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July 2008
July 1 - 5, 2008
After my usual morning walk, my day started with a trip to the Imaging Center for my annual mammogram. Disappointing, I found out as I was leaving that my insurance may not cover the cost, as they are outside my network. When I made the appointment, it sounded like the insurance usually covers the majority of the cost, even though it is not in our network - oh, well, guess I will wait for the bill to come to see what they do.

I did the weekly grocery shopping (another easy $100 spent) before heading back home. It took over an hour, as I have become more involved in comparison shopping as the prices continue to go up.

This evening, we went to the Ocala Macintosh User's Group meeting, an event that was a monthly regular when we lived here. It was nice to see that many of the members are still involved and there was some lively discussion. The scheduled speaker from the Star Banner Newspaper never showed up, so it became an open forum. We broke for refreshments and had a nice time visiting. After the meeting, we stopped at McDonald's with Rudy and Sonja to come up with a plan for when we could get together over the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, July 2. Today was spent just hanging around the RV park, starting with my usual 1/2 hour walk with Frisco this morning.

Last week, I bought a reel for the electric cord that is stored in a compartment of the motor home, hoping to organize the compartment better. The cord is very heavy and has to be moved whenever we hook up to or disconnect from park's power. I messed with that for a while, worked up a sweat, and then realized that there was a problem with the power to the motor home. Mike had to come out and help me get it all back together. The result is not exactly what I had in mind, but an improvement from what it was before.

Just as we were beginning to prepare dinner (a marinated roast cooked on the grill), the weather started to turn and we were threatened by thunder and lightning. It passed us by and we were able to get it cooked. Jonnie, Marty, and Colton joined us for dinner and we had a nice visit.

Thursday, July 3. A phone call at 8:00 this morning announced that the technicians that would repair our awning would be here at 9:00. Yeah! The check from the insurance company appeared in the mail yesterday. They arrived, started the job, then realized they picked up the wrong product at the shop and had to go back to get it. An hour later, they were back and had the job done in 1/2 hour. Looks good! Now, hope that we learned from our mistake and avoid doing a stupid thing like that in the future.

We met up with Jim and Carol, friends from the Ocala Master Gardeners, for lunch at Pizza Hut in Ocala. We occupied the corner booth and sat and talked for 2 hours. What a nice visit, it's always good to hook up with old friends.

We drove a roundabout way back to the motor home, stopping to gather info and walk through a few mobile/modular homes. We both felt that we could easily buy an existing stick built home for those prices - probably wouldn't consider that for the future unless it was in a nice community where we wanted to settle.

Friday, July 4. Happy Birthday, America! We celebrated by joining Jonnie, Marty, and Colton at their pool in the early afternoon. Had an enjoyable swim, played some volleyball, and playing with Frisco. We headed up to Mike and Val's house and hung around their pool. For dinner, I made some spice shrimp from Louisiana and Mike cooked up some Walleye that he caught in Canada. What a nice treat!

We didn't stick around for the fireworks as Frisco gets quite traumatized. They were going off all hours of the night and he didn't get much sleep, stayed close to us behind our pillows all night long.

Saturday, July 5. Laundry day. Rudy and Sonja planned to stop by in the afternoon but their commitment lasted longer than they expected and they arrived around 7:00. We enjoyed a bottle of wine together while we talked, did computer stuff, and shared stories.

I fixed a homemade pizza for dinner tonight - think I will be doing more of that, as it was tasty, tasty!

Sunday, July 6. We packed up some clothes and headed for Rudy and Sonja‚??s house in Rainbow Lakes Estates in Dunnellon where we plan to spend the next couple of days. Sonja had a very nice lunch waiting for us and we enjoyed some great conversation. They also presented us with a gift of 2 beautiful hand etched wine glasses filled with a very special chocolate filled with Kirsch (a Swiss cherry liqueur). Mike‚??s glass was etched by Rudy and mine was etched by Sonja.

Mike and Rudy wanted to go into Ocala to visit the electronics store, so while they were doing that, Sonja and I went to the grocery store. Sonja‚??s son Andy and his wife Ingrid, son Alex, and daughter Nina will be arriving on Tuesday, so she needed to stock up on a few things. We look forward to seeing them again, as it was in Switzerland in 2006 when we last saw them.

