Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, totally worn out, shouting "Wow...What a Ride!"

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Relaxing at Gunter Hill

Our time here at Gunter Hill COE is winding down, we leave tomorrow for Decatur AL, we never did make it into Montgomery for the most part we've enjoyed just being here at the campground. It's such a nice place to relax and unwind, we've walked (more than Dave should have with his bone spur) ridden our bikes around both campgrounds a few times most days.

Dave spoke with his manager at IBM and confirmed his date to start back up. For those who don't know Dave has been there 34 years, is a maintenance tech (he fixes the machines that make the computer chips) and has been on a leave of absence. We left VT on 9/23 and have really enjoyed being away from VT for one of the worst winters in recent memory, with his seasonal affective disorder we both agree this would have been a very trying winter to be there.

I have been in contact with Maplewoods Campground where I worked last summer, we will be coming in a few weeks before opening so wanted to check about that. At this point it is a wait and see game, they still have snow banks over 5' tall. they are planning on bringing in a front loader to start clearing the roads so work can begin in the campground. There are new sites that need to be worked on and maintenance that needs to be done before the 5/9 opening date.

 Last weekend the Montgomery Dulcimer Players were here, they played at the shelter a few times a day and had an evening jam session of which we attended one evening. Not only do they have dulcimers they have a number of other string instruments of which all I'm not familiar, one gentlemen was playing spoons, there were players of all ages playing. Even though we didn't know most of the songs they were playing we thoroughly enjoyed sitting out under the stars listening to the music.

Gunter Hill is situated on the Alabama River and has their own boat launch which we took advantage of on one of the warmer days. The river is slow and you can't see through the water, we did enjoy just getting out on it in the sunshine, though we didn't enjoy seeing all the trash that has collected along the riverbanks.

On one of the colder days we took a ride to Demopolis AL to see Gaineswood. Gaineswood evolved from a two-room “dogtrot” cabin into a Greek Revival style mansion. The owner, General Nathan Bryan Whitfield,  was his own architect, though he had no formal training. Unlike many old homes Gaineswood contains much of its original furnishings, some of which have just recently made it back home.

All week long we have seen signs of spring arriving, my favorite are these trees with their purple flowers.

We have been eating well while here, Dave is really enjoying his new smoker, spare ribs and chicken have found their way into it during the last week. We have also gone out to dinner at a few local places in Prattville, Jim's where we enjoyed a dinner of fried chicken with southern sides, purple beans (tasted similar to black eye peas) braised potatoes, cabbage and carrots, desert was peach cobbler. While not the best it certainly was very good and now understand all the cars parked outside at lunch time.
Tonight we went to Uncle Mick's Cajun Restaurant where we had probably our last Cajun meal until we're down south again next winter. Upon entering we were first asked if we wanted to try some samples before ordering, well we ended up getting their three sample entrees, that way Dave could have more of all most everything on the menu. This was some of the best Cajun food we've had, seems the cook is from New Orleans and had moved north after Katrina, if you are ever in the area and enjoy good Cajun food head into Prattville.

A few doors down from Uncle Mick's is Girl Meets Cakes, we stopped there before hand to pick up desert for later tonight.

Until next time...

Friday, March 21, 2014

Back in AL

Our ride Wednesday to Gunter Hill COE park was long but uneventful, we have a wonderful site in the new section. A long concrete pad able to fit all the vehicles, full hookups and lots of space between sites, what a great place to relax and enjoy some nice days.

As we were setting up our surge protector kept shutting itself down, we started smelling electric components burning. Here's where Dave's trouble shooting skills come in handy, even though it took a bit we were able to determine which breaker was having the problem. It was the one that took care of all the outlets, seems the old power strip we had used for Dave's computer had come to the end of it's life. Once we unplugged it we had no more issues, out in the garbage it went, what could have been a disastrous situation was avoided. Though we spent quite a few dollars on the surge protector it was money well spent.  

Thursday was about getting some chores (laundry in Prattville) taken care of and then spending the afternoon relaxing in the anti gravity chairs. We were entertained by the gentleman next to us setting up his pop up, don't know if he had never set it up before but it for sure always helps to put the jacks down otherwise when you go in it tips over, after a while though he seemed to have it figured out.

There is a Dulcimer gathering here at Gunter Hill, we have been invited to come listen to their music one evening which I'm sure we'll do since the weather here is so nice. 

We are here for 9 nights and trying to figure out where to stay before heading into Nashville. The only COE park near Nashville we could get into for our time frame is Cedar Creek on Old Hickory Lakes. While there my folks will be stopping in on their northward trek from FL to IL, we're looking forward to spending a few days with them and showing them our new home. 

We need to be back in VT in 38 days or so, they are still having snow and it doesn't look like it will warm up for at least another week. The maple syrup industry may not have a good year this year if the weather doesn't cooperate soon. They need cold nights and warmer days, usually they are tapping trees and almost done by this time of year. Then after maple syrup season is mud season, with all the cold they've had this year the thaw will take a long while and that makes for a long mud season which we hope to miss.

