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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Days Ahead Look Brighter

We had my Dad stay with us for over a month while he recuperated from his heart attack.  He got better with good progress every day.  Even though he enjoyed being here, he wanted to go home to his house, so with coordinating things with my brothers and sister, we shuttled him home to NJ, meeting one of my brothers halfway there in Virginia.  He is home now with the family keeping a close eye on him with several regular visits a week.

While he was here, we did a lot of little things to get him out of the house each day and some larger things like a visit to Charleston.  Dad had never been there, so it was a treat for him to see the city in person.  Because he is not able to walk long distances, I bought a wheelchair and pushed him around.


He enjoyed the sights and sounds of Charleston, like the market with all the items for sale there.



Then we took a horse drawn trolley tour around the city.





It was a good day with great memories.

In the mean time, I have been doing a bit of volunteer work of a slightly different kind.  I've been helping hour a few hours each week at the USO at the Columbia airport.  I've been enjoying serving all the military folks and their families as they pass thought the airport on their way to and from assignments.


It's amazing how many businesses support the USO mission to serve the troops.  The donations are something to see, like Coca Cola donates all the soft drinks and the cooler to keep them in.


Starbucks donates the coffee and tea.


Stores in the airport donate snacks.


The USO has tables and chairs for the service members to sit and relax at as well as computers and TV's to use.



Located on one wall is a display showing the airline flight information.


The USO has about 150 volunteers staffing the center 7 days a week. form 8am to 9pm.  In 2016, this USO handled more that 130,000 service members and their families.  The volunteers work three hour shifts with three volunteers per shift. 

It's been very rewarding to be a part of the USO team.  I've been enjoying the time, interacting with the service members of all branches.  The thing I enjoy the most is being able to volunteer on something that doesn't require the use of a paintbrush!  :cD

Now we're getting ready to head out in the Journey the last week of May to California to visit our granddaughters that live there.  It's been a long time since we've been out that way so we're looking forward to the trip.

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Grounded For Who Knows How Long

Plans are made and plans are changed.  Sometimes they even go awry.  That has just happened to us.

We've been looking forward to a trip to California to visit our four granddaughters who live there with their parents (our Coast Guard son is stationed in Oakland).  May and June looked to be a good time for us to "pull chocks" on the Journey and head west.  Later this summer, more trips to New Jersey and Pennsylvania for some family reunions were planned .

Then things changed, my 95 year old dad suffered two heart attacks and two hospital stays in two months.  He survived them both but has now needed some hands on care, my siblings in New Jersey (where they all live) took care of the immediate issues but now we have some long term responsibilities to take care of.

My dad has lost some cognitive abilities and developed short term memory issues as well as trouble walking even short distances.  We thought it best to bring him here to our home base in South Carolina to allow him to rest and recuperate at least for a month or two (or more) to see how much he bounces back.  Things may go well and he will be able to return to his house in NJ or need to move in with us. We built the home base for just that eventuality.

For the foreseeable future we are holding up any travel plans while he is with us, it is best for us to have him here because we can give him the around the clock attention as he may need because we're both retired, all my brothers and sister in NJ are still working.  We all talked it over and decided this is the best thing for now.

So for now we're holding our breath and seeing how it goes day by day.  My dad is happy, resting, eating and enjoying great love stories on the Hallmark Channel.  At 95 years of age, it is amazing that he can do what he can do.  If we can just convince him that he isn't 18 anymore...   ;c)



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Monday, February 27, 2017

Nice Military Campgrounds

We "Pulled Chocks" and headed out of Key West for the trip to Home Base.  No more PDD driving days, we took it easy and broke the trip up into five days.  Maybe we're finally slowing down in our RV travels.  Although the Journey seemed to want to keep on going after we stopped each time.  It's been a wonderful rig and has served us well with only minor issues for almost ten years.

The first stop was at a civilian RV resort in Okeechobee, FL.  Silver Palms RV resort.  When we booked the reservation, the first thing they asked was the age of the motorhome, a first for us.  No rigs allowed over ten years.  Hmm.

As we got closer and closer, we passed a lot of RV "resorts" that looked like either sardines packed in a can or an elephant graveyard, the campers were so old and decrepit.  We were getting a little worried as we paid near Disney Fort Wilderness prices for our two night stay.  Thankfully, it turned out just fine, a beautiful place with rental lots as well as deeded lots.

We were led to our site by an employee who said he'd help me back in.  I thanked him, but told him I only back into sites with Marti's directions.  He seemed a little taken aback, but said okay.  We unhooked the car and Marti guided me in to the site with a group of people in the next site watching with interest, maybe expecting some backing disaster.  We slide the Journey into place as slick as usual with the hand signals we always use.  When Marti gave me the "Stop" signal, the watchers broke into applause, to which Marti took a bow.   I guess we amused them anyway.

Of course, it rained cats and dogs for the duration of our stay, so we didn't get a chance to use any of the amenities, including the hot tub (Sniff!).  No worries, we had  two more nice campgrounds ahead, both on military bases.

Cocoa Beach, FL is home to the Patrick AFB, and we got an amazing site right on the beach.



It was tough watching the sundown from our front door.


Next stop was the Navy Base at Jacksonville, FL.  There are two campgrounds there, one on the ocean side and one back in the woods called Osprey Cove, which is where we stayed.  Again a beautiful place.


