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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Life on the Panhandle

We are settling in nicely to our life here in Bonifay. On Sunday we joined First Baptist Church of Bonifay, so we're officially Baptists again. :) We regularly attended this church last winter and I was part of a women's Bible study. The folks at the church were so welcoming and we felt very much at home. Gotta tell you, it feels good to be part of a local church family once again. I have missed that.

The past couple of days have been kinda busy. I have a bit more responsibility this year as Andy & Alicia asked me to be the office manager. So, I've been busy setting up office procedures, getting to know the other office workampers and talking with Alicia about how she wants things done. Randy is going to be more “on call” this year than he was last year. We have a couple of other outside workampers so Randy will be escorting guests to their sites (and yes, I've already said we're going to call it, “Randy's Escort Service!”), cleaning bathrooms a couple nights a week and provide support where needed.

We're moving to our long-term site tomorrow. A little concerned as the site slopes downward a bit and Randy doesn't want the gooseneck way high. But, we'll do the best we can to level it and it will be what it will be. I'll just be glad to be there so that I can settle in. I want to put out my banners and awning and have that homey feel.

Oh! I did yoga for the first time today! One of the women in the park is a yoga instructor and she has been exercising with Alicia and I in the mornings. She asked if we'd like to try yoga (Alicia has done it before) and we figured why not. Dang! I stretched things in the my body that I didn't know were there!! But, it felt good, actually. Different, but good.

Not much else to share. We're enjoying sunny, but cool weather. And very grateful that our family on the East Coast made it through Hurricane Sandy unscathed for the most part. Lindsay has some leaks they'll need to have looked at, but that was it. My sister and bro-in-law live on the water and we're always concerned for them in storms, but the water only came up about 150 feet into their yard. No damage to their home. And my folks on the Eastern Shore of MD had no problems whatsoever. So, we've been praising God for His protection and continuing to pray for all those whose lives have been devastated by the storm.

Take care. Until the next time . . .

Saturday, October 27, 2012

We're BAAaaacccckkk!

Yesterday we pulled up stakes and once again got on the road, this time heading east – to Florida Springs RV in Bonifay, Florida which will be home for the next seven months. We'll be workamping here as we did last winter. Andy & Alicia, owners of the campground, greeted us so excitedly and it felt so good!

We are looking forward to settling in, getting into a routine and getting back to our church. While we love our friends and Rainbow Plantation in Summerdale, AL, we also love our community here in Bonifay. Isn't nice to have a couple of places to call “home!”

Before we left the Plantation yesterday, we forced ourselves to have a couple more dining-out experiences. Yeah, it's been a rough week with not having to cook. But, I'm managing to persevere. :)

On Thursday, Darrell & Judy picked us up and we led a two vehicle caravan with Jim & Ellie and JoAnn following us to Fairhope where we had a scrumptious lunch at Panini Pete's. They have such delicious sandwiches, of which the New Orleans style muffaletta is our favorite. It's a panini version of the muffaletta. But it is goooooooood.

After lunch, the four of separated from Jim & Ellie and JoAnn and went back to Bass Pro to return the temperature gauge we'd bought on Wednesday. Randy just couldn't get it to work. We stopped to fuel up the truck and then, it was a stop at WalMart for D & J.

Friday morning, after getting the rig ready for travel, Darrell & Judy picked us up for our last meal together (at least for awhile). We were going to breakfast at the Foley Coffee Shop which we all like (and it's cheap!). Halfway there I realized we had no cash!! And the coffee shop doesn't take credit cards. DANG IT! So, we regrouped quickly and decided to go to Cracker Barrel. Oh, poor us. :) As usual, we had a good meal and even better company and conversation.

All too soon we were back at the campground saying good-bye. But, the good thing is we'll only be two hours away from each other, so we plan to get together a few times over the winter. By 10:45am we were on our way to Bonifay.

Tomorrow we'll go to church and catch up with other friends! Really looking forward to that. Until the next time . . .

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Relaxing in Alabama

We arrived at Rainbow Plantation in Summerdale, AL just before 12:30pm on Monday. It was an easy travel day from Florence, MS; just four hours on the road. A “normal” travel day, if that even exists. :)

For most of our full-timing winters, we've spent quite a few months here in Summerdale. Last year was the first time we wintered at a different campground. So, it kinda felt like we were coming home when we pulled in. We got backed into a 50amp site right between Paul & Margery and Jim & Ellie! Nice to know your neighbors. And very soon after we began to set up, we saw Darrell & Judy coming across the field to welcome us back. Oh, yeah. That felt good.