Until next time...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Time With Good Friends

On Saturday we made the 2.5 hour ride to Lake Park GA to spend time with some friends we made last summer at our VT campground. Dick is a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars so he got us a site in Grassy Pond FAMCamp.

 This is a great small park, we wouldn't be spending much time here at the campground as Dick and Pat had a few things planned for us while we're here.We have a nice pull thru with a nice sized yard, if we were going to be around for a while it would be a great place to relax.

After setting up we headed over to Dick & Pat's home, they've lived all over the country and in many different countries, aside from being a veteran they were full timers at one time. Among many other things they did after the service they used to deliver RV's around the country. After toddy hour we headed to a buffet dinner at Mama June's then called it an early night.

Sunday we headed to Macon GA to the Aviation Museum, the weather turned rainy during our drive up, as we drove northward we saw lots of motorhomes heading to Perry GA where the FMCA rally was going on. As we drove by the fairgrounds where it is being held we saw hundreds of MH there, looks like they'll have a great turnout despite the weather.

This is one of the planes our friend Dick served on, it was really interesting for Dave to visit the museum with Dick and hear some real life stories. Pat and I looked around for awhile then found a place to sit and talk while the guys viewed the planes. Unfortunately the rain kept up so outside viewing wasn't possible.

We then headed to the base exchange to look around, something we've never been able to do. Dave found some really nice REEF sandals for a good price. We then headed to the Moody AFB commissary where we took advantage of some great prices, even found some Ben & Jerry's ice cream for a reasonable price. 

Monday we took a booze run to the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville FL, Dick had told us this was the place to stock up on alcohol so we did just that, think we're ready for the summer. After that we headed to Lake City FL to Nettles Sausage

where we picked up a case of sausage, the day before while at their home Dick had us try some. I am not much of a sausage eater but this was something I  liked so we wanted to get a supply in. Afterwards we headed back to their home where we had our afternoon toddies and then headed to Pig N Smoke for a great BBQ dinner. Sure wish I had remembered the camera.

Today we spent the morning doing some chores then headed over for our last visit with our friends till we are all in VT again. We took a drive to Valdosta to the South Georgia Pecan Company where we ended up with 6 one pound bags of a variety of flavored pecans. It was then off to a local produce market where we scored some fresh strawberries, tomatoes and vidalia onions. After a wonderful steak dinner served by our gracious host we headed home to get as much ready for our move tomorrow. We are headed to Gunter Hill COE outside of Montgomery for at least a week, it's around 285 miles so we want to get on the road as early as possible.
Pat & Dick
Until next time...

Relaxing in GA

While here in Eastbank COE campground we haven't done much, this campground is so conducive to relaxing the days away. Our zero gravity chairs are set up right on the shoreline and I've spent quite a few hours reading the hours away.

We did get out on the water one day for an hour or so, the lake is really large with lots of bass boats on it, Dave did catch one striped bass while we were out.

We had a cold front blow, there were white caps on the lake and our tenting neighbors had quite the time. While out their screen room started blowing over, along with another neighbor we were able to get it staked down, the owners returned while we getting it staked and were very grateful that we had come over to help out.  The winds continued into the night, by the morning the neighbors had had it, they were packing up a day early.

We spent a day working out our route northward, found lots of state and COE parks to check out and made some reservations at places that seemed to be filling up. Couldn't get into the COE park we wanted near Nashville but found a small one about 45 minutes away.

 Dave has been wanting to smoke a brisket for some time, well we finally got that done and boy was it good. Now I may be partial to our rub but it was the best brisket we've ever had. He is looking forward to entering the rib cook off next year at Gulf Waters, it just took place and our friends there are looking forward to his entry.

Eastbank Campground is just over the border into GA, very nice large sites, you can access the Jim Woodruff Dam from here making for a nice walk, you actually go back into FL to get to the dam. The only issue we had is their notorious ants, we sprayed down anything touching the ground at that seems to have taken care of them.

Until next time...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Gem of a Day

We’ve been hanging in AL for the last few days, relaxing and enjoying some sunshine, we are in the process of traveling to Lake Park GA to visit friends from our seasonal VT campground. Instead of taking the RV all the way down to the Gulf again we decided to stay in the Foley area, I also knew that Carla and Jerry of Cozy Be Gone were in the area and we hoped to meet up with them.

Friday was a day of catch up, laundry and a few maintenance chores, a bike ride here at Rainbow Plantation and then the weather went downhill, cold and dreary the same as it’s been quite a lot this winter. Can’t really complain or my northern friends will get all over my case, just glad we’re not there to share it with them.
Saturday morning we headed to Doc’s RV Park in Gulf Shores where Carla and Jerry have been wintering over. I’ve been following their blog for awhile, we both sold our houses this summer and started our full time lives, they are from the Decatur IL area, which is near where my folks have settled. Seems Jerry and I had the same job as teenagers, we both were corn detasselers, it was a great way for a young person to earn some decent money in a short amount of time, I rode the bus from NY to IL (alone) for two summers so I could work in IL. After getting a tour of Carla and Jerry’s new rig, they are enjoying having so much more room than they did in their Casita, we headed to the beach. We spent a few hours visiting and getting to know each other while enjoying the activities on the beach.  The sun even decided to grace us for a bit with it’s appearance.

