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.

 

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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.

Here, There and Everywhere

Location: Washington State visiting Grandchildren

Dates: Mar. 27 – Apr. 2, 2018

Once we were back from the beach trip, Malcolm and the girls worked on their pinewood derby cars for Awana. Malcolm and Violet both got sick shortly after we got back. Not sure about Violet, but Malcolm had the flu (we never got around to getting flu shots).

Violet’s car won 2nd place in her division for design. Malcolm’s car won first place in the adult division for design. None of our cars were terribly fast, though, but they at least made it to the finish line. Violet was home sick the night of the race, so Nana raced in her place and accepted her award.

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The rest of the week we all just had fun. Malcolm tried to work as much as he felt like even though he had the flu.

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Eventually, on Friday, Malcolm went to the doctor. They determined he had the flu and gave him a prescription for flu meds, though they wouldn’t guarantee that they would do any good since he had the flu longer than 48 hours. (They did help some).

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Cole came home from India on Friday afternoon. Elizabeth went to the airport to bring him home. He caught up on his sleep over the weekend. Malcolm was still sick on Easter Sunday, so he stayed home while everyone else went to church.

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The girls had an Easter egg hunt on Sunday afternoon. Scarlet sorted all her candy out by type.

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On Monday, Malcolm was feeling better. We spent the day getting ready to fly home. Our flight left late in the evening on Monday and arrived early morning in Orlando on Tuesday.

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

Dates: Apr. 3 – 6, 2018

We flew in to Orlando early in the morning on Tuesday, the 3rd. We picked up our car from the parking lot and headed home. We slept very little on the plane, so we slept for a few hours once we got home. Later, we headed across the street and brought Callie home from our neighbors who were watching her while we were away.

We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday catching up on laundry and getting the trailer ready for travel. On Friday morning, we hooked up the trailer to the truck and headed out for a couple weeks in Nashville.

Location: Tifton KOA, Tifton, Georgia

Dates: Apr. 6 -7, 2018

Our first stop on the way to Nashville was Tifton, Georgia. We had some slow traffic in Florida due to the heavy spring break traffic mixed with a tanker truck that had crashed and caught fire.

Location: Holiday Travel Park, Rossville, Georgia

Dates: Apr. 7 – 8, 2018

Our second stop was in Rossville, Georgia (just outside of Chattanooga). We again hit traffic due to a traffic accident and generally heavy spring break traffic south of Atlanta.

Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

Dates: Apr. 8, 2018

Today’s journey from Chattanooga to Nashville took less than 3 hours up I-24. It was a generally smooth drive. There was a lot of spring break traffic again but it generally moved well.

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We’ll be here for two weeks while Malcolm works in the office here.

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Anniversary and Other Stuff

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

Dates: Feb. 28 – Mar. 7, 2018

With our company gone and the inside of the guest shed pretty much complete, we turned our attention to the outside. Malcolm pressure-washed the shed and applied primer and paint to the outside. We painted it a light brown (similar to the previous color) with dark brown around the eaves and off-white trim around the windows and door. The door was painted a deep blue.

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Paint in progress

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Nice, smooth paint (we used an airless sprayer)

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Pretty much done

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Ready to enjoy

We also painted the inside of the door a dark teal color (looks bluer in this photo).

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Inside of door painted

We plan on painting the other shed the same color scheme (except the doors will be the same medium brown as the body of the shed).

Location: Bay Lake Tower, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Dates: Mar. 7 – 9, 2018

We reserved a room at Bay Lake Tower at Disney World for our 32nd wedding anniversary. We left the trailer and drove over to Animal Kingdom park for the day while we awaited check-in time.

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At Animal Kingdom

Later in the afternoon, we drove over to Bay Lake Tower to check in. It is adjacent to the Contemporary resort. All of the restaurants and gift shops are in the Contemporary. Bay Lake Tower is pretty much just rooms and suites.

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Bay Lake Tower overlooking Bay Lake

Since we got the cheapest room available and at a fairly short notice (we booked in late January), the view wasn’t superb, but it was fine. It was too cool to sit outside on our porch anyway.

