Thursday October 18, 2012


We had hoped to get away by 2:00 p.m. today . . . Carol had some last minute things to do.  She surprised my by getting home sooner than I expected and we pulled away at 1:22 p.m.   We pulled up to the Thousand Islands Border Crossing and there was only one car in line ahead of us.  Wow!

After about four simple questions we were on our way; we entered the USA at 2:00 p.m.

Traffic on southbound I-81 was light and we made good time.  The first half of the trip we had strong gusting winds out of the east and I was fighting the steering wheel most of the time.  While the motor home looks large and imposing, it’s really just a great big empty box with long and high walls.  It offers plenty of wind resistance so it really sways in a cross wind.  Today some of the gusts were pushing us a foot or two sideways with no warning.  This caused me to work hard steering it and it caused some very strange growls from the co-pilot’s chair.

By mid afternoon we entered the Adirondack Mountains.  About that same time the winds quieted down a bit and so did the navigator.  The trees were probably at their peak of colour a few weeks ago but we still enjoyed a striking display!

Friends Susan and Allison, who had left our home several hours before we did, texted to warn us of construction and slow traffic at Whitney Point NY but by the time we got there at 4:30 the backlog had cleared.  Traffic pinched down to one lane in the construction zone but we barely slowed down.


We pulled into the Whitney Point Rest Area for a few minutes to stretch our legs and walk the dogs. 


From there it was a short hop to the Pennsylvania State Line.  We crossed into PA at 5:10 and just 20 minutes later we pulled into our stop for the evening, the FlyingJ Truck Stop at New Milford PA.  I gassed up and just before 6:00 p.m. we pulled around and parked in one of the three remaining RV parking spots.  We took the dogs for a quick walk and by the time we returned all the parking spots were full.  Wow . . . good thing we got away when we did!


We had dinner in the Denny’s Restaurant at the truck stop and then settled in for a night with the dogs.


Today we drove 226 miles.  Tomorrow’s journey will take us 230 miles to Williamsport Maryland.

Friday October 19, 2012


Today was a very unusual day.  A bizarre series of events led to an early start this morning and a shopping frenzy for Carol.  She’s in heaven!


Our plan yesterday was to get a head start.  We hoped to get few hours away from home and stay at WalMart or Cracker Barrel near Syracuse New York.  Traffic was flowing so well that we just kept on driving.  We drove an extra hundred miles.  That meant that when I said we had a 330 mile drive today . . . I was wrong.  I miscalculated by 100 miles – we only had 230 miles to go.


We were both exhausted last night so we hit the bed by 9:30 . . . then the rain started.  It rained and it poured.  It came down in buckets . . . all night!  When it rains like that it sounds like someone is using the roof of the motor home as a drum.  It’s not like the pitter-pat of rain on the roof at home . . . it’s BOOM BOOM BOOM!


There was thunder and lightning; shivering dogs jumped on the bed and then jumped back down.  We both slept fitfully, tossing and turning all night.  I doubt either of us got more than two hours sleep!


Nature called at 4:50 a.m. and when I returned to bed after answering the call Carol asked, “What time is it?”   “It’s ten to five,” I replied.  Since neither of us was sleeping anyway we decided to get up and hit the road.  We walked the dogs and fed them before we headed to Denny’s for breakfast.  The dogs had one more walk before we pulled out.  We were back on I-81 at 6:00 a.m.  Yikes – that’s early!


It wasn’t long before I started rethinking my math from the previous night.  We started this morning at mile 219 in Pennsylvania and we will stop after about 10 miles in Maryland.  That’s only 230 miles – dang – we’ll be there in 4 hours!  We’ll be at our next campground at 10:00 a.m.

And that’s what we did – it was still raining and we drove in and out of heavy showers all morning.  Sometimes at the higher elevations the fog was dense and although we were surrounded by brightly coloured leaves there was almost nothing to see.  Fortunately traffic was light and in spite of the rain and fog we made good time.

 We talked about skipping the campground we had already paid for and carrying on another hundred miles or so but finally we agreed to stop anyway.  We were both tired and a short day would do us some good!

We arrived at Yogi Bear Campground near Williamsport, Maryland at 10:10 a.m.  Our site was available so we pulled right in.  I was hooking up the utilities by 10:30.


It turned out that there was some excellent shopping available in the area so Carol took the liberty of postponing my nap.  After walking the dogs we left the campground at 11:45 and I spent the afternoon chauffeuring her from store to store.  We headed to nearby Hagerstown where she scoured the aisles at a half-dozen different stores. Somewhere along the line we enjoyed a Five Guys burger for lunch.  I spent most of my time sitting in the car reading but I did do a bit of shopping myself; I picked up enough parts to build a new Mickey lamp and to repair the one on our patio which blew over and shattered a few weeks ago!  The acrylic globes are normally hard to find so I was very happy when I spotted them. 

On our way back to the campground Carol said, “This is a shopping Mecca!”  Her prize purchase was a great Halloween costume for Blue.  Don't you think he makes a dashingly handsome aviator?  Carol found this gem at Target.

We were back to the campground by 3:30 and I headed straight to bed for a nap.  Unfortunately sleep eluded me; after a half hour I gave up.  I played at the computer for a while and soon it was time to feed the dogs, walk them again and then head out for dinner.


We had a very nice dinner at Outback and then I did a bit more reading while Carol enjoyed some more retail therapy.  We got back to the campground shortly after 9:00 and settled in to watch some TV.


Tomorrow we travel 369 miles to Statesville, North Carolina.

Saturday October 20, 2012


It was a perfect day!  There was no rain, the winds were calm and the sun shone through from time to time!  A pleasant change!


We both slept much better and were refreshed when we woke at 6:00 a.m.  By 7:20 we had finished our normal morning routine and we pulled onto the highway at 7:22.  Carol likes to take pictures of the “Welcome” signs as we cross each state line . . . but today she missed!  We were camped in Maryland about a mile from the West Virginia state line and we no sooner got on the Interstate when I pointed at the sign and said, “Look, there it goes!”

About 25 minutes later we crossed into Virginia; it was the same thing again, by the time we noticed the sign there was no time to turn on the camera.  Later in the day she was more alert and got a picture of the North Carolina sign.  We were one for three today, we’ll try to do better tomorrow!


Most of our drive today was in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, a wonderfully scenic area.  The colours were nice but the skies were mostly overcast so the show was not a good as it could have been.  When the skies did clear for a few minutes Carol shot a few nice pictures.  We noticed that the forests here seem to have more oak trees and fewer maples so they lack some of the more vivid red colours we see at home but there was some red along with some wonderful shades of yellow and gold.  Very nice!

At about 9:30 we made a quick stop in a rest area and walked the dogs then made our final rest area stop at 11:45 when we had a quick sandwich in the RV.


Shortly after lunch we left I-81 and turned onto southbound I-77, leaving the Shenandoah Valley behind at the same time.  We made a long slow 25-mile climb up to the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains and then at Fancy Gap began a quicker 7-mile descent into North Carolina on the other side of the Blue Ridge range.  Carol got some good pictures today as we made our descent, much better than the last two times down when we saw nothing due to the rain and fog.  Today it was great!

