Mega Catch-up Post

Where have the Talleys been, you might ask. Good question. Here’s a stop by stop breakdown since we left Walt Disney World.

We spent three nights at Space Coast RV Resort near Melbourne, Florida. While there, we visited with some friends of ours, Nigel and Heather and their son. They had us over to their house for dinner on Monday evening. We stayed and visited for quite some time before heading back to the trailer. On Tuesday, while Malcolm was working in the trailer, Val headed out to the store and met Heather for lunch.

On Wednesday, we headed on down the road to Sunshine Travel RV Resort in Vero Beach, Florida. We stayed here for just an overnight. It was a pretty nice gated RV resort. We pretty much just sat around and relaxed. Malcolm got in some work after we arrived.

On Thursday, we packed up and headed on down to  Jonathan Dickinson State Park near Hobe Sound, Florida. We took time after we got there to take their self-guided tour. They gave us a map and a CD that told about each stop in the park. Back in the 1940’s, the area was a top secret Army installation where they held radar training. The base was abandoned near the end of World War II and the land given to the state for the park.

It’s a really nice park with a great campground, a bunch of bike trails (both on and off road) and several other activities to enjoy, including horseback riding stables. This is one park we’d like to come back to. It is booked up all through the winter and we were able to luck upon this one night when we were planning our trip.

On Friday, we headed northwest to the Okeechobee area and stayed for two nights in the Okeechobee KOA. This KOA has its own 9 hole golf course and driving range and our site backed up to the fairway for the first hole. Sadly, the weather was not conducive to golf either day we were there. There was a ton of rain the day we arrived and a lot of wind the next day. Fortunately, the weather settled down by the time we left on Sunday, or so we thought.

Our trip on Sunday to the Fort Myers area was driving through a bunch of rain that fortunately let up by the time we got to the  Pine Island KOA, near Saint James City, Florida. This was our least favorite campground the whole trip and ranks pretty low on all the campgrounds we’ve ever stayed in. It was very tight and they put us in an awkward, pie-shaped lot on the outside of a curve in the road.

Between all the rain on Sunday, and again on Tuesday and Wednesday, our parking area was a muddy mess. Though it was fairly level, we still had to use four-wheel-drive to enter and exit. The power in the park was sketchy and, during one night’s rain, kept going out after something nearby was shorting out the system and throwing a bright white arc. We were glad we installed an electrical management system.

Aside from our crummy campground experience, we did get to do most all of the sightseeing in the area that we wanted to do. Malcolm’s grandparents used to winter in the Fort Myers area for years and when we’d go to visit with them, they’d take us to various places that we ended up re-visiting on this trip. (For all the family, yes we did drive by Orange Harbor a few times, but didn’t drop in to see the place).

Various trips out included visits to the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford winter estates, The Shell Factory, Manatee Park, Sanibel Island and Captiva. We took some time while on Sanibel to walk out to the beach and dig through some shells. On the way back to the south end of the island to visit the lighthouse, we got stuck in traffic. Stuck as in not moving for huge amounts of time. We subsequently found out there had been a bad wreck on the causeway between the island and mainland and traffic was at a halt. We took that time to eat dinner at a nearby restaurant and walk through what few shops were open late in the afternoon or early evening. Traffic finally started flowing after 7:00 PM and we headed on out with the crowds back to the house.

We also met with some Heartland RV owner friends of ours who are wintering in the area – Bill and Susan Mealer. We went out to dinner with them on Saturday evening to Alva Country Diner. They served great country cooking and plenty of it.

In other news, we decided to install a washer/dryer combo in our rig. We picked it up today and installed it ourselves. Fortunately, only two runs were required to pick up more tools or parts. One was to Home Depot to get a 4″ hole saw for the dryer vent hole and some plumbing supplies for the drain line for the catch pan. The other was a quick trip to WalMart to get a longer dryer vent hose. Everything installed smoothly and worked great once completed. Rather than showing a whole bunch of in-progress installation pictures, here’s a picture of the completed installation.

IMG_7714

We also removed the clothes hanging rods in one side of our closet and installed this wire rack drawer unit from The Container Store. Again, a completed picture:

IMG_7724

We’re still organizing clothing a bit, but putting a lot of stuff that was on hangars (for lack of drawer space) into drawers helped out quite a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Florida

After taking care of things in Alabama after we got back from Washington, we headed out on Sunday, January 3rd and traveled down to Mexico Beach. Malcolm worked all week and we visited with David. We had originally planned on staying until Sunday the 10th, but decided to leave a day early since we were traveling to Disney World and a single day’s drive would have been long.