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Our view if you look to the right from our porch

Still, we had a great time. Dinner on Wednesday evening was at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian resort. We rode the monorail over from the Contemporary and enjoyed a grand buffet. We also got to meet Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine (Cinderella’s stepmother) and Cinderella’s two step-sisters – Anastasia and Drizella.

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Artsy evening shot of the Grand Floridian Resort

On Thursday, our anniversary day, we went to Epcot and enjoyed walking around. We had a fast pass for the Frozen ride, but it was not running when our fast pass came around. So, we used it to ride Spaceship Earth on the way back to the hotel. Once back to the room, we changed clothes and rode the monorail over to the Polynesian Resort for our dinner luau. But first, a picture.

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We’ve been to the Spirit of Aloha show before and thought it would be a fun way to spend our anniversary evening. Even though it was fairly cool, we were comfortable and the show was great.

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We got up on Friday morning, packed our stuff, checked out and dropped our luggage in the car. We walked over to Magic Kingdom for a few hours before heading on home. It was a fun anniversary getaway.

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

Dates: Mar. 9 – 10, 2018

Back home, we’re now doing laundry and getting ready for another trip out this coming week to visit our daughter, Elizabeth, and the granddaughters. Our son-in-law is going on a two-week business trip to India and asked if we would consider coming out and keeping the girls company while he was away. How could we say no? We’ll be flying out Thursday morning.

 

 

Construction Wind-down and Visitors

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

Dates: Feb. 8 – 27, 2018

When we last left you, we had just poured the concrete leveler in the front section of our outdoor shed. After it had 72 hours to cure, we started in on the finishing touches for the living portion of the building. Malcolm mounted the TV on the wall and finished up the wiring behind it (cable and power). He did this while the floor was ready to walk on, but before it was ready to cover.

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TV Mounted and Hooked Up

Once the floor was cured, Malcolm installed the laminate flooring in the main living area. He put down the radiant cushion stuff, then laid down the flooring on top. The entire process took just part of a day.

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Radiant floor cushion

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Laminate floor complete

With the flooring complete, it was time to install the trim then move everything back into the room. It also meant it was time to head to Ikea to get the fold-out couch/bed we had already decided on as well as a bookshelf.

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Couch set up

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All decorated up and moved in

As a reminder of how the shed looked about a year ago, here’s the same view back then.

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The Starting Point

We also finished decorating up the back portion of the shed. Here is the bathroom side.

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Bathroom complete.

With the guest shed complete, Malcolm was able to organize the other shed to provide more area to work on things. We found a nice fold-up workbench at Lowe’s. When folded up, our golf cart will fit in the shed. When the golf cart isn’t stored, the workbench folds down and Malcolm has a place to work on things.

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New Workbench

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Organized and ready for that next project

Aside from construction work, we also had time to go out for a Valentine’s Day dinner at Ohana Cafe in the Polynesian Resort over at Disney World. Malcolm got a fancy drink in a pineapple and we work our island clothing.

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We also gave the new guest quarters a test. Our son, David, and four of his Air Force buddies came down to visit for a long weekend. They arrived Friday afternoon (the 16th) and left on Monday around lunch time. On Saturday, they all drove up the road about an hour to take part in a mock battle using Airsoft guns (shoot plastic pellets).

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Enjoying our company

David and one of his friends slept in the trailer (on the recliners) and the other three camped out in the new guest house – one on the couch (not folded out), one on a cot and one on an air mattress.

On Sunday, the guys all piled into a couple vehicles and drove an hour down the road to go to Busch Gardens. It was a nice day and the park was fairly crowded but they had a great time.

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The crowd waiting to park at Busch Gardens

This Monday, the 26th, Malcolm joined several other residents of our neighborhood to work on sealing half of our street. They did a great job and were all done by 2:00 PM.

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Getting Ready to Start

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In Progress

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Complete and drying

Someone on Facebook had asked Malcolm why the development didn’t take care of sealing the streets. The reason is that our neighborhood is one of several in the entire resort. We pay monthly fees to our neighborhood and to the resort as a whole. To keep our neighborhood fees down, our residents decided to take care of this item by having the neighborhood purchase the materials and having our residents offer their time to apply it.