Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Summary: The Early Days

I've been keeping a journal of where we've been since we left Pensacola (thanks, Joann). Since Jim started this blog I decided to go back and record all of my entries of places we've stayed and dates, just for our own info.

Day 1, Oct 6, 2008: Our first day as full timers! Stayed in White Hall, AL at Prairie Creek Corps of Engineers campground. $18/night. Got a site right on the water. Spent the next day reorganizing the junk we loaded in the car and actually threw out a bunch of stuff.

Oct 8: Raining in the morning so we left at noon after it stopped. About 4:30 had a warning from tire pressure monitor that we had a low tire. Unfortunately it was the valve stem so we called the emergency road service. The guy ended up changing the tire and we didn't get back on the road until 7:30. Since it was dark and we didn't want to drive on to  the the campground in Huntsville, we stayed at a nearby Wal-Mart. Wasn't too bad and we needed a few things, anyway. Still a better day than being at work!

Oct 9: Our 26th wedding anniversary! Got the tire fixed in Oneonta, then had a beautiful. scenic drive through north AL, TN, and KY, especially along Lake Guntersville. The tree colors were gorgeous. Spent the night at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park in KY. $22/night. Fixed a nice dinner and enjoyed a bottle of Molly Dooker (thanks Randy and Sunarree). Good anniversary!

Oct 10: Had a near disaster trying to get into the dump station on the way out of Lake Cumberland. Finally able to unhook the car and get out. Learned a valuable lesson. From here out we wait until after we dump the tanks before hooking up the car. Decided to call and be sure we could get a campsite in southern Ohio since it was Friday.After calling several and being told they were full, finally found a site at Blue Licks Battlefield State Park in Blue Licks Springs.KY. $22/night. Nice man on phone held the only site left for us. Just as we were pulling in, got another low tire pressure alarm. Jim managed to fill the tire and take off the pressure monitor and it held air. He decided to order some super valve stems for $80 and have them shipped to a friend in Erie, PA. Hopefully we can make it there without anymore problems.

Oct 11: Spent 2 nights in Galena, OH in our friend Dave and Kim's driveway. Very nice camp hosts and great shower! Took us on a 30 mile bike ride on a rail trail in Mt. Vernon. It was a great weekend and of course we ate pizza both nights as we always seem to do when we visit them.

Oct 13: Lovely drive through Ohio farm country. Spent the night at West Branch State Park in Ravenna, OH. Very nice bath house but pricey. $24/night for electric (no water at sites) and $30 for full hookups. We did get a beautiful site on the lake and met an interesting couple who travel in an Airstream for 5 months of the year in the US, then spend 7 months at their home in Jerusalem, Israel.

Oct 14: Finally made it to Erie, PA, my home town. Our weather up to this point has been in the 70's and 80's. Just as I expected, it was in the 60's or less and dreary much of the time we were there. Spent 7 nights at Sara Coyne Campground at the entrance to Presque Isle State Park. $165/week with full hookups. Bath house nice but pay showers so we used ours the whole week. What a luxury. Had Boston's pizza with Joann and Joe on Jim's birthday (the 16th). Had a nice lunch with my brother and his family and both grandkids. Jim even enjoyed the kids!  Rode our bikes one day but walked at Presque Isle the rest of the week since it got colder as the week went on. Enjoyed visiting with friends and family. Got the new tire valves installed on our way out of town. Hoping those problems are behind us.

Oct 21: Back to West Branch State Park in Ravenna, OH since we got off to a late start after getting the tires fixed. Got into the 30's at night but they were predicting snow in Erie so we got out just in time.

Oct 22: Spent 2 nights at Hocking Hills State Park in Logan, OH. $26/night. Had intended to stay at Lake Alma but a bridge was out and we had to detour. Came across this park by accident on our way to the other and what a nice surprise. We stayed an extra night to take advantage of the hiking. It was in the low 60's but sunny and we hiked the Old Man's Cave trail. It was one of the prettiest trails we've ever been on. We were also surprised at how very steep and winding the roads are in this part of Ohio.

Oct  24: Friday again so decided to call the park I picked for our destination and they were all booked. It was cold and raining so we were surprised. Tried another park and got the same answer. Finally found a site at Cumberland Falls State Park in Corbin, OH. $22/night but not a very nice campground. We couldn't fit into any of the sites they had left but they let us take up 2 spots where tent campers stay. It had water and electric so we were happy. Stayed 2 nights so we could see the falls and take a nice hike.

