Friday, October 28, 2011

'11/#53 Soon, Soon, Not Soon Enough

One more night here in Port St Lucie & then we are headed "home". We have had a great time here with the uncles. Stories told & retold, cooking, & of course eating filled most of the time. Mary helped Uncle Don with his garden & enjoyed getting her hands dirty. We enjoy cooking & were able to cook some meals they might not cook for themselves while making sure that there was enough to fill the freezer. As much as we enjoy doing this for them they appreciate it even more, but the best part is just spending time with them.

The weather here is turning for the worse today. With the remnants of hurricane Rina coming through we are expecting some rain tonight & tomorrow morning. Since it is not fun hooking up in the rain I am getting as much done as I can now. Tanks have been dumped & all the hoses are put away. We will run off our holding tanks for the next 2 days. The only things we will have left to do is bring in the slides, stow the electric cord & hook up the truck. Then we will be on our way.

I know it is just 2 more days but I can't wait to get back to the kids, grand kids, & all our friends. Apparently they are as excited as we are. Texts have been flying about like "where are you?" & "when will you be here?" & the heart tugging "we miss you". Even our 8year old granddaughter is keeping track. When she got the post card from St Augustine she ran to the map & announced to everyone "THEY'RE HERE!!!! They're in FL & will be back soon!!!!!!!!". It's nice to know they are as excited as we are.

Well tonight will be our last dinner with the uncles before moving on & we have to get ready to head over there. So I will sign off now in my last blog from our home in Port St Lucie because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Sunday, October 23, 2011

'11/#52 The Last Leg

Our time in St Augustine is over & we will be moving on to our last stop before arriving at our home base for the winter. We have had an awesome time as we always do. Good food, good friends, & good times seems to be the theme of our life on the road. We met up with some friends who live here permanently after several years on the road. They took us to lunch at a very nice restaurant & we finally had some real fresh seafood. As much as we enjoyed our time in Tennessee I will say that they do not know much about seafood. The best seafood we had there was from Long John Silvers. If you want fish in TN you had better get used to catfish & not much else.

The next day we took the motorcycle down to Daytona Beach. We made a quick & expensive stop at J&P cycles for some add-ons to make the bike more comfortable for both of us. Then we rode into Daytona. We just missed Biketoberfest & were glad. It sounds like fun but we aren't into the bar-hopping bike rallies. After a few pictures & a postcard or two we headed back towards St Augustine but this time we stayed off the interstate & took the beach road(A1A) to find Betty's A1A Cafe. It was recommended for it's fresh fish, lobster, & onion rings. It lived up to it's reputation & we left stuffed & satisfied for the rest of the ride home, but first across the street for a quick walk on the beach & some pictures of the Atlantic Ocean. By the time we got home the sun was going down & it started to get chilly so our timing was just right.

The next day we rode into St Augustine & walked through the town. As the oldest town in America the historic district is all within walking distance as most of the original settlers also walked as their only means of transportation. St George Street is all original structures now used for store fronts, restaurants, & historical preservation. The water front is dominated by the Bridge of Lions & the sail boats moored in the harbor. There are also more old homes that are now bed & breakfast inns & of course the romantic horse drawn carriages that will take you on tours throughout the city. For dinner we stopped in at Harry's & dined outside from their Louisiana style menu. This a regular stop for us & we are never disappointed.

I don't know how but I think I lost a day. All I know is that Saturday we got up & went to the flea market that is next to the RV park we are staying in. Some browsing, some shopping, some haggling, & we left with a few bargains that we felt we just couldn't pass up. Some might call it junk but as they say "one man's junk is another man's treasure".

Sunday was our last day here so we decided to do something different. We have seen St Augustine many times & wanted to see it differently. So we took a tour boat that cruised the harbor, the inlet, past the lighthouse, & under the Bridge of Lions. The weather was beautiful & we saw the city from another point of view. As a bonus we saw several pairs of dolphins cavorting in the harbor. It seems that this is the time of year that dolphins get frisky & make little dolphins. It was time to head home.

