Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

RV Storage and Family Holiday Visiting

Monday - Monday: November 17-26, 2012 

We just ended the first leg of our family holiday visiting trip by visiting Patty’s family in Buffalo NY for Thanksgiving. We are now in a Days Inn just off of Interstate 71 and 40 miles north of Columbus Ohio.  This is just a stopover for the night before completing our journey from Buffalo NY to Crawfordsville Indiana.    Indiana will be the 2nd part of holiday trip to visit Grandkids, My Son and his wife, my brother and sister, and my step-father.

Last Monday we took the RV and truck to the storage yard where it will be for the next month while we visit family and friends up north in NY, IN, and NJ.  We left the truck connected to the 5th wheel as it is $25 cheaper that way due to the smaller foot print.  I did take the weight off of the truck by raising the RV with the levelers.  I also raised the RV to reduce the weight on the RV suspension.  As further protection for the levelers, I sprayed the hydraulic tubes with silicone.  To help keep insects out of the RV we sprayed insecticide around the levelers and the wheels and again around the entire truck and RV.  Hopefully we did enough to protect the RV.

We had a great Thanksgiving Day dinner at Patty’s sister Cheryl Griffin Schumacher's house.   Then on Friday we went out with Patty’s parents to Mister Dees for a fish fry which is always good J  Saturday we just chilled out having a lazy day.  Sunday we went to a Bills Football party with Patty’s sister and her Husband Joe.  The Bills were playing the Indiana Colts so we had some friendly rivalry.   We also got about 3 inches of snow to make it really feel like he holidays up north.  Monday, we left Buffalo NY for Crawfordsville IN. 

Our rig parked in the Seminole storage yard.  Note our Chinese rose (Rosie) on the steps.  We left her there to soak up the Florida sun and rain.
Our rig is protected behind this gate at the entrance.

Snow in the Buffalo area.  This is the start of the 3 inch snow.

Tomorrow we travel the last 250 miles to Crawfordsville IN.

Stay tuned!

Kissimmee – Fort Lauderdale FL, Ready for the flight North

Friday, Saturday, Sunday: November 16-18, 2012

We are now in Fort Lauderdale at the Sunshine RV Park.  Not a great place but not bad.  Sunshine is filled with about 99% French speaking Quebecers.  The weather here is absolutely perfect, just like a great spring day.  Temperatures are in the low 60s in the night with high 70s in the daytime.  We are really liking this after the week of “cool” temps since New Orleans.

Not a great thing when the park office is closed when you arrive.  Welcome to South Florida!

Our site at the Sunshine RV Park.

After our last post from Madison FL, we were in Kissimmee FL for just one night.  Not much to report about there as we were not there long.  We did purchase a SunPass (like EZPass) for the Florida Turnpike.  That made it a lot easier to go through the tolls moving instead of having to stop.  The temperatures were starting to get back to Florida type but it was cloudy holding down the temperatures.

We arrived at the Sunshine RV Park in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday around 2:30.  It is a gated RV park with an electronic combination key pad for entrance.  Good thing someone was going back in and told us the combination as the office was closed for the weekend.  For once we had reservations at this park. Most of the time we don’t have a reservation, but being that this is now in-season in South Florida we thought it was a good idea.

We parked at the office where there is a place for people who are checking in after hours to pick up their paper work and to let them know what site they are assigned.  No paper work for us!  There was an emergency number so I called that and got a guy who said to just find a site to park and call back and let him know what the site number is.  OK, so we walked the park and found a spot.   It’s nice that all of the sites here are pull through, however still very tight to pull a 40 foot rig into.

Right after getting set up we decided to go check out the campground we are staying at in Davie Florida when return from up north.  This park is an older park with very few reviews and the couple there are, are 2-3 years old.  We already made a deposit on this place and were just a little apprehensive to say the least without seeing the place. 

We picked this place for 2 reasons.  First is that it is in South Florida where it will mostly stay warm in the winter.  Secondly, it is a clothing optional park which is something we enjoy.  Lastly, the cost is high but not terrible considering the area (South Florida with a pool and a hot tub) and considering we wouldn't need to drive back and forth to Haulover Beach every day which is 23 miles away.

The Seminole RV Resort is 16 miles from where we are in Fort Lauderdale.  We drove over and arrived about 5:00.  The resort is located in, what was not too many years ago, undeveloped land.  Now it is mostly developed into gated upscale communities, although there is still quite a bit of undeveloped land around the park.  The park is also a gated RV resort park.  We pulled up to the key pad as another car was leaving which just happened to be the manager of the park.   Patty had talked to her on the phone a couple of time before so after she asked if we needed help, we introduced ourselves and she let us in to check out the park.

