Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!
Luling, Texas
Riverbend RV Park

We're still in Luling, Texas for this Christmas day.  But it's not a bad place to be.  This park has been wonderful.  Such friendly owners and staff... Quiet park with good Wi-Fi and great Laundry.  And Monday night we just HAD to watch the football game since the 49ers were playing.  So they opened up the clubhouse (which isn't usually open) for us!  We highly recommend this park if you're in the area.

 Christmas Steak
We did something different for this Christmas dinner... We grilled up Steak!  Really Good!
The next praise of this post is the truck repair.  We had it towed to Luling Chevrolet on Saturday in hopes that they could get to it when they opened on Monday... and hoping that they would do honest work. 
They did get to it Monday, and they didn't try to pull anything on us, and the price was right!  We had all 3 transmission lines replaced, just to be safe.  They didn't have it done until closing time, but they came and picked Jeff up and even put the kayaks back on the roof rack for us!  (They had stored our kayaks in the service center so they didn't get stolen over the weekend)
So there is another recommendation from us.... Luling Chevrolet.
Tonight we are all hooked up, and things put away... ready to pull out of here in the morning and continue our journey back to Oregon.
Hope your Christmas day was merry!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Stranded... and so much more

Long Time No Post

Why O Why have I not posted for over a month??
Well, I've had a lot of computer problems, so everything is more complicated than it should be.  The work I did do towards a blog post awhile back was lost, so that added some discouragement, then the longer I wait... the harder it is!  But its time... and I have time now!

Stranded (but Thankful!)
We're temporarily stranded in Luling, Texas... a tiny little place between Houston and San Antonio.

A transmission line burst on our truck. 

So why are we thankful??  So many reasons... We weren't pulling the 5er when it happened.  Our wheelhouse was safely parked in an RV Park.  The RV park can extend our stay and the price is right.  We managed to get the gears to engage enough to get us out of the intersection and into a parking lot.  It was a beautiful afternoon, so we were able to walk to do our errands.  Finally, even though we are in a tiny town... they just happen to have a Chevrolet dealership!

We contacted AAA in Oregon who contacted AAA in Texas who contacted a Tow truck driver, who showed up, hooked us up, took us to Chevrolet, then took us home.
Now we wait until Monday when the service department opens.
Thanksgiving 2013
Before leaving Florida, we enjoyed Thanksgiving day with John and Janie. 
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at our place.

Last Thanksgiving we were able to spend with my parents, since we were workamping just 150 miles away.  Thanksgiving 2011 we were in Las Vegas, and participated in a park dinner.  Thanksgiving 2010, our first Thanksgiving in the 5er, was spent in San Antonio as we prepared to open our Christmas tree lot the next day.  Never know where or with who you will spend a holiday when you're a full-time RVer!
We had such a wonderful time on the Emerald Coast of Florida.  We were there 33 days, and all but 3 days we spent on the beach.  Several days we also enjoyed Kayaking in the bay. 
This was definitely on our list of favorite places.
That's it for Alabama!
Our next stop for a visit after leaving Florida was Biloxi, Mississippi

I'd been experiencing some Keno and Slot machine withdrawal, and Biloxi had just the cure for that.  With 10 Casinos in the area, we made sure to hit them all to see what they might give us.
Most casinos give something to new visitors.  From 3 we got free buffet's!  The best buffet was at the IP... incredible food.  All the crab you can eat, salmon, shrimp, and so much more!  Jeff even tried frog legs... yuck!  He actually didn't know what they were when he was taking them, but a little girl behind him let him know.
 Mississippi also has beaches... but not nearly as nice as the Emerald Coast of Florida. 
One very cool thing that they do have...
After Hurricane Katrina, nearly all of Biloxi beach was destroyed, including the trees.
An artist from Ft. Walton Beach has sculpted many of the trees into works of art.

