Wednesday, April 17, 2002

The Tour, 2002, The Finale

April 13, 2002

Continue the drive home, yesterday we did about 280 miles, today we are looking at about 270.  Long days.

We call the family once we get near Cleveland (my cell phones cover this area).  Son # 2 does not get the message, and shows up at the house a few hours after we get home to check things over, so we have a nice visit.

We stop and get the mail.  OH, yowser!  We get one of those white boxes they use, FULL!  GULP!

We pull onto W street to discover they have just graded the roads.  How nice of them to do that for us!   HA HA HA

We back the trailer into the parking spot, the mud we left there two months ago is STILL THERE!!  The rabbits have been eating my crocus, the daffodils are blooming.  The hood of the Escort is sorta up (not all the way, just a little, like the latch is lose), not sure why, not sure how, but does not seem to be anything wrong with it.

The van battery is dead.  The cat has hair all over the carpet, etc.  I am cleaning carpet and sweeping carpet 20 minutes after we hit the front door.  The house plants need water, so I start that too.

Man fixes the garage door so it will go up, turns the power back on the stove, the pump, fills the hot water heater.  Oooo, does that water stink (sulfur smell), I burn a few candles to help get rid of the stink! We have hot water in less than one hour.  I start running the washing machine (empty) and the dishwasher (ditto) so that we can use them tomorrow.

I begin the process of sorting the mail.  One pile for income, one pile for bills, one pile for stuff that is important for Man to look over, one pile for genealogy, one pile for catalogs, etc, and one pile for pure junk.

April 14 to 17, 2002

The days all run together, we have been grocery shopping, have cut some of the fallen trees in the woods, Man has rolled the yard, we have started getting the boat ready for the season, we have cleaned out about 85 % of the trailer, the truck is completely cleaned out and oil changed.  We have cleaned part of the carpet in the front room, watered plants, paid the bills, deposited the checks, filled book orders, cleaned most of the flower beds, most of the garage has been organized too, which included carrying the chair from the trailer and the small refrigerator out to the pole barn and up that LONG stairwell.  Groan!!  We have even managed to spend a day with the twins and their parents.  Whew!!!  I guess the Tour of 2002 is officially over!

We were gone exactly 8 weeks.

We drove about 4700 Miles.

We stayed at 16 campgrounds, and we stayed in one private residence driveway (a very very nice campground indeed).

We used 472 gallons of gasoline (taking into consideration we left with a full tank and have not filled the tank since we got home, so that number may be off a wee bit).

We visited 10 different families/friends.

We could have gone on for longer, life in the RV is fine by us.  But so is life at home, the family, the friends, the community.

Friday, April 12, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 12

April 8, 2002

Meeting Alva for lunch today in Harrisonburg.  First I do a little research in the courthouse and I do some more after lunch.  Results, mixed.  Did find a few deeds that I did not have.  Did not find any more proof/data on Charles Trumbo or Catherine Fawley or the Kessler clan.  GRRR.  I am desperate now and will start reading the Minute Books of the Court.  This is a REALLY hard  way to research.  You have to read the entire book, line by line.

Man spends the day sitting in courtrooms listening to court cases.  He thinks this is FUN.  He tells me all about the cases all the way home! He even asks me if we are going to the courthouse again tomorrow so he can sit in on more cases!

Nancy is out of town for the evening, so we take T.D. to dinner, he buys, we drive.

Much warmer tonight and the heater hardly runs.

April 9, 2002

We decide to go back to Harrisonburg, Man does sit in on a few court cases, and I sit and read ONE Minute book.  JUST ONE!  Sad to say, I did not find what I was looking for, and I am beginning to strongly feel that the case will never be found, I was hoping to find that Catherine Fawley filed a bastardy case for her son, Charles.  I now doubt that she ever did.

Rainy all day, grey, foggy, hazy.  But not cold.

April 10, 2002

I cannot face another Minute Book, so no more research for me.  We we going to go up to Shenandoah County, but I do not have the map I need, so we just sit around and do, well, NOT MUCH!

April 11, 2002

I do some input, do some email, do some cleaning up of the trailer, storing away.  We have decided that we will leave Broadway tomorrow AM.  Time to get home to Michigan.  The weather is very nice here, and we spend some time just sitting in the sun.

Today is Nancy’s son’s birthday, so a crowd goes to Dayton to a real cool restaurant, it has been around for a long time, was a boarding house, is run by Mennonites.  There are 12 of us, the food is really good, and it was a nice time.

April 12, 2002

We take Nancy and T.D. to breakfast in Timberville.  A small thanks for being such good hosts.

We hook up, and start out, on the road by 9:30.  It is a lovely day, ya can see for miles.  Not windy, nice driving.  The day is pretty much routine, except for that one truck that nearly took our front left headlight out, he obviously could not tell where the end of his truck was, and he came right over at us, it was a 6 inch miss.  Man was NOT happy!

We discover that there are no campgrounds open in Ohio, at least about halfway between Cleveland back to the eastern gate of the Ohio Turnpike.  We end up finding a campground around Pittsburg (think that was were we stopped last year), only this time we are on the northwest side of town.  It is a small campground, nice enough.  They want $2.50 more a night to upgrade you from 15 amps to 30 amps.  Man says, no way, we can get by on 15.  The lady says, well you cannot run a heater on that, or an air-conditioning.  We know we we can, so why pay.  It is really warm, had to dump off the sweatshirt as soon as we stepped out of the truck.

Cooked dinner, I groomed out the dogs, combed them out, no baths.  Man got involved with the “motorhome episode”.  This guy had a brand new (5,000 miles) motorhome, probably about 2 hundred thousand dollars worth.  He had troubles tho, something about throwing oil out the back when he went down the hills with the diesel pusher engine. ?????  I will have to ask Man to explain it.  Anyway, he called the manufacturer, they gave him quite a bit of hassle and told him NOT to drive it, they would send a tow truck (a big tow truck).  When Man wandered over there, they were trying to hook the tow truck up to the MH (motorhome).  Only, they could NOT!  Man stood up there watching and chatting for a long time, cause I had almost all 4 dogs combed out while he was gone!!!

They finally called in another tow truck, and it took probably close to 2 hours for him to arrive.  Now, this was a HUGE tow truck, made the big tow truck look, well, not small, but not big anymore.

They were working in the dark, and it took a while, but they finally managed to get the MH hooked up to the HUGE tow truck.  It looked like a fifth wheel hookup, only upside down.  They pulled that MH out of there real slow like.  Maybe at 1 MPH!!!  And they checked the hookup several times.  One guy actually walked along side with a flashlight checking it as it progressed toward the road.

I managed to do input after all this excitement, and then hit the hay!

Sunday, April 7, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 11

April 3, 2002

Back at the library, I do email.  Had so much that froze.  I had to throw out TONS of email and it took 1.5 hours.  Did about an hour then left it, hoping it would reset itself, came back later in the day, to find it did not reset.  BUT I finally managed to find the correct delete keys and get things working again.

Working on finding documents, more of them, and still looking for obituaries.  All of a sudden, after searching for 3.5 days of research, I am able to find the Norfolk papers for 1914, and wouldn’t you know it is after 2 o’clock, and I have only about 2.5 hours left to research.  I order the film, and much to my delight find the obituary for my great-great-grandmother, Sallie A. Darden Eley Pierce.  The best part is that it mentions 3 daughters, one of which I had lost track of!  She is listed on the obit with a different married name and in Nashville Tennessee.  Did you hear the YIPEE??  So, I now have lookups I need to do in Ft. Wayne!  YIPEE!!

While I have been working, Man has been walking around town.  He visits many museums (goes in one).  He also gets a hot dog from a street vendor (which will turn out to be a HUGE error!)

We stop for Italian food on the way home, found a great place, quite by accident, and had a nice meal and good service too!

I am worn out and go to bed very early.

Man wakes at 3 AM sick.  Tummy upset and the other end too.  He takes 6 Pepto Bismo over the next several hours, but manages to not “toss the cookies”.  Ohhhhhh, boy!!  This is not good, we are supposed to travel tomorrow AM.

April 4, 2002

Well, he is hurting, but good.  Muscles aches, generally ICKY!!  This is one of those times that I am really thankful that I know how to do most of the hooking up stuff (with him standing behind and watching).  I glad that I can pull the trailer.  We really need to get to Broadway and the toilet holding tank is in dire need of dumping.  YIKES!

I let him sleep as long as he wants, and slowly I pick up and start stowing gear, cleaning, etc.  Eventually he wakes up, and I get him to eat a English muffin, and get his britches on.  I get more gear stashed, feed the dogs, start packing away stuff that was outside like the grill and the ground mats, dog pens.  Man manages to get the electric and the water unhooked but cannot get the stabilizing legs cranked up because his back hurts so bad.  So, I do it.  I help him hook up the hitch, at the dump and we manage to pull out at 10:30 A.M.  Not bad for a sickie and the wife.