We only spent a few minutes in the park and we liked it.  We drove the whole length of the park which is maybe 1/3 mile long.  The park is small with about 70 RV spaces.  You can tell the park is old but it looks like they have been putting money into it recently.  There is fresh paint and lots of new concrete.  The pool and hot tub were being used which was a good sign.  The park looked to be 75-80% full and with many newer rigs which is also good.  We went to our future site, 41 which is all the way in the back of the park and currently occupied.  We liked the site!  It’s on gravel with a concrete pad just behind the Horseshoes and tennis courts.  We feel the park will be fine for us for the winter and we are now looking forward to staying there.

Sunday we were in the "getting the RV ready for storage mode" and packing for our trip up north.  This meant that we needed to finally take a closer look at all of the winter clothes we have under the bed.  We have a lot of winter clothes that we just couldn't make decisions on when we left NJ in the summer time.  Now we are digging through them in November when it is near 80 outside.  That gave us the ambition to get rid of more clothes for charity.  We have 4 bags at about 15 lbs each for a total of 60 lbs reduction in weight to tow around and more space!
The winter clothes we are donating.

Empty fridge
We also washed the truck and put a UV coating on the tires and on the bed cover for sun protection in the storage yard.  While drying it, we were approached by another couple who asked if we were American. They arrived Monday and said they were the only Americans in the park. After chatting for quite some time, they asked us to come back after our trip north so we could get to know each other.

Then we emptied the fridge and turned it off for the first time since we picked it up on August 4 in PA.  We have just a little food left over and we are going to try to give it away at the RV Park where we are storing the rig and will return to stay ourselves for 3 months after our trip north.

We couldn't keep the truck cake till NJ next summer.  So we ate it!  Thanks Leo!
Tomorrow we take the rig 16 miles to Seminole RV park for storage.  We will get a taxi from there to go the 17 miles to the hotel at Fort Lauderdale airport.  Our plane is at 12:45 pm Tuesday afternoon to Buffalo NY.

Stay tuned!

Holt and Madison Florida, Change of plans

Tuesday - Thursday: November 12-15, 2012 

This post will mostly be about our new short term travel plans.  We decided to change our travel plans to shorter distances between trips on our way to the Fort Lauderdale area.  The schedule we had was way too many miles in a day and we went through our last time change that is not favorable to traveling either.  Our new plan is to travel just 200 miles a day but just stay overnight at the next 2 sites in Madison and Kissimmee Florida. 

We missed the Mississippi state line.  This is as close as we could for the Alabama state line.

Very surprised by the impressive Mobile Alabama skyline.  

Also surprised that Mobile has a tunnel.  Always feel strange pulling a 40 foot long 13 foot high RV through a tunnel.

Inside the tunnel.

The Florida state line.  Look at the road change.  Alabama and Mississippi roads are just terrible.

Entrance to the Holt Florida campsite.

We eat very well.  Fresh spinach, Stuffing with fresh onions and celery and Tilapia with fresh lemons our friend Sue Everett picked from a tree at our campground in Arizona

Our site in Holt Florida.

We are currently in Madison Florida which is still too cold for us at a high today of 60.  Last night we stayed in Holt Florida and had an overnight temperature of 40!  That required the furnace again.  We have been traveling east just under the Alabama state line and the Gulf Coast.  Tomorrow we will finally start heading south and to Kissimmee Florida where the temperature was 80 todayJ.

We are just south of Alabama in Madison Florida.  This is the marker for that area....

Yes, that's right!  We are in Jellystone Park.  You can't beat full hook ups for $18 a night.

Our site in Madison Florida.
We stayed 2 nights in Holt Florida after leaving New Orleans.  The full day there allowed us to get the laundry done and to get some final food for the next few days.  We have meat but didn’t have vegetables to make with the meat.  We also bought some bug spray to cover the bottom of the RV while in storage in Florida.  We don’t know if we will need it but we are being proactive.   Also purchased was a 32 inch Christmas tree that we think we will put outside the RV after we return to Florida in December.

After almost 4 months on the road we are now figuring out how we are going to store the RV.  We have food in the frig that we are probably just going to throw out.  We are hoping that we can give some of it away at the resort in Florida.  There is not a lot of food left but just enough not to want to throw it out.   We are leaving our house with all of the power off and for someone else to watch.  The other thing is that we are coming back to staying in just one place for 3 months.  After that we are moving just 2 times in 3 months.   These are all firsts for us.  It is exactly what we wanted to do but we just have not done it until now. 

