Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ozark, AL to Pensacola Naval Air Station, FL

Our next stop is the Oak Grove RV Park on Pensacola Naval Air Station (NAS). It is about 200 miles from Ozark, AL and took 4 hours. A very easy drive and our arrival sparked fond memories of past visits to this park. So far this is our favorite place to stay. We're to be here for three weeks and plan to enjoy every minute of it. As you can see in the picture below (we're located at the red arrow) we are very close to the amazingly white-sand beach which is common to the Gulf Coast.  An added benefit is the O'Doodle Brothers are allowed off leash on the beach .  They love this place.

One of the main attractions of Pensacola is the Naval Aviation Museum on the NAS.  It is located close to the RV park and we will visit it several times while here.  This is also the home of the Blue Angels, the Navy's precision flying team.  They practice often and, since we are next to the runway, we get front row seats each time they take to the sky.

The city of Pensacola is steeped in history and has many museums relating to it.  The city and the area is a favorite winter tourist destination so there is a lot going on all the time.  Never a shortage of things to do or places to see.  We've seen a lot during our past visits here, but there are always sights we have not seen.  Always good to be here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Doodles at Play

We are at the Ozark Travel Plaza in Ozark, Alabama near Ft. Rucker. This is a very nice RV park and they have a great dog park. Here is a clip of Guinness and Rosco playing their favorite game in the park.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Big Decision

Early October 2011-

Having finished with the house we had a big decision to make.  We had plans, before we retired, to tour this country in an RV.  Those plans were laid out in 2003, almost ten years ago.  Needless to say we were ten years younger then.  We laid the foundation for those plans after we had acquired Berry Oaks near Savannah, Georgia.  We continued those plans with the procurement of our pickup truck and fifth wheel trailer.  We were set.  All we had to do was retire and sell our house in Maryland.

In 1786, the great Robert Burns wrote the poem, To a Mouse:

               But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane [you aren't alone]
               In proving foresight may be vain:
               The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
               Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry]
               An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
               For promised joy.

This simple observation should always be considered when making any plans of any sort.  I am sure Murphy's Law was inspired by this poem.  Murphy's number one rule is "if anything can go wrong it will."

We retired in early May of 2007 and placed our house on the market shortly after.  A lot of people say "timing is everything."  In our case it surely applied.  The housing market had just started to decline and, very quickly, crashed.  We continued with our plans however and moved most of our household goods into storage in Savannah. We were confident we still could sell the house, but maybe not as quickly as before. This, also, proved to be incorrect.

Our plans had all hinged on the sale of the house in Maryland.  This was not happening.  The posts in this blog from May 2007 to now recap everything we have experienced.

All of that is history. The big decision we had to make now was whether or not we were able to continue with our original plans and did we want to. This was not easy since we both are feeling the ten years that have accrued upon us since our original plans were formulated. It took several days of researching, discussions and a lot of deep thinking to realize we did want to go ahead with them. Once this decision was made it was easy to lay out our future.

With the rest of our household goods placed into storage in Savannah, we hit the road south. Our first stop was to visit our cousin Ben in Raleigh, North Carolina. We spent several days with Ben and Jean with good visitation, good genealogy research and a visit to our ancestor's family burial site on what was the Fiddleton Plantation in Orange County, North Carolina.

Moving slowly south we arrived in Savannah in late October. We decided to stay at the Hunter Army Airfield's RV park since it is in close proximity to our doctors and other places we had to deal with. We both had complete physicals resulting in a complete healthy status and a green light by both our doctors to continue with our plans. Next we had the RV worked on and upgraded so we would feel comfortable starting our journeys without worry of problems. With all of this accomplished we moved on down the road to Holbrook Pond Recreation Area RV Park at Ft. Stewart to spend Thanksgiving with our RV family.

Thanksgiving dinner was taken with the troops in a mess hall of the 3rd Infantry Division. This is a tradition we having been doing for the past three years. It is so awe inspiring to sit with these young soldiers and their families. It makes us proud to be part of this extended family.