I drove all the way to Broadway, we stopped at every rest area along the way so Man could stretch.  He even took a one hour nap while I had lunch at one rest area.  We got to Nancy’s house at about 3ish and by then he was feeling good enough to back the trailer in.  Good thing, as that is the one thing I cannot do.  Nancy got home from work as we were backing in.

We had a nice visit, let the dogs out in the pens and let them bark for an hour.  They have been hushed so much that they probably thought they were in “bark heaven”.

Nancy cooked us dinner, YUM.  Man laid down before dinner, but to our surprise, managed to eat dinner, which of course, made him feel a lot better.

Cold tonight, real cold.  We can only run one heater here, due to the electric, and we cannot run the furnace in the trailer cause it smells like gas.  So, we put on some extra blankets.

At 3:00 A.M. we are taking a potty break when I discover a tick on Captain Hook.  So, Man does tick surgery at 3 AM and I check the other dogs.  I don’t find more, but will continue to check them over.  At least Cappy did not give me the tick, like the last time he got one.  He picks them up on his coat and they latch on to me when Cappy lays on my neck.  ICK  ICK  ICK!!

April 5, 2002

Man feels much better, so we figure the hot dog got him!  Food poisoning.

We start the day with breakfast, coffee, showers, email and laundry.  We move the dog pens OUT of the grass and on to the driveway.  One tick was enough for me.  ICK!

Tonight Nancy and I will go to Blue grass band pickin evening.  Tomorrow is Heritage Day.

More later, I want to do my nails.

T.D.’s friend, Jim, the millionaire comes from Maryland, so the boys end up going out to dinner, so Nancy and I go out to dinner and then to hear the pickers.  Home by 10:30 and we go to bed pretty soon, cause Saturday is always a long day.

April 6, 2002, Heritage Day, Fulk’s Run, Rockingham County, Virginia

So, can flies fly if they have 1/8th of an inch of snow on them???  NO???  Well, then the flies in the Shenandoah Valley are grounded.  YEP, there was that much snow on the ground.  I was headed out the door at 6 A.M. with three dogs and opened the door of the trailer to discover the ground covered with WHITE STUFF!  I had to be careful NOT to fall, the trailer steps are so slippery and they are narrow.  Brrrr.

What can I say, as usual, it is fun, loads of people (over 225 by 12:30 P.M. which was 1.5 hours after the doors open).  See a lot of people I know, chat, visit, look at the family posters, review the new family books.

By 2:30 we are exhausted, so head home.  Several of us take naps.  Whew, what a day!  

It is cold, and windy.  The sun is shining, thankfully, it is all that saves this day.

April 7, 2002

OK, I think I can safely say that I have never spent a night in the trailer that I was soooooooo cold.  It was 20 degrees outside and 53 degrees INSIDE!  I would have been OK, but I had to keep getting up, cause I had sick dogs.  First Gallagher, but I fixed him up pretty quick by hand feeding him.  Of course the girls got some food too.  But Captain Hook did not even request food, and I found out why a little later, as he got really sick, from both ends.  UGH.  The worst part was that I had to mix his meds in all that cold.  I had to take the meds and mush them, like you do for children, and then mix with cheeze-whiz.  The knife was so cold I thought my fingers would freeze to the knife.  I finally pulled my sweater down and held the knife with the fabric between my poor ole fingers and the knife.

It was a long night and I did not get a lot of sleep, sigh.

We took Nancy and T.D. to lunch, went up to West Virginia to the Lost River CafĂ©.  Then we drove up a few mountain roads and then to the Lost River State Park.  Stopped at my mother’s house at Bergton to note the condition of the house.  Needs some repairs, gutters cleaned out, painting.

It is a bit warmer, THANK GAWD!!  Slept pretty good, one can if it is NOT 53 in the trailer.  OUCH!

Tuesday, April 2, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 10

March 29, 2002

Showers today are in the bathhouse.  This is not my favorite way to get the dirt of the old body.  Bathhouses are not always the cleanest, sometimes the heat is not turned up very high and I end up cold, and I always seem to get my pant legs wet and the entire “event” is uncomfortable for me.  Larry and Mary, I cannot believe you do this so many weekends every year while camping!  You guys have got to be TOUGH COOKIES!  My hats off to you!!!   I stand in awe.

By 11 AM we are on our way to the Library of Virginia.  We find the library, the parking area is under the library.  Staff is very nice, library is physically just beautiful.   The first librarian who I ask for assistance is hard of hearing and is probably in training.  He wants to know where I got my “to do” list and the information on it.  Anne and Karen, maybe you have a good answer as to where I got that “to do” list.  I wanted to get obituaries from newspapers.  Had about 20 of them, give or take on the to do list.  Some were from Rockingham County, where the paper is located in Harrisonburg.  This poor fellow, aka, librarian (want a be), had the worst time trying to show me how to order up films.  Yep, you heard me, ya got to order the films.  Unlike many libraries where the films are stored in open stacks where you can help yourself, in the Library of Virginia, many of them are stored somewhere else, where they have to bring them to you.  After almost 30 minutes of this “instruction” we order films and then of course, the librarian concludes that none of the papers I want are held by the Library of Virginia.  It was a rough start to a research day.

But it got better, I managed to get an obituary for my great grandmother Minnie Maud Remley Bowen and my great grandmother Lorena.  Find some birth records, marriage record for Pembroke D. Gwaltney and Estelle Darden.  Do some Civil War Pension work, and Civil War service records work.  Have pages for birth records for several other records I will look up on Saturday.  Worked until 4:45.

Back at the trailer we have a wonderful T-bone steak.  Yummy, it was fab!!  Good cooking Man!!

Then I start revising the “to do” list.  Takes a couple of hours, will print off the revised version before heading back to the Library in the morning.

March 30, 2002

Man decides to stay at the trailer today, I am off to the library for a full day of research.  I have my updated “to do” list.  I  try to order some newspaper films for Norfolk, attempt to locate films for Norfolk for years after 1955.  The computer program and I just do not agree.  I later discover that even the librarians consider ordering newspaper films to be the hardest chore.  I discuss this method of ordering films with several of the librarians.  Finally after several “talks” I get to the bottom of the situation.  There is a book in the research room with a PRINTED list of newspapers, organized by area, county, and/or town name.  If you consult said PRINTED list, you can find a roll number, and then get one of the librarians to assist you in ordering the roll of film you need.  By doing this I discover that there are papers for Staunton which I need, Washington Post, which I need, and years AFTER 1955 for Norfolk, which I need.  I also discover that the papers I wanted yesterday for Rockingham County are indeed available.  I am thrilled to discover this, but irritated that the first librarian could not help me more, and a little peeved that it took me a day and a half to figure all this out.  But proud of my tenacity.  Like Dr. Lindquist once said about me, I can act like a badger.

As is usual with the research game, I find some, fail on others.  Overall it is a good day tho.

I am back at the trailer by 5 P.M., we have dinner, I boil and color Easter eggs, Man gets a campfire going.  First of the year.  We sit around the campfire for several hours, just as we decide to call it an evening it starts to rain.  Good timing.

March 31, 2002

Easter Sunday.

We have our eggs in the cute little bunny egg holder, very cute! For breakfast we have sausage, fried potatoes, Easter eggs and English muffins.  YUM.

I start on input and redoing the “to do” list.  I work all morning, Man disappears into the bedroom for a nap.  It is raining, rained all night, rains all day.  It is cool, and very dark.

For our Easter dinner we have smoked pork chops, baked potatoes, peas.  More YUM!

After lunch, I go back to the input and work.  Man watches several really stupid movies that are supposed to be funny.  We both do the shower routine, brrr, that walk back to the trailer was tough.

We have sandwiches for dinner, Man is watching “The Ten Commandments” and I am finishing my input and organization for tomorrow.  I am heading back to the library.  For now, it is time to get some zzzzzz’s.

April 1, 2002

Well, you know the term, best laid plans of mice and women.

Woke up this AM and had a sick dog, so the research trip is off.  The day is nice, quiet, we lay around, read, doing nothing much.

April 2, 2002

Today, I get to research.  I finally figure out more of the catalog, the newspaper part and then find obituaries.  Still cannot seem to find papers, for say, Norfolk, 1914.  I manage to work all day and find stuff.  But I do find the Rockingham County papers and find all but 2 or 3 of my long list of obituaries for Rockingham, including one for my great-great grandfather, Peter Preston Holsinger, which is very interesting, tells about his escapades during the Civil War, including the comment about his horse being shot out from under him.  One of my better obits!

Back at the trailer for dinner we have tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, they taste really good!!!

We decide to stay one more day and I get one more shot at the library.

Nights are cool, we are thankful for TWO electric heaters and enough power to run them both.

