Friday November 28, 2008

The morning started like every other travel morning, got the dogs fed, drank coffee, loaded the last minute items and checked the lights on the tow car. All systems were go so we hit the highway at 7:09 am. There was a light rain falling but other than that everything looked good, for about 10 miles! Then it started to snow, and snow and snow. The border crossing was only 28 miles from our home and it leads us directly on to Interstate 81 in Northern New York, all I could think of was, “If it’s this bad here, what’s it going to be like around Watertown, they get more snow than any other place in the area.”

We were driving along, taking our time since the roads were getting very slippery. The windshield wipers were working overtime when all of a sudden the wiper on the driver’s side disappeared! We pulled over and Gary got out to see what could be done to fix it, nothing! It was broken so he took the wiper arm off the other side and transplanted it on the driver’s side and off we went, he could see fine but I couldn’t see a thing! How was he going to be able to drive when I couldn’t see?

Lunch at Cracker Barrel is better when you're with good friends

Once we crossed over the 1000 Island Bridge and entered NY State things started to clear a bit, I could see again. It wasn’t long before we were into another snow squall, this went on until we got past Syracuse, then things start to really clear up. It was smooth sailing.

I sent a text to Dave to let him know we would be in Binghamton about 11:30 a.m. to meet him and Kristen and the girls for lunch. We pulled in right on time. Dave and Gary loaded the Tagrel MouseFest goodies into the car; Zak and Zoë took on their guard dog duties so we could all go into the Cracker Barrel for lunch. We had a great visit with Kristen, Dave, Brinn and Maddy and before we knew it 2 hours had passed; we had to get back on the road.

We were back on the road by 1:30 p.m. and not long after we entered Pennsylvania the sun came out. It was a gorgeous afternoon to be traveling and we made good time all the way to Harrisburg. We pulled into the campground about 4:30 and had everything set up by 5 p.m. It was shortly after that Linda called to let us know that she and Deb were on their way over to meet us, Zak & Zoë will be working double time this trip. We got all of the “AllEars” boxes loaded and then headed over to Chili’s for some dinner.

Brinn, Maddy and the guard dogs!

Deb & Linda shared a few laughs with us

Before we went to the restaurant we made a stop at the Christmas Tree Shop, I just love that place. Gary pushed the cart and Linda, Deb and I filled it. It was fun. After paying for our purchases we went for dinner. The food was very good, the conversation and company was great, we talked and laughed and told lots of stories. We finally decided we better leave so we came back to the campground and had a nice visit. Deb and Zak had great fun playing with his Pluto. All too soon it was time to say our goodbyes, but it will only be a short time before we meet up with everyone at MouseFest.

Saturday November 29, 2008

We were both wide awake and ready to tackle the day at 6 a.m. We got everything packed, picked up and put away and hit the road at 7:33 a.m. It was smooth sailing all the way. The weather was perfect, clear skies and sunshine, my kind of driving weather.

We were pushing right through to Wytheville and only stopped twice, once for a coffee and then at a rest area. I made peanut butter and jam sandwiches for lunch while Gary walked the dogs. Just as we were getting to Roanoke it started to cloud over and then a spit of rain but no snow! We arrive at our destination about 2 p.m., took time to fill up with gas and propane and then on to the campground. We got the same site we get every time we stop at this KOA.

I took the dogs to the dog park for a good romp while Gary washed down the RV and car; we figure we are safe from road salt now. After getting set up we relaxed for a bit and then went to our favorite Chinese restaurant in the area. They make the best egg rolls and won ton soup we have ever had. We then went to the Wal-Mart and picked up some supplies. When we came out it was pouring rain, that’s okay as long as it doesn’t turn to snow!

Zak and Zoë are just exhausted! I guess they hadn’t really understood that their work load would be doubled when they were guarding the AllEars swag in addition to the Tagrel swag.

Tomorrow will be a long day since we want to get as far a Savannah Georgia so it will be an early night.

Sunday November 30, 2008

We were up early today; we had a 400-mile day ahead of us and wanted to get on the road. Everything was packed up and we left the campground at 6:55 a.m. We had gone about 2 miles when Gary said, “I don’t have any dash lights.” which also meant we had no taillights or running lights. We were just a couple of blocks from the FlyingJ so we pulled in and got some fuses to fix the problem. We were soon on the interstate headed for Georgia.

It rained all day and was just plain dreary; the traffic was heavy and in some areas it was stop and go. We decided to listen to an audio book to help the time pass. The traffic was so slow around lunchtime that I was able to make a couple of sandwiches for us, without us pulling over, so that saved some time. We did make a couple of quick stops at the rest areas so the dogs could have a stretch.

We arrive at the KOA just outside Savannah about 4:30 p.m., and decided that once we parked we were not going anywhere the rest of the evening. I cooked us some supper and we settled in to watch TV. All in all it was a pretty uneventful day. This looks like quite a nice campground; there is a large pond with ducks, Canada Geese and swans. There are several hundred egrets roosted in the trees surrounding the pond. Too bad it’s raining, or we would do some exploring.

Zak's pooped!

Zoë says "It's very tiring being a guard dog!"

Tomorrow if all goes well we should check into Fort Wilderness around 1 p.m., I can’t wait, either can Zak & Zoë, they love the dog run there and I think they have had enough of this “Swag’n Train” stuff! They’re worn out!

Monday December 1, 2008

Gary was up too early again today! After a day behind the wheel he can’t seem to keep his eyes open much past 9:30 . . . and that means he wakes up at 5:00. Today was no different . . . he tossed and turned until 5:30 . . . keeping the dogs and I awake before I finally kicked him out of bed!

Sunrise in the Savannah South KOA Campground

We were on the road by 7:00 and after a quick stop for gas we made it to the Disney Character Outlet in St. Augustine by 10:30. I looked for bargains while Gary went looking for a new arm for the windshield wiper. I had more luck than he did . . . we are still looking for wipers!

By noon we were driving through the Disney gate on EPCOT Centre Drive and it felt like we were home!


Wow . . . it feels like home!

Yup . . . we're home!

We had requested a site in loop 300 and they missed by a mile! We are in the 700 loop, but it’s a nice big site! I like it, but we still want to be in 300, near the canal, so we are moving on Friday.

We spent the afternoon setting up the campsite with lights, chairs, palm trees, Christmas decorations and all that other “must have stuff” we keep in our big purplonium box! Zak and Zoë were happy to finally run and chase some squirrels . . . there are plenty of little critters here! We had an hour before dinner so Gary had a bit of a nap and I walked the dogs over to the doggie park. It’s neat now that you can walk your dogs outside of the pet loops; they have special trails that lead to the doggie park. There were about 10 dogs in the park playing chase and having a great time.

