Smooth Sailing On West

Dates: June 9 to 11, 2018

Location: Lafayette KOA, Scott, Louisiana

We ended up staying through to Monday morning. On Sunday, we met our friends Andy and Joanna Grimes for lunch since we missed coming on over on Sunday to camp with them.

On Monday morning at 7:30 Malcolm called the local Goodyear dealer and found that they had two tires in stock that we needed for our trailer. They told us to come on over and they’d take care of us, so we packed up the trailer, hitched up and headed over.

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Ready for new shoes

They had us in and out the door in a little over an hour, so we continued on our way north and west pretty much on schedule. The plan is to get two more tires put on in Washington to match the new Goodyears on the left side if nothing happens along the way (it didn’t).

Dates: June 11 to 12, 2018

Location: Texas Rose RV Park, Tyler, Texas

We found this little RV park near the interstate in Tyler, Texas. Malcolm called ahead and talked to the owner who happened to be out of town at the time, but gave us instructions to check ourselves in and pay for our spot with the envelope drop. Using our Passport America card, the price was only $20 for the night.

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The campground was a bit older and had lots of longer term residents, but it was kept very neat. For the sites on our circle, the campground even provided a fairly new charcoal grill and a plastic tote with charcoal and lighter fluid in it if you wanted to cook out. Nice little touch.

Dates: June 12 to 13, 2018

Location: Cedar Valley RV Park, Guthrie, Oklahoma

We stayed in this campground in Guthrie (no pictures). Their Passport America rate was $18 for the night. It was a quiet park, but rather old and decently kept. It was fine for an overnight.

Dates: June 13 to 14, 2018

Location: WaKeeney KOA, Wakeeney, Kansas

This KOA is kept very neat. They serve ice cream in the evenings and offer pancake and sausage breakfast (we took advantage of both) for a reasonable cost. They’ve been filling up every night during the week as there isn’t much else close to the interstate through western Kansas.

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Dates: June 14 to 15, 2018

Location: Fort Collins North / Wellington KOA, Wellington, Colorado

This KOA was fairly nice, as well. We had a nice, wide concrete slab to park on. When we were rolling in, there were storm clouds over the front range of the Rockies. They eventually blew in, bringing lots of wind, but no rain.

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Malcolm found a couple friends in the pasture adjacent to the side of the campground where the tent sites are. Several of the campers were enjoying our visitors.

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Dates: June 15 to 16, 2018

Location: Buffalo KOA, Buffalo, Wyoming

Due to re-scheduling our stay here and then scheduling it back, we ended up with the last available site that would fit our rig – a really nice patio site. It was only $6 more than what we would have paid for the site we originally booked.

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It was a little windy as we arrived here and it was blowing in cool weather. The temperature was around 70 degrees when we arrived and fairly quickly dropped into the low 60’s. Overnight, it was around 50 degrees. We ended up turning on the furnace in the morning. We also did a little antique shopping in downtown Buffalo.

Dates: June 16 to 17, 2018

Location: Deer Lodge KOA, Deer Lodge, Montana

When we arrived in Deer Lodge, it was around 50 degrees and drizzly rain. It stayed like that all night. We had the furnace on overnight.

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Snow on top of the nearby mountains

Deer Lodge is one of our regular stops. The owner came out and gave us a hug when we arrived. It’s not much of a park, but she keeps the place very neat and tidy.

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Dates: June 17 to 18, 2018

Location: Spokane KOA, Spokane, Washington

When we arrived in Spokane, the temperature and weather had improved considerably. It was sunny and in the 70’s when we got there.

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After we got there, we contacted our friends Tim and Emily Rohrer. They were in the area and agreed to meet us for dinner. In addition to Tim and Emily, Tim’s parents, Bonnie and Doug, also joined us. They recently just started full-timing and were traveling with Tim and Emily.

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Dates: June 18 to ???, 2018

Location: Washington State Fair Campground, Puyallup, Washington

On Monday, we rolled into Puyallup and set up at the fairgrounds campground.

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Now it’s time to visit family. We’re actually keeping the grandchildren for a couple days as Elizabeth and Cole are out of town. Elizabeth flies back in on Thursday.

The trip here from Florida was 3,435 miles. There are more direct routes than what we took, but we wanted to visit folks along the I-10 corridor, so that added a couple hundred miles or so. The following map shows the approximate route here (note the other trip earlier this year to Tennessee and Kentucky is on the same map).