Our next stop was Ft. Benning near Columbus, Georgia. This and the next stop, Ft. Rucker near Dothan, Alabama, were planned so we could explore the areas and determine if we would consider settling in one or the other instead of the Savannah area. We stayed a week at each and did make the decision we would not reconsider leaving Berry Oaks near Savannah.

This brings us up-to-date as of today. We are staying at the Ozark Travel Park just outside of Ft. Rucker and are going to be hitting the road again on Wednesday (14th) for Pensacola Naval Air Station's RV Park for the Christmas Holidays. We have spent Christmas there before (2007) and loved it. It is, at this point, our favorite RV park.

So what are our plans after Pensacola? Head west. Tentative plans are for us to be on the road for a minimum of a year with our first leg exploring the southwest to the Pacific. From there it is up in the air. You'll have to stay tuned to see the rest.

From an old southern spiritual:

"Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

September 2011

It was now September as we sadly said goodbye to our children and headed west to Springfield, Massachusetts. Our final destination was Ft. Drum RV Park in Upstate New York.  We decided to use the park as a base while we explored the Thousand Lakes region of Upstate New York. 

Our one day layover in Springfield was with purpose.  When we made the big decision to bring Guinness into our family, we researched a lot of dog training websites so we could be ready for his arrival in December of 2008.  We found a particular website run by a man by the name of Eric Letendre who had been training dogs for over 20 years.  He calls himself the Amazing Dog Training Man.

Eric had a philosophy on dog training we liked, positive re-enforcement.  He, also, explains his methods in down-to-earth terms and, usually, backed up with videos.  You can see for yourself at his website.  Just click on this link: The Amazing Dog Training Man.  Or just click on the picture in the left column.  If there is a dog in your family and if you really care for him/her, then this is the place you need to go.

We had contacted Eric over the years and he had been very quick to respond to all of our concerns.  Before we left on this current journey, we contacted Eric again and invited him and his wife, Rachael, to do an RV lunch with us.  He accepted.  We were thrilled.

We arrived at Westover Air Reserve Base, just outside of Springfield, and set up for a short stay.  Eric and Rachael were to lunch with us the next day.  We had noticed the area had been hit pretty hard from the remnants of hurricane Irene.  Lots of flooding mainly.

Eric and Rachael arrived and after our introductions, we introduced them to Guinness and Rosco.  It was almost as if Guinness knew him already.  He loves everyone he meets and it takes a small amount of time to really warm up to someone, but in this case it was immediate.  It was an extremely pleasant lunch and visit and we certainly appreciate Eric and Rachael taking time for us.  They are very good at what they do. Thank you Eric and Rachael.

The next day we had a six hour drive to Ft. Drum. The weather was beautiful and we arrived with great expectations of seeing early fall weather and lots of scenic byways. We were not disappointed, however, the RV site where we were placed in was a bit odd. It was up against an old wooden barracks used for single soldiers. We had everything we needed, though, and it was quite, but still....odd.

We enjoyed exploring this part of the country.  So many beautiful and interesting sights.  The small cities, towns and villages were a photographer's and shopper's dream.  We did little of each.  We did drive a lot, though.  That was a way to maximize our range during the short time we were there.  Actually, shorter than we had planned.  Tropical Storm Lee had been wreaking havoc over the south and was headed up the the eastern side of the Appalachian Mountain Range dumping tens of inches of rain in its path. We decided to head back to Maryland right away.

We departed Ft. Drum hoping we could make it back to Maryland before the deluge.  We drove as far as we could before we had to stop for the night just a bit north of Scranton, Pennsylvania.  We did not unhook from the trailer so we could get going early the next morning, but that proved to be too late.  It started to rain just as we left the campground increasing in intensity very quickly.  Bt the time we made it to Scranton, it was a downpour and it did not ease up until we got to York, Pennsylvania, some 160 miles south of our starting point.  What should have taken us about  three hours took almost seven.  The rain was so hard our speed rarely got over 45 MPH on Interstate I-81.  The rain, however, did not deter many, mostly truckers, from greatly exceeding the speed limit.  I must say, this was one of the most harrowing and dangerous trips I have ever made in this country.  In retrospect, we should have found a Walmart and waited out the storm.

