At the Beach on a grey day

At the Beach on a grey day
At the Beach on a grey day

Dawn on the Gulf of Mexico

Dawn on the Gulf of Mexico
Dawn on the Gulf of Mexico

Warren Dunes Sunset

Warren Dunes Sunset
Warren Dunes Sunset

Friday, June 22, 2018

At the Beach, revisited

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Well, the weather patterns changed and it has been about 25F cooler in recent days than it was over the weekend. With the change we've had near constant cloud cover and fog, as the rains approached. Love it when that warm gulf air meets a northern cold front. We've strolled the beaches, hunkered down a bit and I've been doing what I call "non-productive" work. That is work that generally doesn't generate income. These efforts include volunteer effort, blogging, reading financial and retirement articles, and doing business overhead matters. Never a dull moment.

The cooler weather has been pleasant, but with it the humidity has increased dramatically. The mosquitoes love this. We find that walking along the lake is a great escape, as the westerly breezes blow the little suckers inland. At the beach there is a bug free zone and those that do migrate toward the shore are tasty treats for the many swallows who constantly clean up the skies. At the pond we have dragonflies who carry out the same duties. In the past week I think I got one bite, which really isn't all that bad. We haven't had to use repellent yet this year.

Most of my internet related work is accomplished using a Verizon jetpack. It is not uncommon for campground internet to be intermittent. We've discovered this all over the U.S. So we use it when available and if it isn't, then out comes the jetpack. The jetpack is how I'm able to do this blog, upload videos, etc. If not for it, I'd be limited to email.  In fact, yesterday I edited and uploaded the HOA newsletter. Not possible if not for the jetpack.

Walking at a nearby beach.
The Roadtrek 210P

A sailboat was the only recreational vehicle in sight on the water

We also visited a nearby state park and it too was quiet. But there are always a few who simply come here to relax.

Overcast at the shore:

Moby turtle was cruising the pond:

The weather got wetter:

This mornrng's rain
Recent rainfall totals

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Lake Michigan Shore Winefest

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We attended the winefest with friends. Hot and sunny. Nice breeze off of the Lake. Good music, too. Here's a short video:

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Chicago River Tour - Metra Train

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If you get to Chicago take one of the Chicago River boat tours. My favorite is the Architectural tour, which is available during daylight hours and also at night. At night there are all of the lights of the buildings to admire, too.  Getting into the city and to the river can be a traffic and parking issue, which is why we take the Metra train into the city. City parking is expensive and at times non-existent. The City has put parking meters on just about every street that can bring in revenue.

The Chicago area has an extensive commuter Metra train system which extends into and beyond the nearby suburbs. On weekends a "Weekend Pass" is good for unlimited rides on all Metra lines. As of May 2018 cost for a pass is $10.  For the Memorial Day weekend the pass was good for three days, 5/26, 27, 28!

Travel to and from other communities to Chicago's Union Station via Amtrak is also possible. For example, St. Joseph/Benton Harbor MI via Amtrak  to Chicago is $46 round trip, plus any taxes per adult. Seniors and children get a discount.

On Memorial Day weekend travel into big cities can be challenging. For example, on Memorial Day weekend rather than drive an RV or car, a train ride can be preferable. No parking or traffic issues, etc. That's the method that was used for the holiday weekend to enjoy the river boat tour:

Metra Weekend Ticket - A Bargain!

Note: River photos by G and friends.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Summer ""Lily Pad" is open!

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We had the opportunity to get a deck at the summer campsite. This is a 30 foot travel trailer which we call "the cabin."  It's on a partially shaded site at a nice pond. G likes to call it "one of our lily pads."  Will we be at this site in a few years? Probably, but we do have the option of moving it to another locale if we choose.

Today I finished putting the deck together, got the stairs in and also the new firepit. We're ready for summer!

I'm mentioned in other posts that our approach to "full timing" is a modified one. We use the Roadtrek to go to National Parks and to see things all over the U.S. With the Roadtrek 210P we can go just about everywhere a car can go.  Think of it as a portable motel room.

