Sunrise in Monument Valley

Sunrise in Monument Valley

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Wonderful Visit in St. George Island

We had such a great time visiting family and new friends in SGI. We were only able to stay for a couple of days, but it was a fun time all around. My cousin Becky and her daughter Emily and SIL Ryan rented a 4 bedroom, 4 bath house on the beach for a week. We stayed in our motor home in Eastpoint, but visited the family during the day.

The house was really nice with a big great room and kitchen in the middle and the bedrooms split on opposite sides of the house. There was lots of food and friends all around. Becky and her other daughter Elise shared one bedroom, Emily and her family (Ryan and daughters Graysen, 4 and Katherine, 2) shared another, Ryan's parents (our new friends) Millie and Allen shared another and two new friends, Dina and Gaby arrived from Guatemala and shared the 4th bedroom. Also,Kathy and Alan Windham, Becky's in laws were staying at a local hotel. Lots of people, lots of fun.

Graysen and Katherine had a wonderful time on the deck feeding the birds.

It was a perfect beach vacation spot with lots of room for family and friends.It was also a perfect place to share memories and honor the life of Mike Windham, Becky's husband and Emily and Elise's father and Alan's brother. Mike passed away in September and this beach and the fishing here was one of his favorite places and things to do. It was only fitting that friends and family gathered here to remember him and enjoy each other. Mike would probably never approve of us even mentioning him in any way. He was always the one to stand in the background and observe and let everyone else take the spotlight. He had a great sense of humor You often could not tell if he was serious in making a remark or not, which would catch you a little off guard. He had a tremendous work ethic and energy and always loved and supported his family and friends in every way no matter what.

My first visit to Chattanooga was because of Mike Windham. When he and Becky were newly married, Mike was in the National Guard and would leave for camp training. I would come and spend time with Becky while he was away in whatever small town they lived in . Once when Mike came home from NG and they lived in Trion, Ga he said "let's take a ride to Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain". So we rode up to Lookout for the day. I remembered that day fondly and when I received a job offer in Chattanooga that memory popped in my head. So, in a way Mike was responsible for my love of Chattanooga and my moving here. You just never know in how many ways a person can change your life.

Here is a rare picture of Mike, probably giving me some sage advice at Ryan and Najla's wedding.I think about Mike a lot. He has left a massive imprint in the lives of everyone he has known and is greatly missed.

Friday, May 19, 2017

On Our Way to St. George Island

We are on our way and so far have had a very uneventful and smooth start. Packing our food, clothes and things and gathering the kitties seemed to be the easier ever. We have everything packed in the motor home yesterday, so all we had to do today was straighten up the house, sweep, mop the floors, load up the kitties and head to the motor home.

I gave Finny his ACE in his first bite of food in the morning and he was good to go. It was easy, peasy loading them into the carriers for the ride to the motor home and away we went.The traffic in Atlanta was a usual mess, but once we got through Atlanta it was smooth sailing. We stopped at the KOA in Tifton, GA  for the night. We've stayed here before a couple of times and it's a nice CG. It's not fancy, but nice and quiet and has a nice walking trail around the back of it complete with a pond, horses and cows. We took Bentley for a walk in his stroller and he enjoyed the walk and his visit with the horses and cows. We called them and they came running over to the fence to say "Hello". At one point the cows backed away from Bentley. I guess they had never seen a cat in a stroller.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Stop In St Augustine

On our way back to Tennessee we stopped in St Augustine, since we had to stop somewhere. We had trouble with our slide on the bunkhouse and bedroom wall and although David was able to "fix" it, it still needs to be adjusted by someone who knows how to do it. We called 4 places in Jupiter, but no one even returned our call until we left on Monday. I called ahead to have someone in St Augustine come look at it, but we may not be able to have it looked at here. There has been a horrible rain and thunderstorm going on here since right after we arrived. It will probably last all morning here.

We did get a chance to go out to dinner with Ryan and the kids last night. Najla was not feeling well, so she stayed home. We missed seeing her. The kids were so much fun. Trevor likes to copy everything Emma does, so I had dinner with Emma on one side and Trevor on the other. They were so good. I didn't get a chance to take any good pictures since we were running in the rain and thunder to our car. I did get a couple of silly face pictures, but not good enough to share,

Hopefully, the rain will be gone this afternoon, so we can get our side repaired and get out and about for a little bit.

