Saturday, June 2, 2018

Arkansas and Missouri

We kept the motorhome at good old Little Rock Air Force Base for a few weeks in May.  No major news to report, but we did have some fun.  We celebrated Mother's Day with Laurie's family.  I got to go shooting with my friend Tom.  I did some work on the rig and a lot of school work.  After Little Rock, we headed to Table Rock Lake outside Branson, MO to visit our friend Kevin at the Ozarks RV Resort on Table Rock Lake.  It sits on the shore just inside Arkansas.  We took in a couple country music shows and spent a day on the lake with Kevin in his pontoon boat.  Kevin took me fishing one morning and I returned the favor by catching five fish while he and friend Dave got skunked.  Guess I picked the lucky fishing pole.  After that, we stopped in Richland, MO to visit with Carmen, a great friend from MacDill who moved back home after retiring as a Sergeant Major from the Army.  I played a few sets at her place, Daugherty's Pub and Grub, in return for a free camping spot next door.  We went over to Lake of the Ozarks with Carmen and Kevin for lunch and site seeing.  The fish below the dam were going nuts.  All in all, a good start to Summer 2018!

The Famcamp at LRAFB.  They were building 12 new spots while we were there.

The view of the Ozarks RV Resort from our patio.  Super nice

It was great to see Kevin again.  We've been trivia teammates at MacDill since 2012.  We stopped here in summer 2014 also, still just as fun and beautiful.

Laurie and I had a spot across from the waterfall and pond with a great view of the lake.  This is a panoramic shot including our patio.

When we visited Carmen in Richland, MO, her beau Kevin took us for a drive through the country.  This is the oldest suspension bridge in Missouri.  It's really just a bunch of rusty bailing wire and pine boards, but we drove across it in an F-150...twice!

The whole bridge is just a collection of rusty coat hangar sized wire.  

Laurie, Carmen and I walk across going back, huge gaps in the decking.

Singing my heart out

Bagnell Dam overlook.  The American Paddlefish were going nuts, great big 4-5 footers that looked something like sturgeon.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Hitting the Road

After Marathon, we made a couple more stops in Florida.  The first was a few nights at a very nice resort called Gulf Waters in Fort Myers Beach.  We enjoyed time on Ft. Myers Beach and Siesta Key.  Missy had a big day on the dog friendly beach.  After that, we stopped at Falling Waters State Park in the Florida Panhandle.  It was just a very nice spot in the woods, with its claim to fame being the highest waterfall in Florida.  It's high because the little stream ends at a sink hole, where the water falls down, down, down.  I'm sure more than a few woodland creatures have accidentally slipped into that one.  We're in Arkansas for the past couple weeks, planning out the rest of the summer.  It's a tentative plan, maybe up through Pennsylvania into New York and then back down to see friends in the North Carolina/Virginia area.  Here are a couple pictures.

Having lunch on a Bee You Tea Full day on Fort Myers Beach.

Gotta work on my selfie skills.  Falling Waters waterfall.

Chris (Laurie's cousin) and Whitney's daughter Zoe turning six.  Time flies!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

6th Winter at MacDill

Well, all good things must come to an end.  I can't believe we've spent 6 winters at the MacDill Summer Camp for Military Retirees.  Time sure flies when you're having fun.  So, we checked in November 1st and I know we did some stuff, so let me think back to how we spent the winter.  We drove up to Kill Devil Hills for Thanksgiving with Stephanie and Kevin.  That was a fun trip, didn't even need to wear pants (a big deal for me).  Laurie flew home for Christmas shopping time with her Mom.  We spent Christmas at Mom's, and Brad and Eric joined us.  The next day we headed to Key West for our annual New Year's Eve trip.  That got cut just a little short when we blew out our water heater after 10 days (and we were in a hook up spot!)  Back to MacDill where Mel helped me replace the water heater.  Keith and Abby came down with the kids for a weekend, wonderful to see them.  Our friends Kris and Yancey from CT came down for a month or so in their motorhome.  We had a ton of fun with them including the Super Bowl.  In March, we went on a 10 day cruise with John and Phyllis, awesome.  We flew out to Denver for a doctoral symposium, my 3rd of 4 required, in April, still lots of snow on the mountain peaks and we got a few flurries.  I had to wear pants!  Then, we left MacDill for a few quick stops elsewhere in Florida.  Mark and Amy were down for a wedding in Sarasota in April, so we stayed near Siesta Key at Sarasota Sunny South RV park.  Then, Laurie scored 4 nights at one of 4 spots at the US Coast Guard Station, Marathon, FL.  Very nice place by the water.  We're there now with a couple other stops in mind before we start drifting north for the summer.  Here are some pictures:

