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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Social Butterflies

We've discovered there are two parts to fulltime RV travel, both equally interesting and fun.  One part is the travel itself, the beautiful scenery, the fascinating places to visit, the weather, the food.

The other is the people you meet.  Fellow RVers, fellow bloggers, all sharing the lifestyle with one another.

Since we've been here in Pensacola, Florida, we've had the pleasure of meeting three wonderful RV couples, and enjoyed great meals with them.

The first was Chuck and Anneke.  A great lunch and great conversation.  Can it get any better than that?


Well, it did get better.  The next day, we had another great lunch with fellow RV bloggers Paul and Mary...and Chuck and Anneke.  More fun, laughter and great conversation.  The food was quite tasty, too.


Just when we thought there were not any other RV bloggers left to meet, we met Elaine and Rick, Canadians, even (Eh!) and had another several hours long meal full of fun, laughter and shared stories.


Fortunately I had time to take a break with all this socializing and see another great museum (sans Marti).  But that's for the next post.


Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Bucks In The Belfry

Another day, another chance to meet blogging friends.  Today, we met some special full time RVers, special, because they are a retired Coast Guard family and they drive an almost identical motorhome like ours.  Must be the Coast Guard DNA.  ;c)



We're in Pensacola, Florida and we were invited to lunch with Chuck and Anneke, from  the Goldenshoe RV Trip blog.


They choose a great Irish Pub for our meet-n-meal.  It was hard to miss (even for me) because they have this parked in front.


Their motto?


It was a great meal, Marti had the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage.  (The lighting inside is red, which made for interesting photos).


All over the ceiling are tacked dollar bills.  They started hanging the bills in 1977 when the restaurant opened.  The first dollar tip was hung up and people have been hanging dollars up there ever since.  The waiter said the current value of the bills is $1.2 million!  They know that because they have to count every bill annually for tax purposes with the IRS.



Try to grab one of these bills and you'll be answering to this guy:


It was a great time with Chuck and Anneke, who have been fulltiming for over five years now.  Marti and I sat there like sponges, trying to absorb all the great tips, places to go and stories they shared with us.  Not only was it great to meet them in person, but we enjoyed all the information they freely shared with us.  Yep, the bucket list just got longer.

On our way back to the campground after lunch, we came across these pelicans in downtown Pensacola, each one decorated with the colors of one of the U.S. military branches.  I really liked this one and thought it would look great on the roof of the Journey.  ;c)


Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Blue Angels Campground, Pensacola

Once again, we've made a trek to a military FamCamp, this time it's the Blue Angels Campground in Pensacola, Florida.  It is located right on the bay.


The campground is located at a former World War II seaplane base.


There are two areas in the campground, one is modern with 50 amp FHU sites, called Battleship Row.  The other campground is older, with 30 amp water and electric sites, and a dump station, called Pirates Cove.  It is nicely wooded, with large sites.


There is a small beach, when we went, it was terribly crowded.


The local residents watched us walk on the sand.


There is a miniature golf course with all the holes built with a military theme.


And for all you Navy guys that make fun of us Coasties, calling us "Shallow Water Sailors", here is a picture of one of the U.S. Navy's finest sea going vessels.


Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


Friday, February 24, 2012

The Secret Revealed

This is the secret:


Here is a picture of the previously referred to redheads:


And the person responsible for it all?  None other than that lovely lady with the great blog Travels with Emma, Judy Bell.


We've enjoyed Judy's blog for quite a while now and enjoyed getting to know her through back and forth comments.  As we were posting our travel plans to Pensacola, Florida, she touched base with us and invited us to visit her at the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge where she is a volunteer.  She had a nice site for us for the night.


Now here is where it gets a little complicated, so stay with me.  A while back, in one of our blogging comment conversations, I volunteered to wash and wax Judy's motorhome one day in the future.  Being we only had one night to visit and we had to get on the road the next day, I knew I wouldn't have the time to take care of it.  So to soothe any disappointment she might have on my failure to be able to deliver this time, Marti and I bought her some flowers and took her out to dinner.

Judy had posted on her blog that she had received flowers and was taken out to dinner without revealing any details, arousing curiosity of her readers.  Not to let the cat out of the bag for her, we kept quiet about the "secret" until she put the details up on her blog.

We had a great dinner with her and early the next morning, before we had to leave, she took us out into the refuge to look for the rare Mississippi Sandhill Cranes.


