Jim and Diane's Excellent Adventure

Trip Start Apr 19, 2008
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Flag of United States  , Vermont
Tuesday, September 9, 2008

On ward we go.......next stop was suppose to be about half way between Jacksonville and Pensacola. The map showed Lamont Florida right near the high way a good place to stop, about 120 miles I think. We got off the highway on to rte 14. The road gets smaller becomes a dirt road, no cell service, nobody around. What happens if we get a flat, what happens if the road ends how do we turn around? The GPS says to continue about 15 miles
Diane is ready to panic, I say nothing I just drive, no cars around just trees and a dirt road, if there were anyone driving in back of me probably couldn't see anything because of the dust I was causing, finally a paved road, we traveled about 20 miles on a dirt road, right across the street is a sign for the campground, about 5 miles down the road. Nice camp ground, watch out for the alligators! Nothing around,boring. We decide to just stay a few days then move on.
Getting fuel........we always fill up with diesel before our journeys (because of past experience) so we ask where is the nearest place, about 5 miles down the highway, so Diane and I head out for fuel, find the place but, they don't take credit cards, we have no cash, nearest place about 20 miles down the road they take credit cards, mean while at the store Diane talks with a sheriff who has prisoners, in shackles, who we assume has to use the bath room in the store, and they are in the store with Diane. SO that means we have to drive about 30 miles get fuel drive back home and then come back the same way tomorrow.
Nov 19 Thursday........on the road again
about 210 miles and we get up at 6 in the morning leave about 9 usually we leave about noon. We also go into a new time zone so we fall back another hour, going good
arrive about 1. It's a pull thru and everything set up by 3 easily...... good day. We stay around and just relax for the rest of the day. Getting up early and breaking things down and driving and setting things back up, hoping we don't get too lost and nothing happens ,its good to sit back and relax.
Friday Nov 20.........
We drove to Brewton, Alabama about 30 miles north of where we were staying. We went to Brewton to see Kathy and Tom. I have meet Kathy only once before in PA. in a hep c feast (a get together with people who have, or had, or spouse, or friend who has hepatitis C)Diane has seen Kathy 2 or 3 times and stays in contact with her thru the internet. Tom is her husband. Kathy has hep c and has been thru 2 treatments and hasn't responded. Kathy is very sick with a lot of ailments, but still very upbeat, with a warm personality. Tom is a nice southern gentleman, with a ton of southern expressions, we can't remember them all. We went out to eat at a local restaurant and had pork Boston hog butt. Yummy! We were warned about the deer when we left their place , the roads down here are dark with woods all around, and the deer could be anywhere (even saw a bear crossing sign)
There were only 4 turns we had to take going home in about 30 miles, and of course we missed a few, but made it back with a few extra miles added on, oh well!
Next day we went to Pensacola and checked out our next camp ground. I forget if we stopped for something to eat but it was nice day
Katy and Tom came down the next day and gave us a tour of Fort Walton Beach and Destin Beach. The sand was like sugar, Diane loves the sand looks like snow from a distant, really nice. She even got her feet wet and said the water wasn't to cold. We stopped at a Lobster Hut and had a lobster pizza for lunch, again YUMMY!!!!.
Next day was the day before Thanksgiving, so time to food shop. Walmart here we come. I am not knocking Walmart it has everything we need and a good price, but it seems strange, maybe I think we should be at a quality super market,like a place in Virginia, where they have a self service wine tasting was a nice super market. The food looked good there too.
Thanksgiving.............Tom and Kathy are coming down, with their son, Kathy's sister and husband, plus the young man that has a camper right near ours, his wife and son also. Diane makes garlic mashed potatoes, plus sweet potatoes, a veggie, cooked a small turkey breast and stuffing. Kathy and Tom with their son, they bring a ham, rolls, sweet tea, a pie and cake. Our neighbors disappear for the day, and Kathy's sister is ill, so it was the 5 of us.