While there, we visited with my very good friend Ron and his wife Amy.  Ron was my partner during my Coast Guard special agent days and we had many amazing experiences together.  It was great to see them and they picked our brains about full time RV life, seems they have bought a 37 foot motorhome and are putting their house on the market in April.  I guess we're bad influences... 😁😁

We're finally back at home base for a couple of weeks, then a week to the COE to help with some ranger training.  After that, we're getting set for about a two month trip to California to visit our four granddaughters that live outside of San Francisco.  I'm foreseeing a visit to Disneyland with them.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.




  

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Disney Ding And Off To Key West

There are all kinds of souvenirs one can get at Disney World.  I got a unique one that I wish I had been able to pass on.

The kids and grands had left, we had one extra day to catch our breath and then we pulled out to head to Key West.  I was pulling out of a really tight spot from the Fort Wilderness campground loop, being very careful not to hit a tree on my left and inching past a fence on the right, watching the side of the Journey.  I knew I cleared everything.  As I straightened out on the road I saw in my mirror something fly out from the side of the motorhome and land on the road.  I stopped and walked back and picked up this:

 
It was the cover to the water heater.  It must have gotten caught on a nail sticking out of the fence that I couldn't see as I inched by.  It was a miracle that there was no contact to the fiberglass side of the Journey.


Not much I can do to straighten it out, but until I can order a new one, it will still work to keep the bugs out of the water heater.


We took two days to leisurely drive down to Key West.  We enjoyed the views and the clear blue water.



We pulled in to the campground on Key West.  Right on Key West the Navy runs a campground for active, reserve and retired military and DOD civilians.  Right on Key West.  Sweet!


There is a rotation system in place based on a two week schedule.  You go to the dry camping area for two weeks and then rotate into the FHU's for two weeks.  If you stay long enough, you then rotate back to dry camping and so on.  Many people here stay the whole winter.  You see some solar panels and lots of little generators to supply power during generator hours.  We used our on board genny quite a bit to cool the Journey down for the night non generator hours.

We brought with us our "Tadpoles", our two Honda 50cc scooters.  We had a great time buzzing around downtown Key West.


We sampled some great food and fun coconut filled punch drinks.



Lots of chickens running around waiting to scarf up any crumbs you might drop from you meals.


As you walk around downtown Key West, you never know who you might meet up with.


Lots of stores selling a variety of trinkets and souvenirs, and one very dangerous store.  Beware!


There are all kinds of RVs here, big and small, fancy and plain.  Even tents.  Why do people flock here?  Maybe for some of these views.



Not too shabby!


Tomorrow we have to "pull chocks" and start our way up to home base.  We have a pretty long driving day ahead, around 275 miles to an RV resort for a two day stay...with full hook ups.  Good thing, I'm almost out of clean skivvies!  :cD

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Best Day Ever!

Actually, every day we spent with our Jersey granddaughters at Disney World was the best day ever.  Their mom, Amanda spent a lot of preparation time getting special things ready for the girls, like these Anna and Elsa dresses.


Not to mention a special T-shirt for dad, Corey.


The girls met lots of Disney characters and princesses.  Lizzie wasn't too sure of them sometimes and was a little shy.


But Mimi Marti knew the secret to cheering her up.


The girls loved the Animal Kingdom.  They got to see lots of wild animals up close,



 including this cheetah.


At Animal Kingdom they have a program teaching children about the wonders of nature.  It's never too early to learn about loving and protecting animals and their habitats.



A few times they got to take a break and do important things, like playing in the water at EPCOT.


Then the girls got to see ocean fish and mammals up close in the Seas aquarium, the second largest in the United States.


At the end of every day, the girls were tired and went right to bed.  Nice to know we tired them out as much as they tired us out.


It was a wonderful week that went by too fast.  How do we know that they enjoyed it?  This picture melted our hearts.


Can't wait to do Disney World with them again!

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Off To Disney World

The time finally came, we got the Journey out of our storage lot and hit the road.  It felt good to be rolling again.  We took our time traveling, no PDD this trip.  Even though we could make it there in one day, we broke it up and did it in three days.  Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

One reason why we wanted to take our time was to get the Journey's oil changed and chassis lubricated.  I knew of a Speedco along the way in Brunswick, GA, so that's where we headed.


I like the Speedco shops, they have them all around the country and you just drive up, no appointment needed.  It took about an hour, start to finish for the service.  They also do generator service but I had already taken care of that myself.


We overnighted twice on the trip at Flying J's.  I use their fuel stations and enjoy the free bennie they offer for overnighting.


We finally saw the sign of our favorite campground of all the campgrounds we've stayed at.


We registered and got all set up in our site, number 214.  We also rented a golf cart from Disney for the week.


The next afternoon we waited impatiently for the bus carrying our son Corey, DIL Amanda and our two Jersey granddaughters, Anabelle and Lizzie.  Finally it came.


They flew in from NJ and Disney provides a free bus service to and from the airport, as well as handling their luggage.  Nice service.

First things first, they were starved so we headed to the campground's Trails End Buffet.  Lizzie was ready to eat.


Lizzie enjoyed her meal as well as her desert.


Anabelle was too busy eating her dessert to even pause a moment for a picture.


Next post:  "The Best Day Ever!"


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