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Travels and Travails on the Road

Location: Tallahassee RV Park, Tallahassee, Florida

Dates: June 7 to 8, 2018

Our first day on the road ended at the Tallahassee RV Park in, you guessed it, Tallahassee, Florida. This was a really nice park. We’ve never stayed here before but really liked the place. We even spent a while in the swimming pool relaxing and meeting new friends.

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Nice, wooded site

Location: Cajun RV Park, Biloxi, Mississippi

Dates: June 8 to 9, 2018

We left Tallahassee with the intention of staying near Mobile, Alabama, since it would have been 2/3rds of the way to Lafayette, Louisiana where we planned on visiting friends. However, between an early start and gaining an hour from changing from Eastern to Central time zones, we decided to drive on and stop another hour or so later in Biloxi, Mississippi.

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Nice, unwooded site

We’ve stayed at Cajun RV Park before, but this was the first time we’ve been in the area with the other longer-term trailers and not in the front part of the park near the road (and the go-kart track next door).

We did a little bit of “touristing” and browsed the local beach shop (buying some postcards). We also decided to eat at our favorite BBQ place in Biloxi – Slap Ya Momma’s. They had moved to a new place (used to be next door to the campground) just down the road.

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Location: Lafayette KOA, Scott, Louisiana

Dates: June 9, 2018

Today was an eventful day. The first event occurred when we were driving through Baton Rouge, Louisiana on I-10. A local police car was pulling over a speeding vehicle across several lanes of traffic. When the police car got into our lane, he slowed way down to almost a stop directly in front of us. We avoided rear-ending him and locked up our tires trying to slow down quick enough.

Shortly after that fun incident, while descending the hill on the far side of the bridge over the Mississippi River, we heard a really loud bang. Malcolm looked in his side mirror to see a pickup truck that was passing us on that side swerving away from our trailer. Shortly after that, our tire pressure monitor started beeping and showed 0 PSI on the front, left tire on the trailer. We coasted the rest of the way off the bridge and pulled over to the side to assess damage.

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Flat tire

Fortunately, the tire held up well after blowing out a chunk of the sidewall. The tread stayed intact and we suffered no damage to the trailer. Malcolm set about changing the tire when a local roadside assist truck appeared.

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Though Malcolm had all the tools and everything he needed to change the tire, he did ask if the roadside truck driver would leave the truck there with his flashing sign on. He did and also set out cones to direct traffic away from us (we were at the end of an entrance ramp merge area). He also helped Malcolm with changing the tire and airing up the spare a bit.

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The blowout

We drove on west to our scheduled stop in the Lafayette, Louisiana area. Part way between our roadside incident and our stop for the evening, we hit a milestone of traveling 100,000 miles with an RV since we started full-timing.

This evening, we visited with our friends Nick and Sheila, taking them out to dinner for Sheila’s birthday.

Our plan is to wait here until Monday morning. We hope to be able to get some new tires sometime on Monday. We may or may not be able to roll on down the road Monday, but hope to on Tuesday morning at the latest. The KOA here has reserved our spot for us (they are not full, surprisingly) through Tuesday at least. We’ll play it by ear depending on how the tire thing goes.

 

Celebration Super-post

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

Dates: May 6 to June 7, 2018

Has it been a month already? Sorry about that. Let’s see what we’ve been doing for the past month. Before that, though, we’ll go ahead and say that as of today (June 7), we are traveling west to visit the grandchildren (and other family members) out in Washington state. We’ll drop a few posts here or there along the way so you can follow along.

Hmm, let’s see. Well, our son David came down to visit for a couple weeks. He arrived on Saturday, May 12 and stayed through Sunday, May 27. He brought his cat, Maui, along. The two of them stayed out in our guest house (though we brought Maui in the trailer during the day or when we would all go out).

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Maui

On Sunday, May 13th, we celebrated Mothers’ Day and David’s 30th birthday by heading over to Medieval Times. We had fun watching the show and dinner was good as well. While we had been to Medieval Times before, David had never been, so it was a treat for him.

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Cheering on the Black and White Knight

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The Parade of Knights

David picked up a military ticket for Disney and we went there on three different occasions. We went to Magic Kingdom one day, Epcot another and Hollywood Studios on a third day. The weather through most of May was dreary and rainy a lot of days, but we managed to go to parks on mostly dry days.

