Our Visit to Seattle

Last Thursday, May 18, the three of us (including David) loaded into our car and we drove up to Atlanta. We made a lunch stop at Cracker Barrel on the way, then on to the airport after parking the car. David had to get his own tickets much later than when we got ours, so he was on different flights. Fortunately, his flight departing Atlanta was only about 10 minutes different than ours.

Once we arrived in Seattle (at nearly the same time), we picked up our checked bag and headed down to get our rental car. We drove on to Violet’s school, where they were having an art walk. We got to see her art hanging in the school halls. After the art walk was over, we headed over to Cole and Elizabeth’s house to drop David off. We headed on out so that bedtimes could be administered on a near normal basis. We stayed at Val’s sister Annie’s apartment nearby. She moved out here a couple months ago to take a contract nursing position.

On Friday morning, we drove over to Elizabeth’s house for breakfast with she and the girls. Violet was getting ready for school. We stood outside at the bus stop with her to watch her off (the bus stops at their driveway). After she left, we loaded Elizabeth, David and Scarlet in the car and headed towards Tacoma. Scarlet’s preschool class had a field trip to the childrens’ museum there.

We stopped for a quick lunch at Chick-Fil-A, then headed over to park so we could catch the commuter trolley up to the museum (Scarlet requested riding on the “train”).


Let’s Ride the Train

Scarlet had a fun time at the museum. We had all been there before, so we were familiar with everything there. After the field trip was over, we rode the train back to the car and headed back to the house.


Elizabeth and Scarlet Outside the Museum


Building Things with Uncle David


Making Sure the Garden is Watered

We dropped Elizabeth at the house to get her car and met her over at Violet’s school (we needed her car as well since it had Violet’s car seat in it). We met her teacher and talked for a few minutes before heading back over to the house.

We were originally going to keep the girls so that Elizabeth and Cole could have an evening out by themselves, but the girls wanted them to join us for dinner, so all of us headed over to Famous Daves for dinner. After dinner, we split back up and we headed back to Annie’s apartment for the evening. She had to work all day, but was home when we got there.

On Saturday, we got up really early and headed over to Cole and Elizabeth’s. Cole, Malcolm, David and Violet headed out at 5:30am to go shrimping. Val, Elizabeth and Scarlet spent the day out shopping and having fun.


Waiting in Line to Drop the Boat

The shrimp season where they were going is only active for four days in a two week period. This day was the last day for the year. Malcolm and David had purchased licenses in case the haul was big (you can bring back 80 shrimp per licensed person, and children can bring back 80 as well). Cole had pretty good luck the three previous trips, so we had our fingers crossed.


Waiting for 9:00 am to drop the pots

The official time to be able to drop the shrimp pots was 9:00 AM, so once in place, you sit and wait until 9:00. Cole has four shrimp pots (big wire cages) that he can drop into the water. Each has 400 feet of rope, but we were fishing in about 250 feet of water.


Violet helping to raise the pots

After the pots are in the water about an hour (each pot has a buoy marking its location), you run back around in the boat and pull them up to get the shrimp out of them. The first pot pulled yielded about 13 shrimp, but most of them had much less. Many of the shrimpers mentioned that their haul was much lower that day then the previous couple of weeks.



The total haul for the day was 85 shrimp. We attributed 80 of them to Violet and 5 to Cole. Malcolm and David didn’t technically catch any. It was a fun and interesting trip, regardless.

On Sunday, we all met at church (including Annie, since she was off work), then off to Trackside Pizza for lunch. Malcolm and Elizabeth cooked stirfry for dinner (one of Malcolm’s specialties).


The two chefs

On Monday morning, we headed to the house and had breakfast with the girls. We watched Violet get on the school bus. After that, Malcolm and Elizabeth went to the AT&T store to get her failing phone replaced. David, Annie, Val and Scarlet met up with them at the Puyallup library parking lot to shuffle around people. From there, David and Elizabeth went out to have a brother/sister lunch. The rest of us headed to McDonalds (per Scarlet’s request) for lunch and some play time.

We ate dinner at Elizabeth’s house on Monday evening and just visited for a while. David packed up his stuff and headed to Annie’s apartment with us since we all had very early flights on Tuesday morning. We said our goodbyes then.

On Tuesday, David’s flight left about an hour before ours. We dropped him at the airport and Malcolm went to take back the rental car. After riding the shuttle bus back, he met up with Val and we headed to our flight. We met David back at the Atlanta airport, picked up our bag and ate a late lunch (it was around 4:00 eastern time) before driving back to Wetumpka and the trailer.

