Monday, January 30, 2012

Florida Bound 2012--Day 26

S L O W L Y heading home.

The trek home is going much slower than the trip down here. Left Polk City yesterday morning around 8:00. Had planned to drive a little over 300 miles and into the Florida Panhandle before stopping for the night. All was going good during the morning except it was cooling down as I drove north. About 11:30 we stopped at a rest stop on Interstate 75 so the dogs could stretch their legs and do other things. I also took the time to change from shorts and sandals to jeans and regular shoes and socks. At this point we were just about 35 miles south of Gainesville.

Back on the road we topped an hill and saw traffic, three lanes wide, had come to a complete halt. The signs showed it was just over three miles to the next exit. Just over three hours later we arrived at that exit where the Florida Highway Patrol was forcing everyone off the Interstate. They had closed the highway, in both directions, for a 30 miles stretch starting at Gainesville and going south. Earlier there had been a major accident, involving several cars, semi trucks and one tour bus. Apparently this was caused by a mixture of smoke from a nearby wildfire and morning fog. Later they reported on the news that at least 10 people had died in the crashes with another 18 taken to local hospital. After three plus hours sitting in traffic to advance that three miles it took another hour to get the 30 miles to Gainesville on the back roads. By stopping time for the night we had only advance to Lake City, less than 200 miles from where we started. That has really set us back in our advance toward home.

This morning we rolled out of bed early and had planned to hit the road by 8:00 AM. Knowing we would pick up an hour when we crossed back into the Central Time Zone we should have plenty of time to make up some of the time lost yesterday. Got everything unhooked and ready when we found the slide lock on the large, living room slide would not go into place. The slide had not come all the way in. Turns out the fabric of the slide topper was coated in about a half inch coating of ice. As the slide came in the ice would not let the fabric roll up on the roller. Spent the next 45 minutes working at getting the ice cleaned off enough to get the roller to turning. Of course it did not help that the ladder I carry in the coach is only six feet tall. By standing on the next to the top step, on my tiptoes, I could just reach up over the top of the slide to peal the slabs of ice away. (Who would have thought that it would get below freezing in Florida?) Anyway, got enough ice off to where all the mechanisms started working properly and the slide moved all the way in. We were on the road by 9:00.

The drive across the Florida Panhandle and the lower portion of Alabama was uneventful. We are now set up in a campground in Theodore, Alabama, just a few miles west of Mobile. Drove about 360 miles today. Hope to get an early start tomorrow since I've laid out a route of 395 miles. Original plan was to be home sometime Wednesday afternoon. Now it looks like we won't be there until Thursday. (And, I plan to pull in the big slide tonight before I go to bed.)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Florida Bound 2012--Day 24

Another Cuban lunch and some swans.

Yesterday was a trip back to Tampa for another lunch. Fred's travel buddy, Pat, had not been able to join us all week so we all met for lunch at the Columbia Restaurant. We were also joined by another RVer who was visiting in town. Fred and Pat travel all over the country together, each driving their own motor home. They visited us in Oklahoma City a couple of years ago and we have attended several rallies with them since then. After a long lunch we returned to Fred's place to relax and chill out.

Today was just for bumming around. Started off by going back to Tampa to a flea market. (Flea markets are a big deal in this part of Florida.) This is one that Joanne and I went to when we were here in 2007. The buildings covered numerous acres with many vendors. Spent a couple of hours walking the aisles but did not see anything that I could not live without. Afterward I drove east to Lakeland to go to a lake in the middle of downtown to take some bird pictures. In addition to many tropical birds that frequent the area the city is in the business of raising swans. They have nesting cages scattered along the edge of the lake. The swans are sold off to other cities and zoos around the country. After a stop for lunch it was back to the coach to start getting ready to hit the road again. Now the holding tanks have been emptied and the fresh water tank has been filled. Been a good stay here in the Tampa area and Fred's hospitality and the use of his site is greatly appreciated.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Florida Bound 2012--Day 23

A clean coach, trip to the beach and visit with old friend.