After I got back to the site we walked up to Trail’s End for dinner and admired the lights along the way. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here! After dinner we stopped at the Settlement Trading Post where I traded a few pins. I haven’t been to a park yet and I have 9 of the new Hidden Mickey pins. We walked around a bit more enjoying the sights before settling in for some TV before bed!

Tomorrow we’re off to the Magic Kingdom! Yay!

Tuesday December 2, 2008

Wow . . . we both slept well, and didn’t wake up until 6:30.  We were first in line waiting for the boat to the Magic Kingdom and we had our new Annual Passes picked up before rope drop.  We took a leisurely stroll up Main Street and had several PhotoPass pictures taken as the crowd rushed past us.  I traded a few pins and did some shopping before we headed to FantasyLand.  The crowds were very light so we almost walked on Peter Pan, then did a walk-on at It’s a Small World and the Haunted Mansion.  There was a 10 minute wait for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad but Pirates of the Caribbean was a walk-on.  We managed to get all these rides done, have a hot dog at Casey’s and leave the park at about 12:30.  It is so much fun when there are no crowds!

The first boat to Magic Kingdom - and we were the first on board!


The weather was great too!  Clear blue skies and temperatures in the low 60’s.  We were quite comfortable in shirt-sleeves, but some of the Floridians were cold in their parkas, scarves, hats and mittens!  The clear skies made excellent conditions for photos.


Poinsettias are everywhere!

Love those Toy Soldiers!

And Pluto is a favourite!

We love the Christmas decor

Blue skies really set off Cinderella Castle

One of my favourite views of the castle

Everyone likes the poinsettias!

After spending a little time with the dogs we hopped in the car and headed out to WalMart and Home Depot.  I needed a few groceries and Gary wanted some more parts to make Mickey lamps.  We were back in time to take the dogs out for a romp before we left for dinner.  


Zoë just loves this campground . . . there are so many squirrels to chase!


We drove over to the Polynesian for our 6:00 dinner reservation at ‘Ohana.  It was excellent as usual.  Neither of us enjoys the noodles as well as those scalloped potatoes they used to have, but it is still one of our favourite meals at WDW.  Stuffed and contented, we returned to the campground for a quiet night.

Wednesday December 3, 2008

We were up and going by 7:00 this morning. After walking the dogs we headed to Hollywood Studios to practice some more on Toy Story Mania. We have to get our skill level up for MouseFest! We were there for rope-drop and rushed directly back to the new attraction. We grabbed a FastPass and then rode the ride immediately. Wow! It’s great. Our FastPass wasn’t until 10:05 so we headed over to the Animation Studio store to see the new cel which is to be released on December 13th. It’s great . . . I’ll have to add it to my collection. Now – how do I tell Gary it has to be a Christmas gift? Maybe he’ll read it in this report and pick up on my subtle hint?

Leaving for Hollywood Studios

We're greeted by Mickey!

Mr. Potato Head

At 10:05 we were back in line and enjoyed our second ride as much as our first. After T.S. Mania we headed down Sunset Boulevard and Gary took a ride on Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster while I did some shopping. We met up and went to Tower of Terror but the line was just too long . . . so we hit the road.

We went back to the campground and picked up the dogs. Next stop – Downtown Disney. We were anxious to have a picture of Zak and Zoë with Santa Claus. Zak and Zoë were unenthusiastic while Santa was merely ambivalent, but Gary and I had fun!

Gary and I had more fun with Santa than Zak & Zoe did!

The dogs at Pooh Corner

A couple of ne Lego dogs!

Back at Fort Wilderness Gary and the dogs had a rest while I rode my bike to the Meadows and around a couple of the loops. Soon it was time to head out to EPCOT. We had a dinner reservation at Nine Dragons in China and then we were going to the Candlelight Processional.

As soon as we entered the park we took a ride on Spaceship Earth and then walked back to China for dinner. It was excellent. Funny – this restaurant had been closed almost seven months for refurbishment but we hardly noticed any changes. After dinner we walked directly to the America Gardens Theatre and got in line for the 8:15 show. The narrator was Neil Patrick Harris and he was great. He was the best we have seen there yet!

Neil Patrick Harris was a great narrator!

When it was over we hurried out of the park while Illuminations was in progress and were back to the campground by 9:45.

Thursday December 4, 2008

We got off to a slower start today.  After walking the dogs we drove over to Animal Kingdom and headed directly to Kilimanjaro Safaris.  The wait time was 50 minutes so we grabbed a FastPass and then walked over to Asia.  It has been several years since we enjoyed the Maharajah Jungle Trek so we took advantage of the opportunity.  The animals were all out in plain sight.  We had an excellent view of the tigers, fruit bats, meerkats and hippos.

Lots of tigers on the Maharajah Jungle Trek

One of the scariest critters in the jungle!

Some of the authentic theming in Anandapur

After the jungle trek we headed back and took the safari ride.  Once again most of the animals were out in plain sight.  We even got to see a black rhino running.  It’s quite a sight . . . you definitely don’t want to get in their way!

As Gary was taking my picture along this side trail "DeVine" walked right up behind me.  Gary had to tell me she was there!

There were lots of animals in sight on the safari!

The baby elephants were very playful

Not the best angle on the one white rhino

After the safari we walked through the Pangani Forest for the first time in a few years.  The male gorilla put on a great show, parading back and forth in front of us.

A lowland gorilla

A meerkat on guard duty . . . it looks a lot like Zoe when she's on duty!

We didn't have time to ride Everest today . . . We'll just have to go back!

It was now lunchtime so we shopped our way out of the park and drove back to the campground where we had a sandwich at our campsite.


We took the dogs for a walk and took a picture of them on the old railroad which used to run around the campground.  While Zak was chasing his ball and Zoë was chasing squirrels  we noticed a family a short distance away looking at something on the riverbank.  We went over to check it out and saw a small alligator on the shore.  He was about 4 feet long and he swam away as we watched.  We’ll have to keep the dogs away from the river bank!


We hopped in the car and drove to Downtown Disney where we enjoyed dinner at Captain Jack’s.  Then Gary found a seat outside The Earl of Sandwich and read his book for a few hours while I did some shopping and traded pins beside the DTD Pin Station.  We were back home with the dogs by 10:00 p.m.

Friday December 5, 2008

I woke up this morning dreading the thought of moving.  When we checked in and didn’t get our 300 loop request they told us we could move to a site in the 300 loop on Friday.  So when Gary asked me if I wanted to go to the Outpost with him I said, “No, I don’t even want to move.”  The site we have in the 700 loop is big, close to the dog walk and there is a wooded area behind us . . . so Gary decided that it would be easier to live with me if we just stayed put here.  It has taken many years, but he is beginning to understand me.