Thursday, March 28, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 9

March 24, 2002

On the Road Again - - - - -

We drive about 240 miles, no wind to speak of, bright, blue skies, nice, except for all the crazies we see every time we hit the road.  Truckers driving way too close to cars, heavens, we see them with less than one car length between bumpers, very scary.  We stop at a tourist trap called “South of the Border” which is one mile south of the South Carolina/North Carolina state line.  Gas was 30 cents a gallon more at their gas station, I DON’T THINK SO!  We walked around one of the stores, filled with tourist junk, did not buy.  We were going to eat in one of the restaurants, but the line was long, and after a minute in line, we left, went to the trailer and fixed sandwiches.

We are in Selma, North Carolina.  As we thought, the campground is noisy, very noisy.  We have dinner, go out and do a little shopping.  There is a new lawn and garden place near here that caught our attention from the expressway.   They have lots of statuary, plants, bird bathes, lawn furniture.  Very interesting place.  Then we “hit” a outlet type store, found a yorkie T-shirt for both of us, and some books for the twins.  Back at the trailer I did some more input and now it is off to zzzzzzzzz land.

March 25, 2002

Spend the morning doing showers, getting a “to do” list for North Carolina Library and Archives.

Arrive Library and Archives about noon, find the Archives closed, for it is Monday, but I have enough things to check over to work in the Library for the 3 hours we have today.  Man finds my parents in the 1951 directory of Raleigh.  He also finds the name of my dad’s employer, address, etc.  Also finds an obituary for Charlee.  I do follow up work on the Bowen clan and try a lead (that does not pan out) for the Patrick or Fitzpatrick clan.  Also do a little work for Karen.  (Found a marriage for her, at least a marriage that is not on her printout of her family.)

At 3 we head for Durham for an early dinner with my cousins Robin and Linda, Robin’s husband Don, their parents, Charlie and Doise.  We met at a seafood restaurant, and the food was great, and wowie, was there a lot of it!  And the service was good.  We had a nice visit and a nice meal.

March 26, 2002

A full day at the Archives, I hit the floor running, with my “wish” list and that of Karen’s.  Karen got her primary wish, and a couple of other goodies.  I marked off all the entries on my list, and found a few other things as well.  Some of the documents I wanted no longer exist.  They did about 120 years ago when they were extracted from the originals.  Over the next 100 to 120 years, they have disappeared.  Very sad, a huge hunk of North Carolina history, now only recorded in extracted form, in books, and the rest, missing.  Thankfully, someone did those extractions.

I did find proof of Clifton Bowen, Sr. and Clifton Bowen, Jr, his son.  I have never seen any document that stated there were actually TWO Clifton’s.   But I found one!   I did the genealogists happy dance today!!

The staff in the Archives are fabulous, even Man comments several times about how helpful they are.  This has been a great experience.

I do a little email in the library before we leave.

March 27, 2002

Grooming time, Abby and Cappy get bathes, Tilly and Gallagher get combed out.  We are going to spend the afternoon and evening with Karen Dent in her Wilson, North Carolina home.  We get to her place at 2 and have a nice visit, ooo and ahhhh over the dogs, and the puppies.  Her significant other, Jim, home from work, and we go out to dinner at Bill’s Bar-be-que.  Food was good (oh, wow, we are on a roll now, several restaurants in a row with good food!).  We had a wonderful visit, thanks Jim for dinner, thanks Karen for a great day!

March 28, 2002

Time to move to Richmond Virginia.  We are not sorry to leave the campground.  The owner is a very nice man, whose wife is dying of cancer. But the road noise is horrid.  We have never camped that close to a interstate.  I mean we were close.

We drive north on I 95, uncertain of what campground we are headed for, so at our lunch stop we drag out the campground book.  We find a reference to a state campground with 65 full hookup campsites.  This sounds very good, as we prefer full hookups while traveling.  I hope to groom dogs, and clean the trailer, including the shower stall.

We head for the campground, after calling to verify that there are sites available.  It is a pretty place, but we find that the campground book is WRONG!  No full hookups, no sewer.  This means, no cleaning, no dog bathing and we must take showers in the bath houses.

I need to call the Library of Virginia to determine if they are open on Friday (Good Friday), Saturday, or Monday.  I try the phone at the campground office, it will not take the coins, they tell me that means the coin box is full.  Next we drive down to the picnic area of the campground where they tell me there is another phone.  And there is, and it takes my $$ but then it makes soooooo much horrid loud noise, I cannot hear anything but, and I lose my $$ and don’t get through.  Now, we must drive to find another phone.  It, like the first, refuses to take my coins.  By now, I am pissed, to say the least.  Man finally gets out his calling card and finally gets the phone call through, I find that the library will not be closed at all.  That is good news!

We do a supply run at Wal-Mart, which was drastically needed, we were out of a lot of stuff.  Back at the trailer we cook hot dogs and sausages and I start a panic review of what I would like to try to find at the Library of Virginia.  I manage to take the “to do” list from about 6 items to 3.5 pages in a matter of a few hours.  Whew, will print it out in the morning.

Our campsite is near a wet spot, small pond, very pretty.  The sites are not so large here, but there is a huge amount of room between sites.  The “peepers” are peeping here.  Wow, are they LOUD!  They will sing until about 4 AM!

Saturday, March 23, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 8

March 19, 2002

Well, we certainly are lazy, after a very slow morning, we finally got away, and went to the library for a while, the email is horrible here, they have blocks on most of the computers and won’t let you use the others for email.  I end up very frustrated with the entire situation, I cannot access AOL at all, but we cheat when Man is on one of the “research” computers and finally get to AOL, nothing important, except for one email from my cousin, Robin, planning a visit in Durham.

We make a short trip to Sandy Dam Church Cemetery to look over the burials of Remley and Grant families.  I suspect that Rebecca Grant might be Rachael, but sadly I will discover, this is not so, so the search for Rachael continues.

We go back to the trailer and just do, well, NOT much! The weather is fabulous, warm, not humid, slight breeze, perfect.  We sit outside for a long time, just enjoying.

March 20, 2002

Warm, well, close to hot.  Clear skies, great weather.  We decide to go to Charleston for the day.  It is “shorts” weather.  And “hat” weather.  We do the Slave Market, lunch at Tommy Condon’s, where we ate last year, walked around, semi-lost (no map in hand, just doing this on memory and sense of direction) and do more market, and then stop so that Man can had have a bowl of “She-Crab Soup”, reportedly only made in the Charleston area.  I had the best root beer float I have had in years.  We purchase some Charleston Green paint for my Charleston bench and find some raw peanuts for Karen.  They are dried, and they told us you have to soak them, then boil them, hope you will be able to use them Karen.  On the way back to the trailer we stop and get a “Bessinger’s” pork sandwich to go, for our dinner.  Not sure, but I think we might have gone to Charleston to indulge in FOOD! I did purchase a doll, a little “mamie, black doll”.  

Back in Walterboro, Paul Mears, married to Margaret Remley, and family researcher stops by for a visit.  Much to my surprise, he brings along a folder of Remley data.  Thanks Paul, we fully enjoyed our short visit.  Paul tells me something about the Remley family reunion, and the gossip (horror story), about the gal who was supposed to publish a Remley family book.  Seems she took the deposit money, did not publish and disappeared.  She is the same gal that I spoke with on the phone (years ago), who was so rude to me.  No wonder!    Paul also tells us about his brother-in-law, Ted, who works as a manager on a plantation SE of Walterboro.  He will try to arrange a visit for us.

March 21, 2002

Ted Remley shows up at our door about 7:30 A.M.  We have a nice visit and get to know each other.  He has had a very interesting life, lived hard.  He has also been blessed with special friends, and now works for Mr. O’Brien, owner of Pulte Homes (yes, that one), managing the 1,000 acre Plantation that Mr. O’Brien purchased last year, for a cool 5 million.  Ted takes us on a fabulous tour of the place, houses (2 of them, only one which will survive the upcoming building of stables, dog runs, barns, storage sheds and a 4,000 square foot home).  Ted showed us the old and still used dikes used to flood the rice fields, a 250 year old barn, which will be fixed up with parts from other 250 year old barns.  He explained how they will plant certain crops to attract birds, deer, etc. for hunting.  This plantation will become a “hunters delight”, with planned hunts, including the linen covered tables with fresh brewed coffee and tea sandwiches.  We had a very interesting tour, and cannot thank Ted enough for his hospitality!  A day long remembered, and hopefully I got a “taste” of what my third great-grandfather, Jefferson Grant, experienced as an overseer at a plantation.  Jefferson’s daughter, Mariah, married into the Remley clan.

Back to the trailer, lunch, back to Walterboro, email and a little more research, back to the trailer, dinner, and planning the next couple of stops on the Tour of 2002.  Finding campgrounds around Raleigh North Carolina turns out to be difficult.  We can see our breath when we take the dogs out for their last potty break of the day.  Discover the hot water heater has a leak, have to keep our eyes on that.

