Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm ready to move north, warm it UP.

Here it is Wednesday already and we're still patiently (or is it impatiently) waiting for warmer weather along our route north.   But tomorrow we move to an Illinois State Park across the river from Paducah, KY.

It has been interesting here in this park.  There are about a dozen plus rigs that obviously spend lots of time here, as all of them have "blue boys" connected to the drain connection.   Some of them make the milk run to the dump station almost daily by the sound of things.  (The sound is when they tie the blue boy behind the pickup and after it is emptied, it has a certain rumble to it when they return.)  

Yesterday, Sandy and I did a tour of the local town (Aberdeen), following their driving tour map.  The town has a number of very nice (big) homes built before the Civil War and still looking great.  On the way into town, we didn't have the GPS and ended up getting lost.   We returned to the campground road and turned the other direction and then we were successful in finding the main highway.

It will warm up soon, so in anticipation of it, we're moving north tomorrow again.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Patiently waiting for the Weather to Warm up again

We're holed up in a  COE park near Aberdeen, MS.   It is not large but a first class campground with hard surfaced roads and cement parking pads.   Obviously, the COE has lots of money to make campgrounds like this.  (Or was it "earmarks" by Mississippi politicians?)

We left Summerdale on Friday, intending to make it an easy drive to Paducah, KY and a Illinois State Campground across the river.   But we changed our mind about getting in a hurry when we saw what the weather forecast was for this week.  It is down right nasty outside, so we decided to stick around here.  We have good electrical service, a water front view (now that the weekenders have left) and the price is right with our Golden Age Pass.  It really cleared out yesterday afternoon after the weekender's left.   Plus it became a lot quieter with no baby's in strollers and pre-teens around.

We noticed on the TV this morning that the weather problem is the Jet Stream, which is dividing the nation.  North of it is cool and south of it is warm.   I think right here we're in a no-man's zone, just plain unsettled.  So it is a good time to do stuff inside, like our taxes.  We finished them a week ago and sent them into an accountant, who returned the preliminary finished copy back for our review.  So we went over everything and sent him some email updates and today he'll send us the final copy via email.   Isn't the internet great when we can send documents back and forth and not be concerned that the post office might miss lay it.

Our schedule is very flexible at this point.  We have to be in northern Iowa for a formal family dinner on the 9th of April, which  is two weeks from last Saturday.   We could head for the farm and spend some time there.  Or we can do some site seeing on the way.  Or just take our time and do some extra surfing, especially like now when we have great internet connections (via Millenicom using Verizon towers.)   The TV is marginal, but we do get one national network station.

So turn the heat on and we'll hit the road.  Until  then,  we're happy where we're at.


Friday, March 25, 2011

We're headed north!

We left the park this morning destination ultimately northern Iowa.   In the meantime, we're going to take our time.  We're in a C.O.E. park near Aberdeen, MS and loving it.  we have  50 amp electric and loving it.  If the temperature dives down tonight, we have electric heaters to keep us warm.

It was a very pleasant drive today.   We headed north on U.S. highway 45, starting in Mobile AL.  The Alabama end was no picnic, but also very little traffic.  In Mississippi, we learned what political pull will get you. Highway 45 is a divided four lane highway with hardly any traffic.   We have more traffic past the farm than we saw today.   There is no doubt, earmarks paid for this highway.

Speaking of earmarks, they spent a few bucks on this C.O.E. park we're in.  We decided that the price was right also, so we're staying over for two nights.  Why not?  We have exactly two weeks to get to northern Iowa, so why hurry.  Plus I'm so sleepy, I may not finish this unless I hurry.  See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We're thinking of heading NORTH, already

We've only been here about 5 days, but we decided that with the taxes done and a scheduled dinner appointment firmed up, we need to think about traveling north!  Yep, heading to the far north with all of its cold, snow and wind.  It may not be that bad, but after the pleasent weather we've been enjoying any change is going to be a real bummer!

We finished the taxes a couple of days ago and then let them lay for a day before we did a final review.   Even with all of that looking, there is probably some little over site we missed.  I guess that is what the accountant gets paid for!

Our TV gave us a real scare tonight when it locked up with a black screen.   It just ignored me for about 30 minutes.  Finally, it started working as if nothing happened.   I was very happy and thanked the Lord!


Friday, March 18, 2011

At the SKP park, Summerdale, AL

We got an early start this morning and arrived here at the park by 10 AM.  Yes, it was a short day on the road, but  it really felt good to "park it for a while" again.  Right now, we're not even sure how long we're staying.

In a SKP park, everyone is your friend.  Plus as a bonus, we get to meet some "old" friends.   One couple was with us 3 weeks ago.  Another couple lives in Iowa City, about 30 miles from the farm.  (We rarely see them other than at a Iowa Unit rally.   Plus we've met two couples that are wanting to talk about boondocking in Florida.  One couple is from Australia, traveling the USA.   They have just entered Florida and are heading east from here.  The other couple is from New England and they expect that they'll be heading to Florida in the future because of the price of diesel.  (They have been going to the SW.)  So we have a week or so to tell them how great we've found boondocking to be in Florida.

Tomorrow morning there is a breakfast in the club house which we'll join in.  An opportunity to visit with more snow birds.

While here, Gene has to get motivated to finish our taxes.   What a disagreeable task.  I think we have all of the paper and it is on the form.  Now we have to review it and send it in.

So enough killing time on non-essential stuff.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

On the road AGAIN

We didn't waste time this morning, but time disappeared anyway.  It was 10 AM when we finally hit the road.   Of course, we air'd up all of the tires, something we have not done for some time.  Then we drove out (unhitched) to the main road.   I just didn't want the wheels throwing sand from the road up onto the Honda.

