Odie's Roadies

Monday, May 31, 2004

The Legend of the Corned Ham

Once upon a time, Jimmy, the Magnificent Sea Lyon, had a Hobie Cat sailboat he stored overhead in his garage. It was quite heavy and was held up with ropes and pulleys. So, for many years, every Spring he had a party so he could get enough guys to haul the boat out and another party in the Fall to put it back.
The main dish at this feast was a Corned Ham.

A large, fresh ham is soaked in brine then slow cooked till it falls off the bone. It is fantastically delicious!
The rest of the feast was "pot luck".

Friends and family came from all over to partake.

The Hobie is no longer, but the tradition continues...

Twenty-seven people, including Odie, attended the festivities.

It is so great to have friends, old and new, together to laugh and share.

Emily discovered how cozy our loft can be, especially when shared with a furry friend.

The morning after...Yummy Omelettes!

posted by Jim at 5/31/2004 11:53:00 AM | link links to this post | 1 comments  

Sunday, May 30, 2004

We started the Memorial Day weekend yesterday. Up with the flag:

Then over to Jo Ellen's sister Vicki's for a nice lunch and visit.

Jo with nephew Casey:

More tonight as Jimmy is having a 'Corned Ham' party. We hoping to see a few more relatives and friends that we've missed so far.
posted by Chris at 5/30/2004 08:52:00 AM | link links to this post | 1 comments  

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Visitors from Florida
What a trip! Here we are 'living' in Long Beach Island, and Jo Ellen and Bob come to visit from Florida for the Memorial day weekend. Jo Ellen is Jim's ex-wife, part of our extended family. She also grew up here and has lots of family. She and Jim used to be snowbirds - running the Pumpernickel restaurant here on the island during the summer and spending winters in Florida.

Here's Jo with her brother Steve:

Goin' Fishin'
After the visit, Jim and Jimmy decided to go fishing. I said 'no, thanx'. A little alone time watching the sunset sounded great to me. So I waved goodbye and sent my men off to catch dinner. I didn't really expect dinner - I knew I had a nice can of soup that would be just fine.

Odie waves goodbye too

I enjoyed a gorgeous sunset

Then, whaddaya know ... as Jim says, they didn't go fishin', they went catchin'!

That was the biggest fish, but not the only one. So, they had a good time. And, we had a good dinner. The big striped bass fed all three of us with some leftover.

Oh boy, I've been waiting for an opportunity to post a copy of an old photograph. This seems like a good segue because this photo is of another famous 'catch'. You see, Jim and Jimmy know each other because they got started in scuba diving together. Jim got certified in 1974 and met Jimmy who was already certified. They would go diving on the wrecks in the waters off Long Beach Island and they would get real lobster. The kind with claws. They're a lot bigger than the clawless 'spiny lobster' that we get in Florida. A few of them formed a club they called the "Mobby Lobster" club and this photo, taken in July 1984, shows the members of the club all holding a lobster. All but one of these lobsters were caught by Jimmy in one dive. Later note: I thought it was obvious, but others have told me they can't tell which ones are Jim and Jimmy. Jim is on the far right and Jimmy is in the middle, 3d from the left.

posted by Chris at 5/29/2004 10:09:00 AM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Friday, May 28, 2004

An Insurance Tale (a good one!)

I like to complain about insurance. Actually, I don't think I like it, but I sure find myself doing it a lot. Ever since we got the RV though, I've been saying "Now, our car insurance isn't so bad since we joined Good Sam". We used to insure 2 cars. When we bought the RV, we still had the 2 cars. We joined Good Sam and put all three vehicles on one policy for less than we had been paying for just the two! I still don't understand it, and I keep waiting for them to find the mistake, but it's been a year now. I'd still complain that insurance was money being paid for nothing, since you never use it. The worst thing that has happened to us so far is when our awning blew away.

I didn't even think to check with our insurance because I understood that awnings were never covered. You had to buy a special 'awning only' policy for that. We just grit our teeth and paid the $1,000 bill to replace it. Well, the other day we were watching 'RV Today' and noticed the ad for Good Sam's VIP insurance. It showed a couple saying 'Remember when that tree fell on our awning ... and it was covered?' So, I got right up and called. Sure enough, our policy covers 'acts of nature' like storms blowing away the awning! We have a $500 deductible, but they said that if I would mail in the receipt they'd send me a check for the balance right away!

I was so impressed, I rushed right over to their website and signed up to be an affiliate. If you're interested in getting a quote for car insurance, especially if you own an RV, click on the link at the left. It does remain to be seen how fast the check gets here ... and, if our rates go up. Stay tuned ...
posted by Chris at 5/28/2004 02:50:00 PM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Thursday, May 27, 2004

A Travel Day

Yesterday we drove the motorhome down to Ocean View to visit an RV park who is interested in Coach Connect's Wi-Fi services. It's a beautiful hour and a half ride down the Garden State Parkway. It felt good to be on the road, even if just for one night. Actually, especially just for one night! We so enjoy our spot at Jimmy's "Sea Lyon Beach". Anyway, the park we visited is Ocean View Resort. There's no way they have an Ocean View .. but they are in the town of Ocean View. It's a very forested place actually:

And, you know what 'forested campsite' means right? No satellite Internet. Oh well, it's good to take a night off from the computer once in a while. You might notice that the dish is up, but, it never did find the satellite.

