Friday, April 30, 2010

# 53 or "#52 Continued"

Let's blog blog nap, oh yeah, & I pick up where I left off. Our first full day in Greenville we decided to got some provisions & get the lay of the land. It's always fun & interesting to check out the local scenery & shopping. Mom & Pop stores, chains that are regional, & even different items found in our favorite stores. The campground office personnel told us that the grocery stores were just up the road the way we came in. OH NO, THAT ROAD! At least we wont have the trailer with us. 45 minutes later we found the interstate & a tourist info center. The woman there was friendly & a wealth of knowledge. With maps & directions in hand we were off. First to RVer heaven, Walmart. When you are on the road you may not find everything you are looking for but at Walmart you can find the things you need or can make do with. Walmarts across the country have that same feel that makes you feel at home but also carry enough local perishables & area specific products to let you know you aren't.

Not finding everything we wanted we went down the road a short way(thank you info center lady) to a Krogers. Kroger is a major grocery chain not found in Florida or to the best of my knowledge in the northeast. We have found them in VA, TN, & points west. We finished our shopping & were pleasantly surprised to find the lowest price on diesel we had seen in over 300 miles. we filled up the truck & headed home. This time we decided to follow our GPS from the interstate. The roads were well paved & the trip was shorter but....imagine roads made for munchkin size cars & zig zagging through a town made for a Disney wild west movie. This would not have been fun with 40' of trailer behind us. Doable, but not fun. That is why we generally follow directions given by the campground, they know the roads & the RVs that will use them. Finally back home & our trip to the grocery store only took us 5 hours! When you are out in the middle of nowhere,beautiful as it is, every trip to town is a major excursion.

We are going to have dinner & relax tonight. Tomorrow the weather is supposed to warm up so the plan is to unload the motorcycles & see what we shall see. Till next time, from our home in the mountains of Virginia, because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Thursday, April 29, 2010

# 52 This Is Home For Now

April 27th & we took our time hitting the road. Greenville is only 3 hours away so we were in no rush, besides the weather was cold(49') & cloudy so it was a good morning to sleep in a little. Since we didn't unhook the truck or hook up the sewer line preping for the road was a snap. After breakfast, walking the dog, & leaving the campground we thought it a good idea to fuel up at the Flying J at the entrance to the interstate. For those who are not familiar with Flying J think truck stop but with RV friendly amenities. I know some RVers who hate Flying Js, & we have had our bad experiences, but it seems our's & other's issues are usually with inconsiderate patrons blocking fuel pumps & parking. Often these clods are Rvers whom I don't consider "fellow RVers". At last on our way & the sky opts to share some precipitation. Not a lot, just enough to annoy & put an edge on the driver.

We arrive at our exit & follow the directions given by the campground. Winding roads, up & down the local hills but the pavement is not bad. Oops, spoke too soon. We turn onto the road the camp is located on & it looks like a mine field. Potholes a small family could move into & locals driving like it is the Indy 500. With a 40' trailer it is difficult to avoid these booby traps but I do my best. The campground's parking area is only a little better but it looks like they are trying to fix it up. Mary checks in & returns with a map & directions to our camp site as is normal in our travels. This is the end of normal!!! Around the bend is the first bridge. It is wide enough but the turn is kind of tight. Try #1, back up, try #2,back up a little more, try #3 I swing WIDE & up the embankment & I think I can make it. Mary is outside with the walkie-talkie yelling loud enough to make it not necessary. I can see in the mirror how close I am getting & trying to calm her down but a sending walkie is not a receiving walkie. I am talking to myself! I inch forward & clear the railing by less than 3". The next bridge is not so bad but the roads worsen. If I get this RV in here I am not moving it EVER! Well at least for a month. We find our site & miracles of miracles the site is actually level. We unhook the truck, hook up the utilities, & enjoy a well earned sigh of relief. It is really pretty up here but getting here....well I may not return unless there are some major improvements.