We, finally, arrived back at our Maryland home base, still in the rain, late that afternoon.  We were exhausted and our nerves were a wreck.  We did nothing to unpack saving that for the next day.  We ordered some subs and made it an early bedtime for all of us.

The next morning we unpacked the trailer and put it into storage, this time for a short time for we already had made plans for our next adventure. In the meantime we had a lot of work to do on this house.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fast Forwarding to August 2011

The latter part of May, all of June and July and most of August consisted of house maintenance and boredom for all of us. After starting to climb the walls of the prison we called our anchor home, we decided to retrieve our RV from the storage facility at Ft. Stewart and bring it back to Maryland. We took our Corvette trailer, which was stored at Aberdeen Proving Ground close to the house, and swapped it with our RV spot at Ft. Stewart. Now we were mobile again.

We started making plans for a trip to New England late in August. The main purpose was to visit our daughter, Heather, and her family then see some of New England we had not visited before. This was going to be difficult for we had seen most of that part of the country in previous journeys.

Our travels to Heather's home in eastern Massachusetts took us through central Pennsylvania, mid-state New York and Connecticut and across the Massachusetts Turnpike, Interstate I-90. We departed Maryland a week early so we could spend a few days at another military resort on the New England Atlantic coast.

Fourth Cliff Recreation Area is located in Humarock, Massachusetts and is administered by Hanscom Air Force Base.  Our site was over looking the Atlantic and was on the cliff some 80 feet over the beach.  An awesome view.

The red circle is where our site was.

That's us on the left.

We spent just a few days here and moved down the coast about 30 miles to a Kampgrounds of America (KOA) RV park so we could be closer to Heather's house. We were starting to get concerned about a hurricane in the south. The forecast was for it to make landfall near New York City and come right across New England. Folks in the area were already staring to make preparations for this Category One hurricane.  This did not deter us, however, from our visit.

We had an awesome time with our daughter and her husband, our two grandchildren, our two great grandchildren and our niece.  They are really growing up fast.  Made us feel older than we initially felt.  We, also, had a chance to meet Heather's sisters family, Bonnie and Rob and their Labradoodle Tigger.  Save the difference in their size, Tigger and Guinness could be twins.

Guinness is on the right and Tigger is on the left. Guinness(about 53 lbs) is a bit smaller than Tigger(about 73 lbs).

Our stay was delightful, especially the day we spent in my old hometown (well close to it), Newport, Rhode Island. I really had a good time flying kites with our great grand daughter, Kaylen. She is such a Sweetie.

We were scheduled to depart Heather's on Monday. The hurricane was looking as it was going to hit us on Sunday. We were all watching the weather and tracking the storm Friday night and it looked as if we were going to get hammered. On Saturday morning the KOA and all the other campgrounds in the state were ordered to shut down by the Governor. OK, so now what? Where were we supposed to go?

We called Heather and she suggested we come to her house and park in the driveway. That we did. It worked out great. We had our home next to hers. We were mostly concerned about that evening when we all had planned a big dinner with the whole family to include our niece, Tracy, and her family. Tracy had decided to brave the storm, no matter what, and venture to Heather's from the Providence area. Thankfully, the weather held off and we all had a great time. We enjoyed a lot of talk and the kids played and played. Sad to see them leave.

The next morning the storm was upon us. It was now downgraded to a tropical storm and had changed its course more westward. We had winds up to 60 mph and a lot of rain, but nothing too bad. It was actually a fun time. Kay and Joyce spent the afternoon in the RV watching Princess Bride and I enjoyed the rest of my family in the main house. We all had a FANTASTIC time. That evening we knew we had to, reluctantly, say our good byes the next morning. We tried not to think about it.

