Our Lazy Daze Motorhome

Our Lazy Daze Motorhome
2009 Lake Louise

Friday, March 13, 2009

2009 A Month in FL and LA

A Month in Florida and Louisiana
February 28 through March 29, 2009

We were unsure if we would get to make this trip because mom went into the hospital on Thurs, Feb 26 with a UTI. While I spent time at the hospital, Ed had the oil changed and filled up with gas at Costco ($1.579/gal) and did most of the work packing the RV for the trip. I spent the night with mother Thurs night and she was much better Fri morning. She was still in the hospital on Sat and due to be released on Sun. On Sun, 2 to 4 inches of snow was predicted so we knew if we were going, we would need to get on the road before the snow hit. We left on Saturday February 28th for our month long trip to Florida and Louisiana. We checked in frequently with mother and dad to make sure she was okay. The only hiccup was that dad accidentally ran over Doxie while we were at Hanna Park. It was sad. Mother cried for days. Their neighbors, Jackie Yarbrough and Judy Hayes, buried Doxie in their “dog cemetery”.

Saturday, Feb 28 – 6:30 PM
We left home about 6:30 PM after I had been to the hospital to sit with mother while dad attended his sister's (Eva) funeral. We pulled into a Wal-Mart parking lot about 9:00 in Troy, AL and went to bed about 10:00 PM. At 3:00 AM there was a banging on the door. We were asked to leave the lot by one of the managers because this particular Wal-Mart did not allow overnight parking. There were two RVs and two Wal-Mart 18 wheelers that had to move. The temps were in the 30s with lots of wind.

Sunday, March 1 – 3:00 AM.
We decided to just keep driving down to Winter Garden. We stopped for breakfast around 8:00 AM at a Flying J. We arrived in Winter Garden about 1:00 PM CT after driving about 600 miles. Our mileage was 17,888. We had reservations at the Stage Stop Campground on Colonial Drive in Winter Garden. Still cold outside with high winds.

Monday, March 2 – 9:00 AM
Just down the street from Stage Stop CG was the Leisure Time RV. We had reservations this morning to have them check our awning. While we there we had them seal our roof, and inspect our tires. We found that the tire we replaced in Birmingham (it had a big split in it) was the wrong weight rating (D instead of E). On top of that, we inflated it way above what it should have had in it. We were at Leisure Time RV from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM. The temps are still in the 50s with high 30s at night.

Tuesday, March 3
Because all the tires had small cracks (dry rot), some worse than others, we had 6 new tires put on the rig to the tune of $1600+. We only had 17,888 miles on the tires, but didn’t want to take any chances since we are going to try to go to Alaska this summer. We sure have learned a lot about tires and how to care for them. We got back to the RV about 4:00 PM and decided to spend another night at the Stage Stop Campground. Ed grilled salmon for dinner. Mmm.

Wednesday, March 4
Today, we took our time getting up, checked email, looked over the maps, made reservations for campgrounds, showered, etc. We left the campground around 12:30 PM heading toward the Melbourne area. We arrived in Indian Harbour Beach, FL at the Ocean View RV and Motor Home Park about 3:30 PM, after driving about 110 miles. Mike, the owner, took good care of us. We relaxed afterward with our new tires and sealed roof. Ed opened the awning and enjoyed his morning reading. The high temperature today was about 65 and sunny, with a cool wind—much nicer than the past week.

Thursday, March 5
We got up around 8:00 AM, took showers, headed up and down SR 1 and then up and down 1A1 (the beach road) just to see what the area was like. We stopped in Melbourne and bought sunglasses and got a recommendation for lunch. We ate at a very nice, casual restaurant named Squid Lips. We had grouper and Maui Maui sandwiches. It was really good. We stopped at Winn Dixie for some food items. We headed back to the RV, watched some TV, and then made dinner: Salmon (again) over orzo from Frank Stitt’s new cookbook. After dinner we talked to the kids and I checked email while Ed read. It was a very relaxing day. The weather was wonderful. The temperature was around 70. We walked down to the beach some people were in the ocean others laying out in the swim suits, but it was just a little too breezy for us.

Friday, March 6
Mike, the owner of the campground, a very nice guy recommended Grills just north of Cocoa Beach, maybe Cape Canaveral for lunch. It was the cutest thing that Mike has set up for people to do laundry at the campsite. People, mostly residents, sign up for a certain time to use the two washers and one dryer. We signed up for 2:30AM and barely made it back from lunch to the campsite by then. We did our laundry and had Lean Cuisine for dinner.