We left on Saturday, the 9th and stopped overnight at Casey Jones Campground in Lake City, Florida. It makes for a nice “on the way” overnight stop when heading on down into Florida.

We arrived around 1:00 PM on Sunday, January 10th at Fort Wilderness campground. We checked in and headed to the front desk to get park hopper passes added to our tickets. Then it was off to enjoy the parks.

We spent all day Monday and Tuesday roaming around the various parks. On Wednesday, we drove down to Tampa to volunteer as Heartland Owners Club members at the RV show. We wandered around and talked to various factory representatives and potential RV owners. We left around 5:00 and headed back to Orlando, stopping at the Florida Mall for some dinner and shopping.

On Thursday, we took it easy and stayed around the trailer for a while. We headed down to the stables for a horseback ride at 11:00. Afterwards, we ate lunch while we waited on Val’s sister Anne to fly into Orlando. We  picked her up at the airport and headed to Epcot to eat dinner and wander around a bit before watching the fireworks display there.

Friday morning we headed out in the rain to Animal Kingdom. We left the park just a big storm front moved through. We were fortunate to be on a bus, warm and dry, when it hit. The rest of the day turned out to be warm and sunny. Saturday was even nicer. We spent the whole day wandering around the parks, riding rides and generally having a great time.

On Sunday, we packed up the trailer and headed out to our next destination. We dropped the trailer, took Anne to lunch, then headed up to the airport to drop her off so she could fly back home to Kentucky.

 

 

Year End Wrap-Up

Sorry it’s been a while since we last posted. We had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year holiday visit with our granddaughters. We attended the traditional Christmas activities with Cole’s family – Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas day activities at his parent’s house, family coming over to Cole and Elizabeth’s house on Christmas Eve to swap presents and have brunch, and so on.

One thing we didn’t get to do was a winter activity. We had planned on heading out somewhere to go snow sledding or tubing for the day between Christmas and New Year’s Day. We waited a bit too late to look for tickets, as everyone else had the same idea. We did get to go to the YMCA and swim, though. They have a fairly new YMCA with really nice pool facilities.

We flew back “home” on New Year’s Day, arriving late in the evening. David came to pick us up and bring us back to the trailer, spending a couple nights with us before we packed up to head down to Florida, where we will be spending the month of January. Malcolm is working from the trailer this week.

We are looking at changing up our blog format and content just a bit this year. You’ll notice a lack of “Current Location” indication at the top of the blog posts. Location information will now solely be posted on our 2016 Travel Page. For the time being, at least, this information will be less “real-time” and will generally be updated after we leave someplace. We might change this at a later time.

The Year in Review

2015 was our third year of full-time RV travel and it was probably the most unpredictable. We lived in three different trailers during the year. Of course, our traffic accident in September was a bit of a game changer. Fallout from that incident will affect us probably most of this year, as well.

Our previous trailer is now in the hands of Lippert Industries at one of their repair facilities. They are going to do a thorough inspection of the damage and let the insurance company know if they can fix it or not. If they do, we’ll be putting the trailer up for sale.

A passenger in the van we ran into has filed a personal injury suit that includes Malcolm as a defendant. State Farm has already retained a lawyer on our behalf and is pretty much handling everything for us. They are confident we have nothing to worry about.

As can be seen in the sidebar on the blog, we traveled a mere 18 miles more in 2015 than we did in 2014. This number would have been quite a bit higher had we not been sidelined by the accident (we only count miles that we pull the trailer). We also visited the same number of states in 2015 that we did in 2014, though not the same 22 states.

We had our share of excitement, of course. Two different bearing failures in the same week on our first trailer was a challenge. Fortunately, nothing terribly bad happened in either case, especially considering that during the second incident the grease in the hub caught fire. The traffic accident is something we hope we never have to go through again, but we are grateful that neither one of us was injured. Being chased out of Lake Chelan State Park campground due to nearby forest fires was also a bit exciting.

