Saturday, December 31, 2011

What a Christmas Trip


Back in Florida after quite the trip.  Here are pictures of of Gary’s Mom and Leeanne’s Mom and Sisters.  It was great to see family and friends and celebrate Christmas.  On the other hand, the trip totaled 3,200 miles, 14 nights in 5 different motels, and a traveling kitty who was so confused that she was bouncing off the walls almost every night.  And we were chasing to many appointments with doctors, dentists and others.  We still mainly to date have viewed Detroit as “home” even though we became residents of Texas and have been traveling the country.  But on this trip we were really looking to get “home” and this time home was the motor home.

100_0980The weather in the midwest was relatively mild, but it really is nice to be back in sunshine and 75 degrees.  But we will always cherish our moments with family.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Away in a Manger, No Crib for a CAT?

On the way to visit Gary’s mother we drove by a church with a manger scene out front.  Something didn’t appear quite right.  Seems the neighborhood stray cat had taken over for the Baby Jesus.  And this was the second time we had driven by there and the same cat was there both times.  Not sure what the kitty did with Baby Jesus.  Hopefully, they just weren’t planning to put him in there until Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What is that WHITE STUFF and why is it on our RENTAL car?


After arriving in Indiana, this past Saturday we went out in the morning and were greeted to this light coating on our car.  Not that it is surprising at this time of the year, but after having spent a very warm month in Florida it was a rude awakening.

And the rental car, well that is a long story.  It seems Gary lost track of when the Boone family Christmas would be held.  He was thinking Sunday even though he had been told it would be on Saturday.  In his defense, it was all discussed during Andy’s wedding and that may have been a time when he was thinking about quite a few other things.  So instead of three driving days of about 400 miles each, the trip north had to be changed to one of 400 the first day and 800 the second (our first day was already locked in and couldn’t be changed).  And from the very beginning the noise from the rear end of the car seemed a little louder than usual, but we wrote that off to the fact that the cheaper set of tires had been rotated to the back just before we left.  But when the hum kept becoming a little louder, it seemed there might be another explanation.  For awhile, an exhaust system leak seemed like a potential answer, but that wasn’t it either.  In Kentucky, the hum became a bit more like a roar, but you couldn’t hear it at low speeds, only at road speed.   We risked it for awhile and finally made the decision that if we could get to Indianapolis we would drop the car at a dealership and proceed on in a rental car.  We were able to get that far and carry out that plan, transferring almost everything with us from car to car, including the cat, who proceeded to escape into the parking lot for awhile during the process.  A day of driving that started with us getting up at 5:30 AM finally arrived with us arriving at our motel at 11:30 PM.

The car was repaired on Saturday.  It was a rear wheel bearing going bad.  And after our gathering, we returned back to Indianapolis and picked it up and turned in the rental car. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas at the RV Park



It seems a lot of people at the RV park will be traveling during the holidays so the park had an early Christmas pot luck dinner last night.  As this is an ownership park and a lot of the owners have small dwelling other than their RV’s, the park is far more decorated than one would expect at a campground.  The Christmas tree in the clubhouse was especially pretty.  One couple has tons of decorations in their yard and had a lighting party.





Our holiday party included an element of charity as well.  The Marine Corps in the Space Coast area was this year’s sponsor for Toys for Tots.  Here is our Marine representative and who attended our dinner.





It was quite the haul for Toys for Tots. The residents and guests of the park were very generous with their gifts.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Baking in the Motor Home

Just because we are living out of a motor home, doesn’t mean Leeanne isn’t going to bake 2011-12-09_13-35-37_64Christmas cookies, and bake Christmas cookies, and bake Christmas cookies.  She is up to 16 varieties.  She says she is done, but I am still counting.

Baking has been a bit of a challenge as she is now using a convection oven rather than gas oven and for some recipes temperature and time adjustments are necessary.  And the temperature settings of the oven proved not to be accurate either.  But she has it down.  I have sampled every batch and they are yummy!