But living full time in a 21 ft Class B can be a challenge. We've done it for up to 110 days when the weather was dry and comfortable.   We've done shorter winter treks and camping in the winter can be challenging. I've posted about that before.  We'd like to use this lily pad to explore more of MI, the Upper Peninsula. I'd also like to go back to Quetico.

One of our neighbors, the piney squirrel. He or she is back too:

Evening at the lakeshore. We walked to the lake from our cabin. A few tried to fly kites yesterday evening, but it was too calm (that is a kite to the right of the tree, at the water line):

We spotted a heron in a nearby tree:

The barn swallows are nesting. This one took a brief rest. Pregnant?:

Currently it is very quiet at the lakefront. This will soon change:

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Springtime monsoons and settling into the "cabin" at the Lake - Building a Deck

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Spring has sprung, sort of. It was late this year and we didn't get back until April 30, choosing to stay in the warmth. Upon return it was cool and buds were just popping out on the trees. So we hadn't missed spring at all!

We unpacked, did laundry, some shopping for groceries and basically got re-oriented. We then re-packed and went to the "cabin" at the lake on May 3 and opened it up and freshened it up. Our "cabin" is a 30 ft travel trailer. It is one of our "lily pads" and it is more or less permanently parked at a campground; we pay a seasonal rate and winter storage to maintain it there. The Roadtrek will be parked nearby for a while. We'll be planning our next grand adventure, but if time permits we'll be taking some shorter treks.

Frequent readers will know that we have several "lily pads" we've set up and for all practical purposes we are "full timers" but we live in or at the lily pads for much of the year, using these as bases as we take the Roadtrek for adventures of a week or several months, hopping from lily pad to lily pad.

Currently we're prepping the cabin for summer. Some projects this year include building a deck, which is a major improvement.  We'd discussed this possibility since we began using that campground in 2014 with longer stays commencing 2015.

However, the project has been delayed by rain. For more than a week rain has been nearly continuous, with only short breaks. Back at Mondo Condo there was a microburst a few houses away which felled a healthy spruce.  This unfortunate tree was planted in shallow soil on top of clay:

As of yesterday even the campground with the cabin had not yet dried out. It's currently overcast, but dry as in "drying out."   Here's a short video taken over several days at the condo, nearly a week of daily storms:

Now to build the deck at the cabin. Last year an annual resident vacated his site but left his deck behind. The new tenant decided he didn't want it and I got permission from all parties including the owner of the campground to dismantle it. So at the end of October 2017 I did:

Disassembly prior to moving the deck, October 29, 2017
I consider myself fortunate to get the deck for the cabin. The only problem was it needed to be deconstructed and relocated to my site. It measured 10 ft x 16 ft and the deck boards were fastened with more than 500 nails. It was an arduous job to deconstruct it last fall. Of course it rained.

I worked on it for a day with a hammer and wonder bar and removed all of the nails. Whew! Then I cut the frame into three sections, each about 10 ft x 5 ft. 4 inches. With help I was able to carry and transport the boards to our site. It was cool, raining and damp most of the time, which made the work more difficult.  On the final morning with the decking on the site the sun came out.

I don't think we had the opportunity for a final campfire on our last night. On the final day we got up early and loaded the bikes onto the Roadtrek's bike rack, did the final winterizing of the cabin and winter prep of the deck components, including tie downs "just in case."  We then made a brief stop before heading to the winter lily pad in Arizona.

Ready to cover for winter. 

Reconstructing the relocated deck - May 2018
The reconstruction of the deck was somewhat easier than building one from scratch. I purchased about $75 in materials including nails, deck screws, (14) 4 x 8 x 16 inch concrete blocks, (2) 8 ft 2 x 4s (suitable for direct contact with earth) and a gallon of Cabot semi-transparent oil based stain.

We decided to relocate the fire ring, and will put in a larger one 36 inches in diameter, on concrete base.

G and I discussed options for where to put the deck. The awning is about 16 ft wide and we decided to put the deck parallel to the cabin and from rear door forward, roughly under the awning. I put it about 16 inches from the vertical side of the cabin. Using a string line I placed concrete blocks at the corners and decided it looked good.