Yesterday was a full day. Started off early with a guy who came to wash and wax the coach. Although the coach gets washed throughout the year it has been awhile since it was waxed. Turns out he spent most of the day working on the coach but it does really look nice now. Of course, just having it washed meant that we'd get rain last night. Really the first real rain we've had since this trip started back on January 5.

After seeing the guy get started I took off to meet up with a fellow former crew member of the USS Newport News. Our ship was in commission from 1949 to 1975. With over 1,200 men on board at any given time there are many former crew members scattered around the country. Jim Sollee served on the ship from 1960 to 1964. He is now retired and living in Tampa and is very involved in maintaining the ships websites e-mail list and discussion groups. We met up on the east side of Tampa and Jim drove us over to the Gulf to the town of Treasure Island. There is a small restaurant/bar that Jim likes to frequent called Caddy's on the Beach. They have their own private beach right on the Gulf of Mexico. The food was good as was the company.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Florida Bound 2012--Day 22

Time to catch up.

Last Monday started off early. About the time I got the dogs fed and ready to go walk the Service Writer at Alliance Coach showed up at my coach to do the paperwork to get the repair to the "slide topper" started. Not very long afterwards there were two guys with ladders working to dismantle the topper to take it to the shop to be restitched. By 11:00 AM everything was put back together and I was ready to go. Pulled out of Wildwood around noon and headed south. I'm now parked at Mt. Olive Shores, an RV community in Polk City. My friend, Fred White, owns a place in here that has a double drive so two coaches can park here, with full hookups. I'll be here through this next Saturday.

On Tuesday I decided I needed some exercise so I got online and found me a cemetery that had not appeared to have been documented on Find A Grave. This was in the town of Bartow a bit south of Polk City. The website showed only 200 graves as having been recorded. When I got there it appeared to be a large cemetery with well over 1,000 graves. I took one section and started photographing headstones. Many of these were very old graves and the stones were often partially covered with soil and leaves. After a couple of hours I had taken just over 100 pictures so I called it a day and headed back to the coach. Once I got the pictures loaded onto my computer I found there were a few that were already listed on Find A Grave. Wound up adding about 75 new memorial pages for Evergreen Cemetery in Bartow, Florida.

Yesterday morning I headed out to Tampa and the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel. This is operated by the Florida Seminole Tribe. Joanne and I had been there in 2007 but I had been told that many changes had taken place. There are now several restaurants and the casino floor has been enlarged. Not being much of a gambler I limited my time in the casino. I do like to play blackjack if I can find a table with a low minimum bet (like maybe $1). The cheapest table there had a $10 minimum. I have trouble putting down a ten spot for each bet so I passed on that. I did try a $.02 slot machine. Put in $2.00 and played 25 lines with each pull. (That is $.50 per bet.) Got it run up to just over $20.00 and cashed out, put the money in my pocket and left. Came back to Polk City and had lunch here in the coach.

During the evening Fred and I took off to do a little sightseeing around the Polk City/Lakeland area. This area is called Lakeland for a reason. That are numerous small lakes all over the place. Most were carved out due to mining for phosphate. Now most have been landscaped and stocked with fish and make up a recreational area. It's also a place to see the many variety of birds that inhabit this part of Florida. This gray crane was standing along side the road that separated a group of these lakes. After our drive we stopped at a local Italian restaurant for dinner before heading back to his place.

Had to roll out early this morning. Having my coach washed and waxed by a guy from over in Tampa. He was due here at 8:00 AM to get started. This gave me a chance to get a picture of the morning sky over the RV community. Got the dogs fed and walked early and then waited. The guy showed up a little early and is currently on the roof of the coach cleaning and waxing. (His walking around up there is driving my dogs crazy.) Today will be going over to Tampa to see another former crew member of the USS Newport News.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Florida Bound 2012--Day 18

Slow Sunday and then dinner with a good friend.