After three tries, she also now has perfected a scaled d2011-12-09_13-35-01_254own Boone-family  pound cake recipe in the North Carolina pottery cake pan.  We tried it out on some of the neighbors here at the park and it was a crowd pleaser.  She will bake one this week to take north for the Boone family Christmas.


We are heading north on Thursday in the car.  We will take three days to make the 1,100 mile trip to northern Indiana.  Then will be on to Detroit and Columbus, Ohio.  We have been watching the weather.  It’s going to be quite the shock to go from daily 70’s to lows that have been in the 20’s.  We’ll have to dig out the winter coats, hats, and gloves out of the basement of the motor home.  Alley has already grown her winter coat.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Day At The Beach–Ooooooops!

100_0930Yesterday we decided that we should explore the local area a bit more and make our first trip from our RV park out to the ocean and the beach.  We drove out on to Cape Canaveral and went to visit the Canaveral National Seashore.  We went all the way out to where the access road ends and planned to explore our way back.  We parked and went on the stairway over the dune and right there at the end of the walkway was quite the surprise.  As we walked on down the beach there was a couple sunbathing au naturel.  And as we continued on we saw that a man was walking toward us wearing just a t-shirt.  There was a stream of people on down the beach that in all likelihood were fully enjoying the sunshine as well  Exit u-turn and off to another area of the beach.   We had to snap one picture.  Shouldn’t this one have been wearing some clothing?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Simple Pleasures


These days we have been enjoying the warm weather of Florida, getting back into a regular exercise routine through the morning exercise tape at the park clubhouse, getting to know our many nice neighbors at the RV park, playing a little golf, and enjoying a great simple pleasure each morning – fresh squeezed Florida orange juice.  There aren’t many things we have needed so far that we didn’t pack in the motor home, but a juice squeezer is one of them.  And I am not sure we even had one in our home in Michigan.   Ah, it sure does taste great!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rocket Launch

For years I have been watching the NASA website to try and figure out when we could be in Florida for a shuttle launch.  Well, that never worked out, but today we did luckily get to see the launch of the Mars rover mission.

We went over to a city park near the intercoastal waterway and there was a wildlife observation tower.  And as it turned out it was a great rocket launch observation tower as well.

Here is your NASA rocket scientist too.







Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

We didn’t go north for Thanksgiving as we were recently back for Natasha and Andy’s wedding and will go back at Christmas time.  I planned to make a Thanksgiving dinner in the motor home.  I purchased a turkey breast to roast and had a traditional menu planned, but when we arrived at the RV park we were informed there would be a Thanksgiving pot luck at the club house.  So we left the turkey breast for another day and joined the party.  And we figured it would be a good way to meet some more of the people of the park.  It was a very nice gathering of 40 people or so with tons of great food.
We took our very best pot luck dishes.  We had seen people with these at pot lucks at other campgrounds so we purchased a couple before we set out for full timing.  And we were far from the only ones who had the sectioned trays.  They do work well to sample a lot of different items without them all running together.
I made a Boone family recipe specialty to take – a sugar cream pie.   It was yummy if I say so myself.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Titusville, Florida -- Our Winter Destination

We reserved a spot in a Florida RV park for the winter.  We had debated whether to travel around Florida staying a month each in four different spots or just spending the whole four-month period in one spot.  As we had been to many different places in Florida over the years, we didn’t feel like we needed to travel about to see it again so we picked just one spot.  Gary had communicated in an online forum about a skid plate to go under the engine in our motor home.  Come to find out, that same person had two lots in an RV park in Titusville, near Cape Canaveral, exactly the area we had been thinking about for our stay.

We weren’t scheduled to arrive here until December 1, but while we were in Jacksonville we were looking for one more park to stay in, but it seemed a lot of parks were booked up for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  We knew the lot we would be staying in was empty, so we called and arranged an earlier arrival.  Maybe we will leave a bit earlier in March too, although that will be Spring Training time for baseball here in Florida.