I made one of my famous pickle trays with, pickles,celery with cream cheese, olives, cheese and crackers,veggie dip with veggies, with peanuts on another dish. We sat out side and munch away while watching football and it was warm enough to eat the main dishes outside, then desert inside as the day cooled off as night came.
We miss not being with family, but being with Kathy and Tom and son gave us a Thanksgiving holiday we shall never forget, in Milton Florida.
Friday Nov
We drove to Fort Walton beach, had lunch out side right near the water, nice lunch, we did do a little shopping. looking for just a few things for Amy and Doug. Another argument bout my driving, not stopping or turning around for stores Diane wants to go to. I could make excuses, some good, some not so good, sometimes its communications between us,I dunno! But we sure get mad and thats not fun for anyone, and it happens often.
Saturday........Nov29
We are now in Pensacola Florida. On a navy base, I think its the home of the Blue Angels. The ocean is a 5 minute walk away,right off the camp ground, nice sandy beaches, (the weather forecast is rain for the week).
Oh it was a back in site, I started of great then screwed up a little but did manage to get the rig on the pad. We are staying here at least 2 weeks (it cost about 300 for the 2 weeks)cable, water, electric, sewage, and right at the beach , not bad. Its raining, blah, coming down real good, staying in.
Nov. 30. ........Sunday
The next few days not much going on, we haven't spent much time at the beach, just a little too cold for beach, we did go to the Naval Air Museum, its free , very close by, and worth going back to. We did a little bit of shopping, going out to eat a few times,some very good restaurants around. Diane worked on making Christmas stockings,she sent out about 60 Christmas cards also, she loves to keep busy.
Dec 7.......Sunday
The museum is only 5 minutes down the road and I had planned on going to the Pearl Harbor Ceremony by my self I was just ready to get in the truck when a neighbor that I had meet a few days back, ask where I was going and when I said to the museum he ask if he could join me. Wayne (my new friend and neighbor) is retired from the Navy and retired from customs. The ceremony started with a high school band playing a few songs, then a quartet sang 40's song, survivors of the bombing of pearl harbor came next. ( the numbers are getting fewer every year, most are in their 80's now)a salute to the flag, and some speaker who told us the stories of what some of survivors were doing that day on Dec 7 1941.One of the stories was about a young pilot when the attack came, he jump into one of the few remaining flyable planes still in his underwear, carrying the only weapon he could find, which was a rifle and followed the Japanese aircraft for 150 miles out and had to return back because fuel was running low. After the ceremony, Wayne and I walked around, and Wayne told me stories of him flying in planes for customs, tracking drug dealers, he told me about directing canons from a destroyer firing 12 miles away hitting the target during the Vietnam War. It was having my own personnel tour guide at the museum.Wayne ask me to take a look at his computer sometime, he says it was running slow and he wanted to get rid of some programs or files he never uses. I have built, repaired, and cleaned out files many times on many, many computers, even fixed computers that techs screwed up and everything worked out,except for once, a simple scan disk and defrag job, screwed up a computer on a friend who was visiting and he left to go home with a computer that needed to go to a repair shop, so, always remember to have things backed up, no matter what you are doing on a computer. I didn't see Wayne after that, he was leaving on a cruise on the 16 Dec.so I do hope he gets the computer fixed.
Dec 19............Friday
Not much going on, we did go to Alabama last week, we went to place www.throwedrolls.com a neat place to go eat. They throw the hot buns to you, come around with a big bucket of potatoes and onions,fried okra,black eye peas, apple butter and a few other things I can't remember at the moment, as much as you want of any of the stuff passed around, plus your regular diner (Lamberts).(the food was good too) It was located in Foley Alabama,about 40 miles away, plenty of stores around.
Bullet(Richard) and Karen and their daughter came down from Alabama on a Sunday and we all went to the museum again. Their daughter really enjoyed getting into all the planes, I think Richard did to, he was in the navy a few years back.