The storm was not that bad and no one suffered much damage, thank Goodness.  The next morning we said our tearful farewells and we pulled out heading to Upstate New York.  We made had arrangements to see someone tomorrow of great importance to us and, especially, Guinness.  Sad to leave.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

April-May 2011

We didn't want to leave Pensacola, but we had a schedule to keep. We drove east on Interstate I-10 planning to spend several days at the Ocean Pond Campground in the Osceola National Forest. This is about halfway to our final destination of Waycross, Georgia. When we arrived we did not expect to find the campground full since it was in the middle of the week, but it was.

Most National Forest campgrounds, as did this one, have a rule limiting stays to two weeks. This one, however, did not enforce this rule. Not sure why, but it was obvious that the people occupying the sites had been there a very long time. This was evident by the construction of decks around the RVs and storage sheds on the sites. This wasn't a campground, it was a mobile home park. We registered our complaint with the Park Ranger, but did not expect anything to come of it. We now had to find a place to stay a few days.

It took only a few minutes to hook up the computer and do a local search for RV parks. We found a military park less than an hours drive so we headed for it. We had called and even though they did not take reservations they told us there were plenty of sites available.

This was an Air Force run park called Grassy Pond Recreation Area. It was a few miles south of Valdosta, Georgia only five minutes off of Interstate I-75. We picked a nice site, registered and set up for our three day stay.

We had not been to this area so we did our exploration thing. The area was nice and Valdosta seemed to be rebuilding itself into quite a nice little city. We took this opportunity to do some more relaxing and spend some quality times with Guinness and Rosco. They loved the wooded area we were in and enjoyed smelling and romping in the woods.

The days flew by and we found ourselves packing up again with a short trip to the Twin Oaks Bluegrass Festival in Hoboken, Georgia. This would be our second time attending this event. Last year we tried it and loved it. The event was so well organized and the people running it, attending it and performing in it were all awesome. We always have a great time here.

Our winter journeys all but about over we headed north back to Savannah. We had to get the trailer ready for storage after some minor maintenance and cleaning so we stayed at Holbrook campground at Ft. Stewart. We took a few day trips into Savannah, but mostly stayed in the campground working and trying to psych ourselves up to return to Maryland. We had been gone six months and the thought of returning was not good for any of us. It was something we had to do, though.

We stayed 10 days at Ft. Stewart before we, begrudgingly, returned to Maryland. We made the twelve hour trip without stopping overnight and rolled up to the house just before midnight. Guinness and Rosco were ecstatic and ran through every room many times. We were glad somebody was happy to be there. Several hours later we were all snuggled into bed and dreaming of the past six months. We came to the conclusion the next morning we all must have Gypsy blood in us for we would rather be on the road moving around rather than be anchored to one place. Maybe someday that urge will wane, but we immediately started planning for our next adventure.

We Love Savannah

Thursday, November 3, 2011

April 2011 Continued.......

The only convenient way to get from Gulfport, Mississippi to Pensacola, Florida, especially when towing a large trailer, is via Interstate 10. We do not particularly like to travel the Interstate highways, but in this case we did not have much of a choice. The traffic was light, even through Mobile, Alabama and we were able to reach our destination in a bit under three hours. We pulled into the Oak Grove RV Park on the Pensacola Naval Air Station just after noon and began our set up for our short three day stay.

This part of our journey had a final destination and date. We had to be at the Twin Oaks Bluegrass Festival by April 27th and we wanted to see a lot in between then so we decided to stay only 3-4 days at each stop.

We always like coming to this park for it is located on the beach and since it is on a military installation the public cannot get to it. It is usually quite deserted and they are pet friendly as long as they are on a leash. This gave us the opportunity to let Guinness and Rosco romp in the warm Gulf waters. There are not many waves here due to a barrier island a few miles away. Besides the beaches, the availability of fresh seafood here is awesome.

Our first stay at Pensacola was over the Christmas holidays in 2009-2010. We quickly found a seafood retailer who is renown for his fresh seafood. Joe Patti's has some of the best and freshest seafood on the Gulf coast. He ships everywhere and the lines are usually very long, but they have a great system and the wait time is normally no more than a few minutes.