When we got back to Dunnellon, we went for pizza at Ye Olde Sub and Pizza Pub. I think it was the best pizza we have had in a long, long, time. It might even be since we were in San Francisco. The crust was delicious and nice and crispy and the veggies were fresh and tasty. The game of DOG was on the agenda for the evening and the women beat the men

July 7 - 13, 2008
Monday, July 7. After a nice, light breakfast and a walk with Frisco, Mike and Rudy took off and Sonja taught me how to do the glass etching. What a beautiful craft and quite easy to do. Sonja‚??s friend, Rosemarie, stopped by for a visit.

When Mike and Rudy returned, Rudy mixed up a batch of Old Fashioneds for us all. They fixed a delicious dinner of grilled chicken breast, au gratin potatoes, and steamed broccoli for dinner. In the evening, we watched their video from their trip to the Lake Geneva and New Glarus, Wisconsin areas last summer. It certainly made me start to look forward to getting back there again.

Tuesday, July 8. This afternoon, we made a trip to Ocala to see the latest Pixar movie, Wall-E. It was very good and we all enjoyed it.

We had another delicious dinner of a nice, green salad, baked salmon, and rice. Mike and I headed back home to the RV park early in the evening. As always, it is nice to get away but also nice to get back home again.

Thursday, July 10. Rudy and Sonja invited us to join them for a pontoon boat ride on the Rainbow River today. Mike decided not to join us because he was having a problem with his ear after swimming last week. We invited Colton to join us, so I picked him up and we went to Dunnellon to the Rainbow River Club to meet up. It was a very nice reunion with Andy, Ingrid, Alex and Nina, as we hadn't seen them since our trip to Switzerland.

We boarded the boat and headed up the river to KP Hole Park where we docked the boat and went for a swim. The Rainbow River is a spring fed river and the water is crystal clear and a constant 72 degrees. It was a bit of a challenge getting into the water but very nice and refreshing once you got used to it. After our swim, we had an enjoyable picnic.

Observation of wildlife along the river was great! We saw an otter, an alligator, turtles, a snake, lots of birds and fish and turtles swimming. Fish and turtles were easy to spot. Many people were floating on rafts and tubes and the young boys and girls were climbing trees and jumping into the cool, clear water below.

After 6 hours on the boat, we were all tired and ready for a break. It was a good day filled with interesting wildlife, great company, conversation, and beautiful Florida weather.

Friday, June 11. This morning, Mike and Colton went to the Ocala National Forest to a shooting range to do guy stuff. While they were gone, I cleaned the house, did the laundry, and prepared the food for dinner tonight, as we invited John and Lucia to join us.
Since arriving here, we have tried to reach them but they have not been at home until yesterday when they returned from a trip to South America.

John and Lucia arrived at 5:30 and we proceeded to catch up on the last 2 years. They have made some very interesting trips and we have too. It was so nice to see them again. We shared a great dinner of grilled chicken, grilled carrots and onions, rice, complimented with a delicious bottle of wine. We talked until 10:00 when it was time for them to leave. Hopefully, we will be able to spend a bit more time together before we take off again. The calendar is filling up.

Saturday, June 12. Off to the grocery store this morning, as my cupboards are bare again (the trouble with having so little storage space).

I just finished putting everything away, when Rudy, Sonja, Andy, Ingrid, Alex and Nina arrived for lunch and swimming. We were having a bit of rain when they arrived but there was clear, blue skies behind them so we knew it was coming our way soon. By the time we finished having lunch it was hot and sunny once again. The plan was to go swimming here, but since Jonnie had invited us to swim at her house, we decided it was much nicer there and this would give her a chance to meet our wonderful Swiss friends.

The pool was delightful and we were able to swim for about an hour before the skies became dark gray and the rains came once again. Thankfully, Jonnie has such a nice, big porch that we all were able to sit and have some good conversation before they all left. Marty had to work until 2:00, but was able to meet them and visit for a while when she got home.

Later on, some of their friends arrived, we played in the pool some more, grilled some burgers, and hung around until about 9:00. It was another busy but very enjoyable day.