He went to the Outpost, arranged for us to stay put and as soon as he got back we began putting up our decorations.  We have 6 inflatables, 5 strings of icicle lights, some illuminated signs, wreaths, our Mickey lamp, 2 palm trees and no partridges!  (Although while we were decorating two wild turkeys strolled past.)


It’s beginning to look almost tacky enough!

Before we started decorating!

There go the turkeys!

Now we're getting somewhere!

Lots of Disney inflatables!

Just a few finishing touches!

We were finished decorating by about 1:00 p.m. and celebrated by having some barbecued hot dogs for lunch.  After lunch we took the dogs for a romp in the nearby dog walk area along a canal between the 700 and 800 loops. 

We saw yet another alligator, this one about 3 feet long, and a turtle about 12 inches in diameter.  Neither of them was interested in eating Zak or Zoë.  

Here's that turtle!

And here's the gator!

We watched this guy catch two salamanders

We left for Animal Kingdom at 4:00 and slowly made our way to Tusker House for our 5:00 p.m. dinner reservation.  We really enjoy the new buffet there.  It’s very similar to Boma but with a little less selection.  It’s great value for the money!

After dinner we headed back to the campsite, took a few pictures of our decorations and then headed to the Settlement dock area to watch the Wishes fireworks and the Water Parade from the beach.

Here's the campsite at night!

And the inflatables at night!

It was a slow but busy day.

Saturday December 6, 2008

We had nothing planned today except dinner at Kona Café.  We had a leisurely morning, walked the dogs and gave them a good romp at the dog walk before we headed out to Animal Kingdom.  We headed straight to Asia and Expedition Everest.  There was a fifty-minute wait so we jumped in the singles line.  After a ten-minute wait we ended up in consecutive cars.  I really like the ride, but I could not do it twice in a row.  It takes me about an hour after the ride to recover my balance or my equilibrium. 

Dad on top, baby on the platform & Mom down below

As we walked back from Everest we noticed two handlers from Flights of Wonder . . . they were trying to coax a parrot down from a tree near the gibbon towers.  He had apparently gotten spooked during the 10:30 show and flown away.  We spent a few minutes watching the gibbons, mom and dad with a new baby.


We had about 20 minutes to kill before the 11:30 Flights of Wonder Show so we went to the take-out window at Yak & Yeti and picked up an order of egg rolls to share.  Mmmmm Good!  

A hornbill

Just before impact!

The bird show was great, as usual.  It looked as though they were breaking in a few new birds, some of them had to be urged off stage!


We walked around the Tree of Life and into the “It’s Tough to be a Bug” show.  I’ve seen this show many, many times and I know that stinger is coming, but it still startles me!

A creepy "bug-eyed" creature

We left the park at about 1:00 p.m. and drove to the Disney Character Outlet Store on Vineland.  After buying a few items (there were some deals on scrapbooks) we had a bite in the food court and then drove to the Publix supermarket just up the street.  We picked up a few groceries and were back at Fort Wilderness by 3:00.

Minnie enjoying a relaxing soak!

There is Christmas decor everywhere in the campground

After some time with the dogs we walked up to the Settlement and hopped the launch to the Contemporary Resort and the monorail to the Polynesian Resort.  Dinner at Kona Café was great!  Our server Sandy (who served us there on our last trip) arranged to get us bread pudding from ‘Ohana  . . . this is absolutely our favourite dessert!


We boarded the monorail again and headed to the Magic Kingdom.  It was jam-packed!  At 8:00 the people were already lining Main Street waiting for the 9:00 parade.  We headed directly to Tomorrowland and got in line for Buzz Lightyear.  I kicked Gary’s butt!  I don’t want you to get the impression that I’m competitive . . . but I knocked his socks off!  I smoked him!  227,000 to 34,000 – I cleaned his clock!  YEAH! 


After he slunk out of Buzz we wandered over toward Main Street where the SpectroMagic Parade was in Progress.  We watched the tail end of the parade from the Rose Garden and then fought our way onto Main Street to find a spot to watch “Wishes” the nightly fireworks show.  Ouch . . . the street was so crowded already that we decided to leave and beat the rush leaving the park as soon as Wishes was over.  The fireworks started just as our boat pulled away from the dock and we had an excellent view from the water.


We were back to the campground by 9:45 and enjoyed the many new Christmas lights on the way back to our site.  There were a lot of new campers arriving today and most of them spent the afternoon putting up lots of lights and decorations.  It’s getting better every day

Cinderella Castle with lights!

Sunday December 7, 2008

We wanted to be at Hollywood Studios for rope-drop and get in a few more rides on Toy Story Midway Mania . . . but we missed.  We were ten minutes late for rope drop.  We picked up a pair of FastPasses and then got in line.  The sign said it was a fifty minute wait, but we were through in thirty minutes.  What a great ride!  We had an hour to wait for our FastPass so laughed our way through MuppetVision 3D and then walked over to the Animation Gallery to look at the new cel one more time.  By then our FastPass was valid so we headed back to TSMM for our last ride of the day.  The FastPass lines were short so we picked up another pair to give away on our way out of the park.

The Midway Barker

I just love the poinsettia wreaths

No crowds at the Osborne Lights . . . yet!

Theming from MuppetVision 3D

At 11:30 we had a bite of lunch at Rosie’s All American Café and then “dropped in” at the Hollywood Tower of Terror.  We gave the TSMM FastPasses to a young couple we met in the TofT line and then hopped in the car and headed back to our home away from home.


I did a bit of laundry while Gary gave the dogs some exercise and then we all had a rest before leaving at 5:00 for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. 

Zoë just loves the Doggie Park!

So does Zak!

 We had dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern (our last meal there before the characters leave) and then headed over to TomorrowLand.  

We're going to miss the characters at Liberty Tree Tavern.

It's always been our spot for dinner before a special party!

We lined up for the “Twas the Night Before Christmas” show in the Galaxy Theatre.  We haven’t seen it in several years and it has been updated a bit.  A great show!  As we left the Galaxy Theatre there was no line at Buzz Lightyear so in we went.  Gary beat me this time.  I had a defective gun . . . honest I did . . . really . . . it was broke . . . would I lie to you?


We stood beside the Partners statue to watch the special Christmas Party version of the Wishes fireworks show and then moved forward a bit for the forecourt show at Cinderella Castle.

Mickey's hot chocolate hit's the spot on a cold night!

Cinderella Castle looks great at night!

After the forecourt show we stopped at the Crystal Palace to warm up with some hot chocolate and cookies and then we headed down Main Street.  Gary went directly to the second floor of the train station and staked out a spot to watch the parade while I went to Exposition Hall and bought a PhotoPass picture.  As soon as the parade ended we rushed out the exit to beat the crowds and boarded the boat back to Fort Wilderness.  We were back to the motorhome by 11:30, tired after a long day!