We are just relaxing right now so I think I will join my bride for a nap. I'll have to tell you later about our trip to town. Ta ta for now from our home in Greenville because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, April 26, 2010

#51 Not There Yet, But Still Home

I last said that we would be writing you all from our month long home in Virginia. Well we are in Virginia & we are in our home, we just haven't made it to our intended destination. South western VA has some pretty steep grades & I pushed the truck a little harder than I should have so we decided to stop & have a short day into north western VA tomorrow. As the altitude increased the temperature decreased. Charleston was a balmy 76 deg when we left and Wytheville VA was a brisk 53 deg when we arrived. Tonight 's low is expected to be 49 degrees. Mary is digging out the winter clothes! She is glued to every weather channel on TV & the web. I guess she thinks if she looks enough she can change the weather.

We were going to boon dock tonight. That means no hook-ups. We would basically be sitting in a parking lot using our generator, batteries, fresh water supply, & waste water holding tanks for the night. It's not as bad as it sounds when you consider that is what an RV is made for. Mary convinced me that we should find a campground instead of a truck-stop. It will be nicer to have all the amenities that hook-ups provide & it is also nice to have Mary happy.

Tomorrow we should be in north western VA by lunch time. We will set up for a one month extended stay & plan to enjoy all that the Shenandoah Valley affords. For the next month our home will be in Greenville VA because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Sunday, April 25, 2010

# 50 A Mile Marker?

50 blogs! Who woulda thunk? Anyway, we got up to the alarm clock & decided we would keep our plans for the Harbor tour. Now we will have seen Charleston on day 1 by land & day 2 by sea. HA HA get it? 1 if by..... oh well. The weather forecast was for rain later in the day so in spite of the overcast sky we took the bikes. We remembered our rain gear which we figured was a sure sign that it wouldn't rain. HA! As we approached the Maritime Center it started to sprinkle. We hoped that by the time the boat ride was over it would stop. The tour gave a different view of the city. It took us out near Ft Sumter, Ft Moultrie, & past The Battery. On the return we were passed by a large cargo ship & fuel barge, & then we passed by the USS Yorktown. Then under the bridge over the Cooper River, & along just a few of the large cargo & freight docks that make Charleston one of the busier sea ports on the east coast.

Anyone who knows about our motorcycle adventures & the weather know that into our lives at least a little rain must fall. After the Harbor tour the rain had stopped but by the time we made it out to the bikes the sprinkles started again. On with the rain gear & just a few miles up the coast to the old Navy Yard. This is the site of the Warren Lasch Coservation Center. If you have watched the National Geographic channel in the last 10 years you might have heard about the CSS Hunley. This was the Civil War submarine that was found off the coast of Charleston in 1995 & raised in 2000. The Hunley was the first submarine with a successful war time mission. The Union ship, The Housatonic, was sunk by the Hunley February 17, 1864 with an explosive charge that was planted below the water line & detonated. The Hunley ultimately sank after completion of it's mission & was not found until 131 years later. The Hunley is in the process of being cleaned & analyzed so that it's history can be accurately told. Artifacts & replicas show how far advanced the technology was for the time. At some time in the future the Hunley will be moved to a proper museum for display.

Well, we have seen the city of Charleston to our satisfaction & have decided to head home before the rain really hits. We have pushed our luck as far as we felt we should. The ride home was interesting. The Hunley is not in the best of neighborhoods, mostly industrial & the kinds of homes that are found in industrial areas. None of the roads goes straight & after 3 times around the same area we found the main road back home. By the time we got home there was no sign of rain, but with the forecast calling for rain overnight & all the next day we thought it prudent to put the bikes in the trailer. Rain Saturday & Sunday, & departure scheduled for Monday wouldn't leave much riding time. Tomorrow we will take the truck past some of the plantations in the area & see what we can see. After that we will start getting ready to leave.

The next blog from "Casa Maniaci on Wheels" should be from our new home some where near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virgina. That will be our home for the month of May because...

