December 2022~Southern Pines RV Resort

After a month in Georgia, we are here and we like “here” quite a lot.

There are 358 sites in this park “Resort”. Many are filled with stationary homes. They are designated by areas. The M area are Manufactured homes (double wides) the P areas are Park Models and the R areas are for Recreational vehicles. At least these are my thoughts about the areas on the map marked M, P and R.

The temperatures when we arrived were in the 80’s in December! Wow! Now that was wonderful!

Can you imagine walking outside, without a coat, without earmuffs, without SNOW?!

IN DECEMBER!

I feel so blessed to have found this little piece of paradise …

Occasionally there’s an incredible sunset and I actually catch a picture of it. Of course this is at 5:30pm and then it’s dark. I can’t wait until it’s light into the evening a bit longer…

The guy on the telephone line is a Great Horned Owl, he flew from another pole across the orchard. We didn’t really realize what we were seeing until he landed, his wing span was huge!

I was so excited after traveling around the country for 7 months to have more of a social connection. Crystal, the social director, works very hard to plan all kinds of activities for us to do. I enjoyed water exercise when the temps were above 67 by 11 am. Nancy, a fine artist, holds painting classes every week. I went to a class in December, it was a fun snowman laying on the beach in sunglasses. I can’t show you because I gave it away before taking a picture.

At first looking at the monthly calendar gave me an anxiety attack because I just wanted to do everything at once! lol Guess I didn’t take a picture of the December calendar. This is what I had to look forward to in January! I try to remember to take a picture of each months calendar so I can look at the picture and know what’s going on if I don’t have the hard copy of the calendar which, of course, lives on the refrigerator.

We celebrated our 46th wedding anniversary at the Jacaranda Hotel, which is listed on the National Historic Register. Built in the 1920’s she is considered Avon Park’s “Gracious Lady”.

There are pictures of Babe Ruth and Clark Gable on the walls down one of several hallways. It really is a beautiful old hotel, made even more beautiful by all the Christmas decorations.

I noticed these paintings on the wall behind the raindeer and went in for a closer look.

Wow, you never know what you’ll see if you take the time to look. These paintings were stunning!

It was really nice to finish out our first month in Southern Pines with the lining of the streets with luminaries.

We were given enough luminaries (milk jugs with sand and candles) to light the front of our lot. All through the park, everyone had put out luminaries and then everyone walks or rides their golf carts around to look at them.

They take Christmas serious here, we went to a Christmas dinner and a Christmas party and I had fun being a Secret Santa.

Good night December…

Florida!

1/31/2022

Wow! It is so hard to believe we have been here 2 months already!

We love it and never want to leave! No, seriously, we won’t be leaving.

We are in Frostproof, Florida, almost right in the middle of the state. We met a man at the Elkhart campground who told us where he goes for the winter. He said “it’s the best place around, you won’t want to leave”. We came in June and checked it out, we returned on November 30th, 2021 with the intent to stay 6 months, now we are thinking we could stay and make this our new full time home. We are considering buying a place here. We are also considering selling our motorhome.

We have come to learn that most “seasonal” people come from Oct-March, leaving in April when they say it gets too warm. I can’t fathom it being too warm in April but then again I wouldn’t believe it could be 28 degrees in Florida.

That’s where we are today, freeze warning in Frostproof, Florida, what’s wrong with that sentence. lol It’s just a dip in the weather pattern and will be back into the 70-80’s by next weekend, ahh Florida. It maybe cold but we will have full sun for the next 3 days, I’ll wait until the temperature hits 50 later this afternoon to go for my walk.

I didn’t realize that you couldn’t really see where Frost proof was on this map or that I hadn’t taken a picture of the entrance to the park, which is quite nice.

I think if there is interest I will go back over the last two months briefly to document the things we’ve done. Let me know in the comments if you’re interested.

Nice to be back…

Georgia on my mind…

November 2021

We choose this month to spend with our sons’s family in Georgia because it’s as cold as we can stand it and close to Thanksgiving and Christmas. We miss the December times with them but it’s JUST TOO COLD.

But, but…this is Georgia, come on! It’s 28 degrees for crying out loud!