We then headed west on I-10 in moderate traffic.  At Tallahassee, we pulled into the Flying J for fuel, dumping and an LP  refill.  We have used that station before and I didn't realize how screwy an LP setup they have.   You have to stop at the LP island, which blocks one of the RV lanes, but worst of all, we had to exit the lot to turn around.   But we're good to go again.

Tonight, we're in the Walmart at De Funiak Springs, about mile 90 or so.  Tomorrow on to Summerdale, AL.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Moving Day coming up

Tonight is our last day here at the West Tower Campground and it has been most enjoyable.  While our other Escapee's were here, we had a Potato bake and the next night we had a Spaghetti dinner.   With Ron issuing directions, we had a very successful meal both times.  Something to remember.

We picked up our mail Tuesday ( from daughter)  and realized that it has been two months since we obtained it.  That amount of time is almost sinful.  (So many magazines and papers to read.)  But we'll wade through it.

Tonight we had a little excitement in the camp.  A hiker came in and said that their was a crazy man back in the woods.   Someone called it in to 911 and shortly there were two forest service rangers here looking for him.  They found him and the consensus was that he had suffered a stroke and an ambulance was called in.   By the time they had him, he appeared to be recovering very well.  I understand that he did not want to go in the ambulance, which I would expect.  I think they eventually convinced him.

Around the fire tonight, we English speaking citizens were far out numbered by our French Canadians neighbors to the North, speaking only French.  (In all three cases, the man could speak some English, and the woman none.  So the fire circle became a French side and an English side.

Tomorrow we head west.  How far, we're not sure.  We'll see how things go when we hit the road.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ouch, a cold wave arrived

Yesterday afternoon, I had a hundred and one items on my mind that I could write about.  This morning, nary a one!

For starters, it was cold last night.  My outside gauge read 40 degrees this morning, which is ice cold after we've been seeing 60 degree lows and 75 degree highs.  But I think we can weather it and as we used to say, "Better days are ahead."

I haven't counted how many are in this little bit of heaven, but we must have about 15 rigs squeezed in. But everyone is very considerate.  This morning, a couple parked ahead of us pull out, so we're moving to their spot. It will  give us just a bit more sunshine.

Last night the fire was a real barn burner.  The local wood cutter believers in a "vertical fire" and we had one.  We have a pile of wood, thanks to the permission from the forest service to cut a dead tree that was broken and leaning on an adjacent tree.  He had pointed out to them how much of a hazard it was if it went the wrong way.   They agreed to say nothing if he removed it.   So Saturday, we made quick work of it. It may have looked like a real tree, but really it was half rotten thru and thru.

We have great cell service and Internet service here.  Why has it taken so long to find it?  Yesterday we also went touring to the other campgrounds (free ones)  in this area of the forest.  This one has some open area plus well water and a single flush stool in a brick outhouse.   AND it is free!  We found nothing else that even compares to the services here.   So we're staying for a while.

There is a 14 day parking limit in all of the campgrounds here.  However, as we listen to the small talk among the people, the 14 days starts the day that the forest services ranger does a check of who is here.   I guess the rule is that since it is free, there is no registration either.  Okay, we can live with that.

Yesterday was Monday and there had been a very light sprinkle Sunday night.  So true to form, the forest service road graders were out in force when we were driving around.  It appears that they move the dirt to the middle of the road, then pulverize it, then spread it out and pack it with a BIG roller.  I guess it will be okay for a day.

breakfast time.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

East Tower, now West Tower

We moved yesterday from the Palakta, FL area to the Osceola National Forest, East Tower campground.  The bad news was that cell phone and internet service were a big fat ZERO.   Nothing.

So in the afternoon, we went scouting to find a better location.  It had been suggested by a friend to consider West Tower, which was also free. We went to it, liked what we saw and today moved to West Tower.  Internet service and cellphone service is fantastic.  We love it.  

But for every plus, there is always a downer in the group.  In this case, it is the solar performance is poor.  We see some sunlight, but there will be no full solar days.   Shall we say that our Honda generator will earn its keep this week.  Life could be worse.

This campground is busy and well used.  There were 8 rigs here when we showed up (3 of us) and they are all traveling in a loose group.  It is not an organized club, but in listening to  them, they have moved from south to north en-mass, one campground at a time.  However, they have welcomed us with open arms, so there are no complaints from us.

Tomorrow Sandy and I are going to go scouting and look at the other campgrounds here in the Osceola  NF.  I have heard that this is the best one for solar and cellphone and it is free.  But we want to see for ourselves.

We have enjoyed some really very pleasent days for the last two weeks or so.  But tonight the outside temperature dives to 40 degrees, which is a real bummer.   (I love it when the low is about 60 degrees.)  But we'll handle it.


Friday, March 4, 2011

We're back into the Internet World again, we have real service.

Today we decided it was time to "blow that place" called "Shanty Pond" campground.  If you weren't expecting any cellphone service or Internet service, it was good.  Otherwise, it was the pits (and I mean pits!)

Tonight we're parked in the Walmart Lot at Palatka, FL. Our Millencom service is fantastic.  I expected an improvement and we got it.  The down side is that tomorrow we head to another forest service campground north of here 80 miles and supposedly, we will have little or no internet service.    If the service is as bad as Shanty Pond, don't expect us to remain long.

I think we had 12 rigs in attendance and a good time was had by all.  We went on a couple of hikes that pushed me to the limit of my abilities.  (My hip has curtailed much of my walking, so I'm really  out of practice.  The really good news to me was that the group endorsed my work to find more suitable sites for additional rendezvous.  As a result, we will schedule 3 additional rendezvous,  plus we will publicize the availability of the other boondocking sites.

Enough for now.