Trip Out West – Day 2

Location: Prattville, Alabama

We left our son’s house and drove to Prattville, Alabama on Saturday. It was an easy 200 mile trip. We visited with friends of ours here and camped in their driveway since they had a full house.

We waited until nearly dark to set up the tent so that some rain showers could move through. We sat up and chatted with our friends until fairly late in the evening before retiring to the tent.

We ran both the refrigerator and our small box fan in the tent off the inverter overnight.

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).

Hello, Anyone There?

OK, we guess we’ll catch you up on what’s been going on the last 2 1/2 weeks.

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

Dates: Mar. 11 – 14, 2018

Not much going on here. We drove over to Disney Springs on Sunday afternoon and ended up over at Saratoga Springs for dinner at the Turf Club restaurant (don’t we sound fancy?)

Monday through Wednesday was a combination of Malcolm catching up on some work and us packing up suitcases for our upcoming trip out to Washington state. We also arranged with our neighbors across the street to watch our cat. They had us bring her and all her stuff over to their place. We left her with them on Wednesday evening since we were flying out early on Thursday morning.

We got to the Orlando airport a couple hours ahead of our flight (we need to practice our timing a little better), quickly checked our luggage (Alaska Airlines pre-printed luggage tags for the win), breezed through security (TSA PreCheck is a life-saver) and got to our gate first.

Once on board our flight, we were treated to a nice sunrise over the airport.

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Location: Washington State visiting Grandchildren

Dates: Mar. 15 – 22, 2018

We arrived at the Seattle airport mid-morning, west coast time. Our daughter Elizabeth  came to the airport and picked us up and took us home.

We made a quick trip down the street with our younger granddaughter, Scarlet, and fed the local goats some carrots.

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Thursday afternoons, Violet goes to rock climbing class at the local YMCA. She’s a really good climber.

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Malcolm took our son-in-law Cole to the airport on Friday afternoon. Cole is flying to India for business and will be there a couple weeks. That’s one reason we flew out here to help out our daughter and to visit the grandkids. Speaking of grandkids, Malcolm was challenged to several games of Mario Kart.

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One of our experiments was making a Lucky Charms pie. The jury is still out on this one. We all had a piece after it was frozen overnight. It’s not bad, but not the best.

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Nana and Pa took Scarlet out to lunch one day at the girls’ favorite restaurant – Trackside Pizza. We weren’t disappointed with the amount of rail traffic during our meal.

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Malcolm got some work done during the week and we ran errands with or for our daughter.

Location: The Grey Gull, Ocean Shores, Washington

Dates: Mar. 22 – 25, 2018

On Thursday, Violet got off school early and had Friday off, so we all piled into the car and drove out to Ocean Shores, Washington for a long weekend.

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We arrived late in the evening and checked into our room, which is actually a one-bedroom condo with a full kitchen. We brought food and drinks so we could eat some meals in. Our condo was a beach view (Pacific Ocean), but having arrived after dark, we didn’t get to see it until the next morning.

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While admiring our view on Friday morning, we had a visitor land on our balcony railing. Our seagull friend hung around for a good half hour before figuring out we weren’t going to feed him anything.

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We did some kite flying on the beach and did some shopping in town. The weather was in the 40’s during the day and there was off and on rain.

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On Saturday, we stopped by the beach and there were horses out there. They were giving horseback rides on the beach. Violet talked her grandfather into accompanying her on a ride. She didn’t have to twist his arm too much.

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It was Violet’s first ride where she was in control and she did a super job. She was ready to ride again as soon as we got back.

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On Saturday night we were treated to a nice sunset for our last night at the beach.

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On Sunday, we packed up everything into the car, checked out of the room and headed to the beach to fly kites one last time before heading home.

Location: Washington State visiting Grandchildren

Dates: Mar. 25 – 27, 2018

Back at home, we’ve been falling back into everyday stuff. Malcolm has been working, the girls are back in school and Elizabeth is back to being Mommy. We’ll be here about another week. We promise an update when we get back home.