Ever searching for warmth in the winter, we are headed to Florida, this year. We’ve been told just like we were told that Yuma, Az was the sunniest place on earth and warm that Florida would be perfect for the winter and warm.

We shall see.

Currently here in Georgia it’s 48 degrees and raining… sigh

Several days have passed now and it’s dipping into the mid 30’s at night. Not a problem really for someone in a “sticks and bricks” home, but a home on wheels is a totally different story.

While we were in New Mexico and Texas last year, when the polar vortex hit, our fresh water tank froze. Thankfully we had bottled water for drinking, the tank eventually warmed up and did not crack, that was in our travel trailer, our first home on wheels.

We now have tank heaters and our fresh water tank is inside the MH, so no more worries about that.

However, we have to get water to the MH, this presents its own set of challenges. This CG has put their water for each campsite down inside a box that’s semi buried in the ground, maybe because the ground is supposed to be a constant 55 degrees. We hook our hose up to this facet.

From the facet to our MH is the problem, because the water is then on all the time to our MH. So, we bought a “heated” hose that is supposed to heat up by itself when it is 55 degrees or below and turn off by itself when it is 65 degrees or above.

Great, problem solved… well, not yet.

We have a “water softner” which is just another word for a large cilander that filters out rust and other contaminants from our water before it comes inside, which is a really good thing to have since we hook up to water all over the country.

So, the hose goes into this filter from the facet and out the other side via another hose into our coach. We are not sure if the filter and hose would freeze.

Choice one, onhook them and attach the new heated hose directly to the MH without filtration. Choice two, leave them and “hope” they don’t freeze. Choice three, never come to Georgia at this time of year again.

I vote for Choice 3, right after we do Choice 1. My guess is we will end up doing choice 3 and 2, sigh…

Actually we bought a new “finer filtration” small filter that connects between the facet and the heated hose. We are filtered and not frozen. Win, win!

Then this happened. I had read an article while Paul was driving that talked about the possibility of a propane shortage, we of course “pooh poohed” this.

We use propane for heat and hot water, some people use it for cooking. We all know how I feel about cooking… nuff said. 😉

We have electricity hookups so we have heat when we need it via an electric heater. We just need propane for hot water, for showers mostly.

Our on board tank is down to 1/4 full now. It holds 40lbs. We have a 20lb tank for our campfire and flatstone, which seems to last a really long time. Unfortunatly there isn’t a way to attach the 20lb tank to the MH so we could use it.

This campground is out of propane.

We will have to unhook everything, pull in the slide, pull up the stabilizers, stow everything for moving mode and drive out of the campground in search of a Tractor Supply store, they have propane.

It is not lost on me that we have chosen a slightly more complicated lifestyle, it’s not exactly all campfires and s’mores.

Would I change it? Not sure but as I sit here thinking about all of this, I realize how grateful I am.

In life there are trials and tribulations. These are mere hiccups in the breath of life. Inhale, exhale…

While in Georgia our son’s family has lots of fun things planned for us to do with them. Here are just a few pictures of some of the those fun times…

Today we went to the zoo! The Atlanta Zoo with our sons’s family. What a fun day that was, and we walked about 3 miles!

This campground, Twin Lakes, is really quite lovely.

The changing colors of the leaves reflected on the water are stunning.

There is a path that goes all the way around both lakes with a strip of land inbetween, which you can walk out on. Think of a big figure eight and that’s sort of what the trail is like.

We had a sleepover with the grands and took this little hike with them. It ended up being 2 miles, we had a great time exploring.

I remembered that I had an app on my phone which will identify a plant if you take a picture of it. The kids had fun taking pictures of all the different tree leaves as we went along.

This was grandpa checking out the loft bed before the sleepover.

It is certainly not lost on us that this MH is NOT big enough. It’s doable for two people, if you can get outside but four people, even small people… well, short term is best. 😉

Our Grandson took this picture of us at a playground we took them to, so nice to be out in the sunshine.

We went to a ice cream shop in Atlanta called The Yard, and these are some of the creations they make. We shared this huge brownie creation and then got to keep the glass! Yum!

We went to the Atlanta Aquarium. Pictures don’t do justice to the size of these beautiful creatures effortlessly swimming by us.