.We keep up to date on the weather up north, another snow storm coming 6-12 inches of snow, I am now out side in the shade with short britches on (short britches are the same as shorts)and its about 65 degrees, and sure glad we are here instead of there. Tomorrow we head for New Orleans and we see Amy and Doug on the 26 of Dec (weather permitting)hopefully that will revive, cheer, and change our attitude. The great adventure is great and something to remember the rest of our lives. . Staying in these military bases are real neat, They are very nice, well kept up, and this one is close to the beach and we can see the blue angels fly every day, and they are cheap, but they are far from everything, there is no going down the street, to get subs , or milk, or whatever..
Dec .....25 Christmas morning
We made it to New Orleans on the 20 of Dec.(Saturday)The ride down here was very interesting, it was over 200 miles from Pennsicola to New Orleans. Rte 10 is a very good highway to travel, but who knew there was tunnel to travel thru, (it was a big tunnel and we made it but it was first time traveling with a camper thru a tunnel)then on to rickecty roads then thru some real bad slums to the camp ground. The camp ground is located right on the lake (no swimming) some big boats around, some nice campers and some old too. At first we were not impressed with the camp ground but it does have everything we need, and its close to French Quarters. We found the problem of one of the rear stabilzers(it wasn't getting any power )wire sticking out, (maybe some one down here can take a look at it)
Sunday we took it easy and stayed in, watch some football (New Orleans Saints of course)Pats not on TV here. Monday we drove around, found a casino and won 190$ went out to eat and went shopping (money all gone)
Driving around, and as much as we get lost, we find things that we would not have found other wise, (so I guess thats a plus).
Tuesday Dec 23........
I feel run down, hope I don't get a bug, we stay in and I take long nap, but feel better afterwards.
Wednesday.........we drive around and find some real nice areas,some shopping, Borders for a few things and Chevy's for Mex food. The areas we find are just like any where in the country, stores lined up both sides of the street, a few malls, good places to eat.
We head over to the French Quarters for Christmas Eve, they have it decorated really nice, they have place where it snows a little every hour.(we get lost again, and get mad again on Christmas Eve) We get to French Quarters and walk around, we did plan on getting something nice to eat, but we are still full from lunch, so we get a Hurricane drink. We end getting munchies and a few more drinks.
Christmas Eve we give the kitties a few toys (also spend about 80 dollars worth of cat food and treats in Petco today)
Christmas Day....... we talk with Amy and Doug,( miss them and will see them tomorrow)going to pot luck lunch at the camp ground (should be interesting)
Friday..........The house is clean, we empty a few draws so they can place a few items away, plenty of beer,plenty of food. We get to the airport and park just minutes before the plane lands.(have to park the truck in another area and take the shuttle to the airport. We went to french Quarters (bought a big muffettla, a big italian sandwich, made with hard salamia, provolone cheese,special dressing). Then home to open presents and have the sandwich and go to Rocka bowl and watch Kermit Ruffins. The Rock a bowl is a bowling alley that has entertainment.It has been around for a long time and did have 2 floors before the hurricane, now just the upstairs is left. It is not the most classy place but it is really different and the music is good. There are bowling lanes and there are people bowling, people of all ages come to bowl or listen to music or both, plus they sell drinks there. We have been there before so we knew what to expect, but the first time at the Rock a bowl is a surprise for anyone. Kermit Ruffins a big name in New Orleans started playing that night about 9"45, we listened for about an hour , maybe a little longer and decided to call it a night. I'm getting the days mixed up, but the next day or the day after we drove and went to a few sugar plantations, (they were about 30 miles away from New Orleans)In the early 1800's many plantation owners made a lot of money in their fields. Sugar was in great demand and along the Mississippi was a place called Millionaire road filled with plantations. Some are still standing, most are gone now but a few have tours and are very interesting.
