Saturday, January 28, 2012


I tiptoed out of the bathroom at half-past dark and ever so quietly slipped back between the sheets.  Suddenly a familiar voice said, “Are we there yet?”


“It’s five-thirty,” I replied, “go back to sleep.”


“No, you handsome young rascal, time’s a wasting.  You’d better hustle out and get me some coffee.”  Flattery works every time so I was soon on my way to Tim Horton’s to pick up a light breakfast.  By the time I got back home with it she was ready to roll so we ate quickly at the kitchen table and hit the road.


Carol drove me off to the local plaza where we had parked the RV the previous night.  It overflows the driveway and we have a ban on on-street parking in the winter so it had to go.  I followed her back to the house where we loaded up the dogs.  We pulled away at 7:00 a.m.  There was just a hint of sunrise in the east.

Five minutes later, as we were pulling onto the freeway, it was glorious.  The vivid colours lasted almost a half hour.  Wow!

It was a quick border crossing, by 7:35 a.m. we were on Interstate 81 and heading south.  Skies were clear, roads were dry, traffic was light and we made great progress. 

At 10:30 we made our first stop in Binghamton New York and Carol walked the dogs quickly before we headed into Cracker Barrel.  Our friend Dave and his daughters Brinn and Maddie were waiting there; we hadn’t seen them in a couple of years so it was nice to catch up over breakfast.

We were back on the road at 11:30 and made a short stop for gas in northern Pennsylvania ($240.75 – OUCH!)  Once again the dogs had a stretch and we resumed our southbound trek.  The miles rolled by quickly, there was little traffic and very little construction.  If it wasn’t for the very bumpy Pennsylvania highways it might have been a pleasant drive.  Carol tried to doze a bit but just as she’d nod off we’d hit a patch of mammoth sized potholes.  Yikes.  She soon gave up!


By 3:00 p.m. we were at our destination and checking in at Harrisburg East Campground.  My first priority was to hook up the water line and flush all the anti-freeze out of the plumbing system.  I hooked up the water and started flushing the lines and filling the fresh water holding tank while Carol took the pups out and tossed the ball for them.  They love to romp after a long day on the road.


Shortly after 4:00 we were all settled in our campsite and I had a quick nap.  Carol fed the dogs a bit early and by 5:00 we were in the car headed out shopping.  We spent a few minutes at Harbor Freight Tools; there was nothing there for me but Carol picked up a few things!


Next stop was a car wash – the car had taken a beating during our first two miles this morning.  By the time we hit the freeway the roads were clear and dry, but in our neighbourhood it was sloppy.  We took the sparkling clean car to Chilli’s for dinner but there was a huge line . . . Yipes!   We drove to the other end of the plaza and had a burger at Five Guys.  Yum!


Carol had some shopping to do so I waited in the car as she scoured the aisles of the Christmas Tree Shop and then waited again as she picked up some groceries at Wal-Mart.


We were back with the dogs shortly after 8:00.  I hooked the car back up and we settled in for a night of TV.


Tomorrow we plan to cover 362 miles, most of it in the Shenandoah Valley and stop at Wytheville Virginia.

 Sunday, January 29, 2012


We slept in this morning, Blue jumped up on the bed when he heard the coffee maker at 6:10.  We took it slow and easy for a while and then Carol gave the dogs a good run while I disconnected.  We pulled away at 8:00 a.m.

Sunday morning traffic was light, skies were a bright cloudless blue and the road was dry.  The miles flew by.  At 9:15 we passed into Maryland, then 15 minutes later we crossed into West Virginia and only 25 minutes after that we were in Virginia.

That’s four states within a span of 40 minutes.  Of course, Virginia is a bit different, we will be in Virginia all day today and for the first 35 minutes of travel tomorrow.

The Shenandoah Valley is beautiful, even in the drab winter conditions we saw today you can clearly see where the Blue Ridge Mountains got their name!

Things were going so well that we didn’t stop for three hours, by then I really had to stretch my legs so we made a short rest area stop.  Just for purposes of clarity, that is not a euphemism for anything, I really did need to stretch my poopy knees!  We were back on the road in minutes and then just after noon we pulled off at another rest area where Zak and Blue had a walk, then Carol and I had a sandwich.


We were back on the road at 1:00 p.m. but soon pulled off for fuel.  The $240 worth of gas put in yesterday was all gone!  I knew I didn’t have enough to get us to Wytheville so we pulled off at an Exxon station and I put in $100.00 worth to be sure we didn’t run out before reaching Wytheville.  The needle went up to the half-full marker!  Ouch! 


By 2:45 we pulled into the FlyingJ Truck Stop at Wytheville and I filled it up with gas – another $177.00.  That’s a total of $517.75 in fuel since we left home, but we now have enough to get us to southern Georgia.  Our next fill-up will probably be at Brunswick GA.  We also topped up the propane tank to be sure the furnace will keep us toasty warm until we find warmer nights further south.


We pulled into the campground at 3:30 and were soon set up.  Carol took the dogs for a good romp in the doggie park and soon it was time to feed them. 


Then came shopping – of course!  I drove Carol off to K-Mart and went into the store with her so I could carry out the first load!  I soon had my fill of shopping so I took a cart-load with me and waited in the car.  She showed up with a few more trinkets and we went off in search of dinner.  Chinese again, we had a disappointing meal there in November so we skipped it on our return trip in December.  Tonight it was better, we had a nice meal and I have enough left for lunch tomorrow.  We’ll probably pull off in a rest area and nuke it.


We were back at the campground by 7:15, hooked the tow-car back up and settled in for a night of TV.


The weather has been great, we were concerned that we might hit some snow or ice, but there has not been a trace so far.  In the first half-hour tomorrow we will cross the Blue Ridge Mountains and take a long descent from Virginia into North Carolina.  Carol will breathe a sigh of relief . . . we will have seen the end of the mountains and she can put her weather worries behind her!  Tomorrow we plan to travel 322 miles and spend the night at Walterboro, South Carolina.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Sunshine, warmth, a big hill and palm trees!  It was a good travel day!


As usual the coffee maker started some sort of chain reaction which ended up catapulting a dog onto the bed at 6:10 a.m.  We got up promptly and started getting ready to depart.  We pulled away at 7:45.


We had to back-track three miles north on I-81 before we came to the exit for I-77 south. 

Then the slow climb began.  As soon as we turned on to I-77 we began to climb, through a series of rolling hills, to the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

It’s a 25 mile climb to the Blue Ridge Plateau and then a sharp seven mile drop into North Carolina.  In the days when the earth was still thought to be flat and the old time sailors dreamed of sailing off the end of the earth, this is probably what they imagined.  Carol doesn’t like this hill!

I know that my magic number is 70.  I set the cruise control for 63 miles per hour and it acts as an engine-brake to check our speed, but we slowly gain speed as we descend.  When we get close to 70 I step on the brakes to slow us down, then engage the cruise control again.  So our speed on the way down lurches between 55 and 70 mph.  This really annoys the truckers coming up behind us, but it keeps Carol happy.  I only heard from her once today, “Do you know you’re going 71 miles per hour?”

By 8:25 we had completed the descent.  We were in North Carolina; the mountains were all behind us and the chance of snow and ice was past.  Carol could relax.  By 9:00 the white-knuckle marks had faded from the dash.

Once again the skies were clear and bright blue and traffic was light.  We made good progress.  It was encouraging to watch things green-up as we moved ever southward.  At 10:05 we entered South Carolina.

Our first palm tree spotting was at 10:38, just south of Charlotte, South Carolina.  That’s always our conclusive proof that we’re in the south!  We made a rest stop at about 10:45; today the “leg stretch” was a euphemism.


We were quickly back on the road and about an hour later turned onto I-26.  We  pulled into the first rest area where we walked the dogs and had a bite of lunch.  I had nuclear Chinese food and Carol had a sandwich.

In no time we were back on the road and soon made the turn onto I-95, just 30 miles north of our destination.  We pulled into New Green Acres Campground at 1:30 and by 2:15 we were all set up and settled in our campsite.  Carol took the dogs out with a pair of tennis balls and they had a good run!  Blue’s tongue was still hanging out when he joined me for a nap.  My first nap in two days . . .  that’s quite a long time for me!  Aaahhh!

Carol fed the puppies at 4:30 and took them out to do their business, then guess what?  Shopping!  Yup, Three days in the USA and my special lady had not yet been to Walgreen’s.  We remedied that!


Then it was time for dinner, we normally end up at Ruby Tuesday when we stop here in Walterboro, but tonight we went to the Shoney’s just across the road.  It was good, nothing fancy but good comfort food.


We were back to the campground by 7:30 and settled in for the night.


Tomorrow is a short day; its only 244 miles to St. Augustine but along the way we will stop in at a truck wash in Brunswick Georgia to wash the RV and gas it up.  Then we have to stop at the Florida Welcome Centre for our traditional orange juice!  Oh Boy!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


We’re getting this down to a solid routine – 6:10 a.m. coffee maker, dog launch, get out of bed.

This morning we pulled out at 8:00 a.m. and continued south on I-95.  There was frost on the ground as we left but the sun shone brightly in a clear blue sky and it quickly warmed up.

At 8:55 we crossed into Georgia, we were making good time.  This is the part of the trip where Carol keeps a close eye on all the rivers and salt-marsh areas, looking for gators.  The tide was out and this should have been a good time to spot a few, but no luck.  She thought it might be too cold for them.

We pulled off at Richmond Hill, Georgia and at 9:30 rolled into Louie’s Truck Wash.  The RV needed to be brushed and rinsed before we get to Fort Wilderness.  Thirty minutes and $52.00 later we rolled out, sparking clean.  What a bargain, it takes several hours if I do it myself!


At about 10:30 we rolled into the FlyingJ Truck Stop at Brunswick, Georgia and gassed up again.  This should be enough fuel to get us to Fort Wilderness and then back to Brunswick, where we will top up again on our way home.