The deck frame will rest on concrete blocks and will be above the soil, but on one end the top of the block will be only about 1/2 inch above the soil. That is the end farthest from the pond. At the other end, the top of one corner block will be about 3-1/2 inches above the soil. This is very sandy soil with a good slope to the pond. That's a good thing for drainage.

The blocks were positioned so that there is a slight slope to the top of the deck away from the cabin. I'd like the water to drain away from the cabin. This took a bit of juggling. The positioning of the blocks, digging holes to get the top surfaces level, assembling and straightening the three frame sections, adding 2 x 4 joiners and placing the deck planks on the frame took about 8 hours. A string line was used to check straightness and a 4 ft torpedo level was used to check just how level the frame is, in all directions of length, width and diagonal.

In all the deck frame rests on 14 blocks. The blocks are arranged under the framing so that there are three across the 10 ft. width. One at each outside frame and another in the center. For the 16 ft length there are also blocks, one at the ends and two in the middle. Because of the seam of the frame I used two blocks at each seam to be certain that both ends of the joint will be supported.

In this manner the frame will be supported by concrete blocks about every 5 feet in all directions.

Corner on three blocks
Based upon measurements, only 12 support blocks would be required. But there are joints where disassembly cuts were made. I wanted both sides of the joint to rest on a block. That required two additional blocks. Note the string line on the ground. That's how I got the sections to be "straight" before nailing together and adding additional 2x4 supports.
Two of the sections had a seam at a corner. To provide additional support and prevent the load being entirely on nailed sections I used 2 blocks side by side at both ends of that seam. 
Here's the entire frame assembled, resting on (14) concrete blocks, and with 2x4s added to brace the sections at the joints. I added two pieces in the very center at the seams for additional stability. Only (1) 8 ft 2x4 was used for this.
Entire frame re-assembled and on (14) blocks 

Satisfied with the frame and supports I put all of the deck boards on top of the framing. These are pressure treated pine deck board suitable for above ground use. (Common: 5/4-in x 4-in x 16-ft; Actual: 1-in x 3.5-in x 16-ft).

Deck boards resting on frame

Next Steps:
With the return of monsoons the screwing down of the planking will have to wait. Also need to do some work on the wooden stairs (lying on their side in the photo above). And, the firepit needs to be positioned at the end of the deck.

I'll light sand the top of the decking to smooth any splinters and with dry weather I'll stain the deck and the stairs.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Arizona to Florida to Northern Lily Pad April 2018

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We've completed this trek. Total of 6,239  miles and 164 days. The return from AZ to the northland via Florida, etc. was 4,045 miles over 18 days. We made multiple stops. Most recent update is Day 17, National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.  We returned to our Illinois location on the 18th day of this blog post.  I've included a few links to photo albums which expand on the photos included in this post.
Location , according to Verizon Hum

Current location: We've trekked beyond Illinois "Land of Madigan" or as we know it "Madiganstan", today (May 5) on to Michigan.

7:30 pm May 5

Tip of the Trip: We made reservations for each stop. That is important in Spring with RVers traversing the country, snowbirders returning home and so on. Some campgrounds close their offices early on weekends (e.g. at 3pm on Sunday) and not all campgrounds allow one to drive in after office hours and pick a spot. So it is important to call ahead, even if only 4-8 hours to assure that spot. Generally we don't wait until the "day of" to plan a nighttime stop. Of course, we can always boondock at a truck stop if necessary. I did map-out the trek from AZ to FL well in advance, picking overnight stops with G and duration of those stops. I use a 2013 version of Microsoft "Streets and Trips" on my PC.

SR-71 "Blackbird", X-15 and B-70 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Dayton OH

Click here to go to Day 2 in this post - Schulenburg, TX.

Click here to go to Day 3 in this post - Schulenburg, La Grange, etc.

Click here to go to Day 4 in this post - Onward to Bay St, Louis, MS.

Click here to go to Day 5 in this post - Arrived on the Gulf of Mexico.

Click here to go to Day 6 in this post - Relaxing on the Gulf of Mexico.

Click here to go to Day 7 in this post - On the "Forgotten Coast".

Click here to go to Day 8 in this post - St. George Island State Park.

Click here to go to the afternoon of Day 8 in this post - Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve  and the Pesky Pelican Grill.