Monday December 8, 2008

This was a great day.  We both slept in and had a very leisurely morning.  We enjoyed a pot of coffee, read e-mail, posted our trip report, walked the dogs and then at about 10:30 rode our bikes to Trail’s End Buffet for a late morning brunch.  It was great.

Time for brunch!

After brunch we hopped on our bikes again and spent over an hour riding around the campground, planning a route for the Tagrel “Lights and Dogs Tour” coming up in just two days.  We’ll repeat the bike ride tomorrow night just to be sure it looks as good after dark.

We were back to the campsite by 1:00 p.m. and took Zak and Zoë to the dog walk area for another run.  I don’t think they get this much exercise at home!

The pond at "The Meadows" in the Fort Wilderness Campground

We relaxed the rest of the afternoon and all four of us had a nice long nap.  By 4:00 we were on our way to Downtown Disney for some pin trading and dinner.  I did a bit of shopping while Gary read his book, then we had a bite at Earl of Sandwich.  I went to trade pins at Pin Central while Gary read some more.  He came to collect me at 6:15 and we headed to the Villains Room in the World of Disney Store to participate in the nightly pin trading session at 6:30.  Then we headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to see the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights.


Of course when we arrived we diverted to Toy Story Midway Mania for one more ride.  The sign said the standby wait was 70 minutes, but we were on the ride in only 25 minutes.  We both really enjoy this new attraction . . . but we’ll have to take a few days off . . . our trigger arms are sore!

Osborne Lights

Osborne Lights

Osborne Lights

Osborne Lights

From TSMM we headed directly to the Osborne Lights – Magnificent!  The crowd was fairly light at closing time and we got some good pictures and video clips.  Well worth the trip.

We took a few more shots on our way out of the park and were back in the motorhome with the dogs by 9:15

The Sorcerer's Hat at closing time

Tuesday December 9, 2008

It was slow going this morning, when we finally got it together we drove over to EPCOT. We found the park quite busy again, not sure where everyone is coming from. We walked over to Soarin’ thinking we would get a FastPass but the return time was later in the afternoon and we knew we wouldn’t be staying that long. We then walked over to Ellen’s Energy Adventure, we hadn’t seen this in a couple of years. We walked in just when it was starting, I really like this ride.

By the time we were done with Ellen it was lunchtime so we walked over to China and had some lunch at the Lotus Blossom Café take-out. After we finished our lunch we walked around World Showcase stopping in Germany to look in the shops and then The American Adventure to take pictures of the Ginger Bread House. We were going to watch the film in France but it wasn’t going to start for another 45 minutes and we didn’t want to wait so we didn’t stop.

We always enjoy the topiary at EPCOT
This seagull posed for several minutes

The Gingerbread House at the American Adventure

It was getting on so we thought we should get back to the dogs, we made a stop for ice-cream at the Fountain View Café on our way out and sat by the fountain while we ate our cones.


When we got back to the campsite we walked the dogs and then everyone had a nap. When we got up Gary took the dogs over to the dog park and I just tidied up a bit, then sat outside and just enjoyed the nice sunny day.

This horse-drawn carriage goes by our campsite several times a night

When Gary got back with the dogs we decided that we would just hang around the camp for the rest of the day. I cooked some supper and we ate in, which is a rarity but nice to do once in a while.


After supper we took our bikes and road around the campground looking at all the lights. There were some new ones but we noticed there wasn’t as many as in previous years. I figure by the weekend there will be more since there is hardly an empty campsite in the park.


It had turned quite warm so it was the first night that we went to bed with all the windows open and no extra blanket.

Wednesday December 10, 2008

We once again approached the new day slowly.  We knew that this would be our last little bit of peace and quiet for several days . . . so we savored it!  We had a very relaxing morning and did very little until exactly 11:07 when Dave (Tagrel) sent a text message – he had arrived and was waiting for us in the Fort Wilderness parking lot.  Off we went and handed over all the swag.  Zak and Zoë both let out a sigh of relief, their job was now half done!


We had just finished a sandwich when JohnnyBlack and roguepony pulled into their campsite at 12:30 and began setting up their camp.  We went over to greet them and then returned to our site, donned our bathing suits and headed to the pool.  Our first warm day had turned hot and sticky . . . the pool felt great!

Back at the motorhome we straightened things up a bit, swept away all the droppings from the cypress trees, and did all the last minute things we had to do for the “Fort Wilderness Lights and Dogs Tour” we are co-hosting with JohnnyBlack and roguepony.  Poor Zak was feeling bad - he somehow hurt his leg and was limping badly. He was disappointed - he wanted to be at his prime for the meet.


Erin (roguepony) came over about 3:15 and we yakked a bit about plans for the Lights  & Dogs Tour.  They had some boxes of goodies for WDWNJ and BigRed so Gary hopped in the car and delivered them to the Wilderness Lodge.  By the time Gary got back with WDWNJ and BigRed (and the scotch) it was time to head out for our first MouseFest meet, “Begin at the End” hosted by WillCAD and Mike Scopa.

Woe is me!  I hurt my foot!

It was great fun.  About 50 of our friends from the web site (taginators) assembled in front of the Trail’s End Buffet at 4:00 for a meet and greet session.  It was so good to see friends, many of whom we had not seen for a year, and to meet some new folks we had only “met” online.  

Begin at the End - our first MouseFest meet!

Wow . . . haven't seen you for a year!

Even Tacey was there!

All too soon we moved inside the restaurant for dinner and the chatter, gossip and lies continued!  Lots of fun!

Barrie and Tagrel

We filled the entire buffet area . . . and made lots of noise!

Once dinner was over and darkness set in we moved on to the next phase of the evening’s activities, the “Lights and Dogs Tour”.  About 45 taginators joined us as set out at 6:00 p.m. and roamed through five of loops of campsites enjoying the holiday lights set up by many of the campers.  We sang Christmas Carols as we went and had so much fun that several of the owners had to come out and see what was going on.  There were plenty of questions, “How do you transport so much stuff here?” – “Do you have to pay for the hydro you use?” – “How long does this take to set up and how long are you staying?”


Along the way we stopped at FLSharon and GroupHugJohn’s camper for a visit . . . this is where WDWNJ caught a bit of a chill and cracked open a bottle of MacAllan malt whiskey.  MacAllan is an excellent remedy for the chills . . . and many of us found that we needed a bit of a cure as well.  Off we went, sipping and singing!  We stopped at JohnnyBlack and roguepony’s site, picked up the dogs, Casey, Elphie and Morgan who came the rest of the way with us. 