Naturally our next stop was the Florida Welcome Centre.  We crossed the state line at 11:30 and just had to stop for an orange juice.  It’s tradition!  Every time we stop there we do the same thing . . . we walk up to another couple and offer to take a picture of them in front of the Florida sign if they will then take one of us.  I take the picture of them and then hand them their camera back asking, “Did I get all of the sign in?  Are you happy with the picture?”  They check and say, “Oh yes, its fine!”  Then we hand them out camera and they take our picture, invariably missing most of the sign.  So every time we end up sneaking back later and taking our own picture.  Sheeesh!

Soon we were back in the RV and on the last leg of today’s journey, or at least the last highway leg.  We drove through Jacksonville shortly after noon and pulled off at St. Augustine at 12:45.  I went into the Outlet Mall with Carol and we each had a pretzel dog at the food court.  I went back to the RV and waited with the dogs while she scoured the Disney Character Outlet Store there.  Naturally she found a few bargains.


By 1:45 we were on Route A1A crossing the Tolomato River, part of the Intracoastal Waterway.  Across the bridge from St. Augustine is Vilano Beach and our stop for the night, North Beach Camp Resort.  By 2:30 we were all settled in our campsite.

We organized a few things inside the RV and then took the puppies over to the beach for a run.  Yikes, the tide was high and there wasn’t any level surface to run.  We knew that if we threw the ball it would end up in the surf and we sure don’t want wet, sandy dogs in the motor home.  So they walked a bit and posed for a few pictures.  Then they came and waited in the car with me while Carol looked for a few more Valentine decorations in a nearby Walgreen’s.

We were back home shortly after 4:00 and rested a bit before heading out for dinner.  We wanted to get the car vacuumed out so we headed for a huge car wash and detailing place on US Route #1.  Showboat Car Wash – it’s shaped like a huge riverboat.  Ooops . . . we pulled in at 5:45 and saw the sign saying they close at 5:30!  Dang – next stop was a BP station where we put $2.00 in quarters into a machine and vacuumed it ourselves.


We drove through the old, historic part of the city on our way to dinner.  The city is beautifully lit; it’s like Christmas all year round.  Naturally Carol had to take some pictures.

Then came dinner – we went back to O’Steen’s.  We discovered this place in December; it’s where all the locals go for seafood.  Their specialty is fried shrimp and they are fantastic.  Very few people order anything else!  We topped our dinner off with some homemade coconut cream pie . . . Carol says it’s the best she’s ever had.  Yum, it was a great dinner.

By 8:00 p.m. we were back with the dogs and settled in for the night.


Tomorrow we have a very short drive; a mere 129 miles and we’ll be at Walt Disney World.  I said to Carol over dinner, “Why don’t you reset the coffee maker, set it a bit later and delay the dog-launch.  We really don’t have to rush tomorrow.”  She really surprised me when she said, “I’ve set it a bit earlier, 6:00 a.m.  We’re going to Disney so we have to get up early and get going!”


So that’s the way it’s going to be.  Rise and shine, we’re off to see Mickey Mouse today!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Today’s newspaper headline should read:  THSA (Tim Horton’s Space Administration) Confirms A Successful Sheltie Launch At 6:08  This Morning.


After Blue landed on the bed I said to Carol, “OK, let’s get going!”  “No,” she replied, “Let me go back to sleep.”  “Nope,” I told her, “Not an option.  You said last night we had to get going early.”   So up we got.  I had a quick bowl of cereal while Carol fed and walked the dogs and then we disconnected and pulled out.  We parked in front of the office and I hooked up the tow-car while Carol took a few pictures of the sunrise over the Atlantic and the RV nicely lit by the rising sun. 

We pulled away from the campground at 8:00 and were back on I-95 by 8:15.  We had good weather and good traffic again today and the miles rolled past.  Shortly after 9:00 we made the turn onto westbound I-4, the last short leg of our journey.

Are we there yet?

Carol was on Facebook chatting with her mother while she continued to watch every stream, river and mud-hole hoping to see a gator.  Alas, no gators again today but she did spy a big grey crane with a red head.  She jumped up, opened an overhead compartment and pulled out her handy Field Guide to Birds.  She quickly announced that it was a Florida Sand Hill Crane.  Then she Googled and began reading to me that it is an endangered species and there are only an estimated 5,000 remaining in the world.  I find it amazing that Carol did all this while we were rolling down the highway at 60 miles per hour . . . and she didn’t miss a beat in the chat with her mother.  Isn’t today’s technology just awesome?

Most of the morning we drove with the windows and vents open.  The fresh air felt great!  We quickly passed through downtown Orlando and pulled off I-4 onto Disney property.  Aaaah – we’re home again. 

We pulled up to the drive-in registration area at Fort Wilderness at 10:20.  We have never been here this early!  There was no one in front of us; we were the only ones checking in. 


We had requested site #707, it’s our favourite and we were delighted when the cast member, Luanne, confirmed that it was available and we were shocked when she said it was ready.  By 11:00 a.m. I had backed the motor home in and we were busy setting up.  WOW!  Life is good!


We kept busy setting up Mickey lamps, awning lights in Valentine colours, rope lights, palm trees and all the other tacky necessities, taking only a short break to have a quick sandwich.  By 1:00 p.m. we were all done.  Wow, we’ve never gotten to our site by 1:00 in previous trips, the stars were just all aligned for us today.


We had just gone inside and I was about to hop in the shower when a friend rode up on his bicycle.  John and Sharon, who aren’t sure whether they live in Cleveland or Tampa, are in the 1600 loop and he came by to say hello.  We haven’t seen them for a few years.  We had a nice chat with John and then I had that shower I so desperately needed!

Then it was time to head over to Port Orleans French Quarter to meet our friends Scott and Judy from our home town, Kingston.  Carol and Judy used to come to Walt Disney World every year with their children.  When the kids grew up and didn’t want to come anymore the Moms just kept coming.  Then in 1998 Carol and I became a couple and I started coming with Carol – Judy was bumped.  Ouch!  Her last trip here was in 1997 and Scottie has never been to WDW.  So we are delighted to be able to be here and spend a few weeks with them as Scottie sees the place for the first time and Judy gets reacquainted. 


Scott and Judy were waiting for us under the porte-cochère and we all folded ourselves up and climbed into the little Saturn.  We headed off to WalMart where the ladies picked up a few groceries while Scottie and I went to the electronics department and selected a Tracfone for them to use while they are here.  Then we all stuffed into the car again and headed to the liquor store for some much needed grog.


Carol and I dropped them off at Downtown Disney while we went back to the Fort and fed Zak and Blue.  After they had been fed, walked and cuddled a bit we headed back to Downtown Disney to join our buddies for dinner – sandwiches at the Earl of Sandwich.   Yum!


Scottie and I sat and people-watched while Carol and Judy scoured the Christmas Store and then the Pin Shop.  Then it was time to head for home.  Scott and Judy flew in from Syracuse New York today and their day began at 4:00 a.m.  We dropped them off at their hotel and were back at the Fort by 8:00.


Tomorrow we pick them up at 9:00 a.m. and the plan is to spend the day at EPCOT with dinner at Chefs de France.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Today was EPCOT day.  We spent a short time with the dogs, just enjoying the ambiance of this special place.  There was another glorious sunrise and Carol got a few shots through he trees. 

We left the campground at about 8:30 to meet Scott and Judy.  We picked them up at Port Orleans French Quarter at 9:00 and by 9:20 we were in the park.

The Dynamic Duo back again after 15 years!

Our first stop was Spaceship Earth, Scott got his first taste of a Disney theme park.  He seemed to like it.  As we left he said, “How did my time machine get turned around?  I don’t remember turning.”  I told him he went through a time warp and he wasn’t supposed to remember.


We stopped briefly at the information board behind the pin kiosk and picked up a “1st Visit” button for Scott.  He said thanks and quickly shoved it in his pocket.  Is he embarrassed?  Hmmm . . .


We headed directly for The Land and joined the line for Soarin’.  The park wasn’t crowded and the wait time was less than 20 minutes.  This attraction is new since Judy was last at WDW in 1997 so it was a first for both of them and they were both impressed.  After Soarin’ we crossed the concourse and went directly to Living With The Land for the boat ride through the greenhouses.  Scott enjoyed it, they though they might do the Behind The Seeds Tour later in their trip.  Our last stop was at Sunshine Seasons where we yakked over coffee and muffins before Carol and I said goodbye and headed back to the campground to spend some time with the dogs. 

On the way back we made a few very quick shopping stops and pulled into the campsite at 1:30.


Our friend Robin had texted while we were on the way home and she came over for a visit.  We saw her briefly in December but had not had time for a real visit with her in a couple of years.  It was nice to spend a couple of hours visiting with her.  While Robin was here another visitor dropped in, it was Lou, a Disney bus driver who we see on web community devoted to camping at Fort Wilderness.  It was a pleasure to meet Lou and spend a few minutes chatting with him.  While he was here he “spiked” us.  He presented us with a gift, a spike from the old railroad line which circled through the campground.  What a special memento to have!  Thanks Lou! (and TCD)

All too soon it was time to head back to EPCOT.  Carol fed and walked the dogs and off we went.  As we rounded the corner into World Showcase we noticed the Friendship boat pulling into the dock so we hopped on for a ride across the lagoon and got off by Morocco. Scott and Judy had spent the entire day wandering EPCOT and we met them at France.



Carol checked us in for our dinner at Chefs de France at 5:20 and we were seated almost immediately.  Remy dropped by to entertain us for a few minutes and then we savoured a leisurely and delicious meal for an hour and a half before continuing around World Showcase. 

We stopped to watch The American Adventure and then Carol and Judy darted into Germany for some of that wonderful Werther’s Caramel Corn to munch on while we watched Illuminations.