Jim had a great meeting with the manager of the park as they discussed the proposal for installing 17 antennas to distribute the Wi-Fi. That's the most antennas we've heard of, but I even wonder if 17 will be enough - they have over 1100 sites - and all those trees.

On our way back today, we stopped at a grocery store. What's great about living in a motorhome - you don't have to wait till after you drive home from the store to have your lunch! If you look closely, you can see Jim in the window eating a sandwich. Home IS where we park it!

We took the scenic drive back, along highway 9. What a gorgeous area! The lush woods and the old Victorian homes. And we went thru a town where Jim knew he had relatives who owned a business called Miami-Somers. We spotted it and stopped. Jim went in and found Cousin Rick:

Once we got back, parked, and checked our email, we decided it was about time we drove up to the north end of Long Beach Island to see Barnegat Lighthouse.

The end of another beautiful day ... g'night.
posted by Chris at 5/27/2004 09:09:00 PM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Just to prove that Jim does have a tie, we got dressed up to attend the Tom's River Toastmasters club.

One of our regular activities when we lived in Fort Lauderdale was going to our Toastmaster's club. We belong to EarlyBird Toasmasters #3659 of Fort Lauderdale. Both Jim and I have belonged for many years and have given many, many speeches. Here's the weblog entry from our last EarlyBird meeting. We love Toastmasters and promised to visit other clubs as we traveled around. All clubs welcome guests, and, this one was no exception. In fact, they welcomed us so heartily, that they asked us to volunteer for the positions of Toastmaster and General Evaluator! For you non-Toastmasters out there, that basically means we ran the meeting! Thanks to the training we've had in years of Toastmastering, I'd say we did a fine job. And it was great fun getting to know some nice local folks.

posted by Chris at 5/26/2004 09:17:00 AM | link links to this post | 1 comments  

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Paddle in the Bay
The bay was so calm this morning, we couldn't resist. So, we grabbed a couple of Jimmy's kayaks and went for a paddle. Look close in the background and you can see our motorhome on the beach.

We paddled north on the Bay to the jobsite where Jimmy is renovating a house. Anyone involved in home building or renovating around here is as busy as can be. For the last three years they've been saying 'recession? what recession?'

How would you like to have this for your backyard?

Then, we paddled back. Kayodie had a great time! He's still dry in the first picture, but it didn't take long before he was in the water. Hey! there's no alligators around here - so, let him swim. His cute little life jacket has a very handy handle to pick him up with and put him back in the boat.

posted by Chris at 5/25/2004 04:51:00 PM | link links to this post | 1 comments  

Monday, May 24, 2004

Danny and Judy's

Danny is Jim's brother-in-law by his first wife. Danny and Judy have been married 30 years. If you think you're rereading yesterday's post, nope, it's true - this is the second 30 year happy marriage I've written about. Isn't that nice to know it's possible?!

They built this house when they first got married. Both Casey and Erin were born here. You can tell that they take pride in every detail. Here's Judy on the phone. Take a look at this phone ... it actually is a pushbutton, but the buttons are arranged around the dial.

When the kids are gone .. I think this could be a great B&B! Here's the living room with Casey, Danny and Jim.

And, here's the outside of the house.

Here's Erin

And, here's Judy with Erin's friend Michael
posted by Chris at 5/24/2004 03:30:00 PM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Walk on the Beach
What a gorgeous day. These fences are all over the place and the planting in an attempt to keep the dunes in tact. Jim says he remembers many boy scout outings where their job was to plant plugs of grass in the dunes.

Apparently this is about the best surfing on the whole East Coast, ooops, or should I say "Shore"?

And, these jetties are placed at about 1 block intervals all up and down the beach. I wonder how much they really help in keeping the sand here? Notice the sand level on either side of the jetty.

Jim and I figured we could make a little extra cash by renting Odie out to single guys who want to meet girls on the beach ...
posted by Chris at 5/23/2004 03:16:00 PM | link links to this post | 1 comments  
31 years of happy marriage

We visited Jim's high school buddy, Tom, last night. Tom and Betty got married shortly after high school and have been together and happy ever since. Their daughter Jamie, 16, is attending the same high school 'Southern Regional' that her parents (and Jim) did. What a trip listening to Tom and Jim reminisce about their science lab shenanigans and then have Jamie chime in with tales of her own. We were all laughing so hard it hurt! Their younger daughter, Emily was sleeping over at a friend's, so we'll have to wait till our next visit (we hope to get them to come to our home next week!) to show photos of her.

Here's Betty and Jamie holding up photos of themselves at similar ages. I had to ask which one was which. They definitely look like photos of the same person. You can tell the one that was actually Betty at 16 because they made you wear that black drape for the class photos back then.

And here's Tom. Hard to believe that he was the long-haired hippy rock-and-roll band member in the 70s. Now he's a professor at a local college and loves it. He teaches Electrical Trades and Integrated Cabling (video/voice/data/fiber optics)@ Ocean County Vocational Technical School’s Toms River Center

posted by Chris at 5/23/2004 10:59:00 AM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Saturday, May 22, 2004


It's the week before Memorial day and Jimmy says this is the time to get his boat back in the water. It sits on a trailer in his yard all winter long. The sun came out just in time, signaling the day for boating.