We sensed that most people were amazed with the décor in the campground.  The most impressive items seemed to be Minnie Mouse soaking in the bubble bath and the giant inflatable outdoor movie screen with Disney movies playing.

We sat inside the motorhome . . .

And outside at the picnic table.

AUbaby made a surprise appearance!

We walked about a mile, but took a full hour to do it . . . there were plenty of photo opportunities so we just moseyed along.  By 7:00 we had reached our own campsite and took time to sit and visit for an hour or so.  Some people sat inside, others settled in at the picnic table and we had a more time to visit.  Before we were done, roguepony had set up her laptop with a web cam and our little party was streaming live to her blog site.  She kept getting text messages asking her to turn the camera so they could see the dogs, turn the camera so we cannot see Gary and John, etc.

BriarRose brought along a banner with some Christmas penguins with cut-outs at the head.  When you put your head in the cut-out she snapped your picture and you were officially "tagged"

Zak and Zoë were the most famous pair to get "tagged" that night!

Zak & Zoë got "tagged"

The crowd began to drift away about 8:00 but a few stayed on and we yakked on until it was time for the daily 9:45 water parade.  We walked down to the dock and found some chairs on the dockside patio where we enjoyed one of Disney’s longest running shows.


We called it a night and everyone went their separate ways.  After a little bit of cleaning up at the campsite we hit the hay and were asleep almost instantly.  It had been a great day.

Thursday December 11, 2008

We had very little to do this morning . . . good thing.  It was a rainy morning.  Very rainy.  We unplugged all the inflatable Christmas decorations and lowered the awning on the motorhome because of the gusty wind.  The rain lasted until mid-afternoon and brought down a lot of needles from the many cypress trees in the area.  They were sticking to everything!  What a mess.  All of the decorations in the campsite across from us were drowned out in the lake that formed in the low-lying area.  Fortunately we had no damage, just a mess!


We loaded all the swag into the car and met Linda at the Contemporary Resort where we transferred the cargo to her car and then went off to the ballroom for Mike Scopa’s “MouseFest 101” and the official MouseFest Kick-Off Ceremony.

After the kick-off we headed back to the campground, dropped the car off, let the dogs out and caught the boat to the Magic Kingdom.  Unfortunately we were too late to join Mike Scopa’s Dole Whip Meet so we headed directly to the Carousel of Progress and the Tomorrowland Big Three meet.  We joined a group of about 50 friends from and rode Carousel of Progress, then Buzz Lightyear and finally the Tomorrowland Transit Authority.

Michelle, John, Cathy & Barrie at MouseFest 101

The Tomorrowland Big Three Meet TwirlerGirl & Dave

Cheri & Kristen

Joe on Buzz Lightyear

John & Cathy get "Tagged"

Then it was back to the campsite and the dogs for a short while before we hopped in the car and headed to Downtown Disney to join Moley, John & Cathy, Chef Lizzie, Frogman and Tagrel for dinner at T. Rex Café.  It’s an interesting restaurant, similar to the Rainforest Café, but themed with dinosaurs.  The food was far from fine dining, but it was good.  Unfortunately the dinosaurs are far too noisy to allow normal conversation, so we had to do our yakking during the lulls.  We still managed to pack in lots of laughs.  

After dinner we went our separate ways.  Gary and I stayed at Downtown Disney where I did some pin trading and he sat outside the Earl of Sandwich reading his book.  I was done trading quickly and we were back to the campsite by 9:30.


Along the way we drove by site #551.  Someone had recommended it to us during the tour the night before, so we decided to check it out. AMAZING!  A 6-foot tall replica of Disney’s Cinderella Castle with lights, lighted trees, overhead stars and music.  The lights are all timed to match the music and there are background lights, which simulate the Wishes fireworks show.  It will definitely be a part of next year’s Lights and Dogs Tour.



John ordered "Chocolate Extinction" for dessert

Friday December 12, 2008

What a day!  We were up bright and early and we had to hit the ground running.  We packed Zak & Zoë in the car and were at Animal Kingdom by 8:30.  Gary kept the dogs out in the entry area while I did all the paperwork in the kennel.  The dogs got to meet lots of our friends and seemed to have a good time!

Zak & Zoë with Amymouse and I

Zak & Zoë with Mike Scopa

After we got the dogs all checked in an settled I headed to the fort at Harambe for the AllEars meet while Gary rushed over to Expedition Everest to pick up a couple of FastPasses.  He soon joined me at the meet and we had fun renewing acquaintances with many of our web-based friends.


Team AllEars had arranged a photo scavenger hunt and we took a few minutes to complete the hunt and collect our prizes, a pair of AllEars change purses.  Thanks guys!  

Photographer (Lisa) and Gary goofing around at the AllEars Meet

Deb Wills and Tagrel

After the Harambe meet we rushed over to Expedition Everest to share a thrilling ride with a large group of friends.  Gary and I rode in the second row and I decided that I like riding in the front better than the back on this particular roller coaster.


By the time we finished at Everest it was getting close to lunchtime so we headed to the kennel and “sprung” the dogs. We had arranged a park-hopper kennel pass for them – they actually stamp “Hopper” on the receipt!  Too cool . . .  

Waiting to ride Expedition Everest

It was a big crowd!

Boarding the Everest ride!

Some Taginators on their "Expedition"

As we left the park there were some characters out and we asked to have the dogs picture taken with Pluto.  The cast member “handling” Pluto said, “He’s leaving now, you’ll have to catch the next one coming out in a few minutes.”  Then Pluto saw the dogs and told the handler he’d stay for just one more with the puppies.  We were delighted, and so was Zoë, but Zak was less than thrilled.   He doesn’t seem to like the characters.  Special thanks to Pluto for staying those extra few minutes!  

Zak & Zoë with Pluto

Everyone is enjoying the Tagomania queue except BriarRose - she's twittering!

We drove over to Disney Hollywood Studios and checked the Zak and Zoë into the kennel there.  It was much quieter than the Animal Kingdom kennel and the dogs seemed happier.


As soon as we entered the park we met SusanL, BriarRose, BetsyAnn and Lynner who were headed to Pizza Planet for lunch.  We fell in step and joined them for lunch before heading off to the Hollywood Tagomania meet.  The standby wait time read 70 minutes, but we were through in less than 60 minutes and the time flew by since we were yakking with so many friends in the line.  

"Pseudo-Tacey" is pointing out her home town on this giant map!  She lives in the big blue country!