In just under 4 months we have traveled 10,000 miles!  Our original plan was to travel about 12,000 a year and it looks like we will do just that.  We just traveled most of the distance in the first 4 months.  It is really going to be nice to stay put for a while to remember where we have been.  Also, we can conserve some cash.  Traveling that far costs a lot of money, especially with diesel!!

Like I said before, tomorrow we will be in Kissimmee Florida and then in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday.  We take the RV to the storage site on Monday and stay in a hotel at the airport before leaving on Tuesday to Buffalo.  What a life! Whew!

Stay tuned!

Rain/Cold and New Orleans Dinner Cruise

Monday: November 12, 2012 

The cold front finally overtook us today!  We got up to 42 outside with rain and wind.  Damn it; I had to put long pants and sneakers on for the first time since May! It was windy enough that it woke us up during the night with the RV shifting side to side with the gusts.  The temperature was 57 inside so we turned on the furnace to get the temperature up a few degrees and then just let the fireplace take over.  The Temperature came up outside to 65 around noon so not too bad.
Rain!  Can you see the confederate flag in the back ground?

We had an ambitious schedule for today, too ambitious!  We were first going to go to WalMart for household stuff and then do the tour we missed yesterday.  We didn't do either one, again Damn it!  We took too long in the morning with breakfast so we nixed the shopping plan.  We really wanted to do the tour so we concentrated on doing that.

We decided we would take the bus for just $1.50 to the French Quarter.  That worked out perfectly.  After arriving we needed to get to the tour site that was a very long walk.  The trolley was right where we were dropped off by the bus so we got on to take that to very close to the tour.  We got on and struck up a conversation with a couple from Australia who are touring the USA for 5 weeks.  They weren't going to do New Orleans but decided to after they couldn't get into NYC due to Sandy.  Anyway, we talked until the trolley came to the end and it was at the wrong end!  We were on the wrong trolley and now were over an hour away from where the tour begins.  It’s now 2 pm and the tour starts at 2 pm!  So now the tour isn't happening for us either, damn it again!!.  Not all was lost, we ended up in the cemetery section of New Orleans so we got to at least see that.  It's all good :) 

The trolley to the wrong place.
 It’s now 2 pm and we now have 4 hours to kill before the dinner cruise at 6 pm.  We walked down Bourbon street for a while looking for a cool T-shirt that we never found.  Then we went to a couple of bars with live entertainment and had drinks.  The last bar we had some fresh Beignets for an appetizer while we listened to some really cool jazz.  We managed to kill 4 hours!

Almost 69! Made fresh to order,our number for theBeignets

Live music on Bourbon Street.
A guy with big balls!

Me on my new job selling beer on Bourbon street.

One of those statue guys.

Bourbon street performer.

St Paul in the French Quarter at dusk.

The cruise started with a buffet dinner.  It was just OK.  I liked it better than Patty because it had large pieces fried Catfish.  For desert we had bread pudding with rum sauce which we both liked.  After dinner we went out on the deck to watch the Mississippi river and coast line in the dark.   If I was going to do this again I would do something in the daytime so we could see something.  We saw 2 things, a large Domino Sugar plant and an Exxon oil refinery.
New Orleans view from the steam boat on the Mississippi.
We were very cold after the cruise so we just got a cab back to the RV instead of taking the bus.  So ends a good cold day.

Tomorrow we head to Holt Florida 220 miles away.  We will go through Mississippi and Alabama on our way.  It looks like the temperature will stay the same until we move further south to Ocala Florida on Thursday where it is still 80 there.

Stay tuned!

Houston TX to New Orleans and French Quarter

Saturday - Sunday: November 10-11, 2012 

The jet stream is really low for this time of year.  It’s pushing a big low front across the entire country right now. The low is producing temperatures in the 30s and 40s in the south west where we were lounging in 80 -90 degrees just a couple of weeks ago.  We seem to be running just ahead of it so far.  It  looks like it will overtake us in New Orleans on Monday though.

The drive from Houston to New Orleans was a long one of 315 miles.  We are now definitely in the swamp region of the country.  The drive was even longer due to the traffic jam in Baton Rouge for the LSU football game on Saturday afternoon.  Highway 10 comes within 3-4 miles of the stadium there.  The other thing is that the highway in Louisiana so far sucks!  It is very, very bumpy making it hard to keep up my speed even when I only do 60 MPH. We left Houston at 9:20 am and arrived at our site in New Orleans at 4:30 pm.  It was a long day.

