30 December 2012

At Last

Our first meal in Florida

We are back in Florida. Crossed the State line today at 11:01 AM. We are dry camping at NS Mayport until tomorrow when we move next door to Hanna park and my sisters join us to welcome in the New Year.

it was interesting seeing all of the RV's heading south on I 95. It was flooded with them and other vehicles with Northern license plates and luggage on the roof!
Our first stop after parking RV was Singletons Seafood Shack in little Mayport Village on the St Johns River. OMG, it was worth the wait.  My sister Marla  is bringing up the New Year's Eve feast tomorrow and then BJ is preparing traditional New Year's hog jowls and black-eyed peas to welcome the New Year and bring good luck to all that partake. If you cannot make it, I will gladly eat your share. Thanks
Always at home nomatter where we are parked!

26 December 2012

A Hard Days Night

We left JEB Little Creek about 0930 this AM in light rain.  We headed west to Emporia VA to take I-95 south bound.  Because weather forecast was so adverse we opted not to take US 17 as originally planned.. It is a good road, but with heavy rain and winds forecast we figured I-95 would be a better alternative - distance and travel time were not forecast to be greatly different!

The rain continued increasing as we approached Emporia and as soon as we headed south the rain increased and was intermittently heavy and very heavy with a few, but very few breaks.  We had decided we would stop by lunch at Parkers Bar-B-Q on 301, just south of Wilson NC.  It was about 6 miles east of I-95 but right off I-795 so it was an easy and short detour.  40+years ago when we lived in Hampton and traveled back and fourth to SC and or FL.  This section of I-95 was not completed so we were on US 301 and could not just pass by Parkers!!

The detour and anticipation were worth the wait!  Oh, what a wonderful lunch we had and we got 2 pounds of the bar-b-q to take with us.  There was a large truck parking lot on the south side of Parkers so parking the RV was not an issue!  However, when we got to the door to leave the wind and rain were really coming down hard, very hard AND it was a long way to the RV!

After about 10 minutes we said "To Heck With It".  The wind quickly blew BJ's umbrella inside out.  I took off in a sprint and water was running rapidly and well over ankle deep across the parking lot!   I wanted to get to the RV first so I could unlock the door by the time BJ got there!  Nonetheless, we were both were pretty well drenched by the time we got in the RV.    We changed clothes and hit the road, still heading SOUTH!

About 50 miles down the road the sun broke through and clouds started breaking up!  It quit raining and things were looking up as we continued SOUTH!  We arrived at the campground, which has a winery as part of it, after dark and got parked.  We are looking forward to seeing BJ's siblings Thursday and Friday then we will move on SOUTH.  May take US 17 this time.  We are closer to it then I-95 and the weather is going to be a lot better then today!

It was a long hard trip today but we are only a day's drive from Jacksonville FL and we are getting better and better by the day!  

But, we do miss the girls!

Always at home, no matter where we are.


Is SOUTH of here!  At last we are really, really SOUTHBOUND.  The Keys are in site (well nearly)!

We have enjoyed out time in VA, but we have been here 4+ months and that is too long. We enjoyed our time on the Eastern Shore and really enjoyed the time with the girls here in Norfolk.  But, it has been too long since we were in the Keys and we are really looking forward to returning there by the end of January!

We depart Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Ft Story Famcamp later this AM and will stop through the Carolinas to visit BJ siblings, then in Jax to see Garrett, our son, and Gary, my brother and then on to Melbourne for doctor visits and to see friends and family and then on to the Keys.  We plan on being there until mid-May or so. 

Always at home no matter where we are!

07 December 2012

South bound at last (at least a little bit)

Well we finished the volunteer gig at the Eastern Shore of VA National Wildlife Refuge last week and have moved over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT in local parlance) to Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Ft Story in Norfolk so we can spend Christmas with the girls.  We are thinking we should have promised them we would spend Labor Day with them as we are really getting tired of the cold!  But, it seems to warm up so rapidly whenever we are around them!
The Girls
From the water the CBBT heading out to Fishermans Island

Crossing the CBBT is always an interesting event.  It is sort of like a sea voyage in your car.  The bridge is 20 miles long across the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay at the Atlantic Ocean.  To your east is the vast Atlantic Ocean and to your west is the vast (but not as vast as the Atlantic) Chesapeake Bay.  There are two tunnels that are part of the CBBT, each one is a mile long and they are out of site of land when you approach them!   The tunnels are about 2 miles apart.  The southern one is for ship traffic destined for the Hampton Roads area and the other one is for ship traffic destined for northern end of Chesapeake Bay.  We did take a weekend trip up to the northern end of the bay and there the Bay Bridge is a very high rise bridge and there were definitely  ocean going ships in the bay up there.  We crossed the CBBT every week to go see the girls but only crossed it in the RV going north to the volunteer gig and then returning last week.
Always a bunch of fishing boats hanging around
Our volunteer gig was here!

The bridge portion of CBBT is two lanes each direction

The CBBT heading south from Fishermans Island
Entering one of the two tunnels!
On the way over in September it was a little disconcerting when we kept hearing this intermittent scraping sound as we went through the tunnels.  I knew it could not be serious and I knew we were within one foot of max clearance.  It turned out to be the CB antenna!  While on the Eastern Shore I switched out that  antenna for one that hooks up to our USB modem that we access the internet with and it improved our signal strength and was a little shorter (we do not have a CB radio so no loss there)!

However, our excitement on the return voyage in the RV was provided by and unexplained/unexpected pinging alarm.  It started when we stopped short of the bridge to say good by to some friends.  We pulled into the Welcome Center Parking lot and spent an hour plus trying to figure out what it was!  Since there was no warning messages on the engine control panel and all tires and jacks were in order I really was not too concerned but BJ just knew the RV was going to stop dead in the bottom of one of the tunnels!

Once we got to JEB Little Creek-Ft Story and set up camp we found it was the leveling jack alarm.  I found out thru the Tiffin Owners Forum that sometimes a jack will lower slightly as the hydraulic fluid warms and the sensor will set the alarm off even though if you look at the jack as I did, you will not notice the slight drop!  The fix is to recycle the jacks.  My better solution which I will follow from now on is to stay where the jack fluid is always warm!

At any rate we are in Norfolk until 26 Dec and are looking forward to Christmas with the girls and to my sisters, Marla & CC, joining us for the event.  They are bringing Marla's RV up for the holiday and we will have a caravan party on the way back to warmland, aka FLORIDA!

Always at home, no matter where we are!!