Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Report from a chilly Florida

As I sit here writing this it is 46 degrees with an expected low of 28 degrees! All I can say is Al
Gore and his global warming cronies tried to pull the wool over our eyes but Mother Nature proved them wrong. When I first looked out this morning the frost on the lawn almost looked like snow.I have to say it did warm up nice today into the low 60's but I want the mid 70's back and the warm evenings. They say maybe another week and then it will be back to normal. Don't get me wrong we still prefer to be here now rather than in Colorado.

Last week before the cold snap hit we decided to take an overnight trip to St. Augustine, Florida for a little get away and go to the Ocean plus visit the city which is the oldest city in the Country. We drove by way of Daytona Beach so I could go by the Speedway which I had never seen before except on Television.Man that place is massive and I was somewhat surprised that it was surrounded by a business district.The tracks in Colorado are for the most part out in the country so I was a little surprised. I will be going to the "500" in February so now I know how to get there. From Daytona we drove the coastal road to St Augustine and found our Motel and checked in.After a little rest we went to the old original part of the city to check out the shops and the old buildings. The next day we went to the beach.I'm a beach novice and this is the first one I have been to that had so many sea shells on it.It was very intriguing to me.My only connection with sea shells before was in a store. I even got to drive the truck on to the beach and park. How cool is that ?! Funny how little things like that please me any more. I'm beginning to enjoy trips to the beach and look forward to maybe swimming in the ocean in January when we take our next side trip with my cousin and her husband.

Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse in US

Looking down the Main street

Cool looking water wheel

Plaza de la Constitution
Thought the Wachovia Building
was beautiful

Nice 56 Oldsmobile Convertible
Authentic Corner Drug Store

Hard to see,but Palm Trees
with Christmas lights! Wow

Linda on the beach
Linda and Buddy

The rest of the time since my last post has been spent waxing the trailer and getting our generator running good so I can sell it.Thought we might have an occasion to use it but we don't camp without hookups enough to justify carrying it around.Just another part of the ever evolving full time lifestyle.The new tires and wheels arrived from Forest River last week so I began to call around to have someone come to our site and change them for me as it would be to much trouble to break camp and go to town to a tire store. Well, I'll be darned if I will pay anyone $90.00 to change 4 tires!! A $13.00 tire iron and a little work and I did it myself. Why is it so much harder to do that stuff now than it used to be!? :). Any way I like the look and these wheels and tires are much better than what was on it and they give better clearances on the suspension. The old wheel and tire combination was found to be 1 size too large.This along with the axle work done previously make me much more comfortable . Once again, cudo's to Forest River for stepping up to the plate.

Old 235x85Rx16 combo New 235x80Rx16 combo

Until next time we will continue Chasing A Rainbow. Merry Christmas

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Life at Wilderness RV Park Estates

We are now 3 weeks into our stay here at Wilderness and must say we are very happy with all aspects of being here.The weather is perfect and the people are friendly and not pushy.I say that because Linda and I are somewhat private people and although we enjoy a good visit with anybody we are not 'joiners" and so far everyone has respected that.We have been places where if you don't join in all the activity's you are kinda shunned.We did attend a very nice Veterans Day Celebration in one of the meeting rooms.It's been a while since I thought about the time I spent in the Army.Made me proud to be with my fellow servicemen.I have learned a lot from the people here about the area and why they come here and it seems to be a very common thread of good weather,not crowded like the coastal areas but still close enough to go there if you want.Buddy and I enjoy our walks as he loves to meet new people.There are quite a few lots for sale here right now but we have not made up our minds yet if we really want to own anything again. As it stands now it would have to be a pretty special lot for a pretty special price.

We are slowly learning where everything is in town so that we can plan our trips and not have to backtrack to much.Tomorrow will be a trip to get the balance of our Turkey Day meal and to look at new laptop for Linda.With Thanksgiving coming Christmas is right around the corner.This will be our first year away from family during the Holidays and it seems kinda strange.We miss you all but are happy living our dream.

The weeks have been full of good news for us.A while back I wrote about blowing a tire on the trailer in North Carolina.There has been a lot of chatter on the Forest River forums about many people having many problems with the tires Forest River used for a few years so I thought I would send a picture of the tire and see if they could help me out.This is the second time I have had to contact the factory about a problem with my almost 3 year old 2008 Cedar Creek 5th wheel but I must say they came through once again in a very satisfactory manner.Even though the trailer and tires are out of warranty they are recognizing their mistake in choice of tires and sending me 4 brand new aluminum rims with new upgraded tires.They do not even want the old ones back.This is at no cost to us. It's nice to buy a mid grade unit and be treated like you mean something to them.Forest River in the past has had a checkered customer service rating but I give them an A+.