About 2:30, after getting ourselves settled, we headed over to Darrell & Judy's for a travel day dinner. Judy made her world-famous lasagne, a salad and some bread and we ate it up. This is one of Randy's favorite dinners and he only gets it when Judy makes it 'cause I don't make lasagne! :) After stuffing ourselves, we relaxed outside and enjoyed being together again after so many months. Having friends like Darrell & Judy is one of the great gifts in life and we are grateful for them.

With our tummies full and three days of travel behind us, I started feeling my jammies calling me home. So about 5:30 or so, Randy & I said our thank yous and walked home to flop in our recliners and watch the third presidential debate. (And if I wasn't sleepy before that, I sure was during and after!!)

Yesterday we had a slow morning at home, which was nice. I met my friend, Robbin, for lunch so we could catch up. Robbin opens her home to us when we want to come back to this area when we're staying in Bonifay. She is a doll and I value her friendship. We had a nice visit and I'm looking forward to spending more time with her over the winter.

One thing Randy wanted to be sure to do while we were here is have a meal at Big Daddy's, a favorite local restaurant. So, last evening Darrell & Judy picked us up and we went there for dinner. Randy got his “Big Daddy's Burger” and I got blackened shrimp with a salad. Darrell & Judy both got grilled shrimp baskets. As usual, the food was yummy.

Today was errand day. Randy wanted to hit Camping World and Bass Pro Shop. We also visited with Jim & Susan, friends from Silverhill Covenant Church, which we attend when we're in Summerdale. We were going to just stop by and visit, but when I called to be sure they'd be home today, they invited us for lunch! I am really having a vacation this week – I haven't cooked since last Friday! So, we had a good visit with Jim & Susan.

Tomorrow we're heading to Fairhope with Darrell & Judy and Jim & Ellie and their friend, JoAnn, to have lunch at Panini Pete's, another local favorite. Panini Pete's was featured on the show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and serves some yummy sandwiches. Yep, we're eating our way from Alabama to Florida! We also need to touch base with some other folks here at the park before we leave on Friday morning.

We're having a good time. Hope your week is going well, too! Until the next time . . .

Monday, October 22, 2012

Continuing South

We are on our next-to-last leg of our journey southward. Today we'll settle in Summerdale, AL at Rainbow Plantation for a few days before finally arriving at our winter home in Bonifay, FL.
It's been a fairly uneventful trip thus far. I say “fairly” because we did have a bit of excitement Saturday evening. We had planned for a long driving day as we had about 18 hours and 3 days of driving in front of us to get to Summerdale. So, we figured we'd do a long day the first day and have a couple of easy days. Good plan, right?
And you all know I love a plan. :) We were right on schedule, too. We stopped six and a half hours in for to fuel up – both the truck and us – in Russellville, AR at a Flying J. Then, we were back on the road, heading to MM198 on I-40E for an overnight at that rest stop. As my FB friends know, that's where things took a different turn.
There was road work going on right before our stop and, of course, this construction closed the rest stop at MM198!! Now, couldn't “they” have put up a sign stating that the rest stop was closed? No, that would be too easy. So, the scramble was on to find another place to overnight. At this point, it was after 6pm and we'd been traveling for about 9 hours. Randy was pretty much done. Thankfully, at MM233, there was a Love's Truck Stop. YAY! We found a spot, pulled in and heaved a sigh of relief. We could rest now. 
Or could we?
We are not boondockers and do not have a generator. So, when we overnight somewhere “off the grid,” we rely on our RV batteries to provide light and heat, if needed. And they do a fine job of that for one night. Until Saturday night. For some reason, I checked the battery gauge – I never do that! I'm glad I did, though, because the batteries were showing only 10v and normally it's 12v. Needless to say, we didn't have much battery power, but hoped it would be enough to keep frig operating on propane. 
We went to bed. I got up about midnight and checked the frig and it was still on. YAY. Seems like we'd squeak by. 
Or would we?
Out of a sound sleep, I sat up in bed at 3:30am. No sound woke me, but I knew I should get up. So, I did. (I've learned those “unexplained” nudges are usually God telling me to do something.) I checked the frig and the display read “C.” I've never seen that before! I figured we'd run out of battery juice. I debated whether to wake Randy or not, but it didn't take me long to decide. I woke him up about 3:45 and told him what was going on.
With both of us wide awake now, we figured we might as well get some coffee from the truck stop and hit the road. That would charge the batteries and we'd keep the frig on propane for awhile to get it cold again. And it worked.
Sure, we were moving very early, but it was kinda nice actually. We'd gotten about five hours of sleep so we were awake. And at that time of day, there was hardly anyone else on the road! Very peaceful drive. We stopped about 6:30am at Cracker Barrel for a nice breakfast and then continued on our way to our next stop in Florence, MS.
We arrived at Wendy Oaks RV Resort just past 10:30am – probably our earliest arrival ever! Thankfully, we were able to get our site right away. 
Always an adventure! Grateful for God's provision and grace out here on the road. 
Until the next time . . .