Sometimes you just have to embrace the silly or quirky…

During our stay we also went to an art museum called The High. It was named after Harriet Harwell Wilson High, she donated her family’s Peachtree Street residence to be used as the museum.

It was 4 stories of amazing art.

Each level could be viewed by going up or down these series of ramps which poured you out onto each floor. It was really quite something.

Our son’s family are members, there are lots of activities for kids and families to enjoy and share the love of art.

Of course I was thrilled to see not one but two Monets!

We also went to a drive thru a Christmas light display, with Christmas music blaring and all of us dancing in our seats we had a lot of fun.

We had a wonderful visit… sadly we are leaving but gladly moving onto warmer weather.

Florida here we come!

Our last few days on DI

10/24-10/31

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The first time we were on the island, August 2020, this pier went all the way out. When we came back the second time we saw the damage here and in other areas that the last hurriacane, Ida, had caused. It was sad to see. 10 months later only a few planks had been added but that work looked like it was at a standstill.

The lighthouse was on an island but time has erased the island to nothing more than the rock it stands on.

I guess I love the island for it’s simplicity.

The locals want to keep it that way. They run their small businesses in a love/hate relationship with the tourists. Of course they need us desperately for their livelihoods but I’m sure deep down, they wish we would leave.

I don’t know the next time we will be through this way but I pray that the locals will continue to win and keep out the box stores and changes that will make this island unremarkable.

Because DI is truly a remarkable place…

DI never disappoints

10/24-10-31

The past two times we’ve been to DI we have been engrossed with exploring the island on our bikes.

Today we went to the Estuarium.

The Estuarium is on the East end of the island, just before the Ferry launch and Fort Gaines.

We walked down this boardwalk on its’ winding path. It was enjoyable just to take this walk and see the views unfold.

Then we went into the aquarium, it was so nicely done.

I took this picture over the top of the aquarium these turtles were in, it turned out very stylized even though I did nothing to the picture.

With my phone positioned over the aquarium we think the turtles thought it was time to eat and they were literally climbing all over each other to get to what they thought I was offering!

A baby alligator and a painted turtle, both just “chillin”.

I thought the turtle was really funny how it had its legs stretched out on the rock under the warming light. It’s shell was particularly beautiful with its redish pink edges.

There was a tank on a patio outside that held these guys. Wow, this was fun! There was a sign that said we could touch them “gently with two fingers”. We watched as they swam right to us and around the tank and back again over and over.

All you had to do was put your hand in the water and the manarays swam right into and under it, giving us plenty of opportunity to touch their velvety soft skin. So amazing!

Another thing I thought was just incredible, were the seahorses. Look at all the babies!

The babies were inside a separate area, I guess to keep them safe, but it looked like the mommy was standing by with her tail wrapped around so she could keep an eye on her offspring. (Ok, I don’t know that for sure, but it’s the story I wanted to believe) lol

At any rate the babies were so tiny, about a quarter of an inch. I think there were hundreds of them in the tank, I got lucky with a few right by the adult for the picture.

Here’s a couple more guys we thought were interesting. Who knew there were underwater spiders?

Then there was this crabby guy with his glowing shell and claws.

As we were getting ready to leave, I turned and saw this large unique fish and just had to get a picture of him, he looked like he was swimming right at me!

DI continued

10/24-10/31

It’s been so perfectly warm everyday. We’ve ridden our bikes everyday.

It’s such a fun thing to realize that there isn’t anywhere on the island we can’t go on our bikes, we don’t even have to “take” them to the place we will ride, we are at the place!

On previous trips we’ve seen this tiny inlet and the pelican has always been there. We’re not sure if it’s the same one or not but we thought it probably had a nest.

This time there was an addition. We always thought the water was deep but this boy was standing as if on top of the water.

Over and over he threw a small white net. As soon as the net hit the water he pulled it up again to swing it around his head and throw it again and again.

The pelican never tired of his watching but we did… we had places to go…and a sunset to find.

As we waited, the sky put on a magical show. We were not disappointed.

Sunset was at low tide, around 6:10 or so. We weren’t sure if this standing water was because of the tide being so low or if due to the last hurricane the sand had formed a ridge and rain kept this area wet but it added such a cool effect to the sunset, as the sky was reflected in the water.

