Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Good Day of Traveling Home - September 13, 2017

We were underway this morning, Wednesday,  a little before 8 am.  Leaving northern Florida we apparently were ahead of folks coming from farther north as we had a much easier driving day than yesterday.  We had a short stint on I 10 and then went south on SR 19 to Crystal River and then west SR 44 to Wildwood.  From there to Fruitland Park where the storage lot is located.  We did see some trees blown over, some wires down and branches broken off as we drove south.  There were more caravans of utility trucks also going south but not to the extent that we saw yesterday.  At the storage lot, the owners told us that there was no electric and no water in their shop and they were going to lock up after we left as we were the last one expected in today.  As we drove into The Villages we saw ponds that had expanded over the normal boundaries with trees standing in the water and there were ponds that normally are not ponds.  Debris from palm trees, the old dried lower fronds mostly,  was everywhere.  Spanish moss that hangs on the southern oak trees was scatter on the grass under the trees.  Landscaping crews were working everywhere raking up this debris into piles to be picked up.
When we got home we found everything to be in order and no problems.  Our area did not lose power but some areas still are without electricity so we are told.  It is good to be home.  We are so glad that we made the decision to go away from here during this hurricane.
Forgot to mention that numerous gas stations were out of gas and those that had gas had long lines of cars waiting to gas up.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Heading For Home- September 12, 2017

A little after 8am (CT) we were leaving Biloxi heading east toward home.  Travel through Mississippi and Alabama did not go too bad on I-10 but Florida was another story.  Almost every interchange caused a back-up along with a couple accidents.  It seemed we just went at a snail's pace.  Tom had tried calling a couple campgrounds last night without anyone answering and had left messages but no call backs.  We were going to a Corps of Engineers park in Chattahoochee but the streets had no name signs posted so we missed our turn and turning around was not possible for miles further down the road.  Another park in Quincy looked promising but our GPS had us making a turn into a gas station.  Finally a call to Tallahassee RV Park a campsite was located due to a cancellation.  After 338 miles and about 10 hours later at 7:30pm (ET) we arrived at the campground.  We did stop for a late lunch at a KFC restaurant.  A long day!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Irma Has Left the Area- September 11, 2017

Today, Monday, we woke up to start reading on facebook if there had been any problems in The Villages.  All the reports looked positive, minimal power outages but not in our area and very little destruction.  We hopeful that all will be fine when we get home. Other areas in Florida did not fair as well.  Here in Biloxi we have not had any rain but the wind has be blowing about 16mph,  Tom finished cleaning up the outside of the motorhome while I did vacuuming inside.  Did ride out for some ice cream this evening and then had a stroll on the beach.  We plan to leave in the morning.  Attempted to call campgrounds to make reservations for tomorrow night but couldn't get anyone to answer.  The area we hope to get to was probably having some tropical weather issues this evening.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Another Day in Biloxi - September 10, 2017

Today, Sunday, we started out the day taking a short walk to Waffle House for breakfast.  Returning back to the motorhome Tom and I puttered around doing some cleaning chores inside and out.  For lunch we drove to a restaurant called Baja Beach, a Mexican restaurant and had burritos that were super big but good.  The afternoon was spent reading and relaxing.  Of course, our attention was on the hurricane Irma that was slowly making way up the western side of Florida.  It was a category 4 this morning but this evening as it approaches Tampa it is expected to be a category 1.  This is good news.  We have added another day on our stay here that will take us until Tuesday and we are penciled in for a few days more if needed.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Seafood Festival, September 9, 2017

Today, Saturday, started out with breakfast and then Tom cleaned off the love bug residue on the wind shield and motorhome front.  Those bugs create quite a mess on things as they splat on the vehicles going down a road.  Around noontime we went to the Biloxi Seafood Festival.  The usual tents with craft type wares were set up but then there was a food area- all outside dining mostly in a standing position.  We checked out the food and saw plates of food that cost $16- $45 and decided that we would rather eat somewhere else that would be an air-condition, sit down in comfort and less expensive.  Most of the food was fried and served with French fries, food that I try to avoid.  We drove over to Ocean Springs, a neighboring town and ate at McElroy's restaurant.  Tom had a meal of oysters and scallops, grilled along with cole slaw and baked potato.  I had Bayou Special which was a fillet of snapper with crab on top, grilled accompanied by cole slaw and broccoli.  Very good food and much less in cost than the festival fare and we were able to sit in an AC dining room.  We did walk around the shopping area of Ocean Springs and only bought some licorice.  It has been very windy today with bright sunshine.  Hurricane Irma is expected to hit the Florida Keys by tomorrow morning and looks to be leaning toward the western side of Florida and the Tampa area as it advances north but most of Florida will be effected.  We are feeling good about our decision to move away from the area and continue to hope and pray our house will not have any damage.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Nasty Irma is Coming and We Are Gittin' September 7 & 8, 2017

