This is the illustrated journal of our third quarter-year of Dreamstreaming around North America, Jan - Mar 2008
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A tremendous rain hammered
Melbourne for hours last night, yet except the drain gulley along
the park's fenceline there is no water standing this morning.
Our chairs, stashed under the camper, were partly wet so we set them
out and they dried very quickly. Jim played nine holes with a
friend of a friend at a very small local course. The course
seemed to have six or seven par threes, the rest were par
fours. Nice, inexpensive, made for walking, crowded, and
seemingly common here. They had a good time. Deb
registered us in this park for two weeks. It's nice to stay a
little while and not feel we have to hurry off anywhere.
An email today advised us Tom and Mary
Deeney, the inspirators for our adventure are shareholders in this
park. We located their names on the locator board and walked
to their house. We had a nice long chat and told them they are
responsible for our having adopted this lifestyle.
We watched Good
Will Hunting this evening with a dinner of popcorn followed by
brownies and ice cream. We're in training for tomorrow, our
Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center adventure.
March 30, 2008We started planning for next Winter's
rental sites for our rolling home. We learned these last two
months, with dismay but without surprise, we must plan ahead to
obtain quality camping sites during Florida's peak Winter
season. Therefore we now have State Park beach campground
reservations for a few weeks next Winter in St Augustine and near
Flagler. We'll arrange a few more places if we want to stay in
high demand areas.
Today we sought the flea market a
neighbor suggested for fresh produce. We didn't follow
directions well and found ourselves heading north on a route we had
entered town two days ago. Jim had accidentally broken our
table-top gas grill (knocking the gas regulator/valve onto the
ground and breaking the internal works) so we needed either a new
grill or a replacement part. We saw the Home Depot and started
looking for grills. We already searched the internet for
models and prices. When we found a Weber at half-price at Home
Depot we thought the search was over. Wrong!
This one was half-price because it
lacked a box, owners manual, and a regulator/valve (the same part we
are missing). Search again. We found a $25 (cheapest one
Home Depot had) tabletop gas grill and took it home. Our old
grill has a porcelain-finish grill rack, is more compact than the
new one, and only needed a new regulator. Jim took the burner
assembly as well as the new handles from the new grill and installed
these on the old grill. We tried it out tonight on two
marinated chicken breasts and the grill works as well as new.
March 28, 2008
Many snowbirds from this RV park
have already turned north. They cleaned and vacuumed the RV,
inserted reflective foil in their RV's windows, and secured the
windows and doors. Hurricane tie-down bolts are snugged, hoses
and cords are stowed, and the cars are filled with the migratory
needs to hold the snowbirds until they return next October or
November. A very few RVers, apparently, stay in the park
year-round. Their expenses are lower than if they maintained
two (or more) households. They have lower property taxes and
maintenance costs and might not spend as much gas trekking north to
south and back annually. The park benefits from the full-time
residents, too. The full-time residents provide the local
neighborhood watch while their friends are absent.
Today we arrived in Melbourne, FL
after a slow 90 mile drive from Ormond Beach, travelling down
US1. We saw a lot of "old Florida" and enjoyed it. US1
just seems to typify Florida with its pastel stucco buildings and
flatness, palm trees, and old mobile home/rv parks dotted along the
side of the highway. We
are in Land Yacht Harbor RV Park, a park built in the 1970's by
Airstreamers who all volunteered their time and labor to create a
refuge away from town and yet close enough to the amenities and
The park has 304 rv sites of which one
sixth are allowed, per the by-laws, to be non-Airstream. The
clubhouse has an assembly hall for almost three hundred occupants
with a stage, a kitchen, a library, a meeting/bridge/classroom, and
office spaces. The obligatory shuffleboard and clothes drying
yards are centrally located. Lawn service is provided and is
nicely done. Palm trees dot the park at almost every rv.
Land Yacht Harbor lacks some of the extra buildings on each rv site we have
seen in some RV parks. We've visited some RV parks containing
cabanas or lanais, each owner's is a little grander than the
neighbor's. We expect the cabanas will reach two-story
proportions before long. Here instead each site has a shed and
each shed appears to be almost identical in size, configuration, and
exterior color. The RVer can do what they want inside the 8' X
8' shed, but the outsides are uniform. No other structure is
built upon the sites. The result at Land Yacht Harbor is
eye-pleasing in simplicity -- a little pavement, an array of small
neat sheds, a lot of grass and palm trees, and an interesting
collection of Airstreams with a few other brands mixed in.
We stopped and viewed the more than
300 year old Fairchild Live Oak on our way to Bulow
Plantation. The tree is magnificent, spreading out perhaps one
hundred feet with limbs as large as the Dilworth neighborhood old
oak trees' trunks. Bulow Plantation was the largest
sugar cane mill in Florida in the 1820s and until 1836 when the
Seminoles destroyed the plantation by burning during the second
Seminole war. John Bulow had 1,000 acres of sugar cane plus
cotton, rice, and indigo in a very successful plantation.
The coquina ruins still clearly show the
largess of the mill. Exhibits display what the complete mill
would have looked like, based upon extant mills in southern
Louisiana. We travelled down A1A to return to our campground
and stopped by Gamble Rogers State Park, perched along the old
highway and right above the beach with gorgeous views out to the
ocean. The best sites reserve eleven months ahead of time but
we'll find a way to get in sometime later this year.
Debbie worked at Carolinas HealthCare
System with Lois Seay and knew Lois and her husband, Al, moved to
Ormond Beach. Debbie and Lois were good friends before Lois
retired and we were eager to catch up with them again. We gave
them a call and arranged to meet them and go out to dinner.
They live in a gorgeous house in a large gated community not far
from our campground. When Al and Lois decided to leave
Charlotte for Ormond they searched really hard for this house.
The house was worth the effort. It has soaring ceilings, tall
windows, and a wonderful open feeling. We spent the entire
evening sitting on the lanai near their pool.
The temperature was perfect and a steady
soft breeze kept the air moving. We talked for hours, broken
briefly for super hamburgers Lois cooked up. The visit was
very enjoyable. We loved talking with them and look forward to
seeing Al and Lois again.
Our drive pulling the trailer today was all
of 54 beautiful miles down A1A, at the recommendation of an
Airstreamer we met in St Augustine. He was right -- it was a
neat drive looking at lots of water and many beach houses which
somehow have weathered countless hurricanes through the houses' more
than seventy years on these dunes. Do you suppose this is due
to the large number of the houses built of masonry
construction? We arrived in Tomoka State Park before lunch,
and are so lucky we found this. The
campsite is neat, surrounded with palms and live oaks, sheltered
from wind, but gets nice sunlight most of the day. We had a
long walk this evening, then a cup of tea, before dinner.
