We are now in Cedar Key and was able to watch the sunset over the gulf. We have an amazing campsite on the water. We plan to spend the next several days kayaking. We don’t expect to see much water until we get to Washington State, so we want to thoroughly enjoy the water and seafood while we are here.
We finished packing up the house in hopes it will sell while we are traveling across country and then we won’t need to come back. We loaded up the motor home and set up in a local campground 1/2 mile from the beach. We are bringing more in the motor home than we have done in the past because we don’t know if we’l be living in it moving into winter. If our house sells, our goods will be placed in storage and be inaccessible until we find another home to rent or buy. It will likely be a few weeks before we can figure out how to organize the motor home so we can find stuff.
The last several weeks have been stressful because of all the packing and saying good-bye to so many wonderful friends. We had some moments when we wondered if we would regret leaving. We have the most amazing friends here in St. Augustine.
Dart has been uncomfortable with all the activity and didn’t eat much this past week. It always scares me when a dog stops eating because my experience has shown me that it can be a sign of something very bad going on with the dog. Because of all the activity, I’ve been hoping Dart’s appetite will pick up once we get settled. Fortunately, Dart ate well today so I think he was stressed out and is starting to relax. While we were finalizing the packing we had the door to the garage open and Dart went out to the driveway and laid down next to the car. I wonder if he wanted to make sure we didn’t leave without him.
Getting into the campground reminded me why we are doing this. It has been lovely. The weather has been beautiful and there are lots of birds and turtles in the campground. We are camped by a pond and we are enjoying the neighbors. A bunch of Mallards are hanging around. There are also Anhingas, Egrets, Herons, and lots of birds soaring closer to the ocean. I can’t identify all of them but the Swallow-tailed kite is easy to identify. I love when the Swallow-tailed kites return to the area in Spring and I get a thrill every time I see one. I have seen many of them soaring and have never seen one flap it’s wings. They spend all day hunting on the wing.
The first morning we camped, we headed to the beach to watch the sunrise and picked up some eclairs at the local French bakery. We’ve hit that bakery a few more times and I’m certain we will get some pastries before we leave tomorrow. If I stayed in this campground too long, I would need to purchase larger clothes.
We also went to Matanzas Inlet one last time. I love this area and I knew the Least Terns were starting to nest. We were not disappointed and got to see a lot of Least Tern activity. It looks promising that it may be a good season for them. Let’s hope so.
We’ve already had our first camping glitch. I was attempting to take a shower this morning and the water would not heat up. I would like to understand why the universe must let any glitches with our hot water heater show up only when I (not Regis) attempt to take a shower. These glitches could show up when you are washing your face before you go to bed at night or when you are washing the dishes. No. They happen when I am standing butt naked in the shower wondering why the water won’t warm up. I started yelling out to Regis hoping he was nearby and could quickly diagnose and fix the problem. It turned out that the circuit breaker was tripped, so it was easy to resolve.
Later today, we arrived back at the motor home after being away all morning and I went to get some water for Dart’s bowl and no water would come out of the faucet. Mr. Fix-it was getting ice cream at the local camp store. Once he returned, he determined that there was no water coming out of the spigot from the campground. He checked with the campground host who told him that when they were mowing the grass, they broke something but the repair was underway. At least our first two glitches were no big deal. But, the car is intermittently displaying a nasty message, so we may have an issue with the car to resolve soon.
Tomorrow we head to the Gulf Coast. I’ve never been so sad to leave a place because of all the wonderful people we have befriended. Nevertheless, we are really excited about getting started on this year’s adventure.
We just spent a wonderful evening with four amazing people. With our impending departure, we have been making time to hook up with friends and say good byes.
Tonight, however, bolooned into an extravaganza of sorts. We had been chatting with Suzanne and Suze about re-aranging some furniture in the house to make it more appealing to buyers. As they were coming over for dinner and drinks we wanted their opinion on some ideas. Well that evolved into Kevin and Jerry coming over as well as the Suzanne’ s said they would have some great input to offer.
Linda and I had met Kevin and Jerry several times before and were glad to spend some time with them and get their input as well. I tell you what, not half a Margarita later and the ideas were flowing!
Not only ideas but furniture was moving here and there, carpets being pulled out of storage, sectionals being disassembled and reconfigured, knick knacks moved, tables put into storage. WOW! In the end the house looks much better. The big loser in this is Dart. We have to find a new place for his day bed, but for just a couple more days till we’re in the RV.
The house looks MUCH better, much more open.
Which will bring me to the end. To really appreciate this story a little background is needed. Linda has been involved with Suze through environmental functions since we got to Florida. From that, I got to meet Suze and then Suzanne and then Kevin and Jerry. Now you can probably count the number of hours on two hands that we have interacted with Kevin and Jerry, but here they were, helping re-decorate our house three days before we leave on our summer trip.