The suns’ color changed from golden to orange and red. The sky was perfectly reflected in the pond. As we watched it continued to change.

I noticed someone down the beach looking up behind us and not at the sunset at all… I turned and was blown away!

The clouds behind us were putting on their own show! They looked like swirling cotton candy, it was absolutely breathtaking!

We turned back to the sunset and it had changed yet again.

Yup a collector of sunsets…

Dauphin Island, Alabama

10/24-10/31~

On not a lot of sleep (should I add we are CB’d out for awhile) we are on our way and so excited! The view coming to and up over the bridge to the island gives me so much joy!

We commented as we saw the island unfold before us that it felt like “going home”

I loose track of time…I don’t know what day it is…

I’m up to enjoy the sunrise, how can anyone sleep when this is happening!

Pelican’s Nest is a very tiny campground, 12 spaces, almost directly in the middle of the island and across the road from the beach.

We are so happy to have the spot right next to the pool. Our patio faces the pool so no one is in front of us and we feel like we’ve won the jackpot!

As far as things to do on this 13 mile island, the biggest thing, and it costs nothing

…is to relax.

However, we did get up from laying by the pool and explore a bit. ;p

We went in search of new friends. We rode our bikes to the Bird Sanctuary and walked around, I actually found the trail on AllTrails.

We didn’t see many birds, even though they’re supposed to be migrating right now, but this guy has been around for awhile…

The path winds through the sanctuary and out onto the beach, almost to say “tada!” it was just beautiful.

It was a great walk and perfect weather, I think it was about 75 degrees… perfect.

I was going to say “I’m a collector of sunrises” but honestly, I love sunsets just as much.

What’s not to love…God’s the Master Painter!

10/21~24

10/21~Aux Arc COE, Ozark, Arkansas

You never know what you’re going to see going down the road at 60-70 miles per hours.

Yes, the water tower was collasping on crumbling legs. In contrast I found the very solid and strong looking cross comforting.

We arrived around 2pm, check in wasn’t until 4pm and check out was at 3pm. We’d decided to just drive in and see if we could park at the boat ramp until it was time to go to our site.

The office was closed, we stood around looking like we didn’t know what to do, hoping someone, preferably a camphost would come talk to us. No one came. We drove to our site. No one was there.

We decided to unhook the car and Paul backed the MH with the dolly attached right into the site. Good Job Paul! We had an extra 2 hours at our campsite which we thoroughly enjoyed, we even had a campfire and enjoyed the evening!

Now, we HAVE to make reservations online, (instead of just driving in and getting a spot) there are lots of different websites depending on whether its a COE, State Park, National Park, Private Park, KOA and you have to set up accounts online for each one. This site was reserved on recreation.gov. We are lucky if we can see one picture of the site to help us choose it and so we know what we get to look at while there. This site is a keeper! On the Ozark Lake, although it looks like a river, it’s a really nice water view.

Oddly the sites on the water side shared a central driveway with a site forking off on either side. When we pulled in we didn’t have anyone sharing our driveway and the other sites were far away. So it made for a nice peaceful evening…

Until the beggers came.

The first one was very thin and golden colored. The next one was also thin and long, black with some brown markings. Off at a distance was a white and black one. They were very cautious and polite. Once I said, “kitty, kitty, kitty” the gold one advanced, then layed down about 10 feet from us. We sat by the campfire enjoying the heat as the golden kitty closed its’ eyes, it was enjoying the heat of the fire as well.

We have a tree right next to where we’re sitting, the black and brown one eventually layed down with its’ back against the tree. A safer, warmer spot for it, I’m sure.

The white and black one never came close.

It was getting dark, I didn’t have my phone with me, so no pictures. We enjoyed their company and although we knew we shouldn’t tried to share some bits of our sandwiches with them. The gold one was much quicker, the black and brown one got a nibble.

Then we noticed they were gone.

And so the next morning were we. Goodbye Aux Arc COE.