Monday, April 3, 2017

A Wonderful Retirement Party

Mark's party on Saturday was fantastic. There were probably 150 people there from cancer centers in South Florida and current or ex Varian employees that both David and I knew. Having lived in the the area for 20 years, you meet and work with a LOT of people. It was embarrassing since many and I mean many came up to us and gave us a hug and we had no cue who they were or where they were from. If we were lucky, they introduced themselves.Several people came up to me and said, "I'm______, I was one of your students or I worked with you at _______. Uhhh clueless. There was a Radiation Therapy program in Broward county that turned out about 15 to 20 students per year for at least 15 years. That's a lot of students and they are all at least 12 years older, including us!!!! Usually after they walked away it dawned on me who they were. It was a wonderful night. Nancy did a fantastic job getting the word out to everyone and organizing the party. Mark had a great time and it was like a big reunion of friends. We just wish our memories weren't so bad. Everyone was really happy to see David. Everyone clapped and cheered when Nancy thanked us for coming so far to be at the party. All the people really missed David. He got a tons of hugs. This is a picture of Mark and Nancy's 3 "kids" (or they were "kids" when we knew them.

Sarah, David, Nick and Leah

The motor home park "resort" we are staying in is right across the highway from Mark and Nancy's house. It is a very fancy, smancy place which is only half completed & still under construction, but is renting out sites, The sites are actually for sale for a very high price. The pads are brick pavers, it is very nicely landscaped and  well lit. It's a beautiful resort, but your motor home has to be a Class A, at least 34 ft long and relatively new to get in. Yesterday when we looked out the window there was a man walking across the grass being followed by a sand tail crane. No matter where he went, the crane followed. He must be feeding him or something for the crane to be so loyal.

We had a great night on Sunday visiting with Mark and Nancy and are headed to St Augustine now. This is the way our Nicky likes to travel.This is a really quick trip, but the kitties are probably more relaxed than ever before.

Friday, March 31, 2017

On our way to Jupiter, Florida

We are headed to Jupiter, Florida for a retirement party for our friend Mark Morris. David "mentored" him when he was new with Varian and Mark is retiring after 30 yrs with the company. We haven't seen anyone in South Florida since David retired 12 yrs ago, so it should be fun.

The traffic headed to Atlanta was pretty backed up part of the way. We found out later that a section of 85 had collapsed due to a fire. Thankfully that happened AFTER we passed Atlanta, We arrived in Lake Park at the Eagles Roost RV Park in the daylight, thank goodness. The last time we stayed here it was pitch dark, the office was closed and there were not good numbers on the campground sites. We had a terrible time locating out site. It was so bad, David just parked the MH and I wandered through the CG with a flashlight until we found out site. The really need lighting and BIG site numbers in the campground.

This stay was not so bad, except that we thought the heating element on the water heater was burned out. All was well in the end and it was fine. The kitties got us up and 5AM which will make for an early started as we head to Jupiter.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

On the Road Again

We left St. Augustine Thursday morning headed for home. The weather report predicted a massive snow/ice storm to hit Atlanta and Tennessee, on Friday so we needed to get home before all of this.
We made reservations to stop in Perry, Ga which was a little more than half way home, but south of where the bad weather was predicted just in case we were stuck. We had gone to the store to purchase extra food, just in case.

The campground website showed no pictures of their campground and for good reason. It was pretty bad. The guy that check us in seemed uninterested and never looked us in the eye. Just pointed to a site "over there ."Very small sites, small tight roads and very unkempt. It was obviously old, but it had a 2 things going for it---good WIFI and cable TV. David commented that the sewer hole was so far back he had to use 2 hoses to get to it and it was barely enough. Well, barely was good enough.