They have a huge variety of seafood and most of it is caught in the past 24 hours. Turn-over is huge. We loaded up with shrimp, mussels, blue crabs, scallops and snapper. Fantastic. We'll be back here again, soon.

Next we stopped at the Destin Army Recreation Center in Destin, Florida. It was a quick 60 mile trip along Rt. 98 and we made short business of getting set up and out to explore the area. We were very impressed with what we saw and, again, the seafood, especially shrimp, was sold everywhere. The beaches in this area were fantastic and everything here was geared to a resort area. We were surprised, however, not to see resort prices very often.

The Recreation Center had its own marina and in the evening we were able to take Guinness and Rosco there to swim. Rosco did not take to it, but Guinness, the water dog, went right in. It was beautiful to sit each evening and watch the awesome sunsets.

Our final stay on the Gulf Coast was, again, in Panama City, Florida. We chose to stay on the west side of the city at the Panama City Coastal Systems Station, Naval Surface Warfare Center. The have a very nice RV park located on St. Andrews Bay. We lucked out and were placed on a site right on the water. What a beautiful view from our back window.

We had been to Panama City earlier this spring, but we did not get to explore the beach area west of the city. We took this opportunity to do that. Spring Break was in process and the area was over crowded with college kids. The police were everywhere and the prices were much higher than they were in March. We saw everything we wanted to see in a day and spent the next few days just relaxing. Our winter/spring journey was almost to an end.

Friday, October 28, 2011

April 2011

It was a short 14 mile trip from the Big Biloxi Recreational Area to the Gulfport SeaBee Base. We like those sort of trips. The Navy campground was relatively new. The previous one was destroyed by Katrina as was much of the base. They have recovered very well, but that is to be expected with a military installation.

These military campgrounds are administered by the military service's Moral, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Office and are, quite often, much less expensive than a private campground. Their use is supposed to be for recreational purposes, but we have seen an increase in homesteading by both active and retired personnel. Some active duty personnel stay their entire tour in these parks which is some times up to three years. It is dependent the park's length-of-stay policy and all of these parks have different policies. One may say that is fine, but it really is not. These people are scamming the system. Active duty personnel are paid a monthly allowance for lodging. If there are not government quarters available at their duty station they collect this allowance. If government quarters are available they forfeit this allowance. This allowance is based on the location of the installation and is different for each grade. In Gulfport this ranges from $1077 per month for the lowest grade (E-1) to $2095 per month for the highest grade (O-7). The scam is these allowances are not forfeited, as they are supposed to, while staying in these government facilities. We have actually had some of these service members tell us they pay off their RV and still make a lot of money.

This practice is the fault of the individual MWR administrators by not imposing length-of-stay policies. A lot of these parks only allow 60-90 day stays with 60-90 days before they can return. These kind of policies allow legitimate use of MWR facilities as they were intended to be used. It was obvious this park in Gulfport did not have any such policy since 90% of the 68 sites were filled by homesteaders.

We stayed in Gulfport for one week and during this time we toured the coast from there to New Orleans. Our New Orleans day trip was the highlight of this segment of our journey. Guinness and Rosco went with us and were enthralled by the smells, sights and sounds of the French Quarter and the Mississippi river front. We definitely want to go back for a longer stay and see more of the city.

Our next few stops will be along the coast heading back towards Savannah. We were glad to leave Gulfport and do not plan on returning. Next stop will be Pensacola Naval Air Station's Oak Grove RV Park. This is our favorite place to stay.

Joyce, Guinness and Rosco on Bourbon St. in the New Orleans French Quarter

Joyce, Guinness and Rosco in front of Emeril Lagasses's restaurant NOLA in the New Orleans French Quarter

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

March-April 2011

Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia-

........"The Conecuh National Forest in southern Alabama covers 83,000 acres (340 km²), along the Alabama - Florida line in Covington and Escambia counties.[1] Topography is level to moderately sloping, broad ridges with stream terraces and broad floodplains.