We stopped at the handicapped viewing area near the Odyssey building and had a great vantage point for the 9:00 p.m. Illuminations show.  Then we beat a hasty retreat, found the car and dropped a tired pair off at POFQ.  We were back with the dogs at 10:00.   Zzzzzz – snoring ensued.  It was a great day!

Friday, February 3, 2012


We slept in.  Blue let us roll over and sleep until 7:15.  Aaah!


We lazed around the motor home until after 9:00 and then hopped on our bikes and rode to The Settlement.  Ooops . . . the Trading Post doesn’t open until10:00 a.m.   What to do?  We roamed around and Carol took a few pictures while we waited, then she went into the shop and nosed around.

She didn’t buy a thing!  I think that’s a first!  We scampered back to the RV and walked the dogs before heading out. 


As I was driving toward the Fort Wilderness exit I told Carol about the young mother I saw driving a golf cart earlier that morning.  She was steering the cart with her right arm and had a baby tucked in the crook of her left arm.  I couldn’t believe it . . . these days when children have to be in high-tech government-approved car seats to ride in the family car it seemed odd to see a baby, less than two months old, hanging out the side of a golf cart.  Carol and I chuckled a bit, and agreed that the baby would probably be OK, after all we had bounced around for years in the back seats of our parents cars with no seatbelts.  I even survived after chewing all the lead paint off the sides of my crib.  We agreed that maybe we were conditioned to be too cautious these days.


That’s when Carol spotted the next golf cart.  Once again a Mom was driving.  To her right was a toddler, under two years of age sitting on the seat – no restraints and untouched by Mom.  She was steering with her right arm.  In the crook of her left arm was a very young baby and Mom’s left hand was holding a cell phone to her ear.  Yup, she was talking on the phone!  I’m not sure those kids are going to be OK.  What the hell are these parents thinking?



We were on our way to EPCOT where we had arranged to meet our friends Deb and Linda.  We hooked up with them at Innoventions and headed to The Land where we had a leisurely lunch in the Sunshine Seasons food court. 

We reminisced, laughed, caught up with each-others lives and talked about the Caribbean cruise we will all be on in May.  Before we knew it two hours had flown by.  We said our goodbyes and headed to the exit.

By 2:00 we were back at the campsite and decided to give the dogs a treat.  We loaded Zak and Blue in the golf cart and headed to the off-leash park.  Once again Zak sniffed around the perimeter of the park while Blue chased the ball until he had no chase left. 


I took two tuckered dogs for a nap while Carol took the golf cart out for a spin to see if our friends John and Sharon were at their site.  They were out, so she was soon back.  A couple of acquaintances from the Fort Fiends web site, Lorna Duck and Doodles, dropped by and we had a short visit, then it was time to head back to EPCOT to join Scott and Judy. 

We met them between Canada and Britain where we enjoyed the 5:30 performance by Off Kilter, a great Celtic Rock band.  They are billed as a Canadian group but they are not.  Four of the five musicians are American and the other is Irish.  They play primarily Celtic music with a rock or blues back-beat.  They are great and I really enjoy them, but don’t expect to hear this kind of music in Canada.  It is unique to EPCOT.


As soon as their set was over we made our way to Le Cellier where we had a dinner reservation.  As always it was great.  Carol and I always enjoy this meal and so did Scott and Judy.


After dinner we made our way to the CircleVision theatre next door to watch the 360 degree movie “O Canada”  This new version, still just a couple of years new, makes me proud and still brings a tear to my eye. 


Then we made a dash to the exit.  We dropped Scott and Judy off at POFQ at about 9:00 p.m. and were soon back with the dogs.  Our last excursion of the day was the hot tub.  We took a quick spin in the golf cart, had a soothing soak in the tub and settled back in the RV just after 10:00.  Aaaahhhh . . . another good day

Saturday, February 4, 2012


We slept in again.  This was a morning where we had nothing planned and that’s pretty much what we did.  We lingered over a pot of coffee and then I tinkered a bit with the RV while Carol vacuumed and cleaned it.

At about 10:00 a.m. we took the golf cart to the 1600 loop where our friends John and Sharon were packing up and getting ready to pull out.  We caught them just in time and had a short visit before they had to leave.  We had a tour of their new unit, a 40’ Country Coach diesel pusher.  It’s a beauty.

After a quick visit we went back home and let the dogs out briefly before heading to the dock to wait for Scott and Judy to arrive.  They had taken the bus from POFQ to the Magic Kingdom and then caught the monorail and stopped to explore each of the monorail resorts.  They arrived at Fort Wilderness by boat at 11:30.


We immediately caught the launch to Wilderness Lodge and spent a few minutes exploring the property and the lobby before we picked up a light lunch at Roaring Forks.  We ate outside overlooking the pool and then boarded the launch to head back to the campground. 

The four of us spent the entire afternoon poking around the campground.  Our first stop was the dog park where the dogs romped and chased their balls. 

Carol had her eagle-eyes on again and spotted a gator and a turtle in the canal behind the off-leash park.

Before long the Best Friends Kennels “Treat Truck” drove by and stopped at the entrance to the 300 loop where they passed out goodies to our furry friends.  Zak and Blue were delighted with their goody bags which contained new tennis balls, a cookie, a clip for dog treat bags and a delicious ice cream treat for dogs.  Zak had a brain freeze by the time he finished his ice cream!

We dropped the dogs off at home and then took the golf cart on a grand circle tour of the campground.  We visited the stables beside Pioneer Hall, the trail ride stales at the Outpost, the Meadows Swimming Pool and splash pad, Chip & Dale’s campfire area, several camping loops and then enjoyed a cold drink at our camp site. 

Soon it was time to head to the Settlement for the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue so Carol fed the dogs and walked them.  We were at the Settlement by 5:30 and before we knew it they were ushering us into Pioneer Hall.



The Hoop-Dee-Doo show has not changed in years.  I first saw it in about 1979 and they still tell the same corny jokes, but it’s good fun.   We had a blast. 


I was the guy Dolly picked to “toot-toot” for her.  Carol says I’m a natural at it!

We had hoped to head to the beach and see the Wishes fireworks show after dinner but it was already underway as we left the theatre.  Maybe another night.


Scott and Judy were beat and so were Carol and I.  We picked up their stuff at the RV and dropped them at the dock.  They were looking forward to a romantic boat ride back to the Magic Kingdom before their bus ride back to POFQ.


Carol and thought we would go to the hot tub but our fatigue over-ruled our good intentions.  It just wasn’t going to happen this night!  We were bushed!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Once again Blue let us sleep a bit.  We were both up at 7:00 a.m. and got rolling right away.  Scott and Judy were expecting us at 8:30 so we moved quickly . . . well, it was quick for us!


By 8:25 we were parked under the porte-cochère at Port Orleans French Quarter waiting for them.  They soon came along and we pointed the car toward Animal Kingdom.  This was a first visit for both of them so we took our time and let them soak in the ambiance and unique character of the different areas of the park.

We stopped to watch the critters beside the trail as we made our way to Discovery Island and we stopped for the obligatory picture in front of the Tree of Life.

Next stop was Kilimanjaro Safaris where we saw plenty of animals.  Scott was trying to take some pictures as we bounced around the back of the truck.  It’s always a challenge to get clear shots when the truck is lurching.  I often end up with some excellent pictures of the trees just above where the animals are, but no trace of the animal itself.  But you have to try; once in a while you get lucky.  Today the driver stopped several times and we were able to get a few good images.


After the safari we wandered slowly past the back of the Tree of Life as we made our way to Asia for the Flights of Wonder show. 

We arrived a bit early for the show so we carried on and pointed out a few other sights in Asia.  By the time we returned to the Caravan Stage the pre-show was just beginning.  Soon we were ushered in and got a front row seat.  We really like this show and so did the “newbies”.  The owl, the baby condor and the crow swooped just inches above our heads and ruffled our hair.  This is a show that too many people miss in their rush from one thrill-ride to another.  It’s one of our favourite things at Animal Kingdom.

After the bird show we walked to the Yak & Yeti Restaurant next door and agreed where we would meet at 4:45.  We’re having dinner there tonight.

Scott and Judy spent the rest of the afternoon roaming and exploring Animal Kingdom while Carol and I headed to Expedition Everest.  The line was too long, even the single rider line was long.  We decided to skip the ride today.  We exited the park and headed toward home. 

I stopped at Camping World for a few small RV parts I needed and Carol popped into Walgreen’s for a few supplies and we pulled into our campsite at 1:30.  Carol walked the dogs and we had a very light lunch; dinner is early and we don’t want to spoil it!


Blue insisted that we have a nap.  Well, OK . . . but we probably won’t enjoy it! 

It turned out that we didn’t enjoy it, neither of us could sleep.  Blue had no problem, but Carol and I tossed and turned, so we soon got up and headed back to Animal Kingdom.  We arrived at the park at 4:00 p.m. and made our way back to Asia where we planned to ride Expedition Everest.  Carol stopped several times along the way to trade pins and made a few good trades.  It has been a slow pin trading week but today’s trades made her happy.

By the time we made it to Asia and made the turn toward Everest it was only 20 minutes until our dinner reservation.  There wasn’t time to ride.  Oh dear . . . what to do?  That’s when we spotted Scott and Judy at Yak & Yeti.  Scottie had just taken the first sip of the beer he had just bought.  Hmmmm . . . what to do?  I scooted over, bought a beer too and we joined them.  Soon dinner time rolled around.


We all enjoyed our dinners, there was very little left on our plates.  Yum!  By the time dinner was finished the park was closing and we headed directly to the exit.  Scottie is a big NFL fan and was anxious to get back to their room to watch the Super Bowl.  We dropped them off about 10 minutes before the opening kick-off so he hurried off to cheer on his Giants.

