Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lazy Sunday Spring Showcase

Another week has drifted past. This time there was no sturm and drang, no truck troubles, no hassles. Denny and I visited the beach, visited an old friend who unfortunately was not feeling well at all, and just enjoyed the fact that spring has arrived in this area.

We're moving out today, heading north and stopping overnight to break up the trip into northern Alabama. Patches will get tossed into the truck two days in a row, which she has come to hate. Being in Ohio for over four month last summer left her with a distaste of travel. We're hoping that the quieter engine in the new truck will ease some of that unhappiness since she reacts badly to loud noises.

In Greek mythology the River Styx was the boundary line between Earth and the underworld. Here in Alabama the Styx River is a shallow, crystal clear, peaceful flow of water bordering the campground. Although we never did see a single fish or living creature in it.

Azaleas. Pinks, whites, peaches, vivid fuschias in huge mounds in yards everywhere we drove. I love the untamed, untrimmed bushes that seem to burble out of the ground in great fountains of bloom.

Snowy white dogwood trees came into bloom while we were here, the perfect counterpoint to the lush color of the azaleas.

Trees are putting out new leaves and the different shades of green create a patchwork quilt of color as Patches and I walk each day.

The neighbor provided a bit of color also as this macaw sat quietly on this young man's shoulder outside his RV. We never heard a peep from the bird the whole time they were here, which is surprising because these critters can be very loud when they screech.

Springtime also is a time of new birth as these nesting ospreys show.

The trees are budding, the birds are singing, but these old abandoned amusement park figures just slowly fade away. They are leftovers from the now closed Water World water park next door to our campground.

Denny tries his hand at cow tipping. I absolutely could not resist that one.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Foggy Morning

My mother called while I was showering; it seems her smoke detector was beeping and she couldn't figure out how to get the front panel off to get to the battery. I wonder how long it's going to be before we have to consider staying closer to her for her own good.

My cousin is going through the boxes of "stuff" that belonged to her mother. She has asked me to help with trying to find the value of some of the things. Right now, it's old albums and 45s which really have no value, but how do you tell someone that? She also has old movie posters which probably will have value, since her mother traveled with the circus all over the country with my cousin's grandparents. What else she'll come up with, I don't know. I imagine it will be hard for my cousin to let go of a lot of those items. I must say, our two sons will have it easy when Denny and I pass on since we won't have a lot of "stuff" to get rid of. Most of what we have is necessary to our rving lifestyle and the rest could be sorted in a day. Which is just how we like it.

Speaking of "stuff", we do have some items packed away in my mother's basement. Perhaps it's time to let go of those few items also. Anyone want some lovely antique ruby Bohemian glass?

A fifth wheel pulled in yesterday afternoon and within minutes we could hear the owner tell other neighbors that he was a fireman (the gentle has a loud voice). As the afternoon wore on, he went back and forth between his two neighbors talking and drinking beer. And more beer. He stopped by our place while I was walking Patches and Denny was sitting outside waiting for me. The man had three more beers while talking to us--I think that was about eight since he had pulled in 3 hours earlier. He and his wife have been fulltiming for four years now and I think he must not really be happy with it if he has to drink that much upon his arrival. How very sad. And sad for his wife, too. Denny and I love this lifestyle but it is not for everyone, especially if you don't have a hobby or an interest to keep your mind occupied.

And no, Darb, drinking isn't a hobby.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A New Look in an Old Friend

Gulf Shores, Alabama is one of our favorite places. The white quartz sand glows in the sunlight and squeaks when you walk on it, although the sand feels velvety soft and warm. It was cool and breezy today and only the most hardy of the spring breakers were out sunbathing and enjoying the water.

This series of condominiums now sits on beachfront property that was a large and luxurious beachfront campground just starting to expand in 2000. Hurricane Ivan struck the area in September of 2004 and damaged a large area of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama as well as Perdido Key, Florida.

Eight years ago you couldn't tell that there was a campground within the grounds of the Gulf Shores State Park. Now you can see it clearly from Hwy. 182. Prior to the hurricane, the area between the roadway and the campground was thick with trees, bushes and grasses.

The Florabama bar was once a rambling, ramshackle bar that extended out onto the beach with outdoor eating areas and pavilions for partying. Caught by the Hurricane and now overshadowed by huge new condo developments what is left now looks like a break room area for construction workers. According to their website, the owners have been granted a variance and will be allowed to rebuild Florabama to near its old configuration. Party on!