The Conecuh Trail winds 20 miles (30 km) through Alabama's coastal plain. The trail was built by the Youth Conservation Corps. Each year, beginning in 1976, the young people of the Corps extend the trail through park-like longleaf pine stands, hardwood bottomlands, and other plant communities of the Conecuh National Forest.

The name Conecuh is believed to be of Muskogee origin. It means "land of cane," which is appropriate because the trail runs through canebrakes in several sections.

Situated just above the Florida panhandle, the forest has a distinct southern flavor of mist-laden hardwood swamps, pitcher plant bogs, and southern coastal plain pine forest. These hilly coastal plains are also home to longleaf pine, upland scrub oak, and dogwood, as well as an aquatic labyrinth of winding creeks and cypress ponds.

Clear-cut in the 1930s, the Conecuh was reforested with slash pine that reduced the number of nesting trees for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. The forest is currently undergoing a reforestation from slash pine to the native longleaf. In time, this should increase the number of red-cockaded woodpeckers as the trees mature.".........

The end of March in this part of the country sees spring time early. The dogwood and azaleas were already in bloom and the birds and the bees, as well as all the other animals, were doing their spring time activities. Since we arrived on a Monday, the Open Pond Recreation Area campground was just about empty. Only three other RVs filled the seventy-three camp sites. Needless to say it was very quiet. The four days we spent there was very relaxing with daily walks on the trails, reading and playing with the boys. Finally, some down time.

Our next stop was another National Forest campground. Traveling a bit farther west into Mississippi, we stopped for another four days at the Desoto National Forest's Big Biloxi campground. Unlike the previous campground, this one was located close to major cities and busy highways. We decided to explore this area since we had been here before.

The countryside north of the Gulf was very impoverished. Not much to see or do outside of the cities of Gulfport and Biloxi. They, as the towns to their west along the coast, are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina Beach front property all along this section was completely destroyed. In many places the destruction went back from the coast by almost a half mile. Many have rebuilt or are in the process of rebuilding, but there are a lot of empty lots where homes and business once stood that now stand empty.

The beaches along this stretch of Gulf coast are beautiful and people were taking advantage of the warm waters and weather. We wanted to get a bit closer to the beaches on our next stop so we decided to stay for a week at the Navy's Construction Battalion (SeaBee) Base located in Gulfport, Mississippi. It was less than a mile from the coast.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

March 2011 Continued

Homosassa, Florida is a snow birder's paradise. The local population's age and the large amount of filled RV parks confirms it. We stayed here for a week and enjoyed exploring a part of Florida we had not yet seen. The Turtle Creek RV Resort provided us with a great base for our touring.

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is the feature attraction of the area.

A huge fresh water spring feeds the river and attracts many manatee. The park itself is a refuge for the strange looking animal and they have a special tank they use for those that are sickly or wounded. When we saw the tank there were 5 manatees of different sizes and it was filled with cabbage heads, their favorite food.

The park boasts that all of its animals are native to Florida, except for one, a hippopotamus. Why, you may ask, is an African species found at a Florida park with all native wildlife? Well, Lucifer has lived there all his life. He was a big movie star when the park was an exotic animal park. Local residents took a special liking to Lu and often visited him between his many movies. When the park went to strictly native species Lucifer was bound for a transfer. You can imagine the demand for a 6,000 pound hippopotamus is not particularly high. When the locals caught wind of the intended transfer they put up a fight to keep Lu here. Needless to say their voices were heard and Lu was granted honorary state citizenship by the governor.
If you are ever in this area, this is a must stop. Plan on at least 4 hours for the visit.

Our next stop was Tyndall Air Force Base RV Park for another weeks stay. Tyndall is located on the southern city limits of Panama City, Florida and is the training center for the F-22 Raptor fighter jet. Again, our mission for the week was to explore the area. By the time we departed, mission was accomplished.