Sunday, July 13. An R and R day for us. We had planned to have an outing with John and Lucia, but they were tired and we were too. We were mostly lazy, computing, talking on the phone, and naps. Later in the afternoon, I went and swam with Jonnie and Marty for a while.
July 14 - 20, 2008
Monday, July 14. The last time I went grocery shopping, I bought a bottle of Omega 3 Fish Oil tablets. When Mike opened the bottle, he found that the inside protective cover was damaged. It appeared to have burn marks around the outside edge and they foam like coating on the paper was melted. We didn‚??t trust it, so today was the day to return it, along with some craft items that I bought and decided not to keep. Returns were made at Walmart, Lowes, and Hobby Lobby - taking most of the afternoon.

After dinner, I prepared the food for tomorrow's dinner and took it over to Jonnie and Marty's house, as my little refrigerator would not hold it. Our Swiss friends will be joining us, as they invited Colton to go with them to the water park for the afternoon.

Tuesday, July 15. Sonja was dropped off at our house this morning, as the rest of the family was going to the water park for the day and she didn't want to join them. Mike left to run some errands, so Sonja and I played a couple of games, talked, read, and enjoyed each other‚??s company.

The rain came in the afternoon and shortened the swimming time at the waterpark. We all met at Jonnie and Marty‚??s house for the evening meal of bratwurst, baked beans, and cheesy potatoes. Sonja made red cabbage and a hangover cake (made with beer). Once the rain stopped, Andy, Jonnie, and the children played in the pool and the rest of us relaxed and visited. A fun and enjoyable day.

Wednesday, July 16. I got ambitious and decided to wash the motor home this morning. It‚??s not such a bad job and is much needed since we are sitting under the live oak trees.

John and Lucia invited us to lunch, so we arrived at their house around 12:30. Lucia made a delicious lunch of salad, homemade dressing, homemade bread, liver and onions, and rice. We had such a nice time, as we always have so many interesting things to talk about. We were getting ready to leave around 5:00 when it started to pour down rain.

Back to the living room, we sipped on Cognac and sat around telling stories and had lots of good laughs. We finally left there around 9:00 pm. Time sure does fly when you're having fun.

Friday, July 18. Yesterday was a do nothing day other than running a few errands. We both felt a bit sluggish, could be the cognac.

This morning, we dropped Frisco off to stay with Colton and we headed for the Villages to meet up with an old friend, Jim Bucko. We met at the square at Old Sumter Landing, had some lunch at the visitor center, then went to see Jim's progress on the house that he bought 2 years ago. Very nice!

Jim joined us for dinner at the motorhome and we talked and talked and talked.

Saturday, July 19. Today was another great day hanging out with Jim. We spent most of the day shopping, starting at a consignment store (one my favorites while living here), Wally World, the flea market at Markets of Marion, a razor repair shop, and a grocery store.

What a small world - while at Walmart, we saw our former supervisor and while at the flea market, we saw a former co-worker and also saw our Swiss friends.

This evening, we met up with Jonnie, Marty, and Colton and our Swiss friends at the Villages square at Spanish Springs. The monthly car show was being held there and there is live music every night of the week. At 7:15, the winners of the car show were announced and then the parade of cars started.

It was a nice time - another busy day. We often talk about how fortunate we are to have so many wonderful family and friends, and to be able to travel around to visit them.

Sunday, July 20. This is the day that we had planned to leave Ocala, but since we really haven't had a lot of time to spend with Jonnie and family, we decided to extend our stay for 2 more days. Last night, Jonnie invited Rudy and Sonja and family to join us for an afternoon of swimming and relaxing today. She also invited Mike, Val, and Amber to join us so we were able to see them once again before we leave.

The pool was so inviting and comfortable that we spent most of the afternoon in the water. Some of us played horseshoes and flew RC airplanes too. Late afternoon, Rudy prepared a Shrimp Flambe and served it with rice and Rose wine. It was delicious! Jonnie grilled some hot dogs and burgers for dinner and we had several choices for desserts too.

Our goodbyes were difficult, as we won't be seeing any them again for a while. Well, who knows - the way we get around. Perhaps some of them will decide to come see us in Texas or wherever we may be.
Monday, July 21, 2008
We have to get some chores done around here today. I did laundry while Mike vacuumed and dusted. While waiting for my laundry to be done, I stopped at the office to find out what I still owed them. The manager asked if I could help them out and clean the sales office in exchange for free electric. I happily, as it seemed like a good deal to me.

