Thursday, March 29, 2012

Back to "Reality"

Well, we have been back home for about 1 1/2 weeks and are so happy to see family and friends, but miss the RV lifestyle.  Due to the warmer weather in PA, we were welcomed by yard weeds, flowerbed weeds, grass that needed mowing, and lots of pollen!  Is it any wonder I LOVE FLORIDA??????

We are slowly getting back into the swing of things and are already planning our camping trips for the summer with our friends and 1 or 2 with our children and granddaughters!  We are fortunate to have about 8 planned from April till August.  We did get a zone pass through Thousand Trails for the Northeast, so we need to make sure we get our monies worth.  We will probably take "Willie" to the Thousand Trail CG near Hershey and leave it there for a week.  Ken could go to work from there and I am hoping to have 3 of my girlfriends come up for 2 or 3 days with their husbands and Ken having dinner there with us the last evening.  It would be a lot of fun!  Due to the higher cost of gas, we will probably not travel quite as far this summer as previous ones, except for our 2 week trip in July with our friends, Sam and Kathy.  We haven't picked the destination for that trip yet, but will very soon!

We got to enjoy the Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party for 2 of our granddaughters, Bria (5) and Cali (3) last Saturday.  Our oldest daughter and her family were there too, as well as the great grandparents and the other grandparents.  It was such a fun time.  Ken and I also went to the bowling alley to watch the birthday girls bowl the Thursday before.  They liked having grandma and PaPa help them.

Sunday we will visit Neil and Nancy Savage who live near us and we met at the RV-Dreams Rally in Hershey in Sept.  They were in Florida for about 3 weeks and we "overlapped" our camping time at Pine Island for 2 1/2 days.  We are looking forward to seeing them again and talking about our wonderful times in Florida!

I get so excited to share our adventures with our friends and family when we get back home.  I just can't contain my enthusiasm!!!!  One gal said I sound like a newlywed when I start talking about our RV trips.  Just can't help myself.  I LOVE IT!!!!

Proud grandparents have to show off their granddaughers!  When you have 4 granddaughters 5 and under it gets LOUD, but a good time is had by all!!!!

Our daughter Jamie and her husband Dane just listed their
house with Ken.  We thought this photo might help it sell!!

Sam, Bria and Cali's cousin, thought she could help too!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Back in PA

Yesterday, Sunday, we left Roanke Rapids area and the Carolina Crossroads CG around 7:45 for the final leg of our trip back to PA.  (I would really recommend this CG for a quick overnight stay - only $25.00 and so easy for a 1 night stay!)  It is only about 1 miles of 95 and 10 miles from the border of VA.

We only made a few stops and were back in our driveway by 3:15, traveling about 360 miles.  Within 2 hours we had Willie unloaded, but were exhausted till we were done.  Our youngest daughter, Jamie, had checked in with us early in the day and invited us to dinner at there house - how nice and so appreciated!  We got to see Bria, Cali, Jamie and Dane.  It was a fun evening.  We left at 8:45 and went right to bed when we got home.  All the driving had caught up with us!

We feel so blessed to have had a safe and "uneventful" time driving.  The truck and the 5th wheel did so well and Ken and I felt much more comfortable with the set-up, packing up and all the steps needed for each change of campgrounds.  It all went so smoothly this year.  We are definitely enjoying "Willie" and the whole experience of snowbirding!  The time just goes too quickly when you are in Florida.  There are less hours in the day and less days in the week when you are there!  Now we are looking forward to our camping adventures this spring, summer and fall with our camping friends here in PA!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Homeward Bound!

The whining has official begun!  We left St. Augustine at 7:45 this morning to head back to Akron PA.  It was a gorgeous day for traveling - got to 86 degrees and we had sun for the whole trip.  We weren't sure if we would stop in CG's for 1 or 2 nights for the 1000 mile trip, but I also know Ken.  Once he gets behind the whell, there is no stopping him.  He wants to keep moving.  So we traveled 560 miles, spending the night in a wonderful CG near Roanoke Rapids, VA.  You can stay in an overnight sight that is a pull thru, level, and has all amenities except cable for only $25.00.   A very good deal.  We plan to be back on the road around 7:30 tomorrow morning with the hopes of arriving in Akron by mid to late afternoon.  We just hope an uneventful trip continues!!!!