We were soon back home where Carol gave the dogs a quick walk and I turned on the football game.  I’m not much of a football fan, but we don’t see the US Super Bowl commercials in Canada so we tuned in to watch them. I expect Scottie was happy; his team squeaked out the win on the final play of the game.


As soon as the game was over we took the golf cart down to the Meadows where we soaked in the hot tub for a while.  We didn’t have a very strenuous day but it still felt very soothing!  We had the place all to ourselves for a half hour.  No one in the pool, no one in the hot tub, no one in sight!  It was wonderful!  Soon the Super Bowl drunks started to roll in so we decided to call it a night.  We were off to bed early once again.


Tomorrow Carol and I plan to head to the Magic Kingdom and then join Scott and Judy for dinner at Nine Dragons in EPCOT.

Monday, February 6, 2012


I love this campground!


This morning I opened my eyes and the first thing I saw were oranges growing on a tree not six feet from the window.  We think they’re oranges; they are about two inches in diameter.  Carol tried one and found it quite bitter.  Scottie wondered whether he could use them to rim his Bloody Caesars.  (For our American friends, a Bloody Caesar is a uniquely Canadian cocktail.  It is similar to a Bloody Mary but it’s made with Mott’s Clamato Cocktail instead of tomato juice.  It’s garnished with a stalk of celery.  Doctors and nutritionists like this drink because between the clamato cocktail and the celery it contains two full servings of vegetables ;-)


Oops . . . sorry for the tangent folks, back to why I love this campground.  I have looked out that same window early in the morning and seen deer within ten feet of the RV.  This is our favourite campsite in the world’s best campground.  It’s heaven!


Last night it rained during the Super Bowl game and cooled the air down so we were able to sleep with the windows open again.  I slept like a baby in the fresh, pine scented air.  Aaaahhh – it’s so nice here!


We had planned to go to the Magic Kingdom in the morning and then take Zak and Blue to the dog park when we got back.  Carol read on the internet this morning that Eli Manning, MVP in the Super Bowl game last night, would be in a 1:30 parade today at Magic Kingdom.  So we changed our plans and took the pups to the park first so we could stay for the parade.  We’re not football fans but since we’re here . . . its just one of those things you gotta do!

So off we went to Waggin’ Trails with the dogs.  There was no gator today but there were two turtles.  As usual, Zak sniffed and Blue ran.  When they were both tired out we loaded up and headed back to the campsite.

Carol rode her bike and I scooted to the Fort Wilderness dock and caught the boat which took us across Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon to the Magic Kingdom dock.  We entered the park at 10:20 and slowly made our way toward the castle.  Carol shopped her way down Main Street USA, covering the right side of the street, while I snapped some pictures.  I was playing with a polarizing filter Carol gave me for Christmas.  Soon she joined me and we headed across in front of the Crystal Palace and over to Liberty Square, both of us snapping pictures all along the way.

Carol wanted to walk through the pin store (yeah, right!) so we headed to Frontierland.  Wow . . . she didn’t buy anything; she made a few good trades but didn’t buy a thing.  It was warming up by 11:00 so I suggested that we ride Splash Mountain.  Carol surprised me by saying yes; she doesn’t like to get wet early in the day.  I hurried her over to the ride before she changed her mind.  We sat in the back row and managed to stay relatively dry.  Just a little splash.

We wandered back to Liberty Square and had a sandwich at Sleepy Hollow.  I enjoyed my ham and cheese served on a waffle but Carol was less impressed with her spicy chicken on a waffle.


Next stop was the Haunted Mansion; we still take the new entry through the cemetery and touch all the interactive toys.  It’s a nice improvement.  At the end of our ride Ezra hopped on top of our Doom Buggy and stretched our heads.  They snapped back into place and then exploded.  Cool!

Time was drawing near for the Super Bowl parade so we headed toward Main Street.  We found a spot on the second floor of the train station overlooking Town Square.  While we waited for the parade we took pictures of some of the characters in Town Square.

The crowd on Main Street was huge.  There were plenty of fans in NY Giants jerseys and spirits were high.  Soon the parade started, and soon it was over.

There were no floats, just two people carrying a banner, several Disney characters and a convertible in which Mickey Mouse and Eli Manning were riding.

Once the parade was over the crowd surged to the exit.  Almost everyone in the park was there to see Eli Manning and they all left at once after the parade.  We waited a few minutes for the crowd to thin and then headed to the exit where we caught the boat to Fort Wilderness.


We were back to the campsite by 2:30 and after Carol let the dogs out to do their business Blue and I took a nap.  Aaaahhh!

I puttered at the computer a bit and did a few little outside chores while Carol fed the dogs and at 4:30 we left on our way to EPCOT.  We were meeting Scott and Judy for dinner at Nine Dragons.  Carol made a few pin trades as we made our way to World Showcase.  Scott and Judy were waiting when we arrived at China and we paused to watch the acrobats perform before checking in for dinner.  I don’t know how you say pretzel in Chinese, but the written character probably looks something like this.

We had a very nice dinner.  Nine Dragons is not a restaurant Carol and I normally recommend but we really had a good meal tonight.  After dinner we walked to Norway where Carol and Judy admired the desserts in the bakery.  Unfortunately we were all too full to eat any more so we made our way to the exit.  We dropped Scott and Judy at French Quarter and headed back to the campground.


Carol went out and did a bit of shopping at the Disney Character Outlet and at Publix while I watched TV.  When she came back we went for a soak in the hot tub before bed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


It was a do nothing morning so we didn’t rush.  Blue let us sleep until 7:00 a.m. and we lingered over a pot of coffee while we caught up with some news on the internet.  After a bite of toast for breakfast we each had a shower and then I dumped our holding tanks while Carol loaded a basket of dirty clothes to take to the laundry.

At about 9:30 I opened the door and called the dogs outside.  Blue dashed down the steps, made a tight left-hand turn and jumped up on the front seat of the golf cart.  His eyes were saying, “OK, lets’ go!”  He is not the least bit shy of the golf cart any more, it means a ride to the dog park and that’s a good thing!


I drove Carol over to the comfort station where the Laundromat is located and waited with the dogs while she loaded three washers.  Then we were off to Waggin’ Trails.  There were plenty of dogs there today and Blue had a very good romp.  After about a half-hour we loaded two tuckered pups on the cart and headed back home.  We waited while Carol transferred three loads from the washers to the dryers and then carried on to our campsite.


I sat outside reading my book while Zak and Blue, who were out on their leads, visited with every dog who passed by on the dog-walk trail beside our campsite.  They sure have made a lot of friends here!  Tails were wagging and noses were sniffing all morning.

By 11:30 the wash was done and we decided to go to the Earl of Sandwich for lunch.  We want to save our appetites until we get to ‘Ohana tonight so we had a light lunch, we each had a tomato soup and then split a BLT sandwich.  We were almost finished lunch when I spotted Scott and Judy approaching.  Hmmmm . . . that’s odd; they were supposed to be at the Magic Kingdom.  They had changed their minds and decided to have a quiet day too.  They had just arrived on the boat from Port Orleans French Quarter.  We visited for a few minutes and then left them to enjoy their lunch.

We wandered through Downtown Disney, past the Lego store and checked out the new Baby Cakes bakery.  It all looked good but once again we decided to save our appetite for that delicious ‘Onana’s bread pudding.    We stopped in at the World of Disney store where Carol traded some pins and a couple of vinylmations.  She bought a scrapbook and a few scrapbooking supplies and we headed to the car and back to the Fort.

The dogs were glad to see us.  Carol had hoped to spend some time at the pool but it was very cloudy and only 70 degrees so she didn’t make it.  Blue and I were soon napping.  Shortly after 3:00 I awoke . . . all alone.  Carol had taken the dogs on a long walk, behind the 800 loop and then around behind the 900 loop to the group camping area at Crockett’s Meadow.  This is where large groups like Boy Scouts camp in tents.


By the time she returned it was time to feed and walk the dogs.  They had an early dinner today since we have to catch the boat to the Magic Kingdom and then the monorail to the Polynesian Resort for our dinner.  We left for the Fort Wilderness dock at 4:00 p.m.  The boat was waiting as we pulled up and we sailed right away.  There was only a short wait for the monorail and we arrived at the Polynesian at 4:45 p.m.

Scott and Judy soon arrived and Carol checked us in for our 5:20 reservation.  We were paged at 5:30, our table was ready.

Judy’s daughter, Jenn, had been a bit concerned that Judy wouldn’t like ‘Ohana.  She was wrong; Judy liked it . . . and Scottie?  I’ve never seen anyone pack away that many shrimp.  There were shells flying in all directions.  Scottie was covered up to his elbows with barbecue sauce and I think he may have swallowed a few shrimp shells and all!  The rest of us finished our meals and then just sat back and watched Scottie go!  At one point we all thought he’d suffered a shrimp-shrapnel laceration to the forehead.  Turned out it was just barbecue sauce.  Whew . . . that was close!  Scottie was like a shell-fish wrecking crew.


He only had room for a small taste of the banana bread pudding when it arrived, but the rest of us pitched in and picked up the slack for him.  Yum!  As we left we took time to warn the servers that we would be back on Saturday and they should make sure to have plenty of shrimp on hand.

We caught the monorail to the Magic Kingdom and made our way up Main Street to the hub.  We found a prime spot and waited about 10 minutes until “The Magic, The Memories And You” show started. 

We liked the “Romance” version of the show but Carol and I agreed that we liked the Christmas version better.  Within 5 minutes the Wishes fireworks show started and we watched it from the same location. 

Both shows were “a first” for Scott and Judy and they were blown away.  We wandered part way down Main Street and stopped in front of the Plaza Restaurant where we found a table and chairs to sit at while we waited for the crowd to disperse.  We sat chatting for about 10 minutes before heading to the exit.

