Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving and Visiting with Friends


On Thursday, the RV Resort was hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner for all the residents, with catered turkeys and a potluck for side dishes and desserts.  Tom helped the Activity Directors get the clubhouse dining room set up the night before.



On Thursday afternoon, we all gathered for a feast . . .


. . . and there was SO MUCH food! 

Everyone managed to stuff themselves, and there were still two full trays of turkey to send home in “doggie bags”.  We brought home enough to have a 2nd turkey dinner on Saturday!





After the big meal, the activity of the afternoon seemed to be walking . . . LOTS of people were out walking around the resort . . . it was a perfect afternoon for it!

On Friday and Saturday, Tom took care of a few small maintenance projects around the park,


and we had a visit from our friends, Debbie & Ken, who we had worked with at Lovers Key State Park the year before last.

They got set up on the site next to us,


and we spent some time getting caught up on what’s been happening since we last saw them in Phoenix in January.  The afternoon flew by, and we decided to go out for some pizza.  We found a place called Bellacino’s nearby, and the pizza was pretty good. 

Back at the RV Park, we went in for the night, but we got together in the morning to go to the Mexican Flea Market before they continued south to their winter volunteer spot near the Everglades.  I’m sure we’ll see them again this winter . . . they’re not too far away.

On Sunday, our plan was to go to mass at Ft. Myers Beach, then check out the sand sculptures . . . that will be a blog post all of it’s own.

Since we were in the area, we contacted Don & Carol at Lovers Key, and made plans to visit with them in the afternoon.  We sat down by the canal, watching the kayakers go by,


while we talked and snacked.  After a while, we walked to the beach to see the sand renourishment project.


Sand is being dredged from the bottom of the ocean at the north end of the beach,


then it’s pumped through pipes to the south end of the beach.  The areas has to be kept closed because until the sand dries thoroughly, it’s pretty much like quicksand – last week a tractor was left parked on the sand at the end of the day, and by morning it had disappeared!  It had completely sunk into the sand!

The difference in the beach is amazing, though!













It’s easily double the size it was when we were there two years ago!



We continued our visit back at their site, as the sun continued to sink in the sky. . . before we knew it, it was almost sunset and time for us to get home to rescue Casey.  Poor thing – she’d been cooped up all day!


We had a great visit with Don & Carol, and look forward to getting together again this winter!




As we made our way back to Ft. Myers, the sun was setting over the Gulf . . . the end of another beautiful day!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Finally in south Florida, and a new floor!

When we left northern Florida on Monday it was cloudy and humid, and looked like it could rain at any moment.  As we made our way south on I-75, though, the clouds cleared and the temperature continued to rise through the 80s . . . but it was still humid!


It was our last 300-mile day, and we were anxious to arrive at our winter destination.  Even with a 45-minute drive to get to the freeway, we made great time, and arrived at the Cypress Trail RV Resort just before 2pm.

It’s a gated community, and we were arriving a day early, so we had to call the Sales Manager to let us through the gate.  After checking in, we got parked on our site and set up for a long-term stay.


I’ll do a full post on the resort later, with lots of pictures, but for now I just have a couple of the area we are in.  It’s a really beautiful resort . . .


Monday afternoon is “Happy Hour” and Tuesday morning is “Coffee & Donuts”.  We went to both, and met the other workamping couple and several campers.  There aren’t too many people here yet, but we’re told they are fully booked for January and February.

Here comes the Maintenance Supervisor on his cart . . .




Oh, it’s Tom!! 







Since we’ve been here, we’ve gotten caught up on laundry, stocked up on groceries, and tackled a “home improvement” project.

We’ve always had a carpet remnant that we roll out in the garage area when we’re parked, but in the last year or so, the backing has been disintegrating and leaves a powder all over the floor when we roll it up.  We threw it out before we left Michigan, and have been looking for something to replace it.  Tom had seen some other toy haulers that use 2’ x 2’ foam interlocking squares on the garage floor, so that’s what he been focusing on.  He found some on craigslist here in Ft. Myers that look like a wood floor, rather than just black, which most of them are.

We took a drive over to look at them today, and bought them – $75 for about 150 sq. ft. – not a bad deal!

It was more than we needed, but it worked out good because we used the extra pieces as an additional layer between the tie-down rails, so that the finished layer would lie flat across the whole floor . . . and it added a little extra cushion!

Tom and Bryce came up with the perfect layout . . .



and did all the measuring and cutting.

It came out really good!





Casey gave it her stamp of approval!


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and the resort is having a catered/potluck celebration . . . I made sweet potatoes and mini cheesecakes . . . two of Tom and Bryce’s favorites!  It’s nice to have that done already – tomorrow all we have to do is show up for a delicious dinner!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Continuing south, and trying to avoid the storms

Kentucky was still cold, so we had one more night of running the furnace, but as we continued south on Friday, the temperature improved.


We had gotten a call Thursday night from our friends in Georgia, and after finding out that their property was right near our intended stopover location for Friday, we made it our destination.  With our early start and great driving conditions, we arrived at their place by 4pm.

Parked at Tim & Denise's House

They got us situated in front of the barn, hooked up to 50 amp electric, and topped off our fresh water tank.  We were excited to catch up with Tim & Denise again (we last saw them 2 years ago in Florida), and we enjoyed their company and hospitality.

Tim & Denise

They showed us around the area, and took us out to dinner at their favorite restaurant.  We were looking forward to spending Saturday with them, too, but the weatherman was calling for some nasty storms on Sunday in Georgia, so we decided that we needed to take advantage of the good weather on Saturday to get into Florida.  After a leisurely morning, we said our good-byes and got back on the road.  We’re hoping to be able to spend some time together in south Florida this winter.