After a 60 mile drive along a much flatter highway in North Carolina we pulled off in Statesville.  Our campsite was ready at the KOA Campground and by 2:30 we were getting set up.  I hooked up the utilities and then, while Carol got things sorted out inside the RV, I took Blue to a secluded area where I threw the ball for him.  He ran and ran until he’d had enough.  He’s been cooped up with very little exercise for two days and he perked up as soon as he saw me pick up the ball.


Once Carol was all finished in the motor home we hopped in the car and headed down the road to JR’s.  It’s a huge bargain warehouse at exit 50, about 5 miles from our campground.  There are billboards hyping JR’s for 25 miles along the Interstate in every direction.  You never know what you’ll find at JR’s, most times we don’t buy anything but sometimes here are some real bargains.


We were back home by 4:30 and Carol fed the dogs their dinner.  When they had eaten I took Blue out and tossed the ball for him again.  He was a tired puppy after two good sessions of fetch!


Then it was time for Carol and I to find some dinner.  We are in the very heart of NASCAR country.  If you wanted to check the heartbeat of NASCAR you would place the stethoscope about 12 miles south of us, at Mooresville.  The area is just filled with good roadhouses, saloons and BBQ joints!  Where did we go for dinner?  Red Lobster!  It was good!


After dinner we drove around a darkened airport.  The Carolinas Balloon Fest is taking place at Statesville this weekend and when we checked in at the KOA they told us there would be spotlights on some tethered hot-air balloons tonight.  No such luck, everything was dark!  We did see about a dozen balloons in flight over some distant trees as we left for dinner.  Hopefully we’ll see some more as we pull out in the morning.


We were back home for the evening by 7:45 after a perfect day!


Tomorrow we cover 361 miles on our way to Brunswick, Georgia.  The visual forecast is “Palm trees with a chance of gators!”

Sunday October 21, 2012


Another perfect day!  Skies were clear and the sun shone brightly all day!


We woke at 6:00 a.m. fully refreshed.  We pulled out at 7:30 and carried on south on I-77.  No balloons in sight!  Too bad, but at least we saw some last night!

At 8:16 we crossed into South Carolina.  Hooray . . . we got the picture – kinda blurry though!  We stopped at about 8:15 at Rock Hill, SC and gassed up then at about 10:00 we made a pit stop at a rest area on I-26 just south of Columbia.  The first palm tree sighting was at 9:00 a.m. just south of Rock Hill.


We made very good time today; there were very few trucks on the road.  We had been travelling for almost two hours before the first truck passed us – remarkable!


We chewed up some more miles and then at 11:45 took a short rest area break for lunch – another quick sandwich.

The picture of South Carolina saying goodbye turned out much better. 

At 12:44 we crossed into Georgia.  We reached our destination, Brunswick, at 2:10 p.m.   We topped up the gas tank and then went to a truck wash hoping to spruce up the RV before we pull into Fort Wilderness tomorrow.  Dang – the place is closed – shut down – broke!

We headed to the campground, Coastal Georgia RV Resort.  We stayed here a couple of years ago and really liked it.  It’s quite new, well laid out and nicely landscaped.  We quickly set up camp and then took the boys to the off-leash dog park.  Blue romped and chased the ball until he was pooped.  Zak even chased a few times.  Then we took them back and changed into our bathing suits.  We are almost beside the pool – very convenient!  The water looked so inviting but OUCH!  COLD!  Even the Canadians cannot handle it.  We both went in knee deep, turned and got back out.  Brrr!


Back at the RV we had a nap.


Carol fed to dogs shortly after 5:00 and then we went prowling in the car.  We found another truck wash so if the line isn’t too long in the morning we’ll get it done before we hit the highway.  Then we headed across a ginormous humungous really big bridge, past Jekyll Island and into Brunswick where we had dinner at the Marshside Grille and Bar, a seafood diner overlooking the salt marsh and the Sea Islands.  Dinner was OK – not great, just OK.

We stopped at a grocery store near the campground for a few minutes and Carol picked up a couple of things.  Zak and Blue were glad to see us when we got back to the campground at 7:45.  We settled for a night of television.


Tomorrow we travel 222 miles and reach our final destination, Fort Wilderness where we stay for 15 nights! Yippee!

Monday October 22, 2012


I was up with the crows this morning.  I woke at about 5:00 a.m., tossed and turned for a while and got up at 5:15.  I took the dogs out and tried to be quiet so Carol could sleep – but she was as excited as I was so she soon got up too.  We pulled out of the campground at 6:30 and headed to the truck wash.  There was no one waiting so we drove right in and sat in the RV while they washed it and the tow car. 

We were back on the interstate before 7:00 a.m. and at 7:25 we crossed the state line into Florida.  As always we stopped for our free sample of orange juice.  They were closed – seems they don’t open until 8:00 a.m.  We didn’t wait!

Back on the road we ate up some more miles.  It was rush hour as we approached Jacksonville so we took the I-295 East Bypass (formerly 9A) and dodged all the congestion.  We barely slowed down.  That big bridge on the bypass is really something!

At about 10:00 we stopped at a rest area along I-4 near Sanford and took the dogs for a walk.  Then we made our final dash to Disney.  We passed the main gate at 10:53 and entered Fort Wilderness at 11:00 sharp! 

There was no one at check-in so we drove right up.  The cast member, Jean, asked what campsite we wanted – we replied 707.  “Hmmm,” she said, “That’s not the one they gave you, I’ll see if I can change it.”  She fiddled at the computer for about ten minutes and then said, “OK, I got 707 for you.”  Yippee!


The site wasn’t ready yet so we drove over to the overflow parking lot and parked.  Carol walked the dogs while I unhooked the tow car.  It was 11:25 when I said to her, “Let’s go to Earl’s for a sandwich while we wait.”  As I said it her phone chimed – I was a text message, our site was ready.  She drove back in the car and I followed in the motor home.

By noon we had backed in, opened the slides, dropped the stabilizing jacks and hooked up all the utilities.  Then it was time to open all the storage bays in “the basement” under the RV and haul out our Halloween decorations.  It made quite a pile of stuff!

After a quick sandwich we started decorating.  We worked for four hours putting up all the outdoor stuff then moved indoors. 

My work was finished but Carol spent some more time with interior decor.  By 6:15 we had both had a shower, we fed and walked the dogs and went on our way to Downtown Disney for dinner; soup and a sandwich at Earl’s.  Yum!  As we approached Earl’s Carol said the most unexpected thing, “I didn’t bring any traders.”  She had no pins and no vinylmations.  How strange!  It did make for a quick evening though, I waited while she made quick stops at the pin store and at D-Street then we headed home.


We drove around a bit in the car checking our some of the Halloween displays and were back home by 8:30.


Bed will come early tonight – we’re pooped!

As we approached Earl’s Carol said the most unexpected thing, “I didn’t bring any traders.”  She had no pins and no vinylmations.  How strange!  It did make for a quick evening though, I waited while she made quick stops at the pin store and at D-Street then we headed home.

Back at Fort Wilderness we drove around a bit in the car checking our some of the Halloween displays and got back home by 8:30.  I took a few night shots of our camp site.