Dave was still looking for his last oyster fix so we headed to Papa Rocco's where we had a fabulous meal made all the better by our waitress Prissy. Dave had a dozen raw and a dozen Cajun oysters, then we shared a Chicken Club Pizza, while enjoying his oysters Dave was rewarded with a small pearl. Carla has a way with words, you can read here account of the day here.
Dave's pearl

Thank you Carla and Jerry we had a great time with you both, looking forward to the day our paths again.

Sunday was a day of rest for us, a nice walk around the park, got the propane tanks filled up and the Chevy gassed (diesel) up for our departure on Monday and a Nascar race to watch.

Our time on the coast is over as we slowly make our way inland in a slow drive northward, we are shooting for an arrival in VT of 4/29.

 Monday after and easy 3.5 hour ride we arrived at Eastbank COE park on Lake Seminole in GA, hope the weather cooperates it would be great to get some paddling in. Our site is huge and right on the lake, think we'll enjoy our 5 days here.  With temps in the 80's we spent the afternoon soaking up the sun and ended it with a campfire.

Until next time…

Friday, March 7, 2014

Winding Up Our Mississippi Stay

Sunday was our last really nice day here, we knew the weather would be changing for the worse so we got one last long bike ride in and walked all the loops here at Buccaneer State Park. Monday and Tuesday were washouts for the most part so we spent the time getting errands done, a few things done inside and just hanging around the rv. We are really enjoying all the space we've gained in the new rv, especially on those cold rainy days of which we've had too many this winter.

Wednesday we decided to get out for awhile, with it still cool we decided to head to the Infinity Science Center, it is here that NASA has tested all of their rocket engines, the tour includes a bus tour of their test facility. Regular price is $10 a person, they do have a few discounts that we didn't qualify for but on Wednesday it's 1/2 price for 55+, the gentleman checking us in said we qualified and I wasn't going to argue. After the bus tour we went back into the visitor center where we found lots of kids obviously on a school trip, we tried to go where they were but it's not a big place so saw the things we wanted then headed out.

After we headed into Waveland and did a few errands and then headed home. We hadn't been home too long when there was a knock on our door, it was Jane and John of the blog Flamingo on a Stick.
I have followed their blog for awhile and had left them a message we were also in Buccaneer, they had been out for a walk and saw we were home so stopped to say hi. Unfortunately forgot to take pictures, after our short visit we started getting the outside stuff taken care for our Thursday move. We did like our stay at Buccaneer but don't know if we'd go back, we came away with some of their infamous bug bites, while they didn't bother us while biking anytime we went outside they did swarm around us.

Thursday we headed to Rainbow Plantation an Escapees park (our first) in Summerdale AL. It's a nice park with really nice large sites, the rv behind us has VT plates (though the truck has MA plates) so you know we'll be checking that out.

 For dinner Thursday night we headed into Foley to visit Lambert's Cafe III home of the throwed rolls, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and had a great meal. We had so much left over we have enough for another meal, we had heard about them on some TV show so had to check them out.
chicken fried steak

hog jowls
Until next time...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Gulfport MS Mardi Gras Parade

Saturday we headed to Gulfport MS, we left here around 9:30 so we could get there early and find a great place to park. We arrived about 10:30 and as luck would have it we ended up parking right on the parade route. Since we had awhile till the parade started at 2pm we took a walk to check out the area, we found a place for Dave to get a crawfish lunch and a Sonic for me to get a burger, we also did a lot of people watching which was quite entertaining as folks were all getting geared up for the parade. We were a few cars down from a family who we talked with a few times, we received offers of beer and food from them but declined on both counts.
My lunch companion!!

Since we were getting lunch from different places we ended up eating in the truck.

At 1pm the road was closed and people started getting their chairs in position, we were asked by one couple if we minded if they put there chairs behind our truck, then we were asked by another couple. Of course we didn't mind the more the merrier. Turns out these two couples were also full timers so we had lots in common with them. The time waiting for the parade to start passed quickly while talking all things rv with these two other couple, one couple Toni & Eddie from Nebraska have been on the road 11 years,  Mike and Lizzie from Hoboken NJ have been on the road since 2010.

While not nearly as lavish as the floats in NOLA nor were than any costumed folks like we saw on TV that evening from NOLA we thoroughly enjoyed our time and made some new friends. Sure hope our paths cross again, have we said lately how much we love this lifestyle and the great folks we are meeting.

Lizzie & Mike

Toni & Eddie

Until next time...