Sunset on the beach at MacDill.  We get them like this pretty much every night, all winter long.  Just another reason we keep coming back.

The gang assembled for Thanksgiving Dinner, thanks Steph and Kevin!

My buddy George from Lakeville, MA

Christmas at Grandma's House

Our spot for New Year's, Sigsbee RV park Key West.  We were here a few nights when the water heater failed.  Darn.

The Hammack Family

Superbowl revelry

Missy loves Yancey

We watch cruise ships leaving Tampa all the time, the view from our beach

Last season, the base opened up the end of the beach for dogs.  On a calm day, if we wait long enough, she'll go in up to her knees

We get into the Valspar Championship, a stop on the PGA tour, every year.  Tiger Woods was there this year, came in tied for 2nd.

Lunch on the deck in Antigua (I think, these islands start to run together)

Not a mirror.  Our ship on the left, Celebrity Reflection, and an exact copy sister ship were docked at the same time

Bon Voyage!

The Doerfel kids, aka Fuel on Fire at the State Fair.  We've been watching them for years in Key West.  The Buffalo Sabres jersey has been in a closet for 20 years, since Brad was a young hockey player.  These guys are from Buffalo, NY, as they always introduce themselves, so we gifted the jersey. I think Ben, the lead guitar player in between Laurie and me, claimed it.

New Year's Eve at our friend Jared's place, the Tiki House.

New Year's lighting at the Key West Bite.

My buddy Mel, posing for a victory picture after the water heater job

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Road Home

Good grief, I'm terrible at updating this thing once I get to Florida for the winter.  To finish the saga of our Newfoundland trip, we left Kentucky and went to Tennessee.  We stayed outside of Knoxville for a couple days, but Laurie was feeling under the weather so we'll have to go back for a visit.  I bought a new guitar while we were there, a knock off Stratocaster that I'm slowly modifying.  After Tennessee, we dropped down into North Carolina again.  The highlight of that trip was staying at a nice park outside of Asheville, where John and Phyllis came out for a visit.  They stayed in one of the cabins.  It was a lovely area, we'd gladly go back again.  We were hanging out, hoping for fall color, but it was a very odd autumn.  It was getting into late October and everything was either still green, or brown and falling straight off the tree.  I think it might have been too warm or too dry or both.  So, next stop was Fort Benning, GA.  We stayed at their campground for a few days, actually just across the Chattahoochee River in Alabama.  I toured the military museum there, probably one of the best I've ever seen.  Then, it was time for a great week at the Ho Hum.  We got really lucky with neighbors, new friends David and Denise from outside Tallahassee were parked next to us pretty much the whole time.  David plays guitar and sings, so we had several hootenannies on the water.  On November 1st, we headed back home to MacDill, good old Spot 156.  We've been in this spot twice before, including our first year, so a little like home.  I hardly took any pictures:

Great friends John and Phyllis.  It was too warm to light the fireplace!

Fort Benning Famcamp.  Super wide, nice paved spots.  Missy says "bark bark."

The view from the fishing pier at the Ho Hum.  That's our motorhome 2nd from the right.

David and a mystery fiddle player entertaining in front of our motorhome at the Ho Hum

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Kentucky

When we left Arkansas, we had a little over a month to putter around in the hills before our seaside reservation at the Ho Hum RV resort in Carabelle.  I was getting a haircut at the BX on Little Rock AFB and talking to my barber about RVing.  She said we should go check out Kentucky.  Well, except for staying a couple days near Ft. Knox back in 2013, we'd never been there.  So we went there.  We stopped and saw Land between the Lakes, then Mammoth Cave and just generally hung out.  We also went to the national corvette museum, the one that had the sink hole eat half a dozen collector cars.  It's a lovely state, so we'll probably go back.  I'm getting really lazy about picture taking, but here's a couple:

Kentucky Dam on the Tennessee River 

We toured a bourbon distillery.  This is the mash fermenting in giant vats, creating the alcohol that is later separated from the water by distillation.  You could see the stuff bubbling from the yeast eating the starches.