At least it will be warm when we get back to PA - in the 60's.  Warm temperatures for March!!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Our Last Day in St. Augustine! So Sad!!!

Well, this is it!  Our final full day in Florida for 2012!  Can't believe the 8 weeks are all gone!!!!!  We have had the time of our life!!!

Ken spent a lot of the morning packing up things outside for our return trip tomorrow.  I worked inside doing the same.  Then I packed our lunch and we left at 11:30 to head to Vilano Beach (north of St. Augustine) and to get there we had to go thru downtown St. Augustine.  Ken wanted to do that 1 more time before heading home.  It was another gorgeous day to be on the beach, about 80 with full sunshine and a light breeze.  Perfect!!  We left the beach at 3:15 and got our last view of the harbor, downtown St. Augustine, and the ride over the Bridge of the Lions.  We had to wait 10 minutes while 6 sailboats went under the raised drawbridge.  How picturesque!

After getting some groceries and gas for the trip home, we went back to Willie to continue the packing process.  Also did a load of laundry so I was sure we would both have underwear till we got home!!!!!

Ken disconnected the sewer after supper so we can definitely get an early start in the morning.  Hope to be on our way by 7:30.  We have about 1000 miles so we aren't sure if we will get to Akron PA on Sunday or Monday.  It will depend on the weather and how everything goes.  Traveling 500 miles per day can be pretty tiring and taxing!  We shall see!

Now the whining begins!!

The waves in the Atlantic Ocean here in Florida break
out farther in the water and then come rolling in
so gently, because the beach is so flat!

At many of the beaches you can pay to bring your
car on the beach.  Today was extremely busy on the beach!
Must have to do with Spring Break!

Who is the lady hidden under the black hat????  She
continues to look for shell pieces for jewelry making!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

2 More Great Days in St. Augustine!

Yesterday, Wednesday, was another great weather day and fun day for us.  We rode our bikes to the local farmers market right on the beach about 3/4 of a mile from our CG.  Purchased some fresh produce, including some delicious locally grown strawberries!
Back to Willie to pack lunch and head to Vilano Beach.  We stopped on the way to check out a CG about 3 miles north of the Beach, North Point CG.  What a nice CG in a great setting.  Looked like a State Park with large level sites and so much vegetation making each site very private!
We spent about 2 1/2 hours on the beach and then went to a boat launch near the lighthouse where we were met by Coy and Betsy.  They wanted to see how to inflate the kayak and then we had them take it out for a short paddle.  They enjoyed it and found it easy to handle.  They headed back to their CG and Ken and I paddled the area for about an hour.  It was a back bay area that was calm and picturesque.
Then back to Willie to shower and on to Coy and Betsy's campsite (about 4 miles away) to have dinner with them.  Gail, their friend who is staying in a park model in a CG across the road from them, joined us too.  We were there from 4 to 9 having Happy Hour, chatting, and enjoying Betsy's delicious pulled pork.
What a fun, busy day!

Busy creating our "tag line" in the sand!

This describes our entire trip!

Coy and Betsy on their trial kayak trip!

A Kodak Moment!

Today was a repeat of yesterday's weather - perfect!  So Ken and I decided it was good day to bike ride into downtown St. Augustine again!  So off we went!  Also, Ken had promised me I could check out a Bead Store and a Rubber Stamping Store that were side by side along the Main Street of St. Augustine!  What more could a craft girl ask for????  I had a good time in both stores while  Ken enjoyed walking around the area.  Then we had to go back to The Bunnery for another raisin scone and a raspberry square.  Some things are a "must"!
Back to Willie to pack our lunch and dry off the kayak so we could pack it up for the trip home!  Did someone say home?  Have we really been in Florida for almost 8 weeks?  How can that be???  Then we pedaled our bikes to Coy and Betsy's CG to spend the afternoon on the beach right in front of their CG.  Gail joined us too!  At 4:30 we pedaled back to Willie to shower and get ready to go to dinner with Coy, Betsy, and Gail at the Meehan Pub eating on the outdoor balcony overlooking the harbor.  What a setting and the food was delicious.  Ken finally got to have his Florida lightly breaded shrimp.  We will not see Coy and Betsy anymore on this trip and it was hard to say good-bye.  They have really enhanced this trip to Florida.  We would not have come to St. Augustine if they had not  really encouraged us to join them.  We are very grateful!
Tomorrow we will slow the pace and pack up to head out early Saturday morning!  I hope we can do that!  Slowing down has not been part of our itinerary during most of this trip.  There is just so much fun stuff to do!!
Some photos of today's adventures!