Scott and Judy decided to do a bit of shopping in the Emporium and Carol and I stopped briefly to watch part of the second showing of The Magic, The Memories And You.  We left just before the end to beat the crowd and just missed boarding the boat which was loading as we arrived.  The next boat pulled up a half-hour later and we were on our way.  We were back with the dogs by 9:40 and watched some TV before bed.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


This was our “half-way” day.  Our days at WDW are now officially half over.  Ouch – it goes by so quickly!  We slept until after 7:00 a.m. and then took our time getting moving.  By 8:30 we had finished a pot of coffee, walked the dogs and were in the car on our way to Hollywood Studios.


We passed through the turnstiles just after rope-drop and meandered toward Toy Story Midway Mania.  Carol snapped some pictures and traded some pins along the way.

We arrived at Toy Story to find that the ride was down with technical difficulties.  We were disappointed, but we picked up a pair of FastPasses and carried on.  We circled back to the Art of Animation shop to see if David Rippberger was there.  He and his wife Lynn are two of the six Disney artists who still hand-paint animation cels.  David was there this time so we spent a few minutes chatting with him.  He showed us a picture of the new cel being released in March.  It’s a beauty and features the train station.  Carol says she has to have it.  As soon as David said train station I knew she would want it.

We left Animation and headed to Toy Story, it was operating and there was no line, it must have just started, so we took a ride.  Still get a big kick out of this one!


We meandered over toward Starring Rolls and stopped on the way to take a picture of the topiary in front of the Brown Derby.  Hey . . . there’s nothing but grass.  Where is Sorcerer Mickey?  Where are the broom men?  They are gone!


We carried on to Starring Rolls where we sat and enjoyed a coffee and pastry.  A family beside us were all scanning park maps and looking befuddled so Carol gave them a few pointers suggested things they shouldn’t miss.  Soon they were off to get Toy Story FastPasses and we were on our way.

We had no destination, we just wandered around taking pictures and enjoying the warm sunshine.  Our wandering took us to Tatooine and I took a spin on Star Tours.  It was a totally new ride for me, none of the sequences were ones I had seen on previous rides.  The changes they made to Star Tours are great!

I rejoined Carol and she said, “Come on, let’s go!  I’m not going to waste this sunshine; we’re going to the pool.”  So we headed toward the exit.  We stopped to look at charms for her Pandora bracelet.  I gave her the bracelet for Christmas and the two Disney charms I bought for it didn’t fit.  She exchanged them a few days ago for ones which do fit and now she has decided that I have to surprise her on Valentine’s Day with a few more.  They didn’t have what she wants at the shop on Hollywood Boulevard so we carried on to the exit. 

On our way out we located the topiaries which are missing from the little hill in front of the Brown Derby - they were out past the turnstiles where they put the Christmas tree - so we took a few pictures.

We were back at the campground by 11:30, had a quick sandwich and took the dogs to Waggin’ Trails.  We saw two gators and two turtles.  After the pups had a good romp we went back home, dropped them off and put on our bathing suits.  I pointed the golf cart toward the pool; Carol rode her bike so she could stay and bask in the sun while I went back to be sure Blue had his nap.  We pulled into the Meadows Pool . . . what the heck?  It’s all surrounded by white fencing.  Carol read the sign – Crap!  It’s closed for refurbishing.  They’re re-caulking all the joints in the concrete deck. 

We returned to the campsite, dropped off her bike and took the golf cart to the other pool, located near the cabins.  We had never been to that pool; it was nice.  The hot tub is deeper than the one at the Meadows and I soaked my worn out old carcass for a half hour in the spa.  We each had a dip in the pool too and then headed home.

We stopped at the Meadows on the way and my sweet valentine bought us each a Mickey Ice Cream Bar.  By 2:00 we were back with Zak and Blue; we all had a siesta.  Camping can be very rigorous sometime!


I had just crawled out of bed at about 3:00 when there came a knock on the door.  It was a cast member delivering a printed notice – the pool was closed for repairs.  Yeah – we know!

Before we knew it Carol was feeding the dogs and walking them again.  They had an early dinner because we had to leave for the 5:15 seating of The Spirit of Aloha Dinner at the Polynesian Resort.  Carol and I hadn’t been to the luau dinner in about 10 years.  It was fun!  A large cast celebrates Polynesian heritage in a spirited song and dance show. 

The meal features an appetizer tray of coconut bread, pineapple and a green salad with mango and mandarin orange dressing.  Then comes the main course, roast chicken, barbecued pork ribs with sides of rice and mixed vegetables.  Once again, Judy enjoyed the meal and Scottie ate with gusto.  He just loved the ribs.  He paused between mouthfuls to tell us that they were much better than the ribs at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue . . . then he dove back in!

The show was good, featuring dances from different Polynesian Islands, and for the finale a fire-dancer comes out and singes all the hair off his body.  It’s quite a spectacle!

After dinner we cruised by a few sites in the dark.  We pointed out the right side of the car and said, “That’s the Palm golf course.”  Then we pointed out the left and said, “That’s the Richard Petty Driving Experience track.”  It was so dark we could have told him anything and he would have believed us.


We dropped them off at their hotel and got back to Zak and Blue at 8:00 p.m.  Blue was happy to see us, the fireworks show, Wishes, was just starting and it makes him nervous.  There will be no hot tub tonight . . . it’s closed until Friday.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


This was another day where we hit the ground running.  We were up at 7:00 a.m. and on the road by 8:10.  We picked Scott and Judy up at Port Orleans French Quarter and were in the queue when they began to let people in at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  They appear to have scrapped the early morning pre-show and rope-drop.  They start letting people through the turnstiles at 8:45 and the crowd processes to Toy Story Midway Mania in a much more orderly way.  It’s a great improvement.

I gathered all the tickets and scooted to Toy Story to pick up FastPasses.  The other three soon came along and we joined the standby line. 

The line moved very quickly, we were shootin’ and breakin’ plates within 10 minutes.  The men each beat their wives and the ladies were anxious for a rematch . . . we walked out the exit and right back into the standby line.  Carol was ahead of me through most of the ride but I squeaked out a win on the last scene, the Mine Cars.  Scott beat Judy by a wide margin.  Both ladies were still disgruntled and we might still be there playing if our arms had not been so sore.


We wandered slowly to the Backlot Tour and took a tram ride through Catastrophe Canyon then ambled up the Streets of America.

Soon we found ourselves in Tatooine so we took a spin on Star Tours.  Wow, the new 3D version of this ride is great.  It was almost 11:00 a.m. and we thought we should get back to the dogs so we headed toward the exit.  Scott and Judy came along and we stopped at Starring Rolls for coffee and pastries.  While we sat enjoying our coffee Carol said to Judy, “If you want to ride Tower of Terror we’ll go with you.”  It’s one of Judy’s favourite rides and Scott doesn’t like thrill rides so she jumped at the chance.  Scott came all the way through with us, saw the pre-show and snapped some pictures before he ducked out the escape hatch as we were loaded.  We had a terrific ride and then joined Scott again.


Carol gave them the four FastPasses for Toy Story and we headed toward the exit.   A brief stop for an ice cream cone was our only diversion.  We arrived back home at 1:00 and immediately loaded Zak and Blue up in the golf cart.  They had a good romp in the dog park.  We were back to the campsite by 2:30.  It was a cool 70 degrees under overcast skies.  It was even too cool for Canadians to go to the pool.  What to do?  How about a nap?  Blue said OK so off we went – all four of us.  It’s a crowded bed with Carol and I and both dogs so Zak soon hopped down and slept beside the bed.

By 4:00 Carol was feeding the dogs their dinner and after walking them we headed out to Downtown Disney.  Carol dragged me to the World of Disney Store where she showed me the charms I was to surprise her with on Valentine's Day.  She now has them on her Pandora bracelet - some surprise!  But my shopping is done, that's a relief.


Then we met Scott and Judy  and had dinner at Wolfgang Puck Express.  Carol had her usual pizza and I tried the bacon wrapped meatloaf.  It was good but not as good as the pizza; next time I’ll have my usual pizza too.  Scott and Judy had pizza as well; he’s already cutting back his intake to be sure his appetite peaks Saturday night when we return to ‘Ohana and his all-time favourite shrimp.

After dinner we wandered through a few shops and made our way to Baby Cakes where we bought a carrot cupcake to share.  Scott and Judy wanted to shop some more and catch the boat back to Port Orleans so we said our goodbyes and headed home.  We were back with the dogs by 8:00.


Tomorrow we have nothing planned until we meet Scott and Judy for dinner at Earl of Sandwich.  Aaahh . . . a day to relax.  Zak and Blue will like that!

Friday, February 10, 2012


We enjoyed a very slow day today!  Blue let us sleep until 7:20 a.m. and we loafed for a while.  After a bowl of cereal and a shower I coaxed Carol to go shopping.  It was a hard sell (LOL) but finally she relented and off we went to Property Control.  There was very little she wanted today, I think she spent less than $20.00.

Our friends Deb and Linda were coming for lunch so we scurried back to the campground by 11:00 and took Zak and Blue to the dog park for a romp.  There were lots of dogs there this morning and they both had a good work-out.  Even Zak ran a bit!  Their tongues were dragging when we went back to the campsite at noon.


I sat outside reading my book and enjoying the sunshine for a while and our guests pulled in right on time at 12:30.  We chatted for just a few minutes before we boarded the golf cart and struck off for the Trail’s End Restaurant.  I think this is the first time we’ve ever had lunch there.  It is certainly the first time we have had lunch since they switched to an à la carte menu.  Our verdict – the food was great but the service was poor.  I ordered the fried chicken and waffles while the other three ordered the bacon-cheese burger.  Carol and I shared both the fried chicken and the burger.  The food was excellent, unfortunately our server, Ed, left us sitting a long time before he came to give us some cutlery.  Then he disappeared again before he finally came to take our drink orders.  Deb has some dietary restrictions and Ed made such a botch of her request that we had to ask the chef to come out so we could straighten out her request.  It always disappoints me when a good meal is marred by poor service.