After putting away the laundry, I cleaned the sales office. It involved vacuuming 4 rooms, dusting, and cleaning 2 bathrooms, taking me 1.25 hours. Our electric bill came to about $40 so it was pretty good pay for my efforts.
Ocala, FL to Vidalia, GA, 234 miles Tuesday, July 22, 2008
On the road again. It was a late start for us today, I didn‚??t even take my walk until 9:00 and then it was way too hot. I stopped by the office and settled up for our extra 2 days, but should have waited a while as we decided to fill up on propane before we left. It was 11:15 before we pulled out of the park, drove ¬Ĺ mile to the I75 on ramp and had to pull over as there was a problem with the toad. Mike thinks it was one of the safety cables blocking the release bar. After unhitching and re-hitching, we finally got back on the road by 12:00.

We headed north out of Ocala on US 301, then got on US 1 and 23 just inside the Georgia border. Mike drove for a couple of hours and then we switched. Wouldn‚??t you know, I got the 2 lane highway and a heavy duty rainstorm, then it cleared up and was fine the rest of the way. The roads were good and the route took us through the flatlands of Florida and then into the rolling hills and piney woods of south Georgia.

We stopped just northeast of Vidalia, GA to spend the night at the Sweet Onion RV Park ($12 with our Escapees discount). It isn‚??t much of a park, just 18 sites with full hookups in the yard in front of a house, old yucky electric/water posts, and a run down shower room. We didn‚??t know where to check in, so I called and a young girl came out to collect our money. At least we have electric to run the AC and water to take a shower.

A storm came through this evening and the sky was scattered with lightening for quite a while.
Lyons, GA to Fair Play, SC, 223 miles Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Today's route was a very nice drive through some beautiful, hilly countryside. A strange sight was a large, black bull on the loose alongside the road. Fortunately, he was more interested in eating the grass than he was with the traffic.

As we approached the border, we crossed the Strom Thurmond Dam that goes across the Savannah River and into South Carolina. The route north to Anderson ran parallel to the river near Lake Russell and Hartwell Lake.

Even though we traveled only 223 miles, it was a long haul, through lots of cities and narrow roads. We have no regrets as it was a beautiful and relaxing drive. We will be staying for at least a week at the Carolina Landing Preserve, one of the parks in our Resorts of Distinction membership that costs us nothing to stay. It is quite different from the places we have stayed in the last year, as the park is situated on a large hill and we are near the top of the hill. It is also pretty dense woodlands.

July 24 - 27, 2008
Thursday, July 24. Today we had a reunion with our long time friends from Madison, Tom and Karen. It has been a little more than 2 years since we last saw them, so it was great to be together again. Tom has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment for Type B Lymphoma over the last 5 months and recently completed the treatment. His health is improving, he is feeling much better, and he has hair on his head and face again.

Karen was working this morning when we arrived, so when she got home, we had a great visit over lunch. Before we knew it, it was 5:30 and we had spent the whole afternoon talking.

Tomorrow afternoon, they will join us for some Farkel games and dinner.

Friday, July 25. The morning started with a nice, long walk to the lake, approximately 1.5 miles round trip but through very hilly, woodsy trails. The water level of the lakes is about 10 feet lower than normal and there is about 20 feet of dry land beyond the dock. What a shame, this area has been under drought conditions for several months. Recently, they are starting to get some rain.

We did some projects around the house but took it slow and relaxing.

Tom and Karen joined us at about 4:30 this afternoon. We had a nice dinner of grilled chicken, grilled vegetables, and a fruit salad. It was Tom's first night out since his chemo and he really appreciated the good food. After dinner, we taught them to play Farkel and had a fun time. Guess they liked it because when the left, they asked us to bring it along for tomorrow.

Saturday, July 26. Today started out real slow. Neither of us could seem to get moving. Mike just got started doing something, then Pat called so he stopped to talk with him for a while. Then we started doing something else and Ben called, so we stopped to talk to him for a while. It's always nice to hear from them and we usually find plenty to talk about.