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Good-bye, Kansas

Time went from crawling by in August, to flying by these past two months. Hard to believe we are leaving Kansas and heading south for the winter.

I hate saying good-bye. Oh, I know that everyone says it's not good-bye, it's see you later, but, really? It's good-bye. Because you don't know if later will come. I don't mean to sound like Debbie Downer, but it's true. So I make sure those last hugs are long and strong. 'Cause you really never know . . .

We had a good last visit with Sam, AubreyLynn and Sam's folks. As always, Steve and Donna welcomed us and fed us a very scrumptious dinner. We loved on AubreyLynn as much as she'd let us – she's a very busy girl, you know. And Sam and I chatted away, getting everything we wanted to say in before it was time to go. And, as usual, that time came all too fast. And, yes, there were tears as I walked to the truck.

Yesterday, we busied ourselves with the last minute things that need to be done before hitting the road. And then we just relaxed. We're very good at that. Too bad we can't get a workamping gig that calls for that skill!

This morning, at a little past 9am, we pulled out of our site at Hillsdale Lake Visitor Center and heading east, then south. We're on our way to a few days at the Plantation in Summerdale, AL before we arrive at our winter destination in Bonifay, FL. It's gonna be so good to spend some time with Darrell & Judy as well as some other friends there.

Grateful for a sunny, clear day for traveling. Until the next time . . .

Friday, October 12, 2012

Just Keepin’ You in the Loop

Dang! I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since I've posted to the blog. But, I just don't have that much to share. We've been doing the routine; working three days a week, visiting with AubreyLynn and Sam once a week and hanging out at the home the other days.

We did buy a new laptop for me last week, so I guess that's news. :) My old laptop was just that – old! It was seven years old and in computer age, that's a dinosaur. I wanted to get a new one before I had to get a new one. You know what I mean? So, we bought a Toshiba and, so far, I'm pretty happy with it. Of course, there's a bit of a learning curve because of the new operating system, but I'm handling it.

Three unexpected visitors did come by the other night – deer. Deer at Hillsdale campsite

photo 2

They were just outside the RV in the woods. I was able to grab a couple shots of them through my window. No matter how often I see deer, I'm still in awe.

And now, a couple of gratuitous granddaughter pictures. Just because I can. :)

Reagan – outfitted for her school picture. I keep telling her to stop growing up, but she's not listening.

Reagan - school pic day

AubreyLynn – just because she's cute.

Pony-tailed girl

We have one more week here in Kansas. It's gonna be hard to say good-bye to the kids, but it's time to go south. It's getting chilly here! So, next Saturday, we're back on the road, heading for Bonifay, FL.

Until the next time . . .

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

There’s a Chill in the Air

It must be October, because the nights are chilly and the days are gorgeous. We're expecting a low of 39* later this week!! Time to break camp and head south. Before we can do that, however, we've got almost three weeks left on our commitment to Hillsdale Lake Corps of Engineers.

This has been a good experience. While I haven't been thrilled with the lack of tasks available to me in the Visitor Center, Randy has certainly been kept busy with the outside chores. And it has provided us what we really wanted – a location close enough to Sam and AubreyLynn that gave us lots of time to spend with them. That has been the best part of these past couple of months.

Yesterday, we had the joy of seeing good friends, Mike & Peggy. They are making their home to Maine from California and came a little bit out of their way to stop so we could spend the afternoon together. Wasn't that nice! We took dinner to them and spent several hours catching up and solving the world's problems. Mike & I have decided that if we ruled the world, it would a much better place. I even said I'd allow him to be in charge and I'd take second-in-command!! It was a great afternoon and a welcome change in our routine. We pray they continue to have safe travels over the next week until they roll into their driveway.

Today we are back at work and you'll find us here Thursday and Friday, too. Denny & Gale, the other workampers left yesterday so we're on our own for the next couple of weeks. On October 13 another couple is due to arrive. They've been here before so there won't be any training to get them up and running. We'll have just a week together and then we'll be on our way to Bonifay on October 20.

Not much else going on. We're enjoying our visits with Sam & AubreyLynn as well as Steve & Donna, Sam's folks. Just a few more left before we'll have to say good-bye to them. That won't be easy. But, thanks to technology, we can see them regularly.

That's it from Paola, KS. Until the next time . . .