Click here to go to Day 9 in this post - Apalachicola vintage car and boat show.

Click here to go to Day 10&11 Bradenton, FL.

Click here to go to Day 12, Sebring, FL.

Click here to go to Day 13, Headed to Savanna, GA.

Click here to go to Day 14, Savanna, GA.

Click here to go to Day 15, Savanna To Asheville, NC.

Click here to go to Day 16, 70 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Click here to go to Day 17, National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Dayton OH.

Day 1 (April 13), on to Fort Stockton
We are en-route. Left Arizona and headed east on I-10 to our first stop was Fort Stockton, Texas.  Eight hours of driving at an average speed of 70 MPH. Total mileage for the day 562. Left the resort gate in AZ at about 10:00am and arrived at our overnight destination in TX at about 5:45pm, AZ time.  However, there is a two hour time difference so our arrival was at 7:46pm local time. The speed limit on I-10 is 80 MPH and so I travelled with traffic.

We were supposed to be fully prepared the night before, but we had packing, final goodbyes including a dinner the day before, and I had a board meeting which took about two hours.  So we had some final packing to do and were up at 5:30am. After goodbyes and closing down our AZ location we were finally on the road at about 10:00am.

Day 1 - A Massive Dust Storm
We departed but soon caught up with the high winds we'd had in AZ a day earlier. It was a dust storm. G was a bit shocked by the size of some of the tumbleweeds blowing across the interstate. Visibility was good, but there was a constant haze. We were travelling west to east. That was good because we weren't driving into the wind.  We decided to press on and relax later in this trek.

We arrived at Fort Stockton and after setting up we took a brief walk around the campground. The haze was beginning to settle at sunset.  G warmed up some pizza and after that I logged on for email, handled a few, and went to bed about 11:00 pm, local time.

Sunset as the dust storm abates

Day 2.
Day 2 (April `4), Schulenburg TX
We had a simple breakfast at the Road Runner Cafe in the campground (eggs, sausage and biscuit with really good coffee). We went back 2 miles to get gas to continue on our trek. I had decided to get to the campground before the office closed the night before so I delayed refuelling until this morning.

We headed east on I-10 toward Schulenburg bypassing San Antonio on 1604 (under construction). We will be attending the Schulenburg Sausage Fest. A once a year activity in the town with music, dancing in the street, beer and a lot of sausage.  Great sausage, with sampling stations and sandwiches for purchase, etc.

We arrived at our campsite at about 3:55PM, checked in and then headed several blocks to the Sausagefest.  "The only festival in Texas to have a Sausage making contest! Cook off also features homemade wine, sauerkraut, and pickles. Dancing in the street to live music, children's activities, food, arts and crafts, and so much more! We hope you can make it out to this year's event!"

We had a snack of sausage on a wrap with sauerkraut. Very tasty. Two of these and two bottles of water for $10.

Sausage and sauerkraut on a wrap

Sausage Awards
Sauerkraut awards
We returned to the campsite for the remainder of the evening

Day 3.

Day 3 (April 15), Painted Churches of Schulenburg, Texas, Piano Bridge, Kolaches, Nuts and Bluebonnets
Schulenburg has some of the best examples of painted churches. These were built by immigrants who, lacking stone and the other things used for building churches in Europe painted the interiors in spectacular ways. Here's a link:

Be aware that the churches are open for services on Sunday and are open for daily tours Monday-Saturday.  At other times they are closed. So plan your trip!

St. Mary Catholic Church - High Hill, TX

La Grange, TX
Today we'll be doing some local site seeing.  We intend to go north on I-77 to the Piano Bridge Road (615) and then east to the bridge. Then on to La Grange TX.