March 22, 2002

BRRR!  Cool this morning, and they say that tonight it will get down to about 20 degrees.  Man gets some propane, showers, and in a while we will go do some laundry.

Later - - - - -

Well, life is full of interesting “stuff”.  The laundry place we found used cash cards, like I use all the time at the libraries.  Put in a dollar, get the card with a dollar’s worth of use on it.  Well, this card takes $2.00 to purchase and gives you NO money to spend.  I was shocked and ticked!  But the machines were all nice.  We did the laundry.  Then we went to the library to do email at the library, where I got a computer that had no blocks on it, but was so slow I could not believe it, it took 5 minutes to just sign on to AOL, and process one piece of email.  Man, it was frustrating.  Then we did a short grocery hit and back to the trailer, where I did my usual, hung damp and wet clothes everywhere!

We were going to leave tomorrow AM, but after a study of the possible campgrounds in North Carolina, near Raleigh, well, we decide to spend one more night here, the plan is, we will save a couple of bucks in camping fees, and I will work all day tomorrow on computer input and organizing my thoughts for the research in the library and archives there.  Besides, we know the campground we are going to will be very noisy, as it is very near I 95.  It is quiet here Walterboro, so we save money and have peace and quiet.

March 23, 2002

What do they say about best laid plans???  Yep, that would be it, I wake with a headache, making work difficult and slow.  Man takes me out to a buffet lunch place and we stuff ourselves with good southern cookin and afterwards I feel much better.  Back at the trailer, I start putting stuff away for the move tomorrow and do more computer work.

Monday, March 18, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 7

March 14, 2002

Morning spent doing showers, I stopped long enough to do my nails, well, not a good job, but did manage to get some polish on.  Man went back to the outlet stores and found some tennis shoes and a cover for the couch in the trailer.  We have worn the fabric out, holes are showing up everywhere, it is icky to look at, so we will cover it for now.

After lunch we went back to the library, I had high hopes of finding obituaries, I had my list, my dates, I was ready!  BLAH.  Three were not to be had, no paper, for about 20 years.  Two others, found zippo!  Sigh.  Did find one, Susan Blanton, sister of my great-grandmother, did not tell me much, but I have it.  Found a very nice county history that told me a little about the “Ridge”.  Did some email.

While I was working, Man was working too, on finding another seafood restaurant.  Right across the street from the library!  Yes, we did go, found it to be a bit pricy, so had a hamburger and onion rings and crab cakes, and are pleased to say, food was pretty good.

Then we went for a ride back past the Ridge, north on 99, towards Sapelo Island area.  There is a nice visitors center there, you have to take a ferry out there, visitors can only go on Wednesday and Saturday, and with prior arrangements.  A very beautiful area.

Back to the trailer we are now trying to come up with a master plan for the next couple of weeks.  We have discovered we may have to “adjust”, as I wanted to go to Savannah, but it is St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, and I fear we will not be able to get a campsite, Man is out trying now.

I need to groom dogs, so, will put the puter away for a while, and set up a grooming table for a few hours.

Later - - - - - - - - - - - -

Oooh, my gosh, Man just got back and we have a reservation!!  Hip hip, hooray, Savannah here we come!!

Groom all, the boys get baths, the girls get a comb out.  Put away a lot of stuff, as we want to get an early start tomorrow.

March 15, 2002

6:30 AM, FOG! Bad fog!  Yesterday the news was filled with the reports of 125 vehicle accident, due to fog,  in Ringgold Georgia, just inside the Tennessee/Georgia line.  We stayed in Ringgold on the way down.  We will not leave until the fog has lifted.

Man promised me Waffle House this A.M. as there is one just across the street, we walk over, walk in, no seats in the non-smoking section, and the cook informs us that people are smoking everywhere in the restaurant anyway.  He is trying to get us to sit down in the smoking section.  He made quite the noise about it, and so did we, as we announced just as loudly that there was NO way we were sitting there, and turned and left.  Saw one of the waitresses shaking her head in disbelief.  Well, believe it honey, I don’t eat where I cannot breath!  We walked back across the street to McDonalds, which was very crowded, but a totally non-smoking establishment.  We had to wait and wait for our meal, and part of it was cold, and the coffee was weak.  Usually the coffee is good at McDonalds, all who know me, know I like it.  Well, this was watered down or something.  Hot tho!  It is this kind of experience that has us eating more meals in the trailer this year than out.  We have noticed a substantial drop in the quality of service and quality of food over the last year or so, at home and on the road.  BLAH!

As we sat there, the fog lifted, was something to see, it burned off in 7 minutes.  Back at the trailer we quickly feed the dogs, pack up, and hit the road.  We are in Savannah by 10:20!  Holy cow, we even surprised ourselves!  HA!  At first we were told our campsite was occupied, as check out time is noon.  Then just a few minutes later, they told us we could go set up.  COOL!

Set up, quick showers, I make a call and find that the Georgia Historical Society Library is open till 5 PM (in downtown Savannah).  Lunch, and we are off.

At the library I find a few things, the most interesting and satisfying is the obituary for my great-grandfather, Joseph, who died just one month after I was born.  In his obituary they mention, “survived by one great-grandson, Carol ..., of Norfolk” Oh, boy, did I have a great laugh!  Got a copy too.

While I was researching, Man took a walk, scooping out the festivities for St. Patrick’s Day, big stuff in Savannah.  I finished what I could do in such a short time frame at the library, we moved the truck, to get closer to the river front, and got out to experience St. Paddy’s in Savannah.  Bought a beer, and just like all the local’s walked around the streets drinking a beer, taking in the sights.  There are a lot of street vendors, on wheels, selling t-shirts, green beads, green hats, green wigs, green STUFF!!  We overheard the vendors saying they had to keep moving, I suspect that they have no vendor’s license, but are tolerated, as long as they move on, move on, move on.

Happened upon a parade, the police officer called it the “Little Parade”.  Little, I GUESS!  HA HA, could not have been more than 8 or 10 units.  Several Scottish units, KILTS and all.  (Yes, Anne, there were a couple of really cute guys, and NO, I did not ask them to pull up those Kilts, although I would have liked to see what was under them!)

Found a very nice restaurant on Bay Street and had dinner.  Unlike many of the places we seem to find lately, the service was GREAT, the food was GREAT, and the prices were reasonable.

Turned out to be a fun and successful day (research wise).  Back at the trailer later, I did a little input, and yes, Joseph’s obituary is typed in!  Was before I ever left the library!

March 16, 2002

Today we will run over to Statesboro in Bulloch County, so I can do research.  I have reviewed my “to do” list and am ready to go.

Later – –  –

Took the scenic route over, drove through Bryan County, where my great-great grandmother was born.  Bryan County is now mostly Ft. Stewart.  Sometime (I think about 1950's) the federal government condemned thousands of acres of land to take over as a military base.  There is a book at the Statesboro Regional Library that lists the court cases involved in this action and the number of acres listed is astounding, one case alone covered land amounting to over 76,000 acres.

At the library I do email and start on my “to do” list.  As is usual, I find some, miss on some.  I needed deeds from Bryan County, and I thought I remembered that some of the deeds were filmed and were in the Statesboro library.  I remembered correctly, and I got what they had, but one of them was not available, and I think it was probably the most important.  I will have to get it somewhere else.  Found an obituary which I later was able to tie into my Bowen lines.  Found some census data I was after, did not find a batch of marriages I was hunting for.  Good, bad, normal!

While I was working Man had the truck washed, it really needed it!  The bug shield was cracked, the washing resulted in the cracked section totally breaking off.  A little super glue later, and the part is back on.  Time will tell if it will hold.

Lunch at the Western Sizzler.  I go back to the library, Man goes in search of a Wal-Mart to try and find a container to put on the floorboard in the truck, between driver and passenger, for maps, purse, etc.  I am real tired of stuff flying around, no place for my feet, maps, ick!  He is successful, ends up with a dish tub, fits perfect, and will not slip around!  AHHHHHHHH!  Sigh of relief, some days, just the smallest of victories feels so good!  HA HA!

The research was fairly successful, back at the trailer, I do, input, but of course.

It is warm, and muggy, we turn the air conditioner off for the night, but the humidity makes sleeping hard, but, hey, it ain’t cold!  (Sorry, those of you still in Michigan, don’t mean to rub it in, just reporting the facts!)

March 17, 2002, St. Patrick’s Day

Warm, it really is warm today!

Ends up that someone said it was 91 degrees here today!  WOW!  Not sure that is correct, but, it was really warm!

We stayed home today, well, mostly, did some input, did some laying around, did some cleaning, made a large pot of hamburger pie (OK, Son # 1, control that gag reflex!).

Later in the afternoon we did wander out for a couple of hours, went to Wal-Mart (one of the Super Stores, where they have groceries) and got supplies.

Tried to find raw peanuts for Karen, sorry, after 3 stores, could not find any, they said they would have them after April 15th!  Sorry Karen, we really tried for ya!