And here's a view of our current home from the water side.

posted by Chris at 5/22/2004 11:26:00 AM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Friday, May 21, 2004

Rainy Day

It didn't just rain. It was thunder and lightening.

It was OK - I had plenty of computer work to do. Kind of a frustating day actually. If you've ever done computer programming and spent hours tracking down a bug, you understand. If not, then how about when you're balancing a bank statement and spend all day finding that 14 cent discrepancy. aaaaarrrrgghhh

But, it cleared up nicely for cooking chicken on the grill in the evening.

For our Long Beach Island friends and family reading this blog, here's a few familiar faces:

David at Southwick's Marina:

Donny at Southwick's Marina:

This is Danny - Jim's brother-in-law by his first marriage:

And, here's Danny's son, Casey. After leaving us, Casey said he was going surfing. I said, but the water's about 55 degrees!! He said, yeah ... it's getting warm!! This guy goes surfing all year round. He said there have been times that he's been surfing with snow blowing in his face.
posted by Chris at 5/21/2004 11:46:00 PM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Thursday, May 20, 2004

It takes about 5 minutes ... walking ... slowly ... to get to the beach. Here's the beach access trail;

Do you see anybody on this beach? I don't.

posted by Chris at 5/20/2004 10:25:00 AM | link links to this post | 0 comments  
Good Morning!

And, what a beautiful morning it is too!

Since we have no issues of privacy in front of the motorhome here, we're able to leave the windshield uncovered as well as the windows in the 'loft'. Love this view.

Since we're using the kitchen and showers in Jimmy's house, we've been able to stay put for almost a week now without having to go to a dump station. Interesting how nice it feels to stay still for a while, when the most exciting thing about this life is moving. I expect I'll get antsy to hit the road after a few weeks. But, hey, you don't get much better than this parking spot. And, I actually have a lot of computer work to do. That's what I was doing all day yesterday and I didn't post to this blog. I figured you had enough photos of me sitting at the computer! Oh, what the hell?!

And, have I mentioned the temperature? It's about 65 at night ... perfect for sleeping. It gets up to about 75 during the day, and we haven't notice any bugs, so we leave the door to the motorhome open and Odie is so happy to be able to come and go as he pleases. Speaking of Odie ... time to take him for a walk. Maybe we'll go to the beach. Bye for now.
posted by Chris at 5/20/2004 09:11:00 AM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Life on the Island

I've heard of rolling up the sidewalks, but this place turns the stoplights off! Yep - they're only needed for the summer season. Unless it's somewhere between Memorial day and Labor day, all the stoplights on Long Beach Island are blinking yellow!

Get a load of this view! What was a summer house for most of his childhood is now Jimmy's full time home. And you wonder why he never wants to leave ...

And, here's another nice view ... men in the kitchen making dinner!

posted by Chris at 5/18/2004 10:23:00 PM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Monday, May 17, 2004

Family and Friends
We had a nice relaxed morning yesterday. Ate lunch. Then, as I had just settled down to the computer, Jim decided to make a few calls to friends and family in the area. Jim grew up here. Well, actually, he never did grow up :-), but he lived here from '63 to '85 and he has several generations of family here. The first call he made, he was able to speak to his cousin Jennifer. She said, "I'm just walking out the door to go to my sister's birthday party. Why don't you come?" That was just too perfect. To have several cousins and more friends all together in one place. We had a great time! Really wonderful people.

Here's Jim with cousin Janet - the birthday girl.

Here's the place where they had the party. Another gorgeous day.

Four cousins and an aunt! From left to right: Joan, Judy, Jim, Janet, Jennifer. Sitting down: Aunt Mildred

Did you notice the love affair with the letter 'J'? But wait, it gets better ... Janet's 2 brothers weren't there ... Jim and Jackie. Jim's father, Jim Sr., had 7 siblings: John, Judy, Julie, Joe, Joan, Jerry and Joel!

Here's some of the next generation. Jennifer, Rick and their daughters. Jim takes some credit for this as he was the one to introduce Jennifer and Rick so many years ago.

Janet with her granddaughter:

I'm not sure how he's related, but here's Ron, who taught Jim Sr. everything he knows about cars:

A wonderful time was had by all:

And we finished the day with a beautiful sunset at Jimmy's Bayside RV Resort:

posted by Chris at 5/17/2004 09:31:00 AM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Sunday, May 16, 2004

One month Stats:
We left Ft. Lauderdale on April 16 - exactly one month ago.
Total Miles: 1953
Total gas cost: $483
Total campsite rent: $418
Total RV maintenance costs: $120

Kayak in the Pine Barrens

The Jersey Devil gave us free passage yesterday and we had a gorgeous day of paddling in the wilderness area called the New Jersey Pine Barrens. We went with Jimmy and a group of friends who go kayaking several times a year. We just lucked out when we happened to arrive the day before they had a trip scheduled.

Here's a map of the area with an arrow approximately where we were.

