in our first year. We’ve met many people with great advice for us that have been on the road for 10, 12, 15 years or more. We’ve learned for ourselves how long we can dry camp before needing a dump station and fresh water refill. We now know where to economically camp when we need to readjust our budget, one of which is Donna’s driveway or Monument Lake National Park in the Florida Everglades. 

We learned that campground write-ups are not created equal. Some of the write-ups sound like pure paradise, and turn out not to be so great. Others sound terrible, but are pure paradise. The only way to know what a campground is like is to try it. We read the reviews, but remember that a reviewer could be disgruntled at the time of his stay and nothing will please him/her. We’ve visited some parks with poor reviews, but have found them to be quite enjoyable. We learned that campgrounds in Canada usually have 30 amp power, but often have low voltage. Most of the campgrounds in Nova Scotia were waterfront and beautiful.

We spent our first winter traveling around Florida, learning the places we definitely want to return to.

In August, we traveled to Nova Scotia, taking Jan’s sister on the journey. We had a lot of laughs and had a great time. It was a worthwhile trip. We went to Nova Scotia from Michigan through Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, and from Nova Scotia to Cape Breton. One of the things that became obvious is how expensive it is to travel in Canada. We returned to Michigan from Nova Scotia by ferry from Digby to St. John, New Brunswick, to Calais, Maine and through Vermont, New Hampshire, upstate New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. We avoided interstates and saw beautiful country by using the backroads.

Jan has learned that it’s not easy to maintain a blog site. Sometimes the excuse is poor Internet connection. The new year resolution is to stay on track and write something every day. Already the resolution is failing. ;)

We are now on a road trip to Florida, staying on the roads less traveled, visiting friends and family along the way. We have been to many places for the first time. We left Michigan to Illinois; to Missouri; to Arkansas; to Oklahoma, through Texas to Louisiana. We are traveling through Mississippi to Alabama, to the Florida Panhandle and on to Jacksonville/St. Augustine. We will again travel around Florida during the winter months.

In Illinois, we stayed at Cave-In-Rock State Park. We visited the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, and had fun digging for diamonds (with no luck). We liked Cypress Bend Park in the Sabine River Water Conservation District in Many, Louisiana. Another wonderful state park is Grand Isle State Park in Louisiana. We especially enjoyed New Orleans and the French Quarter. We’re stopping at casinos along the way and trying our luck with the one-arm bandits. We’re also learning where there are better or worse payouts.

We have joined a few organizations offering discounted camping. The ones we like are FMCA, Good Sam Club, Encore/Equity Lifestyle, and Passport America. Don recently joined the Loyal Order of the Moose. Many of their lodges have on-site campgrounds for members, one of which is very close to Tracy and family.

We don’t know how long we’ll do this. There’s still much more to see and do in the USA, like a trip to Alaska. We’re not setting a time period, one way or the other. Like living in Hawaii, we’ll know when it’s time to move on to a new adventure.

Jul 28 2010

Back online

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Bounder in drivewayOops. It’s nearly August and I haven’t written anything since May. But I’m back and promise to submit entries on a regular basis.

We haven’t been letting any grass grow under our wheels. We seem to stay incredibly busy for two retired folks.

We spent Memorial Weekend with Donna, Chris, Carl and Luke (next entry). Then we returned to Donna’s driveway and went on various trips from there.

Tracy and girls arrive from Florida on August 1, as does Jan’s sister Judi. We, along with Judi, are taking a trip to Nova Scotia. Then we’ll have plenty to write about. Hopefully, we’ll have some good Internet connections.

View from front of RVSince we first arrived in Donna’s driveway in April, the trees have filled in with leaves. Donna’s driveway is much like a nature preserve. We’ve seen hawks, chipmunks, squirrels, turkeys, deer, and a mama duck with 11 ducklings.  Donna's yard

Carl - Boy Scout 1st ClassWe’ve attended more Scout meetings, where Carl received two badges. Carl - Badge

DSC00899We bought an Amish-made storage barn from Mast Mini Barns to hold all the stuffs we think we can’t part with.

Jul 10 2010

Illinois and Family Reunion

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Judi-Don-Jan_2010We were in Illinois for a family reunion with Jan's sister Judi, Judi's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The reunion, held on July 10, 2010, in Riverton, Illinois, was a lot of fun. Judi's granddaughter, Mindi, planned the event with a Hawaiian theme. Everyone received a silk flower lei. DSC00937


For more pictures: 

May 1 2010

Back to Michigan

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Just a few days before Spring Break, on March 29, Don's parents were in a car crash — not their fault — but received some minor injuries. Don's dad had broken ribs and a broken collarbone. Don's mom's face was bruised and she had some hairline cracks in the bones under her eye. 

So, as soon as Spring Break was over and we had delivered Brittany and Courtney back to their mom and we had rested a couple of days back at Indian Forest Campground in St. Augustine, we left for Michigan.   

It took us four days to make the trip. We have a rule of driving from 9 am until 3 or 4 pm. We covered about 300 miles per day and stayed in campgrounds along the way. 

Sign_Pecan Point RVOur first stop was a Pecan Point RV Park in Dothan, Alabama. It is an RV park with some model homes. It was within a mile of a Flying J and a Wal-Mart. 

Our next night found us at Texas T in Tennessee. Sign_Texas T This campground was right at the on/off ramps for I-65. It had a stream running through it. There was a large grassy area for tents. And how could we not like this campground when it has a Maine Coon cat as the campground pet?! Campground Maine Coon Cat2 This was a great campground and we'd like to spend more time there. Here are some additional photos of this park: 

Sign_Woods N WatersOur next and final night on the road found us at Woods N Water Campground in Columbus, Indiana, near Indianapolis. This is another nice campground that we would like to spend more time visiting. It has a fishing lake, playground, pool, hiking trails, and it's open year-round. I am attaching more pix of this campground. 

On Saturday, April 17, we arrived in Donna's driveway. Michigan was still chilly, back to wearing winter coat. We had a few overnight temps of 28 degrees. It has finally warmed up and the trees are turning green and leafy. Tulips are in bloom. 

But on Monday, April 19, Gray Cat got out of the RV. Terrified, he ran off and, to date (5/1/10), has not returned. We haven't given up hope and have posted pictures and information about him around town. We feel he's hiding in plain sight and will return when he's comfortable with his surroundings. We think we have had a few sightings, but they are not confirmed. 

Don, trying to capture Gray, was scratched and bitten and had to go to urgent care for treatment. We found that cat saliva has something similar to Bubonic Plague which attacks the tendons. Don's culture was positive, but treatment was successful and he's on the mend. 

Don's parents are both on the mend, too. We're now shopping for a car for them. 

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.  ~Buddha