Bed will come early tonight – we’re pooped!

Tuesday October 23, 2012


We had nowhere to go and all day to get there!  What a relief!  We both slept well after a very buy day yesterday.  I got up at about 7:15 and let the dogs out, Carol followed about 15 minutes later.


We enjoyed a leisurely pot of coffee, just savouring the idea that we didn’t have a long drive ahead of us.

At about 9:30 we rode our bikes down to the marina and caught a boat to the Magic Kingdom.

After picking up our tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party our next priority was Sorcerer Cards.  We picked them up at the Fire Hall and then Carol caroused the shops while I snapped a few pictures on Main Street.  We were hoping to get a sneak preview of the new Fantasyland so we headed off in that direction, stopping along the way for a quick spin with Buzz Lightyear.

There was no “soft opening” at Fantasyland today, it was “Cast Member Preview Day”.  We snuck a few peeks over the fences and then wandered over toward Frontierland.  Naturally we had to ride the Haunted Mansion; it’s hard to walk past that attraction!


By 11:45 we were getting hungry so we picked up some burgers at Pecos Bill’s – Yum!  Just love the fixin’s bar there!  We followed up with dessert, I picked up a pineapple float at Aloha Isle while Carol headed to Main Street and picked up a sundae at the Ice Cream Shop.  We sat in front of the Plaza Restaurant to enjoy our brain freezes and do some people watching.


We wandered back down Main Street and left the park at about 12:30.  As we waited for the boat which would take us home I said to Carol, “Two interesting things about this morning.  First, we didn’t meet anyone we know.  That’s rare!  Second, my poopy knees held up well with no scooter, crutches or cane.  Aaah!  Life is good.”

Cast member Woody from Syracuse New York sat with us for most of our return voyage, entertaining us with his tales of life at sea on the Seven Seas Lagoon!


After a short trip to the grocery store I spent a lazy afternoon in the RV.  I napped, picked up a golf cart and read my book while Carol went to Downtown Disney to pick up some pins and vinylmations for friends.

By 5:15 the dogs had been fed and walked and we were ready for our guests to arrive.  We had invited two dear friends to join us for dinner and a tour of the campground.  We sat and yakked at our camp site for about 45 minutes and then it was time to head off to Trail’s End for dinner.  The buffet there isn’t gourmet fare but it is good wholesome food and good value.


After a leisurely dinner we boarded the golf cart and spent a couple of hours “looping”.  That means we drove around scouring all the camping loops looking at the Halloween décor.  Carol and I didn’t take a camera this time so I have no pictures to share.  We stopped time and again so our friends could take some pictures.  I expect that a few of their shots will turn up online soon.


Our guests left about 9:30.  We relaxed for a few minutes and then Carol asked, “Do you want to go to the hot tub?”  She didn’t have to ask twice!  We soaked for about 20 minutes and then returned home to the dogs.


It was a terrific day in paradise!

Wednesday October 24, 2012


We had a relaxed morning.  After slowly savouring a pot of coffee I loaded Blue up in the golf cart and took him to the dog park while Carol and Zak did a bit of straightening up in the motor home.  Blue hopped right up in the golf cart – no coaxing required!  He remembered exactly where he was going!  He chased the ball until there was no chase left in him!

After I dropped Blue off at the campsite Carol and I cruised around to the 800 loop to see the pirate ship motor home in the daylight.  It’s quite unique!

Carol and I hopped in the car at about 11:15 and drove to EPCOT.  The Food & Wine Festival is underway.  We headed to the Festival Centre to pick up a passport.  Each vendor kiosk will stamp the passport, it’s a fun keepsake.  Carol was quite taken with some sculptures made entirely of chocolate!  We wandered over to World Showcase and turned left, heading toward Mexico.

It's all made from chocolate!


The cranberry bog.


The first food destination was Terra.  They were serving fraudulent food.  They offered a chicken and curry dish and a chilli but both were made with tofu.  Oh, the horror of it - TOFU – yuck!  Carol ordered Chocolate Cake with Passion Fruit Sorbet and Coconut Foam.  Carol ate the cake and gave me the sorbet.  It was frozen so hard that even after 10 minutes in the sun it was impossible to eat.


The next destination was the Caribbean.  We sampled Ropa Vieja with Cilantro Rice (pulled beef) and a Jerk Spiced Chicken Drumstick with Mango Chutney.  Very good!


At Argentina we tasted a Beef Empinada and a Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree.  Then we moved on to Australia for Shrimp on the Barbie with Pepper Berry Citrus Glaze.  All were very good!

We carried on around the lagoon to Mexico where Carol picked up a Crispy Shrimp Taco and Caramel Flan.  By 1:00 p.m. it was very hot; I sat in the shade while my sweet bride walked over to Norway to refill our water bottle.  She returned with Swedish Meatballs with Lingonberries and a Rice Pudding with Strawberries.  That put us over the top, we were stuffed!


It was all great, except for that tofu stuff (which we passed on) and the over-frozen sorbet.  When we head back we’ll start at China and continue our gastronomic tour!

We left EPCOT at 1:30 and headed off on a quick shopping junket.  A Mickey rope light we brought down to give a friend was defective and I needed another rope light from K-Mart to repair it.  The Kissimmee K-Mart had just what I needed and we headed for home.  Alas, Carol spotted a shoe store so the junket was extended a bit.  All was not lost, she found some shoes for me!


We were back home shortly after 3:00; I walked the dogs and then had a nap while Carol rode her bike over to the Bike Barn to register us for Trick or Treating on Halloween.

By 5:30 the dogs were fed and we boarded a boat to the Magic Kingdom for dinner and the Main Street Electrical Parade.  Dinner was a hot dog at Casey's and then we wandered through Adventureland.  I picked up a Pineapple Float for dessert and Carol had a Citrus Swirl.  We headed to Frontierland and I staked out a spot to view the parade while Carol went through the pin shop at Frontier Mercantile.

The parade was over at 8:30 and we made our way to the exit and the dock for our return home.  The Wishes fireworks show began just as we pulled away from the dock and we had a great show most of the way home.


After spending a few minutes with the dogs (Blue was still a bit rattled after the fireworks) we headed to the hot tub for a soothing soak!


Tomorrow we will have a quiet morning, continue out gastronomic tour at EPCOT for lunch and head to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in the evening.

Thursday October 25, 2012


Once again we started the day slowly.  Blue woke us up at 7:00 and we drank coffee, puttered in the motor home and played at the computers for a few hours. 

Then at about 8:30 Carol dashed off in search of pins and vinylmations.   There was a new pin being released so she rode her bike to the dock and boarded a launch to the Contemporary Resort where she found some of the pins she wanted.  Then she caught the monorail to the Magic Kingdom.  Turns out it would have been quicker to walk.  They were having trouble with the doors and it took forever to get there!  (Pin Traders can be very impatient when there are new pins to be found!)  She picked up a packet of Sorcerer cards and headed back to Frontier Mercantile where she found the rest of the pins on her “want list”.  She strolled down Main Street and caught the boat back to the campground.