Can you fit 6 kayaks in the back of your car?

Bellhaven Kayak and Canoe outfitters drove us all up the road, so we could kayak down the river.

There are apparently lots of rivers to choose from. We paddled on the Batsto river. It was beautiful. And you thought New Jersey was simply exits off a freeway?!?

The trip was planned for a 4 hour paddle, based on information from the outfitters. I knew I could handle that. When we got to the outfitters, we learned that they could take us to the longer paddle that the group originally requested. So, we ended up doing a 6 hour trip. Now, it's downriver so you'd expect we could float most of the time. But, no. You had to paddle to steer on this narrow river. Whew! I got some exercise. It was well worth it though. I was so impressed that we could paddle 6 hours on a river and see NO signs of civilization. Not one house. Not one road. Not one sound. Such a pleasure to listen to birds, and paddles, and coversation. Here's where we stopped for lunch:

Such a treat to be included in a group of friends. That's something you don't get too often when you're traveling. Thanx guys! Reminded us a lot of our kayak/scuba club in Fort Lauderdale - Kayuba.

The weather was perfect. 20 degrees difference in temperature between the Island and the mainland. I was afraid I was going to be cold, with my thin Florida blood. I started out with long pants and a sweatshirt. Luckily, I brought shorts and my bathing suit, cuz it was in the 80s on the river. We even stopped and took a dip in the river midday when we got hot. Some people actually swam - I 'dipped'. The water was cold.

I made it!

Today is going to be a computer day for me. After I take a nap that is!
posted by Chris at 5/16/2004 08:24:00 AM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Saturday, May 15, 2004

New Jersey
Yesterday was an easy day of travel. We crossed over the Delaware bridge. It was really foggy. Jim said that was quite normal.

Then it was a straight shot over to the shore. Y'know I've always wondered why it's 'the shore' here in New Jersey and 'the coast' in California. hmmm

We're parked in Jimmy's ample driveway, with a great view of the Bay. If we want to see the ocean, we only need to walk a couple blocks. Take a look at the map:

Not bad huh? I guess we'll stay here for a while!

Hey! If you don't hear from me tomorrow, call out the search party - Jimmy's taking us kayaking in the Pine Barrens today, and he says there is always a danger of being taken by the 'Jersey Devil'?!?!?

Here's Jim and Jimmy debating on whether we have enough kayaks:

posted by Chris at 5/15/2004 07:45:00 PM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Friday, May 14, 2004

You slept better than we did!
Yesterday was a long travel day - over 8 hours - and we're within a couple hours of our destination today, so we decided to save the cost of a campground and spend the night at a truck stop. Geeeeeez, are they noisy! And, we didn't want to leave the generator running all night, so we didn't have air conditioning. Hot and stuffy. At about 1am I got up and turned the generator on so we could cool down. About 2 hours later we're awakened by the beeping of the carbon monoxide indicator.


Here's our 'campsite'

Jim and George
Even tho we traveled all day yesterday we still didn't get that far because we took the scenic route. Virgina and Maryland ARE really scenic! Lots of water and lots of bridges and lots of beautiful forest and rolling farmlands and barns. Jim was born in Solomons Island, MD and he wanted to see the place since we were so close. There was no bridge back then, so his Mom had to take a boat to get to the hospital at Patuxent Naval Air Station when she was ready to give birth. Here's a view of Solomons from the bridge:

We were also too close to George Washington's birthplace to pass that up. Beautiful place:

And, here's one of those bridges I mentioned. I think this is the Francis Scott Key bridge

Here's the view from another bridge:

And, here's me driving over yet another bridge. Notice the white knuckles?!?

posted by Chris at 5/14/2004 07:27:00 AM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Greetings from Virginia
Another gorgeous day. And, thanks to Odie, we always go for a walk around wherever we are in the morning!

Yesterday was special. A visit to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina and Kill Devil Hill where Wilbur and Orville Wright made their historic 12 second flight on December 17, 1903. They had centennial celebrations here last December, so the exhibits are in great shape.

I just LOVE learning stuff. And, there is nothing like being there. The learning doesn't just come thru your eyes, ears and brain. A book or a movie could do that. The learning comes thru your very molecules. I remember when I went to China with my Mom in '97. We saw all sorts of stuff and certainly learned a lot, but the main impact of the experience was simply standing on the other side of this planet.

Here's Jim standing at the approximate takeoff spot. You can see the markers of their first 4 flights at 120 ft, 175 ft, 200 ft and 852 ft.

And, here he is next to the model:

Jim was here 30 years ago, and has been a devoted student of aviation history since he was a kid. He knew all about how the Wright brothers were the only ones who really studied how to control a 'flyer' when it was airborn. They spent years 'flying' gliders before even trying to power flight. The other people working on flight at the same time, Lilienthal in Germany and Langley in the US, believed a flyer would be 'inherently stable' once airborn.

I knew none of this and felt very privileged to have my own tour guide! I enjoyed the thrill of learning, and, since I will forget it all within a few weeks or months, I could enjoy the same thrill next time we go thru N. Carolina!!

Here I am walking up to the monument at the top of Kill Devil Hill. This hill provided the takeoffs for the Wrights' glider flights.