Back at the trailer we stash the goods, have dinner, ummmmm, that hamburger pie really tasted good, and we have leftovers!

Turn the air conditioner in the trailer off, the noise gets to ya after a while, open the windows, there is a lot of pollen out there, (Man’s clean truck is now covered with yellow pollen), and it is muggy, but we decide to brave it.

March 18, 2002

Oh, the pollen got me, knew it would, sigh.  Stuffy head, sticky eyes, sore shoulders.

Today we move to Walterboro, another easy ride, only about 70 miles.  Next anticipated move into North Carolina will be about 270, a long day.  These short little hops will spoil ya, lazy tourists, that’s what we are!

Time for breakfast- - more later - - - -

Get to Walterboro in time for lunch, get a nice site in the same campground we stayed in last year, only this year we asked for a site with no concrete patio.  Nice site, several palmetto palms around.  Lunch, showers and then into Walterboro for a few hours of research, email, etc.  The email is now limited to 30 minutes per day, and the computers are old and just don’t work so good, stall, crash, blah!  Trying to check our charge accounts and such was just as hard, they finally put me on 2 different computers, jeeeesschhhhh, you would think I was back in Tipton with AIX-LEN.NET.  Argghhh!  Also reminds ya at just how good the internet is in the Georgia libraries.  At least in the ones I have been in.  Here is ole poor Georgia, trashy (still trash along the roads) Georgia but man, they got that internet thing down!  Someone in Georgia has done them good when it comes to public libraries and internet.

Anyway, I went into the historical room hoping to find some new books, new resources.  Not so, even tho I really tried!

Made an early evening of it, back to the trailer by 6ish, had a beer, had some of that hamburger pie leftovers, I did input trying to clean up “notes” I made in Statesboro.  Man laid on the couch watching TV and by 9ish I got tired just looking at him, so fed the dogs, laid down with a trashy novel and read.

The day had been really hot, we stopped at Welcome Center (South Carolina) and the heat took our breath away, by 9 P.M., it is cool, we have the doors and windows open and sleep with them that way, it drops to about 60 degrees, great sleeping weather.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 6

March 9, 2002

Warm, ok, close to HOT. Shorts weather, we go over to the Okefenokee park before lunch, check out the visitor’s center, and then back to the trailer for lunch.  After lunch, back to the park, where we visit a home on the premises and take a long leisurely walk on a board walk.  At the end of the board walk there is an observation stand where you can see wild birds, and of course, gaters!  We walk about 2 miles.  I have a headache all day, due to allergies and all that kind of icky rot, but we manage to have a nice day in spite of it.  Back at the camp we visit with the camp hosts, who just happen to be from Michigan, and Barb, just happens to do family history.  A nice slow day, some extra rest time, needed by all.

March 10, 2002

Cooler today, but bright, sunny, clear, wonderful.  I still have that allergy headache thing going on, so we decide to take it easy.  After a slow breakfast we decide to clean the trailer.  I mean really clean it, so we drag the vacuum out, pick up and move everything, scrub the floors, sweep, the works.  The activity helps the headache, at least for the time being.  After we cook and eat lunch we decide to try and get a boat ride in the swamp.  We got really lucky with this, the next boat leaves 15 minutes after we get there.

2 hour ride, lots of alligators.  Interesting plants, a  interesting guide (degree in biology, past zoo director, somewhere, forgot where he said, world traveler, oh, and yorkie lover).  Man enjoys this more than words can describe.  Maybe the high point of the last month for him!  We have extended our stay here for 3 more nights, tomorrow we will try to do email, groceries, laundry.  Now I have to feed the dogs, so, later -------

March 11, 2002

Errands day, first to the library, email and check bills.  Then laundry, then groceries, and the day is already winding down.  We sure have short lazy days in the trailer.  Weather is very nice today, pleasant, not hot, not cold.  We have laundry hanging all over the trailer, which takes a while to dry, as it is humid.

March 12, 2002

We hear today that Man’s mother is in the hospital with respiratory troubles and irregular heart beat.  Son # 1 calls and asks us to keep a cell phone on all the time.  Which we will do.

Wow, miles galore today, we go to Jesup, almost to Madray Springs, Wayne County, Georgia, looking for Bethesda Primitive Baptist Church, where my great great grandfather is buried (his wife as well, her grave is not marked).  We find a marker on 169 going north out of Jesup for the church and turn.  We blast past the church because it looks much like a house.  Reaching the end of Bethesda Road, realize we missed.  Turn around, find another church, and find some workers there, they have maps, I take a look, the workers seem to think the church is on the next road, I have my doubts, so tell Man, DRIVE SLOW!  Coming back at the building and cemetery from another direction it is easy to see that it is indeed a church.  Total different view.

I take the right side of the cemetery, Man takes the left.  I walk straight back and right to Hezekiah’s grave.  Photos taken, but of course.

Next back to Jesup, to try and discover the grave sites of two of Hezekiah’s grandchildren.  The only listings of burials is not at the cemetery, but at the city hall, I request a lookup, which is promised, now I can hope!!

Trick we used several times today, find a funeral home (easier to find than cemeteries) and ask directions.  Hint: stop at a LARGE funeral home, not the little hole in the walls one, like the one Al spied.   We stopped, I knocked on doors, some were locked, some open, but no one answered a very loud “Hello”.  One in the back was partially open, only, only, only,

OK, warning: don’t read next part if you are squeamish.

Only, no one answered and we discovered it was the embalming room!


Thankfully room was UNOCCUPIED!!

Next we drove to Blackshear, Pierce County, Georgia to try and find the burial place of Matthew Bowen, one of Hezekiah’s children.  Stop at a funeral home, ask directions, only to discover that there are TWO Pine/Piney Grove Baptist Church cemeteries.  One is black, one is white.  I am not sure, but I think they said there is only a cemetery at the white church.  So, we get directions, as usual, I have a little trouble understanding the directions, not the accent, just the “localisms”.  In this case it was the “overpass”.  Well, there were several overpasses, one did not take us to the correct street.  The other did, after we went a little further down the road.  Found the church, but no cemetery.  Found some local fellows that knew where the cemetery was, found it, but did not find many markers.  It would appear that the cemetery could hold about 200 graves, maybe a few more, did not count the headstones, but a wild guess is about 50.  One was metal, totally rusted out, could not read a word.  A really old stone had been broken off, and some one had enclosed it in a metal frame of sorts, said frame, being of course, rusted, could not read much of that stone either.  Actually saw 2 or 3 remnants of what could only be wooden crosses marking graves.  If Matthew was buried here, there was no marker.  Must consider that he is over at the other church, which is black now, but was black in 1917??  Then again, maybe I was simply in the wrong county???  Heavens, who knows!  Follow up research will be required!

Next to Waycross, just cause Man wanted to go there, no real reason, just cause.  We stopped there at a Walmart and picked up a few things and then back to Folkston.  Long day, we are tired.  Rains about 8 to 9 this evening, hard.

March 13, 2002

Warm, nice day, sunny.  We pack up very slowly, reluctant to leave here, it has been a pleasant stay.  Nice campground.

We are only jumping over to Darien, McIntosh County, Georgia, about 70 miles, give or take.  We arrive there by 1:30, set up, have lunch, take off for town.  Find the city hall, get directions to the cemetery where my great-grandfather might be buried.  (Sources vary, some say here, some say Brunswick, down the road a piece).

Find cemetery with no trouble, and find it to be one of the most beautiful cemeteries we have ever visited, lots of azaleas in bloom, live oaks with spanish moss hanging from them, palms.  Very well kept, and large!  We have no idea what section of the cemetery we need, so we take the walkie talkies and split up.  Man finds the Blanton burials first, relatives to Joseph and Minnie Maud.  Joseph and Minnie are reportedly buried in the same plot.  No markers.  Take photos of Blanton stones and of the cemetery.  A truly lovely place.

Drive around, find a historical marker for the “Ridge”.  I will have to find out what that means, where the term came from, etc.

Back to Darien, find the library, do email.  As I am sitting there doing email I glance up and find there is a sign “Genealogy”.  Done with the email I wander over and have a look.  Not a bad collection for a small library.  Not bad at all!  I find several references to the Blanton clan, and get some dates and such that I did not have.  Find out they have old newspapers on film, which I will look at tomorrow.  Maybe I can find some obituaries.

Next we go to the Outlet shopping plaza out on 95, very near our campground. Do a little shopping, couple of things for the trailer.  The weather is wonderful, pleasant, slight breeze, not muggy, nice evening to be out side!

Back at the trailer Man installs road atlas program on the computer and that is about it for another day.

Friday, March 8, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 5

March 5, 2002

A moving day, lots to do, breakfast, email before we leave, pay some bills, pick up and clean the trailer.