Deb cooked some potatoes, asparagus and I grilled a chicken
breast for us.
We'll stay here this week and explore
the area. There are some ruins very nearby from early
plantation settlements. The weather isn't really warm enough
to stay long on the beach so we'll probably save the beaches until
another month or so. Tonight the low is 47F, our high today
was around 71F. Super pleasant and not really calling us to
cool off in the ocean at all. Maybe we should extend to two
March 23, 2008This has been one of the nicest rallies we have ever attended. The rally organizers
provided food, entertainment, and recreation. Best of all this
rally fomented fellowship amongst so many caravanners. We are
scratching our heads, trying to identify the elements responsible
for this strong asset, creating and cultivating solid opportunities
for fellowship. The rally was not large at 58 units, or
approximately 100 people. We always enjoy mixing with other
attendees at rallies, but this time we seemed to find more
connections than usual. Whatever it was, we really liked it
and formed some wonderful friendships.
March 22, 2008
Easter in St Augustine was very nice. We awoke
at 0500 hrs to the alarm clock, brushed up and dresssed, ate a quick
snack breakfast and
left the camper at 0530 hrs to get in line with the other
caravanners enroute to the sunrise service at Castillo de San
Marcos. The Airstreamers were an hour early. Well
hey! We had great parking and being early is such an Airstream
Club kind of thing to do anyway. We celebrated a cloudy
sunrise with a bright Ascension service on the lawn of the 350 year
old fort, overlooking Matanzas Bay. We joined friends from
Eugene, Oregon for breakfast before returning to St Johns County
Fairgrounds for our easter egg hunt. Have you ever seen a
bunch of senior retirees (not necessarily a redundancy) scrambling
for coin-filled plastic eggs? These 420 eggs were not too well
hidden on two acres of field in the fair grounds, and it took no
time at all for us to recover the eggs. Jim scored $2, Deb
found $1.40. Everyone had fun. The rally organizers
provided a nice ham dinner early in the afternoon and everyone
relaxed the rest of the day.
The day we had all been waiting for finally arrived -- the Saturday of the Olympic Games. We had each been assigned to a team when we registered and the teams had organization meetings at our first Social hour. We had worked on team uniforms and cheers all through the week with competition getting fiercer as the week progressed. We assembled in the main exhibition hall and each team paraded around the circle showing off their uniforms and cheers. We competed in golf, discus throw, javelin, aqua relay, extinguishing the flame, basketball and bowling, although not as you traditionally think of these games. For example, bowling consisted of walking with a bowl balanced on your head and golf involved putting a potato around a 3-hole course. Needless to say, lots of fun and laughs was had by all. Winners were announced at dinner this evening and Deb's White team won first place -- must have been the hat or their rendition of "Play That Funky Music, White Boy" or the "Give me a "W" cheer where their cheerleader spelled white as W-H-I-E.
March 21, 2008
Back into St Augustine today for a tour of the Lightner Museum sometimes referred to as the "Smithsonian of the South". The museum is in the former Hotel Alcazar, built in 1887 by railroad magnate Henry M. Flagler. Chicago publisher, Otto C. Lightner, purchased the building to house his extensive collection of Victoriana in 1946 and opened the museum two years later. Three floors of costumes, furnishings, mechanical musical instruments and other artifacts give you a glimpse into 19th century daily life. The Lightner collection includes beautiful examples of cut glass, Victorian art glass and the stained glass work of Louis Comfort Tiffany. We enjoyed the architecture of the old hotel as much as the collection. There was a huge indoor pool with retractable roof, ballroom, spa and weight room. After we finished touring, we had a delightful lunch at Cafe Alcazar.
March 20, 2008
Today's big event was a boat tour of Matanzas Bay. We had rained all night long and we were wondering if the tour would be cancelled. The forecast was for clearing skies and warming temperatures so we rolled out of bed and got ready anyway. We were pleasantly surprised to see a large number of people showing up at the Mission of Nombre de Dios where we were parking again. The Red Train ferried us to the dock.
We decided to sit on the upper deck despite the chilly, wet weather. As predicted, the clouds cleared and we were rewarded with a beautiful sunny day. During the trip around the Matanzas Bay we saw the the Castillo de San Marcos, Mission of Nombre de Dios Cross, The Lighthouse and the Bridge of Lions restoration project in full swing.
Arriving back at the dock around 11:00 am, we decided to stay in town for lunch. Doug and Darlene Knecht recommended a local place called O'Steens. They had tried to go there previously but the lines were so long, they opted out. The four of us hurried over and at 11:15 and were the second party in line. After a 10 minute wait, we were seated. Fried shrimp is their speciality so we decided to try it. It was the best we have ever tasted, lightly battered, crisp and hot. Also, the list of vegetables was incredible. Having never had or even heard of creamed cabbage, we had to try it and it was wonderful as were the hushpuppies, tomatoes and their made-in-house pies. Yum! Note: They don't take credit cards so bring cash. Fortunately, you don't need much as our lunch was about $16 with tip.The highlight of the evening's entertainment was Ellen from the Florida unit telling us the story of Flat Stanley. She had received Flat Stanley from her grandson and FS was to travel with her for a while. She would journal his travels on him before returning him. Unfortunately, FS fell overboard duing the Matanzas Bay cruise and Ellen thought he was lost forever. Not knowing how she would break the news of FS's demise to her grandson, Ellen prayed for a miracle. The tour boat returned to the dock and Ellen deboarded and began walking back to the Red Train. Then who do you think she saw? Flat Stanley had washed up on the shore by the dock. She was able to rescue him, dry him out and allow him to continue his sightseeing before being mailed back to her grandson.
March 19, 2008
We were up early today to line up for our trip into St Augustine to board the Red Train sightseeing trolleys. We were given an exclusive tour of historical St Augustine so that we could get oriented to the city. We cruised past the "Old Senator", a name affectionately given to a 600 year old live oak tree because it is very shady and crooked. Next on our tour was the Fountain of Youth and then on to downtown St Augustine. We hit all the famous spots and then were let off at the Mission of Nombre de Dios where we began the tour.
We jumped on the next regular Red Train and headed back to the heart of St Augustine, getting off at the Visitors Center near the old city gates. From here we toured the oldest wooden school,
oldest drug store, and other historic sites before stumbing onto the Columbia Restaurant. Fellow Airstreamers had mentioned this restaurant as a "must visit" for St Augustine and since it was lunch time we decided to stop in. We had a wonderful meal and enjoyed talking to John, our waiter.
We asked him where the name Columbia came from and he went to find out. Shortly, the manager came to our table who was a member of the founding family and explained that the Columbia was the ship that the founders had sailed on from Cuba. This explained the Cuban menu items.