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

Friday, April 23, 2010

# 49 Updates & Edits

Re-reading my blog from April 21 I noticed some corrections needed to be made. The 22nd arrived bright & early but we were anything but bright-eyed & bushy-tailed. Snooze for an hour, then 1 more hour, then turn the damn thing off! Morning became almost noon & the day was off like a herd of turtles. Breakfast became lunch, morning showers came at 1pm, & the decision to cancel our plans for the day became moot. Oh well, tomorrow's another day. The motorcycle stayed in the shop an extra day so April 22nd was dedicated to paying bills, catching up on e-mails, & old movies on satellite TV. Sad note for the day... Mary likes country singer Chris Young & follows him on line. Calender shock, he is 1 year older than Charlie,Mary's baby! Her expression was one of disbelief & realization that she is getting older. I keep telling her she's getting better & I couldn't love her more. It didn't help.

The 22nd becomes the 23rd & we are off to the races. The motorcycle is ready so to the shop & our plans for Charleston are on. Uh oh, Mary lost her motorcycle key somewhere at the shop. Retracing our steps & with everyone helping, the key is found & we are on our way. Never a dull moment. Charleston is like any other tourist city, lots of one hour parking for two hour tours or parking rates that need a loan application! Finally a free parking lot for the tour companies that is hidden like Ali Babba's cave. The tour was reasonable & informative & always more romantic in a horse drawn carriage. This was 2 mules & a wagon. Close but no cigar. It was late for lunch but we were getting hungry so we went into a little seafood restaurant & split an appetizer & entree with the hopes we wouldn't ruin dinner.

The bikes are wonderful for getting around the narrow streets of these old cities & parking is usually a lot easier. Down by the Battery Park it was free parking so there we went. The Battery is a pretty water front park with trees, benches, & (like any proper Southern town) monument upon monument of Confederate war heroes. Mary is from Virginia & I am from NY so I like to remind her that "we" won, but ultimately, as is pointed out by scholars from both sides, only Americans died. Such is the ultimate loss in a civil war. We walked along the waterfront & could see the USS Yorktown across the Cooper River. Since we saw it's sister ship, the USS Intrepid, we felt it would be redundant & would search it's history on line.

Onward home to our patient puppy & dinner. Foxy was glad to see us or she just needed to take care of business. Still full from lunch (so much for not ruining dinner) ...showers, e-mails, blogs, & hopefully an early night are in order. I don't think so, it is already 10pm. Anyhow, tomorrow we will take a boat tour of Charleston Harbor & try to see the Confederate submarine H.L.Hunley. Until then, good night from our home in Charleston SC because...

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

#48 Another State Another Home

No matter where we go it's always home. We wake up in our own bed use our own bathroom, & have everything we need with us. The only thing is every time we move we up the average number of moves for the average American family. Today we are outside of Charleston SC & yes we are home.

It was an uneventful trip from Tybee Island & since we decided to stay here for an extra day or two it seemed a good time to get my motorcycle in for some needed regular service. Everyday things still need to be taken care of. Tomorrow we will go into Charleston & check out the scenery. There are a lot of neat old homes & history to see.

The campground we are in is pretty nice & I am sure we will enjoy our stay here. We will be walking a lot but we will probably take some time to just sit & relax. So for now we are home near Charleston because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, April 19, 2010

# 47 Tourism On My Terms

Here we are on Tybee Island just outside of Savannah. Mary is a fanatic about light houses & Tybee has just that. I don't think that light houses will be the driving force for our travels but they will have definite input. Anyway 178 steps later & absolute confirmation that I am out of shape another light house is crossed off Mary's list. The buildings & artifacts on the property show how tough life as a light house keeper was. And to think the steps almost killed me!

Day 2 we went into Savannah. I guess we are tourists but we didn't want to visit the usual tourist traps. I wanted to feel the essence of the city so we parked the bikes & just walked around. Savannah is a beautiful old city dotted with squares which are like small city parks. The flowers. trees, & grounds in general provide serene little sanctuaries to just sit & contemplate life. A light lunch down near the river front some more walking around & ideal weather combined to make it a perfect day.

