Disney So Far

Current Location: Fort Wilderness Campground, Orlando, Florida

On Monday, we headed over to the Magic Kingdom mid-morning. We wandered around but didn’t ride any rides. We had a lunch reservation at the Be Our Guest restaurant at 1:20 PM. The food was good and the atmosphere kinda neat. Even though we looked months ahead, we couldn’t get a dinner reservation there.


Magic Kingdom


Lunch with Belle and the Beast

After lunch, we headed back out and caught the monorail over to Epcot to stroll around for the afternoon.


Here comes the monorail (“Please stand clear of the doors”)


Monorail level view of Epcot


Artsy view

After wandering around Epcot, we took the monorail and the boat back to the campground and had dinner at the trailer. We decided this trip to eat more meals in since we have an annual pass and don’t feel like we have to spend all day at the parks to get our money’s worth.


Chicken tacos

On Tuesday, we decided to go out for a leisurely bike ride down to the riding stables to make a Thursday reservation. That’s when we found that Val’s bike needed to be repaired. The bearings in the bottom bracket (pedal crank) were very loose. We loaded up the bike on the back of the car and took it to Evolve Bicycle Shop near Disney. They told us they could fix it and it would be ready on Wednesday. We stopped by the Publix supermarket nearby and brought home some groceries.


Evolve Bicycles

Among the groceries we bought were some nice pre-made salads that were on sale. We each had one for lunch when we got back home from the bike shop and grocery store.


Salads for lunch

After lunch we decided to head over to Animal Kingdom for the afternoon. We wandered around for a while, Malcolm rode the Expedition Everest rollercoaster twice, then we headed back to the trailer for dinner outside. We had a nice sunset Tuesday evening.


Animal Kingdom


Expedition Everest


Tree of Life


Tuesday night sunset

Wednesday morning, we headed out to tour around the local area. We ate lunch out at a nice little Italian place that had excellent pizza. We dropped by the bike shop as we hadn’t heard from them by mid-afternoon. They were getting ready to work on the bike and said it only takes about 20 minutes, so we waited while they finished up. We took the bike back home, had dinner at the trailer, and headed over to Disney Springs to stroll around for the evening.

This morning we got up, had breakfast late and headed out the door for our horseback ride. Since we were running a little close on time, we drove the car to the riding stables and parked in the parking lot nearby. We had a very fun and relaxing ride.


Val and her horse Lincoln


Malcolm and his horse Brutus

After our ride, we headed back to the trailer to eat lunch. While eating lunch, we decided to see if we could make dinner reservations at one of our favorite restaurants at the Hollywood Studios park – the 50’s Prime Time Cafe. We scored a 7:00 PM reservation and headed over to the park later in the afternoon.

Malcolm rode the Rockin’ Rollercoaster and the Hollywood Tower of Terror rides. We walked around the park for a while and rode the movie ride before heading to the diner for dinner. Once dinner was done, the park was getting ready to close, so we headed out the front gate with the throng of people that had just finished watching the fireworks display. Once back to the trailer, we were worn out. Val headed on to bed, and Malcolm sat down to relax and write up our blog entry.


Hollywood Studios building


At the Tower of Terror, in the lobby


Sunset over Hollywood Studios

Tomorrow we’re headed down the road to Tampa to wander around the RV show there.


Fun Visit with David

Current Location: Fort Wilderness Campground, Orlando, Florida

We had a fun and productive visit with David this past week. After we got there on Monday, he drove over to the campground and we went out to eat dinner at a restaurant called Newk’s Eatery. It was pretty good food. We visited for a bit and David headed back home.

Malcolm worked during the day on Tuesday. David came over after working a little late. We went out to eat dinner again, this time at a really great British restaurant called Eat my Pasty. It’s a locally run place with excellent food. Malcolm had the Fish and Chips, David had a really good burger and Val had a Chicken Pot Pie Pasty. It was all delicious.


FIsh and Chips

We took the car in to the local Ford dealer to get an oil change and tire rotation. Since this is the first service at Ford since we bought the car (used), Malcolm asked if they could pull up the service history on the car. They could only pull up warranty history as service history is kept only by the local dealer where it has been serviced. They did find that no warranty claims had ever been worked on. Hopefully the car will remain as reliable in the years to come.

We visited with David a couple more times while we were in the area. On Friday, we went to his house and spent the day. We used his internet to update all our devices. Malcolm got a little work done and we also took dinner over to cook there. For lunch, David treated us to lunch and free bowling at the alley on base.