Our next stop was the Oldest House, also known as the Gonzalez-Alvarez House.
We had a guided tour of the house and then explored the complex which included a museum, the Tovar House and gardens. Next we sought out the Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church. This was built by Henry Flagler in 1889 in memory of Jenny Louise Benedict, his daughter who died during childbirth. It was an amazing work of art, especially considering that it was completed in one year so that it could be dedicated on the anniversary of her death. We walked back along St George Street, famous for its restaurants, galleries, bakeries and shops. We resisted everything except the ice cream which allowed up to walk the 2 miles back to the Mission of Nombre de Dios where our truck was parked. After touring the grounds of the Mission, we headed back to St Johns fairgrounds to rest up before the evening's entertainment.
We arrived at St John County
Fairgrounds in Elkton, 8 miles west of St Augustine, yesterday after
a 75 mile drive. We'll stay here with fifty other Airstream trailers
and motor homes for a week for the WBCCI Florida Unit's Easter
Rally. Florida Unit has been putting this Rally on for over fifty
years, I think, and we are glad to get to sample it. St Augustine is
the first area in United States settled by Europeans, way back in
the sixteenth century, I think. Last year we spent a few days here
and visited Ripleys and Castillo de San Marcos. We plan to enjoy
exploring some of the great museums and old buildings while we're
here this week. The weather here is fantastic. Breezy 75
degree days with part-sun, and nights in the fifties with a bright
moon and some clouds, no wind. Bugs aren't much of a factor so
far and we hope it stays so this week. No wonder so many
people find FL their home for the winter -- February and March have
We had a free day until the 4 p.m.
social. We hung around this morning not really doing much. Jim
sprinkled fire ant-proofing around the tires and stabilizer jacks
and enjoyed chatting with neighbors all around. Deb had some
Carolinas Unit paperwork to process and file. None of this
feels very much like work -- we can pace ourselves so easily and do
what we want and need to without rushing.Today was laundry day for
us because we had two weeks dirty clothes were neatly stuffed in a
bag on the floor under my dinette bench. We gathered up all
the bath and kitchen towels, stripped the bed of sheets and
pillowcases, and we filled a huge tote bag.
No one in the rally crowd could provide a
solid recommendation for a laundry so we looked them up on our gps.
The one we found was on Anastasia Island and couldn't have been
nicer. We filled two large front-load commercial washers and put
four dollars in each one to wash. A sweet surprise, the attendant
treated us each to a cold bottle of water. In short order we pulled
the well-spun clothes into a large dryer and fed it only $1.75 (just
35 minutes) to almost completely dry everything. Arrange the shirts
and slacks on hangers; fold everything else and pack the lot into
the large tote bag. We were back to the rally grounds in under two
hours! We had just enough time to put the clothes away, make hot
cheese dip to take to the social, grab our chairs, and walk over to
the assembly area.
We will be on the move a lot this year to
fulfill the service commitment we made to our local unit. We'll miss
one rally, August, while on National Landmarks West caravan straight
from International Rally in Bozeman. Last Fall we sensed we were
feeling our oats and going too fast, vacation style. Now we feel
ourselves slowing into a nicer rhythm. People ask us often, do you
have all your stops planned out? We delight a little in telling
them, "No, just the next week or so." And it is true, except for the
big things like the Alaska Fly-Drive and National Landmarks, and our
Unit Rallies, and a Florida State Park for one week next Winter
(because so far ahead is the only way, there, to assure getting in).
If you have any questions or suggestions
please feel very free to offer. We'll give credit where due (with
permission, only) and will greatly appreciate any help. The website
has gaps we haven't begun to address, especially the pages with
really old and static content. We're still learning on html, are
truly struggling with our website host company support. You can see
brand new stuff we are figuring out how to present better, like the
new content on Technical page ("Home Improvements").
I want to blow away the pictures pages
because they are difficult to organize properly, they just don't
seem to work. Our pictures are all in public view (and terribly
disorganized at present) on picasaweb. We post relevant ones in our
journal, as you've seen. We're thinking of a "Living" page where we
can describe choices we are learning to make in our lifestyle, how
we manage clean and dirty clothes, foodstuff, cooking, beverages,
grilling out, the 2,000- something pounds of stuff in the back of
the truck. And somehow, somewhere, I'd like to think how to present
the "full-timing" issue separately from our journal. I mean, I know
the journal is our full-timing adventure. But should I develop
full-timing as a separate web page in our web site to address
aspects of life particular to full-timing? Tell us how we can help
satisfy your curiousity about what we are finding out about this
It's late and we have an early pancake
breakfast before touring St Augustine tomorrow so I need to crash.
We had a really beautiful email from a reader today, telling us we
thoroughly answered questions they prepared to pose to us about what
and how we're doing. Thanks for getting me thinking about this, hope
I didn't bore you. And thanks again for your kind comments, it's
nice to hear. We're having a blast doing and telling!
arrived in Kingsland, GA after a short 184 mile drive from Hollywood
SC. The morning was a little cool at 60, the day reached 76 until we
made south GA then we found 80 degrees and very windy. The
Carolina/Va Tech ACC semi-final game was ten minutes from finishing
when we arrived so we pulled into our campsite space and stayed in
the truck with clenched hands and little frowns. Until the last
Carolina possession, that is! Way to pull it out from such a
lackluster performance, Tarheels! Lake Aire RV Park in Hollywood was
nice but we would not have stayed until today except to await our
package of mail forwarded.
We were prepared to stay in Lake Aire
until Monday morning if necessary to get our first mail in a week.
We haven't adequately adjusted to the mail forwarding trick. We've
been waiting until we arrive to notify the wonderful people at
Escapees Mail Service to please send us a package. We need to tell
them at least a week ahead, before we arrive. I guess everybody else
had this figured out already, we figured it out finally.
Yesterday was a maintenance day for Jim
and a tax day for Deb. She had the much more difficult job. Deb
wrapped up more than three days work yesterday on our 2007 taxes and
electronically transmitted the tax forms. It always takes a lot of
work because of the number and variety of charitable donations we
make through our employers, our Church, and local organizations. Deb
is great at this demanding and extremely high-detail work, as anyone
who knows her can attest. We're both glad this is done and will hold
our breath until the state and fed agencies accept them and send our
Jim took our hitch-head apart to tighten
the hitch ball and shank bolts. The nut under the ball is
huge and ours requires a 1 7/8" socket for which we also had to buy
a breaker bar to turn it. Instead of paying almost $180 for the
pair, we found the two tools we needed for a total of $60 by
shopping around and getting the pieces from two different stores. We
generally invest in good tools but an extra $120 was too much to
bear for something we plan to use for monthly maintenance on a few
bolts. Anyway, at least monthly Jim flips the hitch head onto its
side and reinserts it into the hitch receiver on the truck. He is
careful to fully insert it -- experience is sometimes a painful
teacher -- to ensure the hitch head doesn't slide out and land on
some body part.