And, let me tell you how COLD it is!  Oh, my!!  New record lows have been set all over Florida overnight.  I put on the winter coat this AM, and boy, oh, boy, did it feel GOOD!!  It was about 41 degrees this morning when we got up.  And windy.  They had wind chill warnings up till 9 AM.  Sorta like our fog warnings.   HA HA.

We drive up to St. Augustine, stopping for a grocery fill up along the way.  We had managed to put a good dent in the supplies, especially that of the refrigerator.

Our campground is on an unnamed island NE of St. Augustine, just over a bridge.  The Intercostal Waterway is on one side of the island, the Atlantic on the other.  The campsites are so buried in the local trees and greenery that no trailers are seen from the road.  Each campsite is very private.  We cannot remember camping anywhere quite like this, it is quite beautiful.  

It reminds me very much of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and personally I like this more than anything I have seen in Florida.  Trouble is, well, it is cooler here all winter, their high season is during the summer, just like the Outer Banks, and unlike any other campground we have been in during our stay in Florida.  All the other campgrounds have their busy season during the winter and by April they are almost empty.  This place is just the opposite.

We set up, take a walk, talk to a couple from Nova Scotia who have stayed here most of the winter, and say it is a bit cool, always.  Dinner, and then relaxing.  Tomorrow we will do the tourist thing in St. Augustine.  Lots to see.  We have already extended our stay here one more night, not sure we can get more, but we may try.

The weather and news reports we have been seeing say that it is very cold and some snow and ice in Michigan.  It was 18 this AM in Raleigh North Carolina.  Full winter weather in March.  BLAH!  BUT, the good news, the azaelas are in FULL bloom here.

Oh, it is “Biker Week” here in Florida, one feels out of place if NOT dressed in black leather with HOG or Harley Davison printed all over it!

March 6, 2002

Today we tour St. Augustine.  After breakfast we head for downtown.  It is mild by Michigan standards, but there is a very cold wind off the Atlantic.  Need the ole ears covered.  We buy tickets for the “train”, it takes you all over town, you can get on and off at your pleasure, ticket is good for 3 days, and you get free parking.  First we ride about half the tour, then jump off for lunch, Barnacle Bills, you know, seafood, you know who!  Oh, the food was very good, Man purchased a t-shirt, he loves those seafood t shirts (not quite as much as the food, but a LOT!)

We visit the “Fountain of Youth”.  No, we did NOT drink any of that sulfur water.  ICK!  We then walked the grounds and read all the monuments.

Back on the tour bus, we eventually jump off on St. George Street, which is closed to motorized traffic, lots of shops, shops of all kinds, clothes, toys, food, art.

Along the way we hear of Osceola, Seminole Indian and his part in history.  This of course grabs my interest, as Sallie Darden, my great-great grandmother has a brother named Osceola.  I have only one Osceola in my data base, and it is he.  An unusual name, I wonder if there can be some link that may prove interesting.  Like, did Sallie’s father have some interest, did he serve during the Seminole War?  With the names of several books, the search for them is now included in our visit to St. Augustine.

Back at the trailer we have a drink and a pizza and crash.  We are tired from the wind, and the walking.  My allergies kick in, a little, with stuffy nose and sticky eyes.  Not bad enough that I have to take meds, and for that I am thankful. 

March 7, 2002

Back to St. Augustine, we start our day at the Fort, a national park.  After a long look, we walk over a few blocks to Columbia, a Cuban/Spanish eatery.  Food is good, coffee was GREAT!

After lunch we take off walking again, down St. George Street again, popping in and out of stores we did not visit yesterday.  Eventually we make our way all the way across town to the Oldest House, and find that the St. Augustine Historical Society Research Library is not there, as we had been told, but is back a few streets.  By now my legs are feeling the effects of 2 days of tourism, not so much the walking, but the standing.  The old knees are screaming.

Find the library, snoop around a little, find that there is a “Henry Darden” in the 1840 census of Florida, which is interesting, Charles Henry Darden.  Hmmmm???

We have to wait quite a while for the “train” to come pick us up, all the trains that come by are full.  Arggghhh!!  Being soooo tired, this wait is more than painful.  Man tries to find a beer “to go”, but fails.   Finally seated on that little red train we ride back to our car.

On the way back to the trailer we ride around a little on the beach where we are staying.  Lots of building going on, probably the result of the “new” bridge.  We joke, only half way, that property values probably jumped from $1,000 an acre to $90,000 an acre when that bridge was completed.  Someone built a “castle” out here, really, does not appear to be lived in, but looks like a castle and is called that.

I groom Captain Hook and Chantilly, and comb out Gallagher.  Sandwiches for dinner, by 10 my shoulders and back are burning, and I give up the chores and grab my heating pad!

Tomorrow we leave, wish we could stay longer, it is very beautiful here, St. Augustine is very enchanting.  Very much like Savannah, Charleston, and the beaches are very similar to the Outer Banks.

Thoughts on leaving Florida:

There are a lot of old people here, sorry to those readers who are older.  The warm weather draws them, it is a break from the cold and from the aching bones.  Understand that part.

So many wheel chairs.

Many with blank looks on their faces.

Slow walkers.

Lots of golfers.

They love to wear shorts even if the weather is cold.

On the west coast they drive slow, in Ft. Lauderdale area, they drive like maniacs, don’t stop at stop signs, pull in front of you, cut across 5 lanes of traffic in only moments.

Lots of ambulances, several pulled into campgrounds we stayed at.  Conversations overheard at campgrounds often centered around, who was sick, who had died, who was out of the hospital.

The dog people are nice here, even after all the trouble we initially had finding campgrounds to stay in.  We have practiced “selective dogs” here in some of the campgrounds, at Ft. Lauderdale they did not tell us that they only allowed 2 dogs.

Map they give you at the Florida Welcome Center had no Exit numbers, not so good.  Understand that soon they will have exit numbers and mile markers at each exit.

Florida is NOT always warm!  

Florida is the origin of “road rage”.  (We do not know that, we suspect it!!)

The explorers of ole did not discover gold here in Florida, but if they were to come back here today, they would find the gold, dripping out of the pockets of so many of the folks that spend some time here each winter.  Holy, moly, expensive houses, expensive RV’s, expensive clothes and jewelry, money dripping out of pockets everywhere.  Of course, this brings along some snotty nosed attitudes, YUCK!

Onward and forward.

March 8, 2002

Our last day in St. Augustine and we are very reluctant to leave this campground.  It is warm, very warm, close to 80 degrees.  Checkout time is 1 P.M. and we stay till about 10 minutes before the hour.  We have a slow morning of packing up, Man calls and finds a campground at our next stop, which is to be the Okefenokee Swamp, in Georgia.  We have lunch, and then get ready to unhook the water, electric and put away the last of the gear, including the sewer hose.  Man has put the cover to the sewer connection inside of the bumper, something he does not usually do.  So, forgetting that he had done that, he tries to jam the sewer hose back into the bumper and proceeds to push that little cap into the middle of the bumper.  Oh, NO!!!!!  Now, he wants that sewer cap, really really bad!  His first try is the broom, which does not work.  After I clean the broom handle he decides to try a coat hanger.  He gets a hanger from his closet, cuts it, creates a hook, and the ole sewer cap is retrieved.

Our drive takes us past Jacksonville.  There are two routes we can take, one is through town, the other is the bypass.  We usually chose the direct route, and usually this proves to be a good choice.  Well, not this time.  The traffic is really bad, and it is only 2:30 in the afternoon, ok, Friday afternoon, but wow, this traffic has to be seen to be believed.  Lots of cutting in at the last minute when lanes give out.  Lots of lane changing.  Just plain ole messy!  Glad to put that behind us!  Especially Man!

We arrive at our next campsite, only 13 sites here, right across from the entrance to the Swamp, and I mean right across!  The owners appear to be Hippees from the 1970's, that said, they are very particular about their campground and have sorta strange rules.  They have owned the campground since 1997, when they purchased it, the grounds were a dumping ground.  They have cleaned it up.  It is quiet and we like it here a lot.    We set up, have dinner and lay around.

Monday, March 4, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 4

February 28, 2002

I awake about 7 A.M. and do input for about an hour or so, making progress there, trouble is, the TO DO list is growing and growing, I do believe it has taken on a life of its own!!!!!!  I am afraid to look at how many items are on the TO DO list.  Groan!!!

Breakfast, feed the dogs, pack up and get ready to head for Ft. Lauderdale.  Pull out at 11 A.M.  Head for Alligator Alley.  Yikes the toll is $4.50, sigh.  It is a boring ride, lots of bull rushes, some bird life, no gaters sighted.  We stop at a rest area and have lunch, so that we are not hungry trying to drive into Ft. Lauderdale.

Find the campground OK, we are in the middle of PEOPLE, town, buildings, traffic, ICK!  But it will serve the purpose for a couple of days.