Spent a quite Sunday with just me and the dogs. Can't get any TV reception here in the campground at Wildwood so was not able to watch any of the games today. (By the way, who won?) This evening a good friend from our Monaco America RV club, Dennis Kittleson, came by in his new Volvo sports car to take me out to dinner. His lovely wife, Elizabeth, was in the middle of a project she has taken on and was unable to join us. We drove over to Inverness, Florida, to a place called Stumpknockers. This was a great restaurant with wonderful seafood. We wound up sitting there for a couple of hours visiting. This was the first time I'd seen Dennis since Joanne passed away. Dennis and Elizabeth were parked near us at the Monaco America rally this past October in Louisiana and, like most everyone else at that rally, were unaware that Joanne had developed her medical problems. Needless to say they were just as shocked as everyone else when they got the news of her death. We had a good visit and a good meal. On top of that Dennis picked up the check. A great night all around.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Florida Bound 2012--Day 17

Moving day plus lunch in Tampa with kinfolk.

Yesterday was moving day again. Ron & Kay had a performance scheduled for today in Clermont, Florida, and were going down yesterday. Since my coach was parked in front of the gate to their backyard I had to pull out first so they could get their coach out. I have an appointment at Alliance Coach in Wildwood for some minor repairs for next Monday so I decided to come on over here and get set up in Alliance's campground. We had been here before, back in 2007, when the place was still owned by Monaco Coach Corporation and was Monaco's southeast service center. (The sign in the picture is in front of an overgrown pond that is adjacent to the RV park here at Alliance.) Got in here around 3:30 yesterday afternoon.

Today I drove down to Tampa, about 70 miles, to meet up for lunch with my niece, Kellie, and her family. (Kellie is the daughter of my oldest brother.) They wanted to have lunch at Columbia Restaurant in an older section of town. This, apparently, is a very famous and popular place that has been in business since 1905. Their specialty is Cuban food, which was a new experience for me. The food was very good as was the company and conversation. It has been about 33 years since I last saw Kellie so we had a lot of catching up to do. She had brought her laptop and I had brought a flash drive with an abundance of pictures of the family. In addition to Kellie we were joined by her daughter, Michelle, and Michelle's three boys. This was the first time I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle and the boys. As anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis knows I have a great enjoyment of family and today was great as I met new family members.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Florida Bound 2012--Day 15

A reunion with an old shipmate, some time on the beach and some time in the studio.

Been a busy couple of days here in Daytona Beach. Yesterday I drove up to St. Augustine to have lunch with an old friend. Dan Weisenburger and I served together on the USS Newport News back in the 1960's. We both worked in the ship's Engineering Log Room during my second deployment to Vietnam. I was the office supervisor and he was one of the two young men who worked with me. Dan now works as a Realtor in the Jacksonville area and we have reconnected via the ship's web site. We met up at The Conch House restaurant where we had a great lunch and spent a couple of hours catching up on each other's lives since we last saw each other 42 years ago.

Today was a day to spend on the beach. The weather was beautiful, in the 70's, without a cloud in the sky. Ron Rivoli decided this would be a perfect time to go down to the beach, which is only a block from his house. We decided to drive down since he keeps all chairs and other beach stuff in the back of his VW Bus. Daytona is the only beach I've been to where you can drive your car right down on the beach itself. After we got down there and set up it was time to just relax in the sun. After a little while we were joined by Kay and the two of them played "Paddle Ball" out on the beach. Later in the afternoon Kay's brother-in-law arrived from Louisville. (Kay's sister and brother-in-law own a house just a few doors down and spent their spare time down here.) In the evening we headed to the Our Deck Down Under for a great seafood dinner. This place is located almost directly under the bridge that goes over the inland waterway and back to the mainland.