Some hitch balls have a pair of flat
sides on the bottom flange of the ball for a wrench -- ours did not
so Jim uses a large pipe wrench to grab and hold the base of the
hitch ball, well away from any of the parts touched by the trailer's
hitch coupling. Then he slides the thin wall socket onto the hitch
ball's large nut in the nut well under the hitch head. Using one
hand on the pipe wrench to pull up and a foot on the breaker bar to
push down, Jim is able to check the nut is very tight still. Our
torque wrench doesn't read above 150 foot pounds of torque, and
manufacturer's recommendation for 1 1/4" shank hitch balls is 450
foot pounds. Equalizer calls for the two shank bolts to be 320 foot
pounds. Wow! So, we may not be within specification but the ball and
shank have stayed very tight. Torque wrenches in this size (3/4"
drive) cost from $140 to $600. We cannot own or carry every tool,
including ladders and torque wrenches.
Jim ran into some problems taking the
mud flap mount apart because the hardened steel bolts had apparently
seized in the bronze threads of the mount. It took a while to remove
the frozen bolts but he finally did and reinserted them with a
coating of anti-sieze to prevent this undue tightness. He mounted
some metal strips at the bottom of our mud flaps to decorate them.
They look a lot flashier now, and we'll see if we like it after we
get used to the change. Finally, Jim installed the DOT reflective
white/red strips on the camper's rear bumper.
We see these safety reflective strips on the big commercial trailers
on the interstate and realized how well these strips improve
visibility of the trailers. Why would this not be a good idea for
our trailer, too?
Thursday we spent at Folly Beach. Well, as much as we could stand -- the winds were a steady 10-12 knots and air temp was between 65-70 degrees. We had taken our chairs, books,
and a snack picnic. We turned our chairs so our backs were to the
wind and tried to read a little while. We ate the jarlsberg cheese,
crackers, and apple and took a walk. The beach was too cold with
what we'd worn, so we walked a while on the road instead. Finally we
decided we would find a better day to enjoy the beach and not ruin
this day. On the way home we were reminded to remain flexible
and appreciate even the delays. We were the second car at the
drawbridge, of hundreds on either side, delayed almost ten minutes
for the small sailboat to motor through. We didn't mind and
wonder if perhaps the local folk accept this the way we learned to
expect traffic delays in metro areas?
It was extremely windy after we set up
the camper today in Kingsland at St George RV Resort, a Passport
America park. We read inside a while, caught up on our mail, took a
walk exploring the campground and an adjacent housing development,
and made supper. We grilled marinated wild salmon, combined it with
fresh broccoli, and finished it with a wonderful cherry/chocolate
ice cream. Jim set the grill on the truck's tailgate away from the
wind, and stacked two totes on each side of the grill to shelter it
from the wind. It must have worked, the salmon was almost perfect.
We'll stay here two days then head to Elkton, FL, just west of St
Augustine, for an Airstreamers Easter Rally. See you there!
March 11, 2008
We're celebrating a gorgeous
SC coastal March morning. It is partly sunny, approaching sixty
degrees already with a high today of mid- to high-sixties. We've
already imbibed two cups of hot green tea, listened to NPR morning
news briefly, and are sitting in our living room reading and
hour before we aroused and dressed we turned on the electric heat in
the roof-top unit. This roof air conditioner (you can't really tell
from the picture but it is at the ceiling and only hangs down three
inches, still allowing over six feet height walking under it) also
has electric resistance heat strips in it with a fan to blow the
heat fore and aft in the camper. This allows us heat without using
any propane from our tanks, using instead the park's power supply.
The temperature in the Airstream dipped
to around fifty last night, and after an hour of running the
electric heat the camper's inside temperature was seventy. The sun
is out just enough to further warm the camper's interior above the
outside temperatures without overheating us. And, of course, we can
always open roof vents and windows to cool down if needed. Late
morning today I noticed our neighbor, Mervyn Greenaway, pulling one
of his propane cylinders out of his camper. I could tell it was
empty by the way he lifted it easily over the side of his truck and
I figured he was taking it for a refill at the campground store. I
scampered out and asked him if I could put my empty cylinder on his
truck too? We drove Merv's truck to the propane center, let Ernie
fill our propane cylinders, and returned to our campsites. I set
about remounting the propane cylinder onto our camper.
As long as I was outside, and the weather
had turned perfect, I decided to do some work on our camper's hitch.
Although we have had no issues with our weight distributing hitch, I
had read a few months back in Airstream forums a potential problem
with the bracket not tightening squarely onto the a-frame because
the bottom bolt was routed below the gas line. (You may not be able
to see the bottom bolt in this picture) This is apparently a common
installer fault (I installed this Equalizer hitch so it is my fault)
and may cause the bracket to not tighten securely and the torsion
bar's table to angle slightly up. These are reportedly causes of
poor stabilizing for this type hitch.
Today the weather was so perfect
and we had nothing planned until 4 p.m., so I started in on this. I
drilled the two aluminum rivets for the brackets holding the copper
propane pipe to the frame. I put a round screwdriver handle between
the frame and the soft copper and created a smooth bend in the
copper pipe to allow room for the 3/8" bolt to pass between the
copper pipe and the trailer frame. I reinstalled the hitch bracket
and placed a piece of red plastic conduit around the 3/8" bolt to
reduce friction against the copper pipe. Now the bracket's bottom
bolt is snug against the bottom of the frame and I can fully tighten
both the top and bottom bolts without curving the brackets. I
finally reattached the two pipe clamps to hold the copper pipe
snugly to the frame. Everything looks shipshape, the bracket arms
are now tight and square to the trailer frame, and we'll see if we
can tell any difference towing.
Our neighbors, Mary and Mervyn
Greenaway, invited us to socialize at 4 p.m. We joined them after
cleaning up from work on the camper and met Mary's sister, Joan and
Joan's husband John. They volunteer at National Parks for months
then return North to Acadia and volunteer at parks there. They've
been doing this for over fifteen years already and really enjoy it.
We had a wonderful time sitting outside relishing this 71 degree day
in coastal South Carolina. We've been trying to talk Mary and Mervyn
into full-timing. They have a beautiful Keystone Laredo thirty-one
foot fifth wheel. They are taking it for a maiden voyage of three
weeks as they visit family in various parts of SC. We found we share
with these fun New Yorkers a common trait, we are upbeat and easily
enjoy what we are doing. It helps to have such nice people to live
and travel with, and to encounter people like Mary and Mervyn and
Joan and John.
