Travel Log

January 1
to December 31, 2004

Go Back to the year 2003


1/1/04 to1/11/04
(Louisa VA)

Once again it's been awhile since I've made any entry here, but that situation is about to improve. Today is Sunday and we plan to leave here Tuesday morning. At this point we've been here for over four months and that's too long to stay put, even if it's at what now could be called "home."

Besides, it's way too COLD! Last night the temperature went down to 4°. Yesterday morning it was 11° when I got up. There's been no running water in the motor home for three or four days as things are frozen. Tomorrow we are supposed to hit 50° and we're hoping that will allow things to thaw out and that we will not have sustained and damage. I've placed 60 watt bulbs in the basement compartments that house the water tanks, filters, pump, etc. but they did not prevent the freezing. RVs just are not intended for single digit temperatures -- neither is this RVer!

We've continued to make progress on the house but at this point what remains to be done will just have to wait until we come back here in the spring -- probably May. In addition to the cold, I'm ready for an extended break. At the same time I'm looking forward to returning in the Spring to get on with the completion of what needs to be done. By that time my enthusiasm will have returned. The one really big item being left undone is the new siding. Sharyn really feels bad that we are leaving the place looking as it does, wrapped in that "Energy-Wrap" covering, but neither of us is ready to put up the siding in the middle of January.

By the way, we notice that every morning as the sun comes up our neighbor's horses all stand broadside to the sun to soak up all the warmth they can get.

Horses soaking up the rays

The cat on Jordan's black futon

The cat on Jordan's black futon when he gets weird

Odometer reading = 60,617
Miles for day = 0



(Louisa VA)

Today Sharyn finished up moving stuff into or out of the motorhome as tomorrow's departure date gets closer. I told her it really doesn't matter how far in advance a departure is planned, all preparation will occur in the last 24 hours.

Odometer reading = 60,617
Miles for day = 0



(Wytheville VA)
North 36.93540°
West 80.99351°

Well it finally happened. Shortly after 10:AM this morning we pulled out onto the highway heading for the Allegro factory in Red Bay, Alabama where we will meet up with friends Bill and Cheryl.

We had sort of planned to go as far as Bristol, the city that straddles the Virginia/Tennessee state line, but we were pretty tired so when we saw a Flying-J just off of I-81 in Wytheville we decided to there for the night even though it was some 70 miles short of our "planned" destination.

Flying-J is a chain of truck stops that in recent years has also made itself very RV friendly with separate fuel islands for RVs complete with dump station facilities, propane, water fill facilities, etc. They also provide for overnight RV parking (no hookups) the same as they do for truckers.

In any event it was cold and we were tired so we went to bed early, read for a bit and turned the light off at eight o'clock.

Playing with the Magellan Gold GPS that Sharyn gave me for Christmas I've included the coordinates of this Flying-J. This feature may become a regular part of these travelog entries.

Odometer reading = 60,815
Miles for day = 198



(Huntsville AL)

North 34.58795°
West 86.68412°

Having gone to bed at eight o'clock, I was up at 4:30 this morning reading and drinking coffee. Sharyn was up at 7:am and we were on the road by 8:00.

With the super-cold weather coming down through New England towards the mid-Atlantic region for the second time in ten days we wanted to get as far away as we could. I told Sharyn today that when a motorhome goes all day and does not get a single bug on the windshield it means that, wherever they are, it's too cold.

Traveling through Southwest Virginia and Tennessee I again have to mention that after almost four years of full-time RVing we've been to all of the 50 states except Hawaii and Rhode Island. After all of that my favorite section of the Country is basically Western Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and Western North Carolina.

Anyway, we're at the FamCamp (actually it"s an Army Travel Camp -- the same thing) here at the Redstone Arsenal and it's probably 60° outside. The miles covered today were well worth it!

Odometer reading = 61,225
Miles for day = 410



(Huntsville AL)

We had a great nights sleep last night, and even though we had no compelling need or reason to get up this morning, we were up shortly after eight o'clock. With no jobs to be done and no errands to run we thoroughly enjoyed our relaxed, and extended, coffee and conversation.

The first thing I did was to set up my Internet satellite, check my e-mail, etc. Later we drove to the commissary and PX where we bough a few things before returning to the campground. The campground is across the road from the Tennessee River, nine miles from the commissary and PX -- this is really a large facility. At a cost of $5 per day this is probably the least expensive campground we've ever stayed at -- and that includes 50 amp service!

We are looking forward to several days of nothing to do but read, relax, and generally enjoy the lack of activity.

Odometer reading = 61,225
Miles for day = 0



(Huntsville AL)

Today we had our granddaughter Mary with us and the three of us enjoyed it very much. We threw rocks into the Tennessee River, played on the swings and slides at the playground, "painted" on the computer with Photoshop, ate pizza and played games at Chuck E Cheese, etc. Eventually we had dinner with Tammey and Rick and then said good-bye to the three of them. We'll certainly be back again even if it takes a year or two.

Giving in to a years worth of pressure from our granddaughter Katlin I had to concede that the pictures of the World's "most cool" Grandchildren elsewhere on this website were somewhat dated and needed to be updated. I was finally able to report to Katlin that has been done and now a new link from the "grandchildren" page will take the reader to some much more current photos (even including a new kid).

Odometer reading = 61,225
Miles for day = 0



(Red Bay AL)

N 34.45489°
W 88.15149°

Having left the Redstone Arsenal somewhere between 10 and 11 this morning we were about 50 miles from Red Bay when we got a call from Bill and Cheryl as to where we were. They had just arrived at the Allegro factory campground and seeing that we were not there saved us the site next to theirs. They spotted our yellow kayaks coming down the road.

As we pulled into the saved site next to their new 38' rig they came over to welcome us and the party began. That's somewhat of an exaggeration, but not entirely. We have a lot of fun together everytime we see them.

After checking out their new unit (very nice) we all hung out for awhile catching up on what we'd all been doing since we saw them last. Later on we all went out to dinner. It's kind of cold and rainy and is supposed to continue like this for several days, going down into the 20's in the early part of the week.

When we arrived at the Redstone Arsenal several days ago it was our plan to go to Florida after we finished here at the factory (we have some things we'd like to have done to the motorhome). Now, however, we're thinking of going to New Mexico and Arizona instead. Sharyn buys her silver and turquoise online, but she'd like to be able to select the individual stones -- particularly for color. In Gallup NM there was the largest selection of places to go and collections to select from. Right now it's pretty cold there, but it'll be somewhat warmer by the time we get there (if we do in fact go there).

Also, returning to the base at Redstone last night, the MP's at the gate saw that Sharyn's ID card had expired on January 4 so they confiscated the card. Being Friday night we'd have had to stay until Monday to get a new one, so it looks as if from here we'll go to Keesler AFB in Biloxi MS and get her a new card. One, because she needs it and two, because Biloxi is one of her favorite places. From Biloxi we'll clearly have to decide if we go east or west. If we all get finished here at Allegro early enough in the week Bill and Cheryl may go with us to Biloxi -- Bill has two weeks, but Cheryl has to be back to work a week from Monday.

In the meanwhile we'll see how it all works out -- having fun along the way, of course!

Odometer reading = 61,332
Miles for day = 107



1/18/04 through 1/20/04
(Red Bay AL)

We were put on the list at the factory on Monday morning and were told this afternoon that we are the next two units to be brought into the plant and will probably called up at 7:am tomorrow. While the Allegro campground is a regular commercial campground in that anyone can come here, as a practical matter the only people who do come here are Allegro owners looking for maintenance or repair, or people who want to tour the factory. It's not too busy this time of year, but during the busy season you can wait two weeks or better to work your way to the top of the list. The wait used to not be quite so long but Allegro sales have gone up 15% each year for the last three years.

Anyway, we hope that they finish with both of us by early afternoon tomorrow so that we could head for Biloxi tomorrow. Cheryl has to be back to work on Monday so the time frame is somewhat limited.

It's been unexpectedly cold since we've been here. Last night was in the teens and tonight is supposed to be in the 20's (as were all the other nights. Today might have been the first day that went above freezing. It's pretty much as it was back in Virginia -- too cold.

Last night Sharyn made chicken for all of us, while the night before Cheryl made "white chili." The last time we were with them Cheryl made chili without beans -- I thought chili was just a way to prepare beans. I guess she showed me otherwise. Okay, so even if chili doesn't have to have beans at least it contains some kind of tomatoes and is red in color, right? Well I guess not. If chili does not need beans and can even be white in color, what does it take to be called "chili"? Got me!

Odometer reading = 61,332
Miles for day = 0



1/21/04 and 1/22/04
(Red Bay AL)

Yesterday morning Bill and Cheryl's rig was called into the plant about 9:am. Since we're #2 on this list the night before we figured we were only minutes away. To make a long story shorter, when we hadn't been called by 2 o'clock I went over to see what was going on. They thought I was already there since they had long ago called the campground to send us over. Anyway, we immediately brought the motorhome over and they started working on our list. When it came to quitting time they asked if it was okay with us for us to spend the night in the motorhome in the plant. We said it was and we, along with Bill and Cheryl in their unit spent the night in the plant. I found that preferable to the campground as it was probably 65° in the plant vs 25° in the campground (each bay in the plant has a 50 amp hookup). The only downside was that out TV satellite didn't work. Anyway the four of us went out to a Chinese buffet for dinner where we ate a great deal.

This morning we were up at 6:am as the plant begins work at 7:am. By 2 o'clock they had us finished, including replacement of the cracked windshield (insured). As for a broken bracket under the battery rack they fixed that under warranty. That's a pretty generous expansion of a 3 year 36,000 mile warranty. Our units four years old with over 60,000 miles.

Bill and Cheryl don't expect to finish up until sometime tomorrow afternoon and since Cheryl has to be back to work on Monday it looks as if the four of us going to Biloxi is not going to happen.

Anyway, for now Bill is getting set to barbecue some steaks from one of their steers they slaughtered a few weeks ago. As for what do we do tomorrow we'll have to wait and see.

Some of the Allegro work bays in the early morning hours

Odometer reading = 61,335
Miles for day = 3


(Red Bay AL)

This morning we went back to the plant as Sharyn had another item she wanted fixed. It had to do with the motorhome (the "box") not being perfectly aligned with the chassis. The guy agreed with her that it was not right and they fixed it by moving one end of the rear axle housing forward 3/8 of an inch. That also was done on warranty.

We finished up just about the same time that Bill and Cheryl finished and we all went back to the campground where Sharyn gave us left over bean soup from several days ago.

Odometer reading = 61,353
Miles for day = 18



(Red Bay AL)

Someone had told Cheryl about the great breakfast you get at "Swamp John's" Restaurant five miles east of town so we all went there for this outstanding breakfast. To say that it didn't meet our expectations would be an understatement. Anyway we ate and returned to the campground where we talked for an hour or so before heading on down the road. Bill and Cheryl headed back to Fort Smith, Arkansas while we went south towards Biloxi. While our plans of all going to Biloxi together for several days did not materialize, we still enjoyed the company in Red Bay. We'll try again another day.

We weren't on the road too long when the dark sky darken more and it started to rain so we didn't go as far as we had thought we might. At Columbus, Mississippi we pulled into Wal-Mart where we spent the night.

Swamp John's Restaurant

Waiting for Breakfast

Bill, Cheryl and Roy Rogers (in window)

Odometer reading = 61,434
Miles for day = 81



(Biloxi MS)

Having gone to bed before eight o'clock last night I woke up several times during the night thinking it was time to get up. The first time this happened was 12:04 AM. One time I heard something hit the motorhome and got up to see what it was. The wind had blown a shopping cart into the side if the motorhome, but it was 5:30 so I stayed up and put the coffee on. As I was pouring the first cup Sharyn got up also.

We had our coffee and conversation and pulled out onto the highway in the pouring rain before 7:30. After a number of hours of uneventful travel in the pouring rain we were about 30 miles from Biloxi when the sun finally came out. Unfortunately, ten miles from Biloxi it started to rain again.

In any event, we are now in a 20 amp overflow site at Keesler AFB FamCamp where we'll stay until a regular full service site becomes available.

Odometer reading = 61,691
Miles for day = 258



(Biloxi MS)

I was having my coffee and Sharyn was still sleeping when the campground host knocked on the door to tell us he had a full hookup site available for us. We paid $84 for a full week on this site. I'll put up a picture tomorrow.

After getting moved over and set up we went to the base to get Sharyn a new ID card since her's expired on January 4 and was confiscated several days later by the security guys at the gate at the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama (we hadn't realized the card had expired). She was photographed and her new card issued in less than ten minutes. We then went to get a new base sticker for the motorhome (when our windshield was re[laced at Allegro we couldn't get the old sticker to stick to the new windshield) . Unfortunately, and unbelievably, the base has run out of base stickers -- they say they should have more by February 2.

We then walked around the BX before going to the commissary to get some groceries. Later, back at the motorhome and before dinner, I played with the computer while Sharyn read her book.

Odometer reading = 61,691
Miles for day = 0



1/27/04 to 2/8/04
(Biloxi MS)

We've now been here for two weeks and while our days have been easy and pleasant they don't lend themselves to interesting or exciting reading -- that's a big part of why there have been no entries for all this time.

We did several trips to the casino (no big wins or big losses on the nickel slots), several afternoons spent at Barnes and Noble, and a number of trips to other stores, etc. We ate out twice, once at Cajun Chicken and once at KFC. Sharyn did some shopping and I washed the car and the motorhome, both for the first time since before we left Virginia.

Until a short time ago if I wanted to use the printer or scanner I had to go and get them out from storage and hook them up with the computer. It was a pain in the neck and frequently avoided by just not scanning or printing. Just before leaving Virginia I built a "computer desk" with two slideout shelves for the scanner and printer so they could always be connected and ready to go. There were, however, several problems. I was using multiple power strips to have everything plugged in, plus my satellite modems and my external hard drive had to be unplugged to shut them off -- not too cool of an arrangement!

Today I fixed both of those problems. The powerstrips were replaced with a four gang outlet box and three switches connected to the outlets enable me to selectively shut of the modems, the external drive, and the third switch cuts the power to the printer and scanner to preclude the possibility of closing the desk and inadvertently leaving one of them on (I did that once).

We had thought of taking a daytrip to New Orleans, about 80 miles west of here, but there's been a lot of rain so we didn't go. We're leaving here Monday so we called the FamCamp at the Naval Support Facility in New Orleans to see what was the chance of getting a site if we showed up before noon on Monday. The lady checked and we now have a four day reservation starting Monday .