I think I might have a problem sitting still too long, so we recently put our house up for sale. We plan to travel in the motor home and ultimately settle somewhere in Washington State. Our son lives there and we’d like to be within driving distance of him so we can visit more often. We’re not waiting until the house sells to get going. We can’t sit still long enough to do that! So, we’re leaving on our trip and hoping it sells by the end of the summer. If it does, we’ll put our household goods in storage and travel around until we find a place to put some roots in Washington State. If it doesn’t sell by the end of the summer, we’ll come back and spend the winter in St. Augustine. Either outcome is workable, so it’s all good.
As a result of this plan, we don’t really know where we’ll be at the end of the summer. Our Adventure 2018 plan currently terminates the end of August. At that point, we either head back to St. Augustine or start thinking about where we want to spend the winter. Because we don’t know how things will work out, we have to pack as though we won’t see our household goods for awhile. I also have to say good-bye to the wonderful friends I have made since we moved here and visit some of my favorite St. Augustine spots one more time.
While I am running around with my friends and visiting favorite spots, Regis completes his motor home projects. More planning is required regarding what to take since we don’t know whether we’ll be living in Florida next winter or somewhere else. Also, knowing that we could be living in the motor home for over six months has given Regis an excuse to embark upon more projects than you can count regarding the motor home. He is obsessed with improving this or that and spends more time at the motor home than he does at the house. Oh, wait, he spends a lot of time at the local hardware store also. Thank goodness they opened a new hardware store between our house and the lot where the motor home is stored. It has greatly reduced our fuel consumption!
As I met up with some good friends recently to explore the GTM Research Reserve, they told me about a portion of an old ship that washed up on the beach near the Reserve. One of the interesting things about living by the ocean is seeing what washes up on the beach. Lots of times it’s garbage, but can be interesting nevertheless. Months after hurricane Matthew visited the area, it was possible to see the objects from people’s lives continue to wash up on the beach. It was very sad and made the ocean a dangerous place to swim. Sometime we find cool skeletons of now dead creatures. Having a portion of an old ship wash up was very exciting, so we had to checkc it out. I took a couple pictures. Here is a link to one of the many articles about the ship. Click here.
I also visited the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine. This is a favorite place to visit while the birds are nesting in the spring. The birds are wild but learned that the Alligator Farm is a relatively safe place to raise their young. The many alligators keep other predators away. Of course, any chick that falls out of the nest won’t have to worry about hitting the ground. It will become a tasty snack first. Those alligators are fast. The birds are used to people watching them in this area, so you can get some very close views of them.
When I visited the other day, the alligators were restless. While you are watching the birds, you stand on a boardwalk over the water where there are LOTS of alligators. When the alligators start bellowing and thrashing around, you hope desperately that the boardwalk is well built! Click here for a video on our youtube channel of some of the nesting activity and the restless alligators. The alligator farm is a great place to visit any time of the year. You can zip line across the alligators. If you are visiting the area in the spring, it is a must see. For more information click here for a link for the Alligator Farm.
Last post I told you I would post about the RV upgrade projects. Well I haven’t a clue how to present that in an interesting way. So what your’e going to get is a list and some pictures with a short description.
But first, as the title teases, we are about to start this years trip! The continued cold weather does have us worried a bit. The plan is to head to the Pacific Northwest and spend a lot of time around in the state of Washington. Apparently, the shortest way is to head to South Dakota, then west. Fair enough, we like that part of the country. But if it doesn’t warm up we may be snow camping! Fortunately, we have a working heater. Unlike the first year in this RV, where we found out how much colder it can be at 7000 feet elevation (without a working heater) verses 5000 feet. Check this post brrrr-and-wheres-dart-2
Our first several days will be at the local beach. We actually have a water front site! No, not the ocean water or even the ICW water but maybe a marsh of some type but we can walk to the ocean! Then we head to the gulf coast for a bit then bee line for South Dakota.
One more thing before I get to the upgrades and pictures. I wanted to let you know how you can follow our blog posts! I know some of you get our posts forwarded to you by a friend or notice the Facebook post. You can “sign up” on our blog site, then you can get notified when ever we post, you won’t miss any of the action and you can comment as well!
It should take you to our latest post. On the right side panel you should see a list of older archived posts. ( read through and catch up!) Below the archives will be a “button” “follow us we’re lost.” Click it and enter your email.
Now you should get notified when we update our blog! FYI… The first time you comment on a post it will need to be approved by us, so be patient, we’ll get to it! (internet access out in the wild can be spotty!) Once you get approved your comments will post immediately.
On to the upgrades!