This has been a neat afternoon. We're
inside now, it's rainly softly on our roof and skylights and the
outside temperature is 57 and dropping slowly. Deb just sat up very
straight and exclaimed, "This is so cool, this is just amazing!
We're so cozy, don't have to drive to get home, we're listening to
the rain pattering down, and we're together." We're dry and warm in
our living room with only the small ceramic heater running
occasionally. We're grateful.
We spent today in Charleston SC. Jim prepared in the campground by removing three radio
antennas so we could access low-clearance parking decks or whatever
low-hanging obstacles in this old American city. We had a twenty
minute drive, easily found parking in a parking deck (we just
cleared the 6'5" parking deck overhead limit) and starting walking
down King Street for shopping. We sauntered through the old markets
and surprised ourselves finding a couple of needed items. Jim's been
concerned about the amount of sun he gets on his face and neck due
to spending so much time outside. Deb has considered how to manage
the many customer discount cards we carry for gasoline and
groceries. We found a very suitable large brim hat for Jim in one
shop and a card wallet in another.
We tried on some clothes and shoes,
bought each of us a pair of replacement khaki pants. We had walked
about Charleston a few hours and despite the bright sunshine and
light wind, the cool temperatures drove us back to the parking deck
to retrieve my sweatshirt from the truck before heading to Hymans
for dinner. We walked from the parking deck on Hutson St at Meeting
St for thirteen blocks to the Battery, stopping occasionally to
admire the eighteenth century houses with very snug driveways
leading to beautiful gardens almost hidden from the street. Some of
these houses date to the 1740s and one, The Pringle House, has been
in the same family almost 250 years! and found our way to Hymans
Seafood Market on Meeting Street.
This was no accident, finding Hymans. Debbie has eaten here in years
previous and Hymans ranks high among the excellent choices for
seafood in a casual dining atmosphere in Charleston. Many other
people knew this is the place to go, also. Our walk to The Battery
and amongst the beautiful Rainbow Row houses, considered the oldest
extant row houses in The United States, delayed our arrival to
Hymans Seafood until almost 5:40 p.m. The hostess advised us of a
short wait. Before we knew it dozens of people sauntered up, also
seeking to dine at Hymans.
We were seated quickly, service was
friendly and fast, the Palmetto Brewing Company's Porter Ale was
almost like having dessert before dinner, and the food was amazing.
Deb had fried oysters, crab cakes, and shrimp and grits, and I had
two grits cakes topped with a rich cream sauce and sea scallops.
Everything was perfectly prepared and served. I know, I know, I keep
saying this about everywhere I eat! You should hear me tell Debbie
about how much I love her cooking. I'll have to write about it soon.
(Have you seen the cookies and muffins she bakes in our Airstream's
oven? Just wait!)
The surprise, though, happened during
observed a friendly fellow moving table to table, sometimes putting
his hand on a patron's shoulder as they amiably chatted. We heard
him telling some people about Elliot Spitzer's likely resignation
three hours hence, but we didn't know what he was talking about and
really didn't care. He came to our table and introduced himself --
Maier Hyman. He was thanking us for dining, asking if everything was
suitable, could he get anything for us. We told him how much we were
enjoying ourselves, how glad we were his family had kept this
restaurant going so well, and told him we live in an Airstream
He surprised us by asking, "Did you know
what Airstreamers call owners of some other brands?" Okay, he knows
something about Airstreamers, anyway. Now this was the coolest
thing. He said several times, "You made my day telling me about your
website and giving me your card. You made my day." We suspect he
tells many people they made his day. And he probably knows, he made
our day. A half hour later, Eli Hyman walks up to our table, we
started talking about his dad. Eli said, years ago, he bought a GMC
Sierra motorhome and his dad always talked about going traveling.
We're glad he took such good care of the business.
March 8, 2008
We are in Hollywood,
SC in a pretty RV park named Lake Aire. Today we have winds of 10-20
mph and gusts up to 40 mph and the out of doors temperature has
ranged up and down between 58 and 62 for the past eight hours. Lake
Aire enjoyed a huge rain, over an inch, yesterday shortly before we
arrived at 7 p.m. When we arrived the park had left us a map on the
office door and we needed several tries to arrange the camper to fit
in the site. We stepped out of the truck and into deep puddles of
rain water. We were able to set up adequately in the dark and left
the camper hitched to the truck until we could take the camper to
the dump station and empty the holding tanks. This morning first
thing we unplugged the electrical and water connections and rolled
two blocks to the RV park dump station, emptied the tanks and
returned to our site. Then we attended to the details of setting up.
It took Jim less than 1/2 hour blocking
the wheels, unhitching the camper from the truck, levelling the
camper (so our baking rises straight), setting the stabilizing jacks
so the wind doesn't rock us so much, and connecting to the water and
electric utilities. We walked to the Park office to register and pay
for the next week. Our site rental is approximately $17 per night
including utilities and taxes. We found this RV Park through our
Passport America (http://www.passportamerica.com/) membership and
therefore are paying 1/2 the normal rate. This is a great deal for
us since the Passport America membership annual fee was $50 and we
have already saved over $100 in five weeks. We had a nice cozy
breakfast in our camper and have spent the remainder of the morning
checking emails, working on taxes, watching the skies blue up and
the pine trees wave, and enjoying each other's company.
Friday was a special day for us. We
spent over seven hours navigating two hundred miles and each set a
new personal record for our longest delay ever on an Interstate
highway, four hours ten minutes. We left Wagram just after 10 a.m.
heading for DonMar Airstream in Lynchburg, SC. We spent an enjoyable
hour chatting with Chuck Brancato and picking up two small supply
items for our adventure. The rains came almost as quickly as we left
DonMars and just absolutely poured down in torrents. Visibility
varied a lot and we would slow or speed up a little accordingly and
felt very secure driving our solid truck/trailer combination.
The truck forged through effortlessly
and we felt no sway or other effects from the winds and rain. A
tanker truck driver ahead of us a few miles was apparently not so
fortunate. Just twenty miles after leaving DonMar we were surprised
to see several state police cars zooming onto the interstate up
ahead. The last one placed himself in front of the traffic and
weaved left and right to slow and finally stop all southbound
traffic. We turned up our cb radio and heard the reason -- a tanker
truck was overturned across both southbound lanes of the interstate
three miles ahead of us. Shortly thereafter we heard the northbound
truckers commenting it would take at least four hours to clear that
As it turned out they were really close with their estimate. The
tanker truck apparently had veered slightly onto the center grass
median, tried to correct, and flipped his truck and trailer onto
their side. We don't know but heard the response teams a wrecker
which also overturned trying to bring the truck upright, and
a hazmat team to clean the highway before reopening it. We met some
nice people in this ten mile long street party, swapped stories, and
shared our bathroom with a couple of Virginia students parked behind
us. A little after 5 p.m. traffic started up, slowly at first, and
we resumed our southbound travels without further incident.