A close up shot of some of the homes on Ono Island in the Perdido Key/Gulf Shores area. I could live there; being on the Old River and having access to the Gulf of Mexico--I think I could handle that. There's no lottery in Alabama however, so I guess I'll have to wait.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Yay for Denny Again!

I was walking back towards the rig when I saw Denny standing there with a big grin on his face. "I think I found our turn signal problem", he said. I guided Denny back to the trailer hitch where he hooked up the power cord to the truck. I went to the rear of the trailer to watch for the turn signals. Nothing. I raised one eyebrow (the sarcastic one) and waited. Denny then tried turning on the truck and trying the signals. Nothing. Up with the eyebrow again. Back to the bed of the truck, insert the power cord more firmly in the socket, try the turn signals. Left okay, then right. Yes! We have a right turn signal and brake light again!

It seems that Denny was checking our propane tank levels and happened to glance at the bumper of the truck and noticed a wiring harness hanging down with what appears to be one loose wire swinging free. Guess where that wire led? Whew. I could free the frustration level go down instantly. No more trying to find someone to fix it and having to pay outrageous service fees. A fix that's easy and free. I don't know what jarred the wiring loose so that it was hanging down enough for us to see it (although the interior roads of the campground are pretty rough) but Denny is going to secure it up under the bed and we should be good to go come Sunday. Woot!

I always tell Denny to try the easy solutions first, but not being truck mechanics we had no idea there was yet another wiring harness involved in all this since the Ford mechanic apparently had to add another harness when he moved the plug from the rear bumper area to the sidewall of the truck bed. Things that make you go hmmm......

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Locally Grown Lazy Sunday

Life is slowly getting back on an even keel for Denny and I. We are dealing with one more problem; our right turn signal and brake light on the trailer don't work and we have checked the normal things. You know, fuses, light bulbs, loose wires, loose connections. A campground worker here claims to have worked on wiring for tow/ed vehicles and will stop by sometime this coming week to take a look at it. Easier than hauling the truck and trailer to a RV service department somewhere. Since we've done so much running around getting mail from hundreds of miles away, running back and forth many times to the Ford dealership and all, we've not done any sightseeing the three days we've been here. Although we did do a shrimp run to Bon Secour. Yum.

This is the reason I get so frustrated with my camera. Notice how well it focuses on the cars in the distance instead of on the unique moth I discovered in the parking lot. Of course, I had to get the camera out of the car, juggle it with my right hand (I'm left-handed) and try to turn it on and hold the camera and shoot it while hoping the moth stayed put. 6 shots and not a single focused one in the group.

I have no idea what kind of tree this is; a flowering ash? The flowers are grayish-white and I could find nothing in my tree identification guide that showed a tree with seeds like this one. This was taken in Wildwood, FL.

A cluster of red helicopters from a maple tree. As a child we knew a way to put these in your mouth against your tongue and blow to make a kazoo-like sound. I wonder if I could still do it?

This young lady walked her parrot every day while her mother walked their pit bull (and yes, it's unusual for a campground to allow someone with a pitbull to stay). I don't know if the umbrella was to keep the parrot from attempting to fly away or because they are normally shaded in the rainforests. But he flared his tail to show off for us.

Two separate rest areas in Florida had fighter jets mounted near their welcome centers. Very striking.

These totem poles were in a yard that sat near the county road we took to Billie's at Bon Secour. That's where we buy our fresh shrimp when we're in the area. They also have fresh fish, crayfish and oysters.

This tree or bush was partially hidden behind others in the brushy area along one of the driveway in our campground. I have no idea what it is. Again, it's not in my tree book.

This is where old stones go to die.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Back to Normal

It's nice to have our normal life back. Today we drove down to Bon Secour, which is simply an area where there are fishing and shrimp boats. We bought some fresh shrimp today and while I had hoped to get pictures of the brown pelicans that normally line the boats and docks, today there were none. Which figures.