Next I applied for my Social Security Benefits as I will be 62 in February and have opted to take the early payments(not going to wait and have the Government steal that from me ).Wait a minute.....I'M OLD ENOUGH TO GET SOCIAL SECURITY!!!.How in the world did that happen!!!! It turns out the amount will be a little more than we had thought so it will be nice to finally have the Government finally start repaying the money I loaned them.Our pension fund,401k money and savings will be happy also.Now if we could just get some leadership in our Country we will have enough money to live out our lives. Our long term plan continues to work.

Linda did get a photo of the Great Egret that hangs out on the pond so I will include it and since it's been a while since I have had one of any kind of a car I'll add one from a gas station in Ocala.Chasing A Rainbow. HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Winter Home

Well, after a 250 mile trip we are now in our winter spot for at least the next 4 months in Silver Springs, Florida. This is a very nice park with friendly people that are not as clickish as some ownership parks tend to be. Our first 3 days were spent in one of the park lots as we actually arrived 3 days earlier than planned and didn't feel right asking our landlord to let us in early. In retrospect they would have had no problem letting us move in early.Could have saved a few bucks but Linda and I both do not like asking for favors.On Monday the 1st we packed up for the move to our spot and I put my first dent in the trailer. I was sick.As you can see it's not very bad but it just being there bugs me and will until I get it fixed.The interior roads are quite narrow and as I swung out to clear a planter on the drivers side I did not pay attention to the tail swing of the trailer and clipped a small red pole.I didn't even know I had hit it until a guy pointed and told me I had hit something.I think I was more embarrassed than anything.

Since our lot is at the end of a dead end street I was going to have to back the trailer about 450 feet down the street to get it in.After scraping a pole just turning a corner my confidence was a little shaken but I actually got it backed in and parked without much trouble.Whew !!! This lot is really nice as it sets right by a pond with a fountain that lights up at night.It's kinda cool to have a fountain to look at right out of your window.Another nice thing is no RV on that side either to block the view.We had originally rented another lot in the park but at the last minute the lady kinda backed out on us so we had to scramble to find a place since we were in South Carolina when we found out. In the long run we ended up with a much nicer lot to spend the winter in.

View at night out of the window.

We are pretty much just getting settled in and have not done much yet but have been enjoying being able to walk across the street and use the hot tub to sooth our aching muscles.The daytime temps have been just what we were looking for although the nights have been a little cooler than we thought they would be.Not cold mind you, just cooler than we thought. There is a beautiful white Great Egret bird that hangs out at the pond and catches fish but is really cautious and so far we haven't been able to get close enough with our cheap point and shoot camera's to get a good picture .Oh well, got at least 4 months to sneak up on it and get a picture.

I won't have much to add regularly to the blog but promise to at least let you know we are still alive and kicking once in a while.We will be soaking up the sunshine and Chasing A Rainbow.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Catching Up

Sometimes time just get's away from you and this has been one of those times. Our week in Sunset Beach,North Carolina was spent just kinda hanging around taking a couple trips to the Beach. We decided to just buy a new spare for the trailer right now and get to Florida before buying new tires.We ordered the tire at Coastal Tire Company and pulled it to their shop on the day we left for Charleston to have it installed.They did a great job for us and the bill was less than we expected so that started our day off in the right direction. Our trip was only a little over 120 miles so we were in no hurry but ultimately were glad we got a somewhat early start as we had several small towns to go through at 35 MPH. That put us in Charleston at the Oak Plantation RV Park around 1 p.m. I must add, Sally our GPS system is NOT a Southern girl.We have had to rely on paper maps more than once since coming south.She is two years old and needs updated or replaced but she works most of the time so we will hang on to her.No Sally, Wal-Mart is not on that Highway overpass!
Our Site

We had only planned on two days in Charleston but extended one day because we wanted to take a second tour that interested us.The first one was a points of interest tour of downtown Charleston and the tour guide was very informative.The only complaint I have is the tour was time scripted so there weren't many opportunities to ask questions as the bus had to keep on the move by City Ordinance.We were able to make one stop at the Harbor to get better pictures.
Beautiful Old Buildings
Old Fire tower used to watch for fires in early years
No building can be taller than this SteepleCobblestone street used to be a canal
Firehouse still in operation
Modern trucks are built to fit doors so they can keep historic value
I like the idea they preserved the history of the city.

The next day we drove back to Charleston Harbor and boarded a ferry to go to Fort Sumpter National Monument.This fort is the spot where the first shots were fired in the Civil War.They preserved as much as possible after the war damage.

Fort Sumpter

Sail Boat we passed on way back to dock
U.S.S. Yorktown National Museum

Both these Tours are well worth the money and we enjoyed them a lot.Both can be done in one day but we don't like to leave Buddy alone that long and the tour company gives you the option of splitting the tours even though it's a package deal.

Our next stop is Hardeeville RV Park near Hardeeville, South Carolina.It's actually closer To Savannah,Georgia which is what we wanted.Our site is big and nicely shaded but I did have to put the Satellite dish about 50 feet away in a clearing to get a good signal.I knew carrying all that extra cable would pay off some day. This is a good spot to stay to visit Savannah and the area.