Hurricane Irma has been brewing in the Atlantic Ocean for quite a few days.  It was a very nasty storm with winds up to 190 mph marking it as a category 4 and 5 and the worst storm on record.  The path was uncertain but was going to involve Florida and most models had the storm going up through the center of the state and about 500 miles wide. Our family (son, Todd and my brother, Larry) were encouraging us to leave Florida for safety.  So yesterday, 9/7, after getting blood work done and postponing a yard irrigation appointment we left the house.  We had moved the outdoor furniture into the house and garage.  Important papers were gathered together and the freezer was emptied out.  The papers and freezer contents were taken along to the motorhome.  A little past noon we were on the road heading northwest.  We were aware that I-75 was congested and traffic was slowly moving so we avoided that road.  Taking SR 44 to SR 19 was much less congested and moving.  On SR 19 as we drove through the towns on this route we had congestion problems with traffic lights and schools letting out but otherwise moving.  When we reached I-10 east of Tallahassee the traffic was moving without any problems. There were utility trucks and military trucks traveling east to Florida peninsula.  We tried calling several campgrounds in the western panhandle of Florida that had no sites available but then a recommendation was made by a full campground for a neighboring campground in the Marianna area.  A call to Dove's Rest RV Park reserved a site for us.  After 280 miles and about 7 hours on the road we arrived at Dove's Rest and were assigned a site- 30 amp electric and water for $42.00, cash or check only, credit card machine not working so they said.  The first site we had an electric problem so we had to move to another site.  The workmen at the campground stated these sites had not been used for a long time.  We feel the campground took advantage of the situation charging the price of $42.00.  This in my opinion was a very poor business decision as this campground would have made a nice stop whenever travels westward occurs but we will not be stopping here again if at all possible.
Today (8th) we were on the road by 8:30 am continuing our travels on I-10 west after fueling up at a Pilot station.  Traffic moved well without any issues other than road construction at a few places We arrived at Cajun RV Park in Biloxi, Mississippi about 1:30 pm after 258 miles.  Yesterdays trip was only 22 miles longer but took 2 hours longer.  As we were setting up in our campsite a neighbor lady came over and offered us some chili that she had made for our lunch.  Very thoughtful and the chili was very good.  We will stay here for the weekend, at least, until Irma moves through Florida.  Irma will hit southern Florida Sunday morning and expected to move northerly probably hitting our area on Sunday/ Monday.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Solar Eclipse - August 17-23, 2017

Thursday, August 17th, we were still in Pigeon Forge catching up on laundry in preparation for our next move.
On Friday, the 18th, we pulled out of Pigeon Forge to make a 215 mile trip to Westmoreland, Tennessee.  This area was designated to be a totality viewing spot for the solar eclipse that would occur on the 21st.  We stopped in Cookville, Tn. to have lunch with Lois Howard, a longtime camping friend of ours that lives in that area,  We ate at a Cheddar's restaurant and had a nice visit with Lois.  We had forgotten about crossing into Central time on this jaunt.  Tom had found out about this venue for eclipse watching from something he saw on the internet so we weren't too sure of what we were going to.  Westmoreland is a small little town that has a sizable Expo Center that doesn't appear to have much use these days.  We had to wait on a parking lot until 3 pm when someone finally came, opened gates and showed us our parking spot.  We had water and electric (30amp) and were parked on grass.  Activities and solar viewing was to be at Wild Flower Farms about 8 miles away.
Saturday, August 19th,  we did ride down to the Wild Flowers farm to get our wrist bands and solar viewing glasses but nothing else seemed to be happening.  We drove about the area going to Hendersonville and driving along the Cumberland River and Old Hickory Lake, a pretty area.  We then drove through the town of Gallatin and had lunch.  In the evening we drove to the "Farm" as there was to be entertainment but really there was not much happening so we returned back to our camp site.
Throughout the weekend campers were moving onto the grounds of the Expo Center but I believe the most that were there was 12 units.  It was advertised to have food trucks and entertainment at the "Farm" but we only saw a little hot dog cart for food and the entertainment was nothing to speak of.
Sunday we did go out for dinner but spent most of the day reading and relaxing at the motorhome
Monday, August 21st, the solar eclipse day! We had decided that we would just stay at the Expo grounds rather than go down to the "Farm" for a ride up a hill to view. The eclipse began a little before noon in clear skies.  We would periodically put on our solar glasses and check the progress and ate lunch in between.  As the eclipse moved toward totality the temperature dropped, the sky became dark, and the birds and insects became quiet.  !:27 pm totality occurred when we could remove our glasses for about 2 minutes.  It was really something to see.  I was also amazed at the accurate time schedule available.  Tom had downloaded an App on his phone that announced every happening and when to remove glasses and when to put them back on.   Prior to the eclipse one of the gals from the "farm" came to the Expo Center to collect fees from any body wanting to park on the grounds for the eclipse.  Since she was sitting out in the direct sun Tom took a beach umbrella to her to have for shade.  After the eclipse we walked to the area she had been and found the she and the umbrella were gone.  So we went to the farm to retrieve the umbrella.  Traffic heading north was extremely heavy with people going out of the area to home.
Tuesday, August 22nd. we were on the road by 8:30 am heading south.  We hoped to get below Atlanta, Georgia.  It was a long drive 387 miles to Perry, Ga. with most interstate driving.  Fair Harbor RV park was our home for the night, a very nice campground.
Wednesday, 23rd, we continued our travels south for 293 miles to the motor home storage lot arriving about 2 pm.  We quickly gathered up our clothes and emptied the refrigerator and went home.  A good trip.