December, 2005

December 1
Today was quite a day. We got off to a late start because we discovered a leak in the faucet fitting in the bathroom sink ‚?? Mike was able to repair it though. Since we had to stop at the grocery store, we didn‚??t get on the road until 11:30. We only made 305 miles today, ending at the Quiet Oaks RV Park ($15) in Fenton, LA, about 10 miles north of I-10, east of Lake Charles.

Just east of Houston, we started to see damage from Hurricane Rita; trees down, 20-30‚?? piles of brush and rubbish, blue tarps on roof, signs tipped over, broken windows, houses that were a pile of rubble, and mosquitoes. On arrival at our destination for the night, we discovered about 30 trailers provided by FEMA for displaced homeowners. The park was also in the process of clearing trees (looks like from wind damage) to expand their park. The ground is real sandy and there is new construction for sewer and electic and as we pulled into our site, the rear wheels got stuck in the sand. It‚??s a good thing we have hydraulic jacks because they saved the day. Several men from the park helped us by putting boards under the rear jacks, then we jacked up the back, they put huge boards under the tires and we moved forward. The first attempt, we got the right tires out of the rut but then the left side got stuck. Tried the same thing there and finally got out.

Luling, TX to Fenton, LA (305 miles)
Fenton-Robertsdale,AL (345 miles) December 2
We just drove and drove today. All interstate and pretty boring. We did see a lot of hurricane damage today, the roadsides are littered with stuff that blew there and hasn't been cleaned up. There were more blue tarp covered rooftops than were not. Truly a sad situation for all those folks.

We stopped for the night at the Styx River Resort (free) in Robertsdale, AL, just east of Mobile. I got to practice driving on some very narrow roads, sharp turns, avoiding branches, etc. as I drove into the RV Park - no scratches!
Robertsdale, AL to Summerfield, FL (419 miles) December 3
The last leg of our trip back to Florida. Today we got to see more destruction from the hurricanes and it wasn't pleasant. Who would expect to see battered stoves, refrigerators, washers, dryers, roofs, etc. scattered along the interstate highway? Blue tarps covered rooftops as far as the eye could see.

We arrived at Jonnie & Marty's house in Summerfield at around 6:30 where we were greeted with lots of hugs and a great "welcome home". Their home is lit up and decorated for the holidays and we got to see their new pool and deck for the first time. Travis and his family from Wisconsin were visiting, so it was nice to see them again and Mike, Val, and Amber came to welcome us too. It feels really good to be back here and its a beautiful place to stay. Our motorhome is parked where we have a poolside view whenever we come or go.
December 4-10
Sunday, December 4. Regroup. We spent the day cleaning up the motorhome and car (they were still covered with a layer of dust from our first day on the road). It felt good to be grounded and not have to pick up and drive again. The weather was beautiful, mid-70s and clear, blue skies. I prepared a chicken dinner for the family when they returned from visiting Santa at a Christmas Tree farm.

Monday, December 5. Today we got much needed haircuts, drove around Ocala to see "what's new" and went to John & Lucia's house for dinner. We exchanged stories of our travels since they had been to England and Columbia since we'd seen them last. Its always great to be with good friends again.

Tuesday, December 6. It rained during the night, the first time we'd been in rain since Kingman, AZ. Today, we were able to get a wireless connection, so I caught up on bills and spent some time cleaning the inside of the motorhome. We went to the Ocala Macintosh User's Group meeting tonight and had a wonderful reunion and holiday party with all of our friends from that group.

Friday, December 9. This afternoon we went to Rudy and Sonja's house for a wonderful dinner and excellent company. We are very glad we made it back to Florida to see them before their return to Switzerland. Lucy really liked Sonja's lemon cake - she passed it many times as it sat on a low table, but then she couldn't resist a sample. We all went to Rainbow Springs to see the park all decorated with Christmas lights and Santa arrived on a pontoon boat. The weather was nice, but it had been raining for the last 3 days.


Saturday, December 10. Today was a pretty lazy day since we all got home late last night. In the afternoon we all went to see the movie "Walk The Line" about Johnny Cash's early career. The movie was really good, well done and the actors did a great job of depicting their characters. After the movie, we went to the Lonestar for dinner. As we pulled into the parking lot, a policeman was wresting a man to the ground, frisking him, and putting him in handcuffs. Not a real pleasant thing to watch and who knows what it was all about.
December 24-25
I guess its been a while since I've written in the journal. There hasn't been a whole lot going on. The weather has been pretty cool and rainy. Two nights this week, we had frost in the early morning hours.

We did manage to get the motor home all cleaned up this week. The "basement" storage bins were covered with a thick layer of dust from our stay in the desert near Deming, NM and the exterior needed an overall cleaning. It was a beautiful 70 degree day, so not a bad job to do.

Friday night we invited our dear friends, John and Lucia, for dinner and *bleep*tails. We had a great time visiting, showing them some of our trip pictures, enjoying the fireplace, and Mike and John talked airplanes & flight simulators.

Saturday, Christmas Eve, we spent watching Christmas shows on TV, baking, and visiting with family on the phone - cell phones get pretty hot during a long conversation. In the afternoon, we took Amber with us to find a geocache. This one was hidden under a fallen tree, just off the Cross Florida Greenway Trail on Baseline Road. It was a hard one to find, maybe because we are out of practice with the GPS. Mike was persistent and located the camouflage box. He then re-hid it so Amber and I could find it, since we had wandered off down the trail. We all got poked, jabbed, and covered with burrs but it was still a fun experience.

We had a nice shrimp dinner and watched another Christmas movie.

Christmas Day. I woke up to raindrops falling on the roof this morning. We were hoping for a sunny day so we could play a game of horsehoes, and the sun came out around 9:00 and it was a beautiful day. We went to Mike and Val's to watch Amber open gifts. Her biggie was a 10-week old Yorkie-poo puppy that she named Elvis. He is cute as a bug.

We spent the day playing horseshoes, Fact or Crap, and Farkel; had a wonderful traditional ham dinner; talked to family on the phone; and an overall very nice day.