 

Christmas and New Year

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

Dates: Dec. 20 – 21, 2017

We spent Wednesday, the 20th, getting ready for our trip on the 21st. We got everything all packed up and ready to go as well as checking in, printing boarding passes and luggage tags (yay for Alaska Airlines). Malcolm even had time to get in a pretty full day of work.

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Callie supervising Malcolm’s work

We also met our neighbors who would be watching Callie while we were gone. They came by to meet Callie and grab a key for the trailer. They ended up doing a super job of watching Callie. We would have been happy just having someone pop in once a day to feed her and clean out her litter box. They stopped by twice a day, often staying for a while and brushing her fur and loving on her.

Our flight on the 21st was scheduled to leave Orlando at 5:20 PM. We decided to leave the trailer around noon, catch some lunch and wander over to the airport around 2:00 or so. We ended up at Disney Springs for lunch. Malcolm realized the only warm clothing he brought was his very heavy winter jacket and nothing in between that and a couple light long sleeve shirts, so he picked up a sweatshirt.

Malcolm happened to check his Alaska Airlines app and found out that the flight had been delayed another hour or so and was now scheduled to leave at 6:37 PM. We took our time at Disney Springs since we were now in no rush. We ended up at the car park around 4:00 or so, parked and rode the shuttle to the airport. When we checked in at the Alaska counter, the agent reprinted our boarding passes with the new, further delayed departure time of 7:42 PM. He also handed us two meal vouchers so we could grab dinner in the airport.

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Val’s Build-a-bear got its own seat on the plane

We breezed through security thanks to our new TSA PreCheck privileges and found our gate. With a few hours to waste now, we went ahead and ate dinner at a nicer sit-down restaurant. The meal vouchers covered about half of our meal and drinks ($12 a person maximum). While eating dinner, we found that our flight had yet again been delayed to a 9:00 PM departure. We spent a lot of time at the gate sitting around, reading, etc.

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Our flight ended up landing in Seattle after midnight their time. Elizabeth came out to pick us up and we gladly plopped down in our bed at almost 1:00 AM Pacific Time (around 4:00 AM our time). The granddaughters had expertly prepared our sleeping arrangements for us, including some nice chocolates (that we ate later).

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Our luxury accomodations

Location: Edgewood, Washington

Dates: Dec. 22, 2017 – Jan. 1, 2018

Friday and Saturday involved a lot of family time, running to the store for groceries and so forth.

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Story time with Nana

On Sunday morning, we all went to church. Val’s sister, Anne, was there, as well. She came over to visit for a while afterwards before heading on home. On Sunday evening, we went over to Cole’s parents’ house for Christmas Eve dinner and visiting. It started snowing right as we were leaving to go their house Sunday afternoon.

On Christmas day, we awoke to a pretty decent amount of snow. It started snowing again pretty heavily all morning. By late morning, there was about 3-4 inches of snow on the ground.

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But first, it was time to see what Santa brought everyone.

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Santa was here!

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Mid-opening of presents

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Still opening presents

After all the presents were opened and the wrapping paper cleaned up, it was time for lunch and then an afternoon of playing in the snow. Elizabeth and Scarlet made a small snowman out front before lunch. This was before the snow really accumulated a bunch more.

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Mini snowman

Of course, the requisite snow angels needed to be made.

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Violet making a snow angel

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Scarlet making her own snow angel (who needs a hat?)

The horses across the street got their Christmas treats as well.

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After it snowed some more, Pa showed the girls how to roll up larger snow balls for making a snowman. It started out as a snow unicorn.

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Snow unicorn?

Later on, we found proper attire for the snowman and put the finishing touches on him.

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Pa and the girls showing off their work

After all the snow fun, we all cleaned up and headed over to Cole’s parents’ house again, this time for their traditional Christmas dinner, followed by the gift exchange. It was a fun time, as usual.