Our first day trip was a visit to Hilton Head Island to play on the beach.Hilton Head is pretty upper class but very nice and accessible. Of course Linda loves the ocean and the beach and Buddy likes going even though he won't go in the water.It's fun to watch him go to the edge of the water and then run when the waves come in.
Public Beach Entrance

Another Beach

Yesterday we decided to drive over to Tybee Island to see how it compared to Hilton Head. Maybe it's just us but we were not impressed at all.We never could find access to the Beach without having to pay to park(that's not happening), so we did drive around a little to find the Lighthouse that was supposed to be there which we did find traveling through some somewhat run down neighborhoods.The whole area had that abandoned feel and we kinda see why.

Since that was a little disappointing we decided to stop in Savannah and park downtown and do our own walking tour of the area.Linda had wanted to eat at one of Paula Deans Restaurants but it is so popular the reservation process is way to involved to mess with so we settled for taking pictures and walking around downtown Savannah.
The Lady and Sons Restaurant

Ellis Square, Savannah
Very pet friendly

Me and Marilyn
Linda,Buddy and Flower Wagon

Bar called 'The Velvet Elvis"

We enjoyed our own little self guided tour and even though we didn't get the commentary of a structured tour we got the feel of the city and saved $ 50.00 which is a good thing. In a couple days we will be moving on to our winter home this year in Wilderness RV Park in Silver Springs, Florida.Later on my cousin Laurel and her Husband Ron are going to join us for a while so we can enjoy the sights of Florida together.We are looking forward to it. I'm going to work hard on getting a good price on a ticket to the Daytona 500 in February.I would really like to go but some of the prices I've seen so far make it prohibitive.We will just cross that bridge when we get there.Until next time we will continue Chasing A Rainbow.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

From The Mountains To The Ocean

We left Zooland RV park near Ashboro around 8 A.M. and made the short 50 mile drive to Cross Winds Family Campground near Linwood ,North Carolina to spend the week so I could get my NASCAR fix.What a great Campground ran by a very nice couple.We took a site in the open so we could set up our Satellite dish.There are sites "in the woods" if you want.

Our Site
Check In
Fishing Pond
Site in the woods

I spent one day visiting some NASCAR stuff while Linda and Buddy relaxed at home.My first stop was Dale Earnhardt JR's shop where I observed but could not get a picture of the #3 Wrangler he drove to victory earlier this year and got a small look inside the shop.Didn't buy any memorabilia as it's to costly and no room anyway when you live in an RV.The second stop was Michael Waltrip Racing which was an impressive and fan friendly facility.It was set up on a catwalk system where you could look down on every aspect of the work going on in this 200,000 square foot shop. I could have spent all day just watching the 250 mechanics doing their jobs.My last stop for the day was the NASCAR Hall Of Fame in Charlotte.This is a massive building housing the history including many cars,and other pertinent pieces of history.Although I enjoyed it I felt it was a little to commercialized as it cost $18.00 to get in but many of the interactive displays you had to pay extra.Seems for almost $20.00 per person they could let you do the whole experience without paying more...Or maybe I'm just a cheapskate :).Still a great experience.

Waltrip Racing
Outside JR Motorsports

" 500" Trophy's
Car on Chassis Dyno that
duplicates different tracks

Spare Cup cars
Spare Nationwide cars
"The King's" car
Very Early NASCAR car
Red Byron

Bill France
Actual cars depicting banking
at Talladega

On Sunday we took a drive to see the fall colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway.What a beautiful drive.At the overlooks we talked with several people who were very intrigued when we mentioned we traveled full time and lived in our RV. You could tell they wished they had the nerve to try it.We had a good laugh at one lady though, who had no clue that you could live in a "camper" When we told her it was 40 feet long with three slide outs,had two tv's ,a shower, and all the comforts of home she could not get a grasp of the concept.One picture I took is what Howard Payne calls the obligatory "dead tree picture" the other showed the changing colors of the leaves.The locals said this year was not very colorful due to lack of rain this summer but we thought it was pretty anyway.

We left Linwood around 7:30 a.m this morning headed for Sunset Beach, North Carolina and we are now within 5 miles of Linda's beloved Ocean.The car pictures will soon be replaced by ones of different places between here and Silver Springs,Florida where we will be November 1st.It's now time to go places Linda has wanted to go.She has been an angel letting me see my things and it's her turn.The last picture is Linda getting her feet wet in the Atlantic,so we have now been from "sea to shining sea"

We had our first tire blowout on the way here today.Luckily there was no damage to the trailer at all which is pretty unusual.We had been pressing our luck anyway with the cheap Chinese tires they put on the trailer.Not sure what we are going to do, as new Michelin's which should be on it will take a big bite of our budget but then again what price can you put on safety? We are risk takers though, so I might just buy one tire as a spare and take my chances until we get to Florida.We will mull it over and see.Not going to stress out about it much for a day or so.Time to relax,enjoy and continue Chasing A Rainbow.

You should have seen the
smile on her face