David spent the night with us Tuesday night, then headed back home to Panama City on Wednesday. After a bit of discussion, we decided to keep Callie with us instead of sending her back with David and his new kitten. We thought she might like the quieter life lazing around the RV instead of being chased around by a kitten and a dog.


You mean I can stay?

Time for Some Visiting

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

Last week was pretty uneventful. Malcolm worked at the office from Monday through Thursday. Several people were going to be out of the office on Friday, plus it was supposed to be a rainy day, so Malcolm stayed home and worked from the trailer.

On Saturday we hooked up the trailer and stopped by the dump station to empty tanks. Then we convoyed on back down to Wetumpka to set up for a few weeks. We had doctors appointments set up for this Tuesday morning. Plus, Malcolm’s crown decided to pop off again last week, so he had an early morning dentist appointment on Monday to have it reinstalled yet again.

One trailer modification was started last week while we were in Nashville. Malcolm started removing the RV stereo and speakers that were mounted in the entertainment cabinet. We’ve been wanting to do something with that space and Malcolm came up with the idea of building a pull-out desktop into the area. Our previous trailer had one built in.

Once we got to Wetumpka, Malcolm started cutting out some of the wood to make a wide opening about five inches high. Then, it was off to Lowe’s to pick up various pieces of wood and other hardware. Malcolm pretty much finished up the entire project on Monday afternoon.


The “Work Bench”

Malcolm put together the entire drawer out on the picnic table. The drawer front was initially going to be an oak 1×6 that we bought, but we found a better alternative. The trailer originally came with a shelving unit behind the TV that was meant to hold DVDs, etc. We had pulled it out and mounted the TV directly to the wall to free up counter space in front of the TV.

We had stored the shelving in our storage unit all this time and brought it back in case we might want to use the wood in the project. As it turns out, two of the shelves in the unit were cut from one piece of wood so that joining them together end to end had the grain matching up perfectly. Lacking anything more fancy to use, Malcolm mounted a few L brackets on the back side to hold the two pieces together.


The Drawer Fully Deployed

The front of the drawer flips down to allow it to be used as a keyboard drawer. Magnetic catches on either end hold the drawer front up in place otherwise.


Drawer with Front Flipped Up

The drawer rides on soft close drawer glides, letting it easily open and close. We’ll still need to put some type of positive latch on it to keep it from sliding open while in transit.


The Drawer Closed

We’re still debating whether or not to install drawer pulls. We like the clean look as it is now and it is not difficult to open and close.

Yesterday afternoon, our son David arrived along with Callie and his new kitten, Maui.





We’ve all noticed that Callie has started showing her age (she is 14 this year). She’s also not real happy about her new little roommate, but she tolerates him.

We are all flying out to the Seattle area to visit Elizabeth and family on Thursday. The kitties are staying in the trailer and our neighbors will be taking care of them (and the trailer) while we are away.

Nashville And Work

Current Location: Seven Points Campground, Hermitage, Tennessee

This past Monday, May 1, we packed up and headed out from Wetumpka and ended up in the Nashville area. We are back in the COE campground, Seven Points, that we stayed in last time we were here. It really is a beautiful campground and late spring seems to be a good time to visit.


Our Wooded Site

We have both vehicles with us this trip. Malcolm is working in the Nashville office this trip.


Train Tickets

After we got set up on Monday afternoon, we headed over to Kroger to buy train tickets for Malcolm so he can ride the train to work. He has been driving the truck over and parking it while riding the train into town for work. The only exception to that was Thursday when we had a lot of rain. He drove the car, instead, just in case he needed to drive on into town. As it turns out, the rain wasn’t too bad, but Malcolm left too late Thursday morning to catch the train. Instead, he got to sit in Nashville rush hour traffic for 45 minutes.


When You Miss Your Train

Thursday evening, Malcolm met Val and our friends the Mangums for dinner at our favorite Irish restaurant. The Mangums are here sightseeing for a few days.

On Friday, almost everyone in the office cut out at 4:00. Malcolm typically leaves at 4:45 to catch the train without rushing. With an extra 45 minutes to kill, he decided to walk through a couple stores and ended up at Acme Feed (restaurant/bar) for a beer while he waited for his train to arrive.


Friday Afternoon Drink

On Friday evening Malcolm emptied our gray tanks and ran the tote over to the dump station (fortunately fairly close) twice to empty out all our gray water. We’ll probably have to make another run mid-week and then will be good until we leave, when we’ll use the dump station to empty all the tanks from the trailer.