At the Piano Bridge
The Piano Bridge
Piano Bridge - Dated 1885

On the bridge

On the bridge
Headed to Weikel's Bakery in La Grange, TX for some kolaches:

A case of kolaches and other baked goods
Cookies and other goodies, too.
Bluebonnets bloom in April:

A field in La Grange, TX

Purple Martins
Back to Schulenburg to get some pecans:

Potter Country Store

The sign on the washrooms, out back
Back in Schulenburg, time for dinner and the First of the Day:

First of the Day at Lucy Tequilas Bar and Grill
Tex Mex Salad
G had a Taco Salad

Day 4.
Day 4 - Onward to Bay St. Louis, MS

We began at 7:30am and pulled into the campground in Bay St. Louis about 9 hours later. Total miles for the day was 517. We decided to alter our route to allow a more scenic day and to avoid Houston. That required going north to US-290 and east, finally reconnecting with I-10 in Beaumont, TX. Below is a map of the altered route. That added a few miles. Taking local roads and highways was slower than the interstate which was generally posted at 65-70 MPH. But average driving speed was nevertheless about 55 MPH. The planned distance was 509.3 miles and estimated driving time of 8 hours. Minor construction delays and gas/meal stops added an hour to this.

Altered route to Bay St, Louis, mostly on local roads. 

We arrived a bit late in the day to visit NASA’s John C. Stennis rocket testing center. Last bus tour of the day is 3:00 pm.

I’ll post photos after I’ve had the opportunity to go through them.

Here's the view from G's seat travelling north on US77 at 8:06am:

Travelling through Tomball, TX:

Crossing Lake Houston, 10:45am:

How often do you pass a grade school with ponies grazing on the front lawn?

School with ponies grazing
Exxon polypropylene plant under construction near Beaumont. Polypropylene is a plastic used in high-performance automotive, appliance and packaging applications:

Entering Louisiana

Crossing Lake Bigeux, LA
Still ahead, the Mississippi River! (Photos coming).

At about 4:45pm, we were parked in our campsite for the night:

Tomorrow we have 350 miles to go to reach our Florida Destination.

Meanwhile, this is the Weather Channel prediction for Wednesday. I think it will be a while before we return to the Northland:

Weather Channel Prediction - Midwest, April 18, 2018

Day 5.
Day 5 - Arrive on the Gulf Coast of Florida
We'll be spending a few days on the Gulf Coast. Our campsite is at the water.  Today we drove about 398 miles. We departed at 7:30am, stopped for breakfast and for lunch along the way. Lunch was about an hour because service was slow. Our average speed while the engine was running was about 64 MPH according to the Chevy's computer. I-10 was 70 MPH and local highways 35-55 MPH.  We travelled with traffic, generally in the middle lane.

The next photo shows our Roadtrek at the campsite, 1,949 miles and a few stops after we began this trek.

Camping on the Gulf of Mexico - end of today's trek

USS Alabama at Mobile's Battleship Park
USS Alabama
On I-10
Tate's Hell State Forest
During a past trek we drove through nearby Tate's Hell State Forest. It is an interesting drive along a winding two lane road with no shoulder. Not forgiving if one strays from the road in a Class B RV. On that earlier trek as we approached a curve a logging truck came around it at high speed in our direction and in our lane! Obviously he didn't expect to encounter anyone on that road.

We barely avoided an accident. Since then, G says she prefers to take another route. We haven't been back into that forest.

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture "The natural resources found on Tate's Hell State Forest are very diverse due to the unique and various natural community types. At one time Tate's Hell State Forest supported at least 12 major community types, which included wet flatwoods, wet prairie, seepage slope, baygall, floodplain forest, floodplain swamp, basin swamp, upland hardwood forest, sandhill, pine ridges, dense titi thickets and scrub. Currently, the forest contains approximately 107,300 acres of hydric communities such as wet prairie (contains a vast diversity of plant species), wet flatwoods, strand swamp, bottomland forest, baygall and floodplain swamp. Past management practices have disrupted the function of the natural ecosystems on Tate's Hell State Forest. The restoration of these ecosystems is a primary objective of the Florida Forest Service."

The Legend of Tate's Hell...
A tale that has been told for many years recounts how Tate's Hell Swamp got its name. Local legend has it that a farmer by the name of Cebe Tate, armed with only a shotgun and accompanied by his hunting dogs, journeyed into the swamp in search of a panther that was killing his livestock. Although there are several versions of this story, the most common describes Tate as being lost in the swamp for seven days and nights, bitten by a snake, and drinking from the murky waters to curb his thirst. Finally he came to a clearing near Carrabelle, living only long enough to murmur the words, "My name is Cebe Tate, and I just came from Hell." Cebe Tate's adventure took place in 1875 and ever since, the area has been known as Tate's Hell, the legendary and forbidden swamp.