Facts and Stats:
Current Park: Gloucester Point, Gloucester, VA, 800-332-4316
Site cost per night: $28
Nights at last camp: 1
Travel time: 7.5 hours (includes Kitty Hawk)
Miles: 171
Weather: Clear, sunny, 78 degrees
posted by Chris at 5/13/2004 09:26:00 AM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

What day is it?
We need one of those clocks like Cliff and Marie have. It has no hours on it, and no minute hand. Just one hand that points to the day of the week. I have to look at the calendar on the computer to figure it out.

Here's the park we are in at the moment, Ocean Waves. It would be perfect for Wi-Fi, but since they're not even using a computer in the office, it's doubtful they'll take us up on it!

We're right on the beach once again, but there are beach houses here. Doesn't seem like a smart place to live to me - very susceptible to hurricanes wiping you out. We see a lot of construction repairing the damage from last year's storms.

The dunes aren't only sand:

Well, gotta unhook and secure stuff for getting underway. We will be visiting Kitty Hawk and the Wright Brothers 'First Flight' memorial today. Oh Boy!

Facts and Stats:
Current Park: Ocean Waves; Waves, NC; 252-987-2556
Site cost per night: $27
Nights at last camp: 2
Travel time: 5.5 hours (included lighthouse visit)
Miles: 50
Weather: Sunny, clear and beautiful - 80 degrees
posted by Chris at 5/12/2004 08:40:00 AM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

More Outer Banks
We took another ferry ride today ... from Ocracoke Island to Hatteras

We're seeing this sign a lot ... must be a national park thing?

Next on the agenda was the Cape Hatteras lighthouse:

257 steps to the top:

Now we're in a campground - with electricity - and we're watching TV. So strange. Watching TV in the same home we've been in for 9 months now. Familiar surroundings .. I have to really think to be aware of where we are ... outside. I like it.
posted by Chris at 5/11/2004 09:33:00 PM | link links to this post | 0 comments  
The national park campground where we are staying at the moment does not offer any hookups. So, if we want electricity for computers, we have to run the generator. It's kinda noisy, but not as bad as I thought it would be. Luckily, there is no one camped very near us so we don't have to feel guilty about making noise for them. There is also a little bit of gas fumes. Jim learned that opening the door to the generator compartment helps. One of these days we'll get the full scoop from George on how to set up solar panels, batteries and inverters to give us power without running the generator.

Meanwhile, we did stay at the same park yesterday and got 6 hours on the computer before we decided we'd had enough of the generator. We actually have decent cell phone signal here too, so Jim was able to handle a couple Wi-Fi support calls, and I spoke to a new MS Access programming client.

We also used the beautiful day sitting in one spot to do some cleaning. Here's Jim cleaning out the 'junk' drawer:

Then, we went into town (Ocracoke Village) for sunset. It's an extremely picturesque little town. Here we are lounging in a little park beside the marina:

Here's the Ocracoke lighthouse - the oldest operating lighthouse in North Carolina. Very pretty:

Today we're off to climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse which is THE tallest lighthouse in the country. Then we'll be looking for a campground - hopefully with electricity.

Before I sign off, I just have to share a quote. I subscribe to daily 'Heart' quotes from Heartmath. I thought this one that came in my email today was so appropriate!
"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to
embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer
meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in
movement there is life, and in change there is power."
-- Alan Cohen
posted by Chris at 5/11/2004 07:31:00 AM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Monday, May 10, 2004

Relax and Enjoy
This coming Friday will mark one month on the road. The initial flush of excitement has dissipated and the creeping panic of 'o-my-god-what-have-we-done' is rearing it's ugly head. I mean, here we are with no income to speak of, stock market depleting our savings, and we've left all family, friends, clients, and other support systems behind. Jim doesn't suffer from this like I do. I'm told it's a girl thing ... worry, that is. I feel the need to rush up to North Beach, New Jersey where we will be saving the cost of campgrounds by staying in a friend's driveway and saving the cost of gas by staying put for a couple weeks. This will also give me more time to do my web development work - it's been hard to fit that in when we drive every day.

Then, we get up and go for a walk on this amazing beach:

Odie is loving it!

Get that crab!

Something about the ocean that makes me get 'artsy-fartsy':

Chairs for contemplation:

Then we walk across the road to the nature trail that explores the inland side of the island:

Honeysuckle, mmm... what a wonderful smell:

Back home:

Is this just 'to-die-for' or what? C'mon Chris 'Relax and Enjoy' - my mantra. Hey Jim, let's stay another night here OK?
posted by Chris at 5/10/2004 11:20:00 AM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Outer Banks Ferry
We are in Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Doesn't this map look cool? (the 787 represents our satellite dish, you can see our current position anytime with the link at the left)

We took a 2 hour ferry ride to get here. We thought we'd miss the 9:30am ferry cuz we didn't get there till about 9:40. An attendant ran out to meet us and said, "you want to get on this ferry?" Yep! Ok, let's go! We gave them a credit card for the $40 fee, they gave us a ticket and waved us on. We drove on and the ferry pulled away from the dock! We do lead a charmed life.