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On Tuesday and Wednesday, we hung around the house and did family stuff. Violet baked some cupcakes up for all of us. Scarlet helped decorate them.

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On Wednesday evening, Malcolm, Elizabeth and Cole headed out to see the new Star Wars movie. Nana and the girls had a girls night planned. It started out with a trip to DQ for ice cream treats.

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After Malcolm, Cole and Elizabeth got to the movie theater, they found that all the shows were pretty much sold out, so they bought tickets for Thursday night. After finding out that the grandchildren got ice cream, a stop by Wendys for Frosties and Fries was in order.

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On Thursday, Val and Elizabeth headed out for some shopping and lunch while Malcolm and Cole watched the children. That evening Malcolm, Cole and Elizabeth headed back to the movies. Nana and the girls had their own little party at home. On Friday, it was more of the same as we hung around the house. Elizabeth babysits a couple children on Fridays and they were over for the day, so we mainly stayed home.

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On Saturday, Elizabeth headed out to the airport to pick up our son, David, at the airport. He flew in to visit for several days. It was fun having the entire family together in one place.

On Sunday morning, we all went to church. Anne was there, too and came home with us all to enjoy Sunday dinner. Malcolm and Elizabeth whipped up the now-traditional stir fry dinner. It was yummy.

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After an afternoon of football watching, we all decided to have game night. There was plenty of popcorn and lots of fun. Before we went to bed, we said our goodbyes to everyone since we had an early flight out the next morning.

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On Monday, the 1st, Cole took us to the airport for our 7:50 AM flight back home. While we were waiting at the gate, our flight’s pilot walked around talking to everyone. He talked with the children and gave a few of them some pilot wings. He also provided the pre-flight announcement once we were all on board the plane.

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Our flight left Seattle on time and made good time across the country. We arrived a few minutes early in Orlando, close to dinner time. Since we didn’t have any groceries at home, we stopped on the way and ate dinner, then headed on home.

 

 

 

 

Out of Town Travel

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

Dates: Dec. 10 – 15, 2017

The early part of the week was a mix of work, relaxing and getting ready for upcoming trips out of town. The weather slowly warmed up through the week. The cool weather managed to help us finish off a propane tank over the weekend. Malcolm drove it over to a nearby Love’s truck stop and had it filled. There is a service that comes around our neighborhood to fill tanks, but we missed the cut-off on that (plus, Love’s is cheaper).

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Callie, taking the relaxing part seriously

One area we were having problems was finding a cat sitter (as mentioned at the end of our last blog entry). Fortunately, we had some folks step up to the plate after a second plea for help on our neighborhood’s Facebook page. We’ll have one lady covering the Nashville trip and another covering our Seattle trip.

Our last big thing to do before heading out for Nashville was to attend the Candlelight Processional at Disney’s Epcot. We bought a lunch package at the Biergarten Restaurant at Epcot which included preferred seating at the processional later in the afternoon.

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Entertainment at the Biergarten

Val hooked us both up with some fancy duds to wear for the day. We stopped on the way to Epcot to pick up a hat for Malcolm to go with his outfit.

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Fancy Duds

The service was exceptional. Choirs from local schools join together with a full orchestra and a guest narrator to put on a fantastic musical performance. The guest narrator for our evening there was Warwick Davis, who read the story of the birth of Jesus from the bible in between various Christmas song selections.

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Candlelight Processional

We left a little bit after the show to get home in preparation for our early morning departure for the airport. We had a 7:50 am flight and Orlando airport recommends arriving between 2 and 3 hours before your flight. We were through security pretty quick due to our new PreCheck numbers and were at our gate two hours before the flight.

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Sunrise at the Orlando Airport

We had an uneventful flight, with a short layover in Atlanta. Fortunately our first flight arrived, and our second flight departed from the same concourse. We just walked from one end to the other.