We had a restful night and wanted to get an early start so that we could get past Atlanta before the ice and snow hit. David went out to unhook while I worked on the inside getting everything ready to roll. A few minutes later David came in and said the sewer hose was plugged up and he didn't know how to unplug it, He had tried everything and the hose was FULL of poop and paper and nothing was draining. He wanted me to come out and help. UHHHH OK?sThere we were standing in the cold looking at a 30+ foot length of poop filled hose. There was obviously a blockage somewhere. David suggested that I hold the hose up in the air at the point where the 2 hoses joined while he took them apart.
 WAS HE KIDDING??????? Visions of Robin Williams sewer scene in the the movie RV passed in front of my eyes. I didn't think that was a good idea. But, we had to do something. Well, that didn't work so David hooked it back up. I went towards the MH and lifted the hose high and walked it down towards the drain. It was obvious that the drain was on high ground and poop doesn't flow up hill.
There was definitely a blockage and since the hose was still full it had to be at the end where the hose went into the sewer. So David unhooked the 90 degree curved end that went into the sewer---and guess what came out--You guessed it. Luckily he was able to get it in the sewer opening before it splashed all over the ground, but not before it splashed on him. UGGGGHHHH. He was so happy that it all came out he didn't care. Clean pants he had, but there was no way we could travel with a 30 foot long poop Popsicle. The joys of motor homing.

At any rate all went well after that. We got home without further incident and the kitties were very happy to be home in front of their fireplace. That night it did snow some at our house, but we were snug as a bug. Thank goodness. David said this was the worst trip we ever had. He was still reliving the shattered windshield and the poop Popsicle.

A Shinny New Windshield

Monday night neither of us got any sleep worrying about the new windshield, the kitties, the logistics of it all and now rain was predicted for the day. One of the things we were worried about was how long it would take for the new windshield to cure after installation. Looking on the motor home forums it went anywhere from "install and drive away" to "48 hrs curing time", which meant we couldn't drive for 2 days, The other issue was that we had less than 1/4 tank of gas in the MH and if we had to dry camp in the parking in lot, the MH generator wouldn't run on less than 1/4 tank.
We tossed and turned all night. David was more stressed than I was. He kept reliving the broken windshield incident, After unhooking and closing everything up in the MH we left early in the morning to go to the gas station and fill up with gas on the way to the glass shop. Whew!! One more problem solved.

 We got to the glass shop at 8 am and parked around the side until Winston was ready for us. It was raining so he had us pull the front of our MH into the open bay. We put the kitties in the back behind the door and 3 guys took out our old windshield. They had a tough time getting it out--it was really in there good. Then came our shinny new windshield. The whole process took less than 2 hrs, but we needed time to cure. We drove carefully back to our parking spot and waited for cure time. David noticed a leak in the windshield and they came over to seal it some more. Winston decided we should be OK to drive back to the campground by 3 pm. We stayed until 4 pm and drove back. At least we weren't stuck there for 2 days.
Our shinny new windshield and it was beautiful. We finally got a good night's sleep Tuesday night.
We were paid through Wednesday night in the CG so we just relaxed on Wednesday. We met Ryan and family for dinner Wednesday night and had a very nice time. They had had a great vacation in Mexico and it was so nice to see them again before we had to leave to come home.

A Nice Weekend in St Augustine

It was an enjoyable weekend. Late on Friday we received a call from Winston telling us to be at his shop at 8 am Tuesday morning. He said we must have lit a fire under the windshield company to get it there so quickly. Since it was a Holiday weekend Winston's shop would be closed on Monday. On Saturday we decided to take a ride over to the shop to check out the area for our Tuesday arrival.

Wow! the shop was in a little industrial park and I mean little. The entrance had a big tree in the middle of it with little room to get in and out. The back area was very tight and was going to be interesting to try and maneuver a 38' motor home around. It looked like most of their car glass business was mobile, so they come to you. Had we realized we would have had to bring us to them we would have tried to find another company to replace the windshield. But it is what it is and they had our new windshield.

The other issue was what to do with our kitties while the whole process was going on. We thought about boarding them for the day, but that would require taking them the night before, crating them up and transporting them. Pretty stressful for all of us. We decided to go to Home Depot and buy a cheap accordion door to put up between the bunk room and the kitchen. That way they could use their beds, litter box and our bed. David added some extra magnets for closure and it looked like a good option. Whew!!! That problem solved until Tuesday.

Sunday afternoon Mary Anne came up to visit and have lunch with us. Our original plan was to leave St Augustine and go to Ocala to visit her, but our shattered windshield changed those plans. We were so glad that she could drive up to see us. We went to lunch at Metro Diner and had a very nice visit.
Of course we had to take the Mustang Convertible since it was such a nice day.