A portion of the FamCamp here in Biloxi

Newly installed outlets and control switches

Computer desk reinstalled


Odometer reading = 61,691
Miles for day = 0



(Summerdale AL)

We're at an Escapee Park here in Summerdale, Alabama about 20 miles south of Mobile. That could give rise to the question how come we're not in New Orleans -- after all, that's where we were headed?

Well, it was a three part scenario that killed the visit to New Orleans. First of all, from the time we told her we were going there, Jordan has been unhappy with that plan. She said that with all the crime in New Orleans she was concerned about our personal safety. That as an "older" couple, obviously tourists, we would be prime targets. I should mention that Jordan visited New Orleans with us several years ago and says that it is an "evil" place, and so strongly so that she can't understand how come we don't feel it as well. In fact, maybe to some extent we do).

On top of Jordan's unhappiness, Sunday's New Orleans Times-Picayune's ( front page story was about New Orleans being the murder capital of America. Then the topping on the cake was this mornings news about six shootings in New Orleans over the weekend. The cumulative effect was that we decided to skip New Orleans.

The question about whether we'd go to Florida or New Mexico was decided by looking at the weather in Gallup NM which would have been our specific destination. The forecast was for nighttime temperatures in the single digits with daytime highs only in the 40's. Florida became an easy choice.

Incidentally, having finally gotten my hand held GPS to talk to my computer today was the first time we tried two two in conjunction with each other. We put our desired route of travel into the computer and told it to take us tthere. It did, complete with several, "turn left onto Route 34 in point six miles in one minute ten seconds." The only problem was that when we intentionally turned onto the wrong road to see what it would say, it didn't say anything! Besides that it was pretty cool.

Now we have to get a longer power cord and cable so we can put the flat screen monitor up front so we can see it while driving without having to turn around and look at it on the floor behind our seats.

Odometer reading = 61,791
Miles for day = 100



2/9/04 to 2/14/09
(Summerdale AL)

At this point it's been about three weeks since we first got to the Gulf coast back at Biloxi and it hasn't stopped raining since we've been here. It has varied between "rain all day" and "overcast and cloudy with occasional showers." There have been no "nice" days and we're getting kind of tited of it. To maintain our perspective we note from what we see on TV that we have been spared the snow and cold temperatures in other parts of the country. Nevertheless, some sunshine would be a welcome change.

Here at the Escapee park there is a Valentine's Day dance tonight that we are going to. I can't remember the last time we danced together -- it's been years! It was our plan to leave here after the dance and go to the FamCamp at the Pensacola Naval Air Station. We've been there several times and we like it there. Besides we still need a new DOD (Department of Defense) windshield sticker for the motorhome which we could get at Pensacola. Well several days ago we drove there with the car (it's only 36 miles from here), got some groceries at the commissary and also got our new sticker. Our plan now is when we leave here to continue on to Tyndall AFB at Panama City. That's about 150 miles.

Our departure from here is now going to be delayed, however, because we are waiting for our new telephone to arrive from Cingular. After four years with AT&T Wireless we were anxious to switch to another carrier, but we wanted to keep our phone number. Now we are doing that. We have no complaint about AT&T's nationwide "one-Rate" service -- if there was a cellular signal we could use our phone with "no roaming, no long distance." The problem was too many dollars for too few minutes (we'll now have 5,000 night and weekend minutes instead of 1,000, and for fewer dollars). We signed up with Cingular yesterday and they sent us our phone FedEx second day air. Hopefully it will be here Tuesday and we can leave Wednesday -- we want to go find some sunshine!

Usually I do this site at night, but I started this when I first got up this morning. Sharyn just came out of the bedroom so I'm going to end this now and proceed to coffee and conversation. I've already been doing the coffee.

A soggy and dreary campground

Odometer reading = 61,791
Miles for day = 0



2/15/04 to 2/24/04
(Summerdale AL)

This is a rather short entry as there's not much to write about these last ten days. There were three consecutive days of beautiful sunshine and clear skies with 70° temperatures and non-stop rain on all the other days. We're STILL waiting for a telephone that works. It's a long story that would take many paragraphs to cover all that's gone on with Cingular. I don't want the aggravation of having to go through it all.

The real reason for this entry is that it was four years ago today that we pulled away from what had been our home on Wendover Drive In Charlottesville, Virginia and began our life of full-time RVing. In that time we have covered almost 62,000 miles and been to 48 of the 50 states (all but Rhode Island and Hawaii) plus eight of the Canadian Provinces; north to the Arctic Circle and south to the southern most tip of Key West.

From being stuck in traffic on the George Washington Bridge to drycamping in the Arizona desert, the vastness and beauty of this country cannot be explained, described, or photographed. We have 5,411 photographs of our travels but, like peeking through 5,411 keyholes, they are only bits and pieces of the big picture.

We don't know how long we will continue to do this but it's a cumulative experience that will be with us forever.

Odometer reading = 61,791
Miles for day = 0



2/25/04 and 2/26/04
(Summerdale AL)

We have finally arrived at two conclusions; one by me and one by Cingular. I've concluded that the Cingular guy in Virginia never shipped us a telephone and probably never will (turns out he's an "authorized dealer" as opposed to a company store). Cingular has concluded that there is no way to activate our phone unless it connects to a tower in Virginia. Actually that has been the position of most of the Cingular people we've been in touch with, but there were others who "knew" how to do it from Alabama. Anyway, this afternoon we shipped the phone to Jordan to activate it and then ship it back to us wherever we may be at that time.

Tomorrow we're leaving here and going to the FamCamp at Tyndall AFB in Panama City in Florida.

Odometer reading = 61,791
Miles for day = 0



(Fort Walton Beach FL)

We had a somewhat late start leaving this morning. Actually when we pulled out of the Escapee Park it was one o'clock -- that's late even for us. Add to that the fact that we don't go terribly fast, that when we stopped in a Wal-Mart parking lot for lunch Sharyn did some grocery shopping, and it's easy to understand why we didn't get to Panama City today.

We arrived here at the FamCamp at Eglin AFB just north of Fort Walton Beach shortly after five o'clock. There are no available sites and only three spots remaining in the overflow area. Since the overflow sites have electric that's not much of a hardship.

After getting parked Sharyn wanted to go check out the BX which we did. It's a big BX. One of the biggest we've seen. While Sharyn was looking at clothes and jewelry I checked out the computer and electronics section as well as the books. I told Sharyn that when I don't see anything I need or want I must be in pretty good shape.

We had chicken in the food court at the BX/Commissary complex so there would be no dinner preparation or clean up. We're now back at the motorhome, but because of all the trees our TV satellite doesn't work so we'll read and talk (and I'll do this page) until bedtime.

If we decide to stay here for more than just tonight I'll set up the satellite dish for my online access and upload this page tomorrow. Otherwise the upload will have to wait longer.

Odometer reading = 61,881
Miles for day = 90



2/28/04 and 2/29/04
(Fort Walton Beach FL)

No campsites became available yesterday and I didn't try to set up my Internet satellite because it was doubtful I'd have been able to get through the overhead tree cover.

This morning we asked in the office if we could dry camp on the beach rather than stay in a regular (overflow) site. He said we could and we had no sooner moved over to the beach when someone in the campground pulled out a day early so that spot became available. After checking out the site we thought it was a nice enough situation that we paid for a week. Sharyn likes this spot, the base, and the overall package. Our checkout date is now March 7, but continues to be extendable beyond that.

The last several days have been very nice with lots of sunshine and pleasant temperatures. Now all we need is a telephone!

Sharyn relaxing at the edge of the water

The view from our campsite.

Odometer reading = 61,881
Miles for day = 0


Addendum to 2/29/04

As Sharyn watches the Oscar awards program I am struck by the fact that this is a large group of people who, for the most part, are shallow, vain, not too interesting to anyone other than themselves, and basically produce neither goods nor services of any intrinsic value.

In spite of all of this, they manage to orchestrate this giant production focusing on their empty sphere of nothingness.

At the same time these people were doing what they celebrate tonight, others in the fields of medicine, science, literature, etc., have made truly great accomplishments that will benefit all aspects of human life for generations to come. This latter group of people are largely unknown, hardly celebrated, and don't have the need for the self-aggrandizement that the "Oscars" represent.

While I think there's something wrong with this, I suspect that the difference is that one group knows that what they accomplish has real meaning so they don't need the spotlight to say to their compatriots, "look at me, how great I am."

The saddest aspect of this might be that it probably reflects what we, as a society, think is important.



3/1/04 and 3/2/04
(Fort Walton Beach FL)

The nice weather continues and we're thoroughly enjoying it.

Having shipped our phone to Jordan she was able to activate it only after Cingular told her where there was a Cingular tower that she had to drive to. After getting it activated near the tower she returned to the house where she got an AT&T recording that she couldn't make a call from there. She and I are now both in communication with Cingular to get this deal off the ground. When I complained that we were only a week away from our first monthly bill and still have no operating telephone they said they'd waive any billing until we get it working.

Over the years we've tried to see Savannah on several occasions but for one reason or other always had to drive right on past. Since we plan to be back in Virginia for Easter we've decided that this time we will stop in Savannah (on our way back to Virginia) and finally get to check it out.

Our campsite at Eglin AFB FamCamp

Odometer reading = 61,881
Miles for day = 0



3/3/04 to 3/8/04
(Fort Walton Beach FL)

We've been planning to leave here for several days now but every morning we wake up to see the sun across the bay and decide to stay for another day. This time we're serious -- in spite of the beautiful day that we anticipate tomorrow we're going to leave anyway.

We're only about 50 miles from Tyndall AFB and the FamCamp there that we like very much, but it's not our plan to stop there (but who knows)!

This has been our first time here at Eglin AFB but it's now one of our favorite places. There is a new FamCamp here that is scheduled to open within a matter of weeks. We drove down to look at it the other day and it looks like it will be quite nice with modern full hookup sites situated in a wooded area adjacent to the marina. The plan is to keep this section in operation even after the new campground opens which we think is a good idea because we like being right on the beach.

If this doesn't read too smoothly it's because I'm doing this while watching David Letterman and I can't do more than one thing at a time.

Odometer reading = 61,881
Miles for day = 0



(Panama City FL)

It's like I say, our plans are never firm until after the event. In spite of our plans to the contrary, we pulled into the FamCamp at Tyndall AFB just after noon. We've been here 4 or 5 times in the past and always had to spend some time in overflow until a regular site opened up. Not this time. I guess this is a little later in the season and some of the people who spent the winter here have moved on.

While we're here I hope to see the new F-22 Raptor, the Air Force's new stealth fighter that will replace the F-15 (which was phenomenal in itself). There are two F-22's here that are being used to familiarize Tyndall's F-15 pilots with the new F-22 that will soon be deployed here.

F-22 Website

Odometer reading = 61,966
Miles for day = 84



3/10/04 through 3/13/04
(Panama City FL)

The weather here has been mostly warm and sunny which is always a plus.

Today being Sunday it's pretty quiet. During the week there are a lot of low flying aircraft, mostly F-15s, taking off and landing. The FamCamp, being directly in line with the runway, experiences some pretty loud flyovers -- loud enough that all conversation has to stop and you can't hear the TV no matter how far up you turn the volume. As we were checking in at the office an F-15 flew over, nearly causing the ground to shake. After the noise faded out a guy standing there commented that was why he didn't like coming to Tyndall, that it was too noisy. Another man responded to him, "That's the sound of freedom." We're with the second guy!

There are a number of people here who spend most or all of the winter here and have been doing so for a number of years and have developed somewhat of a community here in the FamCamp. The other day we went with a number of them (there were about a dozen of us) for lunch at Bayou Joe's in the old area of Panama City. Bayou Joe's is right on an inlet and is actually built out over the water. The menu is simple, but the food is good and the portions are large. Sharyn had a "Trash Burger," listed on the menu as being covered with lots of what ever the chef has on hand at the time. They also had a "Garbage Potato" (I only know from Dan Quale that there's no "e" in "potato") that is described somewhat like the burger. Anyway we all enjoyed the lunch and the outing.

Last night a number of us went on a "sunset sail" on a 55' catamaran. Apparently this is something that they've done before because a number of people knew the "crew" and visa versa. While I froze to death, in spite of my sweat shirt and jacket, everyone had a really good time (a free glass of wine is included with the sail). It was just about dark as we were re-entering St. Andrew Bay from the Gulf of Mexico and came upon a school of dolphins working the outgoing tide off the stone jetties. We lingered there for perhaps ten minutes watching these large mammals.

When we got back to the dock we (Sharyn and I and the couple riding with us -- who had arranged the sail) decided to go to a Chinese buffet place about halfway back to the base. The food selection was immense and was excellent besides. Of course we all ate considerably too much, but we don't do this too often we'll probably survive.

We have not been a regular about our walking as we should be (and once were), but we've walked campground trails several times. While doing this I play with the GPS to see if it would get us back to the motorhome if we didn't otherwise know where it was. The answer appears to be yes -- which is very good.


Sharyn at our campsite

A "resting bench" along the trail

A small bay adjacent to the campground

Bayou Joe's

Our "sunset sail"

Sharyn converses while under sail


Odometer reading = 61,966
Miles for day = 0



3/14/04 through 3/18/04
(Panama City FL)

We had planned to leave here this morning but we've been quite comfortable here, plus the weather has been and continues to be very pleasant. I went to the office this morning and paid for another day. Will we leave tomorrow? We have no plans one way or the other.

While RVers, by definition, do their thing in RVs, there are others who do it differently. This 31' sailboat anchored off the base marina is owned by a couple who have been full-timing on this boat for six years. She's an architect and he's retired military. They don't even have a generator, obtaining all their electrical power from solar panels.

Today we walked along the beach, both for the tranquility and so Sharyn could get some more shells to make her "magnolia blossoms." Several days ago Sharyn gave me another haircut (short at my request) and today I got sunburned on top of my head.

Full-timer's sailboat

"Magnolia blossom"


Effect of snow fence on beach

Sharyn and me on the walking trail

Odometer reading = 61,966
Miles for day = 0



(Valdosta GA)

This morning, over coffee and conversation, we decided to leave Panama City and head east. Pursuant to that plan we took off.

About 15 miles down the road, where the road was running right along the Gulf of Mexico, we pulled over so that Sharyn could try a new beach for a specific kind of shell. After we had walked the beach for about a half hour I returned to the motorhome where I got one of my magazines and returned to the beach where I sat on an abandoned beach chair and read my magazine. After awhile Sharyn returned and we took off again.

We tried two more beaches before heading north (away from the Gulf) up past Tallahassee to US-84 where we again turned east. Shortly before 6:pm EST (we had crossed into that time zone) we pulled into a Wal-Mart in Valdosta, just in time to watch Brett Hume and Fox News.