We loaded the motorcycle & had some dinner. Then we did some laundry. I know, it seems like chores always pop up when we are having fun but these things don't take care of themselves, but as I have said before, we aren't on vacation this is our lifestyle, warts & all. Also Mary has asked me to let everyone know that she is still trying to catch up with her pics on FB. We seem to take them faster than she can post them.Tomorrow we hit the road for Port St Lucie. We will spend some time there with the uncles before we turn west on the final leg of our journey. So I will say goodnight for the last time from our home in St Augustine because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

'11/#51 We're On Our Way!

Sunday morning we were up early in anticipation of hitting the road. After breakfast we hooked up & were on the road just a little later than we had hoped. I was wide awake with excitement but I think Mary was a little tired from a restless night thinking about getting home. All I know is an hour down the road she took a nap. It was an easy day of driving. All interstate over, around, & through the mountains of east Tennessee & western North Carolina allowed Mary to keep shooting pictures of all the fall colors. On through South Carolina & into Georgia we stopped for the night in Savannah at a Camping World. Just an easy 389 mile jaunt down the road.

The next morning we got up & shopped at Camping World. I needed a part for the RV & as usual we managed to find a few things we just couldn't live without. We went down the road a ways & stopped for breakfast. We weren't in a hurry with less than 200 miles to go to our next destination....St Augustine FL. We are returning to the scene of the crime, also known as the honeymoon. It's not our anniversary but any time we pass near St Augustine we have to stop. We have friends here we will see but mostly we will spend our time doing "just-the-two-of-us" romantic stuff. There are some restaurants we always go to when we visit & the city is just a wonderful & romantic place for us. The time will fly by & we will be on our way again soon.

On another note Mary has asked me to let everyone know that she will be catching up on her photos. Keep an eye out on Facebook for pictures of fall, our trip, & the rest of our adventures. So I will say goodnight from our home in St Augustine because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, October 15, 2011

'11/#50 Ta Ta Tennessee

Well this is it. The last day, the last night, & the last blog from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Tomorrow we hit the road for Florida, friends, & family. Everything is packed away & the check lists have been checked so we are ready. We took care of everything to leave Dollywood. Uniforms got turned in & all our IDs/name tags/parking permits so that our final paychecks would be released. We may have taken care of everything but Dollywood had other plans. They lost our ID badges but still release my paycheck while holding Mary's. Then they couldn't find our name tags. Nobody knew who to call or what to do. The incompetence made me home sick for the Post Office. We finally got our checks & bid adieu to Dollywood.

Today we got everything ready. Mary cleaned & put things away while I emptied our holding tanks. Mary took some of her plants to one of the ladies she had befriended. When she got their she smelled propane in the trailer & quickly got the windows opened. They shut off the gas & got the dogs out. The dogs had already started to show effects from the propane but bounced back right away. It was fortunate that Mary went there when she did because who knows what could have happened. Whether propane poisoning or explosion a disaster was avoided.

Tomorrow we will get up early & go out to breakfast. It will be our last trip to the plethora of pancake houses in Pigeon Forge. Then back to the RV park,hook up, & we are on the road. We plan to boondock one night & arrive in St Augustine on Monday. We will spend a few days there before moving on closer to "home" as in Largo FL. So I will say our last goodnight from our home in Pigeon Forge because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, October 8, 2011

'11/#49 I Must Be Doing Something Wrong

I have said more than once that we are short timers. I have counted down the weeks. I have counted down the days. And tomorrow is our last day of work at Dollywood. So why am I so tired? This isn't new to me...I've been a short timer before. So why am I working so hard at a job I plan never to return to? There can be only 1 of 2 explanations. Either I am so conscientious about my job or I really like my coworkers & don't want to screw them over. Well I have made some very good friends so I will lean towards the later.

Well we have one more day at Reds & then one more week before we hit the road. This week will fly by so we must buckle down to get everything done. The hardest part will be saying goodbye to all our new friends. My guess is there will be tears shed along with the hugs, handshakes, & promises to stay in touch. That is the bitter part of the bitter/sweet departure.

The sweet part is getting to see the grandkids again. It has been way too long & we have the bonus of the arrival of a new grandbaby. We will see all of our kids, our friends, & look forward to the arrival of all our fellow snowbirds from all parts north. It is all part of our case of hitch-itch & will will scratch the itch as soon as the wheels start rolling.