Panama City's claim-to-fame is its 27 miles of beautiful beach. They even have a beach dedicated for dogs. Way to go! We stayed pretty close to Tyndall and the city checking out the beaches and searching for good seafood. We took more down time than we had before. The RV park was big and very wooded so we walked a lot with "the boys". They loved it.

Speaking of the O'Doodle brothers, Guinness had the opportunity to swim and play in the bay across from the RV park. The water was quite calm and he did his favorite thing of swimming after a stick. The water was ocean water so very salty and he ingested a lot of it. When we got back to the RV, he became a bit unsettled. We guess the salt water played a number on his digestive system because all of a sudden he raced into the woods and began projectile expulsions and it wasn't from the mouth. This went on for more than an hour and we became very concerned. We made him drink lots of water to make sure he didn't get dehydrated. It took a lot out him and he didn't eat that night. He slept most of the rest of the day and all night. Next day he was fine.

Now it was Rosco's turn. The weather had gotten warmer and his long hair was making him uncomfortable. If you remember several posts back, his hair was extremely long (almost dragging the ground) and it seemed to be continuously growing. This is when he got his nickname as Fluffer Doodle. It was time, though, to do something about it.


Joyce had been a hairstylist in a previous life so she wanted to take a "whack" at it. She placed Rosco on the picnic table and got out the electric shears. It took almost an hour and a half but, the results were great and Rosco was ecstatic. He pranced, jumped and ran like he had been rejuvenated. Good job Joyce.


Our highlight for this destination was the annual air show at Tyndall Air Force Base. It was an awesome event with the culmination of each days activities showcasing an exhibition flight of the F-22 Raptor. This is an amazing aircraft. It can, literally, go straight up and "HANG" in the air. No movement what-so-ever, then continue to climb at Mach speed. Watch this video:

Our time at Tyndall was very pleasant and we will return to that destination. Next stop is Conecuh (kuh-neh-kuh) National Forest in Alabama about two and half hours north west of Panama City.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Always in Catch-up Mode

Seems like we are always in the catch-up mode. I was shocked to see our last substantial post was back in March of this year. Geez, that is, almost, inexcusable. Notice I said "almost". I guess the only excuse we can offer is the helter-skelter of our lives since that post. Best I can do is give a synopsis our adventure.

March 2011-

The trip to Mayport Naval Station RV park was without incident. We were assigned the same site as we had had the previous July when we were returning from Texas after adopting Rosco. It was right on the ocean at the mouth of the St. Johns river. A beautiful sight to wake up to every morning. As is always the case for that time of year the winds were constantly high. The temperatures, however, were very moderate so it was comfortable.

We spent most of our time exploring the area and eating awesomely fresh seafood.  A highlight of our stay was a journey across the St. Johns river on a ferry.  Rosco and Guinness, especially Guinness, did not know what to think.  He kept looking, nervously, down at the water the entire crossing and was ecstatic when we drove off onto the dock.  We took the bridge on the way back and he, I am sure, was very grateful.

Another highlight was visiting the Budweiser brewery in Jacksonville. It was a great experience and the tour was enlightening. Of course the free beer was good, too.  The most memorable, though, was seeing the Budweiser Clydesdales.  What an awesome exhibition.  We saw the three trucks drive up, wagon and trucks unloaded and the horses tacked.  That took the better part of an hour.  Their exhibition included circles around the parking lot and photo ops for the public.  How well behaved they are.  Beautiful.

Our stay at Mayport Naval Station was short, but we packed a lot into the time we stayed. Our next stop was Homossasa Springs, Florida located on the Gulf Coast about 80 miles north Clearwater. On the way there, we stopped in Gainesville for a short and pleasant visit with our nephew. Stayed tuned for more.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July

Thanks to all of our troops and civilians who give their all in keeping us free. Please remember the meaning of this day and its importance to our freedom as individuals and as a country.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Our Latest Adventure Finally Begins

I know, you ask "if this is our latest adventure, what was the last one?" OK..OK. Well, it wasn't really an adventure, more like a period of trials and tribulations. I'll go back several months so our time line here will be continuous. As you can see by our last few posts, save the last one (Mar 1st), all were regarding well wishes for you all during the Holidays. From there on nothing. Here's why.