Toting the Gray Water

The last couple of nights have been pretty cool, with temperatures dipping into the upper 40’s. We’ve been running the furnace and, upon checking propane levels, we found we have one empty tank and the second was well on its way. We ran around and did some shopping today and took the empty tank with us. We had it filled at Camping World on the way back home.

Val has been working on various projects during the week. Malcolm will be working at the office again this coming week. We will be here until next Saturday then will head back to Wetumpka.

The Last Three Weeks

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

Another catch-up post. That means we’ve been really busy.

When we last left you, we were in Florida at our RV lot. We decided to start working on the brown shed while we were there. Originally, we were just going to wire it up, but with the wiring done and a couple weeks remaining that we would be there, we went ahead and picked up lumber, insulation and drywall to start finishing things out a little more.


Ceiling lights installed, wiring them up

The inside of the shed is pretty much fully wired. Malcolm has one more circuit to run. Plus, we have to put a 50 amp breaker outside in our pedestal and run wire into the shed from there. Both of those will take some thought and, in the case of our pedestal, a part from an electrical supply house (missing a bracket for the breaker).


Wiring in progress

The shed is a 10′ x 16′ shed. We’re dividing the shed into two rooms. The back room will be 6′ x 10′ and the front room 10′ x 10′. The back room will have laundry and a half bath in it. The front room will be more of a living space. We’ll eventually put a couch bed in there along with maybe a desk. We plan on mounting a TV on the wall and Malcolm has run cable to the shed.


The divider wall framed up.

We bought a nice wardrobe at IKEA and used it to base the measurements of the divider wall. The wardrobe is sitting in the intended location in the picture, above. With the wiring complete in the front room, we decided we could go ahead and at least start working on the walls in that portion. Malcolm got the itchy job of installing insulation.


Insulation going in.

With the insulation installed, it was time to hang some drywall. Malcolm worked on that over a several day period and finished the front room a couple days before we were scheduled to leave.


Front drywall complete.

Malcolm didn’t have time to tape and mud the drywall. We’ll do that the next time we’re home (late June) along with plumbing. We did buy a roll-around air conditioner to keep the space moderately cool while we are gone. Malcolm temporarily drilled a hole in the floor to run a drain hose for the A/C to keep it from filling up with condensate.

Val ran some items over to the thrift store near us and ran across a really nice set of Samsung washer and dryer, complete with bases. The thrift shop indicated that they worked fine. We ended up buying the complete set for $800 total. They delivered them to us the next day.


Waster and Dryer

For now, the washer and dryer are just sitting in the front room. Once we get the back room finished out, we’ll move them back there into place.

Here are some random pictures from when we were at home.


Pet Bunny

This is our pet bunny. He likes to hop around in the driveway and set off our security camera while we are gone. He decided to sit outside one morning while we were eating breakfast, so Malcolm snapped this picture. A few days later, we noticed that there were two rabbits hopping around. We suspect we might return this summer to find even more.


Not sure water is supposed to drain out from the frame

Malcolm walked by the trailer one day and noticed a few puddles beneath the back of the trailer. Looking up underneath, he found water running out from towards the back and dripping off the frame. He also found water dripping out of the taillights. It had not been raining.

A quick trip to the roof revealed the fact that some of the sealant between the roof and the back cap of the trailer had split open at a low spot and was allowing air conditioner condensate to run behind the rear cap. Malcolm fixed that and now our air conditioner drips off the end of the gutter like it is supposed to.

Malcolm had removed a taillight to inspect and found that the insulation in the rear cap has a plastic liner on it, facing towards the cap. It apparently wraps at the top, as the insulation behind the liner was dry. We’re hoping that all the water just ran between that plastic liner and the fiberglass cap. It seems to have. If nothing else, it hadn’t been dripping through the cap more than a day or two.


IKEA magnetic spice rack

We installed these IKEA magnetic spice holders in our kitchen. Mostly, they contain spice mixes instead of just individual spices. They sort of lend an artsy feel to that corner of the kitchen.


Granddaughters at Disneyland

While we were in Florida, our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters got to go to Disneyland out in California. They spent the day there and had a great time.


Balloon Ride

There is a balloon ride company just up the road from our home and they apparently land nearby. We saw three different balloons coming in for a landing one morning after dropping our truck off at the shop.