Chihuly glass exhibition, next couple pictures



Thursday, October 19, 2017

Arkansas

Hurricane Irma came ripping through Florida, so Brad and Eric scooped up Mom and headed for high ground.  The ended up having quite the adventure along with thousands of other refugees.  They spent a night in Alabama, and as the storm pushed northwest, they moved to Mississippi.  Being right next door to Arkansas, and that being our next stop, we rendezvoused in Little Rock to await news of the storm.  It hit our house in Sebring pretty hard, losing a privacy fence and roof shingles, both covered by insurance.  Silver lining, the boys got to spend some time with both grandmothers, and I got a picture of them together for the first time since our wedding in 1984.  We stayed 2 weeks at the Air Force Base, getting new tires and the annual tune up for the motorhome.  Those tires were worn to the nub, made it to Alaska and Newfoundland and back.  Dee celebrated her 80th birthday while we were there.  Once the power came back on 5 days after the hurricane, the Floridians headed on home.  No damage save for a potted bougainvillea at Mom's house.

Mom, Eric, Missy, Brad and Dee

The boys with Auntie Susan

Our backyard.  Brad's citrus garden and the nice, new privacy fence got hit pretty hard.  I read online that the winds were over 80mph sustained in Sebring.

Most of the shingles facing the wind were ripped off.  I'm scheduled for a total replacement in January.
I also got to visit with Tom Z a couple times.  That's his dog Zinger on the right.  She and Missy burned a lot of calories running around the house and yard.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Virginia and the Outer Banks

After Lake Placid, we headed south for a visit with Stephanie and Kevin at their new place in Kill Devil Hills, NC, on the Outer Banks.  On the way, we stopped for a few days at a campground in Mount Pocono, PA which was very pretty.  We went on a nice hike along the river and hung out at our huge spot in the trees.  Overall, a very nice stop.  After that, we had a couple days to kill before the kids would be off work, so we stopped at Natural Chimneys State Park in Virginia, not far from Staunton.  It was a very nice campground we had practically to ourselves.  Missy had acres and acres of field and miles of trail to run on free from the leash.  That girl loves a run in the woods.  The park is named after some interesting limestone formations they've managed to preserve.  We stayed a couple nights then moved on to Kill Devil Hills.  We parked in their driveway and slept in the house for a change of scenery.  It was a wonderful visit.  Their neighborhood is just behind the Wright Brothers National Monument, where they executed their first flight.  Kevin took us on a cool beach drive in the 4X4 where we were able to see some wild ponies, the Corolla herd.  They have wild horses on a lot of these barrier islands along the east coast.  On the way north our first summer, 2012, we stopped in Assateague, VA and saw that completely separate herd.  John and Phyllis came over from Raleigh for a couple days, so we stayed a night in "the cabin" over in Jarvisburg.  All the while, we were watching hurricanes, which more or less timed our departure.  With Brad, Eric and Mom bugging out to get away from Irma, we decided to all rendezvous in Arkansas.  Here are some pictures from this leg of the journey:

A panoramic view of the empty campground at Natural Chimneys State Park.  Full hookups, pretty much all to ourselves.  Cool!

Missing mugging for the camera

We very often just sit outside listening to music on a beautiful day, taking in the fresh air.  Missy and Laurie say "I wonder what the poor folks are doin' today?"

A corn maze out in the Virginia countryside.  Nope, didn't try it.

Kevin and Stephanie.  The poles and cables mark the North Carolina/Virginia border, and keep the Corolla ponies from straying into VA.

Corolla Ponies eating some of the only green grass in their area.  Somebody's yard, of course.

Sunset over Pamlico Sound from the marina at Kevin and Steph's neighborhood, just a few minute's drive from the house.