  We did good, we saw 23 of them!

As we drew near,  groups of the cranes took off and flew around, it was thrilling to see them.


As a bonus, we got to see a bald eagle nest with a baby eagle in it, and one of its parents nearby watching over it.


Sorry the picture is so poor, I couldn't zoom in any closer. :c(

All too soon, we were back at the Visitor Center, where we enjoyed the displays and a short film on the efforts to prevent the extinction of these rare and beautiful birds.


It is amazing to see the effort put in by so many people at the refuge, the scientists, biologists and of course the dedicated volunteers who, without them, the refuge couldn't run.

Thanks Judy for a great time, a great tour and the wash-n-wax offer still stands, we'll be back when we have more time.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

I've Got A Secret

What did we do yesterday?  Rest assured, no bail money is needed.  If we tell you, it might ruin things for somebody else.  We wouldn't want to do that...right?

We're in Pensacola, Florida at the Blue Angels FamCamp for the next seven days.  We are on the wooded side (of two areas, the other is closer to the water) and for the first time in months, we had to drag out the portable satellite dish to get a TV signal, Marti has to have her American Idol.  I like that show like she likes museums, it's enough to make me want to go shopping.  :cO

A little problem has developed on the Element, yesterday at a fuel stop I did my routine starting of its engine to circulate the transmission fluid, I noticed a drip coming from it.  Yep, antifreeze.  Looking closely, it appears the radiator is leaking.  I picked up some stop leak at the store and put it in and topped off the antifreeze level.  So far, it appears to have stopped the leak until I can get it to a Honda dealer.  The nearest one is over 50 miles away.  We'll keep an eye on it and carry some extra antifreeze with us until we get to South Carolina.  I've been a stickler for maintenance and before we hit the road I had the radiator hoses and the water pump replaced.  Sometimes, you can't win.

So tomorrow we'll reveal why we're being so secretive. A hint:  It has to do with a red head (and it's not Marti).  Stay tuned, it'll be fun.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Escapees Headquarters And CARE Center


 A few views of the Escapees Headquarters in Livingston, Texas.


The campground office. Be forewarned, they give you hugs checking in and checking out.


Our site, typical of the campground sites, gravel, level and outlined with foot high PVC pipe.  Sites include metered electric.  We used about $2.30 of electric a day.  Of course, it would be much more in July, running your A/C.  We didn't use the restrooms or showers.  WiFi is available for a reasonable fee.


The National Headquarters building.  We were not there when they were giving tours. :c(


The Clubhouse 


The Activities Center, with a pool (but no hot tub!)



The dry camping area, where you can dry camp for $5 a day for up to 21 days.  They are not too picky with the age or type of RV you have.


The deeded lot area.  All kinds of structures are on the deeded lots, from the simple, to units with covered ports and small rooms,


to full houses.  We saw four or five that were for sale.


The CARE center building.


Across the street from the CARE center building are the lots where the residents using the CARE center live in their own RVs. (We didn't take any pictures of the inside of the building out of respect for the privacy of the people inside).

Marti here:

The CARE center, as you may know, is an Adult Day Care center.  Meaning they provide day services only, nothing overnight.  As Paul mentioned, there are about a dozen sites across the road from the center, for those that use it, allowing them to sleep in their own RV bed at night.  


The building is a good size, the offices are on the left and on the right is a huge dining room.  This doubles as a large activity room.  We were welcomed by a smiling volunteer, who gave us an impromptu tour of the facility.   Typically, tours are given Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays - but because this was a holiday Monday, the regular "tour guide" aka Activity Director, was off for the day.  

The atmosphere was calm, relaxed and the clients were happy.  There was a couple celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, and another gentleman napping in a lounge chair in the dining room, that was gaily decorated for Mardi Gras.  

They offer three meals a day - breakfast is continental (cereal, pastry), lunch is large hot meal and dinner is a light meal - ie: soup and sandwiches.  There is a nurse on duty five days a week (RN on M,W,F and LPN on T, Th), as well as doctors who will come to the facility if needed.  

At the end of the hall, there is a large room - a group of folks were there playing BINGO. There was also a "living room" area with couches and a TV, as well as an area set up for entertainment/church, a library and reading area.  Overall, this is a great set up, well laid out and roomy..  