Tonight was a completely new experience. I joined Ron & Kay, along with their producer, in the recording studio as they did the editing of a video they had recorded previously to be uploaded to You Tube. This editing process is a very precise and tedious job. The music is recorded on a track in the studio and the video portion is recorded separately. In the editing the music has to be synchronized with the video. We spent a couple of hours in the studio without completing the process. Kay and Matt, their producer, will get back together on Sunday evening to complete the process.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Florida Bound 2012--Day 13

A day at the track,

Went to the Daytona International Speedway today to take their tour. They offer two tours. One takes about 30 minutes and pretty much just take people around the track in a tram. The other, and the one I took, is supposed to last 90 minutes and is a very through tour of the entire facility. (Our tour guide took extra time to explain things and the tour lasted over two hours.) I'm not a big fan of NASCAR but my niece, Carrie, loves it. She asked me to take a bunch of pictures, especially one of the statue of Dale Earnhardt Sr. that stands in front of the stadium.

Here are a few of the pictures I took during the tour:

The main grandstand.

The Flagman's Tower.

Standing in the Winner's Circle.

This evening, after returning back to Ron & Kay's, the three of went to a place called Hidden Treasure for a good seafood dinner.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Florida Bound 2012--Day 12

After a trim was able to move into position in the yard.

Was able to sleep in a little this morning and then got the coach ready to move out of the driveway and over into the yard, more out of the way. Ron has his coach parked in the back yard, leaving me a space next to the house. There was a large bougainvillea plant next to the house that was a bit overgrown. Kay had been planning to cut it way back so she got out this morning and gave it a good trim so I could get the door to the coach open. After Kay did the trimming Ron got the job of cleaning up all the cuttings. This bush has a huge amount of thorns on it and is very hard to handle. Anyway, the bush is trimmed back and the coach is parked with all the slides out.

After all the trimming the three of us were off for lunch at a little place down the way by the intercoastal waterway called Boondocks. They raved about the "Fish Reuben" sandwich that is served there. Now I love a good Reuben sandwich but with corned beef. Never had one made with fish. Turned out it was really good. Two planks of what appeared to be grilled white fish instead of corned beef but otherwise pretty much the same stuff a person would normally get with a Reuben. Spent the evening relaxing in the coach with the dogs while Ron & Kay went to the recording studio to put some finishing touches on a new song that will be playing on YouTube by tomorrow. Thoroughly enjoying spending time with these two very special people.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Florida Bound 2012--Day 11

Another moving day.

My week in Navarre, visiting with my cousins, has come to a close. Had a good time with Bob & Yvonne and hated to leave but it was time to move on. Bob and I made several excursions out during the week but Yvonne was pretty much house bound. She cares for her neighbors infant son while both of these neighbors work on weekdays. (Both are in the US Air Force and stationed at the nearby base.) Also, during the week their dog, Toby, experienced some medical problems and had to be taken back and forth to the Vet three separate days. Yvonne was able to join us on Friday afternoon when we drove to Foley, Alabama, for lunch/dinner. On Saturday morning the three of us went up Highway 98 to a local Flea Market. We spent about three hours browsing the booths and did wind up picking up a few items at bargain prices.

Since I knew I'd be going from the Central Time Zone to the Eastern Time Zone this morning I had set the clocks ahead an hour last night before going to bed. So when I pulled out at 8:00 AM on the clock it was actually 7:00 AM local time. As I was pulling the coach around to hook up the car I noticed the sun was rising over the bay. I take a lot of sunset pictures but am seldom up when the sun comes up. So here is a very rare, and probably the only, sunrise picture anyone will see that I have taken. This is from the back of the campground over the bay in Navarre.