Such a strange name I’m adding what the website had to say about the name:

“Aux Arc” is the name that orginated with French explorers when they mapped the territory. The term means “the big bend”, decribing the bend in the Arkansas River. Over time, the name was simplified to “Ozark”, thus the name for the Ozark Lake. Aux Arc Campground sits on the shores of Ozark Lake in the picturesque Arkansas River Valley.

10/22~We traveled about 245 miles and pulled into another Cracker Barrel in W. Memphis, Arkansas for the night. It’s so nice, when we park at Cracker Barrel, we know there will always be a spot large enough for our 26ft motorhome and our dolly and car which adds another 12ft. We parked and by the time we went inside for an early dinner it was 4:30.

The reason we try to travel less than 300 miles a day is because you just never know what will happen. It seems that everywhere we go, roads are torn up and being worked on. This of course causes delays, lengthening our travel day.

Then there’s the stop for gas which some days doesn’t happen at all. We are really enjoying our 55 gallon gas tank which gives us a range of 550 miles or more! But still we try to stop in the middle just to stretch our legs.

10/23~ We cheated and went into CB for breakfast. We ususally do a dinner or breakfast per stop, not both. 🙂

On the road by 9am about 220 miles and we will stop at another CB in Pearl, Mississippi for the night. Not all CB’s will let you stay overnight, that’s another thing I like about the app I use for planning, it tells you if you can stay or not.

We’ve seen several crosses on the road, this one has the crown of thorns. We were amazed at how large not only the cross but the crown must be.

10/24~ As we are leaving the Pearl, Mississippi Cracker Barrel I’m reflecting on the fact that this was the least amount of money we’ve spent camping to date. For a whole week, well 5 days, we have spend $9 for overnight camping. It would have been $18 which is still a great price for Aux Arc COE but our America the Beautiful senior pass gets us half price. (we won’t mention what we spent at CB) lol

Around 900 miles, we know the cost to “travel fast” for us is weary bones, but the pay off bought us a week on the island.

10/24~ Dauphin Island here we come!

We found this little gem of an island last year. We were going to take the travel trailer along the gulf coast stopping at all the beach campgrounds we could find. So many were closed because of covid, and what was open was booked or more than we wanted to pay.

A friend mentioned Dauphin Island, we’d never heard of it so I checked it out. We managed to get a week in August, boy was it hot! But we fell in love with this quiet little place, it’s 13 miles long.

Then we decided to come back for the month of December on our way out to Yuma, Az.

Dauphin Island holds some special memories for us, we celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary there. We also made some new friends, one, you know who you are, I’m sure will be lifelong.

We’ve been everywhere, man

10/19-10/21~ Paul and I chuckle and say this to each other every now and then because from being totally stationary for about 45 years we are now on the move across the country. We’ve seen alot, but there is so much more to see, we aren’t done yet.

We’ve crossed the country on I10 and back with our travel trailer and now I70 and I40, we have hopes of crossing again on I80 and I90 as well as taking in both the west and east coast at some point. Pretty ambitous, right? lol

I use an app called RVparky, this is our route since April and going into June of next year.

Each red balloon is a place we stopped for the night or longer.

Last year we crossed the country for the first time ever on our way to Yuma, AZ for the winter in our travel trailer. Many blogs were written about that trip. I hope you get a chance to read them, it might be easiest if you go all the way to the first one, which is the last one, lol

This year with a bit more experience and a much nicer home to travel in we are adding to what we learned last year.

Everyone travels differently. We tend to travel slow and are taking time to just … breathe.

We enjoy riding our electric assist bikes, that’s usually the reason we pick a place to stay more than one night, so we can ride our bikes. We like the occasional hike and walking around a campground, city or park. We just aren’t real big on sight seeing, that might be due to Covid, we aren’t sure.

After leaving Santa Rosa Lake State Park, which was a great bike riding park, we drove 173 or so miles to our “overnight” destination, which was the City of Hereford, TX RV park.

You are probably wondering, what’s in Hereford, TX?

It’s a free full hook up campsite on 2 lovely little lakes, actually there are 5 sites. Here’s a couple pictures.

We were able to pull into the site sideways, hookup to water, electric and sewer without unhooking our car from the dolly. Score! 🙂

We got parked, hooked everything up, had a bite to eat and took a walk around the lake. After sitting at a picnic table and enjoying the sunset we called it a day.