Meanwhile back at the camp site I repaired a Mickey rope light.  We brought one down to give a friend and a section of the rope light wasn’t working.  I spent about a half hour removing the old rope light and installing a new one.  Then I loaded Blue and the Mickey light in the golf cart.  I dropped off the gift (now working like a charm) and took Blue to the dog park.  Today there was another dog there, about the same size as Blue, who chased him as he chased the tennis ball.  They had a good time together!


When I got back to our campsite the site across from us was empty.  That’s the site our friends Al & Jane from Missouri want.  They arrive Saturday so I hopped in the car and drove to the check-in office at the Outpost to ask if they could hold the site until Saturday morning.  The cast member locked the site – Al and Jane will be across from us again!

When I got back to the camp site at about 10:45 Carol had just arrived back from the Magic Kingdom.  I showered and by 11:30 we were on out way to EPCOT.


We hiked back to China where we resumed our gastronomic adventure.  We sampled Mongolian Beef in a Steamed Bun, Pork Potstickers, Chicken Satay with Spiced Peanut Sauce and Mango Tapioca Pudding.  Yum!


The next destination was South Korea where we ordered a Lettuce Wrap with Roast Pork and Kimchi Sauce and a Mung Bean Pancake with Shrimp and Kimchi Sauce.  They were OK but not great.  We didn’t finish either one.


At South Africa Carol picked up Seared Filet of Beef with Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Braai Sauce.  This was tasty!  Then we stopped at the Cheese kiosk where I savoured a selection of three cheeses.  The blue cheese was the best I’ve ever had!

Everything sounded good at Germany so we tried them all.  We tried Schinken Nudel (Pasta Gratin with Ham & Cheese) Roast Bratwurst in a Pretzel Roll and Apple Strudel with Karamel and Vanilla Sauce.  Excellent!

By this time we were getting filled up so we by-passed Poland and stopped in Italy.  We sampled a wonderful Baked Cheese Ravioli and a dish of Sweet Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions.  That did it, we were stuffed!

We caught the boat from Germany and sailed across the lagoon toward the exit.  We were back with the dogs by 2:30; they were happy to see us.  The wind was gusting a bit, Hurricane Sandy is just off the coast, so Carol unplugged our inflatables which were rolling in the breeze and then we took a well earned nap!  It poured rain as we rested!


By 5:00 p.m. the rain had stopped, the dogs were fed and walked and we headed off to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  We rode our bikes to the marina and caught the boat to the Magic Kingdom.

We stopped at the Main Street Bakery for dinner, Carol had a ham & cheese sandwich, I had a turkey sandwich and we shared a cinnamon bun for dessert.  Then it was time to go meet Carol’s pin trading pal Carrie and her aunt Carole. 

We walked over to Frontierland and met them at the pin store.  We yakked for a few minutes then they lined up to buy pins while Carol and I headed back to Town Square to pick up Sorcerer Cards at the Fire Hall.  There is a special Halloween Party card and with the party ticket we were able to get a second packet of the regular cards.


On our way to the Firehall we stopped to ride the Pirates of the Caribbean and joined Blackbeard for a pirate voyage.  Yo-ho Yo-ho . . . we did a bit more Trick or Treating along the way.

We walked up Main Street and enjoyed the special Halloween lighting and music then we stopped at a few Trick or Treat location on our way back to Frontierland. 

We were supposed to meet Carrie and the rest of her family at Frontierland to watch the Halloween Parade. 

Carrie never made it . . . her two nephews,  Jesse and Andre, were dressed as Barak Obama and Mitt Romney and everyone kept stopping them to get a picture.  It sounds like they were the biggest hit at the whole party.


We found a good vantage point for the parade, directly in front of the Frontier Mercantile, and Carol got a few good pictures.  This is our favourite of all the Disney parades!

After a few more Trick or Treat stops we settled into chairs in front of Casey’s and waited for the Hallo-Wishes fireworks show.  Wow!  What a show – the 360 degree fireworks are awesome!

Neither of us remembers previous Halloween Parties being as crowded as this one was, but normally we are there a bit earlier in the season.  After some of the crowd on Main Street disbursed we made our way back to the newly opened Mickey’s Storybook Circus and followed the beautiful walking trail over to Tomorrowland.

It’s all decorated in an Alice in Wonderland theme and there were four Trick or Treat stations along the walk.  Not too many had discovered this area so it wasn’t crowded.


We had planned to watch the second parade at Town Square then head home but by the time we got to Main Street at 10:15 we were both pooped and the dogs had been alone for about five hours . . . we headed to the exit and caught the boat home.


It had been a long day so snoring ensued very quickly.

Friday October 26, 2012


It was another slow start.  Carol got up at 6:30 a.m. and I followed a few minutes later.  My first priority was to write and upload yesterday’s episode of our trip report.  I don’t know if Judy, a friend back home, was looking for it before I finished at 9:30 . . . but DisneyKidsDad from the site looked for it at 8:13 and when it wasn’t there he started to worry about us!  All is well; we’re fine, we simply had a late night!


We decided to head to Hollywood Studios today.  As we approached bag check we were stunned at the crowds.  Wow!  We had never seen it this busy!  At 10:00 a.m. there were more people lined up than we have ever seen at rope drop!

We wandered back to the Animation Courtyard and dropped in to say hello to cel artist David Rippberger.  He was quite busy today, in addition to Carol there were two other avid cel collectors there.  Carol and one of the other ladies spent quite a bit of time discussing a few of the cels on display.  There were two that Carol really likes, now she has to decide which of the two, if any, goes home with us.

We wandered over to Pixar Place – the wait for Toy Story Midway Mania was 70 minutes - YIKES - we kept on walking.  At the end of Sunset Boulevard we checked the times for Tower of Terror – YIKES – 60 minutes.  We kept on walking, this time to Echo Lake where we had lunch.  They serve a great Italian sausage in a bun at Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner.

We headed toward the exit, stopping briefly so Carol could show me a few new charms she would like for her Pandora bracelet then we walked out the gate.  There were more people lined up to enter the park than there had been when we arrived.  Wow!  It wasn’t that busy when we were there for Star Wars Weekend.  We don’t understand why it was so crowded today!


We made a brief stop at Downtown Disney and I waited in the car while Carol dashed into DStreet to pick up a new Vinylmation release.  She was very quick today and we were back home with Zak and Blue by 1:30.


Hurricane Sandy is off the coast of Florida and she’s kicking up some gusty winds and a few showers so we took a few minutes to retract our awning and batten down some of the Halloween decorations.  Tonight’s forecast is strong gusts and thunderstorms.   Although it was sunny when we got home it’s better to be safe than sorry – new awnings are expensive!

After walking the puppies we headed to the pool.  I took the golf cart and Carol rode her bike.  She knew she would want to stay longer than I would and she was right.  We both had a short dip in the pool and then a long soak in the hot tub.  Then I was ready for a nap while she stayed and soaked up some sun on one of the lounge chairs.

About 4:00 p.m. Carol decided to hop aboard the boat to the Magic Kingdom to pick up her daily ration of sorcerer cards.  When she arrived at the marina she was told that the boats were not running.  Due to the strong wind gusts all the boats had been pulled off the lakes.  She didn’t feel like driving or taking a bus so the cards will have to wait until tomorrow.  She sent a text off to Carrie, our friend who is coming for dinner and a campground tour.  Carrie and her aunt Carole came by bus rather than boat.  We took the golf cart and picked them up at the Outpost then headed straight to Trail’s End for dinner.