We were here two years ago and that's when we adopted Patches from the Baldwin County Animal Shelter. We didn't do much running around because of that, so we weren't aware of how much the area had grown and how much more traffic there is on Hwy. 59 which runs down to Gulf Shores, Alabama. Prior to that, we had last been in the area in 2000 when we bought our first fifth wheel and truck. This sleepy little area is sleepy no more. Of course, the fact that's it's Spring Break time doesn't help. It appears though, that we're losing another one of our favorite little towns to progress. Alabama is a lovely state still and right now with the azaleas blooming everywhere it's just gorgeous. And we haven't even made it to the beach yet! That will come.

Black Beauty is a joy to drive and to ride in. For being the same model truck the difference between our 2000 F450 and the 2008 F450 is night and day. We're not getting quite as good mileage as the old truck, but the engine isn't broken in yet and we had added a power chip to the engine of the old truck. The new truck's computers would "know" if we added a power chip which might void the warranty, so we're not going to do that this time around, or at least until Ford says it's an okay thing to do, which probably won't happen. Otherwise, they would have put the chip in themselves, right? But Denny and I are enjoying the smoother ride and quieter engine, and all the other little bells and whistles that came with it, at least until the first truck payment arrives. Truck payment? What the heck is that? Sigh.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Feelin' Good

Did your computer monitor move a little bit this morning? That was us heaving a huge sigh of relief as we left the state of Florida and arrived in sunny Alabama. Whose karma feels much better, thank you very much. Still setting up here but SO glad to be out of the range of the bad mojo we've suffered the past couple of weeks. *Shaking it off here*.

Time to relax.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Family Member

No, not a grandchild or anything like that. Meet the newest member of the RV Vagabonds traveling group: Black Beauty. This morning Denny thought I was kidding when I asked him to take a towel out to wipe all the dew off her. Hmmph, we ladies have to look our best for photo ops.

Okay, this is where you imagine Stevie Wonder is singing "Isn't She Lovely?" And oh, does she ride better than her older brother did. And her turning radius runs rings around him.

You will notice a distinct lack of graphics compared to Kong; that will change once we get back to Dayton and I find the guy who worked with me to come up with the graphics on the big white truck.

Let's Try This Again

We have the truck, we'll soon be hitched up and on our way to get out of this state. We've got one overnight stay until we reach Alabama so we probably won't be online later today. Look for us sometime late Thursday.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Still Waiting

Yesterday we received a call from the mechanic who is transferring our auxiliary fuel tank from the old truck to the new truck. He's having to order a different set of parts because the system we had with the 7.3L diesel engine isn't going to work with the new 6.4L diesel engine. More money, more money.

Then the mechanic asked me why we were selling the old truck. I went over the litany of repairs and costs and he said "I found what I think is the problem with your lack of engine power and black exhaust--a clamp had come off your air cooler system and the hose came off. I would have fixed it for $45." OMG, don't tell me that after I've just signed my life away on a new truck! Why would you do that to me?

It's a moot point now, and that's not to say that the truck doesn't really need 2 new fuel injectors and a new EGR and blah, blah, blah, but it does make you realize that when you are on the road and in a strange town you are totally at the mercy of service people you don't know that you can trust. Do they take advantage? Possibly. Are there honest repair people out there? Definitely. Is there a way to tell the difference? Of course not. You just have to trust people. Sometimes it's an expensive lesson. And this time, we'll never know.

$45.00 vs $4,700.00+ Wow.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

More of the Same Lazy Sunday

This morning's horoscope: Your luck is about to change today -- which is very good news if you have been striking out left and right. And conversely, it's not such good news if life has been sweet and easy lately. There is always going to be change in your life, and you have to get used to it. Having to alter your plans is not necessarily a negative thing. Often, revised plans reap better results, in the end, than the original ones would have. Try to appreciate change.

Well, let's hope so! Plans have indeed been altered and our ducks are once again in a row, based on the supposition that the truck is finished by mid-day on Tuesday. Denny and I have just been hanging around the campground, fearful of going too far or doing too much since our luck hasn't been too good this week. Thus, pictures around the campground is the theme again this week.

This is a picture of where our fifth wheel was supposed to be parked last week if the truck hadn't gone ka-plooey on us. Backed up to the Gulf of Mexico, watching the wind and rain whip the waters into a froth and enjoying life. Yep, would have been nice.

There were warning signs of "do not feed the alligators" here at Orlando TT, but we never saw a one. The waters of Little Hancock Lake are clear and beautiful and it's a very restful spot.

The folks who buy a "vacation home" in the campground are treated to gardens planted with birds of paradise while campers get plain old grass.