More later---------

Drove around, getting a feel for the town, we were going to buy a good map, but decided no need, as I found Andrews Avenue where the nursing home is.  Drove up A1A, turned dark, but saw huge houses and huge boats.  One boat was probably 100 foot long, maybe more, we forget living in a state with so many inland lakes that they make boats that large!  They must carry a hefty price tag!!  After a couple of hours we stop to eat, prices are high, so we settle for a Wendy’s.  Back to the trailer, we wonder if we will be able to sleep due to the road noise.

March 1, 2002

Cool, a little muggy, clouds, a little sun, windy, real windy!  We did not sleep that well, all the trucks, traffic, NOISE, all night long.  Did the shower, breakfast, feed the dog stuff and then went in search of a phone to call the nursing home.  After a few minutes they bring Gramma to the phone and surprise her with the announcement that we will come see her in just a few minutes.  She promptly calls Eloise.  Gramma is sitting in her wheel chair in the doorway to her room waiting for us.

Eventually Eloise shows up at the nursing home and we decide to go out to lunch and to Lighthouse Pointe to see Gramma’s apartment.

The day passes quickly.

Gramma’s memory is very good, she speaks softly, making it difficult to hear her in the noisy nursing home.  She gets around pretty good with her walker and the wheel chair.  Her sight is very limited and her hearing is bad.  She still has a gorgeous head of hair, now totally white.  She is 96 years old., errrr, make that young.

March 2, 2002

Today is much warmer, muggy, still windy.  Sun, clouds, sun, clouds.

We go back to the nursing home to see Gramma again, Eloise does not come along.  We take some photos of Gramma.  We stay for about 4 hours, then say our farewells.

We have lunch, go to the beach for a few minutes, have an expresso.

Back to the trailer, process photos from the digital camera, do email, go to the community room to access the internet, feed the dogs, input for Carol, and the day ends.

Tomorrow we leave Ft. Lauderdale.

March 3, 2002

HOT, HUMID, we turn the air conditioner on at 8 AM, so we can shower, and pack in some comfort.  We on are the road by 10:30 or so, only going to Kennedy Space Center area, about 200 miles, give or take, so, we are in no huge hurry, laid back they call it.

About 11:30 to noon, we stop at a rest center for lunch and rest and to give the dogs a long walk.  Man is complaining that it is 87 degrees in the trailer while we eat.  Ahhhhhhh. 

We pull into our next camp at about 2:30.  It is a nice place, heated pool, and you can go in 24 - 7.  We set up and have a beer with the couple in the 5th wheel parked next to us, they are new to the world of Rving and are living in their rig.

After dinner, we take a walk around the park and have a lengthy discussion with the campground owner, very interesting, he owns this one, and one in Indiana, he will go north around May 15th.

They have an ice cream social, a HUGE scoop of ice cream for 50 cents.  Mmmmmm, good!  A couple sits down at our table and we discover they are from Farmington Hills, have a big motor home.  We sit and discuss “RV war stories” for about an hour.  We all have favorite stories.

Back at the trailer we feed the dogs, relax a little, open all the windows, Man watches a movie, I take a book and go read.  It is still muggy and warm, but not overbearing, but by morning?????

March 4, 2002

Brrr, by 5ish in the AM, it is getting cold, the windows get shut, the electric heater gets dug out of its storage spot and TURNED ON!!

By 7:30 AM, when I take the dogs out (I am dressed in shorts, first thing I could grab), and oh, my!!  It is real cool.

We make bacon and eggs, get dressed, now in tights, long pants, and a long sleeved top, we leave for the Space Center.  When we get there, it feels really cold and I put on my winter coat, and I am glad all day for the choice!  I wear my ear muffs while outside ALL day long.  Lordy, yesterday, I was cooking, today I am freezing!  I hear stories that the weather in Michigan is really horrible, snow storm??

The Space Center was interesting, but crowded.  Cost $26.00 per to get in the gates, we must go through security to get in, just like in the courthouses or airports.  We see two Imax movies, several other movies in visitor areas.  A space shuttle is on display and they have fixed it so you can walk inside it on two levels.  They take you via bus to an observation station about 1 mile away from the launch pads.  The lines were LONG, and slow, neither one of us enjoys the cattle episodes, but they must be endured.  In the most part, everyone is well behaved, but some still insist on smoking while in lines, and that is annoying. We watched in amazement as people would come into the Imax theaters and then jump over seats to get to the row in which they wish to sit.  The amazing part is that no one fell trying to “jump”.  We end the day with a visit to the souvenir store and break down and buy one piece of (as my friend Charlee calls them), “Shitty little things”, a small space shuttle on a stand, which we will add to the collection of shitty little stuff we have in the trailer in the “front room”.

An interesting day, but oh, man, oh man, do my knees ache.  Back to the trailer, sandwiches for dinner, and I have a Manhattan, hoping to dull the pain in my knees.

Tomorrow we move on, to St. Augustine.  We have reserved for 2 nights, but are considering extending for a few more.  We have heard you need two days to see the town, and then we will use a day or so to catch up on domestic chores and errands.  If we cannot extend, we will try to find another campground and stay for a few days.  Or something!

We have been on the road for 2 ½ weeks, have been on the run every day, or so it seems, either traveling or visiting.  We can hardly believe that much time has already slipped by.  WOW!

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 3

February 22, 2002

Rain began about 3 or 4 in the morning, and it rained and rained and well, you get the drift, errr, rain.  Actually it did more than rain, it poured.  For HOURS.  We did nothing, by afternoon we had done so much of NOTHING, that with all that rain falling on the trailer roof, well, we both took a nap.  Man succumbed first, I was working on the Bowen lineages, but within 30 minutes or so of his sawing logs episode, I fell into line, and onto the bed with blanket and dogs and took my own nap!  The afternoon passed, we were OUT for close to 3 hours.

By the time the rain ended about 20 hours later, the weather reports were that 4.5 inches of the wet stuff had dripped out of the skies.

After dinner I groom Gallagher, and do a little computer input work.

Needless to say, I did not sleep too well this night, but Man says he had no problem. Go figure!

February 23, 2002

Time to move on to Naples Florida, it is grey, wet, and nasty, even a little cool.  It is back into long pants.  We feed the dogs and manage to get in a walk around the park without getting wet, it started to sprinkle a little, but no damage done.  We also managed to get hooked up without getting wet.  It did start to rain pretty hard just after we left the campground.

All that rain has ruined some of the caulking that Man did, and it will have to be redone.  Sigh.

On the way to Naples, we stop at Fort Myers at Camping World, and take on supplies, even bought some new spring bars for the refrigerator, they keep the food from sliding all over and out when  you open the doors after having been on the road (moving).  Mine are over 15 years old, icky looking and rusty.  What a splurge to have new pretty clean, white ones.

When we get to the campground some “gentleman” at the desk had no idea we were coming in, said he did not know if our site was available, just go have a look.  This person’s attitude stunk, he was a smart arse, and did not care what he sounded like.  He parting shot was something like, go down there, if it is empty just pull in, if not, come back and we will see what Anne (the gal we talked to on the phone when we made the reservations) wants to do.  BLAH, times two.

The flip side of this, the great side, is that the site was indeed empty and what a nice site it is, cable tv hookups, sewer, water, great electric, and total concrete pad, never have to get your feet dirty here, I can guarantee that.  At the rear of the site is a large manmade pond.  Very pretty.  Wonder if there are any gaters in there?

The campground has a large number of “park models”, most people have their summer flowers planted in pots and such.  Petunias, and impatience abound.   Many of the campgrounds we have stayed in are the same, snowbirds who come as early as November 1st and stay as late as the end of May.  Others stay for 1, 2, maybe 3 months.  We have met snowbirds from Michigan, Ohio, Ontario, Quebec, New York, and other northern states.

After getting all set up, we decide to go out for a meal.  Shoneys it is.  Then we decide to call a few people we know that live here in Naples, Otto and Dolores Kolle, not home.  Monica and Hugh Noble, from the Irish Hills, are home, we make arrangements to see them on Monday.  Then we drive out to Marco Island.  YOWSER, is there money out there ???  GULP, yep, lots of it.

Back to the trailer, relaxing for Man, input for me, till my brain won’t work anymore.  Boy, this vacation stuff is hard work, it is almost 10 PM, and I am ready to call it a day.

It is cold here, under 60 degrees and a strong wind.  I am considering putting my long johns back on.  Brrrrrr.

Yawn, after a bad nights sleep last night, I am more than ready for zzzzzs tonight.  Yawn.

February 24, 2002

We get a call from Otto and Dolores Kolle and make plans for a visit this afternoon.  They are located east of I 75 on 951.  We have a great visit, go for lunch, they take us for a tour of the Naples area, and their campground.  Their campground is very nice, their site even better, they have planted palm trees which are now about 20 feet tall and shade their site.  They have planted some other plants, have a tasteful amount of lawn ornaments, it is all pleasant and nice.  They have a shed, a screened in room which is wonderful to sit in away from the bugs.  All in all a very very nice day!!!!!!  Thanks Otto and Dolores for a great time.