Bowling with David

While at Lowe’s looking for something else, we found this cute flamingo. It was the only one they had, so we bought their display model. It’s nice and heavy compared to the pair of plastic flamingos we bought this past summer.


The new flamingo

On Friday evening we said our goodbyes to David. Saturday morning we got all packed up to leave and headed out fairly early. We drove up to I-10, then headed east to I-75. We took I-75 a few miles south and stopped overnight at Casey Jones Campground near Lake City. Our final destination is Walt Disney World. We find it is easier to make it a two day trip instead of packing it all in one single driving day from Panama City. We left the trailer hooked to the truck overnight since we were on a fairly level spot.

This morning we were up a bit early, but we had to pace our time. Since check-in at Fort Wilderness Campground starts at 1:00 PM, we try to leave Casey Jones at around 9:30 am. We decided to head up to the next exit and eat breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Malcolm won three $25 gift cards for Cracker Barrel at the office Christmas party so we used one of those to pay for our meal.


Time for breakfast

We got back to the trailer (which we had packed up and gotten ready to go before we left for breakfast) around 9:15. After a quick bathroom break, we were on the road right around 9:30 as planned. We stopped at the first service plaza on the Florida Turnpike to fill up the truck with fuel and to grab a bite to eat for lunch. We took our time as we were a little ahead of schedule. Once we got done eating, it was around noon, which was when we needed to leave to get to Disney around 1:00, which was about when we got there.


We’re here!

It took a bit to get checked in (typical when you arrive at 1:00), but we were rolling up to our site before 2:00. It was a quick back-in and unhook. Malcolm took the truck over to long-term parking. Val followed in the car and brought him back to the site where we finished setting up. We spent the afternoon setting up outdoor stuff and hanging our Mickey Mouse lights and other decorations.


All set up.

We cooked dinner at the trailer – spaghetti in the Instant Pot. Afterwards, we headed down to Disney Springs (the shopping and restaurant district) to get our annual passes started up. They issued us our annual pass cards and we were on our way. We did some light shopping before heading back to the trailer for the evening.

We’ll be here for two weeks. With the annual passes, we’ve got a lot of flexibility on what we do each day. We don’t even have to head to any of the parks if we don’t want to. We are heading down to the Tampa RV Supershow one day this week. Otherwise, we’re leaving everything open.



South for the Winter

Current Location: Pineglen RV Park, Panama City Beach, Florida

We made it through the weekend without any real weather concerns. Yes, it was cold (mid-20’s at night), but not terrible. We left our heated water hose hooked up and always had running water, so not bad.

On Saturday we did some shopping and on Sunday went to church. We mostly spent the rest of the time in the trailer taking it easy. Val is still recovering from the cold she caught before we left Washington. Malcolm, so far, has lucked out and avoided catching the same.

This morning we ran two different directions to get things done before we left Alabama. Malcolm filled another propane tank (running the furnace over the cold weekend ran through a whole tank) and made sure the truck was full of fuel. Val mailed off our 2016 t-shirts to the quilt folks and stopped by Dollar General for more cold supplies.

We loaded up and headed down to Panama City Beach around mid-morning, but not before stopping by to empty the trailer tanks. When Val brought in the slide-outs, she found quite a few asian ladybugs hiding behind the seals. It was too late to vacuum them up when we got to Florida, so we’ll be doing that through the week as they emerge into the warm trailer.

We arrived here around 3:30 PM and told David where we were. He came over and we went out to eat dinner at a place called Newk’s Eatery. It was pretty good food. We also stopped by Home Depot so David could price out some lumber needed for a shelving project he wants to do. He headed home afterwards.

We’ll be here through Saturday.



Back Home Again

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

On New Years Day, we all piled in the car and headed down to the YMCA. They were giving out free t-shirts (nice ones at that) for the first 1,000 people to show up. We all got t-shirts (even us, though we were visitors). The girls, Cole and Elizabeth went swimming while we went walking on the track.

We generally just relaxed on Sunday and Monday. On Monday afternoon, Cole came down with a cold. The rest of us went out to dinner at Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que.

On Tuesday morning, Cole was up early and headed to work. Violet started back to school, too. We walked out to her bus stop with her, though we didn’t have to walk too far – her bus picks her up at her driveway.


Violet heading off to school.

With Violet off to school, Scarlet wanted to get Happy Donuts for breakfast, so we headed down to Puyallup for a little breakfast treat. We bought an extra for Violet and brought it home so she could have it the next day.


Donut breakfast.

Violet asked if we would pick her up from school instead of her riding the bus, so we all headed over to wait on her to get out of class.