I could probably look up what variety of palm tree this is, but I think "octopus palm" would be appropriate, don't you? We also discovered caladium and a couple of varieties of wandering jew growing wild in the woods at Bee's Resort.

A Gulf Fritillary butterfly. You don't know how hard it is to take a close up shot when you have a cat yanking on the leash.

One of many confrontations between Patches and the gopher tortoise.

People who travel by RV have to have a sense of humor. We also discover every possible way there is to hurt yourself on some protruding piece of equipment or slideout on the RV.

You knew there had to be a shot of a sunset, right?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Good Advice

My horoscope this morning:

In order to handle today's ups and downs more healthily, you need to try to stay as detached from the situation as possible. Remain calm about what is going on. Be as flexible as you possibly can, and you will help yourself roll with the punches that may or may not be coming your way. Creating more emotional distance between you and the source of negative energy will free you up from having to worry about what they are going to do next -- and let you enjoy your day a whole lot more.

So breathe, just breathe.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Runnin' on Empty

Today, I hate everyone.

A business appointment scheduled in Georgia on Tuesday that had been arranged two months ago has been canceled and rescheduled for mid-April, meaning I had to cancel and rearrange several campground reservations and reroute our return trip to Ohio in late April. Which meant a whole new set of reservations and going out of our way to return to Georgia.

Then the truck salesman called and told us the mechanic was having problems getting the auxiliary fuel tank switched over to the new truck and it might be Monday before we get the truck. We're scheduled to be out of this campground on Sunday. Denny called the mechanic and was able to give him the phone number of the original installer of the fuel tank, plus the number for the supplier of the tanks and parts. After that, the mechanic called back and said he should have the wiring done by tomorrow thanks to our help and that he just needed to find some appropriate hoses due to different sizes used in the 2000 models and the 2008 models. Great! We can leave Sunday! Nope, another call from the mechanic. It seems that the 7.3L engine in the 2000 used smaller hoses and a whole new pump and hoses would be needed for the new 6.4L engine so the engine would get enough fuel to the system. Which needs to be shipped overnight but it was too late to order tonight, so that would have to be done on Monday. Which means the parts wouldn't get there until Tuesday. Which means we may not get out of here until Wednesday. Except we are supposed to be out of this campground the day after tomorrow. Sigh.

Some of this could have been alleviated if the mechanic had called us right away so that we could have given him the proper information immediately. Some of it is beyond our control. Tomorrow I will have to go to the campground office and see if they'd allow us to stay three more days (member campgrounds have rules and restrictions and sometimes employees aren't flexible). And arrange for another three days on our car rental. We're hemorrhaging money here and I'm not liking Florida much right at the moment.

We're also not doing any traveling, other than fetching mail from ridiculous distances away. Not having fun. Not liking Florida. Hate people. It's raining again. Phooey.

Cat Funnies by Simon

Stole these from Kat. I know they came just in time to give me a much needed laugh.

And this:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

So. Very. Stressed.

Going back to Clermont this morning for more wheeling and dealing over the new truck. I hate car salesmen.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


This is what I was prepared to post today after we arrived in Live Oak, Florida and got all set up:

Have you missed us?  We didn't make it out of Clermont, FL on Monday after all.

Sunday morning Denny and I went out to breakfast as is our habit and while doing some shopping afterwards we both smelled diesel fuel.  Denny looked under the truck and sure enough, we could see fuel dripping. 

Here we go again.

Not wanting to drive to the next campground leaking fuel, I called the Ford dealership at 7AM on Monday, leaving a message that we once again needed to bring in the truck and hoping that something they had done last week was causing the problem.  In the meantime, we had to get out of our current campground because our 2 weeks were up and membership rules state we have to be out of the park for seven days before we can make another reservation.  So I'm calling other campground nearby trying to find a place that's relatively inexpensive (and Clerbrooke RV Park?  $48 a night is not inexpensive) that would also allow us in early so we could drop off the trailer and get the truck to the Ford dealer as early as possible.  Many back and forth phone calls later, I have a spot for us, we're hitched up and off we go, about 20 miles north of our current location.  We unhitch, open up the slide outs, toss the cat into the trailer and off we go to the Ford dealer to leave the truck and rent a car, again.