Now, having eaten dinner, Sharyn is watching a movie while I do this.

The GPS says we traveled 207.57 miles while the odometer says 206.3. A difference of half a percent is pretty impressive.

F-15 over FamCamp

Odometer reading = 62,172
Miles for day = 206



3/20/04 and 3/21/04
(Sumter SC)

Yesterday morning we were both up before six o'clock. No particular reason, it just worked out that way. As a result we were on the road before 8:am.

We had no particular plan as to how far we'd travel, but as we approached the South Carolina state line and it was still early afternoon, it seemed that continuing on to the FamCamp at Shaw AFB (our favorite campground) became the default decision.

It was a long day, but once again the FamCamp had few occupants and we got our "regular" site.

Today, except for a trip to the commissary and BX, we took the day off and enjoyed the smell of the pine woods..

Odometer reading = 62,502
Miles for day = 329



3/22/04 to 4/7/04
(Louisa VA)

Our grandson Scott is being confirmed in Southold Long Island on Sunday and Sharyn wants to be there. Actually, that's why we left the Gulf Coast when we did. Since she was driving from here to there we cut short our stay in Sumter so that she'd have several days with Jordan and Phil and his family before having to leave. It was good to see everyone again even though we only left here after New Years.

Jordan and I spent this past Sunday with Phil and Kim. I helped Phil with some of the wiring in the basement, and then we all went to the gun range where Katlin was shooting with a youth group sponsored by the club. On Sunday afternoons the indoor range is open for kids to shoot and learn gun safety. It's a pretty successful program with the average age appearing to be about ten. At one point I counted and five of the seven shooters were girls!

Anyway, from the range we all went back to the house where enjoyed the dinner that Kim had prepared.

We plan to be here for a number of weeks, primarily to put the siding on the house and put the metal on the porch roof. (The story of the house probably begins about here). While I'll periodically write something here, until such time as we're back on the road there is no "travel" for the travelog. When we do leave here we'll be on our way to Newfoundland so we're really looking forward to what we hope will be another memorable segment of our travels.

Katlin shooting

Katlin's 3 shot group

Some of the other "shooters"


Odometer reading = 62,894
Miles for day = 392



4/8/04 to 5/10/04
(Louisa VA)

When I update this site every day I pretty much remember what happened during the course of that day. When I update after several days I call upon Sharyn to help me remember what we did. Now, after a month, it's sort of a vain attempt.

As I recall, there are only three things to mention. They are: (1) Progress on the house, (2) Sharyn's birthday, and (3) Our trip to Long Island in a Penske Rent-A-Truck.

As for the house:
When we got back here in March we had planned to put the vinyl siding on the house and put the metal roofing material on the porch roof before leaving for the summer. We figured some of the remaining interior work could wait until we returned in the fall.

So far so good as far as that goes. We basically finished the siding on the front and one side except for the top course where we have to do the soffit/fascia trim stuff. The metal roofing went well and when we come back in the fall we hope to be able to paint the entire roof (the new galvanized must weather before it will take paint -- we don't know for how long).

Tomorrow I plan to start the rest of the siding (it's 90° today). So far it's gone very well, but on the other side and the back we'll be working a good 10 to 15 feet off the ground as we get higher up. Once we get above step ladder height it could get kind of tricky.

Sharyn's birthday/Mother's Day:
Sharyn's birthday was a cool surprise for Sharyn. Phil works for a major landscaping outfit in Charlottesville and for Sharyn's birthday he, Kim, Shane, and Jordan all got together and planned and installed a planting bed across the front and side of the house.

Sharyn had said that since her birthday was on a Monday when everyone had to work, that she'd do a birthday dinner on Sunday when everyone could come. Dinner was to be a 5 o'clock. Shane showed up shortly after ten, but since he only lives 800 feet down the road Sharyn didn't think anything of it. When Phil, Kim, Katlin, and Philip pulled into the driveway a short time latter Sharyn said with some surprise, "It's not five o'clock yet." Then she saw the plants and mulch on the trailer behind the truck. The plan, which they had let me in on a few weeks before, was that Sunday would be a surprise workday when they'd all do the bed preparation and planting, with dinner and birthday to follow. It was a great surprise and Sharyn was (and remains) thrilled and excited with the result.

Trip to Long Island.
For several years we've had one of those 10 x 10 rental storage things in Southold, plus an attic full of storage boxes and accumulated stuff. That some day we were going to have to go get all that stuff was something I'd always known but preferred not to think about. I had viewed that trip/job as the worse undertaking I was going to have to do for the rest of my life.

Sharyn and I left here Thursday morning at 9:40 with a standard shift Penske rental truck with a 26' long box body. Twelve hours later we pulled into Greg's driveway in Southold. Southold is on Long Island about 80 miles east of New York City and you can't get anywhere on Long Island without driving through the City. Not only it rots, but on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway we came to a sign to said all trucks over 12' 9" had to exit. We did -- into the middle of downtown Brooklyn with no idea of where we were or how to get out of there. We had our hand held Magellan GPS so we turned it on and zoomed way out until we had the outline of Long Island on the display and then just continued driving east until we eventually (an hour later) regained our bearings.

First thing Friday morning we were at Liberty Storage where we emptied our 10 x 10 x 10 foot high storage bin. That took several hours (we had it packed ten feet deep), after which we went to the house that Jordan had been living in before moving back to Virginia. That house is about a mile from Greg's and we now have it rented out. A number of years ago I covered the entire attic with plywood so would could use it for storage. The attic measures 25 x 35 and was pretty nearly full -- that's a bunch of stuff!

Not only is it a bunch of stuff, but everything up there (mostly packed boxes) has to be passed down through the opening in the ceiling, brought down the step ladder, and taken out to the truck. Two things that made it possible were the hand truck and the hydraulic tailgate on the Penske truck. Even so, it was still after dark when we finished up. Luckily, after Greg closed the pharmacy (Shelter Island Heights Pharmacy -- go there -- there's even an old fashioned soda fountain) he came by to help us finish up. There were two boxes of old LP's (great albums), two boxes of the Great Books, and one steamer trunk, none of which we were able to get down the ladder. Greg got them down for us. There was a time when we could have done it, but the ravages of time changes all things!

By the time we got back to Greg's house we were really dragging. Pizza, showers, and to bed, and by shortly after nine o'clock Saturday morning we were back on the road for our twelve hour (the truck only goes 60 mph) return trip to Virginia. By the time e got back to Louisa (around 9:pm) we were running on something -- maybe adrenaline (nothing pharmaceutical or illegal) -- so we started unpacking the truck. When we had gotten all the furniture and "big stuff" out -- probably 50% of the floor area but only 25% of the cubic volume, we quit for the night. We started again at 7:30 Sunday morning and had the truck back to Penske before noon!

That was yesterday. It's now Monday afternoon and the porch of the house is still loaded with stuff from the truck -- basically so is the inside of the house. Sharyn and Jordan both think it's going to work. I see a problem -- when the cubic volume of stuff exceeds the cubic volume of space there is a problem. For the last several years Sharyn's been making a habit of being right -- I sure hope she's right this time time!

When we went to Southold I took my camera figuring I'd get some new pictures of Scott and Patrick but that's not the way the time went. They have both grown up substantially -- never mind I would not have recognized either of their voices. Plus, Scott looks just like Shane.

That's pretty much where things are at this time. Again, not much to write about on a day to day basis.

One more thing, we've been in touch with the Air Force FamCamp in Seward, Alaska and might end up hosting there from Memorial Day to Labor Day in 2005. Seward was Sharyn's favorite place in Alaska. We stayed there dry camped for about a week -- she loved it -- I froze to death. As campground hosts we'd have hookups and HEAT!


Me taking a break

Jordan shooting last month's IDPA match (Phil with timer)

Me finishing up siding on gable

Good picture of Sharyn

Birthday workday gets started

Every little bit helps

The job nears completion

Katlin's centerpiece for birthday party

Some of the stuff from storage

More of the stuff from storage


Odometer reading = 62,894
Miles for day = 0


June 5, 2004

In Memorium
Ronald Reagan
A Great American
1911 - 2004



5/11/04 to 6/22/04
(Louisa VA)

You might think that for a 6 week period we'd have a lot to write about, but that's not the case.

We finally did finish the vinyl siding -- Amen for that! I knew it would take a while to do the siding but I guess I didn't realize just how long.. On the side and back of the house there are gable ends which are not reachable even from a step ladder placed on the scaffold. At that point progress is real slow. Lots of up and down ladders. What I used to do in a day now seems to take almost a week While getting older may have some downsides, it also has a number of benefits; plus it beats the alternative big time!

One day we again went down a stretch of the Shenandoah River with Phil and Kim and their family. After we stopped for lunch we switched; they took our kayaks and we took their canoe. We have frequently discussed if perhaps we should have bought a canoe instead of kayaks (we'd previously had a canoe for 20 years) so that gave us a chance to try a canoe again. We decided we had made the right choice. Apparently Phil and Kim thought so too because about two weeks later they bought themselves two kayaks -- Dagger Elements. Phil claims theirs are cooler than ours and he's probably right. Next time we go we'll have to try the Daggers.

One thing we did before leaving was to put four new tires on the back of the motorhome. That's something Sharyn's been wanting for some time and we had gotten to the point that I agreed it was time. To have gotten 63,000 miles out of those tires is something we can't complain about. We bought the new Good Year G-670 RV's which are supposed to have been designed specifically for Class A motorhomes. Everything we've read indicates that they are doing their intended job very well. People who have bought them like them and we have not heard any negative reports. By the way, it was the trip into Charlottesville for these tires that accounts for the 47 miles put on the motorhome.

We look forward to the next time we come to visit. While there are still some things that need doing it will not be another work, work, work, kind of situation. We will enjoy just being able to sit on the porch and relax.


Canoeing (and fishing) on the Shenandoah

Siding takes a lot of ladders


Odometer reading = 62,941
Miles for day = 47



(Woodstock VA)

Today has been our planned departure date for several days. An early morning start was neither necessary nor sought after. The longer we've been at a particular place the longer it takes us to get reorganized to move. That's particularly true when we've been at Jordan's because all our "stuff" seems to get co-mingled. Anyway, we pulled out of the driveway just after 3:pm. It was our plan to go to the Flying-J at the Virginia/West Virginia state line on I-81. Flying--J is like Wal-Mart in that they welcome RVers to spend the night in their parking areas. They even have RV "islands" for fueling up, dumping holding tanks, taking on fresh water, etc. Really quite nice accommodations.

Anyway, we didn't get that far. We were tired and at Woodstock we got off and stayed at Wal-Mart, probably 50 miles short of the state line.

Our ultimate destination is Newfoundland where we intend to spend a chunk of the summer. We plan to stop at my sister's in Portsmouth NH before heading up along the coast of Maine.

Since we like staying at military campgrounds whenever there is one available, Sharyn was looking through the military directory to see what might be up ahead and took note of a FamCamp at a Navy facility on Narragansett Bay just north of Newport RI.. About 30 years ago when we were doing a lot of sailing we spent several days in Newport and enjoyed it thoroughly so we decided to head there again. That required us to head in an easterly direction sooner than originally planned which, in turn, will bring us close to Boonton NJ and Harry and Irene, friends for 50+ years.

We spent $83 in Wal-Mart, so they give us a free place to spend the night and we do our grocery shopping while we're here.

Odometer reading = 63,059
Miles for day = 118



(Stroudsburg PA)

A relatively uneventful travel day.

We spoke with Irene and we'll be stopping to visit with them for several days. At this point we're only about 50 miles from their house.

We had just pulled into a Wal-Mart to spend the night when the security guy pulled up and said we'd find it much more quiet in the parking lot they had behind the main store store building. We moved to where he told us and a short time later he came by and spoke with us. He said they do security patrols several time an hour throughout the night and wished us a pleasant stay. He even said we could stay for several days if we liked. We declined that part of the offer.

After watching the news I attached my Dell flat screen monitor to the computer desk top so that I could leave it standing in place while we traveled. Previously I'd take a pillow from the bed and put it on the desk, laying the monitor face-down on the pillow for travel. I like this arrangement much better.


Odometer reading = 63,343
Miles for day = 284



6/25/040 to 6/27/04
(Boonton NJ)

It was only 53 miles from Stroudsburg to Irene and Harry's so we arrived there mid-morning on Friday. As always we enjoyed our entire stay with them. After 50 years you develop a level of comfort and familiarity which really lends itself to a relaxed and pleasurable visit.

Sunday dinner was particularly enjoyable as two of their three sons with wives and grandchildren were all there for dinner, along with Irene's 88 year old mother. Irene's mother, who has always had an unencumbered sense of humor and has recently lost her left leg as a result of poor circulation, is looking for another woman with the same shoe size who has lost here right leg.

Anyway, while we were there I had a reasonable amount of wine and an excessive amount of ice cream -- all of which was very good.


Wine and cheese by the pond

Irene weeding one of her flower beds

Across the pond


Odometer reading = 63,396
Miles for day = 53



6/28/04 to 6/29/04
(Woodport NJ)

Upon leaving Irene and Harry's we first went to Brian's sign shop where he put a vinyl American flag on the back of our motorhome. Several years ago he did the lettering for our "Home is where we park it -- traveling the highways of America." We asked Brian about a flag on the back of the motorhome because we have been using static cling flags which rapidly faded from the sunlight. This is a major improvement!

We then headed for Mahlon Dickerson Park, where we checked in for two days. It's a county owned park that is part of a larger nature preserve type area. The campground is heavily wooded so we have no satellite for either TV or Internet


American Flag on back of motorhome


Odometer reading = 63,422
Miles for day = 26



(Hyde Park NY)

During the two days at Mahlon Dickerson Park we flushed our fresh water system with a Clorox solution that we had put into the tanks at Irene and Harry's, dumped our holding tanks, and changed our water filters. I then played with Photoshop and the printer making 5x7 prints of a number of photos that I wanted to put into a photo album that I bought at the last Wal-Mart we stayed at. Most of the pictures we take just get stored on the computer (plus an external hard drive) and burned to CD. Perhaps 5% end up on the website and even fewer get printed. That's now going to change and I'll be printing any that I really like. Of the ones I just printed, my favorite is Sharyn examining a rock in the middle of the tundra just south of the arctic circle in the summer of 2002.

Mahlon Dickerson being extremely quiet, plus the trees keeping the sunlight from getting through, render it rather dark and very conducive to sleeping late in the morning -- which we almost never do. This morning it was 10:15 when we woke up and almost one o'clock by the time we got on the road.

