Thursday, July 05, 2018

Independence Day and Home, July 4 & 5, 2018

Wednesday, July 4th, Independence Day, for the four of us started with breakfast and then swimming at the campground pool. The campground had a complimentary lunch of barbecue pork chops, mac and cheese, Cole slaw, baked beans, and fruit from 12 noon until 2 pm.  We got there about 1 pm to find out there was only 2 pork chops left and 2 hamburgers so that is what we had along with the sides.  Gabi and I had the pork chops while Parker and Tom ate hamburgers.  Returning to the motorhome, it was no too long until there was quite a thunder and lightning storm, a few strikes sounded very close to us.  We had talked about going to Tarpon Springs to see fireworks at the Fred Howard Park but decided to just settle for some Culver's ice cream.  After the ice cream and returning to the campground we took a walk around the grounds and then went to a deck that was on the bayou where we were able to see distant fireworks at several locations- much better than being in traffic.

Thursday (5th) we packed up and departed the campground near 9 am to head home.  We drove the motorhome directly to our house and unloaded everything.  Then we went to the storage lot to park the motorhome, a total of 98 miles today.   Before returning to the house, we stopped for lunch at the Mexican Grille in The Villages.

Heading South to Tampa, Florida, June 25- July 3, 2018

Monday, June 25th, Tom and I left Gettysburg a little before 9am and began our travels south.  About 11:30am we were in the Stafford, Virginia area where we met up with Todd and Beth to pick up our 2 youngest grandkids, Parker and Gabi, to take along to Florida.  Traveling a little further down I 95 we made our stop for the night in Emporia, Virginia at exit 17 to stay at Jellystone Park Camp Resort, a total of 245 miles for this day  We had planned this stop after stopping here on our way north.  This campground is located on Rte. 301 which we planned to continue on until we got around a bridge repair in North Carolina on I 95 that had tied up traffic when we had come north.  It was a good stop as there was a pool which Parker and Gabi enjoyed as well as playgrounds and a big bouncing pad.

Tuesday (26th) we continued on south leaving before 9am. The 301 route was much better traveling on around the bridge repair or rebuild in North Carolina than I 95 had been coming north. We traveled through North Carolina to Florence, South Carolina where we stayed at Swamp Fox Campground arriving about 1:50pm and 249 miles.  On this trip we had Parker and Gabi on opposing couches (don’t know why we didn’t do this before) which resulted in less fighting over space and a much more peaceful ride.  Swamp Fox has only a small playground for kids but between that and being able to walk around the grounds the kids were entertained.

Wednesday (27th) we traveled another 288 miles to Jacksonville, Florida where we stayed at Pecan Park RV Park and there was a pool.  We arrived at this park about 1:45pm.  We had made reservation in advance at Bay Bayou Park in Tampa for 6 nights beginning the 29th but seeing that we could make the trip easily in 4 days rather than 5 Tom had called to see about getting there a day earlier which was no problem.
Thursday (28th) we were under way by 8:40 am traveling another 224 miles to Tampa, Florida and Bay Bayou RV Resort.  After getting set up we went to a Mexican restaurant, Zapatas Mexican Grille, for lunch.   Later in the afternoon,  we enjoyed time in the campground pool.
Friday (29th) we spent the day at Busch Gardens.  The kids rode many rides designed for the  younger kids and Tom and I watched.  It did rain in the early part of the day causing us to wait in a sheltered area until the rain stopped.  Cloud cover for most of the day kept the temperature fairly comfortable.  Our admission to the park was free as Tom being a veteran was able to get free passes for himself and 3 others.  It was a good day.

Saturday (June 30th) we went grocery shopping and enjoyed time in the pool.  Tom also was involved in trying to correct a drain leak from our kitchen sink but unfortunately was unsuccessful.
Sunday (July 1) we spent the day at Ben T. Davis Beach on Tampa Bay, enjoying swimming and the beach.  We had lunch at Culver’s restaurant that the kids thought was great because of the ice cream.
Monday (2nd) we started out going to Ybor City in Tampa and found that to be nothing of interest to us, perhaps this area is more alive in the evening but it was dead in this morning.  So then we went to Tarpon Springs.

 We had lunch at Hellas Restaurant, a Greek restaurant, before taking a boat ride to Anclote Key Preserve State Park.

We walked along the beach as the kids collected seashells.

 On our return from the Preserve the boat encountered several dolphins which were fun to watch.
Tuesday (3rd) again we were in the Tarpon Springs area as we went to the Fred Howard County Park located on the Gulf.  This was another beach that we all had a great time in the water for several hours until about 1 pm.

 Upon returning to the campground we got showers and then went to a Chili’s for a late lunch.  We were able to return to the campground before a storm with lots of rain hit the area

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Alumni Banquet, Church and Lunch with Friends June 23 & 24, 2018

Saturday, June 23, was a rainy, damp day.  We made a run to a grocery store in preparation for our trip heading south on Monday.  In the evening, we went to Pleasant Valley Fire Hall for my high school alumni banquet.  Taneytown High School's last class graduating class was 50 years ago in 1968.  Our classes were nothing in comparison to the classes today.  Forty two students were in my class, last week our Maddi graduated with a class of 440 plus.  Our high school also consisted of grades 7 through 12 and we knew most everyone in those grades as we went through school.  My class celebrated 55 years and Larry (brother) celebrated 60 years.  Out of my class of 42 only 9 of us attended the banquet plus 1 that did not graduate but had been in our class until the 10th grade.  A teacher, Dean Griffin and his wife,
  attended as a guests of Tom and mine.