Mr. Optimist has decided not to put up the Internet satellite dish thinking we'd get the truck back in the afternoon because the problem would be that the repairman had simply not tightened something in our earlier repair.  Ha.  Mrs. Realistic says it's never that easy.  Guess who was right?

This time it was bad o-rings and valves in the area of the fuel filter holder with horrendous labor charges making this repair and car rental over $800.  So in one week we've dropped close to $3200 at the Ford dealership.  Wintering in Florida has been very expensive for us.

This morning we'll be heading up to Live Oak, FL which is where we started our Florida adventures.  I didn't enjoy a lot of it because I had that stomach/flu thing going at the time, so I'm hoping the remaining few days of our reservation there will be relaxing and free of problems.  I think we deserve that.

Okay.  So here's what really happened this morning (Wednesday).  We hitched up, drove 20 miles up the road, felt the truck hesitate slightly and then watched in horror as we saw black smoke belching from our exhaust pipe and the truck's engine lost power.  I got on the phone with the  Ford dealer who has had our truck more than we have the past week and he said to bring it back (naturally).  Well, we weren't about to haul the trailer back to the campground where we had just spent the two previous nights because the road traffic noise was appalling, so we continued to Wildwood, Florida where we knew the campground was nice, with sizeable pull through camp sites.  They were able to give us a discounted site and as soon as we unhitched, opened the slide outs and threw the cat into the trailer we headed back down the road to Clermont to try this again.

Several hours later there was a message on our voice mail--"call me as soon as possible".  No estimate of price or work to be done, just "call me".  That was scary in itself.  Bad news--another $5000 worth of repairs.  Now while we had been arranging to have the truck looked at to see what was wrong this time, we wandered over to the new truck sales section to see if we could find any brochures on the towing capacities of the new Ford F350 trucks to see if one could handle towing our rather heavy trailer.  Not according to the salesman we spoke with, who showed us the official Ford tow capacity guides for the 2008 year models.  So we would have to stay with the F450.  And they just happened to have one on the lot.  Understand, back in 2000 when we bought out Ford F450, it had to be specially redesigned to make it into a pickup truck as they come off the factory line as a cab and rails only.  Now Ford makes them as a pickup themselves and they come with brake trailers and special engine modifications that allow for engine braking on hills and larger transmission coolers, yada yada which only means something to those of us who tow large trailers.  But, it is a sexy truck indeed and the engine is so much quieter than our 7.3 liter diesel and the dang thing turns on a dime instead of taking a city block to do so.  But it's a lot of money.  Then again, we would have to invest more money into an eight year old truck with no guarantees that something else won't go wrong 100 miles up the road.  Decisions, decisions.

We're working on it.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Lazy Sunday Critters Around the Campground

We've spent the week pretty much just hanging around the campground other than our monster trek to Carabelle, FL to pick up our mail on Tuesday. Patches and I found a few large and small critters on our daily meanderings by the brush area across from our campsite. She loved to look for "slizards" to chase, but would settle for leaping at grasshoppers as the next best thing. It was hard to keep her out of the tortoise burrows because she wanted to see where they were going deep into the earth but I'm still not sure they wouldn't have grabbed her nose and hung on!

Last Saturday was "yard sale" day here at the campground so Denny hauled out the planters we used to try to grow tomato plants a couple of years ago. I discovered this little tree frog inside and I told the lady that bought the planters that the frog was included for free. When she realized that the frog was real, she screamed and almost dropped the planter. Her friend had to carry the planter to the woods across the street and remove the little guy before the lady would touch the planter again. People are funny.

Okay, in this picture you'll find a brown anole. Can you find him?

This is the bravest of the three large gopher tortoises that have burrows nearby. He enjoys sunning himself a couple of feet from his favorite burrow.

This is where Patches discovered the little box turtle that raced to get back to its hole before Patches could catch it. Actually, Patches couldn't decide if she wanted to touch the turtle or not.

Patches stalking the large tortoise as he heads back to his lair.

A green anole that liked to sun himself on a nearby fence post.

The little box turtle first sees Patches and me and tries to hide within himself.

No Lazy Sunday

Bl*gger has been singularly uncooperative this weekend; first not allowing me to post my little video of Patches and the box turtle and now it won't allow me to post my Lazy Sunday photos for the week. "Try again in 30 seconds" it says, over and over and over.