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Goofy and David

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Malcolm, Minnie Mouse and David

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Birthday Guy at Epcot

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Trying to keep David from floating away

Malcolm and David also headed over to the Andretti Go Kart racing place. It’s fairly new in town. Before David came down, we bought gift cards at Costco at 1/3 off ($33 for $50 in gift cards), so that helped bring the cost down. They both had fun. There are three different indoor tracks (electric carts). David and Malcolm raced on two of them (the third is for children).

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David also helped Malcolm put new coroplast underneath the trailer. The factory covering was sagging and starting to break down due to the hydraulic fluid that had soaked into it from our former hydraulic leak. We actually picked up the new material last summer coming back from out west. Malcolm wanted to get it installed before we left this year on our western journey.

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The underside exposed

Malcolm tidied up some loose wiring after removing and discarding the old cover material. David jumped in (or, actually, crawled under) to help install the new material. It was definitely a two person job.

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New material laying out to rest

Once all the new material was installed, Malcolm bought some angle steel from Lowe’s and made a few cross braces to keep the new material from sagging too much.

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Finished installation

On May 31, we sadly said our goodbyes to our travel cat, Callie. A couple days earlier, she apparently had a stroke or some other type of neurological event. She was continuously wandering around the trailer and bumping into things like she couldn’t see. She also made no response when you would talk to her or call to her.

Malcolm took Callie to the animal hospital. They looked at her and gave her low hopes for any kind of life. We both felt that we would rather have her go peacefully than to be subjected to traveling with us out west. Malcolm held her as she passed from this world. We had her remains cremated. We will miss her, but traveling was taking its toll on her the last year or so.

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Rest now, sweet Callie

After David left and Callie passed on, we spent the last few days preparing for our trip out west. We purchased items we would need, took care of doctor follow-up visits, packed things for travel, stored items we weren’t taking and generally got everything ready for departure today, June 7th. We will be on the road for 12 travel days, arriving in Washington on Monday the 18th.

Back Home Super-post

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

Dates: Apr. 25 to May 6, 2018

Here’s a picture-laden summary of what we’ve been up to since we arrived back home in Florida less than two weeks ago. First of all, Malcolm celebrated the warm, sunny Florida weather by donning his shorts and sandals for the first time since we left to head north three weeks prior.

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The end of the week that we arrived home, Malcolm worked some and caught up with some chores around the place. Val worked on various projects, as well.

One thing we like about our place here in Florida is being able to drive our golf cart out to the shopping center in front of our place. We recently opened a bank account at the bank just outside the entrance to our neighborhood and we can drive our golf cart there to take care of banking business.

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Shortly after we got home, we found out that Dapper Days were being celebrated at Disney World. We originally thought we were going to miss them. Dapper Days is when people dress up in, generally, dapper clothing and visit Disney World. Dapper Day was celebrated in the Magic Kingdom on Saturday and in Epcot on Sunday. We attended both days, dressed differently each day.

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As you can see, we were dressed in a little more modern motif on Saturday at Magic Kingdom. Malcolm wore part of his “Woody” outfit and carried Bullseye with him. Val dressed in her “Minnie” outfit.

On Sunday, we changed it up and wore other outfits. Malcolm wore some of his 1920’s outfit and Val donned her brightly colored Orange Bird items.

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While walking through the Great Britain pavilion, we found we were just in time to line up to see Mary Poppins.

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Last week was another busy work week for Malcolm and project week for Val. We did head over to Hollywood Studios for dinner at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe, Malcolm rode the Tower of Terror and we stayed to watch the Fantasmic show before heading home somewhat late.

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50’s Prime Time Cafe

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Hollywood Hotel Tower of Terror

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Float at the Fantasmic Show

Yesterday (Saturday), we decided to go check out what is billed as the largest Antique market in Florida, near Mount Dora. We really didn’t see much of anything that caught our eyes, other than this cool “digital” clock (that we didn’t buy).

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We were actually somewhat disappointed at the antique market. We’ve been to better antique stores elsewhere. On the way back home, we stopped at JoAnn Fabric (for Val) and Best Buy (for Malcolm).

For his 20th anniversary at work, Malcolm had received a $400 gift card that can be used at certain places. Best Buy is one of them. Malcolm decided to gift himself a new Polaroid camera and some film. Though the original Polaroid company went bankrupt back in the early 2000’s, another company has bought the rights to the name and had re-released the film and a new version of one of the cameras from the 1970s.