The drive to Daytona Beach, according to my computer mapping program, was to be about 445 miles. That is more than I normally like to do in one sitting. Usually around 300 miles in a day is about right. Also, I knew Ron & Kay Rivioli, the folks I came to visit, would not be home until late in the day. They have worked all week at the Tampa RV Supershow this week and could not leave over there until they had completed their performance this morning and then loaded all their equipment into the van they tow behind their motor home. After driving across the top of Florida to Jacksonville we dropped south on Interstate 95 to Daytona Beach. We arrived around 5:00 PM, about two hours before Ron & Kay made it in. While waiting I walked down to the end of their street to take a sunset picture out over the intercoastal waterway. (Their house is located on an island between the intercoastal waterway and the Atlantic Ocean.) Also while waiting I snapped a picture of their winter house here in Daytona Beach. It's a neat house with many outdoor beach type decorations. They are currently in the process of completely remodeling the interior to make it more livable for them. (They just completed another house at the other end of the block that they now have ready to rent, fully furnished, to anyone who would like to spend time at Daytona Beach.) And, speaking of remodeling, Ron is also redoing that vintage VW Bus that is sitting in the driveway. Anyway, I am now parked in their driveway, next to the VW, for the night. Tomorrow, in the daylight, we'll move the coach over to the side of their house so it is not so conspicuous to the local authorities that someone is actually living in their yard. After working all week doing the lighting and sound for the entertainment acts at the RV Show, plus performing the last two days themselves, they were really tired. We went to a nearby Italian restaurant for a wonderful dinner and then all adjourned to our respective "houses" for the night.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Florida Bound 2012--Day 9

Had dinner rolls thrown at you lately?

Been a quite couple of days here in the Florida Panhandle. Drove over to Destin yesterday to shop at another of the Beall's Outlet stores. Picked up a couple more pairs of walking short and some more shirts. I'm not a person who enjoys shopping for clothes but these outlet stores do carry some things I like. I've hit their stores every time I get down south and most of the shirts in my closet came from there. (In some states they are called Burke's Outlet stores. Same company, same advertising and same promotions.) The drive to Destin from Navarre is really beautiful. There is one long stretch with no buildings that has large dunes on both sides of the roads of the great white sand that is down here. (I kept thinking about how much Joanne would have enjoyed that drive.) Later in the evening my cousins, Bob & Yvonne, and I picked up a couple of there friends and we drove into Pensacola for dinner at a sports grill, Sidelines. Their friend, Matt, and his wife are originally from the south side of Oklahoma City. Matt was an Oklahoma City Police officer and first responder the day of the Federal Building explosion. His mother was working in that building and perished that day. He wound up taking early retirement and moving down here and has not been back to Oklahoma City since. We had a good visit and learned we knew many of the same people.

This afternoon I picked up my cousins and we headed west over to Foley, Alabama, to eat at Lambert's Cafe for a late lunch/early dinner. This is the home of "the throwed rolls". Yes, they actually throw the dinner rolls to you. We first visited this place in January 2007 when we came down to Florida as a part of a seven coach caravan. We have eaten there several times since then when we find ourselves down this way. (There are two more Lambert's Cafes in Missouri.) The food is wonderful and plentiful. Each entre' comes with two sides but those really are not needed. They have what they call "pass arounds". The wait staff come around with pans full of fried okra, pan fried potatoes, black-eyed peas and several other items of southern cooking. All this and the best and biggest dinner rolls you could ever want. The guy who "serves" the rolls actually walks around and throws them to you. You just have to hold up your hand and he'll throw them across the room. It's really surprising how few are not caught and wind up on the floor. It was about a two hour drive over to Foley but most of it was along the beach and the Gulf of Mexico. After returning to Navarre and dropping of Bob & Yvonne I came back to the coach to relax and spend the evening with the dogs.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Florida Bound 2012--Day 7

Just relaxing in the sun.

Have mostly just relaxed and not done much of anything since we arrived in Florida. Spent some time with cousins Yvonne and Bob. Have done some shopping and gone to lunch with Bob each day. The dogs and I have done some exploring around the Magnolia Beach Campground. This first picture is of the beach immediately behind the RV park. On Monday Bob and I headed over to Gulf Breeze to find a Beall's Outlet store. These outlet's are all around in Florida and in previous trips I've found it is one of the very few stores I don't mind shopping for clothes. Picked up some shirts and new walking shorts. Tuesday we drove over to Pensacola to the Naval Air Stations Navy Exchange. Needed a couple of new "Retired CPO caps". We wound up stopping for lunch each day, including a stop at Taco Bell. (Yvonne babysits for her next door neighbors infant so she has been pretty much not be able to join us in our excursions.)

