Almost a month in South Carolina

We left Charleston and made our way to the Columbia area where Marcia’s cousin lives. It was so fun to spend a day with them – lots of hiding and hunting Easter eggs.

    

We then drove to Gaffney, SC where one of Marcia’s best friends from college lives. The state park where we were going to stay didn’t have any openings until Sunday so we parked the trailer in the street in front of their house for one night. Her boys were fascinated with our RV and loved checking it out.

     

Over the course of the three and a half weeks we were there, we enjoyed lots of visiting. It was such an encouragement to both of us after living so far apart for so many years.

We stayed at the Croft State Park just east of Spartanburg, SC.  Even though the cell signal was pretty bad, it was a nice quiet park with a lake, horse shows on Saturday, and fire pits so lots of s’mores.

               

     

   

One weekend we made a quick trip up to Raleigh to meet up with several other friends from Kansas City and other college friends. We failed however to get photos of everyone. Sorry!

We also spent a day driving the Blue Ridge Parkway from Little Switzerland, NC to Asheville, NC.  What a gorgeous area!

        

Heading into Tennessee next…

 

 

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Charleston, SC

We’ve made it to our 9th state!  We just spent 9 days in Charleston, SC at the James Island County Park. It was a great place with lots to do.  There were lots of hiking trails, a disc golf course, climbing walls, a ropes course, kayaks, peddle boats, and more.  Our friend Jennifer flew in from Kansas City to spend the week with us, and we enjoyed having a campfire and s’mores a couple of nights.

       

Watching the Charleston Model Yacht Club race their boats at the campground lake. What a hoot!  These guys are serious about their sport. They come out twice a week to race their boats.

We took a guided walking tour of downtown Charleston and learned so much about the history. We also toured a nearby cotton plantation as well as spent a day at the beach.

          

The McLeod Plantation main house and slave cabins.

    

Awesome dinner on the beach.  Having friends come see us is great!  Let us know if you’d like to meet us somewhere along the way! 🙂

     

 

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More of Orlando and Savannah, GA

We spent one extra week in Orlando. We were able to meet up with some friends from college as well as friends who have moved down here from KC. We moved from the Bill Frederick Turkey Lake city park to the Orange Blossom KOA.  It was more expensive and definitely not as nice.  KOA-type campgrounds seem to just be RV parking lots and not really “campgrounds.”  It was an ok place for a week of working, but other than the pool and playground, there wasn’t much to do.   The guys had planned to work all week, but the project they were assigned to was put on hold by the client so they had the whole week to catch up on personal projects.

One of the days we went on an airboat swamp tour to see the alligators. It was great!  We saw a nest of baby alligators as well as one huge 14 ft grand-daddy.

           

We left and headed north with a stop in Savannah.  We spent a few hours taking a self-guided walking tour around the downtown area which was very nice.  It’s not a very big place, but was a great day-trip.

                  

Next, on to Charleston…

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Orlando – vacation week

We stayed one night on the way down to Orlando in the Wildwood KOA near Ocala. I didn’t take any photos since we pulled in after dark, didn’t even unhook, slept and left early the next morning. We should have just stayed in a rest area or Walmart. It wasn’t worth the $45.  The roads were very narrow, and the spot was very tight. But it was a place to sleep.  We booked this site because we thought we would need sewer for one night in between the state park in Pensacola that didn’t have sewer and the city park in Orlando that also didn’t have sewer hookups. But instead, we spent time at the dump station right before we left Big Lagoon State Park in Pensacola dumping and flushing the tanks.  Oh, the joys!  One positive thing about this stay in Ocala was the truck wash that was just across the highway. We were able to take the truck and trailer and get the salt and sand washed off after spending so long in areas near the beaches.

   

We arrived in Orlando just in time to pick up Garrett’s girlfriend from the airport and head to the Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake. It’s an Orlando city park near the Universal Studios area of the city.  It was a great place to stay!  They had a hiking trails around the lake as well as bikes to rent and three disc golf courses.

      

We spent two days at Universal and one day at Epcot.  LOTS of walking, but we had a great time.  At Universal we enjoyed lots of 3-D rides and shows.  At Epcot, we made it our goal to eat something in every country so we ordered something small and shared it among the four of us. It was a great way to try lots of new flavors.  Sorry, but I didn’t take very many pictures of these days; I simply enjoyed the time!