more of Biloxi

Next stop on our trip West... New Orleans, Louisiana
We chose to stay at the Bayou Segnette SP outside of New Orleans.
The park was quiet, and our site was plenty spacious. 
If we were there to hang out at the park, all would have been good!
But we were there to visit New Orleans... and that turned out to be an ordeal.
We just aren't city folk.  Every time we went out we got lost and stressed. 
But we did it... we saw the area and we have now been to New Orleans. 
We did enjoy the experience.
To visit the French Quarter, we chose to park at the edge of the city and use public transportation from there.  We took the St. Charles shuttle bus to connect to the St. Charles Streetcar which took us to Canal Street where we could catch more streetcars or walk... we did both.
One thing is for sure... they are serious about getting a handle on their high crime reputation.  There are police everywhere!
And another thing about New Orleans Louisiana... they are a very proud people.  Proud of their city and their heritage and what they have survived and overcome together.  They are big on traditions, and their New Orleans Saints are a big deal. 
Making our way back
After leaving New Orleans on December 18th, we stayed one night in Lafayette, and stopped briefly at Lake Charles, but then made our way back into Texas. 
A couple years ago, Texas seemed far from "home" but now when we crossed the border into Texas, we felt like we had arrived back home.  I suppose because it is a place we have been before.  We've completed our long anticipated trip into the unfamiliar territory of the East Coast, and now its like we've safely arrived back "home".  We're no longer on vacation, we've returned to "normal" RV life.

What Next?

We have a reservation near Phoenix, AZ where we will visit friends, then another reservation in Las Vegas where we will visit more friends.  Then we will make our way back to Oregon by January 21st.  Its a little early, we will still feel real Winter, but we have family to see.
Then we have taken a caretaking job at a lake resort in California that we start on April 1st.  We're looking forward to that.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What took us so long??

We've been full-time RVing for nearing 4 years now... and we just now made it to Florida?  What took us so long?  It may have something to do with the fact that it is 3000 miles from our home base.  But I'm so glad we finally did it.  We didn't know what we were missing.  The Emerald Coast is Incredible!

We have the bay right out the back door, and we're able to lock our kayaks up "on the dock of the bay",  so we're able to go out in the kayaks anytime. 

The other afternoon was especially exciting.  There were many dolphins jumping and showing off their acrobatics... and we had a front row seat!   Unfortunately, we hadn't taken the camera out.  I doubt that we would have lucked out with our timing for a good action photo anyway.

We checked out the Destin Harbor Walk another day.  Not Impressive.  We couldn't find a parking space on the weekend, so we tried again during the week.  We found a parking space, but half the shops were closed!

One thing is a given... EVERY day, we visit the Gulf.  I get excited about it every day.  Every day it's different on the ocean.  Some days it's all calm... other days it has 6 foot waves!  I like it all.

We've really got into collecting shells.  We've even lost a phone because of going too far into the waves in search of that seashell.

That is from many days ago... our collection has grown MUCH bigger an much more impressive!

We've been here 2 1/2 weeks, and I'm sad that we have less than 2 weeks left.  We could live here!
But we don't... our home has wheels, so we will move on down the road.

We do plan to get some maintenance done while here, though.  Some of the rubber stripping on our slides was totally dissolved, so we ordered new stripping from the factory, and replaced it. 

We also noticed that the trailer tires have become really worn, just on the inside... but I calculated the mileage on these tires, and it's over 23k miles!  So we will just get new tires.  Taking the truck in for new tires is one thing, but hauling our home in, is another thing... as most of my readers know!  So we were thrilled when we came back from the beach yesterday, and there was a mobile tire service at another site.  So we spoke to them and they will be replacing our tires tomorrow!

Next on the maintenance list is several things on the truck.  We have new batteries on truck and 5er, we have new tires on the truck and will soon have new tires on the 5er.  But its time for some routine maintenance on the truck, and we need a glow plug replaced, and the latest is noise coming from the alternator.

We were happy to have a visit from RV friends, Duane and Louise, yesterday.  We met on the beach, then had dinner together.  It was great seeing them again.  Hopefully, we will meet up again in Arizona or California.  If its in California, then we will have a motorcycle with us again, and we can ride together.

Lovin' life here on Florida's Emerald Coast... Where are you lovin' life?

Friday, November 8, 2013

White Sugary Sands and Clear Blue Waters!

Yep!  I'm not sure it can get much better than this.  We are settled in on the Emerald Coast of Florida.
Specifically on Okaloosa Island in Ft. Walton Beach.