The next meet was “Stop, Drop and Roll” so Gary rushed over to Rock ‘n Roller Coaster while I went to walk the dogs and give them a snack.  The FastPass return for R ‘n R was 5:00 – too late – so the “Stop & Droppers” skipped the FastPasses and went directly to Tower of Terror for the drop.  Then they returned to R ‘n R and used the single rider line for the Roll.  I met up with them as they finished the meet and we headed off to 50’s Prime Time Café for the 4:00 dinner meet organized by SusanL.  There were over 70 of us under 7 different reservations.  It was quite a feat to get that many people together, well done Susan!  We had a wonderful time, good company, good food and good times.  We even created a few “PBJ shake fans”

After dinner it was time to head to MuppetVision Square for the HoHoHo Lotta Lights meet.  WOW!  You have never witnessed such a spectacle of blinking, winking and flashing in your life.  And that was just the spectators!  The lights were impressive too!


Everyone had flashing headgear, glowstick neckwear, blinking balls, there were even a couple of fools in blinking and flashing Elton John glasses.  It was a hoot!


Gary and I headed out a bit before the crowd to “spring” the dogs from the kennel and get them back to the motorhome.  They were sure glad to see us!  After we got them home, fed and settled we hopped back in the car and joined the gang at the Beach Club Solarium for the annual Tagrel gift exchange.  What a surprise to see our friend and fellow Canadian Tacey there.  So glad she could make it . . . that Tacey doll just wasn’t the same!


WOW – the exchange is fun!  If they were to make cheating and stealing legal the world would not be as chaotic as the Tagrel gift exchange!  Gifts changed hands so fast you could hardly keep track.  Some people were stuffing afghans under their shirts, others were sitting on their precious gifts . . . all to no avail.  All the secrets were revealed . . . you could not even trust your closest friends! 


This was the year of the bags and afghans and I was determined to have one of the three afghans.  For a few minutes I had two (one was Gary’s) just to be sure that one came home with me.  And it did!  Hooray!  The gift exchange is such a treat; we look forward to it every year.  It is such fun to see greed and avarice raised to such hilarious levels!  The chant “Let’s make Brian cry!” is now almost as haunting as “It’s a Small World After all.”  

StinkerBelle (Terry) was one of the first to open a gift

DarcieF was the first tostuff an afghan into her shirt!

Do I look happy?  I finally have my Mickey afghan (made by Cheryl on the left)

After the gifts were all doled out we stayed a few minutes to help clean up and then hit the road.  We were back at the campsite by 12:30 a.m. and hit the hay immediately – tomorrow is an early morning!

Saturday December 13, 2008

For some strange reason Gary was awake before the 5:45 alarm clock sounded.  We both had to wake up quickly . . . I was off to Downtown Disney for a 6:30 a.m. shopping marathon at the World of Disney Store.  It was billed as a special sale for annual passholders, with many items for 50% or 60% off.  Gary was joining a group for a “photo walk” around the lagoon at the Boardwalk.


Gary thoroughly enjoyed his early morning, I didn’t.  The World of Disney Store was not prepared for the throng of rabid shoppers.  The lines were long and slow moving.  The merchandise was not ready . . . and was grabbed out of the arms of cast members as they brought it out.  No one was sure which items were discounted and which were not.  It was dreadful!  If I ever suggest this to my friends again, I hope they have the good sense to shoot me!  

Gary on the other hand got some very good pictures and had a great time with the AllEars Photo-blog team.

The AllEars photo-blog team - Scott, Lisa and Barrie

A Boardwalk sunrise

One of the sights on the photo walk

JohnnyBlack lines up the perfect shot!
All the magic in a single frame!

After unloading my bargain goodies at the motorhome and walking the dogs I headed to the Beach Club Convention Centre to join Gary.  We were both volunteering at the “Mega-Mouse Meet”.  Over 900 registered guests and several hundred who had not registered gathered in the ballroom to meet their favourite webmasters, authors, podcasters and other “Disney Celebrities”.  Gary was a runner, a jack-of-all-trades designated to just run around doing whatever needed to be done.  I helped man the table for our Internet community,  The session was well attended and this year we had a much bigger room and there was no congestion . . . a definite improvement over last year.


After the Mega Meet we drove over to Hollywood Studios where Gary purchased the new animation cel which was being released.  He plans to surprise me with it at Christmas, and of course I will be totally surprised.


After a quick stop back at the Beach Club we headed to the campground and crashed.  We both conked out for a nap and recharged ourselves for the evening.


By 4:30 we were on our way to EPCOT and headed directly back to World Showcase.  We went to the ride in Norway for the first time in several years and even sat through the short movie at the end.  We were heading to China for an Illuminations Dessert Party and stopped along the way for a quick counter service dinner at the Lotus Blossom Café.  On our way out we met TwirlerGirl and her husband TwirlerDave.  Sandy and her friend WendyBird joined us for the CircleVision show in China and then we joined the large group from Tagrel waiting to be admitted to our special viewing area.

Enjoying the dessert party BetsyAnn & Joe

The Illuminations show is spectacular and we enjoyed seeing it from a vantage point we had never experienced.  The scenes on the globe are quite different from different angles.  It was fun to stand with so many of our Tagrel friend to enjoy the show.


We left immediately after Illuminations and were back at the campsite by 10:30.  We have another early start and another long day tomorrow!

Sunday December 14, 2008

A fast start again today.  We were up and going by 7:00 and headed to the Beach Club by 8:15 where we met Tagrel.  We drove Dave and Brian over to the Dolphin Resort for the moderators breakfast at Fresh.  It’s a great breakfast buffet with an omelet bar and carvery.  After yakking in the foyer for a while we were seated and almost immediately began eating too much.  But it was delicious!  Good food is even better when you share it with good friends!

The Moderator's breakfast at Fresh More moderators!

Still more moderators

By 10:30 we were back at the motorhome where we took the dogs for a walk and then took down a few of our Christmas inflatables.  It was looking like rain and we want to be sure they were dry when we packed them away for the year!

Then it was time to hustle over to the Magic Kingdom for the Capture the Magic Meet.  This photo scavenger hunt is absolutely the most fun you can have.  The teams ended up getting juggled a bit.  At starting time our team, the Magic Catchers, were short a member and the DoodleBlack team was “Doodle-less” so the human cyclotron known as roguepony smashed our teams together to create The Black-Magic Catchers.  The team was comprised of BriarRose (Kristen), Cruiser (Gary), JohnnyBlack (John), roguepony (Erin), Rosebud (Karen) and I.  We soon found a rhythm . . .  BriarRose planned our attack and marked off our photos on the official scorecard, roguepony dashed ahead to attractions to assemble what we needed, with Rosebud on her heels, while JohnnyBlack, Cruiser and I brought up the rear, looking around for nametags, Dream Squad members, etc.

Our teaqm - plus Amymouse Characters on Main Street
Walk like and Egyptian The scary Jungle Cruise ride!
Arrrrghh! Wow, I haven't done this in years!