After dinner we took a leisurely tour of all the camping loops checking out the décor.

Many campers had temporarily taken down their decorations or covered them because of the severe weather warning but there was still plenty to see.  Every day new campers pull in and every evening there is more to see.  It should be phenomenal by the time Halloween rolls around!


We arrived back at the motor home at about 8:45 and visited for about 45 minutes then Carol drove Carrie and Carole back to their resort.


It was a nice, relaxed day!

Saturday October 27, 2012


There was no need to wake up early this morning, so naturally we did.  Hurricane Sandy had moved a bit north and the winds died down substantially overnight so we spent some time putting back up the awning, lights and decorations that we took down last night.

Then we hit the road and arrived at Animal Kingdom at 10:30 a.m.  The park was very busy!

We slowly wandered back to Harambe Village, snapping pictures along the way.

As we crossed the bridge from Discovery Island into Africa we spotted DeVine who was performing just down the trail toward Asia.  She always attracts quite a crowd!

We headed on to Kilimanjaro and took a safari ride.  It was one of our best safaris, plenty of animals today.

After a successful safari we headed to Yak & Yeti to see if there was any “walk-up” seating available.  They escorted us directly in to an upstairs table with a window view.  Wow! 

After a terrific lunch we headed to Asia and entered the “single rider” line for Expedition Everest.  After a 20 minute wait we were loaded, both of us on the same train.  Carol was in row 2, I was two rows behind in 4.


It was time to head back to the dogs so I waited on a park bench or two while Carol investigated a few shops and traded a few pins, then off we went.  We were back home by 2:00 p.m.

Our friends Al & Jane from Missouri had pulled in just a few campsites away while we were out but they were not at their site when we arrived.  About an hour and a half later Al came to our door to say hello.  We visited with them for a while and then I took Blue off to the dog park where he ran until his tongue was hanging out!


Back at the RV Carol fed Zak and Blue, walked them again and we headed to the marina where we caught a boat to the Magic Kingdom.  Naturally our first priority was sorcerer cards!  The line was long at the Fire Hall so we headed toward the Christmas Store where they also distribute cards.  As we wandered up Main Street we stopped briefly at Casey’s to discuss the merits of hot dogs versus seafood and decided to carry on, pick up the cards and then go to Columbia Harbor House for dinner.  There was no line at the Christmas Store so we were quickly on our way.  We found a second floor table with a window view of Liberty Square.  My shrimp platter was great; Carol’s salmon and couscous were overcooked and dry.


Next stop was Country Bear Jamboree.  We like this show but we don’t often stop.  It has all been refurbished and the show has been “tweaked” a little bit but it’s still the same corny old cast and performance.  We really enjoyed it . . . except for the two very annoying little girls behind us.  They were about eight and nine and they chattered loudly throughout the show.  They didn’t stop!  One girl kept repeating, “Daddy, I don’t like it.  I don’t like it.”  Carol and I moved to the far side of the theatre but we could still hear them.  It’s at times like this I wish it was socially acceptable to slap any parents who demonstrate such poor parenting skills.

After Country Bear Jamboree we decided to head over to the recently opened Storybook Circus area to see the sights.

As we approached we noticed people milling through the unopened part of Fantasyland . . . could it be?  Yes, they were having a “dress rehearsal”, an unannounced “soft-opening” where they test the attractions and get the kinks out.  We hustled right in and headed to the back of the area where we boarded the new Ariel ride, “Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid”.  It’s very cute, we’re looking forward to riding it again, we have two special preview tours booked next week!

We took a few night shots of the theming in the area; it looks terrific and we’re really looking forward to seeing it all in daylight.

Next stop was the new “Be Our Guest” restaurant where we were given a quick peek at the empty dining room.  Looks fabulous!


As we left the restaurant we bumped into Carrie and Carole.  Carol had texted them earlier to let them know about the “soft-opening” and they were thrilled to see it before they fly home tomorrow.


We passed a few quaint cottages and buildings on our way to “Enchanted Tales With Belle” but by the time we arrived at Belle’s they had closed the area.  Time for the Wishes fireworks show was approaching and they were closing Fantasyland as they always do during the fireworks.  We were delighted to have a sneak preview! 

 We headed to the exit, through Tomorrowland and backstage behind Main Street.  The boat docked at the Fort Wilderness marina at 9:00 p.m. just as Wishes was starting so we were back with Blue to comfort him.  Zak is oblivious to Wishes but Blue shivers and shakes throughout the show!


Tomorrow we have very little planned.  We will be attending a WDW Radio meet at the Art of Animation Resort and later we’ll have dinner at ‘Ohana.

Sunday October 28, 2012


It was a very leisurely morning.  We lounged in the motorhome until about 9:30 and then loaded Zak and Blue into the golf cart for a trip to the dog park. 

Blue ran and ran once again – he has a very strong work ethic!  Or is it a play ethic?

Zak sniffed around the perimeter of the park for a while and then he sniffed a visiting greyhound.  Soon Blue was pooped and we headed back home.

The boys posed for their Halloween portrait and soon it was time to head to the new Art Of Animation Resort.

Lou Mongello of WDW Radio was having one of his regular monthly meets.  Our friends Beci from Washington and John & Erin from New Jersey were going and we hoped to meet them there.


We poked around the lobby of the resort and Carol snapped a few pictures while we waited for the group to assemble in the “Landscape of Flavors” food court.

Soon Beci walked in and we said a quick hello then picked up a bite to eat and joined the WDW Radio crowd in the Cars corner of the dining area.  Before long John and Erin arrived.  This is a surprise trip John set up for their twentieth wedding anniversary.  Well, it was supposed to be a surprise . . . John isn’t very good with secrets!


After yakking with Beci, John, Erin and some of the other folks at the meet we hit the road.  Carol wanted to get a bit of Christmas shopping done at Downtown Disney on our way back to Fort Wilderness.  Holy Cow!  Downtown Disney was jam packed too!  Where are all these people coming from?  Don’t people have jobs?  Shouldn’t children be in school?  Isn’t the economy in trouble and money’s tight?  You can’t tell it from looking around here!  I shopped with her but after about 90 seconds I’d had enough.  I waited in the car reading my book for about an hour while she finished up.

Back at the RV we laid down for a nap but it just wasn’t working for either of us.  I hopped in the golf cart and rode around some of the camping loops while Carol rode her bike down to the Meadows Trading Post to buy a quart of milk.


We fed and walked the dogs a bit early because we had to leave by 5:00 p.m. for our 5:20 dinner reservation at ‘Ohana.  As always, it was great!  This is a restaurant we very seldom miss and we’ve never been disappointed there!

We finished dinner at about 6:45 and headed to Hollywood Studios for a few hours.  A full moon was rising in the sky as we entered the park.  All of the rides had long wait times posted – Toy Story had an 80 minute time on the board but the line didn’t look all that long so we waited.  Along the way we had a nice chat with a family visiting from Australia.  After only 45 minutes we were spinning and shooting our way around the midway.  My arm is still sore!