Wandering around the ferry, Jim met some people from Asheville who were coming over to the island for a friend's wedding. They gave us each a bloody mary, and we invited them in the Motorhome to party. Nice people! Meet our new friends, Jason, Amy and Tamara:

I love the idea that I have the same bedroom everywhere I go - but I have different views out the window. Whaddaya think of this view?

The destination for the ferry is a town called Ocracoke. In addition to having a fascinating history of shipwrecks and life-saving, Ocracoke played a role in the Civil war too.

Facts and Stats:
Current Park: Cape Hatteras National Park, Ocracoke campground
Site cost per night: $20
Nights at last camp: 1
Travel time: 5 hours
Miles: 76 (not including ferry)
Weather: Gorgeous - 80 degrees with cool breeze - not a cloud in the sky

Here's our current campsite. Jim took this picture while standing on top of the dunes, looking west. Right behind him is the beach and the ocean.

posted by Chris at 5/09/2004 05:12:00 PM | link  

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Friday - a missing day
We decided to stay at a KOA, because the ad in the Trailer Life Directory said 'Complimentary High Speed Internet'. We wanted to know what they meant. I assumed it meant Wi-Fi to the campsites. Wrong. It just meant that there was an ethernet connection in the rec room rather than just a phone line hookup. Oh well, we have our satellite right? Well, there were a couple trees in just the right spot to block the dish's view. But, after 25 minutes of searching the sky, our datastorm dish found the satellite. Cool. For a while. Then it lost connection again - of course I hadn't posted to this weblog yet. Oh well. It was a nice park. Who says this isn't camping!?!?!

And, I like this shot of Odie with the sunset light coming thru the blinds:

Facts and Stats:
Current Park: Wilmington KOA, www.wilmingtonkoa.com
Site cost per night: $38
Nights at last camp: 1
Travel time: 3 hours
Miles: 148
Weeks since we left Ft. Lauderdale: 3
Total Miles: 1215
Total gas cost: $263.68
Total campsite rent: $278
Total RV maintenance costs: $120

Saturday - Wilmington to Emerald Isle

Today we had a leisurely morning, taking advantage of a good cell phone signal and free weekend airtime to catch up with some friends over the phone. I did the laundry and Jim took his laptop to the rec room and plugged into the ethernet since our satellite dish still wasn't connecting. We got underway about 11. Our route up the coast of N. Carolina took us right thru Camp Lejeune, the home of five major Marine Corps commands and one Navy command. As the road entered the property there was a gate house and we were asked to pull over so a marine could inspect our motorhome. We thought they were kidding! Apparently they don't joke about this. The young man was very nice and only came inside the motorhome for a few minutes. I thought about taking his photo, but thought better of it! Now here's a road sign you don't see very often:

We try to be very thorough in hunting for parks to stay in. First factor is a park that would be a good candidate for Wi-Fi. Second factor is a park where we would like to spend some time. When we saw a Holiday Trav-L-Park, we thought we were looking at a park in the organization that we gave the Wi-Fi seminar to in Orlando. So, even tho it was the most expensive prices we had seen yet, it is prime Wi-Fi material so we headed there. well ... no ... the organization we gave the seminar to was BEST Holiday Trav-L-Park. geeez, talk about confusing. So here we are paying $45/night! Oh well, this park would be perfect for Wi-Fi too. We'll leave them some info. Meanwhile we enjoyed a very nice walk on the beach. A beach where dogs are allowed. Cool.

And, Jim figured out the problem with our satellite dish. It probably wasn't the trees at all. Our current site has NO trees. The dish locked on to the satellite right away, but we still didn't have communication with our Internet Service Provider. Jim made a couple calls and found that, unknown to us, the part of our equipment called the 4020 needs to be reprogrammed for latitude and longitude every couple hundred miles. It's an easy enough thing to do, the great folks on the Datastorm User Group have created a program to easily handle it. But the catch-22 is that we need internet access to get that program! So, Jim hooked up his laptop to the cell phone and dialed into the Internet to get the program, ran it, and reset the satellite dish. Voila! We're back online. And we've learned a valuable lesson.

Facts and Stats:
Current Park: Holiday Trav-L-Park Resort, Emerald Isle, NC www.htpresort.com
Site cost per night: $45
Nights at last camp: 1
Travel time: 2 hours
Miles: 68
Weather: Sunny and Gorgeous - 78 degrees
posted by Chris at 5/08/2004 07:25:00 PM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Thursday, May 06, 2004

We planned a longer travel day today than usual ... about 4 hours of driving. So, we got an early start (for us) ... left at 9:30. First Jim checked the tire pressure and added a little air using a scuba tank. He has a special air chuck attachment for the tank:

Even with the best maps and GPS' we still end up on a wrong road once in a while. Er ... no ... I mean, look at this beautiful scenic dirt road we took today:

Then, just about an hour into our longest stretch on an interstate so far, we both jumped as we hear a tha-lump-slap coming from the rear. We both lookrd in the side view mirrors hoping NOT to see a little white Honda finding it's freedom. Nope, Honda is fine. We did see one of those big, black snakelike objects in the road behind us. The tread from one of our rear tires had come off. Jim immediately pulled over onto the shoulder and got out to take a look. It was the inner tire of the left rear dual wheels that lost it's tread. We figured we could drive to the next exit and then call our Good Sam Emergency Road Service. They got there within an hour and had a replacement tire for us. $120 out of our pocket and 2 hours out of our day, and we were on our way. The $120 was for the new tire. There was no charge for the service call - covered by our Good Sam ERS membership.