After lunch we took a tour of the campground on the golf cart, pointing out some of the amenities to our guests.  Just after we passed the Meadows Recreation Area we had to stop and wait while a flock of about a dozen wild turkeys crossed the road directly in front of us.  There’s always plenty of wildlife around here!


We went back to the campsite and walked the dogs and then decided that the four of us should walk off the big Trail’s End lunch so we hoofed our way up to the Tri-Circle-D stables at the Settlement.  After walking through the stables, talking to the horses and listening to the calliope we headed back to the campsite where we sat and yakked for an hour or so. 


Deb and Linda had to leave about 3:30 so I had time to nap with Blue.  He gets so cranky if he misses his afternoon nap!  Carol fed the dogs their dinner shortly after 4:00 and walked them down the Pet Walk behind the 800 loop.  It is directly beside and behind our campsite.

By 4:45 we were in the car on our way to Downtown Disney.  One of the Disney Design Group artists, Michael Sullivan, was at the Pin Traders store from 5:00 to 7:00 signing the newly released Pin of the Month pin which he designed.  Carol bought it, along with another pin he designed and he signed them both for her.

Then we headed over to the Earl of Sandwich where we had arranged to meet Scott and Judy for dinner.  We really like the sandwiches there and so do Scott and Judy!  After a nice light dinner we decided to reward ourselves with some ice cream at Ghirardelli’s.  Yum!

Scott and Judy opted to take the romantic boat ride down the Sassagoula River to their resort so we headed to the parking lot and drove home in the car.  On the way we discussed going to Chip & Dale’s Campfire Sing-Along and Movie.  We couldn’t decide whether we wanted the campfire or whether to go to the dock to watch Wishes.  Then the rain came and made the decision easy.  It was another night of TV with the dogs.


Tomorrow we plan to spend the morning at Animal Kingdom and then meet Scott and Judy for another dinner at ‘Ohana.  It will no doubt be a repeat of the “Scottie and the Shrimp” show.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Gosh it’s nice to wake up at Fort Wilderness!  I love to lay there listening to the birds singing and the boats on Bay Lake sounding their horns as they arrive and depart.  I soak in these soothing sounds as I await the inevitable thud of the sheltie.


Last night it poured rain, it came down in buckets for over an hour and it was still raining gently as we went to bed.  This morning everything was freshly washed by the rain and the few remaining puddles were quickly drying under a bright and cloudless sky.  How perfect is that?


As I sipped my coffee I watched some squirrels at play.  There was a small maple tree directly across the road from our campsite.  The buds had just opened and the leaves were unfurling.  There were six squirrels in that small tree, leaping from branch to branch and hanging upside down as they feasted on fresh maple keys.  What a great way to start the day!

After coffee and a quick bite of toast we pulled out on our way to Animal Kingdom.  We entered the park at 9:10, just after rope-drop and Carol gave me her annual pass and then made her way toward Kilimanjaro Safaris, trading pins as she went.  I scooted my way to Expedition Everest and picked up FastPasses, then joined my Valentine at Harambe Village.  We had a good safari, plenty of animals to see and photograph.

We made our way toward Asia and encountered DeVine on the trail behind the Tree of Life.  As we snapped pictures I took a couple of minutes to observe the crowd.  I was astounded when I noticed that about 40% of the people passing on the trail were so intently focused on their park maps or their conversations that they did not see DeVine.  There were at least 50 people stopped watching her and taking pictures and yet so many folks failed to notice.  Strange!

As we were loading at Expedition Everest Carol asked for the front seat.  We had to wait for the next train, but WOW!  This is a great roller coaster and the ride in the front seat is awesome!


As we left Everest we stopped at the Yak & Yeti quick service counter to pick up egg rolls and ate them in a sunny corner of the seating area behind the restaurant.  They have very good egg rolls there.


Our next diversion was the Maharajah Jungle Trek.  We had not taken this walking trail in a few years and we got some good photos of the bats, tigers and other critters.

It was after 11:00 when we exited the Maharajah Trek so we started toward the exit.  Of course Carol had to stop in all the shops and trade some pins along the way, so it took a while.  I took a few pictures along the way as I waited for her.

We were in the car by noon and headed off to the Winn-Dixie grocery store for some supplies.  We were back to the camp by 1:15 and some very happy dogs greeted us.


After walking the dogs Carol and I hopped on our bikes and went for a ride.  We rode to the dock, then over to the Back-Yard Barbeque Pavilion and through Tri-Circle-D Ranch.  We rode through the 800 loop and checked out the sites which back onto the pet walk area beside the canal.  That would be a nice loop for us as well.


We were back to the RV by 2:30 and Blue was quite insistent that I have a nap with him.  Soon all four of us were crammed on the bed.  Zzzzzz!


By 4:30 the dogs had been fed and walked and we were back in the car on our way to The Polynesian Resort.  We have been starving ourselves for dinner at ‘Ohana.  Scott and Judy were in the line to check in when we arrived and we soon had our pager.  By 5:10 it was flashing and vibrating and we were escorted to our window seat.  It doesn’t get much better!

We had a nice leisurely meal, service was slow but this was good, our food had time to settle before the next course arrived.  Once again Scott ate with gusto!  He really likes those shrimp!

We had finished our meal and were waiting for dessert when a stranger walked up and said, “I think I read your travel blog, are you Gary?”  Wow, talk about six degrees of separation!  What a coincidence.  Her name was Angela from Richmond Virginia.  We have no idea how she found our blog but we were delighted she took the time to come over and say hello.  Gosh, you never know who’s watching do you?

After dinner the ladies shopped their way around the lobby and we picked up the car from Valet Parking.  We dropped Scott and Judy off at French Quarter and were back with the dogs by 7:30.   It was another great Disney day! 


Temperatures dropped quickly late in the day and we turned the furnace on.  The forecast low tonight is 34 degrees and tomorrow we expect a high of 52.   Brrr!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I didn’t hear the birds or the boats this morning.  It was the first time since we arrived at Walt Disney World that we slept with the windows closed.  It was 33 degrees when Carol took the dogs out at 7:00 a.m.  The furnace kept us toasty warm but it wasn’t nearly as nice as having fresh air.


And the squirrels were not cavorting.  Is that the correct terminology?  Do squirrels cavort or do they frolic?  It doesn’t really matter what you call it today since they can do neither with their parkas and mittens on!


We always meet some nice people in the campground.  Folks are always out walking their dogs or just out for a stroll.  Almost everyone has a smile and a friendly hello.  Shortly after we arrived I was walking Zak and Blue and the folks across from us were out cooking breakfast on their picnic table.  I commented to them that there should be a rule against cooking bacon outdoors; the sweet aroma makes me crazy!  We all chuckled.  Later that day they had a huge pot out cooking up something that smelled wonderful.  I commented again on the aroma and they said he was cooking up a Cajun dish she called “Chicken Perlau” – his specialty dish.  It was a big pot since their children were coming for the weekend.  Later she brought over a bowl of it for Carol and I to sample.  Wow!  It was delicious and the bowlful was enough to make two lunches for the two of us.  Thanks DJ!


The folks beside us?  Well they are a different story.  I think they’re vampires.  They were here when we pulled in almost two weeks ago.  Carol said hello to the man as I was backing in the RV but by the time I stopped he was back inside their little camper.  It’s a white van, about the same size as the Pontiac Montana I drive at home.  There are two bicycles leaning against the picnic table, a man’s bike and a woman’s bike.  We think his wife is with him but we’ve never seen her.  I have only seen him once as he was climbing back into the van.  There are no chairs beside the van, no camping accessories, nothing at all.  Just the van and two bicycles.  They never go anywhere and they never come out of the van.  I am reasonably certain that they are vampires and only come out at night!  Can vampires have a white van or does it have to be black?


Sorry about the tangent folks . . . back to our continuing adventure!  We were in the car at 8:45 and picked up Scott and Judy at French Quarter.  We planned to spend the morning touring.  We did some things Carol and I have never done before. 

Scott is an avid golfer so we visited some golf courses.  We drove all around the back of the Magic Kingdom and pointed out some back stage sights such as the train and monorail garage before we pulled in to our first stop, the Palm and Magnolia golf courses beside the Shades of Green Resort.  Scottie was thrilled . . . he bought a shirt and a few golf trinkets and we snapped a few pictures.

We pointed out the Richard Petty Driving Experience Track as we raced by on our way to Animal Kingdom Lodge.  We toured the lobby and went out to Arusha Rock to see some animals then went to Mara where we sat and enjoyed coffee and muffins.


Next stop was Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports.  We drove in hoping that we might get close to the baseball stadium if nothing was going on.  The place was a mad-house.  There are tens of thousands of young girls, tweens and teens, here for some sort of dance competition and the place was swarming with busses transporting the dance teams.  So we pointed over the treetops and said, “Look, there are the lights of the stadium.”  We didn’t even get out of the car.


We took a short detour and drove past the new Animation Resort which will open in a few months, it looks very interesting.  Then we looped through the POP Century Resort and pointed out the giant bowling pins, cell phones, Rubic’s cubes and other décor.


Our last stop was Disney’s Lake Buena Vista golf course.  We wove through the Saratoga Springs Resort on the way and Carol and I waited in the car while Scott and Judy went into the pro shop.  Soon they were out with a new fluorescent green golf shirt.

We dropped them off at French Quarter at about 12:15 and headed for home to let the dogs out.  Before long we were headed toward the dock where we boarded a boat to the Magic Kingdom.  We slowly strolled up Main Street, the place was jammed.  We normally avoid the Magic Kingdom on weekends and when there are Extra Magic Hours.  Today was both – Yikes!  We stopped and had a hot dog at Casey’s – they have scrapped those horribly dry whole-wheat buns.  White buns are back – Hooray!