Saturday, March 7
Got up early to head down to West Palm Beach to meet Linzy and Rohit for the day. The drive was at least 2-1/2 hours from Melbourne. We met them at 10:30AM at the West Palm Zoo. It was so good to see Linzy and Rohit and play with little Maia. She is 11 months old now and oh, so cute! We left the zoo around lunch time and drove to a very nice restaurant named Charley’s Crab Palm Beach on South Ocean Blvd. The food was great. We had a window view and it was right across the street from the beach. After finishing our lunch we walked over to the beach. It was Anamaia’s first time to play in the sand. She ate it. It was a great day, beautiful sunny weather, high around 80. We left them about 3:00 PM and drove back to Melbourne to get ready to pull out and head to Glenn and Judy’s tomorrow. We were both tired and went right to sleep.

Sunday, March 8
We left Indian Harbour Beach in Melbourne about 10:00 AM headed to the Martins. It took longer to get there than we thought, lots of traffic. We got there about noon. Judy is six weeks out from lung surgery. She is still weak. Glenn put steaks and baked potato on the grill. It was great. We had a good visit with them.

Monday, March 9
Glenn came knocking on the door of the rig about 6:30 AM. He and Ed had planned to take the canoe out and do some fishing. Unfortunately, they didn’t catch anything but had a good time anyway. They got home in time for lunch. While they were gone I cleaned the RV, did some laundry, and visited with Judy. Glenn offered to make name badges for our Lazy Daze get together so we headed over to his UPS store in New Smyrna Beach. Glenn was having some employee problems. We stopped to buy shrimp and Glenn made Shrimp Scampi for dinner. It was so tasty.

Tuesday, March 10
Glenn and Judy had to leave for Judy’s doctor’s appointment around 1:00 PM so we all left at the same time. Ed and I headed to Jacksonville for the 2009 SELD GTG at Hanna Park. The park is a city park and lovely. It has nice bike trails, hiking trails, a nice secluded beach, a water park for the kids, and a lake to canoe on. As soon as we got there, before we had a chance to get into our site, there were quite a few people that came over to greet us. They were so nice. After visiting for a while, we got set up and had a relaxing evening before most got there. This is our first get together with other LD owners and Ed and I were very excited about the networking possibilities.

Wednesday, March 11
Hanna Park, Jacksonville, FL
Today is the day that the get together started. There was an ice cream social so we met many other LD owners. There were a total of 27 rigs that participated in the GTG. It seems that I was the only one with a camera taking pictures so I become the self-appointed official photographer for the GTG. It was a good way for us newbies to put names with faces.

Thursday, March 12
Pot luck brunch 9:30 AM
Biked around the lake after lunch
Dinner Outing at the Harvest Restaurant 5:30 PM

Friday, March 13
Pancake Breakfast 8:30 PM
Dairy Queen with Joe and Clara 3:00 PM
Pot luck dinner 6:30 PM

Saturday, March 14
We finally got a place to stay on the panhandle at Grayton Beach State Park. We will be there next week with Tracy, Kaeden, Amy, and Bear. There was one cancellation on their website---and we got it!!
Open House 1-3
Tech-talk 2:30
Pizza 6:30
Silent auction after dinner
Campfire at Lou and Pam’s around dark

Sunday, March 15
Most people left today. Only eight of us stayed an extra day. Ed and I rode our bikes quite a bit. The highlight was the Shuttle Discovery’s launch that evening. We didn’t know if we would be able to see it very well. Cape Kennedy is about 150 miles south from where we were located in Jacksonville. We all congregated on the beach there at Hanna Park and waited. One of the people on the beach was on the phone with a daughter so we knew when it launched, but we did not see it for maybe 30 seconds. Then we were amazed at how well we could see it. At first it was a small white dot low in the sky, then it began leaving an orange tail. We could faintly hear it. After several minutes, the boosters fell off. I took pictures and Ed took a video. It was our first experience to see a launch – and it was awesome.

Monday, March 16 through Saturday, March 21
Spring Break, Grayton Beach State Park, Florida
Monday we left Hanna Park headed toward Grayton Beach State Park in the panhandle to spend the next few days with Tracy, Amy, Kaeden and Bear. It was Spring Break for them. About ½ way over, we decided to stay in a Wal-Mart. Ed called ahead and they said that camping in the parking lot was a gray area. They wouldn’t give us the okay, but told us they wouldn’t kick us out either. So we took a chance and it worked out fine, even had satellite reception. Grayton Beach State Park is located just outside Seaside and is very reasonable at $19 per night. (If we had a FL residence, we could have got the site for ½ price.) There are lots of places to bike ride, a nice beach, and a lake with a place to put in the canoe. The public restrooms were not heated, but had showers, no laundry. We could not have asked for more beautiful weather. It was sunny and the temperatures were in the 70s every day. We spent all our time during the day on the beach. The water was very cold, but that didn’t deter the boys from jumping right in. On Thursday night, we took the boys over to the campground (the jungle with alligators) and they had a great time exploring. Amy and Tracy showered and met us there for dinner, then Tracy was off to a meeting. After we took Amy and the boys back to the condo, we got a call that Tracy had had an accident in Amy’s car. She had rear-ended another car that rear-ended another car-all SUVs. It put quite the damper on the trip for both Tracy and Amy. (We didn’t know it at the time, but the Jeep was totaled and the SUV in front of Tracy was also totaled.) Each evening we tried to get the boys to bed at or around 8:00, but Kaeden got an earache that night so Ed and I made a long trek to Wal-Mart in Destin (20 miles away). We bought earache meds and some ear plug putty. It was midnight before we got back and 1:00 before we got into bed, but the OTC meds seemed to help him so it was worth the trip. (What a day!!) Kaeden used the ear plug putty the whole next day and didn’t complain. Of course Bear had to have some too. We cooked each evening except Friday night when we took our beach pictures, we went to the Seagrove Market for dinner. We always get a grouper sandwich there, but Amy had a great looking hamburger. We had planned to head out on Saturday for Tickfaw State Park to meet Don and Dorothy Malpas, but had to make a detour to Birmingham to drop everyone off. As soon as we arrived in Birmingham, we dumped the beach stuff and were on the road again (in just over an hour) headed to Louisiana.