Swamps in Louisiana.

Crossing back over the Mississippi.

New Orleans.

Our gated RV Park.

 We decided that on Sunday we would take a walking tour of New Orleans and have dinner in the French Quarter.  Neither of us has been to New Orleans before so we like doing a tour so we get a basic understanding of the city.  Patty found that there are several “free” tours that rely on donations so we picked one that starts at 2 pm.  We were ready to go at 11 am and we were going to take a taxi in to town so we could drink and also not need to try to park the BAT (Big Ass Truck). 

We are about 5 miles from the French Quarter at our RV Park which is in a not so good area of New Orleans, by the way.  The park office gave us a list of 3 taxi companies who service the area.  Oh, and by the way, this afternoon the Saints are playing their rivals Atlanta in New Orleans.  Due to the game we couldn't get a taxi to pick us up. 

We had been waiting in front of the park for about half an hour when a black Honda pulled out of the exit of the hotel next to us and hit a black Impala that was just passing by.  We were just 20 feet from the whole accident!  The Black Impala was being driven by a very racist black woman who jumped out of the car and started screaming at the white driver of the Honda.  She was saying that the white guy was just waiting for a black face to come by so he could hit her. Sheeish!

The Hondas driver also had his girlfriend as a passenger in the car who came over to talk with us as the yelling was occurring in the street.   All of the yelling was coming from the black woman.  The girlfriend introduced herself as Elecia and said she and her boyfriend were from Baton Rouge.  They both were young in their 30s.  We kept trying to get a taxi and Elecia kept begging us to stay and talk to the cops as witnesses.  I never really understood why we were needed as it appeared to us that her boyfriend just didn't see the Impala and pulled into her by accident.  The damage to the vehicles basically proved just that also.  Due to the Football game, the cops took 2 hours to get there!  By this time we had missed the tour we were going to take.  Elecia insisted that they take us to the French Quarter after the police were done with the accident.

By 2:30 in the afternoon the cops were done and the car had a hanging bumper rendering it not drivable.  We told them to take the car slowly over to our RV where I had tools and maybe we could get the car drivable again.  Elecia's boyfriend(Moody) tried to tie up the bumper to no avail.  So the bumper came off completely along with other parts.  We told them to just leave the parts next to the RV and come back for them after they drop us off. 

So we took off with Elecia driving the Honda.  Oh my GOD!!  She was the worst driver I have ever seen.  The boyfriend didn't seem to be upset at all about her driving either!  Patty and I thought we were going to be killed in the car.  After stopping again to pull off more parts of the car, we made it to the French quarter in one piece.  What a day so far!!

We first walked down to the Mississippi River and walked the river side park there.  We went to the Natchez Riverboat pier and made dinner reservations for Monday night on the riverboat.  We walked both the length and width of the French Quarter on several streets for about 2 hours while having drinks along the way.  Some local tourists gave us some advice about a good restaurant, the Oceanic,  so we went to there to have dinner.   The French Quarter is stuffed with restaurants, bars, and clubs so just about any would have been fine.
View from the river side park, the bridge we came over on Saturday over the Mississippi.

A wedding procession in the French Quarter.

The bride and groom.  The "train" has drinks in it.

Mississippi River park.

Also in the river park.

Buggies waiting to take passengers through the French Quarter.

Keith Richards was there too!

Another friend we met in the Quarter.

Bourbon Street just before dark.  

A musician with a large instrument.

Another wedding.  I think we saw 4 weddings in 3 hours.
Street performers.
The restaurant was good, not great, but good.  The place has seating on 3 floors as well as some outside dining in an interior patio area.  We had alligator as an appetizer that we didn't care for.  It didn't taste like chicken by the way.  For the main course Patty had the duck and I had cornmeal fried catfish.  I love catfish.  It’s a comfort food for me from Indiana.  Patty's duck was not a taste either of us liked.  It may be good to some, but not to us.

We were done eating around 9 pm and we got a taxi back to the RV Park.  It was a long and exciting day to say the least.

Tomorrow we plan to go shopping for some household stuff in the morning and then try to take the city tour that we missed at 2 pm.  This time we are going to try to take the city bus into town for just $1.50.  It’s also predicted to rain tomorrow but clear up by noon.  We shall see K

Stay tuned!