Location: Marriott Nashville Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee

Dates: Dec. 15 – 18, 2017

We arrived in Nashville around noon, rented our car and tossed our stuff inside. We drove downtown, parked in a garage and had lunch at Demos’ Steak & Spaghetti restaurant downtown. After lunch, we headed up to Malcolm’s office and said our hellos and handed out Christmas cards and gifts to various employees. From there, we went on to our hotel and checked in. We left the car in the garage and walked over to a nearby P.F. Chang’s restaurant for dinner.

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Cool wallpaper in our hotel room

On Saturday, we headed out early to the Opry Mills Mall to pick up a couple things, the Kroger’s to get a couple items we needed there. From there, we headed across town and had lunch and shopped around at McKay’s Used Books. We headed on back to the hotel to get ready for the company Christmas Party that evening.

The party was fun. Malcolm got to see a lot of co-workers he hadn’t seen in a while and met at least one that had started working since we were in the office last (this spring). Everyone won a gift at the party. We got a big basket of things to make martinis with, including a big ice pail. This presented a problem of where we might stow the items to fly back home.

On Sunday morning, we were too lazy to even head downstairs to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, so we ordered room service. It was actually cheaper than having the breakfast buffet in the restaurant at the hotel (which we did Saturday morning).

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Room Service breakfast

After debating different methods of getting our new martini set home, we decided we would look at luggage at Target. We only checked on bag coming up and the airline allows us to check one bag per person, so another bag going home wouldn’t cost any extra. Plus, we could use another good suitcase. We ended up finding one on clearance that was also marked another 10% off. We stopped by McNamara’s Irish Pub to have lunch, then headed back to the hotel to begin the task of packing stuff in two suitcases.

Val had just read a news story about a massive power failure at the Atlanta airport on Sunday when Malcolm received the bad news message from Delta airlines – our flight out of Nashville on Monday was cancelled. They were working on a replacement flight for us. Malcolm checked online and found that the next available flight would leave on Tuesday and get in to Orlando very late Tuesday night.

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Oops. Bad news.

We looked at various options. Staying another day would be fairly costly at the hotel we were in in Nashville. Flying one-way on another airline would have been around $500 or so. We called Enterprise car rental, where we had rented the car we had there in Nashville and asked about keeping the car and driving it back to Orlando, but they wanted nearly $500 extra to do that. Malcolm finally found a deal on a one-way rental through Avis for around $150 and booked a car for Monday morning to drop off in Orlando on Tuesday afternoon.

Monday morning, we packed up our rental car and headed over to the Nashville airport to drop it off at Enterprise. We headed into the terminal to complete the registration on our Avis rental car, then back out to Avis to pick up our car and head on our way south. We drove as far as Valdosta, Georgia (about 2/3 of the way home) on Monday.

Location: Country Inn & Suites, Valdosta, Georgia

Dates: Dec. 18 – 19, 2017

We stayed at the Country Inn & Suites overnight on Monday after eating dinner at a nearby Mellow Mushroom pizza restaurant. We were up early, had breakfast downstairs and hopped in the car by around 8:00 am to head on towards Orlando.

We arrived at the Orlando airport around noon and checked in our rental car. We rode the shuttle out to the parking lot and picked up our own car and headed towards home. Malcolm called Delta Airlines on the shuttle and arranged for a callback in a couple hours. We stopped by Panera Bread for lunch on the way.

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

Dates: Dec. 19, 2017

Once home, Delta Airlines returned Malcolm’s call. Malcolm told them that we had rented a car instead of flying back home. The representative was nice and said he would process a refund to the credit card on which we had bought the tickets. Not sure how much of a refund that will be, but it was a nice gesture.

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Callie was glad we were home

We paid our cat sitter and Malcolm sat down to do some work while Val headed up to the laundry room to catch up laundry. We headed to fill up the car with gas later in the afternoon and picked up some groceries at Target before enjoying dinner at home and relaxing.

Tomorrow is pack-up day for our upcoming trip to Seattle on Thursday. That flight leaves in the afternoon, so no early departures this time. Plus, it is a direct flight from Orlando to Seattle, so no worries about Atlanta airport either way.