Our next destination is at my sister's in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. While of course it's not true that "you can't get there from here," that doesn't mean that there's a good way to go. Looking at the map, without going via Interstates there was no clearly defined route to travel. Hundreds of small country roads, but nothing that stood out and said "take me." So we told DeLorme's Street Atlas to plot us a route. DeLorme wanted us to go through upper Manhattan, the Bronx, and all the heavy congested areas surrounding the New York City metropolitan area. We nudged it to pass through Poughkeepsie NY and Bennington VT, after which it redid the route more to our liking. We printed out a series of AAA type "trip ticks," more to see what they would look like than anything else, but basically worked our way out of that part of Jersey by plugging the computer into the GPS and following the big orange line displayed on the computer. Even doing that we missed two turns but were able to get back on track pretty quickly.

We're now parked on what had had once been the concrete slab in front of a gas station across the road from Roosevelt's home at Hyde Park. Sharyn had me inquire at the restaurant next door if we could stay here. They had no problem with us staying here and said that where we are parked is now owned by the Nature Conservancy.


Sharyn on arctic tundra

Niagara Falls (September 28, 1999)


Odometer reading = 63,512
Miles for day = 90




(Keene NH)

This morning we were up at 6:30, watched Fox and Friends for a while, had some eggs for breakfast, and went across the street to FDR's home and Presidential Library where we spent three or four hours.

We didn't care much for the house. It was much nicer before they (FDR's mother and father) added the extensions and stucco exterior. We enjoyed the Presidential Library and museum.

Throughout the library and museum building there are numerous displays that are playing speeches that FDR made at various times during his life. One tape we heard was when he went before Congress on December 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor. Thinking of his, and the Country's, response to that attack I pointed out to Sharyn that neither he nor anyone else said, "we have to find out why they hate us so."

It was early afternoon by the time we got on the road, and after stopping for lunch at one point, we eventually ended up in a pull-off area at the top of a long grade with four big trucks. Sharyn had some reservations about spending the night there but was reassured by the trucks being there. Unfortunately, by the time we had watched the news and had dinner three of the trucks had left.

We spoke to the other driver who was a retired trucker. It turns out that he and his wife have a 35' Winnebago and on their last pass through Florida they bought a house. He says he's now working again, this time to buy furniture.

Anyway, Sharyn wasn't crazy about staying there so we left. We tried a State Park camping area a number of miles further along but they were full. I wasn't too happy about the fact that by this time it was getting dark (I don't like to drive after dark) but we continued on to Keene where we pulled into the parking lot by a small Wal-Mart situated in a small strip mall.


FDR and Eleanor outside the Presidential Library


Odometer reading = 63,672
Miles for day = 159



(Portsmouth NH)

At 7:30 we were up, dressed, and just about finished the coffee pot when we saw a guy going "door to door" among the several RVs that had also spent the night. As he approached us I met him at the door to have him say to me, "You parked right in front of a sign that says 'No overnight parking.'" He then continued with, "Have a nice day and enjoy your weekend."

Eventually we got to Portsmouth where we were to visit with my sister. There is a Wal-Mart less than a mile from where she lives, but Portsmouth has a city ordinance that forbids RVs (but not trucks or other vehicles) from parking overnight in commercial parking lots. The last time we were in Portsmouth and saw the signs in the Wal-Mart lot we spoke to the manager about them, inquiring if Wal-Mart had changed it's corporate policy with respect to RV parking.. He said they had not, that it was a city ordinance, and that he himself had no problem if we spent the night there. We did spend the night, but this time Sharyn didn't want to stay there. My sister had told us about another Wal-Mart in Newington, six miles away, so this time, as we came into Portsmouth we continued on through to Newington. Leaving the motorhome at Wal-Mart we took the car back to my sister's.

We talked a lot, ate a lot, and then went to watch the (early) 4th of July fireworks display at the city park. After the fireworks we went to a restaurant where we ate some more before going home (to the motorhome) for the night.

Odometer reading = 63,781
Miles for day = 110



7/3/04 and 7/4/04
(Portsmouth NH)

Yesterday Ann and Greg, a young couple friend of my sisters, came for the day and we all went to the city park to see a play that was part of the summer theater schedule. We went there mid-afternoon to spread our blankets on the grass, thereby saving our spot for the evening performance. Returning to the blankets an hour before play time with our picnic lunch (including dessert), we were about half way finished with the food when we learned that there was no play. The night's entertainment was a series of bands each doing their own kind of music. We enjoyed the music, food, and the company anyway, after which we all walked around the old downtown section of Portsmouth (which is VERY nice).

Today we again walked and drove around Portsmouth and the surrounding area; Sharyn and my sister checked out a number of small shops while I took some pictures.


Bess and Ann prepare our picnic lunch

Eating our picnic lunch

Downtown Portsmouth after dark

Luncheon downtown


Odometer reading = 63,781
Miles for day = 0



(Portsmouth NH)

Yesterday, while walking around downtown Portsmouth, I spoke to a group of police officers about the level of enforcement of the overnight RV parking ban. They said that unless they get a complaint no one is going to bother us. Based on that, this morning we took the motorhome to the Wal-Mart by my sisters and left it there. That's only a one minute drive to my sister's house and about as convenient as it can get.

While they went to the outlets in Kittery (Maine) I stayed behind reading and watching TV.

In the evening we went out for lobster dinner, after which Sharyn and I returned to the motorhome.

We had no sooner set up the coffee pot for morning coffee when we had a knock at the door. Several Wal-Mart people, including the manager, told us they had been trying to get in touch with us because we could not leave the motorhome there overnight. From the ensuing conversation it seems that the city manager has taken to periodically checking parking lots at night looking for parked RVs. Since Wal-Mart's corporate policy is to welcome RVers to spend the night in their parking lots, the store manager had not been telling overnight RVers to leave. As a result of what he saw as non-cooperation by Wal-Mart the city manager contacted Wal-Mart's home office which in turn contacted this particular store. The bottom line is that Wal-Mart's policy with respect to RVers is secondary to the policy of being "a good neighbor" and being cooperative with local governments. That certainly makes sense on Wal-Mart's part, but it kind of stinks on the part of the city of Portsmouth and it's city manager -- particularly when there are no campgrounds in Portsmouth.

Anyway, they told us about the Wal-Mart at Newington and we laughingly told them we had just moved over from there that morning. Obviously we went back to Newington and went to bed.

Odometer reading = 63,796
Miles for day = 14



(Gardiner ME)

Leaving Portsmouth (actually Newington) this morning we headed north on US-1 and had an uneventful trip to my cousin Myra's driveway here in Gardiner. At one point we passed a yard sale where Sharyn saw a set of dishes that matched one she already had. We stopped on the side of the road and walked back a half mile only to find that they did not match. Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained -- and we've got lots of time to venture (whatever that means).

In Myra's driveway we're plugged into electric for the first time since since we left Jersey about ten days ago. The best thing about that is that I don't have to concern myself with how long the computer remains on. We also would have the same benefit with respect to the TV except that right now there is a giant fir tree that blocks our TV satellite signal.

With respect to satellite signal, I suspect we might not be too far from the northerly limit of our Internet satellite signal (that dish sits on a tripod so I can usually place it clear of interference from trees, buildings, etc). Somewhere between here and Newfoundland we're going to no longer be able to access the Internet. When that happens this site will no longer be updated until we return back further south, probably sometime in October. I will still be updating the travelog on a regular basis but will not be able to upload it to the server. One possibility might be to buy a 250' roll of telephone wire and periodically see if we can't connect via phone line. Since I'm now using a built in desk top system that won't happen too often.

Anyway, we had lots of dinner and conversation with Myra before going to bed.

With respect to Myra, the following is a "cut and paste" from the travelog entry from our last visit here on August 2, 2001:

Incidentally, Myra is one of my more interesting and accomplished relatives. When she was in high school she wanted to be an engineer but was told by her guidance councilor that "girls cannot become engineers." She originally graduated with a Bachelor's degree in nursing; at forty something she got her law degree; she retired as a full colonel from the Air Force reserve with a combined 30 years of active and reserve time; and she's now the Executive Director of the Maine State Board of Nursing. Along the way she also got her Master's degree in Nursing, a private pilot's license, gave "social training" to dogs who were to be trained as seeing eye dogs, and during her years in Europe was active as a ski patrol and rescue person -- all that and she's younger than I am!

Odometer reading = 63,906
Miles for day = 111



7/7/04 and 7/8/04
(Gardiner ME)

During the first part of the day (yesterday) Sharyn and I got caught up with stuff in the motorhome. Myra came home from work early and drove us around some of the seacoast villages. At one point we stopped and had giant lobster rolls at a sidewalk booth called "Red's Eats." They also have giant ice cream cones, but that's what we had when we were there several years ago.

From there we drove to Boothbay Harbor. A really nice waterfront village that we also visited several years ago, but in the early evening hours -- all the shops were closed when we were there. This time we all got to check out all the little stores, including the one that sold the dark chocolate covered peanut clusters. The library used book shop was closed, but they have shelves of books on the porch. You just take what you want and leave ten cents for every book you take. Between the three of us we took about a dollars worth.

Today was kind of cold and rainy. Myra was at work and I went to get the 20 pound propane bottle filled so we could use our catalytic heater (we're only plugged into a 20 amp outlet). They are great heaters, this one by Olympian, puts out 8,000 BTUs when on high, and when on low only uses 1/6 pound of propane per hour while making no sound and using no electricity. The plan is that I'm going to run a gas line from our bulk tank for the heater, but in the meanwhile the bottle is a makeshift arrangement. On low it kept the motorhome very comfortable through early afternoon when we were able to turn if off.

Most of the day was spent playing with the computer, scanning and printing some old family photos that predate me, while Sharyn read her book. Later on Sharyn made dinner for the three of us.

Right now our plan is to leave here in the morning and probably go up to Bangor or perhaps on towards Machias.

Red's Eats (from the front)

Red's Eats dining area

Buying books

My parents five weeks before my birth

Odometer reading = 63,906
Miles for day = 0



(Bangor ME)

Following some extended coffee and conversation with Myra, we finished getting ready to leave and went as far as Augusta, about ten miles, before stopping at Barnes and Noble. We didn't stay too long before leaving there and then going to Staples and then to Wal-Mart for some groceries -- all in the same shopping complex.

It was 3:pm by the time we crossed the Kennebec River on US-202 headed for Bangor.

I wanted to talk to a Dometic service technician who had worked on one of our heat pumps in 2001 and had been very knowledgeable. We found him still working at Rec-Tec on US-1A in Brewer, just south of Bangor. By that time it was after 6:pm and we went to a Wal-Mart about a mile down the road to have dinner, watch the news, and go to bed.

Odometer reading = 63,993
Miles for day = 86



(Bangor ME)

This morning we moved a few miles down the road to a campground next door to Rec-Tec where we checked in for one day. We needed to stop somewhere as we had to dump our holding tanks and take on fresh water.

We're spending the day relaxing, reading, playing with Photoshop, and doing some cleaning. Pretty much a layover day.

Yesterday I bought some peel-off label material and today I made some 1" square and 2" square "Boycott France" stickers to put on bottles of French Wine, French perfumes, etc., displayed on store shelves -- maybe I can start a trend!

In fairness to Sharyn I should say that she doesn't approve of what I intend doing.

Anyway, tomorrow we figure to leave here and head for Machias, a small, picturesque fishing village on the coast where there is no campground and not much ever happens.


Boycott France sticker


Odometer reading = 63,995
Miles for day = 2



(Bangor ME)

We woke up to a beautiful sunny day. While having our coffee and conversation we decided to stay here for another day. As campgrounds go this one isn't very much, but it's clean, friendly, and quiet.

We spent most of the day just sitting outside reading. Having just upgraded to Photoshop CS, that's what I've been reading about. Of course I'm also reading No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin (about FDR during WWII) and the latest issue of Shutterbug magazine.

With respect to the issue as to how much further north we can go before we lose our Internet satellite, we've made some inquiries and it appears that along the east coast of North America the signal is useable all the way up through Newfoundland. That would be great since we know we won't have cell phone service (our plan with Cingular) after we pass into Canada. I prefer e-mail anyway -- I send my message when I think about it or feel like it without any concern as to the time of night or whether or not the recipient is at home. By the same token I've never been awaken by an e-mail, nor has e-mail ever interrupted my dinner or my shower. Can't beat it!

Odometer reading = 63,995
Miles for day = 0



(Machias ME)

This morning, while I was dumping our holdings, Sharyn was talking to a fellow from Nova Scotia who was heading for New York City. He said that gas in Nova Scotia was running about $2.45 per gallon -- that's somewhat better that the $2.75 we had been told -- hope he's right.

From Bangor (actually we've been in Brewer) we headed southeast on US-1A to Ellsworth where we picked up US-1, the "Maine Coastal Highway." While heading north (actually more easterly) along US-1 I told Sharyn we could make a U-turn and take US-1 all the way to Key West. US-1 was the first "interstate" highway to have been completed from one end to the other -- from the Canadian Border to Key West, Florida. Of course at that time it was mostly a 2-lane dirt road, but it was fine for the time.

While US-1 "follows" the Maine coast, you don't get to see the coast very often. The coast of Maine is shaped something like the edge of a partially completed jigsaw puzzle, while US-1 is a relatively smooth curved line that tries to stay near the edge of the unfinished puzzle

Many years ago I helped crew a 36' sailboat from Greenport NY to Corea ME (just east of Acadia National Park. We left Provincetown MA (the tip of Cape Cod) at dawn and made landfall at Matinicus Island off the Maine coast at dawn the following day where we then followed the coast, frequently sailing between the numerous small islands that dot the coast, to a small inlet at Corea.

Since that time (early 1970's) I've told about how you look forward to something, anticipating what it's going to be like, only to have the reality fall short. In my lifetime there have been two occasions when expectations were actually exceeded. The coast of Maine, seen from the water, was one of them. It's like an endless panorama, any segment of which could be on the cover of National Geographic.

Anyway, back to Machias and 2004. We got here in the early afternoon and parked the motorhome in from of a closed motel, drove around with the car, took some pictures, bought some groceries, and eventually returned to the motorhome where we spent the night.


Photo taken in East Machias


Odometer reading = 64,083
Miles for day = 88



(St. John NB)

We were up and on the road fairly early for an uneventful, but pleasant, day on the road.

Crossing into Canada we have always encountered some kind of a line, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, but there was always a line. Today there was no line at all. We suspect that it has to do with high fuel prices which hit RVs (a large percentage of vacation traffic into Canada) particularly heavy.