Most people on an Interstate highway
probably have plans to arrive somewhere at a given time and don't
have very much flexibility in their expectations. One couple was on
their way to Elon College's basketball tournament game in
Charleston. Another couple planned to make Tampa FL and would now
settle for just above Jacksonville FL and another 1/2 day of driving
the next day. Many truckers we heard on the cb radio lamented they
would miss their load schedule and some would now lay over until
Monday morning due to this tremendous delay. We are fortunate we had
our camper with us and we weren't late for anything.
March 4, 2008
Monday we dined with Jim's
mom, stepdad Dow, stepsister Nancy, and brother Chuck. Jim and Chuck
played tennis an hour while Debbie went to the bank and to CVS to
restock on vitamins. We stopped by our former house and discussed
refurbishing an Airstream Argosy trailer with James, the buyer of
our house and our partner for the Africa Caravan in 2009. Three of
us sat in the Argosy and enjoyed the closeness and comfort in this
1979 camper. The Argosy seems to have had a good life despite five
or six changes of ownership.
One good sign: the previous owners have
faithfully preserved and passed along the full set of original
owners manuals, sales catalog, appliance instructions, and every
repair ticket since 1979 through present. The camper merits several
investigations and improvements including window treatments,
flooring, plumbing, and possibly electrical. We'll look forward to
working together on these. After lunch with Deb's parents, John and
Betty Shaver, we drove through torrential downpours three hours to
Wagram, NC. We found a Passport America park (where we receive a
fifty-percent discount on site rental).
Pine Lake RV Resort is between Maxton,
Wagram, and Aberdeen, is inexpensive with the discount, and
otherwise has little to recommend it. The campground has a few
full-timers who wintered there, a few RVs apparently kept there for
seasonal use and has sand and pine trees everywhere. We stayed at
Pine Lake RV Resort because it was the closest we could find to a
golf outing Jim participated in just north of Pinehurst. Deb's
parents surprised us with their visit from Kannapolis to the RV park
-- we had left jackets, boots, a tennis racquet and shoes in the
trunk of their car. They wanted to deliver these to us and wanted to
see what an RV park looks like. We were sorry they couldn't stay for
dinner but they wanted to return home before dark. We wish they had
seen us in a prettier park more typical of most we visit, and they
have seen pictures of beautiful ones like Burnaby Cariboo RV Park in
British Columbia where we stayed two weeks September 2007.
Five years ago Debbie
and I enjoyed a very cozy and wonderful evening dining at Ironwood Cafe in Southern Pines. I had
dined several times at Ironwood while attending work conferences in
Pinehurst or Southern Pines and was excited to get to take Debbie
with me when she joined me for one of the conferences. We sometimes
are leery of stretching our luck but wanted to try Ironwood again.
Ironwood Cafe did not disappoint -- charming ambiance and excellent
food and service were still there. The food was even better this
time and service still excellent. Deb ordered crab cakes and I had
steak kebabs. These, we think, are the best crab cakes we've ever
tasted, and the steak was tasty, tender, and just wonderful. We'll
you who've visited Pinehurst have heard of, and probably visited,
Pine Crest Inn. If
you're lucky you've dined in their fabulous restaurant as well. We
stopped in to ask about a good friend of Debbie's from college days,
Bob Barrett. We met his wife, Andie Kaufman, at the desk and she
encouraged us to walk back to Bob's office near the Inn. We had a
nice visit with Bob, walked around the Inn, and took a couple
pictures before heading to dinner. A cool thing about Pine Crest Inn
is its history -- the Inn was owned for 27 years (until his death in
1948) by legendary international golf course architect, Donald Ross.
The Barretts have owned it since, and Bob's brother, Peter, manages
it. The Inn was full while we visited and the restaurant promised to
fill completely as well. What a great history for this storied
village's magnificent Inn.
Wagram is home to several historic sites
including the Temperance Hall, and the John Charles McNeill House.
The Temperance Hall is a hexagonal structure constructed from
handmade local bricks for The Richmond Temperance and Literary
Society founded in 1853. The Hall was a meeting place where the
group promoted abstinence from the use of alcohol through the
sharing of literature, debating, and other intellectual pursuits.
Also nearby is the John Charles McNeill House, the birthplace of
well-known North Carolina poet John Charles McNeill (1874-1907).
Wagram NC is home to the largest collection of long guns Jim has
ever visited -- hundreds of rifles and shotguns are displayed and
sold at Mid South Guns in Wagram. We were amazed at the prices on
many of the shotguns, up to $25,000 for one of them and many were
well over $4,000.
Of historical interest as well is Wagram,
Austria was the site of Napoleon's grand battery of 112 guns to turn
the tide of the battle against Archduke Charles' Austrian forces in
July 1809. Wagram NC is a small Sandhills community formerly
supported by textile mills employing approximately 1,800 area
people. Hundreds of jobs disappeared in the late 1980's with the
relocation of textile jobs to other countries. Wagram,
unfortunately, looks like it won't recover. One gas station, a
police station with the identification peeling badly from the
storefront glass, a combination hardware store/seed supply/sewing
service share the old hardware store, no restaurant, no cafe, and no
apparent economic prospects. How typical is this of NC and SC towns
formerly supported by now-departed textile mills?
March 2, 2008
We showed we still are as flexible in our plans as we might
intend, and the result was a camping night in nineteen degree
weather. Debbie's dad's birthday was yesterday, Jim's daughter
Hannah has a birthday March 6, we committed to be in Pinehurst March
4-7, and we needed to register to vote and attend to some other
residency requirements while in NC. Despite a forecast for very cool
weather throughout the southeast region, we had decided to leave the
warmer sanctuary of Dade City and strike out for Dorchester, SC
enroute to NC.
We found a Passports America campsite in
Dorchester, fifteen miles from the junction of I-95 and I-26.
Tanager Woods campground is twelve campsites arranged on a corner of
a cleared field of several acres surrounded by a coastal plains
woodland. Infrastructure is very meager, cost is very low, and
access from the highway is easy. We appeared to be the only
overnight camper, as the other four seemed to be contract workers
living a litle longer-term at the campground. The campground manager
is very affable. He drove over to the campsite from his nearby
house, extended the Passport America discount readily (it cost us
$11.50 instead of $23.00 for the night) and he and his four Labrador
Retrievers otherwise stayed out of the way. In fact, we didn't see
another person the entire time we were there.