Ken visited this area while I was shopping!

The site of these crosses really makes quite a statement!
It brings a tear to your eye!

This is the walkway from Coy and Betsy's CG
to the beach!

Pelicans, 18 of them, flying over the beach!

This is the pond in our CG,  Children fish from the cabins
that line this pond!

From the balcony of the restaurant!

The Bridge of the Lions.  Carriage rides are available
for touing St. Augustine!

Another photo from the balcony where
we had dinner tonight.  Can't beat the view!

Coy and Bestsy O'Connor.  No wonder we ate an
Irish Pub!

We had the opportunity to spend time with their friend Gail!

Ken enjoyed his lightly breaded Florida shrimp!

What a gorgeous evening for eating outdoors along the harbor!
Got wonderful pictures from the balcony where we ate!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Great Day in St. Augustine!

Today was a perfect weather day in St. Augustine - Sunny and in the upper 70's with very little wind!  So, Ken and I got on our bikes and rode into downtown St. Augustine.  So much easier to park the bikes than "Diesel".  We loved riding over the Bridge of the Lions!  Such a view!

We decided to take the 45 minute tour of Flagler College.  What a beautiful school - the buildings and the grounds.  A senior student led the tour and did a terrific job.  The private college has 2500 students at a tuition of $22,000. per year including room and board.  The school was built by Flagler, the stained glass windows down by Mr. Tiffany, and the architects were Carrere and Hastings.  They also designed the Metropolitan Opera House, the Library of Congress, and the Senate and House of Representatives.  It was originally built as The Ponce de Leon Hotel for the wealthy from the North for a winter getaway.  He also built an "activity center" across the street, The Alcasar  Hotel, that provided activities and spa type services for folks that stayed at the hotel.  It included an indoor pool, bowling alley, ballroom, steam room, casino, etc.  Quite the buildings for the late 1800's.  The architecture is breathtaking!
Went to The Bunnery for a delicious raisin scone and key lime square.  They were exceptional.  Walked around a lot of the downtown area and then biked back to the CG.  Only rode about 9 miles.
Went for groceries, prepped some food and did some indoor clean-up of Willie.  Coy, Betsy and their friend Gail came to our campsite at 4:00 to visit and have dinner with us.  Gail does many different crafts including beading and wire wrapping and shared many tips that can help me in my wire wrapping.  I appreciated her help!  Supper went well and we enjoyed spending the evening with these special people.  They left around 8:45.  Ken and I worked together cleaning up and then spent time on our computers.

Another wonderful day on our winter adventure!

Enjoy the photos of our day!

Riding Bike on A1A from our CG to downtown
St. Augustine, about 4 1/2 miles

Statue of Ponce de Leon

Entrance to the Bridge of the Lions.  Leads into St. Augustine

That bridge takes you into Vilano Beach

It is motorcyle Week at Daytona Beach about 47
miles away.  Many of the bikers are lodged in St. Augistine!
These 2 cycles were drawing a lot of attention!

This is the ceiling of the Dining Hall in Flagler College.

This is the actual Dining Hall.  Incredible!

The lobby of a building in Flagler College.

Tin Dragons were part of the original Ponce de Leon Hotel.
Red lights were in them at night to make them look
like fire breathing dragons!

This fountain on the grounds of the Hotel (now
Flagler College) is beautiful.  The 12 frogs
represent the 12 months and the 4 turles
the 4 seasons.  All of them "squirt" water!

The gate at the entrance to the college.

The Alcazar Hotel, really just a place for the wealthy folks
from the North to play and do activities!

Crossing the Bridge of the Lions as we were entering
downtown St. Augustine!

What a view from the bridge!