Today Bob and I drove over to the Navarre Pier for lunch. There is a little grill/bar at the head of the pier that serves pretty good sandwiches. This is a great beach with incredibly beautiful white sand. (The "sand" is not actually sand in the normal form. This is granular quartz that washes down the rivers from the Adirondack Mountains up north.) Due to the emerald green water along here this is call the Emerald Coast. After spending a little time this afternoon with the dogs I went back down to the beach here at the RV park to take some sunset pictures before going back over to the cousins for dinner. This shot was taken about 5:00 PM this evening.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Florida Bound 2012--Day 4

We have arrived.

After three days we are now in Florida. Crossed over from Alabama around noon and none too soon. Bridgit had been trying to tell me she needed to go out before we got to Mobile. The Florida Welcome Center and rest stop was the first place I found to pull off. We stopped for a few minutes to let the pups get out and stretch and do their business and then back on the road for the few more miles to the town of Navarre. We are now set up for the next week in a small RV park, Magnolia Beach Campground, right along the beach. This area is called the Emerald Coast and has some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches a person could find.

After getting the car unhooked, the coach set up for living instead of driving and the dogs out for a short walk I called my cousin Yvonne and her husband Bob to let them know we were here. The RV park is about three blocks south of their house. Next it was off to their house for a nice visit. The dogs enjoyed being able to roam around their backyard while we sat on the patio and caught up on things. Their house is on a small lake and there is no fence across the back so the dogs could walk right down to the water. With Bridgit's penchant for water I had to keep a close eye on her to keep her from wading in. After a while it was time to come back to the coach so the pups could have supper. Yvonne and Bob came by soon after and the three of us went to a local seafood restaurant for "all you can eat" shrimp. While I was waiting for them I strolled down to the beach here at the park to snap a sunset picture. The food was great and we've had a good time visiting and catching up on old times.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Florida Bound 2012--Day 3

Another day, another road trip.

Was time to move farther east so we pulled out of Baton Rouge around 10:00 this morning. Was not in any hurry since we were only going 160 miles down Interstate 10 to Gulfport, Mississippi. Joanne and I have been to Gulfport several times, both before and after Hurricane Katrina devastated the place. U.S. Highway 90 runs along the beach for several miles going through Gulfport and Biloxi. Prior to Katrina the land side was lined with many large homes overlooking the Gulf. Katrina took most of these away along with most of the commercial buildings and casinos in an area up to four and five blocks inland. Each time we have come we have found it interesting to see what has been done to rebuild. The casinos and most of the commercial properties have been rebuilt. Only a few of the homes have been built back. Last time we were here, a couple of years ago, many of the lots had "FEMA" trailers parked on them for the owners to live in while they decided what to do. Now the trailers are gone and most of the lost are still empty. The big difference this time is most of them now have For Sale signs on them.

While here I hooked up with a fellow RVer and retired military friend. Les Crawshaw has been a full timer, meaning he has lived in his motor home, for several years. He just recently moved into the Armed Forces Retirement Home here in Gulfport. (For many years this was known as the Sailors Retirement Home but some time back it was merged in with the Army & Airman's Retirement Home in Washington, DC, and was opened up to persons from all services.) Les picked me up at the RV park and took me over to the place for a grand tour. Katrina had destroyed the old building so the military leveled it and started brand new. It is a beautiful facility now. I had always thought this would be a good place to retire but after today have pretty much changed my mind. The security procedures and numerous rules make it way to restrictive for my taste. Guess I'll just remain an Oklahoman for the time being.

After checking out the home we decided to grab something to eat before returning to the RV. We stopped at the Back Bay Seafood Restaurant for some great seafood. Really had a good afternoon visiting with an old friend and discussing RVing and the military, even if Les was not Navy but was a member of our sister service, the Marine Corps.