Here is a link for our park:

And here is a picture of our site – check out that palm tree:


Tuesday, November 22, 2011


From Savannah, we moved south again, this time into very northern Florida to the city of Jacksonville.  We didn’t find a whole lot to do but fairly close to us was an Anheuser Busch brewery so we took the tour.  While we were waiting for our tour, people kept arriving at the tour center that seemed to be known by the receptionist and were headed to the gift shop.  As the receptionist knew them, we figured they must have been employees, but why were they all headed to the gift shop?  At the end of our tour there was a hospitality center where you could taste some of the Anheuser Busch products – and there were all of the “gift shoppers”.  Seems you can just show up, say you are going to the gift shop and head to the hospitality center for up to two free beers a day no questions asked.   It was like happy hour at Cheers with Norm, Cliffy, Frazier and all the other regulars.

We stayed at a campground that at times was in the flight path of the city’s airport.  It was noisy but it wasn’t too bad.  Also housed at the same airport was a Florida Air National Guard unit.  Believe me; you know it when four straight F15 fighter jets blast over the top of your RV.  Wow, those things are loud.    We won’t camp there again.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ghost Tour

100_0786It seems many cities on their list of attractions offer ghost tours.  Well, Savannah finally got us to take one.  The American Institute of Parapsychology named Savannah as America’s most haunted city. That was good enough for us and off we went to the first graveyard..  Savannah’s haunting is a function of its many war dead, poor burials of slaves in that era, major outbreaks of yellow fever with many possible instances of people being buried alive, and numerous other frightful events.

This home is reportedly haunted by the ghost of a young girl who was beaten and then tied up in a chair and left to die from the heat of the afternoon sun shining through the window upon her.

100_0832This was the home of antique dealer Jim Williams who was the central character of the book and Clint Eastwood directed movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”.  He was tried four times and was ultimately acquitted of the murder of his gay lover.  He died six months later of pneumonia and heart failure,but possibly through poisoning by the voodoo priestess, Minerva.
The Old Chandler Hospital may be the most haunted place in Savannah.  It has seen much misery and death.  In 1876 at the height of a yellow fever epidemic, 276 people died here in a 48 hour period.  It was also used as an insane asylum.

On the grounds of the Old Chandler Hospital is “The Hanging Tree”, the reported scene of 35 hangings including those of Union Soldiers infirmed at the hospital who chose death by hanging over starvation.  Look at all the paranormal activity around that tree, or maybe is was the raindrops falling at the time.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hilton Head, SC

We took a day trip to Hilton Head as long as we were in the Savannah area.  It seems a lot like Kiawah Island that we toured near Charleston, but Hilton Head is somewhat larger and is more developed.  Both have lots of golf courses, beach, and bike trails (but we didn’t take our bikes this day).  We preferred Kiawah a bit, but it is not like we are ever going to afford either one.  Here is the iconic picture from all the golf tournaments at Hilton Head.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Savannah, Georgia

Wow, another great city. Savannah and Charleston seem to have a lot in common. Both have history through the Revolutionary and Civil Wars with many restored buildings. Both are major seaports via their rivers (and both are fighting to cash in on the expansion of the Panama Canal).

We are pretty good at finding walking tours to follow so we don’t have to pay for guided tours and we are not intimidated with public transportation. We explored Savannah by foot, bus, and ferry.

Deep Fried Butter?

We’re in Savannah, Georgia which is the home of Paula Deen of Food Network fame.  If you don’t know Paula, she is famous for her southern fried specialties.   We ate at her restaurant, Lady and Sons.  Would you believe deep fried butter?  You freeze a stick of butter, then coat is heavily in flour and bread crumbs, freeze it again, and then deep fry it.  OK, if you still are cringing, you fell for it.  Deep fried butter is not on the menu, but she does have some recipes that aren't all that far removed.  