It was a nice evening seeing many folks from many years.

Today, Sunday, June 24th, we attended church services this morning at Baust Church, the church that we had attended our entire married life prior to moving to Florida and I had attended years before that.  Again it was nice to see familiar church friends.  After church we returned to Gettysburg and met Miny and Len Cluck for lunch at Montezuma Restaurant.  Miny and Tom had worked together so it is always nice catching up on the Cluck's lives as well as other fellow employees.  Today has been much warmer and as of 5 pm no rain, although thunderstorms are predicted.  Tomorrow we move south heading back to Florida.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Reunion, Graduation and Gettysburg June 15-22, 2018 Friday to Friday

At 9:30 am on Friday, June 15th, we left Jellystone Park and traveled 133 miles to Todd and Beth's home in Stafford, Virginia.  We are able to park the motorhome in their driveway. We spent the afternoon and evening visiting with everyone.  Beth's mother and aunt was visiting from New York, all in preparation for the next days graduation activities.  Parker and Gabi,our younger grandchildren, slept in the motorhome with us.

June 16, Saturday, we were up early to go to graduation at 8 am.  Since Maddi and Anthony were both graduating but at different schools at the same time we divided up.  Todd, Tom, Gabi and I attended Maddi's graduation while Beth, Parker and Beth's family attended Anthony's.  The ceremonies lasted about 2 hours and were held in outdoor stadiums. Our Maddi graduated with honors and we are so proud of her accomplishments.
  She plans to attend VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) in Richmond, Va. Anthony's plans are to go into the Air Force.

It was a bright sunny day so it was getting fairly warm until the end.  Returning back to Todd and Beth's a party was organized.

Maddi came over later in the afternoon with her boyfriend and another couple.

June 17, Sunday, Father's Day, Tom enjoyed the day celebrating this day with his son and grandchildren.  Maddi again came over for the afternoon.  Todd cooked steaks on the grill and along with left overs from the party we enjoyed a nice meal.

June 18, Monday, we packed up and got underway by 9:30 am heading to Gettysburg, Pa.  We arrived at Artillery Ridge Campground a little after 12:30 pm.  We would be here for the next 7 days.  After going to our favorite Mexican restaurant in Gettysburg, Montezuma, we spent the rest of the afternoon catching our breath so to speak.

Tuesday, 19th, we visited my soon to be 89 year old aunt, Dotty Frock, in Westminster.  Had a nice visit and catching up on Little family news.

Aunt Dotty's son, Myron, stopped in on his way home which was a bonus.  Myron had been our ring bearer in our wedding.

Wednesday, 20th, Ellen and Ed Crutchley, friends for many years ( Ed and Tom were in the Navy together, Ellen and I were in nursing school together) met at Shamrock Restaurant in Thurmont for lunch and visiting. Nice lunch of soft shelled crabs and wonderful visit.

Thursday, 21st, we drove to Hollabaugh's orchard and produce store to pick up a few items.  We then stopped at the Gettysburg Outlets to browse around.  In the evening we went to Rube's in Emmitsburg for hard shelled crabs and were they ever good.  Florida just doesn't do crabs like up in Maryland.

Today, Friday, 22nd, we met Larry, my brother, and Joanne at the Dobbin house for a late lunch.  Another nice visit catching up.  It has been rainy and cool all day with temps in the 60's

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Northern Travels for Celebrations and Reunions June 12 -14, 2018

June is the month for high school graduations and, this year, we have 2 grandkids in Virginia graduating.  We planned to get away on Monday, June 11th, but unfortunately Tom had been sick all weekend with an upper respiratory infection and on Monday was seen at an Urgent Care facility.  After getting started on medication he was ready to start traveling  Tuesday, June 12.  We got underway by 10:25 am.  We traveled 256 miles to Savannah Oaks Resort near Savannah, Georgia arriving about 3:25 pm.  We did have some showers of rain in our travels but otherwise no other issues.

Wednesday morning, June 13, we  left the campground about 9 am making a fuel stop immediately outside the gates to fill up.  On this day we drove as far as Dillon, South Carolina, 222 miles,  stopping for the night at Bass Lake RV Park about 2:30 pm. Prior to getting to the campground we stopped in Florence, S.C. for a Walmart stop to pick up a few items and  lunch at Don Jose restaurant. We did get our propane tank filled at Bass Lake RV Park before getting situated in our campsite.