We slowly wandered and people-watched on our way back to Sunset Boulevard.  The wait time for Tower of Terror was posted at 70 minutes and as we looked in that direction all we could see were throngs of people.  Fantasmic had just finished and the huge crowd was exiting the amphitheatre.  We sure didn’t want to head in that direction!

So we slowly ambled to the exit, hopped in the car and drove home.  The dogs were happy to see us when we wheeled in at about 8:45.  We took the dogs with us in the golf cart as we drove around several of the camping loops checking out the Halloween decorations.  The scenery changes every day as campers come and go.


We were just pulling into the 700 loop, about 100 yards from home, when the Wishes fireworks show started and Blue began to shiver.  He doesn’t like the fireworks and he ran directly up the steps and into the RV as soon as we opened the door!


We talked briefly about a trip down to the hot tub but we decided that we were just too lazy!

Monday October 29, 2012


We have very little planned over the next few days, Halloween is so much fun at Fort Wilderness that we’ll be hanging around the campground most of the time.  This morning we slept until almost 7:30 before Blue landed on the bed to remind us it was breakfast time!


After a pot of coffee and some toast for breakfast I loaded Blue in the golf cart and took him to the dog park.  There were no other dogs there to distract or intimidate him so he had a good workout.  He ran and ran and finally he dropped the ball at my feet, walked over and sat beside his lead which I had dropped on a bench near the gate.  I think he was telling me he’d had enough.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Carol was cleaning up the RV.  She had removed enough fur from the carpet that we could have knit a new dog.  Blue shed’s quite a bit!

At 11:00 we left the campground and headed to the Beach Club Resort.  We had arranged to meet Beci for lunch at Beaches and Cream.  We had a nice lunch and a good chat; it’s always nice to have quiet time with friends!

All too soon Beci had to get back to work so Carol and I hopped back in the car and went to EPCOT.  It wasn’t quite so crowded today.  We rode Spaceship Earth again, then spent a couple of hours in Future World, wandering through Innoventions on our way to Test Track.  We hoped to get a sneak peek at the refurbished attraction but there were no previews today. 

We made our way across to the other side of Future World; could we get into Soarin’? 

Nope, there was a 70 minute wait so instead we took a boat ride through Living With The Land.  The greenhouses there are always astounding.

Our next stop was The Seas With Nemo and Friends where we rode a clam shell through the aquariums.  It still surprises us every time we see the animated characters swimming with the live fish.  It’s a great ride and there is seldom a wait.

By the time we finished the Nemo ride it was time to go.  It was 2:30 and the dogs had been alone quite a while!  We arrived home at 3:00 and walked the dogs.  I took Blue to the dog park while Carol walked Zak in the long dog walk trail behind the 800 loop.


We chatted with our neighbors Jane and Al and then relaxed for a while.  Soon it was time to head out for dinner; we headed to Sweet Tomatoes in the Crossroads Plaza near Downtown Disney.  It’s a “soup and salad” place that had a wonderful selection of fresh and wholesome food.  When you’re looking for a light and economical meal – try Sweet Tomatoes.

After dinner we scurried back home, we had company coming.  Friends David and Cathy from London, Ontario along with their daughter Mellissa and an employee, Ryan, were coming over for a Halloween Tour.  Friends John and Sharon from Ohio stopped in to say hello; they are camped in the 1600 loop.  Just minutes later David, Cathy, Melissa and Ryan arrived.  After a short visit Sharon and John headed off on their own campground tour.  Carol stayed home with the dogs while the five of us boarded the golf cart and snooped around the loops of the campground.  We spent about an hour and a quarter soaking up the sights then returned to the motor home.  Carol had a fresh pot of hot coffee brewed to warm us on a chilly evening.  We spent a very nice hour chatting before calling it a night at about 11:15.  It was another great Disney day!


Tomorrow is the Halloween dog parade, Zak and Blue are really looking forward to it!  0

Tuesday October 30, 2012


It was another day to sleep in.  I rolled out of bed at 7:30 and did very little for a few hours!  Aaahh, this is what vacations are all about!  Then Carol decided we had to go to Magic Kingdom to pick up some sorcerer cards.  We boarded the boat and since it was still a bit cool out we sat inside rather than out on the bow where we usually sit to enjoy the fresh air.  What a difference . . . it was the noisiest boat ride we have ever had.  The cabin was full of excited children who shrieked throughout the trip.  The parents, rather than trying to quiet them, were hollering with the kids.  It was painful.  I think I need to write a letter to Kellogg’s and ask them to cut back the amount of sugar they put into the breakfast cereals!

The old Main Street transportation vehicles were running when we arrived so I snapped a few pictures on the way to the Fire Hall.  Once we had our cards we strolled through the Emporium on our way to the Christmas Store.  Carol traded a few pins along the way and we arrived at the Christmas Store at 9:40.  Dang – they don’t open until 10:00!  Carol decided to pick up the Christmas ornament she was craving another time.

We walked over to the Castle Forecourt area and the horse-drawn carriage was loading so we took a quick picture and hopped aboard.  The Dapper Dans climbed on behind us and serenaded us all the way down Main Street to Town Square.  Nice!

We caught the boat back to Fort Wilderness, gave the dogs a quick walk and then headed the car north on Route 535 heading to Winter Garden.  A friend had told us about Theme Park Connection, a store with plenty of Disney merchandise and today was the day to check it out.  Wow, what an interesting place!  They have four bays in an industrial building and all four are chock full of an amazing variety of Disney wares.  There is everything from hotel room art and fixtures to trading pins, snow globes, games, mugs, paper products and on and on.  We spent about two hours poking around but we could have spent hours and hours more.  I’m sure we’ll be back there again!


After leaving Winter Garden we headed to Downtown Disney for lunch at Earl of Sandwich.  Unfortunately the line at Earl’s wound through the restaurant a few times and right out the front door.  Rather than wait we headed to Wolfgang Puck Express where we shared a delicious pizza.


We were back home with the dogs by 2:30; I took Blue to the dog park for a run while Carol walked Zak and then we all relaxed for an hour.

Our friends John & Erin from New Jersey arrived at 4:00 p.m. to join us for the Halloween Pet Parade.  We dressed Zak and Blue up in their costumes and rode the golf cart over to the dog park.  There were about 35 dogs and one very alert cat entered in the costume contest.  Every contestant was given a number and before long we were called by number.  One by one we paraded past the judges table.  Once everyone had been called we paraded around the perimeter of the park while the judges deliberated.  There were about a hundred campers lining the park snapping pictures of the pets.  It was great fun!

Then the winners were announced – Zak and Blue won third prize!  Hooray!  Second prize went to a Greyhound wearing a saddle and jockey and an English Bull Terrier dressed as Frankenweenie took top prize.


After the pet parade John and Erin headed off to the nearby Best Friends Kennel to visit their three dogs who are vacationing there.

John and Erin returned at 7:00 p.m. and we headed off to Trail’s End where we met David and Cathy for dinner.  We had a nice time chatting and visiting with everyone.  At some point our server came over and reminded us that we could visit the buffet any time . . . it was a very nice and very leisurely two and a half hour meal.