We have the hummingbird feeder on the window again. I put it up on the evening that we arrived at the park and the next morning they were coming to it, although tentatively at first. Today, as I was watching them, there were 4 of them jockeying for position at one time. Sometimes, they go to a nearby branch after feeding and sit and preen themselves. We are just fascinated by their frequent visits and really enjoy all of the entertainment they provide us.

Later in the afternoon, we headed into Anderson and made a stop at Walmart to get windshield wiper blades for the motor home. After getting back out to the car, we realized that we forgot to get dice for Tom and Karen for Farkel. I went back in the store and when I got to the checkout line, there were 8 people in front of me and only one "under 20 item" register open. They have plenty of registers but nobody working them. While waiting, I did get to have a nice conversation with a young, local couple and that helped to pass the time.

We gabbed with Tom and Karen, then I rode into town with Karen to pick up some Thai food for dinner. We took her Miata and it was fun to ride with the top down once again, those cars are so cool! Dinner was tasty and after gabbing some more, we headed back home. It's about a 40 mile drive to their house.

July 28 - 31, 2008
Monday, July 28. On Sunday afternoon, Tom and Karen joined us again, we sat around talking, having a glass of wine, and enjoyed dinner together.

Today, it took us a while to get going. Frisco and I had a nice, long walk this morning. Later on, we walked to the lake with Mary, she and her husband Bill are camped across the street from us and are from Beaufort, SC. When we got back, we sat and talked with them for quite a while and made plans to go to the farmers market in Anderson tomorrow.

On the way to Tom and Karen's house, another stop at Walmart was required. We had to exchange the windshield wipers that we bought the other day, as they were too short. That place really gets on your nerves, they never have enough registers open and the lines are long.

We hung out with Tom and Karen for a couple of hours, then headed back home for dinner.

Tuesday, July 29. This morning, Mary and Bill joined us and we went to the Farmer's Market in Anderson. It was quite the happening place and we bought fresh peaches, green beans, tomatoes, cabbage, blueberries, feta cheese, and some soap. When we finished there, we went next door to the Anderson Art Center. The building is a restored warehouse - a beautiful building now. The two primary exhibits were whimsical animal sculptures and acrylic paintings. The gift shop wasn't open.

Later in the afternoon, we headed back to Tom and Karen's house to hang out for the last time for a while. As usual, we found lots to talk about. Tom and I took a ride down to the lake on the "gator". We had both been trying to identify a tree from a distance so decided to get a closer look. It is beautiful down there and the temperature seemed like at least 10 degrees cooler.

It's been a real nice week spending time with them

Wednesday, July 30. We've decided to stay here one more day, to catch up on the laundry and spend the day just hanging out around home. The park had no problem extending our stay. Mike vacuumed while I put away the laundry and we took care of Frisco's grooming.

The hummingbird feeder was empty this morning, so I added some to it and watched them go crazy. I saw the first male with his bright red chin come to the feeder this morning. I think they will miss us when we're gone, although there appears to be lots of natural foods around here.
Fair Play, SC to Heiskell, TN, 246 miles Thursday, July 31.
We departed the Carolina Landing RV park at around 10:00 this morning. Mary and Bill came by to wish us safe travels. Mike took the first shift and drove for a couple of hours to just before Asheville, NC. We decided to take the interstates for a change, as there really weren‚??t any other good options. The trip isn‚??t that far, less than 200 miles. Before getting out of South Carolina, we could see the Blue Ridge Mountains, the first mountains we have seen in a year.

I took over driving after having a bite to eat. Not long after I started driving, we hit a long, long stretch of road construction and traveled for over an hour at less than 10 mph. What a drag. Once the traffic cleared, we started going through the Smoky Mountains and then it started to rain. I stayed in the truck lane at 50 mph but I was still feeling tense for most of my driving shift. I kept driving because I feel I need the experience under all road conditions before I will feel comfortable again. We changed drivers again about 50 miles before our destination.

We started hearing a strange vibrating sound and kind of thought it was the AC fan, but when we got to our destination Mike was leaning more toward thinking its the emergency brake ‚?? something he has been fearing for a while, as he has read about the problem on the Workhorse forums.

We stopped for the night at the Escapees Raccoon Valley RV Park ($14/night) at Heiskell, TN, about 17 miles north of Knoxville.

Created on 07/01/2008 07:43 AM by bridge
Updated on 07/31/2008 06:01 PM by bridge
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