Tomorrow we plan to ride around Tybee Island & see what we can find. There is a fort around here some place, another light house, & supposedly a pier of some sort. That will be our Tuesday & Wednesday we depart for Charleston. All the walking has tired this old geezer out & I didn't get a nap so I am closing from our home on Tybee Island because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary & Foxy

Saturday, April 17, 2010

#46 Hello & Thank-You Friends!

The first thing I need to do is thank everyone who has commented on my blog. I enjoy writing it, but knowing that others are reading & enjoying it makes my part of the blogging experience much more fun. Thanks again & keep the comments coming. Also Mary has asked me to let everyone know that she is posting more pictures on "Facebook". We are in St Augustine for our 21st anniversary even though we are still on our "first" honeymoon. It just doesn't want to end!

I have good news, at least for us. The truck's oil leak turned out to be an easy fix at the Ford dealer. After not sleeping well worrying about how much money & how much time this would take we were at the dealer at 7am. I followed Mary on the motorcycle, we went out to breakfast, & went back to the trailer. I was tired & layed down for a nap. Mary was not far behind me. The next thing we know the phone is ringing. The auto repair gods were looking out for us. It wasn't even noon & the truck was fixed. On top of that it wasn't as expensive as I thought it would be & to top it off our extended warranty paid most of it. Hallelujah!!!!!!

Now that was done we could get together with our friends as planned. Catching up, talking, laughing, & losing track of time is just what you do with good friends. We had a wonderful dinner, drove around St. Augustine a little & finally called it a night. It is hard to say good bye to friends but it beats staying too long. We will also look forward to the next visit that much more.

Saturday as I said before was going to be "our" day. We took the bikes out & went into St. Augustine's old quarter. St Georges St is a pedestrian thoroughfare through the oldest part of town. It's mostly shops & restaurants but they are in mostly the original restored buildings. Yes it's touristy but that's what we did on our honeymoon & we will do it every time we come back. We took some pictures(see Mary on Facebook) went to a restaurant we like & just...well acted like honeymooners. It was a wonderful day.

But the day is not over! Tomorrow we leave for Tybee Island & that means getting ready to leave. Again with the laundry! It would just be easier if we went naked. It would be uglier, but easier. Also motorcycling would be interesting & probably painful. Load the bikes in the trailer, fill the truck with diesel, & start the travel prep routine again. By the way, filling the truck with diesel,OUCH! Our truck holds 74 gallons of fuel & I try not let it get too low. This time it needed almost 55 gallons. Yes 55 gallons at one fill up! Diesel is over $3 per gal so you do the math. I know it's a lot of money but if we couldn't afford it we wouldn't have this life style. Everything should be done by the time we call it a night & tomorrow we should just have to hook up the truck, do our multiple walk-arounds, double check everything & hit the road. Hopefully this will be by 9am & we will have an easy drive to Tybee Island.

From our home in St Augustine this is good night & good bye because our next home will be in Tybee Island because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary & Foxy
(Yes Foxy wanted to know why she wasn't getting equal,if not top, billing)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

#45 Here & There & Everywhere Is Home

"Post cards from home" & "Home is where we park it" are more than catchy phrases, it's the truth. I'll tell you how I know & can prove it. Whenever we pack & hook up to leave Foxy gets real antsy. She is underfoot, whiny, a general pain in the ass. Once in the truck she calms down some but still paces the back seat(her domain) & is constantly looking out the window looking for who knows what? After reaching our destination she again is a royal pain while we set up. When everything is in place & her bed & bowls are where they belong you can almost hear an audible sigh as she curls up in her bed or under one of our chairs. Aaaah, I'm home. We feel the same once we get set up. This is our home & it feels like home no matter where we are.