Countless times we watched Erin sprint off ahead of us, dodging strollers and wheelchairs and leaping over small children in a single bound!  It was like a game of roller derby with the six of us pitted against the other 50,000 guests in the Magic Kingdom.  I wish I had a picture of the expression on the face of the dazed elderly cast member in front of the Country Bear Jamboree . . . she was parking strollers when we grabbed her, posed her in the first can-can kick line she has been in for decades, clicked a picture and then ran away laughing.  We also should have a video of Erin as she hurdled (that’s right, I said hurdled not hurtled) over the people in line at Philharmagic, disappeared into the building, only to return seconds later (now hurdling upstream) with 3D glasses.  She crammed them on our faces, click – Gary had the picture – and she dashed back to return the glasses.  We were off again – 14 seconds, start to finish.


Parents were shocked when we asked, “Can we borrow your children for a minute?” and then posed with them before the parents had time to react!


We dashed up and down Main Street, through Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland, Mickey’s Toontown Fair, Tomorrowland and finally back to the Rose Garden where we had started.  It was a 90-minute whirlwind of exercise, laughter, and fun.  We sang, we danced, we laughed and so did the other guests and cast members we conscripted!  I even stopped four times to trade pins!


For the grand finale, BriarRose ran over three of her team-mates with her ECV.  What a great time!

There should be bonus points - it's a penguin game! We were the onlt team to find the Dream Squad!
Pull that sword out! Back at the Rose Garden

Back at the Rose Garden the other teams assembled and the scores were tallied – the grand prize went to Sid’s Angels with 54 points and three teams, including ours, tied for second with 52 points.   The rest of the team said we could have won it all if I hadn’t stopped for pin trading – but I said, “Hey, pins are important too!”

The winners - Sid's Angels

Hot and tired, we dragged ourselves to Casey’s for a hot dog and then headed back to the campsite and the dogs.  After a rest (actually a loooong nap) we headed off the EPCOT.


We were early for our dinner reservation at Le Cellier in the Canadian Pavilion, so we strolled over to England.  We wandered through the shop until Gary heard the “Beatlemania” group start in courtyard behind the pavilion.  He left to listen to the music and I joined him after I had combed through the entire shop.  There were doing their “Sergeant Pepper” set and we sang along for a while before returning to Canada for dinner.


Our Tagrel friends were beginning to assemble, we had three tables reserved.  Gary and I were soon seated at a lop-sided table.  We had four Canadians at one end and four Americans at the other.  The Canucks were Daddio, Cathio, Gary and I and the Yankees were MargaretJ, Faline, AliciaG and Cheryl.  The crack between the tables became our version of the Mason-Dixon Line and we spent some time laughing about the differences between our countries.  In Canada we sit on a park bench but in Atlanta Margaret sits on a “binch” . . . washroom vs. restroom . . . serviette vs. napkin . . . but in the end we decided that all Tag’s are the same . . . we’re Disney geeks through and through!


The menu has changed and of course Margaret got plenty of food pictures! 

Yankees in the foreground, Canucks in the back!

It was a great night, yet a sad time as we all knew MouseFest was drawing to an end.  There were some tearful goodbyes at the end . . . see you all again next year!


Gary and I drove back to the campground and soon fell into bed.

Monday December 15, 2008

Finally – a relaxing morning!  We slept until 7:30 and sat and drank a pot of coffee.  About 9:00 we started packing up the decorations, barbecue, awning, outdoor mats, etc.  FLSharon and GroupHugJohn were packing up at the same time and Sharon stopped by for a few minutes to say goodbye.  We finished stowing it all away about 11:15 and then had a shower and headed over to the Polynesian to join a group of friends for lunch.  Lisa (Photographer) had arranged a reservation at Kona Café and we joined her, Johnny & Erin, John & Cathy and Sid for lunch.  It was our last get together with our Tagrel friends so we relished it!

Lunch at Kona Café

We took a picture of this salad for MargaretJ

By 2:00 we went our separate way.  Gary and I drove back to the campground and rode our bikes down to the pond beside the Meadows Trading Post.  I had over half a bucket of popcorn to feed to the ducks and ibis.  They gobbled it up in a jiffy!  There were still more birds arriving when we left!  We took a few minutes to ride all around the 700 and 800 loops and I wrote down which sites we would like to stay in.  This should help next time we check in!

I started with a few birds . . .

 . . . but word spread quickly.  Soon I was overwhelmed with birds!

Gary hung the bikes up on the bike rack behind the motorhome . . . we are now all set.  In the morning we just have to dump the holding tanks, pull in the slide-out room, retract the leveling jacks and hook up the tow car before we leave.  About five minutes work and we’ll be gone!  Since we got so much of the preparation done today, I made us a breakfast reservation at Trail’s End for tomorrow morning.


We had a nap and by 5:00 we boarded the launch to the Contemporary Resort and the monorail to the Polynesian.  We had a wonderful dinner at ‘Ohana and then we were off for the last few hours at the Magic Kingdom.  We arrived just in time for the 8:00 p.m. Wishes fireworks show and managed to get a prime viewing spot near the Partners statue.


The crowd was thinning out after the fireworks and we managed to ride Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain before we ran out of steam!


We have had a busy time the last four days and we were pooped!  We hopped the boat back to the campground and headed back to our campsite.  As we walked down the 700 loop toward our motorhome the horse-drawn carriage came by.  We stepped off the road to let it pass and said hello to the passengers.  When they were just past us we heard a voice say, “I know those people.”  I said, “Yes you do Ann.” And Gary called out, “George and Ann, is that you?”  It was fellow Disney fans and MouseFesters George and Ann from Ohio.  We met them in July 2008 at MagicMeets and they were in the cabin directly across from us on the Deb & Steve Cruise in September.  We wished them a Merry Christmas as they rounded the corner.  We were totally done-in so we walked the dogs and then crashed by 11:00 p.m.

Tuesday December 16, 2008

We were up at 7:00 and did the final prep work to get underway.  Then it was time for a quick shower and we walked to Trail’s End for our 7:50 breakfast reservation.  As always, it was great . . . a perfect way to say goodbye to Walt Disney World.


I drove down to the Outpost and dropped off the cable modem while Gary got the dogs set up in their harnesses.  He drove down to the hook-up area and I met him there.  We hooked up the tow car and hit the road at 9:07.


The day was uneventful.  Nothing fell off the motorhome.


We stopped at a rest area along the way and later stopped for gas at the Flying J near Brunswick, GA where we made sandwiches for lunch.


By 3:30 we were pulling into the campground at Walterboro, SC.  It’s a regular stopping place for us, we like the tall pines and the big campsites.


I spent a bit of time cleaning interior of the motorhome and Gary did a few a few little chores outside.  When we get home it will be going into storage until April.