All was well once we arrived at Holbrook RV Park on Ft. Stewart, Georgia. We, thoroughly, enjoyed the Holiday season surrounded by our RVing family. Thanksgiving was great as we ate our meal with the troops and their families on post. As last year, this is a very special time. The days leading up to Christmas was wonderful. We were able to enjoy the season's spirit in Savannah and the surrounding area. Much different than that of Maryland. It was really nice.

As Christmas came and went, we had settled into preparing for the New Year. Our plans were to depart Holbrook mid-January traveling farther south into Florida spending the rest of the winter there. On the evening of December 30th, those plans came to a screeching halt.

It was about 7PM when we sat down to enjoy a simple and quick meal of dirty rice and beans. On the second bite, Joyce started to choke. We had both immediately supposed she had aspirated some rice. She could not breathe and began choking more severely. I stood her up and performed the Heimlich maneuver on her with no results. Now chest pains were accompanying the choking and belabored breathing. Her skin coloring had turned chalky. I sat her down, ran next door to alert our neighbors and rushed her to the emergency room at Winn Army Hospital just a few minutes away. They immediately took her and administered oxygen which seemed to temporarily relieve her breathing difficulties and chest pains. 
They preformed a series of the tests and once the results were back they diagnosed her as being in congestive heart failure. They quickly placed her in the intensive care unit and kept her overnight in an effort to stabilize her blood pressure and fluids.

I made it back to our RV around midnight and the boys were besides themselves with anxiety. They knew something was wrong and the absence of their Mommy was very disturbing to them. I got them up on the bed with me and was finally able to settle them. We did not sleep very well that night.

I brought Joyce back from the hospital around 10AM the next morning (New Years Eve) with an envelope full of instructions for further follow-up. She was feeling better, but very tired. The boys went crazy when they saw her. They would not leave her side for the rest of the day. The instructions called for extensive follow-up and testing with a cardiologist. Since I was already seeing a cardiologist in Savannah  she chose to see him, also. So then it began, almost two months of continuous testing and doctor visits for the both of us. Me? Because this episode caused my already very high blood pressure to dangerously elevate creating great concern with my cardiologist.   We realized we were going to have many doctor appointments and being so far away from our doctors in Savannah (70+ mile round trip), we reluctantly decided to move to the Hunter Army Airfield RV park (click here) in Savannah proper.  This placed us within a few miles of our doctors.

To make an already long story a bit shorter, the final outcome for Joyce was the cardiologist disagreed with the army doctor's diagnosis of congestive heart failure. His testing showed her heart healthy and gave her a clean bill of health save some diet restrictions like salt, fatty foods, etc. He was at a loss as to what caused the choking incident, but he suspected it was due to aspirating some food which in turn brought on a panic attack. As for me, he was able to get my blood pressure under control by adjusting my medications. Just a few days after Joyce's final results, he told me the same thing and with the same diet restrictions. We can live with that. Easily.

This brings us up to today, our final day, for a while, here in Georgia. The day started with a light rain which now has stopped.  It has become muggy and warm with threatening thunder storms.  Typical spring day, even though it is not spring yet,  here in the Georgia Low Country.  Since we were able to get most of the outdoor preparation-to-move things done yesterday, today will be, mostly, indoors tidying up and putting things away.  Our destination tomorrow is the Pelican Roost RV Park (click here) on the Mayport Naval Station just a few miles northeast of Jacksonville.  Mayport is located at the mouth of the St. Johns River and is a very busy shipping area for both commercial and naval vessels.  We'll be there a week before we move on to Homosassa Springs on Florida's west coast.

Our adventure finally begins. Look out Florida for here we come.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fluffer Doodle

I know it has been a while since our last post, but we'll catch up before the week is out. In the meantime take a gander at Rosco with his hair all grown out now. Our son-in-law says he looks like a running hairball.

Also, it looks like we'll have to take the O'Doodle boys to dancing lessons now.