Well, here we are in St Augustine, arriving event free. I found a Ford dealer that had a part I needed & could take the truck in first thing in the morning to check the oil leak. They think they may be able to fix it before we leave on Sunday. We will ride our motorcycles while it is in the shop. If you have ever been to St Augustine you know that it is much easier to get around & park on motorcycles anyway & it gives us an excuse to ride more. Tomorrow we will see friends & catch up. Saturday, as I've mentioned before, we return to the scene of our honeymoon. We will spend the day just the two of us walking around the old parts of town like we did 21 years ago. It has been a GREAT 21 years.

As tired as we are & having to be at the Ford dealer EARLY we are calling it an early night. So until the next Blog we are home in St Augustine because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary & Foxy

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

#44 Just A Short Blog...Bl ?

We are going to try to leave early in the morning so we prepped tonight. Empty & flush our waste tanks, fill our fresh water tank, & unhook all fresh, non-potable,& waste hoses. Clean & store all hoses in basement. Inside pictures are taken down, loose items stored & secured, & last minute check of tomorrows itinerary.

7am is our scheduled wake up time & we hope to be on the road by 9am. 10am is probably more realistic but you never know. Showers, breakfast, & walk the dog like every other morning. Then we hook up the truck, disconnect the shore power, re-check all stored & secured items, & pull out. After that we load & secure the motorcycles, do a light check, one more final check on all secured items(you can only imagine how many times we wished we had checked one more time) & then we hit the road. We are only going a little over 200 miles but his is what we do when we travel. RVers understand.

And just to add a little excitement to our adventures the truck may have an oil leak. We will keep an eye on it & if it needs to be taken care of we will extend our stay at one of our stops where we can find a Ford dealer to take our hard earned money. Again this isn't a kink in our vacation plans this is just life retire & on the road. So this is still coming to you from our home in Port St Lucie, soon to be somewhere near St Augustine, because....

Home is where w park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

#43 Getting Old Is A Full Time Job

I know I've talked about my back surgery & how it has progressed from "why did I do this?" to "OK, I think this is working out & ultimately worth it". I recently had some issues with my neck & arm. There are similar issues to my back, arthritis, disc problems, & inflammation. We started treatments like I had for my back for 7 years prior to my surgery. The first shot was on March 30th and I had good results. The pain is mostly gone but the numbness persisted, so the Dr. suggested another shot on April 13th so that I might have some long term relief. The back shots work well for me so I hope these shots will work as well. This meant a trip back to Pinellas County. We decided not bring the rig, but stay overnight on the 12th with Jess & Jim & drive back the day of my shot.

It's hard to believe that the 2 weeks in Port St Lucie is almost over. Mary washed the truck & I cleaned the garage to be ready to load the motorcycles. We will be heading up to St Augustine for a few days to visit with friends & "return to the scene of the crime"(AKA our honeymoon). We are also going to check out a couple of campgrounds that may work as our winter residence in the future.

Well it is getting late & the sedative they gave me for my shot is making me sleepy. Just to let everyone know, if you haven't noticed, that comments have been being posted. I am going to sign off possible for the last time from our home in Port St Lucie because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Friday, April 9, 2010

#42 And Life Goes On

Today is Friday & it is just another day. Like I've said before, retirement isn't vacation 365 days a year, it's just everyday life without the 40 hours a week dedicated to work. We have just about finished helping with the move, we celebrated our anniversary, & spent some quality time catching up with family. We also have our everyday chores like laundry, vacuuming, & house(trailer) maintenance. Then there is the "weekend" that can fall on any day of the week when you don't have a work schedule to adhere to.

Tuesday we got together with my cousins. It had been too many years & I hope we get together more often. In spite of the years gone by it was like it had been yesterday. It is nice to have people in our life like that. On Wednesday we did laundry, cleaned around the house, & went to the Post Office to get our mail. We have to have our mail forwarded to us as we travel. The safest way to get our mail is to have it sent General Delivery to a local PO, or so we thought! With a combined 50+ years in the USPS we have found something we never thought we would see. The Port St Lucie Post Office on Veterans Memorial Pkwy claims they will not accept General Delivery mail. Now understand, this not a contract station, this is a real Post Office staffed by actual postal employees. They have PO boxes, window services, & carriers like any other Post Office so how can they not handle Gen Del mail? We are going to have to look into this!