Facts and Stats:
Current park: Swamp Fox Campground, Florence, South Carolina www.swamp-fox-campground.com
Site cost per night: $12 (half price due to Passport America)
# nights at last park: 2
Travel time: 8.5 hours
Miles: 242
Gas: 42 gallons @ $1.739 or $71 avg mpg: 7.5
Weather: Clear and beautiful, hot during the day - a perfect 70 degrees now in the evening.

As pleasantly surprised and thrilled as we were with our last park, we're disappointed with the current one. The listing in Trailer Life says they have a pool and a hot tub. Not only do we see no pool or hot tub (I think they're referring to the Swamp Fox Motel that is nearby) we don't even see showers or laundry here. Oh well, we're only staying here one night.
posted by Chris at 5/06/2004 09:56:00 PM | link links to this post | 0 comments  
Playing Tourist
Yesterday, we got our exercise walking around Milledgeville - the original state capitol of Georgia and part of the antebellum trail. We stopped at the tourist info center and picked up the brochure which laid out a walking tour. Here's Jim studying that brochure to see which way we go next. He's standing at the entranceway to the old Capitol Building, now being used to house the Military College:

Milledgeville is also home to the Georgia State College and University. There's a certain air to college towns that remind me of my college years in Tallahassee. I watch the students walking around campus and think, 'gee, I'll bet they're having fun!'. Ahhh, to be in college again.

Here's a typical antebellum house:

Then we went on to Eatonton, the birthplace of authors Alice Walker (The Color Purple) and Joel Chandler Harris (Uncle Remus stories). I just had to visit the Uncle Remus museum:

And, when we got 'home', we got together with the manager of the park and showed him his new website. Hey Mikey! He liked it!! He even said he had another name to give us of someone else who would be interested. Cool.
posted by Chris at 5/06/2004 08:06:00 AM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Good Morning!
And what a beautiful one it is too! I've been workin'! When we spoke with the park manager yesterday, he mentioned how he was 'putting it in the budget' to do a website next year. Just hadn't gotten around to it yet. Well, this is such a picturesque place - I started thinking. All I'd have to do is take a bunch of photos and I could throw together a nice website. So, I have built my first website 'On Spec'. Check it out and let me know what you think. www.campgroundcomputerheroes.com/oconee
posted by Chris at 5/05/2004 10:41:00 AM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Oh Boy!

Did we find a nice place to stay or what?

I drove today. It was really no problem. I have driven the motorhome several times before, but not since we've been towing a car. Jim really likes driving it - so I am just the 'relief' driver. Since we've only been driving 2-3 hours a day, there's really been no need for relief. So, I figured I needed to drive just to keep in practice. Jim was the navigator today. He has a program called Mappoint on his laptop. And, he has a GPS attachment that turns our rig into a little car icon on the screen and it moves along the road. We know exactly where we are at every moment! It was Mappoint that found this campground in the first place - it has a database of 'places nearby' that includes campgrounds. Then, it was Mappoint that showed us exactly how to get here. Pretty cool.

Once again, we don't have much in the way of cell phone signal. But, the Datastorm satellite dish locked on like a charm, so Internet, Web-browsing, Email is no problem at all.

Facts and Stats
Current park: Oconee Springs Park, Eatonton, Georgia, 706-485-8423
Site cost per night: $15
# nights at last park: 4
Travel time: 4 hours
Miles: 156
Gas: 43.7 gallons @ $1.689 or $74 avg mpg: 7.2

There's a full moon rising over the lake right outside our window and the reflection on the water is reaching all the way to the beach. I tried to take a picture, but it's just a white dot in a black screen. So, you'll have to take my word that its an inspirational sight!

One more photo of this great site:

posted by Chris at 5/04/2004 09:09:00 PM | link  
Brrrrr .... 49 degrees when we got up this morning. Now it's 11am and it still hasn't warmed up much. Jim went to the post office and our mail was there, so we're ready to take off. A big Thank You to Jim's Dad for doing the mail sorting and forwarding job! We're thinking about driving 3 hours today instead of our normal 2! We studied the maps and RV Park directories and found a campground in the middle of the 'Antebellum' trail that looks pretty good. Later!
posted by Chris at 5/04/2004 11:01:00 AM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Monday, May 03, 2004

"Live for the journey, not the Destination"
Well, we're still in Tifton, Georgia. Not the most exciting of resorts, but very nice. Our mail has not arrived and we decided to give it one more day before telling General Delivery to forward to another town, and moving on. Both Jim and I are really good at 'chillin'. All our contacts are here with us through the Internet. So, as much as we like traveling and seeing the sights, we also like just hanging out and enjoying our current location.