We arrived in The Sunshine State on October 27th.
We were headed for the St Augustine area, but I found a PA park in Jacksonville, which was an easy on/off of I-95, and that's a plus... we've had our fill of stressful situations.
We settled into Pecan Park RV Resort for a good price.  This park has all large pull-thru sites... its very nice.  Just one downfall.  It's near an Airport... and Air Force Base.  Every day, every night, there are planes flying over the park... and not just the park in general, but it seemed like they flew over our site in particular!  We got to enjoy watching some great maneuvers! but at other times it was just irritating!

We visited downtown Jacksonville, the River Front, Friendship Fountain...
...and of course, we checked out the brewery that was right there.  As I do sometimes, when they offer it... I ordered their sampler tray of 6 brews.   I had to say that I didn't like any of their beers.  All of their brews were boring... very blah.  Have I become a beer snob?

Even better than our visit into Jacksonville, was our trip to Jacksonville Beach!
What a beautiful place!  and there was next to nobody there!  We had a free parking lot to ourselves!

From Jacksonville, we headed in the direction of our one month reservation in Ft Walton Beach.  It was about 360 miles, and we had a stop planned for Compass Lake, North of Panama City.  I found us a PA park about 190 miles down the road, conveniently off of I-10. 
Wow... there it is!
Don't be fooled by the other fifth wheel there... they weren't really there.  We were the only RVers.  Such a shame for this jewel of a park.  It was Halloween night, so we would have stayed in a Walmart parking lot, but who knows what will happen in a Wal-Mart parking lot on Halloween night.

After we were parked, we wondered why we had stopped.  I guess because lately, when we get close to 200 miles, Jeff has had it.  But this night he said he could have easily kept going.  Oh Well... we can't always do everything perfect!

The next day we didn't have far to travel.  I found another PA park, just 5 miles from Compass Lake. 
It started pouring rain shortly after we headed out.  Not fun... the windshield wipers couldn't keep up.
Pine Lake RV Park looked like another "jewel" from the condition of their sign... but we were greeted by a very friendly young lady, and were escorted to our plenty spacious pull-thru site.  It was a nice park, with the exception of the site being red dirt, which turned to thick sticky red mud in the rain.

But the storm stopped, and we were able to drive up to Compass Lake.
So what was at Compass Lake? 
Our friend from Oregon owns 2 lots in a subdivision along the lake.  She hadn't seen her property in over 20 years, so we told her we would check on it for her.  Problem was, she couldn't tell us anything except the lot #s and some coordinates.  We drove all around, and finally called a realtor who had a sign posted on one of the roads.  He was so friendly and helpful.  He was able to look up the lots, and he knew them well.  He stayed on the phone and directed us to the sites. 

We were thrilled to actually locate her property, and get some pictures for her.  And maybe she will take advantage of this contact we made with a realtor, and he can sell her property!

That was all we had to do there, so we stayed only one night at Pine Lake RV Park, and set out the next morning for Ft Walton Beach.  But HAVENT WE LEARNED NOT TO TRAVEL ON SATURDAY??  I guess not.

For MILES... we followed and attempted to pass or drive along side this.  The Iron Man bicycle race... which was part of a Triathalon, I think.  Really??  Shouldn't they just close the roads for a couple hours as they pass thru areas??  This was an accident waiting to happen, and I really didn't want to be part of it.

But we made it!

and are we ever glad to be here.

 The Bay is just out our door at the park. 
 Birds, Stingrays, creatures in shells, fish, and water awaiting our kayaks!

 The Gulf is just across the street.  There is a Skyway pedestrian bridge if we choose not to dodge the oncoming cars, or there is parking for us if choose to drive over (not necessary).
What an incredibly beautiful beach.

 We are here for the month of November, and looking forward to enjoying all of it.

oh... Did any of you watch Billy Graham's message of Hope for America last night?  At 95, he still had a good message for all of us... the message of The Cross.  All we need is JESUS.  He remains... the One True GOD.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Tuesday October 22
We weren't sure how our stay would be, when we first arrived at Hardeeville RV Park.  We found it with no problem.  We pulled in and parked in front of the office as the sign instructed.  I went inside the office to pay our money and get our site... but found the office door locked.  There were no notes posted that they "would be right back". So I called the phone #, but I'm the only one that heard it ringing on the other side of the sliding glass door.  On the paperwork in the lobby, I found a cell # so I called it and got voicemail.  I called again and again and left messages.  I walked all around the park.  Nobody.  We were there for an hour, before the owner drove up and so innocently asked "wanting to check in?"  DUH!