10/20~ It’s a long travel day for us, we plan on driving around 348 miles, we usually drive around 60 miles per hour, (better gas mileage) it will be about 6-7 hours of driving.

Our accomadations for tonight will be at a Cracker Barrel. If you are driving all day, don’t want to deal with hooking up and need a great hot meal. CB is your bet, behind every Cracker Barrel are usually about 3-8 RV parking spots, where you can park for free for the night.

After a good breakfast with great company and a wonderful fireplace, we headed towards our nexts night stay.

On the road by 8am we are on our way to Cadillac Ranch on Route 66.

We are passing mile after mile of flat land where cotton looks like it’s about harvest time, it almost looks like snow! (sorry I said that 4 letter word) ;p

We had hopes of catching all the quirky stuff on Route 66, but we didn’t start where the road starts in Chicago, so it was pretty hit or miss.

Cadillac Ranch is in Amarillo, Texas. I took these pictures with the sun so they didn’t turn out but the pictures everyone sees in media come from professional photographers I’m sure.

Just like the picture on the side of this trailer, which sold $6 can’s of paint so you could leave your mark.

Cadillac Ranch was invented and built by a group of art-hippies imported from San Francisco. They called themselves The Art Farm, and their silent partner was Amarillo billionaire Standley Marsh 3. He wanted a piece of public art that would baffle the locals, and the hippies came up with a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin.

Ten Caddies were driven into one of Stanley Marshs’ fields, then half-buried, nose down, in the dirt (supposedly at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza). They faced west in a line, from the 1949 Club Sedan to the 1963 Sedan de Ville, their tail fins held high for all to see on the empty Texas panhandle.

That was in 1974. People would stop along the highway, walk out to view the cars–then deface them or rip off pieces as souvenirs. Standley and The Ant Farm were tolerant of this public deconstruction of their art–although it doomed the tail fins–and eventually came to encourage it by allowing people to “leave their mark” on the caddy’s with spray paint.

This article goes on quite a bit further. Blah, blah, blah…

We parked our MH along the side of the road, just a car or two were there. We walked out into the field, past the truck and trailer who were capitalizing on this so called landmark. The sun was in our eyes so the colors were not visible. Taking a picture of the truck and trailer was my way of showing what this once was.

I guess my pictures show what it is today. Demolished and diminished. Probably being held together by layer after layer of paint.

When we got back to the MH there were at least twenty car’s and MH’s parked to view this “iconic” piece of America.

At this point I have to say, we are disappointed by the “Old Route 66” drive. So much of what “was” has been distroyed. Sure, there’s Winslow and a couple other places in the west but most “iconic pieces of America’s route 66 history” I think are seen from Chicago thru St. Louis. We didn’t feel the need to say “we drove the Old Route 66 from start to finish”

But who knows, as we cross the country many times in the future, we might cross Old Route 66 and see something we hadn’t seen before…isn’t that what travel is about?

Santa Rosa Lake State Park

10/16-10/19~Our favorite places to camp are state parks and COE’s and if the two are combined it’s even better. 🙂

We were here for 3 days and except for some extreme winds (but not the worst we’ve endured) it was a beautiful stay.

The road into the park was really long and went by a dam, Lake Santa Rosa was low but still beautiful.

We rode our bikes several times, it was easy to go 5 miles on well paved roads with no cars.

On the second day I was treated to a beautiful sunrise and a visitor…

On our last full day we took in the 3 mile round trip hike along the shoreline.

We passed other hikers who didn’t seem to be working as hard as us. We later learned if we had started at the opposite end of the trail it would have been mostly downhill.

We enjoyed the hike, although at the 439ft gain Paul said that would be like climbing stairs in a 44 story building! Good grief, no wonder we we’re tired!

We didn’t make the 3 miles, although if we had turned around and gone back, it would have been almost all down hill. lol

It was perfect weather for a hike. Later I made smash potatoes and sausage on the blackstone and we sat in the sun and read.

It just doesn’t get any better than this… or maybe it does.

Below is a picture of my planning app, we are actually at number 29 and in 5 days will be at number 35.

Leave your guess of where we are headed in the comments! 🙂