We told the girls goodbye on Tuesday evening since Cole was going to take us to the airport on Wednesday morning on his way to work. It meant we would be at the airport a couple hours early, but we didn’t mind. As it turns out, he felt terrible the next morning and decided to stay in and get over his cold. Elizabeth ended up running us to the airport, which meant we could leave a little later and tell the girls goodbye again in the morning.

We had a mid-morning flight from Seattle to Atlanta, arriving around 5:30 PM Atlanta time. We took the shuttle back to the Holiday Inn that we stayed in on the way out since our car was parked there. Rather than drive back to Alabama really late (close to 3 hour drive), we stayed in the Holiday Inn again. We ate dinner in the restaurant and relaxed in the room, since Val was coming down with a cold, as well.

On Thursday morning, we had breakfast in the hotel (included in the room price), packed up our stuff into the car and drove back to Montgomery. Once we got into town, we went ahead and stopped by Costco for a couple items, filled up the car with gas there, stopped by Target for a couple items and Whole Foods for some spices. After lunch at San Marcos in Montgomery, we stopped by Winn Dixie to get milk and juice then on back to the trailer to unload.

Once we got everything out of the car, Malcolm checked on our RV toilet. It had been backed up before we left, so we had poured some RidX down the toilet to see if it would eat up the backup while we were in Washington. No luck there. Malcolm headed over to Lowe’s and bought a toilet snake and got the clog cleared with that and the garden hose. He emptied the black tank and flushed it really well.

Apparently while we were away, the Asian Ladybugs were swarming and looking for a place to hide for the cold weather. When Malcolm opened the storage door on the sewer tote, he found a couple dozen ladybugs hiding in the hinge. So far, we have only found one inside, so we’re hoping that the trailer was sealed up well enough to keep them out for the most part. We’ll find out when we go to bring in slides to move next week.


Ladybug stowaways

Today was a cold and rainy day. Malcolm spent most of the day working. Val packed up all the Christmas stuff and we made a pile of things to take to our storage unit. We took our empty suitcases over to storage and picked up our Christmas storage boxes and brought them back. We made a second trip a little later and put away the Christmas items and brought out the winter/spring stuff.


Important winter/spring decorations.

After the two trips to the storage unit, we were pretty much set for the next couple months. We also brought back our t-shirt collection to sort through for our 2016 t-shirt quilt. We also filled up an empty propane tank in preparation for the cold weather then next few nights.

With freezing rain and sleet forecast for after sunset this evening, Malcolm ran out one final time to pick up a couple items we needed for dinner. After dinner, we curled up in front of the fireplace and kept warm with hot toddies. Val went to bed early to work on shaking off her cold.

Malcolm made reservations for us in Panama City next week. We’ll leave on Monday for there and will be in various places in Florida through at least mid-February. This year we have solid reservations in Florida, so no questionable campgrounds or one-night stays. We have two weeks at Walt Disney World, and one week each at two separate Florida State Park campgrounds. We’ll wander our way back to this area late in February.




Happy New Year

With the new year here, it’s time to catch up with what we’ve done since Christmas. We are still in Washington state visiting our daughter, Elizabeth, our son-in-law, Cole, and the granddaughters, Violet and Scarlet.

On Tuesday, Malcolm, Elizabeth and Cole went to go see the movie Rogue One while Nana and the girls had a fun day at home. On Wednesday, we took the girls out for dinner while Elizabeth and Cole went on their own dinner date. The girls chose their favorite – Trackside Pizza. It is located right next to the fairly busy railroad tracks in downtown Puyallup.


Dinner with the trains

We’ve also done some other fun activities like going to the YMCA so the girls could go swimming with Cole. Elizabeth and both of us went walking on the indoor track to get some exercise since we don’t have swimming suits with us. We’ve taken a walk or two outside as well as stopping to give the horses across the street some carrots.


Carrot time


Stylish Scarlet and her baby, ready to walk

Another growing holiday tradition is Malcolm cooking stir fry for everyone for dinner. It was tasty.


Master chef at work

On Friday, we all loaded in the Yukon and headed up to Mt. Rainier to the public sledding area. There was lots of snow and lots of fun sledding. Val had picture-taking duties while the rest of us got cold and snowy.


Entering Mt. Rainier National Park


Let’s go sledding!


Lines for the two sled runs. Things moved pretty smoothly.


Snow angel minus hat


Obligatory scenic picture

Last night, on New Year’s Eve, we all went to a New Year’s party at friends of Cole and Elizabeth’s. There were three other families, with their children, all celebrating the New Year.




Hanging out with the gang

We’ll be here until Wednesday when we will be flying back to Atlanta.