Maybe later. Wordpress is looking better all the time.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Tortoise and the Hare Cat

Patches has spent the week discovering the burrows of the three gopher tortoises that live in the brush across the driveway from our campsite. Of course, they all disappear into their holes as soon as she gets anywhere close to them and she tries to follow right down the hole too, like a furry Alice in Wonderland. Yesterday, she found this little box turtle who was more her size.

My apologies for the poor quality of the video--it lost something in the translation by Blogger/Google. Which is especially frustrating when I've been trying to upload this since yesterday morning.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Rain Gremlins

Something weird was going on here yesterday.

I can only say that I'm grateful that I'm not claustrophobic because yesterday afternoon the bathroom commode room (it's a separate area in Casa Vagabonds) decided to hold the cat and I hostage. I say the cat and I because Patches will not allow me into the bathroom alone--it's like having a two year old around. But then again, she IS two years old, so I guess that makes sense. Anyway, when I tried to open the door yesterday the knob would not turn and I could not get out. Understand, the lock on that door hasn't been used in the eight years we've owned this trailer, but for some reason it engaged yesterday and it would.not.turn.or.move. Patches was jumping up trying to climb up the door (apparently SHE'S claustrophobic) and I'm feeling like as idiot having to call out to Denny that I'm locked IN the bathroom. He used a knife to try to open the lock through the access slot on the knob on his side of the door, but that didn't work. Finally, Denny passed a screw driver over the top of the door (tall ceilings means the door doesn't reach the ceiling, thank goodness) and I removed the door knob so I could get out. The locking mechanism has frozen, so we get to buy a new door knob today--perhaps a lever-type with NO lock.

Shaking our heads, the day continued peacefully until we were just settling into our bed, listening to the sound of rainfall on the roof when all of a sudden I heard loud music. It took me a moment to recognize the music from one of our favorite CDs--our stereo system had turned on and was playing guitar music. At eleven o'clock at night. By itself. Cue the theme music from the Twilight Zone.

I have to say, I was a little cautious getting out of bed this morning, half-expecting to find that that coffee pot had spewed its contents on the floor or something. So far, so good. Whew.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Money In--Money Out

Our tax return was deposited into our bank account yesterday--just in time to make a dent in the hostage payment we made to the Ford dealer to get our truck back. Considering they charged us double for a repair that we had made 3 years ago in Washington. Now we have to figure out why our IDM fails or if it's really failing when a wiring harness replacement would have sufficed. Unfortunately, at this point what's done is done.

I must say, the folks around here have been really helpful while we had to have this repair done; the Ford service department did get the repair done fairly quickly, the TT people worked with us to extend our stay at the campground and the Enterprise car rental people were helpful also. The management of the campground where we were supposed to be this week had been willing to forward our mail to us, but the post office just can't be relied upon to get the forwarded mail to us in a timely manner before we move to the next campground. Therefore we drove a lot of miles to go pick it up. Now we can relax for a while.

We have indulged ourselves with eating out three times this week which is not something we normally do. However, we have discovered Santino's Restaurant, 1529 Sunrise Plaza Dr Ste 2 in Clermont (well, actually it's over 12 miles south of town) where everything we ate was wonderful. We tried the pizza, the veal parmesan, the subs, penne pasta with sausage and meatballs and OMG the garlic knots they serve with each lunch/dinner are my favorite! On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being great? We give them a 6.

Okay, time to find something to do that doesn't cost money.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Mail Call

Our mail is sitting at a campground 260 miles away because that's where we're supposed to be right now. Since we have no idea how long we'll be stuck here in this area waiting for the truck to be fixed, I'm afraid to have our mail forwarded either here or to next week's campground because the US mail doesn't travel quickly when it has already been delivered once. And we don't even know when we're going to be able to get out of here to get to the next campground. The upshot of that is, we're going to make a 520 mile round trip drive to pick up our mail today. Gah.

I'd much rather be doing a "we're going sightseeing trip".

Monday, March 03, 2008

I Needed That

The phone call from the Ford dealer was no fun; we're up for a very pricey repair. So depressed.

So I was trolling LOLCATS looking for something to smile about and the very first picture was this:

Yup, I needed that.

Going Nowhere Fast

Made an appointment at a Ford dealer to have the truck looked at, started the truck, tried to drive out of the campground--no go. Called our emergency road service to have a tow truck take the truck to the Ford dealership before we ruin the engine along with whatever else is going on. Sitting and waiting.