Volunteers are a critical component, as there are minimal staff members on the payroll. (By the way, they need volunteers in the summer months!)  There is also a fenced in garden area, making it safe for wanderers.  They provide transportation to doctor visits, as well as trips shopping and for special entertainment/shows.  The clients are also able to participate in any activities that are offered at the campground. 

 The cost is a flat fee - ~$850 for singles and ~$1250 for couples per month.  There is a local home health agency for folks that are ill, and can't leave their home.  (This would be for an acute, short term illness)  Locally, there is a hospital, three Nursing/rehab centers, and an Assisted Living facility. 

 Overall, this is an excellent option for folks that really shouldn't be alone all day, or need assistance with meals etc.  The clients need to be independent with eating, toileting etc, as is with most adult day care centers.  Paul was impressed with the cleanliness,  the nice atmosphere of the building, and it is obviously well maintained. The furnishings, carpet etc were, if not new, in excellent condition.  

What a wonderful option for RVers no longer able to travel, yet want to continue to live in their RV... and what a great opportunity to give back, by volunteering with folks that you already have a common bond with! 

For more information on Escapees CARE, click here.  If you have further questions, email Marti at rsanity.dahl@gmail.com.


Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Here We Go Again

If you missed us yesterday looking for a post, it wasn't there.  We were at the Escapees Headquarters and RV Park and we couldn't connect to the Internet with our Verizon MiFi.  Our computers would not work at all, after multiple attempts.  It has been very frustrating.

We left this morning and drove 169 miles to Louisiana and stopped for the night at another Passport America Park.  They offer free WiFi and it seems to be better than our Verizon signal.  Still, neither signal is strong enough to upload photos to Blogger.  Bummer.

We took quite a few pictures of the Escapees Headquarters and when we get a good signal, we'll do a post about it and the CARE adult daycare facility.  Marti will give her impressions about it, coming from her long term care background she sees things in a different light (and her impressions are good).

Tomorrow we're heading towards the Florida panhandle, hopefully we make it all the way to the FamCamp at the Navy base in Pensacola.  We need to soak our toes in some salt water for a couple of days.  Maybe even chase down a pelican or two for an attempt at a picture.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Not Lovin' Holidays

Who'd of thunk it?  During our working lives we lived for holidays, being able to get out of the old salt mine, kick back and relax.  Doing something fun.  The big score was three day holidays when you could really work hard at having fun for extra days. 

Now that we're retired, every day is a holiday.  No stress, no work, no more salt mines.  This is a great way to live.  Except when holidays roll around.

Now there's that old saying about best laid plans of men often go astray.  Well, it's really true for us.  Especially when it comes for our mail forwarding.

We get mail from our mail forwarder in South Dakota twice a month, they ship it out on the 15th and 30th of each month to whatever address we desire.  We planned to have our mail shipped to the post office here in Livingston, Texas and timed our travel so we'd be here for the weekend and then pick up our mail on Monday as we head out to our next destination.



Except Monday is a holiday and the post office is closed.  Presidents Day.  So we're here for an extra day and we'll get the mail on Tuesday.  Not that it's a big deal, but this is the second time in our first three months on the road we been hung up by a holiday waiting for our mail.

Now we're going through the calender and circling all the holidays, not to make plans, but to make sure they don't get in our way.


It's a tough life, being retired, but somebody has got to do it.  And we're glad that "somebody" is us!  ;c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Everything IS Bigger In Texas

It was our last night at Lackland FamCamp and the heavens opened up, just as we went to bed.  Not only did the rain pounding on the Journey's roof make us feel like we were inside a snare drum on parade, but the thunder and lightning probably the worst I had every heard.  Everything is bigger  in Texas, including storms.  The storm parked right on top of us and gave us its very best, but I wasn't worried.

After all, I had my surge protector on my electrical line and we were sitting on top of six large, rubber tires.  No sweat. We were safe.

Then I remembered the four steel leveling jacks, attached to the frame and pushing hard into the ground.

All of a sudden, I had a different thought on my mind.


I began to think I might have to find a better place to stay.


Fortunately, lightning didn't strike twice, or even once.

This morning, we left, once again wandering lost around another air force base trying to find the exit.  These bases are huge!

We did a long drive to get to the Escapees Headquarters and Campground in Livingston, Texas.  Of course, it was raining on and off the whole way.  At least there was no thunder and lightning.  We'll be here a couple of days seeing the campground and all the CARE facility.  Hopefully, we don't get hugged to death.  Stay tuned.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.