Another friend, Sharon from Ohio dropped in as well.  As we were getting up to leave one of the cast members called John and Erin aside, stood them off on their own and announced to the entire restaurant that they were celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary.  After a resounding Yee-Ha from all the diners John was instructed to kiss his bride!

David and Cathy hopped a bus to Wilderness Lodge, John and Erin took our golf cart and toured around enjoying the Halloween decorations while Carol and I relaxed.  John and Erin visited for a little while when the returned from their tour but before long we were all yawning so we called it a night!  Don’t know when we’ll be together again!


Tomorrow we plan to continue our dining tour of EPCOT at lunchtime and then enjoy the 5:00 p.m. golf cart parade and 7:00 p.m. trick or treating at Fort Wilderness.

Wednesday October 31, 2012


Blue let us sleep until 7:30 today!  Hooray!  We lazed for a while and at about 9:15 I loaded Blue in the golf cart for a trek to the dog park.  He just loves Fort Wilderness and I think it’s entirely due to the dog park!


At about 10:00 Carol and I headed to EPCOT.  We hoped to finish out culinary tour of the World today.  On our way out of Fort Wilderness we stopped in the 1600 loop to say goodbye to John and Sharon.  They are leaving today for their winter home near Tampa.

As we drove in to EPCOT we noticed how few cars were parked in the lot.  Wow, what a change!  Maybe we can ride Soarin’!


Once in the park we headed straight back to The Land.  The posted time for Soarin’ was 30 minutes.  We were through the line and sitting on our glider in about 20 minutes.  I really like this ride; I think I like it a lot more than Carol does but she humours me.

We left The Land and walked through The Rose Garden toward Canada. 
We began our roving feast at Hawaii with a Pork Slider with Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise.  The next destination was Dessert & Champagne where we had a sampler trio of Yoghurt Pannacotta with Orange Cake, Lemon Custard Verrine and Dark Chocolate Mousse.

At the Greece kiosk we tasted Greek Salad with Pita Bread and Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki before moving on the Canada where we enjoyed a Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta and Le Cellier’s Wild Mushroom Beef Fillet.

Next in our world tour was Ireland where we tried a Lobster and Seafood Fisherman’s Pie.  Carol didn’t like it, but I did.  In France we sampled the Coq au Vin sur Gratin de Macaroni.  Yum! Carol didn’t like this one either!

The next destination was Belgium.  Naturally we had a Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote.  Excellent!  Nothing on the New Zealand menu appealed to us so we moved on to Morocco where we tasted Seasoned Ground Beef in a Pita.  It tasted exactly the same as the seasoned burger patties we buy at Bob’s Meat Market back home in Kingston.


Next on our tour were Singapore, Japan and Florida where nothing caught our fancy so we walked on to Hops & Barley near the America Gardens Theatre.  The Clam Chowder and the Pumpkin Mousse at Hops & Barley were both very good.

Our last stop was Poland where we had Kielbasa and Potato Pierogie with Caramelized Onions and Zapiekanki, a dish made with toasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, cheese bread and homemade ketchup.  We were both stuffed by the time we finished up at Poland . . . and we had completed our tour around the World Showcase Lagoon – Mission Accomplished!

I waited while Carol picked up some Werther’s Caramel Corn to take home, then we caught the boat from Germany to Mexico and headed out of the park.  After a quick stop at The Art of Disney Store where Carol bought a nice David Doss print we were on our way.  We were back home with the dogs by 2:00 p.m.

We had a relaxed afternoon with the dogs (nap) and at about 4:30 we started to get ready for the 5:00 p.m. Fort Wilderness Golf Cart Parade and the trick or treating.  I set my laptop up outside to play the soundtrack from Hallowishes and then took two lawn chairs over and set them up along the side of Fort Wilderness Trail near the entrance to the 700 loop.  Al and Jane set up chairs beside us.  Then I went home to help get Zak and Blue into their costumes.  By 5:00 p.m. we were settled in our chairs and in just a few minutes the parade arrived.  There were about 75 golf carts and some were very imaginative!

After the parade I ran up to Trail’s End and picked up a take-out pizza for dinner while Carol got ready for the trick or treaters. 

Many of the children didn’t wait until the 7:00 p.m. start time so we ate as we could while doling out treats.  There were some very cute costumes, some very small children and some very large ones as well.  Several children insisted on having pictures taken with our Mickey Mouse inflatables.  We estimate that we had over 300 trick or treaters before things died down at 9:00 p.m.  It was great fun!

After the Halloween festivities were over I pulled my laptop back inside and we settled in for the night, tired after a long day of fun!


Tomorrow we plan to head to Animal Kingdom for the morning and have dinner at Teppan Edo.

Thursday November 1, 2012


Big change in plans today!  No Animal Kingdom.  We weren’t sure we’d have a golf cart after today so Carol decided it was laundry day.  At about 9:00 a.m. she tossed a heaping laundry basket on the back of the golf cart and trundled off to the comfort station where the laundromat is located.  In no time she had three washers filled with my stinky, sweaty clothes. 


While the washers ran we pulled all the bins out of the RV basement and started packing them full of the Halloween decorations.  It was hot, sweaty work, but by noon we had all the lights, signs, inflatables and other stuff all packed away and the laundry was done too!


The camp site looked naked!

I took Blue to the dog park for a good romp and turned in our cart on the way back.  Good news – we pick up another cart at 5:00 p.m. today!  Zak stayed back at the RV with Carol, it’s his birthday – he’s 12 years old today!

By the time our work was done it was too late to go to Animal Kingdom so just after noon we rode our bikes to the marina and sailed off to the Magic Kingdom.  The line for sorcerer cards at the Fire Hall was long so we decided to pick them up at the Christmas Store after our lunch at Casey’s.  Yum, great hot dogs!  They are soooo much better since they brought back the white buns!

We headed back toward Big Thunder Mountain Railroad hoping to ride it for the first time since it was refurbished.  No such luck today, the sign announced a 30 minute wait time but the length of the line suggested it would be longer than that!


We turned toward Adventureland; Carol had read that the mermaids from the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie were now incorporated in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and we wanted to take a look.  Uh-Oh – the ride is down due to “technical difficulties” and they were escorting everyone out of the building.  Dang!


“What do you want to do now?” Carol asked.


“Duh,” I replied, “I dunno.”


“I’m pretty hot,” she suggested, “Why don’t we go back for a swim?”


It sounded good to me so off we went.

 We missed our boat by seconds and had to wait 10 minutes for the next one but we were still back to the campground by 2:15 and at the pool about 20 minutes later.  Ahhhh!


We both had a cooling dip in the pool and I moved over to the hot tub for a nice long soak.  Carol stretched out in a lounger to soak up some shade!  The only dark cloud of the day rolled in as soon as we arrived at the pool and it rolled out minutes after we left!


There were children’s games going on at the pool and the activity leader’s microphone was turned up way too loud.  It was annoying but at the same time it was nice to see the children having such good fun.  Not one of them was texting or playing a video game!