February 25, 2002

Today we will visit with Monica and Hugh Noble, from Wamplers Lake, Brooklyn, Michigan.  They live very near the campground we are staying in.  They have a manufactured home, 2 bedrooms, 2 full baths, rights to the swimming pool.  This is a subdivision, not a gated community, quiet and nice.  We go over to Marco Island for lunch, at a place right on the Marco River called Snooks, watched the boats go in and out, the food was good, there was entertainment.  The afternoon passed very quickly, enjoyable, but quick.  Thanks Monica and Hugh for lunch and the pleasant afternoon.

Back at the campground we get on the internet, check our bills, check our email.  I do a little input, and then we both crash.

February 26, 2002

A quiet day, spend most of the morning cleaning the trailer, taking showers, combing out Captain Hook and Gallagher.  Otto and Dolores stop over for a couple of hours and then Man and I go to the pool.  I did not stay real long, and I still got enough sun for my pale skin.

Groom Abigail.

Spy a 4 foot alligator in the pond behind our trailer.  Another day slips away, quickly slips away.  It was about 75 here today, there was snow in Tipton.  But tonight it is supposed to start getting cold and tomorrow they forecast a high in the 63 degree range.  Hoping to do some input now for a few hours.

February 27, 2002

Today we go out for breakfast, I am well past needing my first hit of grits.  We have spied a Waffle House, and head that way, get there, it is crowded and about 60 % of it is smoking section, the smokers are all puffing away.  We try to wait for a non-smoking table, but after about 10 minutes, give up the wait/battle and we are off to find some place else to eat.  We find a Cracker Barrel close by, get seated immediately, nice large no smoking area and food.  The grits are ok toooo!

We stop at a Publix for some groceries, Man has taken too many allergy pills and has a foggy head, so when we get back to the campground he dog sits and naps.  I do the laundry, and attend a “genealogy workshop” in the library.  The teacher is from Connecticut, and knows a lot about researching in their town halls, but not much about research anywhere else in the US or abroad.  I offered some ideas and information, a diversion for me while I wait for the laundry to dry.

Back at the trailer, I hang clothes everywhere, shirts that I don’t dry all the way.  Then I go to the clubhouse and do some email.  Man makes some more trailer repairs, more caulking, puts a cover on the vent holes at the back of the refrigerator (on the outside door to the refer area of the trailer), so bugs don’t get in.  We have some dinner, Man watches TV and naps, I do input.

It is getting cold, there is talk of a freeze warning.  It is windy.  I have my long pants on and I have on my long johns toooooo!!  We do our showers now, to save time in the A.M.

About 11 P.M. we call it a day, not a lot of activity, but a day is gone nevertheless.  Life is slow in the trailer, sure is different than home.

Thursday, February 21, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 2

February 17, 2002

Up early again, more hard road miles to put on today, we have to get clean across Georgia, about 340 miles, give or take a few.  Anything over 300 becomes a LONG day with that 30 foot of RV behind ya.  Today is warm enough we eat lunch in the trailer, take a long walk with the dogs around the rest areas, drive, drive, drive.  Pick a campground, supposed to have a modem hookup in the office, just inside  Florida, Jennings.  Nice campground, only they no longer offer modem hookups, Ok, I am ticked, more than ticked, now I live with it.  We try to call Margaret Cova on the phone, but cannot reach her.  We have a drink, some dinner, and call it a day.

February 18, 2002

Reach Margaret via phone, she had been in the hospital, but home now and wants us to come visit.  We only have about 160 miles or so to drive today, so we start late, no hurry, stop at a nice rest area (Florida ones seem nice, but the ones in Georgia WIN! ), take the dogs for a long walk, stop for lunch, and finally arrive in Brooksville, Florida.  Nice campground, one area for those of us who are dog lovers, another for no dogs.  We take the kids for a VERY long walk, actually we take two walks, as we are reluctant to take all 4 dogs at once, so Man takes one, I take another, then we repeat with the other two dogs.  We meet some very nice people on our walks.  Everyone loves yorkies.  I hear mumbles from Man, something about I could stay here for a month, February 2003.  Well, maybe, although I had contemplated Texas next year.  We can think it over.

February 19, 2002

Azaleas are blooming here, in fact we see some that are “past” bloom.

Slow morning in the trailer, long walk with the dogs, lunch and then we leave to go over to Spring Hill to see Margaret.   She looks like she is feeling pretty good, we go to the clubhouse for lunch, we have salads since we ate so much in the trailer.  Then we drive around a little, we go to Irene’s place, missing her.  She catches up with us later, back at Margaret’s.  We review all the family files, Nickerson, Leitch, Hurd, Cooper.  The project is looking pretty good. Irene comes in and as she and I are looking over the Cooper file discover that I have overlooked a burial record, and it is the one I need. Figures. So, now when I get back to Michigan I can work on that family again, and I indeed had found the correct Cooper family.    Margaret made us a very nice lasagna dinner.  A very pleasant day.  Back at the trailer I do a little input for Margaret’s lines and another day has passed.

February 20, 2002

We are moving again, further down the coast, to Port Charlotte, right now it is time for breakfast and packing up.

It is windy again today, and that proves to be the second “problem” of the day.  The first is that our brake lights are not functioning as they should.  We have brakes, just no turn signals or brake lights.  After some contemplation we decide to start out and see if there might be a problem with the ground of the electrical connections.  Not sure, but after a few miles, the lights are working as they should.

We stop at a rest area and have lunch in the trailer, take the dogs for a long walk.  Back on the road, windy, it beats us pretty hard, we term this “rockin and rollin down the hard road”.  That is half funny, half true.    So, here we go rockin and rollin and makin miles on the hard road, when Man looks in the side rear view mirrors and says, “oh, oh, we got siding coming off again”.  You have to know this is NOT what I want to hear.  We are not close enough to an exit or rest area so we have to pull off on the side of the road.  We manage to push it back in place, and having no more screws with which to do repairs, have no choice but to pull back out and go on.  After only a few more miles, he looks in that mirror, and yep, you guessed it, the siding is back out, bulging and shaking from the effects of the wind.  We pull off again, and Man pushes the siding back in again, only this time, he pushes more, pushes harder.  Back on the road, we decide to drive slower, barely 50 MPH, and the immediate goal is to get to the campground, which we figure is less than 20 miles.

Goal is met, we pull into Encore Campground near Port Charlotte.  Nice campground and they not only have one modem hookup, they have TWO!  Also a nice swimming pool, hot tub, very WIDE paved streets.  It is also HOT!  Well, one does come to Florida to have hot weather, and it is hot here.  Man had shorts on (he changed at our lunch break), but I don’t.  Ok, so I needed to shave my legs, ALRIGHT????  BLAH!!!  So, after we check in and get on our site and set up, I take a break and shave the ole legs and into some shorts I go!  While I am taking care of this little detail, Man is looking over the situation with the siding and comes to the decision that the siding was coming off the side because of air pressure, the air coming in from the previous damage.  He is going to caulk the holes and open areas caused by the first incident, and feels that will fix all the siding difficulties.

Man heads for the swimming pool, and we have not been here an hour.  I head for the modem, and we have not been here for an hour!

We decide to go out for dinner and hit a grocery store.  We find a nice place to eat, and a Publix and fill up the grocery cart.  Back to the trailer, feed the dogs, put away the supplies, open the windows and doors.  Humid warm air, but this is what we are here for, warm and humid, so open the windows, open the experience.

February 21, 2002

Man gets his work uniform on (we keep one in the trailer for just such events, repair events) and caulks the trailer.  Whew! It now has a couple of days to cure before we head out to the hard road again.

Breakfast, showers, lunch, Man goes back to the pool, I groom Cappy.

This evening we have plans to have dinner with Jim and Mari Marshall.  We have a wonderful visit, sharing photos of our home, their cottage in Michigan, baby photos, and of course catching up on stories, family and happenings.  A very nice evening.

Back at the trailer we open the windows again, it is muggy, but not unwelcome.

No plans for tomorrow, well, I need to groom another dog, or so, it is sooooo nice having running water and sewer, I can clean and groom with no fears of using all the water or filling the holding tanks.

Tomorrow will be one week on the road, and we both agree that the things we took out of the trailer and left home, were well left behind.  We left the chair, and instead have a 4 piece dog play pen in its place.  I clipped a 2 piece pen to it, and it makes a gate, which we insist on, to keep the little barkers from escaping out the door.  This set up is working well, and we are very pleased with our creativity!  Packing (thinking) out of the box has really paid off for our comfort level.  Now, I need to apply a little of that thinking to the maps and travel brochures in the truck, as I find my legs cramped.   Hmmmm, have to think about that.  Hmmmm???

Time for some input, more later- - - - - - - - - - -