So this is the final week of blogs from our home in Tennessee because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

'11/#48 Does A Bear Poop In The Woods?

Today we spent the day out looking for water falls. The leaves are also changing so the cameras are click, click, clinking their little hearts out. The weather was beautiful & is was shaping up to be a wonderful day. As I was driving the twisting mountain roads there was a sudden squeal accompanied by OOO, OOO, OOO from the passenger seat. Mary was wide eyed, hopping in her seat, & pointing toward the river. Finally one word squeaked past her lips.....bbbbbbear!!!!!!! Sure enough there was a bear swimming across the river. Then he crawled up the river bank toward the road. Mary snaps out of shock & grabs the camera as he crosses the road. I have stopped the truck & grabbed my camera by the time the bear makes it across the road. Now this side of the road has a narrow grass shoulder & a vertical rock wall so the bear is a little frazzled. He then turns to the wall & proceeds to climb straight up using his claws & the vines. We were so close we could hear his claws scratching on the rocks. By the time he was gone into the woods Mary was almost hyperventilating & made me rethink the question. It is now "Does a bear make a tourist poop in her pants?". Well this time maybe just a little.

This week we have more friends visiting. We are really very fortunate that we have so many good friends. Another day showing guests around Dollywood & one more night at the Stampede. It is a great feeling being able to show our friends a good time. When our friends leave we only have a little over week before we hit the road.

That means just 3 more days of work. Then there will be the goodbyes with all of our new friends from Reds. Again we are very lucky to be able to make such good friends wherever we go. We will have to close out all our work & banking business as well as get the rig ready before we go. Time is going to fly by.

So I am going to say good night & make sure Mary is not suffering any lasting effects from her near-bear encounter from our home here in the bear infested Smokys because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Sunday, October 2, 2011

'11/#47 Signs That It Is Almost Time

Time is getting short here in Pigeon Forge & as expected it is going by quickly. The week got off to a slow start. Monday Mary woke up not feeling well. She had been dragging her butt for a couple of days & it finally caught up with her. She spent the day in bed while I took care of some projects that needed to be done before we leave. I also did some errand running & just relaxed. Tuesday Mary was feeling much better. I let her sleep in & when we got up we did some laundry. Later on we went to one of the dinner shows on our Dollywood perks list. This one was called The Hatfields & McCoys. The show was a music filled "feud"/comedy that followed the usual fried chicken &/or B-B-Q with the appropriate sides. The show was corny & the food was so-so but it was almost free. We usually have to pay for all or part of the dinner while the show is free when we take advantage of the perks.

Wednesday we had some running around to do. I needed to have my glasses adjusted & the nearest Lenscrafters is in Knoxville some 25 miles away. As built up as Pigeon Forge/Sevierville has become there still is very little that doesn't pertain to the tourist industry. While at the mall Mary did some more "baby" shopping. She is just loving this grandmommy thing. She also found some real bargains for all the kids & managed to make our Christmas shopping almost complete. On the way back we stopped at Walmart & a couple of gift shops. All the tourist attractions are decorating for the fall harvest so there were numerous stops for the obligatory photo-ops. Then it was on to The Comedy Barn. Promoted as wholesome family entertainment it lived up to the claim & was "laugh 'til it hurts" funny. Again it was free as a "Dolly" perk. We tried adding up all the perks we have taken advantage of & figure we have saved at least $2000. Once we leave here I'm sure I will come up with a more accurate total.

The seasons are starting to change for REAL! Highs the past 2 days have been near 60deg & the lows have hovered near 40deg. That means the heat is on & the electric blanket is out. It also means it is time to head for Florida. Hitch-itch is getting stronger, the weather is getting colder, & most importantly we miss the grandkids. By my calculations we will be on the road in less than 2 weeks & will arrive "home" by November 1st. Yes that calculates to 2 weeks to travel some 700 miles. We are making some stops on the way to see friends, family, & just sight-see on the way. That is the joy of being retired & living the RV lifestyle.

Well we have more chores to do & more perks to take advantage of so I will say so long for now from our home in Tennessee because....

Home is where we park it,
Fran k & Mary