I’ll list what I’ve been doing then expand on a couple;
reroute some electrical
Flash light holders
Four wheel weight RV
In the RV space is at a premium, even in a big RV. One thing Linda and I will not do without is our espresso drinks. She, a cappuccino, me a latte. Our espresso machine, while not big, will not fit in any of our cabinets. It resides on one side of the stove in camp and on the other side when traveling. Problem is when traveling ANYTHING not tied down will bounce and shift around while going down the road. My solution is to brace the machine on the counter with a “stop” wedged into a gap between the stove and counter. This works great and version 2, made of IPE wood, even looks great!
There are several compartments below the living space, the “basement”. This being the longest trip planned and other factors, we need to be more disciplined with the basement storage. I had seen a great Vlog from the RVGEEKS about how they organize their basement with plastic totes. I went with the concept about the totes. What it has done is to delineate space, which helps keep stuff in its place. One compartment was a big problem in that removing one thing causes two others to fall out! No more!
For two years now I’ve been wanting to get the RV weighed. Ever since I found out that I under bought (not by much, but still over loaded) the truck to pull the 5th wheel, the RV weight has weighed on my mind. I even had a weigh in scheduled last year be had to cancel. The manufacturer does supply a sticker that lists the weight of the RV, full of fuel and propane, out of the factory, but is it accurate? Well it probably is. But how much STUFF have you added? Great news is that the manufacturers weight was darn close and even with most of our stuff we were well within weight limits on all four wheels! FYI we have been adding more stuff and will be getting a per axel weight soon but I don’t think it will change dramatically.
The only time slot I could get to weigh the RV was 9:30 a.m. and it meant I had to leave at 6:30 a.m. Since I had to fuel up before going I had to leave by 5 and that meant getting up by 4. At O’dark thirty you tend to rely on your head lights while driving. Besides not driving in the rain much (see is winter over yet) it was probably the first time driving the RV in the DARK. HA! Two summers on the road and just now driving in the dark for the first time and realizing the head lights are all akimbo! Well, I spent some time tweaking the lights and probably need some more.
Last but not least AIRHORN.
The RV is built on a medium duty truck frame, a Freightliner M2. Think of the largest UHAUL truck you can rent. Pretty big right? Now think about driving it and having to hit the horn and it sounding like a Toyota Corolla. Not impressive right. It might be a GUY thing but I had to install some air horns on the RV. Still not the sound I want but much better!
In preparation for our 2018 adventure I was looking back and noticed we have not posted since January! Well, to be honest, we haven’t been doing much to share. Plus, It’s been COLD! Yes even here in Floridia it’s been way too cold to even wear shorts! Just last month we had frost!
In February, my mom came down to visit and we piled into the RV and headed to Clearwater on the gulf coast. My Aunt Toni and Uncle Mike were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. As I was in the wedding party, oh so long ago, I scored an invite! I felt very honored to be able to share the occasion. It was great to see everyone and to share some adventure stories with cousin Mike, including a story about Mt. Baker.
While driving back from Clearwater, it rained a good part of the way. I think, in the three summers of camping, we have not had to drive in the rain more than 2 or 3 hours TOTAL. However, it rained fairly constant on the way back to St. Augustine. One thing constant rain and driving 60-65 MPH will do is highlight any weakness in your weather proofing.
About 2 hours into the trip home Mom hollers from the back ,” There’s water dripping from the roof!” Linda was driving so I jumped up to investigate. Sure enough water was dripping just between the cab and “living room”. I went back to the bedroom and grabbed some towels and sopped up the water.
Later investigation showed that the water was dripping directly under an external roof seam. Now the manufacturer does do a good job of minimizing roof seams. In fact there are only two – one where the front cap connects to the roof and one where the rear cap connects. There are also multiple holes for vents, sky lights and AC units and such. One of the pre season tasks I do is to inspect the sealant around the roof penetrations and apply more sealant as needed. After last years trip I made a mental note to remove and replace ALL the sealant in the next year or two. Well it should have have been done sooner I guess.
Word to the wise. If seam sealant has been painted over, remove sealant and replace as soon as possible! Part of this seam had been painted to match the color of the front cap. However, the paint may have hid the true condition of the sealant. So what looked good was not.
In other news, Linda has been planning and revising and revising the next trip! I think there are alternate versions as well. We have also been doing some projects on the RV. Nothing major, just little things to make day to day RV life better. I think I’ll write a post on some of those later, with pictures!
We have been organizing our stuff to take on this years trip. Linda is finding this to be very hard. We are planning to leave near the end of April and be traveling into September. Our longest trip yet! One problem with that is how much and of what type of clothes to bring. Ten sweaters and one pair of shorts or ten shorts and one sweater? Me, I have it easy, I have only one sweater!
I had started writing this post three week ago and the title is still true! Today April 10 and it only got up to 63 degrees (17.2 C). When will it stay warm?!