We fought our way to Fantasyland and rode Peter Pan.  What are all these people doing here?  Don’t they know it’s too cold to be here?  We wandered past the construction zone, craning our necks to see over the boards.  It’s really taking shape and it’s going to be a nice addition to the park.  We jostled our way over to Tomorrowland and took a spin with Buzz Lightyear.  Carol smoked me . . . she doubled my score . . . she’ll probably never stop gloating!  Ouch!

Since my PPK Chariot was parked beside the WEDWAY we took a ride on the Peoplemover.  Space Mountain was shut down and the lights were on so we got a short peek at the innards.  Interesting!


Just after we finished up with Buzz we received a text message.  Our friends Margaret and Tom from Georgia, Frannie and Glen from New Jersey together with Tom’s daughter and son-in-law had just arrived, they were at Casey’s.  We scooted over and yakked with them for a few minutes, agreed to meet at the park later in the evening and we headed for home.


Back at the camp site we loaded the dogs in the golf cart and took them off to the dog park.  They hadn’t had a good run in a few days.  There were plenty of BFF’s there and they had a good romp.  Then we all headed back to the RV for a siesta.

By 6:00 the dogs had been fed and walked.  Carol and I headed out for dinner at Trail’s End Buffet.  Dinner there is one of the hidden gems of Walt Disney World.  It’s a good buffet for only $22.99 per person.  We ate our fill and boarded the boat to the Magic Kingdom. 

We headed directly up Main Street USA and by 7:45 we had settled near the Partners statue to watch the Memories, the Magic and You.  Wow, it’s a great show.  After it was over we moved back toward Casey’s Corner for a better vantage point for the Wishes fireworks show.  Our favourite fireworks show by far!

We sat outside Casey’s waiting for Margaret, Tom, Frannie and Glen to finish their dinner at Crystal Palace when friends Terri and Ken from Louisiana came by. 

We visited with them for a few minutes and then Margaret and the gang joined us.  Soon Terri and Ken left for dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern and the rest of us wandered over to the Hall of Presidents where we found a good spot to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade. 

It was fun to hang out with this gang; we have not seen some of them for a while.  After the parade we said our goodbyes.  They were heading off to Mickey’s Philharmagic but we thought the dogs had been alone long enough.  We got to the dock just as the Fort Wilderness boat disappeared from sight.  Dang!  The next boat docked within 10 frosty minutes and we arrived home at 10:45, cold and tired!  That’s late for us so we were soon off to bed.

Monday, February 13, 2012


No birds singing this morning, it was another chilly one!  Unlike yesterday though, the sun was shining brightly in a cloudless sky.  We had nothing planned, nothing at all until 5:00 p.m. when we were to meet Scott and Judy.

Our Disney days were winding down . . . only two days left until we pull out so we didn’t want to squander any time.  At 9:00 we headed to the Trail’s End for breakfast.  This is also a bargain, $15.99 for a great buffet breakfast.  We dodged a bullet, Ed was serving again but our server this morning was Donnell.  He was great; we were stuffed by the time we left and boarded the boat to the Magic Kingdom.

Our first stop was at the Fire Hall where we signed up as volunteer sorcerers.  This is a new interactive game which takes you all over the park trying to protect ward off the evil Hades and his dastardly plot to take over the entire place. 

It’s a fun little activity and it features some nifty little cards which you use to cast spells in your quest to save the world.  The cards, 70 of them so far, have become popular with collectors, so I expect that Carol will be hooked too!

After about three “Sorcerer stops” we abandoned the game and just wandered around the park.  We stopped at Buzz Lightyear, oops – the line is huge, let’s carry on.  We wandered through Fantasyland, lets ride It’s A Small World,  oops – the line is huge, let’s carry on.  This is when Carol said, “I don’t need to ride, lets just walk around and soak it all in.  So that’s what we did.



We wandered down toward the Haunted Mansion and turned left past Liberty Square and into Frontierland just enjoying all the sights, sounds and smells.  At Pecos Bills we turned left and slowly ambled through Adventureland absorbing the ambiance.  Carol bought me a Dole Whip Float at Aloha Isle and then dashed off to Sunshine Terrace for an ice cream.  We sat in the sun and enjoyed them!

During our slow trek down Main Street she popped into a few shops while I enjoyed some of the street performers. 

Soon she joined me and we exited the park and headed for the dock.  It was noon.  As we waited for our boat along came Frannie and Glen. 

They had just arrived on the boat from Wilderness Lodge.  We visited with them for about five minutes before our boat arrived.  We were back with the dogs by 12:30.


After letting them out to do their business we decided to pack up a few things around the campsite.  This is always a painful part of the trip, getting ready to go home!  Ouch!  I hung the bikes on the back of the RV and got the hitch all set to hook the car up while Carol unhooked all the rope lights, Mickey lights and palm trees.  She put away most of the small items and then I took all the lights apart and got them boxed up to stow away in the “basement” of the motor home.  By 1:30 the place looked naked!  Everything was packed away, the only things left are the string of lights on the awning and the lawn chairs which we put in the trunk of the car.  The place is sure looking bare!

We loaded Zak and Blue into the golf cart and took them to the dog park.  There were two giant German Shepherds there.  As Carol approached the gate with our dogs the man playing with the shepherds told her they were not socialized and it would be dangerous to bring our dogs in.  Hmmmm . . . these are exactly the sort of dogs who are not supposed to be in the dog park! 

We drove back and then we broke the rules too!  We let them off-leash in the big open area behind our camp site, they enjoyed chasing the ball there.  It was sure better than having them eaten by a pair of masto-dogs!

After a short nap it was time to feed and walk the pups before heading off to meet Scott and Judy.  Carol was out behind the RV walking the boys when I heard her call, “Come on out, bring the camera!”  There were three deer just behind us.  Two were gone by the time I got there, but here’s a picture of the butt of the slowest deer!

We were back on the boat by 4:15 and met Scott and Judy at the Plaza Restaurant just before 5:00.  We had a nice dinner, simple fare but tasty. 

After dinner we wandered slowly over to Liberty Square and found a great spot to watch the 7:00 Main Street Electrical Parade.  It’s a great parade, bright and lively floats and dancers and bouncy techno music.  Scott had never seen it; he was wide-eyed and tapping his toes!

When the parade ended we made our way back to the Crystal Palace and found a nice spot along the fence facing Cinderella Castle.  Soon the Magic, the Memories and You began and was almost immediately followed by the Wishes fireworks show.  Two spectacular shows which run almost consecutively; what a great way to end the day!  We made our way to the exit and lucked out!  We were the last two loaded aboard the boat!  Usually we are the two who don’t make it while we watch the family ahead of us board the boat.


We were back with the dogs by 9:00 p.m.


Tomorrow is our last Disney day!  We plan to pick Scott and Judy up at 8:30 and head to EPCOT for the morning.  We will wind up our vacation with Fantasmic tomorrow night.

Tuesday, February 14 2012


No time to waste today, it’s our last Disney day!  Blue woke us at 7:00 a.m. and we hit the ground running.  I picked Carol’s Pandora bracelet up off the counter, handed it to her and said, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”  I’m a pretty suave guy!  (The two charms I bought her last week were on it)


We picked Scott and Judy up at 8:30 and were in line at EPCOT by 8:45.  The park opened at 9:00; there is no longer a rope-drop show with characters, we just filed in and as everyone raced to Soarin’ we took another ride on Spaceship Earth.  This time Scottie was able to figure out how he got turned around! 

We parted company after Spaceship Earth.  Scott and Judy planned to spend much of the day poking around Future World; we had other plans.  We headed to Test Track gift shop and picked up a t-shirt for a friend.


Click on the arrow to watch the video



Click on the arrow to watch the video


Carol wanted to head to Germany for some Werther’s caramel corn but we remembered that World Showcase didn’t open until 11:00 – Dang!  No caramel corn today! 

We crossed the bridge heading back to Future World and noticed that they are setting up for the Flower & Garden Festival.  A huge area that was lush green grass last week is all turned over and is being planted with flowers.  It will be glorious with colour in a few weeks.

We wandered through Innoventions, something we seldom do, and then stopped in the Art of Disney store.  Carol bought a WDW Railway print and a D23 magazine before we left the park at 11:00 a.m.

Next stop – Downtown Disney; I waited in the car while carol dashed into DStreet to check for new Vinylmations.  She came out empty-handed.  That’s rare!


We moved on to Marketplace and had lunch at Earl of Sandwich.  Carol visited Pin Central and made a few trades before we headed home.  One quick stop at Winn-Dixie for some groceries and we were back at the camp site by 1:00.  Zak and Blue were insistent that we go to the dog park immediately.  No masto-dogs today so they had a good romp.  They will be cooped up in the RV for the next four days so we gave them a little extra time today.  There were two gators and one turtle today!

There was time for a short nap then Carol and I took down the awning lights and folded up the lawn chairs making everything ready for a quick departure tomorrow morning.  When we finished it was time to feed the pups and walk them again.  We had to pick Scott and Judy up at 4:15 to head for Hollywood Studios.  We encountered a flock of about 20 wild turkeys and one armadillo on the way to French Quarter. 

We were heading to the 7:00 presentation of Fantasmic and entered the park at 4:45 p.m.  Scotty and I waited outside Villains in Vogue while the ladies shopped their way up Hollywood Boulevard and across Sunset Boulevard.  Soon they arrived, empty handed again.  Strange!


We had some pretty crumby burgers at Rosie’s All American Café and then Scott and I stood in line for the Hollywood Hills Amphitheatre while Judy and Carol picked up some ice cream which we ate while waiting.  At about 5:40 the line started moving and we were escorted to front row seats in the Pocahontas section.  We decided that front row was a bit too close for our liking so we moved back about ten rows.