This campground is presently a very
minimalist site but the best benefit escaped me until the wee hours
of the morning. We awoke at 0500 hours and realized the outside
temperature, at 24 degrees, would drop colder before dawn. I walked
outside to disconnect the water hose (almost too late, I struggled a
little to disconnect it from the faucet and the trailer), moved the
ags of grapefruits and oranges from the truck to the trailer, and
tried unsuccessfully to dump the holding tanks. Both holding tank
valves were frozen and I decided to wait rather than risk breaking
them. We went back to sleep for an hour before a quick breakfast,
unhooking everything, and heading back to the Interstate for
We stopped two hours later for South
Carolina gas prices at a Flying J and were happy to have a dump
station available at the RV gas pump. While Deb pumped gasoline into
the truck's fuel tank, I emptied the black water and wash water
tanks into the service station's dump station. We arrived in
Kannapolis with empty holding tanks and can live in the trailer up
to a week without needing to dump again. We learned several things.
Dump the tanks before the temperatures drop below freezing.
Disconnect the fresh water supply hose if outside temperatures may
be sub-freezing (we knew this but failed to consider it). Tire
pressures didn't drop overnight. Nineteen degrees farenheit is no
big deal in a heated Airstream trailer.
Our relative inflexibility to schedule
change allowed us to relax Thursday afternoon, run errands on
Friday, attend the Club luncheon then a birthday party on Saturday,
drive to Asheville Sunday to celebrate Hannah's (my daughter)
birthday, dine with my mom and play tennis with my brother Chuck in
Charlotte on Monday. We're glad we arrived here when we did and the
one cold outside temperature was a small price to pay. Sunday we
drove to Asheville to celebrate Hannah's twenty-fifth birthday. It
was a beautiful Carolinas day with temperatures in the sixties.
Hannah and Charles and we went to The Green Tea restaurant for sushi
and tempura and a special surprise dessert for Hannah for her
birthday. After lunch we all enjoyed a one hour walk in a wooded
area near their house before we drove back to Kannapolis.
February 24, 2008
Our website was stuck on February 10 until
February 26. We hope we haven't lost you with this long lull in the
action, we're back and think we'll have no more such issues. We
finally reached our website host company by telephone (after over an
hour on hold) to resolve our inability to access our website for
update and revision. The problem seems to have stemmed from our
departing Charlotte and demising our bellsouth email just before
Startlogic finally migrated us to the new platform. We failed to
receive the emailed notification of changes and were operating as if
nothing changed. Unfortunately we weren't getting our changes saved
in the correct server. We had exchanged one phone call and four
emails and had not gained ability to work our website. By two a.m.
Tuesday we had, with a little help from support, updated our website
on the new server and we are back in business. Hooray!
Sunday through Wednesday morning this week we
have stayed at Travelers Rest Resort at Dade City, FL. This park has
1,200 people in three or four sections, Villas, Cabanas, RVs, and
overnighters, like us. The park has a lush nine hole golf course,
two very nice tennis courts, large performance hall, hobby and craft
shop, ham radio shack with classy equipment and antennae, swimming
pool and whirlpool, and of course shuffleboard and lawn bowling.
Weekly Sunday evening live entertainment, weekly Tuesday evening
movies with free popcorn, tennis round-robin Mondays and Wednesdays
at 0900 hrs, fresh vegetables and fruits vended Mondays and
Thursdays, and that's just what we've detected in 24 hours of
I played golf four hrs Sunday evening, tennis
three hrs Monday morning, and golf again Monday afternoon for two
hours. I slept so well Monday night, when I finally went to bed
after getting the website updated. Deb walked a section of the park
Monday morning, cruised by the tennis courts briefly to see me make
a couple lucky net plays, then she visited the vegetable
market. We enjoyed an ice cream social Sunday evening followed
by a wonderful performance by Florida Lyric Opera of an abridged
concert version of George Gershwin's American classic, Porgy and
Bess. A soprano, a tenor, two baritones, a pianist, and narrator
wowed us for a little over an hour with fantastic singing, mostly
solos. Tuesday night we watched Noah's Ark with Jon Voight, Mary
Steenburgen, James Coburn.
We are glad we found Travelers Rest Resort and
will file this away in our memories -- first class stuff, maybe hard
to beat. But we aren't interested in settling down, rather we are
looking forward to moving on. We have a few days plans in Pinehurst
for next week. From Pinehurst we'll probably go to Melbourne, FL or
Pensacola and even as far as East TX until April 18-ish when we go
to State Fairgrounds in Raleigh for a region rally of
Today we drove from Paradise
Park to Sarasota's Fairgrounds to attend our first Florida State
Rally. We woke up at 0645 and by 0745 had hitched up, and secured
everything in the trailer and truck. We drove to Paradise's bulletin
boards area to jot down the phone numbers of rental lot owners, so
we can arrange rental for any future stays in the Park. We enjoyed
our stay here, and Jim enjoyed the golf more and more every day. Our
drive to Sarasota was smooth (we had confirmation of this after
arriving) and uneventful (or so we thought). We arrived at the
fairgrounds and the parking crew led us to our parking spot for the
week. Upon unhitching and setting up the trailer we placed our
indoor-outdoor thermometer on the window shelf and a thought struck
Jim -- where is the outdoor transmitter for this?
had twice previously dropped an outside sensor for failing to secure
it before towing the trailer. One time we recovered it when we had
moved the trailer from one camping space to another in the same
campground. The next time we lost it somewhere between Myrtle Beach
and Charlotte. The sensor had fallen from an unsecure perch, out of
direct sunlight, under the trailer. The outdoor temperature was
registering properly so we either had not lost the outdoor sensor or
we were picking up the outdoor temp from a neighbor in this camping
site. Jim couldn't remember at first where he had stowed the outdoor
sensor two weeks ago when we arrived at Paradise Park and was dearly
hoping, wherever it is, we still had the sensor with us. After a
little while he recalled having placed it under the trailer near one
of the stablizer jacks and indeed found it there, just tucked in a
little space where it had safely ridden the fifty miles of rural and
interstate highways today. What a relief!
such good news was to look at the truck a little while a ago and
realize one of the antennas has disappeared completely. Last week,
after the HamCation Ham Fest in Orlando Jim installed through-glass
antennas on both sides of the truck. Somehow this morning between
Paradise Park and Sarasota the exterior part of one of the antennas
has completely disappeared. Jim had followed all the instructions
for installation of this antenna and we cannot guess what happened
to it but will try to find a replacement for just the missing
outside part. The smooth trip was marred by the small event of
losing the antenna. And Jim is grateful to have kept the outdoor
temperature sensor -- tomorrow he will strap it to the underside of
the trailer with ty-wraps.
The day was warm and humid earlier with strong
breezes and by 5pm has cooled to 74F. Florida State Rally has over
100 Airstreams parked so far, with another four hundred due for
arrival in the next two days. We are excited to see so many
Airstreams in one place, are glad to renew acquaintances with many
Airstream friends, and also look forward to seeing some of the
vendors who display and teach at this annual rally.