After returning to the coach and feeding the dogs I decided to head back down to the main drag (U.S Highway 90) and check out the casinos. Drove all the way over to the Biloxi side to the Hard Rock Casino. I'm not a big gambler and really don't normally like playing slot machines. If I'm going to "donate" my money I prefer playing Blackjack but only if I can find a table with a very low, like $1.00, minimum bet. This being Saturday night there were no cheap tables to be found. All that was available was $10.00 minimum bet. I did sit down at a .25 cent Wheel Of Fortune slot machine and played a few bucks. Wound up winning just over $36.00 so I took my winnings and headed back to the coach.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Florida Bound 2012-Day 2

Nice leisurely drive but still in Louisiana.

Up and around early this morning but not so quick to get going. After taking care of the dogs and then getting myself ready it was after 8:00 before we were ready to roll. Then we backtracked a couple of miles to the Flying J to fill the fuel tank with diesel and fill the propane tank. Finally around 9:30 we were out on the road. We drove a little under 300 miles to the Baton Rouge area.

We are currently in the Cajun Country RV Park in Port Allen, Louisiana. It was an easy drive down Interstate 49. I've learned over the past year that when Bridgit Jeane starts to whine it means she needs to get out to do her business NOW. At home, when the back door was closed, I've ignored her at my own peril. She will tell me when she needs to go out and if I don't listen then she will find a place in the house to go, usually in the middle of the living room floor. So, she has gotten me to stopping about every two hours or so. This is really a good thing since we all need to take a few minutes to get out and walk around.

After getting into Port Allen and getting the coach set up I decided to go see a ship. Over the years I have dragged Joanne thought a very large number of museum ships around the country. Pretty much anytime we were close to a former Navy ship that has been turned into a museum we would go, from the USS Pampinito (a submarine) in San Francisco to the USS Yorktown (an aircraft carrier) in Charleston, South Carolina. We even spent a week on a "work party" helping to preserve the USS Salem in Quincy, Massachusetts. (The Salem is a sister ship to my old ship the USS Newport News.) Anyway, in the past couple of years I've pretty much done the ship museum thing by myself so today was not any different. The USS Kidd, a World War II destroyer, is tied up next to the Interstate 10 bridge over the Mississippi River. So off I went this afternoon to take the tour. They have done a very good job of refurbishing this ship and it has a really good naval/military museum next door.

After leaving the Kidd I returned to the coach to take care of the dogs. They were ready for a walk and then supper. The three of us are settling into a pretty good routine. They enjoy the walks and are good company to travel with.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Florida Bound 2012--Day 1

On the road again.

Finally got the motor home's wheels rolling. Been doing this RV thing since 1997 and this is the first time I've done this by myself. Well, not totally alone. I do have Buddy Joe and Bridgit Jeane with me. We left home about 8:30 this morning and after 409 miles we arrived in Greenwood, Louisiana.

It is kind of good having the dogs with me. Joanne was always after me to stop every couple of hours to take the dogs out for a few minutes to "let them do their business". Now little Bridgit tells me every so often that she needs to go out. After several stops we found ourselves in McKinney, Texas, a little after noon so we stopped for lunch. We have RV friends based there where they work for a company that manufactures and sells power window shades for RV's. Gave them a call to say hi only to learn they had left around 11:00 AM, heading to Tampa, Florida, for the big Tampa RV Show that will be held next week. Hopefully I can catch up with Jim and Peggy once we all get down to Florida.

We are now in the TA RV Park in Greenville, Louisiana. When we came down to Louisiana this past October we found this to be an ideal stopping place for an overnight stay. We are directly behind a TA Truck Stop. Nice park with 50amp service and cable TV for a very reasonable price. After we got set up the dogs took me out for a walk and then back to the coach for supper. Now we've all settled in for the night and will leave out early tomorrow morning and head south. Taking it slow and easy. Not due in Navarre, Florida, until Sunday. Still thinking about where I want to stop along the way.

(No pictures in today's post since most was spent driving and we got into the RV park after dusk.)