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.