Not sure how it would go from there, I just paid for 2 nights.  But we set up in a comfortable site with 50 amp, plenty of space, cable TV and WiFi.  So our 2 nights ended up being 5 nights (one night at a time).

Hardeeville RV Park is in South Carolina, but only a few miles North of Savannah, Georgia.  So all our time away from the park was spent in Georgia.

We crossed this bridge every day

Fort Pulaski National Monument
 We had never heard of Fort Pulaski, but Jeff especially enjoys anything historical, AND it was a chance to take advantage of our annual national park pass.

It was very interesting... but I am SO not a historian or a teacher.
So I will give you a couple links here...

Tybee Island and Sponge Bob!

 We were told by a blog follower to visit Tybee Island... that it was stuck back in the 60s.  Sounded interesting.  But what we got was a surprise. 

There were police and security all over the beach street.  We soon realized they were filming.  Paramount Pictures was there filming a new movie "Sponge Bob Square Pants 2" 

I asked, "Where is Sponge Bob?"  Then a devastating blow...  Sponge Bob isn't Real!!
I tried hard to take that in, then they explained.... they put him in later.  Oh! Whew... so he is real.

That explains the bicycle pedaling around with no one on it.  Sponge Bob will be on it later.  And the empty umbrellas on the beach.  They must be awaiting Sponge Bob's friends to come in later.

We haven't seen Sponge Bob ONE... but we will most likely see TWO when it comes out,
just because we were there. 
Southbound Brewing
I find Breweries by searching for them on the internet.
Here is the website for Southbound Brewery
They have a great website... and no reason for me not to think that they are open!  So we went. We pulled in to an empty parking lot with no sign of activity.  But we lucked out by speaking to a business man who has an office in a separate part of the building.  He took us around to the back side of the building, and hollered at the guys... "Hey, I've got a couple here all the way from Oregon, that came to visit your brewery"

They invited us in for a beer!  But don't touch the counter... it is freshly varnished.  They served up a Hoplin' IPA for Jeff, and a Belgian Day Trip'ler for me.  Wow... that beer was incredible.  Honestly, I had never tasted a better beer. I would describe it as full of substance, smooth, not bitter, not sweet, not dull... incredible!  Turns out it is 9.5% too. 

Not sure how long they have been brewing, but they have their beers in a lot of the local bars, they've just never been open to the public.  They have the taps and the bar just about ready for guests now. 
But because they are a brewery, with no limit on production, they are unable to sell beer at their location.  What they will do is sell customers a brewery glass, and that glass will get them several tasters.  There is a way to get around most anything.

Thanks to Smith and Alex for inviting us in and sharing your good beers with us!

Historic Savannah 

Cal was a Crafter with a City license.  He wove beautiful roses out of Palmetto Palms.
Savannah is an old city, and enjoyable to walk around... especially along the old River road. 
But it is not enjoyable trying to drive in, and nearly impossible to park with a big truck.

The photo below is from Fort Pulaski.  It was carved on a brick by G.W. Martus Feb 4 1880.  I decided to look up G.W. Martus.  I found a George W. Martus from Chathum county in the 1880 census. 
Then the above sculpture caught my attention.  It is Florence Martus, known as "the Waving Girl".  She took it upon herself to be the unofficial greeter of all ships that entered and left the Port of Savannah between 1887 and 1931.  Her father was a sergeant at Fort Pulaski.
Just thought it was interesting...
Jeff tripped and fell while attempting a short cut in Savannah on our second visit, and it seemed he must have bruised some ribs.  So because of his painful movement, we stayed longer in the area than we had planned.  From Hardeeville, we had thought we would go to the Brunswick area where we could meet up with Duane & Louise again.  But since we were running late, we decided to go on to Florida.
...That Next!