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- - - - - - - - - - -

Saturday, February 16, 2002

The Tour, 2002, Part 1

February 9, 2002

We actually stated “piling” things up a week or more ago, now there are several “Piles”, one in the basement, one in the parlor, one in the garage, one in the office (well, ok, more than one in the office).

The trailer has been ICED in from the effects of the storm of January 31, 2002.  Man has been concerned about the amount of snow and ice laying on the roof and the weight of said snow/ice.  Does not want to drive great distances with all that stuff up there.  Today, he finally was able to get the trailer moved, the tongue jack had previously been frozen in several inches of ice.  So, he hooked up the trailer, and backed it up to the garage for loading.  He left the tongue down and the water ran off of the top for hours, course, it helped being well over 50 degrees.

Started organizing the trailer, actually started by taking out some things that we don’t use, and just are in the way.  One of the first things we took out was the chair, we have decided to try living without it this year.  We do have lawn chairs we can always set up in that spot, but have decided we would rather have the space for dog gear and moving room.  Maybe I won’t have sore legs from pole vaulting over his legs this year, once he sits down on the couch his long legs stick out into the walkway so far that I have to always have him move or jump!  BLAH!

February 10, 2002

A very warm morning, full of sun, great for getting one in the mood to pack and clean trailers!!  First I cleaned the deck, got rid of all the ice and snow and doggie stuff.  I took the hose and in my shirt sleeves, no coat, cleaned the entire deck.  I was actually warm with the sun shining on my back.  Nice!!

Then we started more cleaning out of unneeded gear in the trailer, took out a LOT of stuff, made some pretty big holes, which we will of course, fill with stuff we think we do need, like clothes!! Dog gear!!  Research stuff!!  Food!!!  Necessities!!

We cleaned out drawers and cupboards, lots of stuff, swept the carpet, started loading stuff.  Meanwhile did several loads of laundry.

After about 4 hours of this serious cleaning and organizing we threw our arms up and decided it was time for FOOD.  Went to Clinton for Calzones and a grocery run.

By the time we get done with the groceries it is COLD, brrrrr, and snowing.  What a change from this morning.

Tomorrow, more packing, Tuesday, errands for Carol and LCFR meeting, Wednesday finish packing and hope to leave Thursday.

February 11, 12 , 13, and 14th, 2002

PACK!!  CLEAN!!  ORGANIZE!!  WHAT FILES??  Pack, clean, organize, what files??  Windy weather, but sunny, not bad for Michigan in February.  Last minute trips to the vet office for dog food and check ups.  Yeap, thought I had that under control last week, but dogs being dogs and Carol being Carol, well, back to Tecumseh I went.   At our meeting on Tuesday night the speaker did not show, that was a tad stressful, but I just jabbered about things happening in the world of research.

We had hoped to leave by Thursday, but about 6 PM on Wednesday we realized there was no way.  So, we slowed down, relaxed, and got a good night’s sleep.

Thursday about noon I banged my foot really bad, I thought I broke a toe, it was very painful, very swollen and even tho I was able to continue working, it slowed me down.  That is what I get for walking around in my stocking feet.

February 15, 2002

We finish cleaning out the frig, take showers, clean bathrooms, and about 10 AM we start draining the pipes and winterizing the bathrooms.  We are totally packed and ready to leave home at about 12 noon.  We head for Adrian, grab a quick lunch, banking and by 1 PM we are headed SOUTH!

If you are going to participate in this RV sport you better go in with a sense of adventure.  Ya better expect things to go wrong, to break, to surprise ya!!  I have said many times, you better be handy with your money or handy with your hands, cause things are gonna break, fall off, fall apart, kapoot!

Seventy five miles into our trip, well, it broke!  We stopped at a rest area on I 75, just south of Toledo and found a little bit of damage to the trailer. Two panels of siding were loose and hangin, and bent and even found a hole in one piece where it had banged against something in the area of the gas tanks.  We could see the framing of the trailer, the insulation, the wiring.  Man got out of the truck and rather calmly announced that “we have a problem”.  I GUESS SO!!!  After the restroom stop, we start looking over the damage in earnest.  We went through every drawer and the tool boxes looking for screws to hold the siding on.  After about an hour of pulling, tugging, and pushing, we managed to get the siding back in place, sorta.  A few adjustments were required along the way, lets see there was a little trimming with tin snips to force the corner back in, oh, then there was the karate kick Man gave it, or was that 2 or 3 or 4 kicks Man????  The kicks brought on a serious case of the giggles from Carol.

There was a Belle Tire truck at the rest area changing the tire for a trucker, I asked him if he happened to have a few nails or screws in his truck.  His reply, “NO, I throw those down on the road, so people will have flat tires, it is called job security”.  Well, I can promise you, this gal will not be purchasing tires from that company at any time in the near future.  NOPE!

A nice guy, from Michigan, driving a motor home, pulled into the parking spot next to us and eventually stuck his head out the door and asked if we needed any help.  He found some screws in his tool kit, which we could not use, but the offer was very nice.  He also came out and helped Man “muscle” the panels down into place.  He commented at how amazed he was that we were not fighting at all.  Something about that he and his wife would be at each other’s throats.  Thank you, nice person from Michigan, for the help and the compliment.

One hour later, Man had managed to secure the siding and off we go, again.  I later admitted to him, that my first reaction when I saw the damage, was, well, we are not tooooooo far from home, we can go back if we cannot fix this mess.  I only thought that for a moment, one of those first reaction things.

Like I said, ya got to be handy with your money or handy with your hands.  Tools and a supply of screws help tooooo!!!  Man thanked me for having to go potty!

We arrived in Crittenden, Kentucky at 8 PM, tired, hungry, glad to be still headed south, and ready for a little liquid refreshment.  We had dinner, a drink, turned on the heat, and went to bed very early.

The foot feels much better today, a night of rest helped that situation a LOT.


February 16, 2002

Up by 7 AM, quick breakfast, feed the dogs, walk the dogs, pack up and we are waiting at the campground office at a few minutes past 9 AM.  We pay our fees and are on the road by 9:17 AM., south bound once again.  We make pretty good time today, no more ripping siding, skies are sunny, the winds have died down to a breeze.  It gets warmer and warmer.  GIGGLE!!!  We stop and have a pork bar-b-que sandwich, back on the road, we must get to at least Chattanooga, Tennessee in order to keep our schedule.  We have 3 campground reservations in Florida, after that, we can go back to relaxed travel, and we WILL!!

We make our goal and pull into a nice campground just inside of Georgia at about 5 PM.  We put water in the rig, and prepare dinner, and look forward to showers!  I see daffodils in full bloom.

Now, I must go finish the meal.  Later - - - - - -