Right now we're at the Rockwood Campground in the city of St. John. This is where I was on 9-11 when Sharyn had flown to Florida to visit her ailing mother. I was very impressed by, and will always remember, the fact that the day after 9-11 there were more American flags flying in this Canadian city then there were Canadian flags. We liked it here the last time so this time we paid for a week in advance.

Last night I called Cingular to see about doing something with our phone plan so that our phone would work in Canada. Changes were made that were supposed to address that. I don't know what the deal is but our phone has a full signal (this is a good size city) but we can't make any calls. What a pain -- now I have to find a pay phone to call Cingular to find out why the phone doesn't work and see if it is correctable, and Cingular's 800 number probably doesn't work with calls from Canada.

I asked Sharyn in what order did she give priority to have the following things working properly:

1. Satellite Internet

2. Satellite TV

3. Cell phone service

(that's listed in my order of priority)

Her priority is the exact opposite of mine -- no surprise there.


Odometer reading = 64,224
Miles for day = 141



7/14/04 to 7/16/04
(St. John NB)

It looks as if we'll have no telephone until we get back to our "home area" in Virginia which is somewhat ludicrous. It seems that when Cingular put our "North American Plan" (no roaming or long distance charges throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico) into the system it displaced or removed our original plan. No problem there except that our telephone has to download this new info and this can only happen when the telephone is connected to a Cingular tower in Louisa VA. Also, for more reasons that I don't understand, (I'm told) that even to reverse the change that was put into the system would require the phone to attach itself to a Cingular tower in Virginia.

Anyway, yesterday we went into town, both to walk around the city and the old city market, as well as to buy some groceries. Not too far from the old city market is the more contemporary Market Square -- a large indoor mall type affair of what appears to be several large buildings connected by covered pedestrian walkways. At one point while Sharyn was checking out some of the shops in Market Square I bought a newspaper and sat in the large atrium area where a western singer/guitar player was singing American country and western songs from the 50's and 60's. He was clearly a fan of Hank Williams, Sr.

From time to time we take an unexplainable liking to a particular campground. This is one of them. It's basically a giant gravel parking lot with hookups, but not much more. Why do we like it? We don't know.

It's been unseasonably cold since we've been here with rain, fog and drizzle. When we were in Bangor we called Leon, a friend of ours who lives in Lunenburg NS. He said that so far this has been one of the wettest, coldest summers in recent years. It figures. This summer has been warm and beautiful in Alaska while when we were there in 2002 it was the wettest coldest summer in anyone's memory -- I froze to death the whole time we were there. Hopefully as the days and weeks continue the weather will improve.

Sharyn in a Market Square shop

This mornings rain and fog

Odometer reading = 64,224
Miles for day = 0



7/17/04 and 7/18/04
(St. John NB)

We haven't done very much these last two days -- mostly just hang out, read, and do some more grocery shopping.

We experimented by buying a one gallon (actually 4 liters) bag of milk. We've seen these bags all throughout Canada but never bought one. Mostly because we didn't know what to do with a plastic bag filled with milk. This time we asked a lady in the supermarket. It turns out that inside the big plastic bag are three smaller tube shaped bags. You put one of these tube shaped bags into a similar sized pitcher, then cut the corner off of the bag to pour the milk out. We asked the lady why she bought milk in bags rather than in 1/2 gallon (actually 2 liter) containers (milk does not seem to be available in 4 liter containers). She though for a second and then said she really didn't know why.

For the sake of a cultural experiment (plus curiosity) we bought the bag of milk plus the pitcher. We won't do it again. It's certainly not very convenient (it's a pain in the butt), plus, when we get back on the road an open bag (small bag) of milk in a pitcher sitting on the refrigerator shelf is too likely to spill.

This morning we washed the motorhome for the first time in more than six months. It was looking pretty ratty.

Right now our thoughts are that we will leave here in the morning. If we do it could be several days before we set up our Internet satellite again so this page may not be updated for awhile.

Odometer reading = 64,224
Miles for day = 0



7/19/04 and 7/20/04
(St. John NB)

Well we didn't leave when we thought we would. For one thing our paid in advance week stull had another day to go, plus we paid for another day after that.

Also the refrigerator hinge came off of the door and had to be repaired. This is the third time we've had trouble with the door hinges. The first time the door plain fell off when we opened it. Anyway it looks as if we fixed it good this time by expoxying the hinge into its receptical. We've had more trouble with this refrigerator than all the rest of the motorhome combined. It's a Norcold. Next time we'll be sure to have a Dometic.

Odometer reading = 64,224
Miles for day = 0



(Alma NB)

At about noontime today we pulled out of the campground at Rockwood Park and went to Sobeys (a supermarket) to get some groceries before heading to Alma and Fundy National Park.

After setting up at our campsite we went into Alma, a small fishing/tourist village at the bottom of the hill (for the coverage of our first visit in 2001 click here). It was pretty foggy as we took a number of pictures and stopped in at an ice cream shop before returning to the motorhome.

Our campsite

Boat dock

Fishing boats at dock

Same boats when tide is out

Odometer reading = 64,312
Miles for day = 88



(Truro NS)

Leaving Alma and Fundy National Park we continued on along the two lane winding road past Hopewell Rocks (to read about our 2001 visit to Hopewell Rocks click here) on our route to Nova Scotia.

At one point we missed our turn that was just as well. As we drove past where we were supposed to have turned we saw a low railroad bridge that we would not have been able to pass under, plus there would have been inadequate room to turn around. This brought to mind our last trip through this area when we came across a low bridge in the middle of Moncton, a moderate sized city, and had a problem finding our way to the other side of the track. We decided to get off the narrow road to avoid any low bridge encounters.

Now traveling Canada Route 2 and then Route 102, both dual lane divided highways, we began to make good time, arriving at Truro NS late in the afternoon.

We pulled into a Wal-Mart and parked next to two other RVs, both 5th Wheels from Ontario, who were also spending the night.

A meadow where we pulled over for lunch

Odometer reading = 64,487
Miles for day = 175



(Lunenburg NS)

After watching Fox and Friends (we really like our inverter -- AC power without the generator) we pulled out of the parking and got back onto Canada 102, less than a half mile away. That's another thing we like about spending the night at Wal-Mart, they're either on or just off the highway.

We were in Lunenburg before lunch and went to the same city owned campground we stayed at the last time. It's two blocks from the city's business district and overlooks water on three sides.

View from our bedroom window

Late afternoon view from our campsite

Odometer reading = 64,602
Miles for day = 115



7/24/04 through 7/26/04
(Lunenburg NS)

It was over thirty years ago, when we were sailing the area between Eastern Long Island and Nantucket that we met and became friends with Leon, who now lives in Lunenburg. We spent several days talking about all kinds of things, both current and from long ago, and getting a tour of the Lunenburg area. The rain and drizzle continued for most of this time so the photographs we took are somewhat drab and gray, although the area itself is really beautiful.

One day we took Leon's power boat to a bakery somewhere on the other side of some water and behind some islands where we had coffee and assorted bake goods (largely to warm up). When we got back to the dock we returned to Leon's where he made dinner for the second time. Cooking is somewhat of a hobby with him and the finished product is really good!

We had planned to leave here this morning (Monday the 26th) but then this morning we decided to stay another day and drive over to Mahone Bay, another beautiful and picturesque village that we passed through on our way here. Walking around Mahone Bay we (of course) took a number of pictures, visited a number of small shops, bought ice cream cones, and bought one of our kids a Christmas present (we're not saying who or what).

Fishing shack

Waterfront scene

Rocks and boats

View from Leon's porch

Sharyn and Leon behind bakery

Leaving dock behind bakery

Small boat at dock

Leon's chair

Street scene in Mahone Bay

Sharyn in Mahone Bay

Another Sharyn in Mahone Bay

Buoys on fence

Mahone Bay churches


Odometer reading = 64,602
Miles for day = 0



(Halifax NS)

Not having enough gas to get to Halifax (about 60 miles) we pulled into the "full service" island of a gas station advertising gas at 91.9 cents per liter (about $2.69 US per gallon). We could not get the motorhome into the inside islands, but when the guy told us that the full service island was four cents per liter (about 15 cents per gallon) extra we decided to try elsewhere. A few miles further on we found gas at $89.9 per liter. We took 255 liters for $229.70 Canadian That works out to about $177 for 67 gallons of regular gas -- we get just over 7 mpg. We had thought that the high cost of gas and diesel, particularly here in Canada, would have resulted in fewer RVs on the road, and particularly those traveling up here from the US. That doesn't appear to be the case.

Arriving at the outskirts of Halifax we were headed for a campground ten miles north of the city. We still had six miles to go when we came upon a Wal-Mart and decided to stay there instead. Not only would a drive into Halifax and back be 12 miles shorter, but we saved the $29 campground fee. Since we had full batteries, full water tanks, and empty holding tanks, all we really needed was a place to park the motorhome. For that, Wal-Mart works well.

Leaving the motorhome we drove into Halifax, not knowing exactly where we were going or what we were looking for. We found the downtown waterfront area and eventually found the last parking space in the city.

Like a good number of seaport cities Halifax has done very nicely with their waterfront area. Shops, eateries, malls, open public areas -- a continuing concourse of such places along the waterfront -- and in the case of Halifax, a large casino as well. We spent most of the afternoon walking around and looking at all of this until I told Sharyn that I'd just "sit down and wait here."

Eventually we returned to the motorhome where we had dinner and watched the news -- made up mostly of the Democratic Convention.

Street scene in Halifax

Another street scene

Sidewalk coffee

Crossing the street in downtown Halifax


Odometer reading = 64,664
Miles for day = 62



(New Glasgow NS)

This morning there were 9 RVs in Wal-Mart's parking lot -- six of them large motorhomes.

After coffee and conversation and Fox and Friends we were on the road again heading for Cape Breton and the northerly tip of Nova Scotia. While Sharyn had picked up a few groceries last night, we realized we needed more milk so we stopped at the Wal-Mart in Truro where we had stopped on our way to Lunenburg. This time we were only there a few minutes before continuing on.

As we approached New Glasgow, Sharyn, concerned that we wouldn't find a place to stay as we got closer to Cape Breton, suggested that we see if there was a Wal-Mart in town. As we were coming down the big hill into New Glasgow we passed a big RV dealer just off the highway and just before the first New Glasgow exit. A month or so ago the strap that pulls the awning out had broken and Sharyn made a temporary replacement from some ribbon she had. Several days ago that also broke so I though this was a good time to exit the highway, see if we could get a replacement strap at the RV place, and inquire about a Wal-Mart all at the same time. We did and it worked out well -- they had a replacement and there was a Wal-Mart a mile away.

Since it was only 1:PM when we pulled into Wal-Mart, we had lunch and then Sharyn checked out an adjacent shopping center and read her book, while I bring all this stuff up to date (I'm doing five days worth). While I can't upload it to the server (because I'm not setting the satellite up in the parking lot) I can get it all typed and select which pictures to use. While I don't type this every day, I do make daily notes to refer to when I do type it up.

Having typed this far I'll now work on the pictures, hopefully finishing up before the 6 o'clock news (after which I'll be reading more of No Ordinary Time).

RV's in Wal-Mart's parking lot


Odometer reading = 64,761
Miles for day = 97



(Baddeck NS)

Cape Breton is an island constituting approximately 20% - 25% of Nova Scotia and separated from the Nova Scotia mainland via a half mile long causeway. Baddeck is about 60 miles onto the Cape and is the southerly tip of the "Cabot Trail." The Cabot Trail is a 185 mile loop that for most of its length follows the coast of Cape Breton, and is supposed to provide some of the most spectacular coastal views available anywhere in the world. Tomorrow we will beging the Trail, traveling in a clockwise direction, and over the next week or so we will find out for ourselves how spectacular the views are and anticipate taking pictures that will confirm all that we have heard.

Take note of the sky in the following pictures. A few rainy and/or cloudy days are okay and are to be expected, but at this point we've had enough. It's time for some sunshine!

Causeway as seen from Cape Breton

View from the road to Baddeck

Small harbor in Baddeck

Odometer reading = 64,889
Miles for day = 128




(Corney Brook Campground, Cape Breton NS)

We left Baddeck this morning with full water and batteries and empty holding tanks. My thought was we'd only go as far as Margaree Harbor, about 35 miles from Baddeck. Since that's on the coast I figured we'd stay there for several days using it as a base while we used the car to check out the surrounding area. It turned out that Margaree Harbor has one tiny store, one church, two dozen houses, and no place to get the motorhome off the road. We stayed about 20 minutes, took several pictures, and continued on our way up the coast along the Cabot Trail.

We passed through Cheticamp, Petit Etang, and several other small Acadian Villages where practically every house was flying the French flag. These people are many of the descendants of the original Acadians expelled from Nova Scotia by the British in the 1700's. I was good. I didn't use any of my "Boycott France" stickers.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park covers a big chunk of Cape Breton and stretches clear across the island from one coast to the other. As we entered the park we paid our daily user fee and continued on to Corney Brook Campground, a Provincial campground on the Gulf of St. Lawrence -- at this point, pretty much the Atlantic Ocean. Corney Brook campground, like most of the Provincial campgrounds in the park, is dry camping only, and on a first come first served basis.

After setting up in our site we took the car and drove to several overlooks and picnic areas along the coast. At a picnic area about a mile from the campground I was taking pictures when I called Sharyn's attention to a brown colored bear moving through the low brush. When she looked at him through the binoculars it turned out not to be a bear. It was a giant set of antlers moving through scrub growth that was taller than a man's head. The bull moose was heading towards the entrance road to the picnic area so we got in the car and headed in his direction hoping to get a closer look, and of course some pictures. As we got close to where we though he should be we saw a cow moose on the road in front of us so we stopped to watch her. As we sat there Sharyn spotted the bull in the thick brushy woods no more than 50 -60 feet from the car. We stayed there for about ten minutes with the camera trained on him, waiting for him to change his position and become somewhat more visible. He finally just laid down on the ground right where he was and continued to watch us.. He was still laying there when we left.

Village of Margaree Harbour

Heading north along the Cabot Trail

Bull moose laying down in woods

Corney Brook Campground

Aerial post card view of campground


Odometer reading = 64,950
Miles for day = 61




(Corney Brook Campground, Cape Breton NS)

We arose to a beautiful sunny day and decided we'd stay here another day. We spent the first part of the day just sitting outside talking and/or reading. By mid-afternoon we decided to take the car and drive on ahead and do some of our "sightseeing" by car.

