Clinton, MD to Tampa, FL.

Trip Start Jul 24, 2007
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Bay Bayou RV Park

Flag of United States  , Florida
Friday, January 18, 2008

December 20th, 2007
We left Dick and Judy's today and drove to Williamsburg, Va.  (Happy Birthday, Roy)  The next week was pretty much uneventful.  Just relaxing from all the driving and enjoying the holidays.  This was our first Christmas out of the "house", and we didn't have much in the line of decorations but the Christmas "feeling" of peace was as strong as ever.  Williamsburg is beautiful as you can imagine and especially so with all the decorations and lights.
Our trailer has a "bunk house" in the back with two adult sized bunks.  I tried them out and they are pretty comfortable.  Anyone want to come visit??   All you need to do is find us (ha,ha).  Anyway, about the bunkhouse.  The drawers in the built-in dresser left a lot to be desired.  They were awful to operate, constantly stuck or off the track or both.  Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to bring my saws-all.  You never know when you may need a saws-all.  So, I remodeled the cabinet and turned it into  a computer desk for Jean. The drawers are now in the storage area under the trailer and they come in handy as bins for "stuff".

For Jean's birthday (it's December 27th in case you want to write it down), I bought her a task chair for her new office. Its cloth and chrome with wheels and the seat adjusts up or down and only eighteen bucks at Wal-Mart.  How can you beat that??  While trying to put it together I couldn't get the support post into the base.  I know it should be tight to safely support someone's weight, but this was a bit much.  The shaft looked to be the same diameter as the hole it was supposed to go into.  It became obvious I needed some more tools.  I gathered my hydraulic jack, the base of the chair and the support shaft and proceeded to the outside.  I then wedged the chair parts between the jack and the frame of the trailer and started pumping   The procedure was able to raise the RV off the ground but that shaft wasn't going in that hole.  I then trimmed some of the plastic off the shaft with my hatchet, but still no help.  Next, I tried altering the size of the shaft with my hammer, but I only succeeded in altering the shape.  Think square peg and round hole.  I then threw the hammer, square shaft, round hole and jack several campsites away but that didn't help either, but it sure made me feel better for a few minutes. Sooo, all the parts minus the hand tools went back into the box (sort of) and it all went back to Wal-Mart.  I told them what was wrong with it (originally) and I got another one.  Hey, eighteen bucks, how can you beat that??  Besides, I had so much fun.  Anyway, the seat, shaft, and base all went together smoothly and now Jean has a nice little office, and she can somewhat get away from the blasting TV. 

December 26th, 2007:  
We drove to New Bern, North Carolina.  They say they have the largest Marine air base in the United States.  Their aircraft of choice is the Harrier.  It's the one that can adjust its jet blast to lift the plane straight off the ground without the need to taxi.  They have one mounted on a pedestal in front of the New Bern police station and they keep it in pristine condition.  There was also a swarm of them buzzing around overhead.
We took the dogs to the beach to let them run off some steam.  It always makes me very, very nervous when we let them off lead.  I can imagine all sorts of horrible things happening but nothing ever does.  And, it always gives us some of our biggest laughs.  If you could have seen Cody's face when he ran into the water and discovered it was deeper than a mud puddle, then started paddling like crazy.  Very funny, but I guess you had to be there.  Or, when they play tag with one another, running as fast as they can run.  Maggie disappeared over a sand dune but I could hear someone laughing on the other side.  This man was still laughing when he came out from behind the dune.  He had two large dogs with him and it seemed to him they were saying "I don't know what that is, but lets get out of here!"

December 29th, 2007:
We drove to Wilmington, N.C.  They have the WWII battleship "North Carolina" there and I couldn't wait to take a tour.  Ya know, its been a long time since I've said "Wow, look at that" but it was the first thing that came to mind seeing that monster.  743 ft long and guns that can throw a shell as heavy as a VW for 25 miles.  I don't really consider myself much of a "gear head", but I could have spent hours in the engine room.  The power distribution center reminded me a lot of the power rooms I worked in at the phone company.  The generators, switches, etc were much the same.  It then occured to be that the phone company's power rooms I worked in were about the same age as the power rooms on board that ship, if not older.  It's not that I'm old, its that the equipment was old.  Ya know?
On my way back to the campground to tell Jean all about it (yawn, boy toys), I realized I didn't have a camera with me and therefore didn't take any pictures.  How could I share this incredable experience with my fellow gear heads??   My wonderful wife encouraged me to return the next day with a camera. Now, that made the cost of the tour $24 instead of $12, but no big deal.  Somewhere around the engine room ( again ) the camera battery went dead, so I called Jean to cry on her shoulder.  This isn't the kind of battery you can buy at the gift store.  Again, she came to the rescue and suggested I purchase one of those cheap tourists cameras at the gift shop and continue with the tour.  You already have $24 invested, in that boat, a little more isn't going to hurt.  Now, the cost of my adventure is $44.  They should give me a plaque for the most money invested in a single day.  I was back at the engine room (I'll keep coming back till I get it right), when I realized my cheap little expensive camera didn't have a flash.  Thats it!  I'm never coming to the engine room again.  I continued the rest of the tour taking just outside pictures. 
Back to the campground I went so Jean could download all my precious pictures.  In the process of looking for the USB port the battery door opened, cutting off the power to the memory card which promply forgot all my pictures.  Forgot as in poof - all gone. 
Is it bad to take pictures of weapons of mass distruction???  There has to be a message here somewhere. 