Speaking of the truck, it was in the shop for the third time with a vibration issue. The first time we took it in, it had the original tires on it and the front, driver’s side tire was cupped. They recommended new tires. We put all new tires on it, had them balanced and the front end aligned. The vibration in the front went away, but there was one in the rear.

We took the truck to the dealer near our home in Florida twice. The first time, they balanced the driveshaft and said it rode much better. It didn’t. The second time, they recommended we have the tires trued and gave us a couple recommended shops. We took it to one of the shops and they trued the tires for us. It rides smooth as a car now.


Buc-ee’s signs on I-10 near Tallahassee, Florida

Last Friday, we left home and headed up to Panama City to visit our son and to go to the Gulf Coast Salute air show at Tyndall Air Force Base. If you are familiar with the Buc-ee’s chain of gigantic convenience stores in Texas and their billboards, you’ll get a chuckle out of the billboards we saw along I-10 in Florida.


Tyndall AFB for the air show

We went to the air show all day Saturday, arriving around 10:00 and staying until it was done around 5:00 PM. David had to work part of the day, but got to join us around 2:00. A couple of his friends were visiting for the weekend and we gave them a ride from David’s house to and from the base.


Air show activities

Malcolm took a lot of pictures with the big camera, but hasn’t gone through all of them yet. When he does, he will post them on our picture site (link here). Just head to the travel section to see them.

On Sunday, we went out to dinner with an Air Force family who live down the street from David. Otherwise, we relaxed and prepared to roll out on Monday.

On Monday, we drove on up to Fort Toulouse in Wetumpka, Alabama. We’ll be here for a week. Malcolm’s working in the trailer and Val is working on various sewing projects while we’re sitting still here.


Fort Toulouse

Since we have the car with us, we decided today to go ahead and put new tires on it. They’ve been due for a bit as the car still had the original equipment tires on it. Though they had plenty of remaining tread, they are more than five years old and had some small cracks and weather checking on the sidewalls. Better safe than sorry. Also, the car turned over 40,000 miles today (and recently celebrated its fifth birthday).


Getting new shoes

Next week, we head to Nashville for two weeks before coming back here.

Back at Home

Current Location: Our RV Lot at Deer Creek RV Golf and Country Club

On Sunday afternoon, we rolled into Scott, Louisiana to the KOA there. We visited with our friends Nick and Sheila for a while, then went out to dinner, meeting Nick’s parents at the restaurant. We were helping Nick celebrate his birthday. We also gave Nick’s mother a prayer shawl since she had recently lost her father.

On Monday, we traveled from Scott to Milton, Florida and set up in the KOA there. We didn’t bother unhooking the truck on that stop. Tuesday morning, we hit the road fairly early and, making good time across I-10, decided to roll on into our lot here in Davenport. We got here late afternoon and got all set up.


Security Camera view

Once set up, we unloaded all the shelves and totes that we brought down from our storage unit in Alabama. Malcolm set them all up in the white shed. This is about 1/3rd of the stuff we had in storage. We plan on bringing more, if not all of the stuff from the storage unit down in June.


More stuff

On Wednesday morning, we drove down to the post office and picked up the mail we had held for a month while we were out traveling to Texas and Louisiana. Once back at the trailer, we went over to get the Florida license plate for the trailer. Now all our vehicles are licensed in Florida, we have Florida drivers licenses and also voting cards from Florida. We’re pretty much complete on everything.

After the post office trip, we stopped by Lowe’s and picked up some electrical items so Malcolm can start wiring up the brown shed. We bought a breaker panel, some breakers, electrical boxes, some wire and a few other assorted items.

Today we got going fairly early and headed over to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. It rained all morning and was spitting rain as we were parking the car, but the rain moved out after that. We were there primarily to see the Blue Angels do some flyovers over the Magic Kingdom.

We actually got there too late to see them fly over while we were in the park, so Malcolm took pictures while we were at the boat ramp to ride the ferry over to Magic Kingdom. They were certainly exciting to watch, even at our vantage point.


Blue Angels over Magic Kingdom

They made two passes, both from behind the Magic Kingdom towards our location across the lake. The second pass they fanned out as shown above. The first pass was a straight pass in formation.


Flying right over us

Since we were primarily there to see the Blue Angels, we decided to hop the monorail over to Epcot and walk around there for the day. They are currently having a Flower and Garden festival there and we wanted to get some pictures of the various topiary that they have (not yet uploaded). We also ate lunch at the Mexican restaurant there.

This evening, we stopped by Lowe’s again to grab a few more electrical items. We hope to have the shed all wired up before we leave in a couple weeks.