Amy picked out certain places to eat and what they were famous for and we checked them out. Amy loves driving the truck and I am happy to get a break so she drove about half the time she was down there. Her sense of direction is much, much better than mine, and with Diane's help they can really find their way around. I can't find my way home, get lost in round-abouts, can't see the GPS and drive at the same time (sometimes).But I think I'm good driver other than that and we got this far....They found a place called Mothers...... best baked ham......had to wait to get in and Amy had to wait for chicken diner but it was worth the wait... yummy food. Best oyster po-boy sandwiches place, again yummy food.... sea food platter, we had plenty of muffleletta sandwiches, sea food gumbo, po- boy sandwiches craw fish, shrimp, time to go on a diet.
There is so much to say about New Orleans, it is not for everyone. The place is filled with music, good food, good people,we have seen places that look like they haven't been touch since Katernia, still with the X on the door and the date they were last inspected for bodies, New Orleans have main streets that could be any where in the country, stores and restaurants every where on the street, just like rte 9.They also have very bad places and places in between the two. I leave there with a different impression of New Orleans, we had a great time, wouldn't want to live their, feel for the people who lost homes, and lives, and for the people who will never go back there since the hurricane.
Katernia.
I would also like to mention the cats, they have become very good travelers, instead of hiding and getting really nervous about getting in the box, we get it set up and they go in by themselves, we may have to tell them its time to go, but the last trip I told Daisy it was time to get in the box , she walked right over and got in. smart kitties.
The 1 dollar toilet plunger, I bought a long time ago has been a great help. It helps me get very close to the hitch by myself, saves a lot of time and effort for both of us.
when-Jan 10.........20009
I am a little behind in my writing and hopefully I can back track a few days.
We are San Antonio as of yesterday, the temp was about 80 with a real nice breeze, we sat out and had a drink and enjoyed the weather. Last night a cold front came in and the wind of about 20 knots came with it and its about 50 right now, but much better than snow, ice and the cold weather up north.
Leaving New Orleans Jan 4......... Diane's birthday, 62 today,we celebrated when the kids were here.We headed north about 90 miles to Hammond La. We had made plans to have the gray water tank replaced and some minor work on the trailer in Hammond, so the plan was to get to a camp ground there on Sunday afternoon, stay the night and next day, arrive at the repair place early Monday morning, stay until the repairs were done.Monday we arrive at the repair place, they had just moved some of stuff there from a different location but the place wasn't exactly what we thought it would be. The service guy or salesman (who ever he was) first said he saw the tank we had ordered, then said it was someplace else and when they looked at it, it had a crack in it. No sense replacing it now! Time to head back to another camp ground a little bit closer.(no work was done,and it was a waste of time)so we reordered the tank and hope we can get everything done in Arizona. We stay in Hammond that night and an extra night because heavy winds and rain were coming in from the direction we were going to travel that day. Not much to report about Hammond, we stayed in the day the rains came, and the rains did come in very heavy.
Next day Beaumont Texas................
We wanted to register our truck by mail thru escapees and tried to do that in the begining of Dec. No luck, we tried again in about 2 weeks, still no luck and our registration runs out Jan 1. So went went to the registration office in Beaumont Texas, we now have temporary plates and need to get the truck inspected. Okay we go an inspection station, the guy there says sorry, Texas law requires MUD FLAPS on my type of truck,he doesn't sell mud flaps but told us were to buy them, we find the place after going around the block twice, we buy them but it would be a least a 2 hour wait before they could install them. We call back the inspection place (we thought) and they said they would install them, so we drive back there,no can do.... (we call the wrong place) but across the street can do them, so we drive across the street, nope... no drill.(the place was tire and brake place?)
We give up for the day. Time for food shopping and get ready for a long drive next day (285 miles).
Next day......... Friday on the road we leave about 9:30 drive thru Houston , highway 10 just about all the way. Not bad,........... we arrive about 3:30, have pull through, 50 amp, water, electric, cable, and free wi-fi that I still can't get after a few days.