The Ford service department says probably 3-4 days minimum, meaning Denny should have re-booked us for the entire week instead of two days. Which we'll now have to try to do. Being right is not always fun.

Well, the tow truck is here--we're off to the Ford dealer. More later.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Going Nowhere Lazy Sunday

Sunday mornings Denny normally takes me out to breakfast. Well, this morning he went out to start the truck after buying and changing a second fuel filter and the results were the same--the truck rattled, coughed, belched and ran rough. So he turned off the truck and came back into the trailer to cook me a yummy breakfast.

We walked off the breakfast by walking up to the office to see if we could beg an extension to our stay, since we were supposed to leave tomorrow and our membership states that we have to be out of the park system for seven days. The nice man at the office gave us two days (Denny is extremely optimistic that the truck can be repaired in two days) and then we stopped to try to help a couple whose slideouts on their motorhome wouldn't go in. I managed to find the reset buttons, but that didn't work so we wandered on home.

Tomorrow we'll have to call a Ford dealer and try to weasel our way into an emergency appointment to get a diagnosis of our problem and hopefully get it fixed. Our mail is going to be delivered to our next campground tomorrow, so we really need to get out of here and on our way. I had to call and cancel our beachfront rv site and hope that management will be able to squeeze us in somewhere else whenever we finally get underway.

Fun and games at the RV Vagabonds this week.

Who can pass up the opportunity to pick fresh fruit off the tree? Not us! We found a U-Pick citrus grove and ended up with naval oranges, tangerines and ruby grapefruits. Denny was able to reach the sweet ripe fruit that no one else could, since the grove doesn't provide ladders to get up into the trees.

What's neat about citrus trees is that they start blooming again while the fruit is still setting on the trees. These lemons aren't even ripe yet, but there are new blossoms starting already. Those are kumquat trees in the background.

Orange blossoms smell SO good. Denny did sneeze all afternoon as a result of our little excursion, but the air was so fragrant wandering among the trees.

Mid-week we went looking for alligators at the lake at the rear of the campground. No alligators, no sizable fish visible, but lily pads and fuzzy water weeds were in abundance.

This sandhill crane was wandering around one of the campsites that had a bird feeder. Someone told us that a flock of wild turkeys would gather here in the afternoon when the owner would fill the feeder. So far we haven't been there to see it.

This little squirrel wasn't sleeping over the pecan held in his paws, I just caught him mid-blink. A gentleman was trying to get this little guy to take the pecans from his hand, but the squirrel wasn't having any of that as we passed by.

I discovered this gopher tortoise sunning himself in his lair the first day Patches and I took our walk. Patches never saw him, which is probably a good thing since she would have wandered right up to check him out. As it is, she has discovered all the lairs dug into the sand in the woods where we walk and I have to pull hard to keep her from going down into the holes. I'm not sure if the turtles would bite or not, but I'm not taking any chances, because Denny says when they bite, they don't let go.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Signs Around Town Meme

Vitamin Sea suggested a "Signs around town" meme for March 1, so I culled some signs from our travels. I've missed many more than I've taken, simply because I never got into the habit of taking the camera with me as we drove from campground to campground. I now try to take the camera with me for longer jaunts when we're not going to return to the area again.

This dragon crossing sign was along a roadway we were taking when en route to see the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park in Michigan. I had Denny turn around just so I could get a snapshot of it.

You'll see a lot of these signs in campgrounds with the various breeds of dogs displayed--hmm, maybe I need to suggest one for domestic short-haired cats to the manufacturers...

We were leaving Happy Jack, Arizona and heading the back roads to Cottonwood when we saw this sign next to the roadway. We had no intention of bothering the rattlesnakes, believe me!

The week we stayed at the Niagara-Hartland RV Park we had a LOT of rain, as evidenced by the humor of this sign they put beside the entrance to the campground.

Yesterday we stopped at a U-Pick citrus grove to pick some fresh grapefruit, tangerines and oranges. This sign greeted us as we arrived.

This was the second sign to catch my eye at the U-Pick citrus grove. Note the size of the trap--ouch!

Denny and I have driven past the Roadkill Cafe in Elberta, Alabama several times in our travels but we've never had the nerve to stop and eat there.
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