Oct 26: Went on to Harrison Bay State Park 12 miles or so north of Chattanooga. $20/night but we were in Section A. Had a view of the lake. Found out later that section B  was only $16/night and there were several lakefront sites there, also. Went into Chattanooga to eat at Mellow Mushroom Pizza and take a walk across the river on the pedestrian bridge. Such a nice town. Turned cold and very windy the next couple days but bundled up and did a couple nice hikes.

Oct 29: Stopped in Carrollton, GA at John Tanner State Park. $22 plus $3 park pass. Pretty little campground with a paved walking trail around a lake.

Oct 30: Met the Southeast Lazy Daze owners group in Eufala, AL. Stayed at White Oak Creek, an Army Corps campground on Lake George. $20/night. We had a great site right on the lake. Enjoyed visiting with people we met in Jacksonville at the spring get-together and met several new folks. Got lots of good advice about places to camp and sightsee in our travels.The group left on Sunday but we stayed an extra night since it was so pretty and warm. Finally got in the 70's. We missed being warm for a few weeks. Feels like we are on vacation and heading back home. Guess it will take awhile for it to register that we don't have to go back to work.

Nov 3: Back to Pensacola and a free campsite in our driveway. Since the deal on the house fell through while we were in Erie, we had to do a little yard work and get the house listed with a realtor. Also washed and waxed the rig and car with some help from Travis-thanks! Did laundry, had a few dinners with friends, Jim went to the dentist twice for a toothache, I got my hair cut short. Was spending too much time and water washing and drying it. Not sure I like it yet but it is easier. Left after a few days. We just wanted to get back on the road. Being back at the house was too much like our old life and we were anxious to head west.

Nov 7: Only drove a few hours to Fountainebleau State Park on Lake Ponchartrain north of New Orleans. $17/night. They lost thousands of trees from Hurricane Katrina but we wanted to see how it looked and do some biking on the Tammany Trace rail trail.Mandeville seemed to be booming. New construction everywhere.  Saw the most beautiful sunset on a late afternoon walk through the park but of course the camera was back in the RV. The bike trail was repaired. Rode to Slidell over a new drawbridge on the trail. Went to Abita Springs for a brewery tour. Got to taste many of their beers but we weren't that impressed with them. The guide told us that every Friday afternoon each employee gets to take home 2 cases of beer. Nice perk!
Jim's tooth is finally better. Thought Oreo was having bladder stone problems again and that we might have to make a trip to a vet but he seems fine now. Still feel like we're just on vacation because this is all too familiar.

Nov 10: Haven't been to Bayou country so decided to check out Lake Fausse Point State Park near St. Martinville, LA.$18/night on river side, $16 on other side of road. Pretty park in the middle of nowhere. Don't follow your GPS directions. Tried to get us on a dirt road to get to the park. For some reason the paved road to get there wasn't in the software so we went miles out of our way. There were some nice hiking trails there and we saw several alligators on logs and in the river. Also armadillos everywhere. Unfortunately there were quite a few mosquitoes, too. No Verizon cell service or internet but we got the phone to work 1 mile out of the park. If not for the house being for sale it really wouldn't matter.

Nov 13: Stopped near Lake Charles at Sam Houston Jones State Park. $16/night. Pretty park but the campsites are small and close together. The trails were nice. Saw lots of deer and armadillos. Something knocked our garbage can over but didn't have the nerve to see what it was. Jim's tooth is hurting again. Went into town to grocery shop and ate lunch at Olive Garden (thanks, Dennis for the gift card.) Too much traffic. We sure like the woods better!

Nov 16: Spent a night at the Escapee’s Headquarters, Rainbow’s End, in Livingston,TX. It was nicer than we expected. We really liked the wooded section that had small houses with covered RV parking. The long term care area wasn’t bad, either. The rest of the park was full of RV’s but the sites were fairly big. Glad we stopped.

Nov 17: Moved a few miles to Lake Livingston State Park. $17/night. Much nicer to be in the woods, and there are not many people here so it is very quiet. There are some beautiful lakefront sites for $25 but since it’s too cool to sit outside we opted for the other area. Worked on getting reservations for the rest of our time in Texas, a very lengthy process. Too many people are out camping on the weekends and over Thanksgiving. Also washed the car and RV since no one is here. Looks much better.

Nov 19: Spent 3 nights at Lake Sommerville State Park in Sommerville, TX. We thought we had a beautiful site on the lake on Thursday since there was nobody else near us. Unfortunately the crowds arrived for the weekend. A group with 2 big tents and lots of Christmas lights parked next to us. It is a really nice park with large and secluded sites in the middle of nowhere. We rode our bikes around the park and did a lot of walking. It was a nice relaxing weekend.

Went to Austin next, where Jim started the blog. Only took me a year to get all this typed up!

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