Thursday was our 21st anniversary. With the weather being as close to perfect as possible we decided to spend the day on our motorcycles. From Port St Lucie we headed up highway A1A North, destination Cocoa Beach. A1A follows right along the beach & we had some awesome views of the Atlantic Ocean. We stopped several time just to walk through the dunes to the beach & take some pictures. It's not the fastest route but with beautiful scenery who's in a hurry? We made it to Cocoa & when in Cocoa what do you do? Go to Ron Jon's! What else? It is just another way to take money from tourists & it is kinda corny but... so what? We turned around & headed south on A1A for a while & then cut across at Patrick AFB to I95 and headed home. A shower, change of clothes, & out for a romantic dinner to complete a perfect celebration of 21 wonderful years.

This bring us back to the start of this blog, Friday. We slept in because we could! Nothing on the schedule 'til this evening so we will lay around, catch up on e-mails, write a blog, & just relax. Tonight we will have dinner with the uncles & just enjoy their company. Saturday & Sunday I have a few things I want to do around the rig that I have been putting off. Again, I don't understand how I found time to go to work & get all this stuff done.

I have another hour or so to do nothing & that is what I am going to do! From our home in Port St Lucie because.....

Home is where we park it,
Fran & Mary

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

#41 Aaaaaah.........

We are still in Port St Lucie & have decided to take a few days to relax. Moving the old fashioned way is hard work. You know, the packing, lifting, stairs, unpacking, etc. Not to mention the furniture, even if it is knock-down style. I'm not complaining mind you, because I would do anything for the uncles, but it still is work. My idea of moving(since joining the RV ranks) consists of pushing buttons to bring in our walls, rolling up our hoses & wires, hooking up the truck, & away we go!!!! OK, there is a little more to it than that but you get the gist. No packing, no lifting, no furniture arranging, just take the whole house with you.

Anyway, we had our holding tanks cleaned yesterday. YUCK!!! This process includes dumping of all our waste water(poop, shower, kitchen sink etc.) & putting a high pressure hose with a spray head into the tanks from the dump outlet. This cleans any debris that has stuck to the sides of the tanks. Basically our RV got an enema. We thought we had been doing a good job of maintaining our waste water system but found out it needs a professional touch now & then. All is now clean as a whistle & more frequent professional cleaning will be considered.

Today we are going to see my cousins in Lake Worth. It has been too long & I am looking forward to it. The next 2 days we are going to take the bikes out, enjoy the beautiful weather, & celebrate our 21st anniversary. After that we will finish up the moving, spend a little more time visiting,& then we will be on our way to our New England adventure! Of course there will be stops along the way & unplanned adventures so keep checking back to see what is happening on the home front. The home front being wherever we are at the moment because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Friday, April 2, 2010

# 40 And The Wheels on the Truck Go 'Round n Round

It's been 6 months since our home on wheels has moved & we were starting to get antsy. Well now we have finally gotten on the road & it feels good. Less than 300 miles & we are still in Florida but we are again on the move. We are visiting with the uncles & helping them move 7 are just taking it easy. The weather is beautiful & we are out on the motorcycles. It just doesn't get any better.

Easter with family will be nice & we are looking forward to seeing my cousins while we are on the east coast. Our youngest son is also not too far away & hopefully will be able to get some free time to visit. Before we leave FL we would also like to stop near St Augustine to see friends.

While we are in Port St Lucie we are having a "RV Waste Water Technician" check out our rig. In plain English, a guy is coming to clean out our poop tank. We have lived in our rig for almost 5 years & are curious as to how well we have maintained our waste water system. These tanks are not something you can or want to look in but it is important to keep them as clean as possible.

Tomorrow some more moving & cooking for Easter dinner and it will all be done in our home in Port St Lucie because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary