Friday, November 23, 2007

41 Reports stopped for the Winter months

Thanks to everyone for coming along this past year on my travels across the country. The reports will begin again this coming spring (April 2008).

Have a great time looking back at this past year. Except for the most recent reports which cover visits with family and friends, (39 and 40's) all of the previous reports cover my adventures as I travel in my truck and 5th wheel camper.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

(40 part 2) 2nd Week in Orlando Florida


I didn’t have a chance to see everyone, but I sure did enjoy a couple more lunches, breakfasts and get-togethers.

I had lunch with a number of gals from contracts, Mary Lu, Linda H, Judy and Brenda. They told me about the recent cardboard boat contest held at work. A number of the codes and various military groups created airplanes, boats, and other less than sea worthy boats out of card board only. What a blast. Wish I could have been there. So fun is still had on occasion even though most of the worker bees couldn’t attend due to work loads.

My Niece Kelly, her husband Rusty and their 2 yr old son, Lucas joined me at Moss park for a bit, then we went over to a fish camp off of Boggy Creek road. After having an average but good lunch (we should have boated across the lake to a better restaurant), we headed out onto East Lake Tohopekaliga. Rusty and Kelly recently purchased a new speed boat, a real sunny yellow and white color. What a great time getting out on the water. The day was perfect, mid 70’s and sunny. We drove around the lake and into a couple of smaller hidden lakes through canals filled with marsh grasses, lake side homes dotting the lakes. We even came across a small island with a heard of goats on it. How cool. This is Kelly and Rusty’s favorite lake to go boating on.

After a final breakfast in town with my buddy, Patrick, I headed down to Winter Haven to a small Passport America park, Lakeshore Palms Travel Park. It’s almost on top of Cypress Gardens, one of the oldest Florida attractions still running. Lakeshore has a great Passport America price of $13.00 a night. I opted for an electric and water site only so I could back up to the small lake. This area is dotted with hundreds of lakes.

This will be my last report for the winter, barring a few sporadic reports when I go somewhere different and interesting. Enjoy a great fall and see you next spring, On the Road Again.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

(40) Bonus report, New Truck

New Chevy Truck

Well I did it!. I bought a new Chevy Silverado 2500HD truck. It’s a 2007 classic design. Duramax Diesel engine with Allison transmission. I was able to get a fair trade-in and $6,000 of GM rebates which really helped the decision to purchase. Bottom line I paid $25K for a $40K vehicle.

I found the Chevy web site that links to a search engine. I put in Florida as the search, so that it would search all of Florida for the best deal. After looking at 2008’s, I went back to new 2007’s. Found out they were still offering the big rebates on what trucks were left over and was able to get one of them. Had to drive to Daytona, about an hour and a half away from my campsite. Not a bad distance to go for a good deal. The ordeal took about 7 hours including driving time.

I probably could have done a little bit better, but I just didn’t have my heart into brow beating the salesman and I was satisfied with the overall deal.

If you know anything about diesel trucks, drop me a line, as this is my first venture into diesel engines.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

(40) Moss Park Picnic, Orlando Florida

Moss Park, Orange County park, Florida

On Saturday, we had a picnic at Moss Park. I was eager to share this beautiful park with all my friends in Orlando. So many people never visit the parks in their own area where a person can get rejuvenated just by being in a tranquil setting, filled with trees, two beautiful lakes, a sandy beach and great hiking trails.

I used to come down here to swim, picnic or camp a number of years ago, only about 10 miles from where I lived in Orlando.

My first guests were Jan and Rose. We got together on Friday and had a great time sharing stories and a great lunch of a designer pizza and Greek salad. We came back to the campground and just sat around telling stories and sharing good tips on business and life. Talk about two classy looking ladies. I felt proud just to be able to sit with them at the restaurant.

On Saturday, Eddie and Debby came by for only a short visit as they had to get ready for a long trip up north due to Eddie’s dad being very ill. It was so good to see the two of them even under such sad circumstances. Debby and Eddie are two of my favorite down to earth people and hopefully future full time campers. You can just see the love and care they have for each other.

Linda came over with Dave and Dave’s grandson Mason. Now the picture of Dave with a beer in his hand was “staged”, so don’t get the idea that he always has one in his hand . Linda was looking like a cute vixen with her new blond hair cut. Her smile and laughter were contagious.
Dave and Lorraine Bird were the last to arrive and added a great mix to our already good party. My bestest friend, Pat helped me serve all the great food and drinks throughout the afternoon. Dave Bird is semi-retired but is still doing his great music gigs around town and Larraine continues to work years past her retirement age, keeping the Navy in ship shape. She’s a real work-a-holic.

It was so rewarding to share some time with some of my favorite people in the whole world. Just hearing their voices and laughter will carry me forward as I journey this wonderful land.
Still hoping to see my dear friend Ruth Hall and hope she gets over her bad cold soon. There are so many others I’d love to see as well, but busy lives make it difficulty to get together.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

(39) Orlando Florida, Moss Park

Orlando, Fla

I was a bit undecided as to which place would be my next destination. After much reflection, I decided to head out from St Mary’s on the Georgia/Fla border to Orlando (a 240 mile journey) with the hopes of being able to get a site for a couple of days at Moss Park.

To my surprise, I was not only able to get a site for a couple of days, but they had space for a full two weeks. Better yet, if I had listened to my good friend Ruth Hall, I would have realized that the county park system had recently changed their policy and now permit’s a person to make reservations over the phone. Fantastic.

Orlando is in Orange County and they have 5 parks with campsites, so it is now a great option for anyone coming to the Orlando area. My two favorite Orange county parks are, the Mt Dora park on the north end of the county and Moss park on the south side of town. The city of Orlando has one park for camping and it’s called the Bill Fredrick/Turkey Lake Park which also accepts reservations over the phone. All charge $18.00 a night for non residence.

Moss park is my all time favorite park in this area at least. It’s surrounded by two lakes and has lots of hiking trails through an attached forest property. The campsites are in the back of the park and each site is new with elect and water. Dump station is available. The campsites are large and are all back-ins which are perfectly angled to make it an easy task.

I love seeing the oak trees with their Spanish moss hanging down, the pine and cypress trees with little glimpses of the water just beyond. Moss park has a great sandy beach for swimming. The lakes are full as they are both spring fed. A boat dock is available at the front of the park as well as at the campsite. Pretty cool if you have a boat or a kayak.

The park is filled with sand hill cranes. They come by the campsite once or twice a day. Squirrels scamper and play, running up trees and jumping from branch to branch. Deer graze along the roads and quickly leap out of the way as I drive towards the front of the park.

I’m in awe of the sparkling sunny days with temperatures in the mid 70’s and dry crisp air. It’s quiet out here in Moss park. It’s good to be back home where I lived for over 32 years. Everything is new here, not like all the small towns I’ve been traveling through this past year. Lots of new big box houses and apartment complexes that are like two story cigar boxes. Very plane Jane looking but all painted soft pastel colors or complimentary earthy colors. If a house does have any style I would call it Spanish contemporary.

Oh and lots of killings going on daily and of course because it’s election time, the local news has caught many politicians in naughty sex acts in public bathrooms etc. Even caught a major of a small town in the area accused of have sex with youngins the day before the election. Hmmm. Or the bride to be that almost doesn’t get her wedding dress in time for the wedding. Food scares are pretty popular around here too.

Lots of construction going on as well. The bad housing downturn hasn’t slowed construction down too much around here by the looks of it. Driving around town has been relatively easy as Orlando has the best timed street lights anywhere.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

(38) 5 Points Alabama to the Florida boarder

5 Points Alabama

La Grange GA

When I last wrote to you, I was getting ready for a visit with Ruthie and Ray (James) Hemrick. They live in a very small community of 5 Points Alabama. I figured it’d take all of 5 minutes to get caught up on the gossip in town, but wouldn’t you know it. Ruth and I talked about everyone back at the Center, what’s going on in 5 Points and everywhere else and do I have a ton of news. Of course, none that I can publish! Darn, it’s good stuff too.

In any case, I discovered that the little restaurant down the street, now called Dockside, is run by a chef who does Cajun. So of course Ray, Ruth and I had to go check it out. Really great food. The presentation was perfect. Hope the chef’s able to hang in there until the marina builds a new hotel and restaurant. The lake is so low, most of the boaters aren’t coming to the marina.

I’m just outside of the town of La Grange GA which is on the boarder between GA and Alabama. A new Kia plant is being built and they expect the area to have a mini-boom from it. Remember this is rural Alabama and Georgia.

On Sunday afternoon I got a chance to pick pecans right from Ruth’s yard and we even picked some great red bell peppers right from the vine. Too cool. They found this really nifty device for picking up the pecans, It’s an oval basket on a pole made of wires and the pecans side in between the wires and stay inside the oval basket. Kind of like a wisk. All ready to be dumped easily into a bag and ready for me to take back to Fla.

By the way, I thought I’d better slip this in now. My travels are quickly coming to an end for this year. It has been a real pleasure sharing my experiences with you. I hope they’ve been entertaining and that you’ve learned some interesting things along the way as I have. I’ll periodically update the Blog through out the winter.

So right now I’ve driven across Georgia along 82 (Georgia‘s Southern Parkway) , which is a 4 lane divided county road. Nice green space between the lanes. This is pecan country, peanut farms and cotton. I’ve been able to see them harvesting the cotton, creating huge bails of cotton about the size a semi-truck. Some of the fields are so white, they look like fields covered in a light snow, with the dead twigs of the cotton plants peaking out.

I’m in Tifton, a small southern town 15,600, that has lost over 800 manufacturing jobs this past year. Not good for the economy. Staying in Paradise Rv campground. Beautiful grassy camp sites with pine trees interspersed between sites.

A couple days later, I continued on 82 until I hit Interstate 95 and head south to the Ga/Fla border. I had planned on staying on the Submarine Base, knowing a couple of the camp hosts there. Unfortunately after e-mailing them a couple of times regarding my arrival, when I got there, I was told there was only one campsite available for one night. Needless to say, I decided to stay at another campground, Crooked River State Park, just down the road. It helps to have alternative plans as these things can happen.

I’ve met a Loners on Wheels club staying at the park and was invited to a couple of their happy hours and even joined them for a dinner out at a local Seafood place. Nice group of campers. Many women and a half dozen men who have lost their partners and have decided to continue camping. It’s a very active group and they camp out every month all over the south east.

Not much else to report at this time. Have a super great day and enjoy the sunshine.