We changed things up a bit the first of 2015 by staying south and traveling out to California and back during the winter months. Otherwise, most of the rest of the year was typical travel patterns for us. We still haven’t traveled to the northeast part of the US.

The Upcoming Year

We’re staying south again for winter. This year, instead of traveling west across the southern states, we’re hanging out in Florida for the month of January. Malcolm plans on working most all of February at locations unknown as of yet (probably Alabama and maybe Nashville, weather depending). In March, we celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary by flying out to Hawaii for 10 days.

Most of the rest of our travel year isn’t set at this point. We might do more impromptu traveling instead of having everything planned out in advance. We will be making our annual pilgrimage to Lake Chelan in August as well as visiting the family in Washington the rest of the month.

We’re thinking of doing more sightseeing in the western states on the way out west and after visiting in Washington. We also might finally get some of the New England states knocked out this summer. It should be interesting.

Out West for Christmas

We arranged for trailer- and cat-sitting for the holidays, handing off keys and instructions. On Friday morning, we flew to Seattle, arriving around 7:30 PM Seattle time. We’re visiting with our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters.

Saturday morning, we all headed to church for Christmas program practice. We went back in the evening to enjoy the performance. Cole’s parents and his sister also came to enjoy the performance.

On Sunday afternoon, Cole’s father and sister came over to visit for a while, as well as to dispense Christmas gifts to the children. Sunday evening, we took care of the granddaughters while Elizabeth and Cole went to a Christmas party. We had dinner at Red Robin, stopped by Target to shop for a few minutes, then back home to pop up some popcorn and watch a movie. Malcolm was feeling out of it from a cold (or maybe allergies again?) and went to bed early.

Today (Monday) has been a somewhat lazy day for Malcolm. Cole is working from home and all the girls went out grocery shopping.

Big Catch-Up Post

We’ve been back in Alabama for about a week now. Malcolm is working in the office here in Alabama. Not a whole lot going on other than that and the day to day stuff.

We’ve been having difficulty finding a new primary care physician. Malcolm has called around and so far has found that many don’t take our insurance and one even doesn’t take anyone over 55 (Malcolm is 56).

Malcolm finally went to an urgent care clinic and asked if they could do a physical (something we’re both overdue on) and the girl at the desk said yes. Unfortunately, the doctor on call said they don’t do preventive, well-patient physicals. However, he could treat anything that Malcolm had a concern with, so they went with high cholesterol issues.

We’ll continue to try to find someone in this area (Alabama) since we tend to end up here in the winter. We haven’t exhausted our list yet, but with an impending flight out west for Christmas and reservations all over the state of Florida all of January, it might be February before we nail something down.

Another thing we’re keeping an eye on is that our mail service, and thus our “permanent” address, is through the Escapees club out of Texas. They are looking at possibly being able to offer the same services and an address in Tennessee next year. That would be a good deal, as we could set up in Tennessee and find a doctor up in the Nashville area. Malcolm’s employer’s payroll department would like that, as well.

We’re still dealing with fallout from our accident in late September. Our truck is still running on temporary tags. The dealer had to FedEx us a new one for December while we were still in Florida. Supposedly we should have our Texas tags delivered to the mailbox soon. We’ll have them forwarded up here so we can license the truck properly. That might be after we get back from being out of town for Christmas.

Also, our trailer that has been sitting in storage in Evansville is finally getting attention from the insurance company. We’ve been getting very slow movement from the insurance company until Malcolm complained about it on an open forum run by the insurance company’s parent company. We now have the head of the RV insurance division personally working on getting something done on our trailer.

They apparently have gotten Lippert, the frame manufacturer, to agree to take the trailer to one of their shops and look at repairing the frame. They are supposed to be sending a transport to come pick it up sometime (no time frame given). The insurance company is also going to reimburse us for storage fees and winterization we had done on the trailer. We’ll see where all this goes. If the trailer is fixed, we’ll be putting it up for sale.

Looks like a nice weekend coming up. Malcolm will probably be doing some outside chores on Saturday. He will definitely be emptying gray and black tanks into the tote and running it over to the dump station.

We’ve finished our travel season (in the trailer) for the year. We pulled one trailer or another (we’ve had three this year) 18 more miles than we did last year. We also visited the same number of states (though not the same states) as we did last year – 22. Had the accident not interrupted our travels, we would have had about 1,000 more miles and at least one additional state on our list.