February 15, 2008
Today we spent the day at Fort Myers and Fort
Myers Beach and loved it! The day was beautiful everywhere in FL,
and especially in Ft Myers Beach. We suffered a pretty long line of
traffic to gain entrance over the bridge into Ft Myers Beach and
patiently hunted for an available parking space. We lucked into a
vacant metered space less than a block from the beach. Luckily, we
could only get two hours on the meter or we would have been crisply
burned. We enjoyed seeing the colorful variety of umbrellas, and we
weren't tempted to brave the cool water temperatures but some few
did. The beach was nicely crowded, the air temperature perfect, sand
was incredibly soft and silky smooth, and the sun felt soooo good.
Warmed and tanned from our afternoon at the
beach we found fresh seafood and cold beer in Ft Myers at Pinchers
Crab Shack. This was a good find for us. We sat outside, drank Red
Stripe Ale and enjoyed fresh crabcakes. The food and service were
excellent and we would gladly do this day over the same way anytime.
Or, we might try some of the other appetizing choices on Pinchers
Crab Shack's menu. It all looked so good and we couldn't eat any
more or we'd have tried it. We left Pinchers for the drive back to
Paradise Park and hopefully a grocery store enroute. This turned
into a real adventure for us.
seemed every road we tried to exit Ft Myers was detoured and we
would never get out. Darn -- stuck in Ft Myers in the winter? We
could think of worse things but we knew our cozy camper was almost
an hour distant and we were determined to outsmart this puzzle.
Unfortunately the gps was only a little helpful and our real hope
was vested in seat of the pants navigation. We thought back to
trying to tow the camper through Chicago on our way back from
Vancouver BC last September. This Ft Myers adventure was fun in
comparison. We eventually found our way to a wonderful SweetBay
grocery store, some relation to Hannafords Market. SweetBay has
wonderful bread and deli meats and cheeses and produce so we stocked
up and returned happily to Paradise Park after a great day out. Too
bad the beach isn't a lot closer. . .
February 13, 2008
Yesterday after a cereal breakfast together Jim
played golf early on the park's nine-hole course. The ladies have
the golf course reserved every Tuesday morning at 10 o'clock for
their golf outings so many of the men rush to the course early to
finish by 10. It was a beautiful and breezy day and Jim enjoyed the
time outside. While he was golfing, Deb took a long walk on all the
many blocks of the rv park, notified the gas company of our
forwarding address for the final settlement on our house, did
housekeeping and read. After golf Jim removed the truck's two
rooftop antennas and replaced them with through-glass antennas.
These serve the 2 meter amateur radio band and the citizens band
vegetable truck was at the park (twice a week) so Deb took the
shopping bag and loaded up on fresh fruit and corn, avocado, red
pepper, and romaine lettuce. We made phone calls about next week's
Florida State Rally in Sarasota and we studied golf tournament
scoring systems since Jim is organizing the golf tournament (last
year's organizer recommended Callaway System, so called after the
originator who has no relation whatsoever to Callaway Golf
Equipment). A friend, John Plaxco, had gone to town and we asked him
to pick up something for us from the grocery store. When John
returned he advised us we were under a tornado watch.
skies were darkening, winds were picking up, and it was beginning to
rain. Jim rolled up our trailer's awnings and secured them, and we
closed the windows and roof vents. By the time we got around to
tuning our weather-band radio the National Weather Service was
announcing tornado warnings for this area and were very specific
about the landfall times for the tornado to hit the line of towns in
the projected path. We had almost thirty minutes before the
projected arrival for our nearest town, twenty miles west of us. A
weather watch means the conditions are right for an event. A weather
warning means the weather event has been sited and is a very real
threat. A tornado in our rv park would be dangerous and devastating
because there is not much secure shelter.
would probably shelter in the locker rooms of the health club
because it is built of concrete block walls and the walls are close
together, providing good support against falling roofs and other
materials. None of the motor homes or trailers would, of course,
withstand the angry force of a tornado. At six o'clock we drove in a
heavy rain up to the clubhouse and found a few other people had the
same idea. For the most part, though, the park's residents seemed
very unconcerned. There are six hundred people in the park. In the
clubhouse were two people working a jigsaw puzzle, eighteen Iowans
having a supper together, and four guys shooting pool. None were
huddled close to their weather radio, listening for updates on the
path and impacts of the tornados. Oh, none except Jim and Deb.
found something to read in the library and pretended to read, while
listening to the weather radio. Fortunately the tornado's northbound
path was projected for twenty miles west of us (one of two reasons
the park's residents acted unconcerned) and the National Weather
Service at 6:35 pm declared the tornado dissipated and no threat. We
don't know the other reason only four of six hundred people showed
up for shelter at the clubhouse. Perhaps they have learned not to
worry about what they cannot change? We'll learn more about this as
we get to know some of them better.
We returned, relieved the storm had passed, to
our Airstream. Deb starting broiling in our oven a beautiful piece
of salmon, boiled two ears of fresh white corn, and made a wonderful
crispy green salad. Jim found his abandoned and now a little less
cold beer and resumed enjoying it. After supper by candlelight (a
mode we enjoy many evenings) we cleaned up the trailer, showered,
and went to bed. The rains cranked up very very hard while we were
in bed, making us grateful we are in a weather-tight hard-shell
camper. We forgot to close the bathroom exhaust fan vent and this
morning found the bathroom rug had a wet circle from rain bouncing
in from the roof into the vent cover. No big deal -- we'll air dry
it later today.
morning Deb made crescent roll coffee cake in our oven, we had a cup
of green tea and after breakfast Jim was going up to the golf course
with Russ next door for a ten o'clock round of golf. Well, really
good and needed rains changed this plan. Instead Jim visited with
Russ and Judy next door an hour, talking about the Capetown to Cairo
Caravan, health care insurance coverage, lot prices in Paradise
Park, upkeep on thirty-year old Airstreams, and other things. Russ
and Judy gave Jim a pair of beautiful grapefruits we'll look forward
to enjoying in the next mornings. The day turned out simply gorgeous
with a nice sunset promising pretty weather tomorrow.
We awoke today by 0600 hours
and enjoyed watching the morning unfold. Orlando this morning was
windy and cool and temperatures last night were down to 56 degrees
F. The skies are mostly clear and sunrise was beautiful. We turned
the furnace on briefly to warm the Airstream interior to 68 degrees
F and savored a cup of green tea together. We skipped breakfast
because we ate more than we needed last night with the WBCCI Amateur
Radio Club at Golden Corral. Today is a travel day. We hitched up
the truck to the trailer early and left the Fairgrounds at 1000 hrs