            

           

We have moved to a regular RV park on the north side of Orlando for this coming week. We hope to work during the day and meet up with a few friends who live in the area during the evenings.

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Pensacola, FL

We moved over to the Big Lagoon State Park on Sunday afternoon, but first we went to church at the Campus Church at Pensacola Christian College.  This is where we first met many, many years ago. 🙂  Much of the campus has remained the same, and yet there are several new buildings, and the older ones have been updated.  It was really neat to walk around the campus and reminisce.  It was weird though to think that most of the students we were seeing were the same ages as our own children.

              

The park was nice and had a walkway down to the bay. Our site was quiet and surrounded by trees, however there were ants everywhere! We got to experience the joys of waking up to hundreds of ants in the trailer (mostly in Garrett’s bedroom and bath) and spending the day getting rid of them. Borax and bug spray on the jacks and stabilizers works great.  We also know now to make sure to put Borax on the ground around the stabilizers when we park.

    

      

We were able to go out to the beach on the Gulf a couple of times. It’s been amazing to see the differences of all the beaches as we’ve moved around the Gulf of Mexico. The shells are different, the sand is different, and even the waves are different.

     

Now, on to Orlando for a week of vacation!

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RV repairs in Alabama and Naval Aviation Museum

We were able to get an appointment at B&R Camper Repair in Theodore, AL to have the black tank valve replaced again. The repair done in Tulsa was not correct, and the valve was not sealing. Gross!!  We are fairly sure they did it correctly this time (at least it’s not leaking yet.)  We also had the flush valve on Garrett’s toilet replaced so it’s not dripping on the floor anymore. We were going to have them fix the leak under the kitchen sink, but decided to just replace the faucet ourselves.  I love the new faucet. It’s taller and easier to use.

We spent the night in a hotel while the trailer was in the shop and enjoyed the LONG hot showers, but we definitely missed our own beds.

Since our next reservation in Pensacola didn’t start until Sunday, we had a couple of days to find a place to park somewhere in the area. I found a spot available at the Jellystone Yogi Bear Family Campground in Elberta, AL.  It was a quiet campground out away from all the touristy stuff. We were able to use our Passport America membership to get a 50% discount.  That membership has already paid for itself and will be a huge benefit for times we need to stay just a night or two somewhere.

  

Saturday, Feb 25th was a gorgeous blue sky day so we drove over to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola and took a tour of the Naval Aviation Museum. I had been here back in college many years ago, but it’s changed so much!  It was a great day!  Just sad that the Blue Angels don’t start practicing here again until the end of March so we missed seeing them.

    

                

That evening we stopped for dinner at Wintzell’s Oyster House in Gulf Shores and had crab claws and several different types of oysters.  Very yummy!

    

Next stop – Pensacola, FL.

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New Orleans and Gulfport, MS area

After leaving Crystal Beach, TX we headed towards the Gulfport, MS area. We stayed at Pass Christian RV Park just south of Gulfport.  It was a simple, no-frills campground but we had solid Verizon data signal so the guys were able to get quite a bit of work done.  I spent time grocery shopping and several trips to the laundromat.  After staying so near, and ON, the beach last week, everything needed to be cleaned because of the humidity and sand.

       

Lots of amazing cajun food!

We took a day trip into New Orleans to see the French Quarter.  If you’re ever there sign up for a walking tour with www.freetoursbyfoot.com.  The tour guides work on straight tips, and our guide Stacey was amazing. We learned about so much history of New Orleans in a very fun way.   We made sure to go when there were NO Mardi Gras parades to contend with  – way less traffic that way.  Driving our big truck (even without the trailer) is still a challenge when maneuvering the city streets.

 

         

We celebrated Jeff’s birthday with a dinner on the beach last night.  I’m so thankful for a husband who loves adventure and trying new things.  We are loving this time together – at least so far. 🙂

Now we continue eastward…. Making a stop in Alabama to get more repairs done on the trailer. So thankful for the extended warranty that we purchased. It’s going to pay for itself soon.

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Crystal Beach, TX

This past week was full of adventure. We spent the week in Crystal Beach, TX.  The guys were able to get quite a bit of work done even though we took a couple of afternoon walks on the beach.