Saturday, March 21 through Friday, March 27
Tickfaw State Park, Springfield, LA
Of course we were very tired after all that driving (6.5 hours from Seaside to Birmingham—longest it has ever taken!) so as we approached Tuscaloosa we began looking for a place to park the LD for the night. It was around 8:00 PM by then. After about 45 minutes in Tuscaloosa (no overnight camping at the Cracker Barrel and couldn’t find the Wal-Mart) and getting caught in some pretty tight turn around spots, we decided to drive a little further down I-59. As we got very close to the Alabama/Mississippi line, we spotted a rest area that had overnight security. It worked out fine, but the trucks were a bit noisy. We arrived on Sunday at Tickfaw State Park around 5:00 PM. Don and Dorothy had been there most of the day and had made a spaghetti so we didn’t have to cook. It was great! We decided that the weather might not be great later in the week so on Monday we took their kayaks and our canoe to the launch area and had a nice leisurely trip up the Tickfaw River. It was very swampy and we imagined snakes in the trees and alligators on the banks even though we didn’t see any. We floated for about two hours. The weather was sunny and in the high 70s. The evenings were cooler. The bugs bothered Dorothy and me but not the guys too much. Ed did end up with a “patch” of bug bites on the back of one of his legs. After lunch on Monday, we washed the bugs off the front of the LD with wet dryer sheets which were recommended at the Hanna Park tech-talk. They worked great!! While we were there, Don helped Ed (and me) put up the rope lights in the lounge area. The finished product was very well worth the blood sweat and tears!! The lights are under the valance and give ambiance to the evenings. On Wednesday we drove into Baton Rouge and toured the present capital building and the Old State House, before having dinner at Mike Anderson’s Restaurant. We were right on time. It opened at 5 PM and we were there at 10 til. It belongs to the dad of one of Don’s second cousin-in-laws. It was wonderful creole/cajun food. Ed, Don and I had the Guittreau and Dorothy had Juliet Rouge, which was a bit lighter in taste, but both had a sauce with mushrooms and popcorn shrimp over a piece of white fish. It was a lot of food and reasonable for the quality and service. Wednesday and Thursday nights it stormed all night so we didn’t get much sleep thinking we were going to float away in the swamp water of the bayou. Thursday was a rather boring day, it rained all day long, (I worked on the SELD database and Ed read). Our friends came over and shared dinner with us. Ed grilled lemon pepper chicken (in the rain), and I made broccoli (with some yucky cheese sauce) and Dorothy made creamed potatoes. I made brownies earlier in the day and Dorothy brought ice cream and Hershey’s syrup. A marriage made in heaven!! We set our table up in the lounge and with the new rope lights, it was very comfortable. Friday morning around 9:00 AM, we said good-bye and headed for Birmingham. While we were with Don and Dorothy, we compared our rig to theirs and picked Don’s brain for everything technical that they had on board. He has a nice set-up to get internet with a router, a booster and an outside antenna. He said he would help us get one hooked up before we got to Alaska this summer. Since the boy’s soccer games were cancelled (because of rain) this week-end, we took our time getting home.

Friday March 27 through Sunday, March 29
Oak Mountain State Park

We knew our friends Martha and Jim Berger were camping at Oak Mountain S.P. so we called to find out how long they would be there. We decided to join them for our last hoorah!! We got a site (A-17) where we could get a clear southern sky so we could get satellite TV. It was so good to visit with them. We spent most of the week-end helping them get more acquainted with their Fleetwood Discovery A-class and talking 'camping'. They are excited about using their RV. Saturday afternoon, their son and his family joined us for dinner. Sunday morning, we began getting ready to depart. We made sure Martha and Jim knew how to set up their satellite, empty their tanks, etc. It was a great ending to our one-month-out!!

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