At our campground:

Birds feeding at sunset as low tide approaches

Day 6.
Day 6 - Relaxing on the Gulf
Well, it is dawn and G is snoozing. I am making coffee. We'll be here for four or five days, exploring the area. Wish I had an inflatable canoe, but I did bring the fishing pole. Today will probably be an easy day. I've got some condo board work to do, and G has some writing. A nice spot for these tasks.

The fisherfolk are hoping for a catch
A patient shore bird looking for a meal
Sometimes, when you think you are being watched, you really are being watched

Keeps the bugs under control
Dusk at our site

Pelicans hoping for a fishy treat at the pier cleaning station

Day 7.
On the "Forgotten Coast"
This is a relatively quiet, undeveloped section of Florida coastline stretching from Mexico Beach on the Gulf of Mexico to Shell Point Beach. The nearest large city is Tallahassee, Florida. The name "Florida's Forgotten Coast" is a registered trademark of the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce.

Breakfast on the "Forgotten Coast"

Heron Strolling By

Hanging out
Another opportunity on the pier
Fishing from a kayak
There is a constant stream of shore birds

Time for a little exploring, and lunch!

Entering Carrabelle from the West

Lunch Stop
Cajun Shrimp Basket, cheese grits, hush puppy, cole slaw & fries

Fried oyster basket
West on US 98 toward St. George Island - "Forgotten Coast" 

St. George Island Lighthouse

Lighthouse Marker
G on the beach

Enough Nature - time for an ice cream

US98 leaving St. George Island

Lots of pelicans, some low flyers

St. George Island at dusk

Day 8.
Visiting St. George Island State Park
Today we revisited St. George Island to see the state park. We did some other sightseeing, too.  We got up slightly after dawn and G wrote post cards while I packed the Roadtrek for a day trip. Breakfast was light and while G dropped off the post cards at the Carrabelle Post Office I got a cup of coffee across the street at the Carrabelle Junction. We then headed toward the State Park.

Dawn from our campsite

G writes postcards while I back up the RV

Meanwhile, the fishermen are doing their best
2500mm focal length, 1/250 sec, f6.4

On the way to the State Park

The bridge sign says "Look out for birds" and those pelicans are big and do get close

Some nice beach houses on the island

A few representative beach houses

At the entry of the state park

Ir's a scenic highway

View as we drive through the gate

Notice the turtle

We stopped at one of the beach entry points. Mild, mid 70s but the wind had picked up

Feeding the wildlife is a problem. Here's a sign to get the point across

G walking the beach

It is a miles long beach - View south

The view north

Add caption

Lots of space for a private conversation

sand and trees across the East Slough

the road through the park is 25 MPH with soft sand and no shoulders if you stray 

G headed to the beach at the East Slough Area


just a few gulls

standing into the wind

flying into the wind

On the walk to the East Slough Area

continuing on the wooden ramps

Very fragrant with the pines. 

on the East Slough Walk

on the East Slough Walk
on the East Slough Walk

Walking back to the car, but not on the dunes

Back to the Roadtrek
Next stop: the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve and then a meal!

Day 8, continued.

At the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve

Under the canopy of tall pines at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve:

Now for a meal at the Pesky Pelican Grill in Eastpoint!

Yep, those are oyster shells. This is prime oyster country, since 1898

Gumbo, already half gone. We  split a shrimp po' boy sandwich, too

On the patio, on the bay and within view of those pesky pelicans

Your pelican crew is ready!
We took a piece of Key Lime Pie to go and had it the next day

Back "home"

Day 9.
Day 9 in this post - Apalachicola vintage car and boat show.
The day began overcast so we went to the car and boat show. Here's a few photos and I'll post more tonight.

After the show we returned to the campground and sat on the bay. We had a visitor:

April 22, 2018 6:20pm EDT added a few photos:

Norm at the surfer's car. It is for sale!

Day 10&11.
Day 10 and 11 in this post - Bradenton, FL.
We spent a couple of days in Bradenton. FL.  Visiting relatives, doing the laundry, walking along the Riverwalk and so on.