       

On Friday we took the day and went to the NASA Houston Space Center. We had made reservations quite a while ago to take the Level 9 (behind the scenes) tour, and it was worth the money!   If you ever get a chance, I’d highly recommend this tour. It’s different each time based on the tour guide you get and what the group is most interested in seeing.

Here are a few pics of the day:

    

                                          

Current day Mission Control and the historical Mission Control rooms.

    

The HUGE pool (Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory) that has an exact replica of the US arm of the International Space Station inside where the astronauts practice their space walks many times before performing them in space. Photos on the wall – the bottom photos are the “practice” in the pool, and the top is the actual space walk.  There were two astronauts in the pool that we were able to watch.

      

           

We also got to tour and sit in the cockpit of the Space Shuttle simulator. Every astronaut would train in this simulator, but they would also have people in the simulator the entire time each shuttle mission was active replicating every single thing they did inside the shuttle so that if there was a problem, they could try to solve it in the simulator first.  It was really neat to see.

       

 

On Saturday we drove the truck and trailer out onto the beach and spent the night. How fun!  It was pretty foggy that evening so we couldn’t see the full moon, but it was still amazing to sleep with the windows open and listen to the ocean waves.

        

Now we head east! The adventure continues.

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Holiday travels and a long stay in College Station, TX

We decided to park the RV and stay in College Station for two whole months for two reasons. First, we wanted to spend some time with our daughter and son-in-law who just got married this past summer. We also had several expected and unexpected trips that were easier without the RV.

       

Thanksgiving – We arrived in College Station a couple of days before Thanksgiving, and parked the RV. We then headed to the Dallas, TX area to spend the Thanksgiving weekend with my brother and his family. My parents also drove down from Tulsa.  It was a wonderful time with lots of great food, board games, puzzles, shopping, and laughter.

Christmas – We had a wonderful Christmas weekend with Brianna and Jacob. We saw lots a great Christmas lights, visited the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, played lots of board games, attended the Christmas Eve service at their church, ate lots of great food, and loved spending time together.

       

New Year’s – We made a trip back to Kansas City to spend time with several friends. It was a fun and busy time, but we were glad to get to see so many. We were having so much fun seeing everyone that we forgot to take pictures! We are sorry that we didn’t have time to see everybody we wanted to.

Cruise – On Jan 7th we drove to Galveston and headed out on a week-long cruise with my parents, brother and his family, and our family.  In Cozumel, we walked around the downtown shopping and enjoying amazing food.  In Honduras, we visited a beach resort and several of our group went snorkeling while the rest of us enjoyed just sitting on beach chairs and watching people.  In Belize, we were able to visit the —  Mayan ruins.  What an amazing day!   On the morning we were scheduled to return to Galveston, we woke up to some extreme fog and a notice that we would have to spend the day in the Gulf of Mexico because the Port of Galveston was closed.  We were able to enjoy and extra couple of days of hanging out on the ship.

Business Trip – The day after we got home to College Station, Jeff and Garrett headed to St. Louis to work. I stayed behind and worked on various items- getting our address and new bank information changed on lots of accounts, getting tax stuff together, spending time hanging out with Brianna when she wasn’t working, and learning how to fix water leaks all by myself. 🙂

We are now officially “headed out” and have left College Station. I’ll be posting more often as we visit various places and friends along the way.

 

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RV Boot Camp

20161122_101040_burst01One of the things that helped us determine our launch date for full-time RV life was our desire to attend RV Boot Camp.  Escapees, Inc in Livingston, TX hosts this wonderful, informative weekend training twice a year.  We were able to get a reservation at the November camp.  We spent three days at the Rainbow’s End Park and attended the Boot Camp there.

 

img_1975We were definitely the youngest attendees, but it was so worth it!  We learned so much about how to maintain and repair things, about fire safety as well as personal safety on the road. We were able to get our trailer weighed, and not just a typical overall weight. They weigh each tire separately to determine how well the contents inside are distributed and how much weight the truck is able to handle easily.  We passed! They said that most of the RVs they weigh are overweight, and it affects the safety of the rig on the road.  We would highly recommend this to anyone with an RV.  For more information go to Escapees.com

boot-camp     20161122_094858

 

 

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