After romping the dogs, we went to a nearby WalMart for a few groceries and then to Ruby Tuesday’s for dinner.  The night was quiet, we watched TV and got to bed early.

Wednesday December 17, 2008

We were up at 6:45 and after battening down the motorhome, we were on the road by 8:00.  It was a bit foggy but traffic was moving well.  We stopped about 10:00 to pick up a quick coffee and at about 11:30 stopped at a rest area near Columbia, SC.  We must have looked strange to everyone else when we jumped out in our shorts and t-shirts.  It was cold . . . we could see our breath.  OUCH!  Let’s turn around and head south again!

We soon crossed into North Carolina and stopped for some shopping at the JR Store . . . you can’t help but notice those billboards all along the highway.  We stopped at a Cracker Barrel for lunch (Wednesday – Chicken Pot Pie Day) and pulled into the KOA campground at Wytheville, VA at about 4:00.


It was a gray and dreary drive and I normally dread the long drive home . . . but this one is different.  Whenever I start to feel down, I just look back and I see my new Mickey Mouse Afghan.  It brightens me up right away!  The dogs like it too!


Dinner was once again at our favourite spot here – The Peking Chinese Restaurant.  It’s great.  After a night of TV we hit the hay . . . it will be another long day on the road tomorrow.

The dogs love my new afghan too!

Thursday December 18, 2008

We were up and going at 6:45 again.  We pulled out at 8:15 and headed northeast.  Once again we made a mid morning stop at McDonald’s for coffee and pulled over at a rest area about 11:00 to walk the dogs.  Traffic was light and we made good time.


We pulled into the Flying J Truck Stop at Winchester, VA where we gassed up and had a quick bite of lunch in the parking lot.


Back on the road it was smooth sailing, we saw a long back up of traffic in the southbound lanes due to a tractor-trailer rollover, but the northbound lanes were fine.  As soon as we crossed from Maryland into Pennsylvania we saw a dusting of snow on the ground.  YUK!  An omen of things to come?  We were disappointed at the fog and gray skies we saw as we drove through the Shenandoah Valley.  It’s such a beautiful area but we didn’t get to see much of it due to the fog.  I guess we’ll just have to wait until April!


We pulled into the campground at 3:30 and got set up.  I took the dogs out for a walk and Gary started the winterizing process.  We will finish draining everything and adding antifreeze in the morning.


Deb and Linda drove up from Maryland to pick up the leftover swag and we had a quick dinner with them.  After a nice visit they made their way back home and we watched a bit of TV.


Tomorrow will be another long day on the road, but we are looking forward to being home tomorrow night!

Friday December 19, 2008

We awoke to the soothing pitter-patter of ice pellets on the roof.  Yikes . . . the weather was turning nasty . . . we got on the road quickly!


Gary finished winterizing the motorhome (drained the holding tanks, put anti-freeze in the water lines, etc.) while I battened everything down inside.  We were on the road by 7:50 a.m. and hoped to meet up with Dave Card in Binghamton, NY by about 11:00 a.m.  Alas, it was not to be.


The further north we drove, the worse the weather got!  We stopped at a McDonalds and picked up a quick breakfast “to go” and carried on.  The weather got still worse . . . and worse . . . and worse!  Rain, freezing rain, snow and often a mix of all three.  Most of the time we were doing less than 30 miles per hour.  Cars and trucks littered the ditches.  I sent Dave a text message saying we would be late!


About 12:30 the dogs needed a stop, so we pulled off into a rest area.  That was a big mistake!  There were three trucks stuck on the sloped ramp up to the rest area.  Ouch!  We waited about 20 minutes to see if they could get going . . . but it just wasn’t going to happen.  We tow a car behind the motorhome and you cannot back up until it is unhooked and moved.  So Gary kicked the snow and slush off the hitch, unhooked the car and I drove it around the stuck trucks and parked in the rest area.  I walked back and directed Gary as he backed several hundred yards down the ramp and back to the highway.  He drove around to the ramp on the far side of the rest area and I met him there in the car.  We hooked back up and were back on our way, slower than ever.  We lost an hour and a half with that little side trip!

The weather just kept getting worse and worse!  At about 1:45 we decided to call it a day.  The roads were just too treacherous to carry on.  We had seen countless cars and trucks in the ditch and the weather continued to get worse.  We pulled into the Flying J Truck Stop at New Milford, PA and settled in for the rest of the day and the night.  We called Dave and told him we’d call and work out a meeting time for tomorrow.


After walking the dogs (they let out a big sigh of relief) we called home to let the folks know we’re going to be a bit late, had a late lunch and then a well-deserved nap.


It was a quiet night.  We read and played some cribbage before tiring out and hitting the hay!  I skunked Gary in the first game and he came back to win the second.  We were both so pooped from a tiring day on the road in bad weather that we couldn’t stay awake for the rubber match!  We hit the hay early!

Our wintery campsite!  Yikes!

Saturday December 20, 2008

We were up and going by 6:30.  Gary took the dogs out for a walk and then picked us each up a coffee at the restaurant in the Flying J.  We pulled the motorhome over to the RV fill-up area and topped up with propane before leaving.  The tank was almost empty and we thought we might still need the furnace on the way home.


We pulled out at about 7:30.  The roads were in good shape . . . such a relief after the previous  day.  We were making good time so we sent Dave Card a text message to let him know we were going to stop at the Cracker Barrel in Binghamton, NY for breakfast.  Dave replied immediately that he would meet us there to pick up the leftover swag we were trucking.  He arrived before we had a chance to order breakfast but he didn’t stay.  Apparently he picked up a cold from Typhoid Amy and just wanted to get home again!


After breakfast we hit the road again and didn’t stop until we hit Cicero, NY where we stopped at WalMart.  I picked up a 21-pound turkey for Christmas dinner – they are about $1.00 a pound cheaper in the US than here in Canada.


We crossed the border at about 1:00 and pulled up in front of our house at 1:30 p.m.  It took an hour and a half to unload the motorhome, unhook the tow-car and get squared away.  Our neighbour had just finished blowing the snow from our driveway, that was a big plus!

Gary took the tow car off to the car wash . . . it gets caked with ice and salt when you tow it in a storm!  When he got back he pulled out the snowblower and cleared a hole in the snowbank so we could park the RV on the vacant lot next door until the weather is mild enough to get it washed up and back to the barn where we normally store it.


So, another trip is in the books!  We were away 22 days, logged 4,557 kilometers (2,848 miles), and used 1,512 liters (400 gallons) of gasoline.  It was great, we always look forward to this annual get-together with our online friends!


Our next motorhome trip will  be in April, we head off to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN on our way to Walt Disney World.

Here's the house - ready for Christmas