Jan 1st, 2008
Drove to Charlestown, South Carolina.  That afternoon we also took down our Christmas decorations.  Took about 39 seconds.  All we had was a snowman-bubble-nite light from Susan, two flickering candlesticks from Roy and Vikki, a snowman candy dish from Jan and Jerry, and paper white narcissis from Kathy, but it sure made the RV festive.  Guess what else is in Charleston??    Thats right, the WWII aircraft carrier Yorktowne!!  You may think I'm really obsessed with killing machines, but these things are really neat.  Although, after my last ship experience, my heart wasn't really in it.  Besides, if you've seen one engine room, you've seen them all.  I did gamble with the camera gods and took a few pictures.  I toured part of the ship while Jean was walking around Charleston.  Two hours went by pretty fast for me but Jean and the min pins were just about frozen by the time I picked her up.  She tried to call but I guess cell phones don't work in aircraft carrier engine rooms.  A guy at the visitor's center recommended eating at Hyman's Restaurant, and it was wonderful!

Jan 5th, 2008
Drove to Sanlan RV park in Lakeland, Florida with temps in the high 70's.  But, it's a wet heat.  It's almost too warm for us, believe it or not, but is does feel good to finally thaw out.
It's really OLD here.  I know I'm old, but its really old here.  I finally get to the land of string bikinis and they're only worn by old men.  Jean said this place reminded her of an ant hill with people scurrying every which way, mostly on golf carts but some on bikes. And, I must not forget about the shuffleboard tournaments.  This is serious stuff. 
All pets must be on a leash, and that is OK.  The pet walk area was right next to a fairly large pond which was right next to a sign reading "watch your pets, we have alligators"  What a nifty place to have a pet walk area.  Personally, I didn't believe there was a stupid old alligator in that pond until Jean invited me down to see one.  About 8 ft long he was.  I was a little more careful after that except when the little beasts had me upset about something.  I kept telling them they would make a tasty snack.  I don't think they really understood what I was talking about. 
Our main reason for coming to Lakeland was to attend the "workampers job fair".  For those of you that don't know what a workamper is it's simply this:  If you volunteer 15-20 hours/week of your time per couple to help around the campground, you get your RV site, electric, water, sewer, WIFI, and cable free.  A lot of parks want a lot more hours  (like 40) but then you  get paid an hourly wage in addition to your site.  Not a bad deal but we sure traveled a long way just to realize we don't want to work
While in Lakeland, we were able to hook up with cousin Tom and his wife Mae.  We had a nice visit over breakfast.  They are always so much fun to visit with.

Jan 12th, 2008
We moved to Bay Bayou RV park in Tampa to be closer to the RV SUPERSHOW. It's huge.  Stupid huge.  19 acres.  Over 1300 RVs.  We were able to get inside a $2 million motorcoach.  (they made us take off our shoes and leave our camera outside) Ya know, its only slightly nicer than our 5th wheel and we get much better gas mileage.  When they say supershow, they're not kidding.  We only got about half way thru before we tuckered out.  We thought about going back again in case they would give us a good trade-in for that motorcoach.
We think we're about done with Florida.  We're going to head back slightly north and travel along the Gulf coast.  I can't leave Florida though without saying a few words about how different the traffic laws are.  For example, you're familiar with "right turn on red after stop".  Well here it's "Right turn without stopping and it doesn't matter what color the light is. 
Also, when the light turns from green to yellow, it means to go very fast.  When the light changes to red, that means the next three or four cars really don't have to stop unless they want to.  When you signal to change lanes, that actually signals the person behind you to hurry alongside to cut you off.  
My personal favorate is:  In Pa, they paint large circles on the pavement at exact intervals with a sign reading "Maintain two circles between vehicles at 60 mph", or something like that.  Here, the goal is, your back bumper and the front bumper of the car following you has to be over the same circle. 
The NTSB investigated that horrible crash on I-4 that involved 70 vehicles and resulted in 4 deaths.  They believe it was due to going too fast and following too close.     DUH !!
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