More reporting to come on Savannah – another great city.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Veterans Day at The Citadel

While we were in Charleston, we didn’t see or read much about The Citadel University in any of the travel literature.  We only decided to visit there after reading a blog post from our “full-timing classmates”, the heydukes.  They had recently visited there and reported on it their blog,

 The Citadel is one of six senior military colleges in the US.  Basically theese universities have military colleges and all students in that college are cadets and ROTC is mandatory, but a military commission upon graduation is not required.  In some of the six universities, the military college is a small percentage of the total student body (Texas A&M) to universities where most students are in the military college (The Citadel). And at Virgina Military Institute all students must be in the military college. 

The Citadel is a highly rated engineering school.  The campus is built around a parade field.  The cadets parade every Friday.  We went for a special parade as it was Veterans Day and Homecoming weekend.

They have a tradition of class rings at The Citadel, but his one seems to be taking that tradition a bit to the extreme.

And check out the machine that some members of the audience arrived in.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Kiawah Island

We decided to explore this resort island on the Atlantic coast near Charleston.  We visited there in part because it is very bike friendly with miles of paved trails and a long beach that you can ride on as well.  It is a 10-mile long former cotton plantation which in the mid 1970s launched as a planned resort community with several golf courses designed by renowned architects such as Dye, Fazio, Nicklaus, Player, and Watson.  The Ryder Cup has been played there and the 2012 PGA Championship will be played on the Ocean course.  The bike trails were great with smooth asphalt and loads of tree cover.  It was surprisingly easy to ride the beach at low tide on the more hard packed part closer to the water – waves of the ocean on one side and beautiful seaside homes on the other.  It was the first time we ever rode bikes on the beach.  And we had our first alligator sighting!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Moving On South

We finally left the beach on Monday.  Spending some extended time at the ocean was one of the things we most looked forward to when we were planning our full timing adventure – and it didn’t disappoint.
But we haven’t moved too far, just a hundred miles south to the Charleston area.  What a historic city.  There are so many restored homes and other buildings from the Revolutionary War and Civil War periods all surrounded by a beautiful harbor.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

North Carolina Pottery

On our way back from Ohio to Myrtle Beach we were passing through southern North Carolina south of Greensboro.  We had passed through this area before and had seen signs for North Carolina Pottery.  This time we stopped in the town of Seagrove.  We found that there are more than 100 potters in the area, many with roots back to the 1700’s.  It seems native and immigrant potters had been attracted to the area because of its clay.  We stopped at one store, a museum, and a store/studio.   One thing that caught our eye was a small cake pot with a recipe for a quarter pound cake.  The Boone family is famous, well at least within the Boone family, for its pound cake, which is really a 4 pound cake made of a pound each of butter, flour, sugar, and eggs.  But that is way too big of a cake for two people on the road so we bought the quarter pound cake pot and cut down the Boone family recipe.  It may take a little more experimentation, but if they are lucky, a quarter pound cake will show up at the family Christmas-- and far more of the appropriate size.

Friday, November 4, 2011

2,000 Horses At Our Campground?

When our Myrtle Beach campground allowed us to store our motor home while we went north for the wedding, we did have to move to a different camp site as they told us the one we were on was already booked for the horses.  Huh?   We had to get an explanation.  They told us when we got back it would be the start of the 30th annual Beach Ride to benefit the American Heart Association.  In part, we decided to stay on a few more days to experience this event, but then it is not hard to get us to spend some more time at the ocean as well.  Well, in rolled 2,000 horses and their owners occupying 800 camp sites.  It is amazing around here.  There are horses everywhere.  They set up corrals of all different sorts and there are all different kinds of rigs ranging from people in tents to combo horse/travel trailers to luxury motor homes pulling horse trailers.  It is a $150 minimum donation per rider to participate plus the cost of the campsite.  There are two horses in a corral right outside our driver side windows.  While we are enjoying the event, Alley cat seems a bit afraid of the activity of these beautiful large animals.