We went about 20 miles, stopping numerous times along the way, until we reached Pleasant Bay, a tiny fishing village that the park boundary actually skirts around. We took a few pictures, bought a loaf of bread, had some ice cream, and headed back home to the motorhome. As we approached the campground we decided to continue past it and go back to where we had seen the moose yesterday. It was about the same time of day and we though he might be back again. He didn't show up, but while we waited Sharyn watched several American Bald Eagles working the area. There was a strong onshore wind tat, upon hitting the mountain, would have to raise to cross over. The eagles, using this upward movement of the air, soared continuously up and down and back and forth never flapping their wings. With their white heads and white tails, gliding effortlessly overhead on their huge outstretched wings, they were magnificent to watch. Sharyn particularly enjoyed it as these great birds have probably thrilled her more than any other form of wildlife we have encountered.

Back to the mundane -- we are beginning to run out of groceries. While it is possible to pick up some milk or bread at a small store we have yet to see any place on Cape Breton to really buy groceries. The tourist and travel information should tell you to arrive here with enough groceries to last you for the duration of your planned stay.

Fishing boats in Pleasant Bay Harbor

Sharyn watching American Bald Eagle
(arrow depicts where I saw brown "bear")

Corney Brook campsites

Odometer reading = 64,950
Miles for day = 0




(Ingonish NS)

When we got up this morning the sky looked dark and stormy and it was very windy. In fact Sharyn said the window awnings beating in the wind had kept her awake for most of the night. As we left the campground the initial four and a half miles climbs from sea level to 1400 feet and probably took us 20 minutes, in second gear all the way up. After passing through Pleasant Bay we began an even steeper climb that kept us in first gear (10 mph) for several miles. At the crest we were able to get sufficiently off the road for the traffic behind us to pass before we began our descent down the other side. Sharyn thought it should be called "Throw up Mountain" because that's what she was going to do. Anyway, that turned out to be the steepest, and one of the longest, climbs of this trip.

We stopped at a place called Neil's Harbour, another picturesque but tiny fishing village, where we had lunch and walked around before getting back on the road.

Broad Cove Campground in Ingonish may be the only Provincial Campground in the park that has hookups. We made that our destination and found it to be very nice. Definitely a family oriented campground with mostly tents and small popup trailers and about a zillion kids. There are 261 campsites, about 20% of which have hookups. We are surrounded by kids and really enjoy watching and listening.

This afternoon after getting all set up we took a walk to and along the ocean beach. Sharyn was engrossed with all the rocks she was finding and I moved on ahead of her to take a picture of some offshore rocks further down the beach. As I started back towards Sharyn I thought she was examining the rock face of the cliff that overlooks the beach and ocean. When I got to where she was I saw that she was looking at the skeletal remains of what must have been a less than full grown moose. It appeared that he probably fell from the cliff above which has grass and trees growing right to the crumbling edge. He probably stepped near the edge and had it give way beneath him.. I told her I'd make her a wall hanger from one of the hoofs but she wasn't interested.

The downside of "Throwup Mountain"

Neil's Harbour

Sharyn examining moose that got too close to edge

Odometer reading = 65,005
Miles for day = 55



8/2/04 through 8/4/04
(Ingonish NS)

During our stay here we've visited Mary Ann Falls, basically a swimming hole up in the mountains, the village of Ingonish, a local grocery store, two swimming beaches, and a nearby general store with homemade blueberry pies.

In the evenings we (mostly Sharyn) sit outside and listen to nearby campfire conversations and guitar playing. While we originally registered for two days, we've now extended twice, but plan to leave here in the morning.

Mary Ann Falls

Where Ingonish River flows into Ingonish Harbour

Odometer reading = 65,005
Miles for day = 0



(New Glasgow NS)

This is out of sequence, but the other day we came across an area near the beach where numerous trees had what what appeared to be "moose rubs." Examining the scraped surfaces, the shreds of remaining bark and the texture of the damaged surfaces were exactly like the buck rubs from whitetail deer, but on a whole different scale. It's too bad I didn't take any close-up shots of the damage.

Anyway, we were back on the road by mid-morning heading south (still going clockwise) along the Cabot Trail.

At one point, at the top of a long steep grade, we pulled off the road to allow the traffic behind us to go by only to find that we were in the parking lot of the Gaelic College of Celtic in St. Ann's. Of course we went in, visited the gift shop, and spoke with the young piper standing out front dressed in kilts and playing his bagpipes. I asked him if he was working off demerits but he said no, that he was an employee of the college. We made a short video of him playing his bagpipes (with audio) to put on this site. Unfortunately it's a 3,100k file -- about 100 times larger than the typical photo we put up.

In any event we finished the Cabot Trail and, continuing south, left Cape Breton and continued on back to the Atlantic Superstore in New Glasgow where, after finally stocking up on some groceries, we spent the night.

Moose rubs on tree?

Portion of downgrade on Cabot Trail

Piper in front of Gaelic College of Celtic

Dock seen from Cabot Trail


Odometer reading = 65,197
Miles for day = 192



(St. John's NB)

After leaving New Glasgow, except for a stop to cut Sharyn some cattails to make a floral display, we had a pretty uneventful trip to St. John's.

As we approached St. John's we decided that instead of checking into the campground in time to watch the news, have dinner, and go to bed, we'd go to Wal-Mart's for the night and check into Rockwood Park Campground in the morning.

Odometer reading = 65,430
Miles for day = 233



(St. John's NB)

We arrived at Rockwood Park Campground a little after 11 o'clock and got the same site we had last time -- just across from the laundry room. Since laundry was our primary purpose in stopping here this was the ideal site to have.

In the afternoon we took the car into town to get a couple of Cuban cigars for Jordan's cigar smoking neighbor back in Virginia.

We're only about 75 miles from the US border so tomorrow night we'll be sleeping back in the United States.

Odometer reading = 65,434
Miles for day = 4



(Machias ME)

It was 72 miles from Rockwood Park to the US border and we arrived back in the US with an empty gas tank. About 30 miles into the US we finally stopped and put 75.1 gallons into our 75 gallon tank at a cost of $150. At least I know that our "low fuel" warning light works.

Heading south on US-1 we decided to stop and see FDR's summer cottage at Campobello Island off the coast of Maine. We didn't realize that the Island belonged to Canada (it's part of New Brunswick). The FDR International Bridge connects the Island to the town of Lubec, ME. Lubec advertises itself as the most easterly town in the United States.

Unfortunately, the first thing we did after leaving the welcome center just inside Canadian customs was to drive to the East Quoddy Lighthouse at the northerly end of the Island. That was nice, but by the time we got to Roosevelt's cottage it was closed for the day. We walked around and looked through the windows but had missed being able to really see inside. One conclusion we clearly came to however was that it sure was a nicer house than the one at Hyde Park which we didn't like at all.

Getting back to the lighthouse, it is on the northerly tip of the Island which, at high tide, actually becomes its own island off of the Island. At low tide you can walk across the rocks to the "island" with the lighthouse. There is a signing those crossing over that the incoming tide rises at the rate of 5 feet per hour (this is all in the Bay of Fundy) and if you don't get back across in time you'll be marooned on the lighthouse island for eight hours Signs also warn about strong currents that no one can swim against In the picture below the tide you can see the ladder on the other side that is now inaccessible due to the tide (the lens compresses the distance -- the ladder is about 200' away).

Anyway, coming back over the bridge to Lubec we decided to spend the night beside a gas station that was no longer in business. As we were having dinner and watching the news a number of young guys with their pickup trucks began to gather in the same area. Later on Sharyn watched a Harry Potter movie and I got into bed to read my book. After I dropped the book for the third time I shut off the light and went to sleep. Several hours later Sharyn woke me up and said we had to move; that the guys outside had been getting too rowdy, climbing onto the top of their trucks and doing all kinds of weird things. We brought in the bedroom slide (the only one we had out) and drove out of the lot. As a security precaution, whenever we are somewhere other than a campground we make sure the car is always in neutral and the motorhome keys are in the ignition. As a result of these routine precautions we were able to start the motorhome and drive away without even turning on a light inside the motorhome. It turned out that Sharyn had wrapped herself in the bedspread to keep warm and was curled up in one of the chairs to keep an eye on these guys.

From Lubec our next planned stop was Cutler, a miniscular little fishing village we had visited several years ago. I wanted to go back to take some more pictures. Leaving Lubec we headed for Cutler but upon arriving there we could not see well enough in the dark to find a place to pull off and park. It was close to midnight and there were no lights anywhere. Continuing on we finally came back out on US-1 at East Machias. We knew there was a good sized supermarket with a large parking lot just west of Machias so that's where we went. Within three minutes after pulling into the parking lot Sharyn was in bed and sound asleep.

Looking off the north end of Campobello Island

High tide isolates the northern tip of the Island

View of lighthouse from another and higher position

FDR "cottage" on Campobello Island


Odometer reading = 65,616
Miles for day = 182



(Gardiner ME)

It was an absolutely beautiful day. We actually lingered with our coffee outside the motorhome before getting started this morning, just enjoying the cool crisp air and the bright warm sunlight (the way we were parked at the edge of the parking lot, stepping out of the motorhome we were on the freshly mowed grass beyond the parking lot.

Finishing our coffee we took off heading south on US-1.

At one point we stopped at a wooded rest area where we made coffee and sat at a picnic table drinking our coffee, talking (coffee and conversation), and enjoying the smell of the woods in the cool air. We then continued on to Myra's house in Gardiner. By the time she got home from work we were all set up in her driveway.

Odometer reading = 65,764
Miles for day = 157



8/10/04 to 8/11/04
(Gardiner ME)

For the last two days we've done quite a bit of visiting with Myra, checking out some of the stores in Augusta (including, of course, Barnes and Noble), and visiting most of the antique stores in Hallowell, a tiny village with a Main Street about 4 blocks long with brick sidewalks lined on both sides with mostly antique and used book stores.

One of the many flower boxes lining the sidewalks in Hallowell

Odometer reading = 65,764
Miles for day = 0



(Portsmouth NH)

Leaving Gardiner we headed back to my sister's in Portsmouth NH. Due to Portsmouth's "No RV parking after midnight" law we actually took the motorhome to the Wal-Mart in Newington, about six miles from my sisters, in spite of the fact that there's a Wal-Mart a 1/2 mile from her apartment.

Anyway we were making ourselves at home in her apartment when she got home from work. We had dinner and talked for a number of hours before returning to the motorhome for the night.

Odometer reading = 65,872
Miles for day = 108



8/13/04 through 8/15/04
(Portsmouth NH)

We had a rather low key visit for several days, returning to the motorhome each night. The solar panels are really nice to have in that while we are gone during the day they recharge whatever power we have used from the batteries the night before (assuming of course that we haven't used too much).

We celebrated my sister's birthday and, one afternoon, we picnicked at a local park. A hundred yards across from where we were there was a large white awning set up and a number of people milling about in formal/party dress. When a horsedrawn carriage came through the park carrying a bride to the white awning Sharyn and my sister seemed to get somewhat excited. As a matter of fact we would have left the park earlier except for the fact that we had to "wait to see the bride." How exciting that was!!

Wal-Mart having a corporate policy of inviting RVers to spend the night in one of their parking lots, I had sent e-mails to a number of RV organizations describing our Wal-Mart experience on July 5 of this year when we had to leave the parking lot shortly before midnight because of Portsmouth's no RV parking ordinance. Shortly thereafter I described our experience on a number of RV forums in a piece I titled "Portsmouth NH -- RV Unfriendly." It seems that the city manager had heard from a least one of these RV associations (Escapees) and received a number of unfriendly e-mails as well. Anyway, this time I spoke at some length with Jason Page, Portsmouth's Zoning Enforcement Officer, who told me that, following my similar e-mails and forum postings several years ago when we last encountered this ordinance, he had talked with Wal-Mart and told them that if they'd apply for a variance "it would probably be granted" but that Wal-Mart wasn't interested in pursuing a variance application.

Anyway, it's their town so I guess they can run it anyway they like.

Odometer reading = 65,872
Miles for day = 0



(Fishkill NY)

A month or so ago as we passed this way on our way north we stopped at Hyde Park NY to visit Roosevelt's home and the Presidential Library and Museum. However, we didn't visit Val-Kill, Eleanor's home. We later decided that we should have, so as we passed through the area on our way back south we figured we'd stop again and see Val-Kill.

Hyde Park and Val-Kill on on Route 9 about 20 miles north of where I-84 crosses. Heading back towards Virginia we are traveling the Interstates, something we usually do not do, so as we approached the exit for Route 9 at Fishkill we got off of I-84. About a mile north we came to a Wal-Mart where we pulled in and spent the night (along with half a dozen other RVs).

Eleanor Roosevelt's home

Odometer reading = 66,169
Miles for day = 297



(Carlisle PA)

We began our day (after coffee and conversation) by driving up to Val-Kill where we did the guided tour through Eleanor Roosevelt's home before backtracking down to I-84 and continuing or trip south back to Virginia.

After leaving Val-Kill Sharyn asked me why did I think the dining room table was not set properly. I told her I had no idea (I had not noticed) but that that's the kind of question she should have asked the tour guide. The tour guide was an elderly black lady who had known Eleanor for many years prior to her death and used a good deal of her personal knowledge to enhance the tour with many of her stories which brought forth smiles and laughter. I'm not sure how "historically accurate" these stories may have been, but they were stories nevertheless.

One thing about traveling the Interstate rather than our usual two-lane roads is that you sure get further in the same length of time. That's a big part of why we're doing it this way. I'm somewhat surprised at myself, but I've got some of that horse-going-back-to-the-barn syndrome -- we keep moving along.

At Carlisle PA we got off at a Flying-J where we spent the night.

Odometer reading = 66,446
Miles for day = 277



(Louisa VA)

Before pulling out of Flying-J this morning we dumped our holding tanks and filled our gas tanks. Just as we try to patronize Wal-Mart for letting us stay in their parking lots, we do the same with Flying-J service centers.

By mid-afternoon we were back on the concrete pad at the house in Louisa. While we bought this place to have a "base," we also now tend to think of it as"home." I'm not sure why because even when we're here we still stay in the motorhome.

In mid-October we have to be in Florida for a combination party. It's Sharyn's cousin Diana's 40th wedding anniversary, her (her cousin's) mother's 80th birthday, and her father-in-law's 90th birthday. Until we leave to go to Florida there won't be much to put into a "Travelog" so there may not be much added to this site.

Odometer reading = 66,677
Miles for day = 231



8/19/04 through 10/9/04
(Louisa VA)

Well it's been some 6 or 7 weeks we we arrived back here in Virginia and now it's time to leave again. There's a McDonald's about five miles from here where we occasionally go for soft ice cream, and it's right next to a large truck stop. Whenever we come out of McDonald's to get back in the car we are facing long rows of big rigs all lined up as the drivers rest for the night. I always comment to Sharyn that come daylight they're all getting back on the road heading in all directions for all kinds of different places and tell her that I kind of feel like I'm being left behind. She says she doesn't feel that way at all. Well tomorrow it's our turn again!