Driving through Atlanta is always a challenge,

Driving through Atlanta

but fortunately, on this Saturday morning it wasn’t too bad.

Downtown Atlanta










Bryce has been driving the car, while I ride in the truck with Tom, and he’s doing really well . . . we’re a big target to follow!

Our plan was to get into Florida and stay put for 2 nights, waiting out Sunday’s storms.  We ended up choosing the Suwanee River Rendezvous RV Resort, although it ended up being quite a bit further from the freeway than we expected.  It was dark, and it was raining by then, so Tom and Bryce were not happy campers!

Sad smile

It’s actually a nice RV Park, though, with really nice facilities and friendly people.  Lucky for us, they have a restaurant/bar that’s open on the weekends, so we were able to go there for dinner.  The food was inexpensive and good, and we were entertained by karaoke/trivia night.  I even bought Bryce a milkshake to make up for the crappy drive!

After church on Sunday, we went out for a walk and got a few pictures.

Our site -- 154

Suwanee River Rendezvous

The Pool and Bath House

Pool and Bath House



The campground borders the Suwanee River, and there is a bike trail that parallels the river, all the way to the historic Hal W. Adams Bridge.









Way down upon the Suwanee River . . .

If the weather were nicer, this would be a nice park and area to spend some time in . . . but, we move on tomorrow . . .

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Leaving the Winter Wonderland


Bryce says he wishes the snow didn’t have to bring the cold weather along with it!











But it did . . . we didn’t get a LOT of snow (glad we’re not in Buffalo!!), but what we got was hanging around, and the temperatures were brutal!  We didn’t get above freezing (even during the day) for over a week, and we burned through several more bottles of propane!

Poor Casey had her “summer cut” in preparation for Florida, and doesn’t have much of a coat to keep her warm!!


She doesn’t seem to mind too much, though!

Nicolas wanted to wash his car before he put it away for the next 2 months, but that wasn’t going to happen . . .


he did manage to have a snowball fight with his brother, though!












It sure was “Christmas Card” pretty, though!


Then came the time to say good-bye to Nicolas.  On Tuesday, while I was at work, Tom and Bryce took him to the recruiter’s office.  They had his paperwork all ready and took him across town to the hotel where he would spend the night before shipping out.

When I got off work, we drove over to the hotel to have dinner with him.

dinner pic

On Wednesday, he was up bright and early to report at MEPS for his medical check, interview and shipping brief.  We arrived at 9am to watch his “swearing in”.


I did a really good job of keeping my emotions under control (Nicolas said if I cried, he would deny that I was his mother!!), but almost lost it when the officer swearing them in talked about how honored he was to be performing the ceremony.  After the short ceremony, we took a few pictures,





and Nicolas signed his contract.  He’s officially a recruit now, and on the payroll!



We sat with him while he ate his lunch, and before long it was time to say our final good-byes, and he boarded the bus to take him to the airport.

There goes my boy!! 

OK, I cried a little in the car . . .

But, he had his phone with him, so we texted a little while he rode the bus to the airport, then he called me once he got through security and found his gate.

He was the only one shipping out for the Navy from Detroit that day, so he was on his own at the airport.  He texted me before his flight took off, and called again once he had landed in Chicago.  They gave him a voucher for dinner, so I made sure he was getting something to eat before he made his way to the USO to get on the bus to RTC.

I didn’t hear from him again all evening (I had hoped he’d call or text before he got on the bus), so that was a little nerve-wracking while we waited for the scripted call to come . . . he finally called around 11:30pm, so I knew that he was safely there.  Now we’re just counting the days until we see him again at his graduation!!

Knowing that Nick was settled in at boot camp, it was time for us to move on . . . and get the heck out of Michigan!


It was cold and blustery this morning, but the roads were dry and clear, and we had a bright blue sky.  It took a little longer to get ready to roll, with just three of us & having been parked in one place for nearly 3 months, but we were on our way by 10 am.


After a little bit of traffic in Toledo, and some construction south of there, the rest of the trip was uneventful.

There was still snow on the ground in Ohio,











but as we continued south, we saw less and less, and the temperature crept up . . . by the time we reached Cincinnati, we were above freezing!!

We crossed the Ohio River,


and said hello to Kentucky.


Our destination for tonight was the Kentucky Horse Park.  We chose it because it’s familiar – we know it’s right off the freeway, with paved level sites, and easy to get in and out of.  It’s their winter season now, so only 1/2 the sites are open, and there’s no water at the sites, but there were plenty of sites to choose from and we’ve been working off our fresh water tank for the last week anyway.

We arrived just before 5pm, and got set up on site 251 . . .


hmm, last time we were here, there was a tornado . . . don’t think we have to worry about that this time!

It’s still cold here, so we turned on the furnace to get the RV warmed back up . . . but it’s not as cold as it’s going to be in Michigan tonight!!

As we drove into the campground, we noticed that there were Christmas lights set up around the other loop of the campground. 


When we checked in, we asked about the lights, and the girl in the office told us that the drive-thru light show didn’t start until tomorrow night, but that tonight there was a 5K through the lights, and that it was open for walking through.



So, after dinner, Tom and I bundled up and took Casey for a walk through the lights.


We were surprised at the number of people who came out to walk and run through the lights.  It was really cool . . . Nicolas would have loved this!     DSC_0147












This was quite a treat that we stumbled onto!


Tomorrow we continue our trek south . . . next stop – Georgia!