Woodpecker at dawn

Our campsite view
Our alligator neighbor

At the pool at dawn

At dawn, color version

Poolside visitor

On the riverwalk

Day 12.
Day 12 in this post - Sebring, FL.
Today is a one day stay in Sebring. FL to visit friends.  After the day together we all went to the Cowpoke Watering Hole for a good dinner.

We shared an appetizer of Caprese Crackers, which was fried green tomatoes with a thin topping of mozzarella cheese and fresh basil.. Our main course was Pork Osso Bucco with veggies and mashed potatoes for G. I had Steak Chimichurri salad. Dessert was Florida Orange Cake.

We stayed at a very friendly and layback RV park, on the road less travelled

Day 13.
Day 13 in this post - On to the Northland slowly - To Savannah, GA.
It seems that the northland is finally thawing and may remain above freezing. We decided to return and are spending the night in Savannah, Ga. Tomorrow we'll take the Savannah Trolley Tour into the city. The trolley goes to our campground and picks us up at 9:00 am and returns us at 4:30 pm. This is a "Hop On - Hop Off" all day tour of the Victorian District, City Market, River Street, Chippewa Square and Historic District.

If we decide to return earlier we can take a municipal bus back to our campsite. Should be enjoyable.

The Dames Point Bridge (officially the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward Bridge) over the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida on the Interstate 295 East Beltway.

At the campground

Environmentally friendly 120VAC receptacle

The campground has an antique shop

Bench for the 9:00am tour pickup

Day 14.
We spent the day in Savannah, GA. Here are a few photos, and a link to a larger photo album:

Chippewa Square

Monterey Square

Forsyth Park

Troup Square

Johnson Square

Wright Square

Lutheran church of the Ascension

Lunch at Wilkes House

Lunch at Wilkes House

Lunch at Wilkes House

Blueberry Cobbler at Wilkes House

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church

Boar's Head Tavern

Savannah River

River Street Pedestrian Access

River Street

Leopold's Ice Cream

A larger photo collection of our day in Savannah, Georgia:

Click for Norm's Savannah Photo Album

Statistics and miles travelled in April, as of our arrival in Savannah

Day 15.
We spent the day travelling from Savannah, GA to Asheville, NC. We arrived at our campsite mid-afternoon. Tomorrow the Blue Ridge Parkway, if weather permits.

Crossing the Savannah River in the morning. G got this shot

Crossing the Savannah River
I-26 Northbound, toward Spartanburg
The weather ahead appeared to be overcast. On arrival in Asheville some of the campers told us they had three days of severe rain, which finally ended in the night.

About an hour from Asheville we get a view of the mountains

At Asheville we encountered slow traffic
On the Campground entry road

Setup in the Campground

We setup in the campground, took a nice walk and had dinner. We then began planning tomorrow's specific route and the things we want to see.

The weather can change rapidly in the mountains and there can be fog in the morning. There are live webcams available and we'll be checking them before we go to breakfast:

Among other things we hope to visit the Folk Art Center:

Day 16.
We began the day travelling 70 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and it included a stop at the Folk Art Center and the Switzerland Inn.
8:00 am at the diner

Folk Art Museum

Folk Art Museum

Folk Art Museum

Tanbark Ridge

Tanbark Ridge

Graybeard Mountain
Green Knob

Switzerland Inn

For more photos, go to this link:

Day 17.
This was our final stop enroute. We spent a good part of the afternoon in the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton OH.

Here are a few photos, and I've put more on my G+ photo album site, which is at the following link. Click on "View All" at the link to bring up some of the photo collections which aren't shown on the main page:

Norms G+ Photo Albums

Here's a link to the Air Force Museum collection:

SR-71, X15 and B70

Part of the "Early Years" exhibit
Airframe without canvas in the "Early Years" exhibit
B2 tailless bomber
ICBMs and MIRV in the foreground

Space Shuttle, etc.
SR71 "Blackbird"

Part of the "Early Years" Gallery
A part of the outdoor  Memorial

......This trek is over, currently planning our next to our Michigan "Lily Pad"