Can you tell us apart? I certainly hope so, but we're having some trouble. We spend every day, all 24 hours, together. Not only do we finish each other's sentences, we can finish sentences that weren't even started! Remember the bottle of wine that Jim was unable to purchase yesterday? Well, I went to the store today -- Yes, I actually ventured out on my own! -- I bought a bottle of wine that has been on my forbidden list for many years. I picketed for the farmworkers in the 70's. Gallo winery was a major 'no-no' for their abuse of farmworkers' rights. Well, that was 25 years ago, and Gallo had the right size bottle, in the right color, for the right price, on the shelf today - so I bought it. Jim just about fell over when I got home. He said, "That's the same bottle of wine I had in the cart yesterday, and I was wondering if you'd pick the same one, even though it's not a brand we've ever bought before."

The simple things, like a delicious dinner eaten in view of a spectacular sunset, are what count in this life. I thought that Vidalia onions were those white ones. No, they look like normal yellow onions, but they're a little bigger. Anyway, we had one of our favorite dinners - barbecued pork loin roast with grilled veggies. The veggies were Vidalia Onions (of course) and zucchini, and red bell pepper. YUM!!

posted by Chris at 5/03/2004 08:02:00 PM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Sunday, May 02, 2004

It's been a quiet day in Tifton, Georgia ...
We're staying another night at Amy's RV park in Tifton so we can check the Post Office General Delivery on Monday - hoping that our mail has arrived. It's been raining on and off all day. Very peaceful. Jim spent some time with the owner of the park reviewing his Wi-Fi setup. I sat at the computer all day doing some web work and learning new stuff. We used the breaks in the rain to take Odie for a couple walks. Jim went to the store to pick up a few items and was chastised severely when he got to the checkout stand with wine in his cart! The clerk couldn't fathom the debauchery of a man wanting to buy wine on a Sunday! We're accustomed to not being able to purchase alcoholic beverages on Sunday morning because that is the law in Florida. Apparently, in Georgia, one must abstain for the entire day. Learn something new every day.

We should be taking off tomorrow and we're looking at changing our plans and skipping the Vidalia Onion Festival. If we take a road just little north of Vidalia we can cruise the 'Antebellum Trail' . This is a stretch of old south plantations that were spared in the Civil War when Shermans' march thru Georgia. Looks cool.

Yesterday we ventured into town to see a festival. It was pretty impressive, especially the music. The Lucky Four band was a really good country/rock band and some really young kids playing and singing.

Then, at the second stage there was Irish music and dancing. I said, "That's about the last thing I'd expect here", and Jim reminded me that when we traveled to Ireland a few years ago, we made the connection that a lot of American heritage came from Ireland. Especially bluegrass/southern mountain music and dancing. Look at Clogging and Irish Step dancing and you can see the common ancestry.
posted by Chris at 5/02/2004 04:49:00 PM | link links to this post | 0 comments  

Saturday, May 01, 2004

We're in Georgia
So long Florida. Jim and I have both called South Florida home since the early 80s. I also lived in Fort Lauderdale from '53 to '57 and from '66 to '71 and Jim lived in Key West and Jacksonville when his Dad was in the navy ('56 to '62). South Florida will probably always be 'Home', no matter where we are. We don't have specific plans right now, but I expect we won't be back 'Home' for at least 6 months, most likely one year.

Seeing the 'Welcome to Georgia' sign was the signal that we have truly begun our life on the road:

We dutifully followed Lynne and John's advice to always stop at the tourist information center and find out what's going on in this new state. We discovered that the 'Vidalia Onion Festival' is happening in Vidalia next week. We looked at the map and it looks roughly on our route, so, here we go. Did you know that the Vidalia Onion is Georgia's 'State Vegetable'?

We are currently in Tifton, GA. Why? Well, because there is an RV park here with Coach Connect's Wi-Fi service. Although we are representing Coach Connect, the only installations we've seen is Paradise Island in Fort Lauderdale and River Bend in Alma, FL. So, we thought we'd take this opportunity to check it out, introduce ourselves and see if we can offer any services. It's a pretty little park. Here's our site:

You might notice that the Datastorm satellite dish is not up. There's 2 reasons for that. First, of course, is that we don't need it because they have the Coach Connect Wi-Fi service here and it is really good. As long as you have a wireless adapter on your computer, you simply turn it on, and you're on the Internet! Enter your Coach Connect username and password, and you can browse anywhere you want at very good broadband speed. The manager here told us that they had a guest who told them he has stayed in several parks with Wi-Fi but this was the first one from Coach Connect and it was hands-down the best. Very nice to hear! The second reason that the Datastorm is not up is the trees. We did try to raise the dish and lock on to satellite just to see if it would work thru these trees - they seemed pretty thin to us - but, nope, it didn't work. EVERY park should have Wi-Fi!!!

Another thing that every park should have is a jacuzzi! We're in heaven when we find that! Here's Amy's jacuzzi:

Facts and Stats:
Current Park: Amy's South Georgia RV Park, 229-386-8441 (no web site, hmmm, we should do something about that :-)
Site Cost per night: $16 (plus tax)
Nites at last Park: 2
Travel time: 2 hours
Miles from last park: 93
Miles since we left Fort Lauderdale: 667
Days since we left Fort Lauderdale: 14
$ spent on gas since we left Fort Lauderdale: $110.40

posted by Chris at 5/01/2004 11:51:00 AM | link