They were great seats.  We felt a bit of mist not too much and we had a terrific view.  They have made some changes to the show since we last saw it, there are some images projected on the mountain, a new costume for the snake, big changes to the dragon and some new “black light puppet” animals.  The show has improved with these additions!  Scott and Judy both saw it for the first time and they really enjoyed it!

By the time Fantasmic concluded the park was closed so we made a slow exit.  We said our good-byes to Scott and Judy as we dropped them off at French Quarter.  They have one more day at Disney tomorrow and then fly home on Thursday.


We were back with the dogs by 9:00 and spent some time with them before pointing the golf cart toward the hot tub for a last soothing soak!  It will be early to bed tonight so we can get off to a quick start tomorrow!  I like driving so I don’t mind the trip home but Carol finds it painful!

Wednesday, February 15 2012


We aim to be on the road by 8:00 a.m. and normally we miss the target.  Today was no exception.  We were up at 7:00 and enjoyed coffee while we checked e-mail and internet news.  I had a bowl of cereal and a shower then began to disconnect the RV while Carol walked the dogs and then battened down everything inside.  We pulled out of the campsite, me driving the RV and Carol driving the car.

After a quick stop in the hook-up lane where we connected the car we were off.  We left Fort Wilderness at 8:25 . . . late again!  Skies were clear and sunny.

As usual, we hit the morning rush in Orlando.  We were stuck in stop and go, bumper-to-bumper traffic for about 15 minutes.  Carol hates driving through Orlando.  It’s a bumpy section of old concrete, full of potholes and normally busier that she likes.  Today she only yelled at me once . . . a better than average trip through the city!


Carol spotted two more sand hill cranes along the side of I-4.  Perhaps that’s why they’re endangered; they live on the side of the Interstate.  As we were crossing the big bridge at Lake Monroe a fish flew by.  It looked like a huge large-mouth bass.  It was hanging from the talons of an osprey which flew about 30 feet in front of us.  Wow!


Soon we made the turn onto I-95 and the sky grew overcast.  Traffic was light and we made good time.  We pulled off near St. Augustine to buy some oranges at one of the many citrus outlets and by noon we crossed the Georgia state line. 

We stopped for lunch at Brunswick.  It was chicken pot pie day so naturally we went to Cracker Barrel.  We fueled the RV before we pulled back on to the interstate.  We drove through areas of very light drizzle and through some areas where it had rained but we never saw a real shower all afternoon.  At 3:15 we crossed into South Carolina and arrived at the campground at 4:15. 

There were very few people in our section of the campground so Carol took the dogs out and tossed the ball for them.  They had a great romp.  Soon we were all set up for the night and I had a short nap.


We hopped in the car at 6:00 and headed out to Wal-Mart.  Our carbon monoxide detector has been acting up so we trashed it and bought a new one.  Then came dinner at Ruby Tuesday.  We were back home by 8:00 and settled in with the dogs.


We drove 361 miles today; tomorrow is a shorter day, only 323 miles to Wytheville Virginia.

Thursday, February 16 2012


We got away at 8:15 this morning.  Carol took the dogs out at about 7:00 a.m. and when she came back announced that it was starting to rain.  Fortunately it stopped and I was able to stay dry while I disconnected.


The rain started at about 9:00 a.m. when we left I-95 and turned onto I-26.  It rained off and on all day.  We spent quite a bit of time listening to an audio book, The Litigators by John Grisham.  We heard about half of it today as we rolled down the highway and may finish it tomorrow.  At about 9:45 we turned onto I-77 in light traffic.  In spite of the rain we made good time.  We made a quick stop at a rest area near Rock Hill South Carolina and later crossed the state line into North Carolina at about 11:30.


Rainy windshields make blurry pictures!

We pulled off for lunch at Statesville NC.  After a stroll through JR’s huge discount store we had a sandwich in the RV.  We were back on the road by 1:00 and crossed the state line into Virginia at 1:50.  Then we started the big climb at Fancy Gap.  This is the hill Carol hates!  The fog advisory signs were all flashing as we approached.  Uh-Oh . . . this won’t be good!  She is just as nervous going up as coming down!  She insisted that I slow down to 50 mph.  Once again the trucks were zinging past us!  It wasn’t nearly as foggy as our trip down the hill last November, but she was just as edgy.

We miraculously survived the ascent and then slowly descended the other side of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  By 2:30 we had pulled into the FlyingJ Truck Stop at Wytheville.  There were no RVs lined up so the fill-up was quick.  By 3:15 we were settled in the campground and all connected.  Carol took the dogs to the off-leash park and gave them a good run.


After a nap we were off – shopping of course.  I read my book as I waited in the car while Carol scoured the local K-Mart.  We drove a few blocks to Bob Evans for dinner.  It had been so long since we ate at Bob Evans that we could not remember anything about the place.  It was OK, not great, just ok.  There are plenty of places we like better so we won’t be rushing back.


We were back to the campsite and settled in for the night by 7:30.


Tomorrow we spend most of the day in the Shenandoah Valley as we travel 361 miles to Harrisburg, PA.

Friday, February 17 2012


We were up at 6:45 and actually pulled out on time – 8:00 a.m.  Skies were clear almost all day; there were a few brief periods of cloud but no rain.  We made great time throughout the day.  We listened to more of the audio book and saved the last few chapters for tomorrow morning.

We made a short stop to walk the dogs at a rest area just north of Staunton Virginia and then at 12:30 pulled off at the FlyingJ Truck Stop just south of the West Virginia State Line.  We gassed up the RV and then had a bite of lunch at Denny’s before hitting the road again at 1:10.

This is where we cover four states in forty minutes.  The states came at us so fast and furious that we missed the “Welcome to Maryland” sign – for some strange reason it’s on the south side of the Potomac River.  Shouldn’t it be on the north side where you actually enter the state?

By 1:50 we were in Pennsylvania and we pulled into the campground at 3:00 p.m.  We were quickly set up and took the dogs out for a short walk.  Then it was nap time . . . Blue insisted!


Once again the dogs had an early dinner, 4:30 today.  Then we took them out and tossed the ball for a while.  They had a good work-out after their long day on the couch.  We left at 5:15 and drove a few miles to the nearby Macaroni Grill restaurant where we met Mike and Ann; some Disney friends we’ve met through pin trading.  We see them at several events each year.  They live across the river in Camp Hill Pennsylvania.  We had a nice meal and a long chat.  We lingered quite a while after the meal was over and finally tore ourselves away at 8:00.

You are probably thinking, “Did Carol get through a day without shopping?”  No, of course she didn’t!  I waited in the car while she looked for a new jacket for me at J.C. Penny and then checked out what was new at The Christmas Tree Shop.  There was nothing in my size at J.C. Penny but she picked up some garden lights at her second stop!


We were back with the dogs by 9:00.


Tomorrow morning we have a few extra chores before we pull out.  Carol wants to wipe everything down inside before it goes back into storage and I need to winterize it.  That involves draining and flushing all the holding tanks, isolating and draining the water heater and then pumping non-toxic anti-freeze into all the interior water lines.  It’s about a thirty minute process so we hope to be on the road by 8:30.  It’s a long driving day too; we will cover 382 miles before we arrive home.

Saturday, February 18 2012


We almost made it on time!  Blue had us up at 6:45 and we got moving quickly, but not quite quickly enough.  It was 8:40 by the time we pulled away.


Saturday morning traffic was light through the state capital and soon we were northbound on I-81.  Skies were clear and we made great time.  We listened to the end of the John Grisham audio book.  It was good, an engaging plot and they all lived happily ever after.  This is a good way to pass the time while you are on the road.


Our first stop was at about 11:00 when we pulled into the FlyingJ truck stop at New Milford Pennsylvania, about 150 miles from our starting point.  We gassed up, walked the dogs and got back on the road.

We crossed the state line into New York at 11:50 and decided to carry on, we weren’t hungry yet.  We didn’t pull off for lunch until we reached Cicero NY, on the north side of Syracuse.  It was 1:30.

After a quick bite at the Cracker Barrel we resumed our northern trek.  Then the snow started.


The area between Syracuse and Watertown New York is a “snow belt”.  The wind blows out of the west across Lake Ontario and picks up moisture along the 250 mile length of the lake.  When the moist air hits land it cools and begins to drop snow.  It almost always drops between Syracuse and Watertown.  Today was no exception!  We saw no snow all the way home; through the mountains of Virginia and Pennsylvania there was no trace.  For the first sixty miles of New York there was no trace.  Then we hit the “snow belt”!  At first we said, “Oh, it looks like a winter wonderland.”  Soon we changed our tune; it was awful!  The snow started to accumulate on the windshield and the road very quickly became icy!  You could hear the ice growling under the wheels.  We slowed down quickly to about 40 mph but many others didn’t!  We saw plenty of other vehicles in the ditch!  Conditions were very, very bad!

Then it was over.  We passed through a nasty band of snow, about 15 miles wide and then the skies cleared!  Once again we were doing 63 mph.


We crossed the border at 3:45 and found ourselves back in “The True North Strong And Free”.  It felt good to be home!  The border crossing was quick and painless, just a few questions, but it was the first time they have ever asked for the dogs passports.  We always take the papers for the pups but we have never been asked for them before.  Today the Canadian Customs Officer asked for their rabies certificates.  We handed them over, he gave them a quick glance and said, “Have a good day.”

We were parked in front of our home by 4:15 and then we began the painful process of unloading the RV.  I unhooked the car and then pulled the bikes off the rack.  Once they were hung in the garage I took the tow-bar and bike rack off the back of the RV and stowed it away.  By this time Carol had things all staged inside the motor home and we began hauling them into the house.


Holy Crap!  We didn’t take all this stuff with us . . . where did it come from?


What a great trip . . . we saw some old friends, met some new ones, relived some old experiences and enjoyed some new experiences too.  Can it get any better?


Our next trip RV trip is likely to be an exploration of the Maine coastline this summer.  We are not fully committed and have not set any dates yet, but stay tuned!