While we've been here we enjoyed time with Jordan, Shane, Phil and Kim, and Katlin and Philip. We now even have some pictures we can post.

I finally ran a sewer line from the motorhome pad to the septic tank so that we have a regular RV sewer hookup. To say that's convenient is an understatement!

We also solved the problem with the giant tree that blocks our satellite TV signal from spring to fall when there are leaves on the tree. The motorhome is setup with DishNetwork's Dish 300 system with the dish permanently mounted on the roof. Jordan has DishNetwork's SuperDish system. We contacted DishNetwork and got a connector switch that enabled us to connect our box to her dish and we now get our programing through her dish. Pretty cool. We also buried the 50 amp electric service and put in a permanent RV park electric hookup.

A week or so ago Sharyn drove the car up to Long Island to visit Greg and Paulette and Scott and Patrick and had an enjoyable visit. While she was there I took the motorhome to Phil and Kim's where I sort of "house watched" for three days while a contractor installed a heat pump for their now finished basement. They were all back at the house after school and work, but I was also around during the day when the workmen were working in the house.

It was almost a month ago that we were driving in to town (Charlottesville) to do some grocery shopping when Sharyn said I better take her to the emergency room instead. She was experiencing lightheadedness and tightness in her chest. After examining her in the emergency room, sending us home, and then calling to tell her to come back to the hospital, they admitted her for the night and did a cardiac catherization the following morning. It seems that her arteries are quite clean and everything looks good. They gave her a monitor to wear but she has not had any further symptoms. While we have always recognized our good fortune that neither of us has any real health problems, that scare make me appreciate it all the more.

Tomorrow we'll be on our way to Apollo Beach in Florida for next weekend's "party."


Phil & Kim


"Soccer killer" Philip


Odometer reading = 66,744
Miles for day = 67



(Wilson NC)

We long ago realized that the longer we have been in one place, the longer it takes us to get started when we decide to leave. Today further confirmed that's the way it works -- it was 12:30 by the time we pulled out of the driveway.

While we have repeatedly said that we prefer the "two lane roads" to the Interstate, this trip is different since we'd like to be in Florida by Thursday, or Friday at the latest. Accordingly, the bulk of our trip will be on I-95.

After about four hours of uneventful travel we pulled into the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Wilson NC where after watching the news and eating dinner I went to bed (while Sharyn began watching Dirty Dancing for the 139th time).

Odometer reading = 66,933
Miles for day = 188



10/11/04 and 10/12/04
(Sumter SC)

Having gone to bed so early I was up before six. We were back on the road by 7:30, and pulled into the FamCamp at Shaw AFB a few minutes past noon.

Followers of this site know that this is our favorite campground for reasons not at all clear to us. We plan to stay here tonight and tomorrow and leave Wednesday morning. We learned this afternoon that the South Carolina State Fair begins in Columbia (35 miles west of here) on Thursday. Unfortunately, we won't be here to attend -- you can't have or do it all!

Since I've received a complaint from Sharyn's "married for almost 40 years" cousin that it takes too long to download this page, I've now separated the more current stuff from that which occurred further back. Actually I always did this in prior years -- no excuse for not doing it sooner this time.

Yesterday being Columbus day the commissary was closed so today we went back and did some grocery shopping. The commissary save us a pretty routine 30-35% on the cost of groceries. Plus the stores themselves are almost always quite nice.

I also washed the motorhome, probably for the first time since last spring. The last time it was waxed was when we were in North Dakota in the summer of 2003 so I might try to do it again while we're at Bill and Cheryl's in Arkansas.

Odometer reading = 67,144
Miles for day = 211



(Jacksonville FL)

We had an easy drive down I-95 to Jacksonville where we picked up I-295, the loop around the city. We stopped at a Wal-Mart Supercenter just off of the loop so we could watch the news, have dinner, and be done with showers, etc. before the debates.

Both the sheriff and the Jacksonville Police Department have an annex in the Wal-Mart lobby so this is probably about as secure a location as we could have. Sharyn might see it somewhat differently. She wonders why they need such a large law enforcement presence.

Anyway, we did all our stuff and watched the final debate. This time we both thought Kerry won, but happily all the pundits seem to say that Bush won. Sure hope they're right. My own view is that America electing Kerry would be like Britain electing Chamberlain in 1940 to lead Britain through the Second World War. That would have been dumb and a catastrophe, and so would be the election of Kerry. I'm very concerned about this election.

Odometer reading = 67,430
Miles for day = 286


(Ruskin FL)

We are here! This is where the great party of 2004 is to take place Saturday night. Diana (Sharyn's cousin) and Carl are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary; plus it's her mother's 80th birthday and his father's 90th birthday. We're in a campground about eight miles south of where they live so we will be able to readily commute back and forth throughout the weekend.

Tonight, with only a small number of the expected people there, there were wall to wall babies, plus the parents, grandparents, and great grandparents of those babies. Actually the parents all went out (I guess to party early) while the rest of us stayed at the house.

With four generations present we have moved up to the second oldest group. It doesn't seem that long ago that they were our babies crawling around on the floor.

By the time we got back to the motorhome and got the lights turned off it was 1:30 AM.

Odometer reading = 67,657
Miles for day = 227



10/15/04 through 10/17/04
(Ruskin FL)

In the last entry I said that the party was Saturday night (last night). That was in error -- the reality is that the party has been ongoing for several days!

Yesterday afternoon and last night there was an endless flow of food, plus a greater selection of Greek pastries than I would have thought available anywhere in the state of Florida.

While this entry will probably be updated later this evening (it's not yet noon) we'll go with this for the time being.

The following photos by Sharyn will probably be of interest to family members only but feel free to look anyway.


Aunt Phyliss (80th birthday) with Carl's father (90th birthday)

Carl and his father

The anniversary couple Diana and Carl

Two sets of great grandparents

This afternoon there was some winding down by those who had not left this morning while Jenny (Diana and Carl's daughter)and Steve whose house it is, and who had hosted the entire affair, began to get their household back to normal.

We returned to the motorhome about 8:30 PM and plan to leave in the morning.

Relaxing at poolside

Jenny and Steve

Odometer reading = 67,657
Miles for day = 0



(Ruskin FL)

We didn't leave this morning as we had planned to because yesterday afternoon Aunt Phyliss was taken to the hospital with chest pains. While they are still holding her, all her tests seem to have come back favorable and she's doing much better.

We anticipate leaving here tomorrow.

Odometer reading = 67,657
Miles for day = 0



(Umatilla FL)

It was probably noon by the time we got out onto the road.

Passing through Tampa we stopped at Camping World to see if we could find a 12 volt fan that would be suitable for a wall mount installation in the bedroom.. While I frequently need an extra blanket, Sharyn needs a fan blowing on her all night. A year or so ago we bought a 120 volt fan that only draws 1/4 amp. Since that time, however, we have done some rewiring so that we were at the point that at night we had to keep the inverter on for the sole purpose of supplying that 1/4 amp to the fan -- not a very efficient use of battery capacity. With a 12 volt fan, wall mounted and hard wired into the 12 volt system of the motorhome, we'll eliminate the need for running the inverter at night, have an esthetically improved arrangement, plus have a fan that does a better job of keeping Sharyn cool at night.. While the fan we bought has not yet been permanently installed, we did have it jury rigged last night and it worked very well. (None of this electrical efficiency stuff matters when we're plugged in to external power or running the generator. Only when we're running off the batteries).

Camping World in Tampa is adjacent to (and somehow connected with) Lazy Days RV Center. The overall complex is quite large and, with hundreds upon hundreds of motorhomes in the sale areas, has an inventory value that is more than I can imagine!

Anyway, we left there and continued on our way to Ron & Peg's house in Umatilla. We were on I-75 within sight of our exit when Interstate traffic just came to a complete stop. When helicopters appeared overhead we turned on the radio to see if we could find out what was going on. It turned out that President had just left a 22,000 person rally at The Villages, a nearby retirement area and was apparently getting onto I-75 northbound. After about 30 or 40 minutes everything began to move again. As we exited the Interstate and began to move through the next town there were police cars everywhere, traffic cones being removed, etc. It wasn't too long after that when we pulled into Ron & Peg's driveway. They're friends that go back more than 30 years (to the days when we (and they) sailed the waters of Eastern Long Island and New England) and we usually stop and visit when we come to Florida. At this point they're no longer living on the farm and have a new "regular" house, which means no 30 amp outlet at the barn for us to plug into. With a 100' extension cord plugged into a 15 or 20 amp outlet in the garage we can't draw very much current. Accordingly, we're running one air conditioning unit from that circuit and have (electrically) isolated the rest of the motorhome from that incoming power. Everything else is either 12 volts or is running off of the inverter -- therefore the need for electrical efficiency. Our goal (maybe just my goal), is to use only as much power from the batteries as the solar panels can replace. At this point we may be able to accomplish that. I like to tell Sharyn: "Now if we could only recycle our water . . . ."

Odometer reading = 67,791
Miles for day = 133



10/20/04 through 10/21/04
(Umatilla FL)

Several days with Ron and Peg are always a pleasure. We get to talk about the past, present, and future -- all good things to talk about. It's too bad we hadn't given it more thought ahead of time to give them more notice that we were coming. As Ron said, with greater lead time he could have arranged to take time off from work. Next time we'll do that!

Odometer reading = 67,791
Miles for day = 0



(Perry FL)

This morning we said good-bye to Peg (Ron's gone before 7 o'clock) and headed towards the Florida Panhandle, once again on our (slow) way to Arkansas.

Once again we stopped at the Westgate Motel and RV Park in Perry FL. It's a somewhat run down operation in what appears to be a rather depressed area. We still seem to stay here (one night only) every time we pass through. The place has been for sale for several years and has lots of deferred maintenance, but a very convenient location. Heading north up from the Florida peninsular you'll hit Perry just as you turn and head west along the Panhandle and the Gulf Coast. The campground, which is behind the motel, backs up against an auto recycling facility and for reasons that we probably could not explain our preferred location in the campground is the row of campsites along the recycling facility. Actually, "easy-in and easy-out," plus a clear view if the sky (for satellite), has a lot to do with our site selection.

Odometer reading = 67,943
Miles for day = 151



10/23/04 and 10/24/04
(Panama City FL)

Leaving Perry on our way to Tyndall AFB (one of our favorite FamCamps) in Panama City, the question was should we once again take US-98, the same two lane road we have always taken, or should we go a little further north and take I-10, which we have never taken. Sharyn opted for US-98, but half way there commented that she had forgotten what a "boring" road it was. It is, for a large part of the distance, a narrow two lane roadway built through the swamp/jungle. As you proceed westerly, however, particularly past Panama City, there are more towns and villages along the route.

Anyway, we arrived at Tyndall AFB mid-afternoon and got a campsite set back in the woods overlooking a small wilderness area inlet for St. Andrew's Bay and the Gulf.

The day after our arrival we went to the Commissary where we did some pretty extensive grocery shopping (over $150 worth). Remember, we have a pretty small refrigerator and even smaller freezer, plus limited storage space. That's a lot of groceries for us -- probably $225 worth at a civilian supermarket!

We then rode into town where I had to get some female spade connectors to wire the 12 volt fan into the bedroom light switch. While in the strip mall (where I bought the connectors at K-Mart) we saw the Hong Kong Buffet and I asked Sharyn if she'd like to eat there. We went in to see what it looked like and recognized it as the place where we had eaten with another couple in March of this year following a "sunset cruise" on a big sailing catamaran. I was somewhat disappointed as while the food was good, and the selection extensive, the food was not hot. As we paid on the way out I mentioned that to the guy (apparent owner) at the checkout. Half of his response I couldn't hear, and the other half I couldn't understand. I suspect we'll still go back again.


Our bench and the sunset as seen from our campsite

Odometer reading = 68,100
Miles for day = 157



(Panama City FL0

Last night it had been our plan to leave here this morning but we decided to stay another day. Around midday the sky began to brighten so we decided we'd go to the beach. Tyndall AFB has about 10 miles of beautiful white sand beach on the Gulf Coast. We regard it as the nicest beach we've encountered in all our travels; largely because as beautiful as it is there's practically no one there.

After parking the car we were surprised to see that the wooden walkway from the parking lot to the beach was, for the most part, still there. We had thought that the hurricanes earlier this month would have taken out the entire thing, but the bulk of the half mile long walkway survived a pretty rough period.

After perhaps a half hour on the beach it became clear that rain was not too far away so we started back to the car. I did use the zip lock bag that I had brought for my camera. By the time we got back to the campground it was pouring (and it still is).


Upland end of wooden walkway

Approaching the beach end of walkway

Sharyn searching for shells before the weather hits

Odometer reading = 68,100
Miles for day = 0



(Biloxi MS)

It was late morning when we pulled out of the FamCamp at Tyndall AFB, and, unlike yesterday's rain, it was a beautiful sunny day. We headed west along US-98, which follows the Gulf Coast and is known as (and markets itself as) "The Emerald Coast."

The extensive hurricane damage that we expected to see in Panama City just wasn't there. A few trees down, but not too much else. That scenario changed, however, as we approached Pensacola. There was massive damage everywhere. Signs were down, buildings destroyed, trees and debris lying all over the place, and the occasional boat sitting in the woods or field hundreds of yards from the water. There were numerous big piles of debris that were obviously buildings that had been destroyed and pushed up into piles by heavy machinery.

The thing that probably most strongly evidenced the human costs of the storm was the innumerable houses that had their roofs covered with multiple large blue tarps. Many of these houses had piled in front them rolled up carpet, ruined furniture, wet mattresses, and (we don't know why) refrigerators. In some areas in and around Pensacola probably 75% of the homes were covered with blue tarps. As Sharyn said, considering that what we saw was after a month of cleanup, we can't imagine what it must have been like in the days immediately following the hurricane.

With all the work that needs to be done, particularly roof repair, it seems that it could take the better part of a year before it can all be completed -- how many roofers can there be in Florida? Signs posted around warning that anyone making repairs without a Florida contractors license is guilty of a felony may protect some people, but is certain to also limit the pool of available workers.

Anyway, it was our plan to stop at an Escapee campground just outside of Foley AL, not too far off of US-98. However, as we approached the downtown business district of Pensacola work traffic was beginning to build so we did not take US-98 Business as we usually do, and instead followed the signs to regular US-98 West. I thought it strange that the sign sent us in an easterly direction but figured that we'd change direction within a matter of several blocks. That did not happen and we found ourselves sort of trapped, going in the wrong direction and no place to turn around.