Today, Thursday, June 14, we got on the road by 9:15 am driving 209 miles to Emporia, Virginia to Jellystone Park Campground Resort. Traveling up I-95 was fairly smooth traveling until we got toward exit 171 in North Carolina.  Road construction (bridge construction) had traffic just creeping along for 10 miles when we finally crossed the border into Virginia.  We stopped at exit 4 in Virginia to refuel at a Pilot station and to stop at our favorite peanut store, The Good Earth Peanut Company We arrived at the campground about 2 pm.  We had thought in Emporia there would be some place to get lunch but we are somewhat north of the area of those businesses so I fixed a lunch.  Tomorrow we will continue on to Todd and Beth's.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Back to Rome and the Long Trip Home - May 7, 2018

 Monday, we were up early for breakfast as we had to be ready at 8 a.m. to leave the ship.  Our waiting area was the evening dining room and we were called shortly after 8 to go off to the tent to claim our luggage.  We then processed to the waiting buses for our transport to the airport, a little more than an hour away.  The check in was uneventful and we were on the plane about 11:45 a.m. Rome time, which is 6 hours ahead of Eastern time.  Our flight was over 10 hours and the seats were very tight and most uncomfortable.  About 4:20 p.m. (ET) we arrived in Philadelphia, Pa, went through immigration and security easily.  At 8:20 p.m. we left Philadelphia for a 2.5 flight to Orlando, Fl.  Philadelphia airport had a water problem due to a water main break outside the airport, restaurants were unable to serve hot food and bathrooms were absolutely filthy.  About 11 p.m. we landed in Orlando and our transportation van and driver were there.  It was nearly 1 a.m. when we finally got home..

Naples, Italy - May 6, 2018

May 6, Sunday, our last day on the cruise and we were docked in Naples, Italy.

 Eight of our group assembled on the dock at 8:30 a.m. and the caught a ferry to the isle of Capri. 

After a 40 minute ferry ride we found taxis that toured us around the island, 20 Euros/person.  

Faraglioni Cliff Isle of Capri

Randa can I Buy this Car?

Bruce McGinness, Raed and Randa Youakim, Bruce and Penny MacDonald, Tom and Leah Van de Bussche and Irwin Claener on Isle of Capri

Punta Carena Lighthouse

Leah on Isle of Capri

Beautiful island that is quite a vacation spot.  Our tour concluded in an area of shops, restaurants and inclined railway. 

Bottles of Lemoncello

We did go to a recommended restaurant for pizza which was very good. 

Veggie Pizza Baked in a Brick Oven and Was Very Good

After a stroll about the area we took the inclined railway down to the dock area where we checked out more stores and gelato for dessert. 

Inclined Railroad to take us back to the Harbor

Enjoying on of the many Gelatos on our Trip

Upon returning to the ship, we set to work packing our suitcases and getting showers before going for dinner.  After dinner, we did return to our room, saw our cabin attendant who said we could put our luggage out anytime now, so we got our 2 biggest suitcases out and he promptly took them away.  We will now use our carry on bags for the remainder of our things.  Good entertainment again tonight, Claire Maidin is a concert pianist and vocalist, she had been on “Holland has Talent” and won first place.  Tomorrow we will be to the port (Cititavecchia) that serves Rome and will be going to the airport for our flight home.  I am still not feeling the best, hopefully, the warm Florida sunshine will be the cure.  It was cool here today, temps in 70’s

Day at Sea - May 5, 2018

May 5, Saturday, our second and last day that was spent at sea.  A leisurely day that started with breakfast whenever but we were eating about the usual time between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.  I still am dealing with this cold so after breakfast we returned to the cabin to read and relax.  Tom has started coughing a little more and others in our group are also dealing with the same symptoms.  Arrangements had been made for our group to congregate at an upper deck outside area for period of socialization for the women/ BSing for the men a little before 11a.m. it socialization (Comment from Tom, "why is it socializing for the women and BSing for the men?")  I had fallen asleep so Tom went up a little before me but eventually we were both there.  After sitting and gabbing for a spell we obtained lunch to bring to the area to eat.  About 2:30 p.m. the group dispersed until dinner at 6p.m.  Tonight was to be another dressy event, it seems that less and less are doing the real dressing up that once was expected on cruises.  Entertainment tonight was an acrobatic and creative artistry show with the ship’s performers which we thought the best show by this group. Tonight clocks will be set back an hour as we will be back in Italy for our last day.

Athens (Piraeus), Greece - May 4, 2018

May 4, Friday, we awoke and were now in Piraeus/Athens port.  This is Athens main port and a very busy port.

  A military ship of some kind is moored next to us, USNS Trenton.

USNS Trenton

Click on the link above and learn more about this ship

 We along with 2 other Canadian couples, Raed and Randa Youakim and Bruce and Penny MacDonald caught a Hop On/Hop Off bus.  The bus maneuvered through the city streets to the area of the Acropolis where our traveling companions decided to hop off.

On the Hop On Hop Off Tour Bus

The Acropolis in Athens, Greece

 Tom and I stayed on for a return trip back to the port.  This area is very much like most cities- heavy traffic and dirty streets and high rise buildings unlike the previous port areas. 

After making our way through the duty free shop with a few items we grabbed a bite of lunch and ate out on the open deck.  The afternoon was spent on our balcony-reading, resting and watching the comings and goings in the harbor.  In the evening after dinner we enjoyed a Beatle show called “Just John and Paul” which was very entertaining.