Saturday..........Jan 10
We head to the Alamo, and River walk. Parking is almost always a hassle. Diane can't walk too far, I won't go into a public parking area, so we have to find a place to take us. Some parking lots will say no just because the truck is too big. We find a place for 9 dollars all day and its close by.
We do the River walk and have Mexican food, ride the riverboat and see the Alamo, we accomplish a lot in one day. Home by 7 and had a good day.
Sunday ........we are going to try to get a few things done, hopefully we accomplish something today.
Don't get much done but enjoy the day anyway. We are enjoying the weather here, it's cold at night(gets down to maybe 30 and then warms up during the day to about 60 and nice and sunny)
Monday morning we spend a lot of time and effort on the phone, looking for a place that has and will install Mudflaps so we can pass inspection for the state of Texas. We find someplace that has everything we need.
The mud flaps we bought earlier were the wrong type, so we had to buy new ones and installing them cost a total of 141 dollars. But now we Mud flaps, next, we go down the street from where we bought the mudflaps to get the truck inspected, that takes about an hour,(very casual inspection)Okay next step is to send the paper work inspection, application, and a few other things in to Livingston Texas, and hopefully within a week or so we will get new plates for the truck. Now the day is shot, but we do get a few things done.
Tuesday........... We go the Mexican market, just about all the stores are the same, but we kill a few hours and have some great Mexican food right next store to the market.
Wednesday.........Jan..
We head for a place called New Brunfells or something like that and is an old German town. This place has a lot of old western style buildings and has a sausage celebration that last a few days. Any place that can celebrate sausage for a few days can't be bad. It is about 30 miles north of San Antonio. We arrive at around lunch and decide to get something to eat because we are going out to diner with Diane's sister's boyfriend, sister and husband... whew (hope you follow that) (Steve from Jack London PUB).We go to Gruene to see the oldest dance hall,have a beer there, there was only about 4 other people there, but we took pictures. The doors on the place were falling off the hinges,the floor had a lot of creaky ups and downs areas, big areas of benches,and tables not to stable, even a real big area with benches and tables out side. but we heard the place gets wild, entertainment every night, and some big name country singers, almost every weekend.
Okay.... back to diner, we go to there place, real nice area, real nice house, and its on a hill, haven't seen to many hills here in Texas.We tell them of our adventure and talk about Sheryl and Steve. Ron and Sandy drove us to a place known for catfish and its huge plate of onion rings. The onion rings were great and we all ordered fried cat fish and boy was that good
too.The restaurant itself been around for many many years, and it looked it. I say that in good way, it was cool with all kinds of stuff hanging from the walls.
Jan.......16 the people in the office tell us we are suppose to leave today and they have someone waiting for our site.We thought we okay till Saturday, and thats when we leave for Austin. They have another site open we can have, but its a pain, getting all the stuff ready for travel, unhook and put away all the hoses and sewage drain and cable,Diane takes care of most of the stuff inside and thats a pain also, computers, chairs,and anything on the sink or just hanging around had to put in its place, plus the kitties.We get to the new site and its a back in.(just what we need )It takes me about half an hour (the fellow who works there and showed us the site was no help, after the second try he said it looks likes you can't fit there) I didn't give up and made it, plus there was no way we wanted, or was ready, to travel to Austin a day early.
Saturday.........Jan 17.
We pack up and move to Austin........nice camp ground with everything, cable, wi-fi, sewage, electric and water.....what more could a traveler want?
The trip took about 2 and half hours and everything went smoothly.Maybe we will go out and explore a little bit today.
I also want to mention about our travels, there is so much to see and do and different foods at each place.
We had muffletta's, po-boys, sausages sandwiches, catfish diners, seen cotton and sugar plantations, slave houses to mansions, houses that still have the x on the door from rescuers from Katernia, that look like they haven't been touched since the storm a few years ago. Seen Dr John play back up for Tab Benoit, a young lady about 15 years old play the fiddle like no else.
Still so much we missed along the way.
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