To shorten a long story, we went north to where we could pick up I-10 and then took the Interstate to (and through) Mobile AL. Of course that put us north of and beyond the Escapee campground. We stopped at a Wal-Mart several miles southwest of Mobile where we ate and watched the 6 o'clock (Eastern time) Fox News. Neither one of us cared much for where we were (plus it was hot and humid) so we decided to continue on to Biloxi which was only about another 50 miles. Of course that meant driving after dark, which we basically never do, but for the relatively short distance we figured we'd go for it anyway.

A longer than expected day, but then on the other hand we've picked up a day on our time frame to Bill and Cheryl's in Arkansas.

Odometer reading = 68,351
Miles for day = 251



(Biloxi MS)

We had a slow and easy day today. Sharyn did the laundry and checked out a few stores in town. I read some online news stories and listened to the Dennis Praeger Show on KRLA out of San Diego via Internet radio. He's an extremely well thought out, soft spoken, Jewish conservative who speaks softly and does not argue with or demean his callers. Listen to him from noon to 3:PM Eastern time (9:AM to noon West Coast time) by clicking here.

Our site at Keesler FamCamp


Odometer reading = 68,351
Miles for day = 0



(Biloxi MS)

After an extended coffee and conversation (that still happens every day) we went to the BX where we spent a considerable amount of time.

We again looked at a particular Lazy Box rocker/recliner that we like a lot and find to be quite comfortable. We could put one where Sharyn's chair is, but my chair, together with my computer setup, occupies the space where we used to have a couch. To see if I could reconfigure that space to fit a Lazy Boy and my computer would probably require bringing a Lazy Boy into the motorhome to try it out. I'm not sure how you get the BX (or another store) to go along with such an experiment. This is a bigger issue than it would appear to be. When we first started this full-timeing almost five years ago there were only two things I missed; online access and my Lazy Boy. The online access was solved about two years ago with Internet access via satellite. However, with respect to the Lazy Boy issue, space could be a major impediment.

Anyway, after leaving the BX we did some grocery shopping and returned to the motorhome. I was our plan to then go to the Barnes and Noble in Gulfport, about ten miles from here, but neither of us felt like going out again.

As a none related add-on, you can watch the entire movie "Stolen Honor" by clicking here.


Odometer reading = 68,351
Miles for day = 0



(Baton Rouge LA)

This morning, as I was getting the motorhome ready to leave, Sharyn went to the BX to get something that had just gone on sale as of today. While she was there she inquired about taking a Lazy Boy out to the motorhome to see if it would fit. The manager okayed it, so when we pulled out of the FamCamp we went back to the BX. Putting the Lazy Boy in place of Sharyn's chair we saw it fit pretty well, so we bought it.

Unfortunately when she was sitting in it her feet didn't reach the floor and she said she preferred her original chair (which we still have). We subsequently switched and put the Lazy Boy on my side with the computer. While it physically fits, it's not as suitable as it was on Sharyn's side. Looking at the computer station it looks as if I can reduce the front-to-back dimension by about five inches which will make that much more space available for the chair. I'm going to have to make this work because it sure is comfortable.

Anyway, it was past noon when we finally headed out of Biloxi, driving westbound on US-90 with the white sandy beaches of the Gulf on our left. It was a beautiful day (if kind of hot) and I was thinking that I'd rather spend the day on the beach and leave tomorrow. However, since Sharyn was ready to leave we were on our way out of town. It turns out that she also would have preferred to stay but thought that I wanted to leave. You'd think that we spend enough time together so that this kind of thing would not happen!

We spent the night in a Wal-Mart just outside of Baton Rouge.

Odometer reading = 68,511
Miles for day = 160



(Shreveport LA)

Since we are "just looking to get to Arkansas" we are not following our usual approach of taking the 2-lane roads, but yesterday and today we have relied heavily on the Interstate system. We took note of how much further and faster you go on the Interstate

In spite of the distance traveled, we got to the FamCamp at Barksdale AFB at 2:30. I was looking forward to a relaxed afternoon of doing nothing and then getting an early start tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, Barksdale AFB is the Headquarters for the 8th Air Force and the 8th Air Force Museum is right here on base. Since there was not adequate time to do the museum today, we'll have to do it tomorrow morning -- so much for an early start..

Incidentally, we had a big "God Bless George Bush . . . God Bless our Troops" poster left over from an anti-anti-war rally we participated in in Charlottesville VA several years ago. With only a few days left to go before election day we decided to tape this poster to the back of the Honda. Louisiana is Bush country. We got lots of signs of support and approval all along our route.

Honda with poster on back

Odometer reading = 68,760
Miles for day = 249



(Greenwood AR)

We were at the 8th Air Force Museum when it opened and had already looked at the planes on display outside of the building. We spent less than an hour in the building before topping off our gas tank at the base gas station and heading north towards Ft. Smith AR.

We arrived at Bill and Cheryl's late afternoon to find them sitting on the porch waiting for us. They claimed to have been on the verge of coming to look for us. They think it's funny that we take three days to travel the distance they cover in one day. Oh well . . . .

We took immediate notice of the temperature -- it wasn't hot! It seems that as soon as Virginia began experiencing pleasant fall temperatures we left and went to Florida. Since then we've had nothing but 90° type temperatures until we got here in Greenwood (about 25 miles south of Ft. Smith). What an improvement!

Bill and Cheryl have a gravel pad for their own motorhome, complete with 50 amps, etc., that we are using while we're here. We had hardly gotten set up when it started pouring down rain, but by that time we were in the house enjoying the company our visit.

P-51 Mustang


Odometer reading = 69,008
Miles for day = 248



11/1/04 through 11/8/04
(Greenwood AR)

We had a pleasant week doing those kind of things that one does when with friends. Pleasant and enjoyable, but not too interesting to strangers to the group. Bill and I drove to to Fort Smith several times, Sharyn and Cheryl drove to Little Rock where Cheryl had a job promotion interview, Sharyn and Cheryl went shopping, Bill and I installed a 100 amp service in his barn, we all went out for dinner, etc.

Hopefully at some time in the future they'll be able to come and visit us when we're at Jordan's house in Virginia. Actually that was the plan for Thanksgiving this year until Cheryl was thrown from one of her horses and had to undergo a hip replacement from which she is now painfully recovering.

About a year or so ago when I bought my Dell desktop system I was unsuccessfully trying to hold down the cost. As a result I ordered the cheapest speakers available -- I think they were $20 dollars. My reasoning was that I did not use the computer for listening to music, watching movies, etc., and the various "beep" type sounds for emails, certain keystrokes, etc. did not require anything other than a beep. Recently, however, I've discovered Internet Radio, particularly KRLA out of California, and pretty regularly (when we're not on the road) listen to the Dennis Praeger Show. For prolonged listening those speakers were really bad. I knew I didn't like them, but didn't realize how bad they were until I heard the speakers on Bill's computer. Anyway, that day we went to town (Fort Smith) where I bought some real speakers. What a difference!


Cheryl has Roy dressed for Halloween

Cheryl's horse trailers at daybreak

Odometer reading = 69,008
Miles for day = 0



(Malvern AR)

not on road until almost noon

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx Wal-Mart just south of I-30

Odometer reading = 69,149
Miles for day = 141



(Vicksburg MS)

As always, when we spend the night in a parking lot, Wal-Mart or otherwise, we seem to be out and on the road much earlier. We stopped to eat near the top of some mountain near Pine Bluff. We then continued on for awhile until we came to a big place on the side of the road selling all kinds of crystal and other rocks. We stopped to check it out, bought a few pieces, and continued on our way.

Our destination for the day was the Ameristar Casino in Vicksburg and we got here sometime in mid-afternoon. We only spent about an hour in the casino before returning to the motorhome for a while before we were going to go back to the casino for dinner. Casino security came by and we asked if we were allowed to spend the night where we were. He said that was no problem as the parking lot was never crowded during midweek.

It turned out that we didn't go back for dinner after all. Sharyn wanted to watch West Wing, plus it didn't appear that they had the steak and lobster dinner that we had last time and planned to have again. Sharyn said she'd rather go out in Biloxi.

The parking lot and casino are right on the bluff over looking the Mississippi River, and once again I was amazed while watching the tugs push their giant load of barges up and down the river. A flotilla (or whatever you call it) of barges all tied together make a pretty big thing to be pushed up the river. The pictures below are of a single (but VERY big) tugboat pushing a group a barges upriver against the current -- barely making any headway (note the current in the foreground). As for the size of the tug, notice that it's five stories tall. Also, look at the size of the doors. Anyway, it was an hour between the time he approached the bridge until he disappeared around the curve just upstream. The line of barges is so long (over a quarter mile) that as he's approaching a bend in the river the current coming around the bend is trying to push the lead barges sideways long before the main part of the group is into the bend. These tug captains must have tremendous river skills as they never seem to loose control.

Interstate 20 bridge over the Mississippi River

Tugboat and barges shortly after passing under bridge

BIG tugboat!

Tugboat and barges entering curve in river

Odometer reading = 69,373
Miles for day = 224



(Biloxi MS)

We had an uneventful trip back to Biloxi where we again checked into the FamCamp -- this time paying for one week in advance.

We got everything all set up, including our Internet satellite, but the overcast cloud cover is so dense that we are unable to maintain our online connection. Unfortunately, at the moment there is no sunshine in the forcast. We'll just have to wait it out -- we've got time.

Odometer reading = 69,582
Miles for day = 208



11/12/04 through 11/18/04
(Biloxi MS)

It's been a quiet week. For the most part we stayed around the motorhome with a few trips to town. With no schedule or time frame we've just kind of been enjoying free time and each others company. Our week is up today but we've extended our stay until tomorrow. While I'm doing stringbean Sharyn has gone back to Stein Mart, a local store that she likes.

This afternoon I plan to make some fat free, sugar free, oatmeal cookies that are both healthy and delicious -- particularly after being soaked in rum.

Tomorrow we plan to move east to Tyndall AFB in Panama City where we'll probably stay for a number of days before heading back to Virginia for Christmas.

We enjoy special parking privileges at the local Winn-Dixie

Odometer reading = 69,582
Miles for day = 0



(Valley AL)

Once again we are reminded that our plans are never firm until after the fact. This morning we left Biloxi on our way to Tyndall AFB in Panama City FL. Somewhere around the Mississippi-Alabama border we called Phil and asked if we showed up for Thanksgiving would they feed us. He said he thought they could handle that, so we turned left and headed for Virginia.

Our new route took us up through Atlanta so we decided to make a short detour and go visit Jim and Sheila, friends that live just outside of Athens GA.

We got as far as a place on the Alabama-Georgia border that seems to be called "Valley." I think that's the name, but you'd think it would be a two word name such as "Pleasant Valley" or "Deep Valley" or something other than just plain Valley. Oh well, it's their town.

Based on the above I suspect we spent the night in Valley's Wal-Mart parking lot.

Odometer reading = 69,893
Miles for day = 311



(Bogart GA)

Before pulling out of Wal-Mart's parking lot we put Jim and Sheila's address into DeLorme's Street Atlas and had it plot our route (we have a hand held Magellan GPS plugged into the computer). It worked well and following the directions of the female voice coming out of the computer we drove right up to their front door. It's probably the first time we ever went directly to their house without getting lost.

Anyway, we got there around noon and Jim even had an electric extension cord coiled up on the driveway and plugged into the garage. We enjoyed our visit and all the catching up on whose doing what, what all the kids are doing these days, etc. While at this point we don't get to see them too often, there was a time many yeas ago (when Sharyn and Sheila were still having having babies) that we did a lot together.

The conversation continued on until some of us were having trouble staying awake -- at that point we all called it a day and went to bed.

Odometer reading = 70,033
Miles for day = 140



(Gastonia NC)

This morning the conversation kind of picked up where it ended last night and it was probably somewhere around noon before we left.

Not too much to write about and we drove north on I-85. It was near dusk when we pulled into a large shopping center just off the Interstate in Gastonia NC. We parked among several big 18 wheelers who looked like they were there for the night. After it got dark, as we had dinner and watched TV, one by one, the big trucks pulled out. By morning several other RV had pulled in and parked near us.

Typically, the way it works is that we're the first ones off the road in the evening and the last to get started again in the morning. We're comfortable with that!

Odometer reading = 70,227
Miles for day = 194



(Louisa VA)

We got off the Interstate at Greensboro NC and took US-29 north to Charlottesville VA. Having traveled more Interstate since leaving Virginia a month or so ago we've come to the conclusion that while you go further faster we still prefer the "two lane roads." It takes longer, but then the idea is that we aren't supposed to have to be anywhere at any particular time.

It's rained for the last two days, and as we got "home" (I guess it's "home") it was getting dark. Dark and rainy is not my kind of driving conditions -- in fact, we pull off before that happens. We got home just in time.

We're here about a week or so earlier then originally planned, but that's okay -- it gives us more time to see and visit with the kids and grandchildren.

After Christmas we'll be back on the road to somewhere warmer. We're considering Sumter Oaks, an Escapee Co-op park, in Bushnell FL, Panama City or Biloxi along the Gulf Coast, or Quartzsite AZ. Quartzsite is a nothing crossroads in the middle of the Arizona dessert that, in January, turns into a Mecca for RVers. Something like 200,000 RVs gather together throughout the desert in about a ten mile radius around Quartzsite. In Quartzsite there's a big RV show, a rock and gem show that probably covers 100 acres, what is billed as "the world's largest flea market," etc. With the annual influx of what is estimated to be a half million RVers it's a pretty neat place to be -- but it's 3,000 miles from here and we have this "rule" against doing more than 200 miles a day. We'll see what happens.

In the meanwhile, there won't be too much posted on this site as hanging out with family does not make for very interesting reading for those outside of family who visit this site. Again, we'll see what happens -- check back in a couple of weeks.


Quartzsite RV show January 2004

Odometer reading = 70,550
Miles for day = 322



11/23/04 to 12/31/04
(Louisa VA)

These last weeks have been a period of what would probably be described as a retired couples routine family life (except that Christmas is certainly not "routine").

Aside from the time spent with kids and grandchildren, which we thoroughly enjoy, there has been the time thawing out and replacing the frozen water filters in the motorhome, which we enjoy very little. Temperatures in the lower teens are not compatable with RV living (without special preparation).

Anyway, this is a travelog and there has been no travel. In the next two or three days we will be heading south, most likely to Biloxi. For now it's the end of the year and the end of the 2004 Travelog.


Odometer reading = 70,550
Miles for day = 0





Complete Travelog February 2000 through December 2004
(This is a big file, probably not suitable for download via dialup connection)