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Once we got home, it was mid-afternoon. Malcolm wanted to try his new camera out, so we loaded it up with a pack of film and headed over to Magic Kingdom. We took a few pictures (and had one of the Disney photographers take one of us using the camera). The results are just like the old days – soft, inaccurate colors, all the things you remember from looking at old Polaroid pictures.

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Once we got home, Malcolm wrote the location and date on the bottom of each print so we can remember when and where the pictures were taken.

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We were surprised this morning by the cable TV repairman calling us at 8:00 am. We supposedly had an appointment for Monday morning, but someone messed up. He figured out that the cable wiring somewhere in the trailer is bad (somewhat common problem) and gave us a second cable that we strung through the back window to get things going temporarily.

Since Malcolm was going to have to start digging into the cable, he decided to go ahead and start on a project he’s been wanting to work on – adding additional storage space under the trailer from any open areas behind the storage area wall. He did find a likely spot just inside the door and found that by selectively re-tying the wires together, he could make an area suitable for adding a cubby.

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Before starting – stuff stored in our shed

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The mess of wires

While tidying up in the wiring area, Malcolm found a microwave plate that the factory apparently had left laying inside the utility area of our trailer. It’s a bit small, but would work in our microwave in a pinch. We’ll keep it as a spare (we already have another spare we found at Goodwill one time).

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Bonus Part

One area that Malcolm addressed was the cable TV splitter and outlet in the area where he was working. He replaced the connectors and removed the splitter and outlet.

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Cable joined together

 

A trip to Lowes for lumber and parts, and Malcolm went back to work building the cubby area. He re-used some of the wood removed from the trailer since it had the grey felt glued to it.

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Wires re-organized

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New cubby in place

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All dressed up

There still remains some wall to put back up to the right of the cubby area. Malcolm will be able to push back that wall several inches to give some more storage space. We will also probably line the new opening with similar felt and probably put some type of rubber or vinyl on the floor of the opening.

That’s all for now. Looks like another work week for Malcolm (some for employment, some around the trailer). We both have doctor appointments tomorrow (physicals and other well-care stuff).

Quick Weekend in Kentucky

Location: Kentucky Horse Park Campground, Lexington, Kentucky

Dates: Apr. 21 to 23, 2018

After leaving Nashville, we made a quick two day stop in Lexington, Kentucky for the weekend. Some of Malcolm’s high school classmates and their spouses decided it would be fun to get together to watch some horse racing at Keeneland Race Track on Sunday afternoon.

We stayed at the Kentucky Horse Park since they had open spots available for the weekend. After we got set up, one of Malcolm’s classmates brought over the group’s reserved seating tickets since she couldn’t attend. We volunteered to stand out front of the race track and hand out the tickets.

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Once we got set up in our spot, we did a little shopping in the campground store. The only thing we picked up was a small box of bourbon balls (Malcolm). We also ran to Kroger to pick up some of our favorite beverages and a few groceries.

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Back at the trailer, we headed down to Lexington to eat at one of our favorite restaurants – Ramsey’s Diner. Of course, we both had our favorite – Hot Browns and Ale 8s.

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On Sunday, we got dressed up and headed out the door somewhat early. To pass the time, we wandered around the Horse Park gift shop, before driving on to Keeneland.

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Once at Keeneland, we stopped to take a picture of Val’s outfit.

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Once inside, she bought a hat to go with the dress. Definitely dapper and race day stylish.

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We ate a nice lunch while Malcolm looked over his picks for the races. He made a few bets but quit when he reached his limit of losing ($20).

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Quite a few of Malcolm’s classmates showed up and a few couldn’t make it. Here are many of them. Some were out wandering around when this picture was taken.

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We’ll put some more race day pictures in at the end of this post. We left with about two races remaining to beat the crowds and to drive across town to visit Malcolm’s Aunt Mary, Aunt Margaret and Uncle Jerry. We had a great dinner with them and talked until very late in the evening.

While we were there, our youngest daughter, Scarlet, decided to FaceTime with Nana. She got an extra treat of seeing some Great Aunts and Great Uncle.

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We headed back to the trailer late and got up the next morning (Monday the 23rd) to head back toward Florida.

Location: Holiday Travel Park, Rossville, Georgia

Dates: Apr. 23 to 24, 2018

Stop 1 of 2 while traveling back to Florida.

Location: Tifton KOA, Tifton, Georgia

Dates: Apr. 24 to 25, 2018

Stop 2 of 2 while traveling back to Florida. Should be home tomorrow (April 25).

More pictures from Keeneland from “the big camera”.

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Military Appreciation Day at the Track

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