By 3:30 we rode our bikes back to the camp site and I spent some quiet time with Blue (snore) while Carol sorted out her trading pins and vinylmations.  She’s now all ready for tomorrow’s big trading event at the Contemporary Resort!

She fed the dogs a bit early today and by 5:15 they had been walked and their chores were all up to date.  We hopped in the car and headed to EPCOT for our dinner at Teppan Edo.  We caught the boat from Canada to Morocco and arrived at Japan about 10 minutes early for our 6:20 reservation. 

We waited about 20 minutes before we were seated and soon a family from Maryland, Dad, Mom, three young boys and the Dad’s mother.  We had a nice time chatting with them and enjoyed a wonderful dinner.  Our chef, Mayo, put on a great performance as she prepared our meal.

We said goodbye to our dinner companions at about 7:30 and headed toward the exit.  As we strolled around World Showcase I mentioned to Carol that this was an unusual trip.  Other than bumping into Carrie and Carole at the magic Kingdom we had not seen any friends while in the parks.  We usually see lots of friends and acquaintances.  Then some odd things happened . . . just seconds later we were crossing the bridge at the International Gateway and I spotted Colin from California.  We met Colin last May on the AllEars Fantasy Cruise.  After chatting for a few minutes we carried on toward the exit.

As we passed Canada, Off Kilter was playing so we stopped to watch the last few numbers in their set.  When they dimmed the lights we turned to leave when a woman and her son appeared.  She said, “I know you, I read your blog.”  She pointed to Carol and said, “You’re Carol,” then pointed at me and said, “You do the writing but I don’t know your name.”  Her name was Denita and she’s from South Dakota.  Lord knows how she found it but she reads our blog regularly.  For the record, my name is Gary!  Gosh, what a small world!


To all those who are reading our blog and following our travels, we love to hear from you; please sign the guestbook.  Let us know who you are and how you found us.  To Chantal from Terrebonne Québec, Carol will answer the questions you posted once we get back home.

We were back to the campground by 8:30 p.m.  Carol dropped me off and headed off to Publix, there were some groceries she wanted to pick up before we head home next week.


I tucked myself in bed at 10:45 and Carol arrived home seconds later.  She packed the groceries away and was soon snoring beside me.

Friday November 2, 2012


We woke at about 7:15; it was a beautiful day with clear blue skies!

Blue was celebrating his second birthday.  I thought I’d take him to the dog park – I knew he’d like that!  But first Carol and I went to Animal Kingdom.

We left the campground at about 9:30 a.m. and by 10:05 we were in the queue for Kilimanjaro Safaris.  The sign said the wait was 20 minutes but we were boarding after only 15 minutes.  Once again we had a good ride, plenty of animals.

After our photo safari we wandered toward Asia and once again encountered DeVine along the trail. 

After a few pictures we carried on toward Expedition Everest, stopping along the way for a snack at Yak & Yeti.  They have terrific egg rolls there!

We arrived at Everest at 11:20 and hopped in the “single rider” line.  I sat in the very last row; Carol was about 5 rows ahead of me as we hurtled through Tibet and met the Yeti!  This is Carol’s favourite roller coaster!


We hadn’t visited Dinoland for a few years so we took a leisurely stroll through on our way toward the exit, snapping pictures along the way.

We stopped for an ice cream cone at a kiosk near the Restaurantosaurus.

The worst cone crafter in the world works there.  As we sat at a table nearby the ice cream fell from the top of my cone.  I deftly caught it in my right hand and smushed it back down on the cone.  That lasted a few seconds and then it tumbled again.  Luckily my right hand was still sticky from the first encounter so I was able to snatch it and cram it back into place, much more firmly this time.  Carol reached into her backpack and handed me a couple of wet-naps.  I chuckled and said, “I need more than that, I need to run through a car wash!”


After our cones were done she went to wander through a shop while I headed to the Men’s room for a good scrub!  We met up again outside Island Mercantile and slowly made our way out of the park.

I dropped her off at Downtown Disney and waited in the car while she popped into DStreet to pick up the last few items on her friends “wants lists”.  There was a new Vinylmation set released that day and it seemed like everyone wanted it.


Zak and Blue were happy to see us when we pulled in at about 1:15.  Soon we loaded them up in the golf cart and headed to the dog park.  As usual Blue had a good time fetching the ball while Zak sniffed the perimeter of the park for a few minutes then curled up under a picnic table.

When we got back to the RV Carol began making final preparations for her trading night at the Contemporary Resort.  Our friends Al & Jane picked her up at 3:30 and drove her to the event.  Jane attended too; she wanted to see what pin trading was all about.


I played at the computer for a while then took a nice peaceful nap with the dogs.  The dogs and I were sitting outside reading when Carol’s text message came, “Come pick me up.”  (I was reading, not the dogs)  So I hopped in the car and headed to the Contemporary Resort where she was waiting.


As we drove to Downtown Disney she told me all about the event.  There were plenty of traders there and she got everything she was hoping to trade for.  She was quite pleased with her acquisitions!

Soon we were parked at Downtown Disney’s Marketplace and we headed directly to Earl of Sandwich for dinner.  It’s now Christmas at Downtown Disney!  Yesterday it was Halloween and today, magically, it’s Christmas.  There were garlands and wreaths everywhere and Christmas music is playing.  Wow the seasons change quickly here!

We each enjoyed a great sandwich and then made our way to the Lego Store.  Carol had a little bit of Christmas shopping to do and we found a couple of gifts there.  We were back with the dogs by 8:45 and spent some time with them before we struck out to the hot tub for a relaxing soak.


Bed time came early since we have an early start tomorrow.  We’re off to an Annual Passholder Preview at the new Fantasyland and it starts at 8:00 a.m. – OUCH!

Saturday November 3, 2012


We both woke up before the alarm.  We were out of bed at 6:05 and we compressed our lazy two hour morning routine into one hour.  By 7:20 we were on the Fort Wilderness dock watching our boat to the Magic Kingdom sail off!  Bummer – just missed it!  We waited ten minutes and another came along.

We arrived at the Magic Kingdom dock at 7:55 and Carol spotted the event check-in crew off to the left of the entrance.  We dashed over and got our wrist bands.  Actually, Carol dashed and I sort of tottered!  We noticed that the morning after the last Halloween Party the sign is up for the Christmas Parties!  I expect that when we go tomorrow morning all the Halloween décor will be gone and Christmas décor will be up in its place.


We headed directly back to Fantasyland, snapping a few pictures along the way.  The crowd was very light and it has been a while since we arrived this early at the Magic Kingdom!

At the entrance to the new Fantasyland area we had to show our wristbands and hand in our online registration certificates.  They waved us in for our 3 hour preview.  We wandered over to the Be Our Guest Restaurant and took a peek.  As we left I jokingly said to a cast member what time is dinner served and she replied, “Lunch begins at 10:30.”  Carol and I quickly agreed that the opportunity was too good to miss; we should try the lunch.

We took another peek through Gaston's Tavern.  We thought the cinnamon bun might be nice for breakfast but once we saw on we knew better.  It was about the size of Rhode Island!

Our next stop was “Under the Sea”, the Voyage of the Little Mermaid ride.  This time it was my turn to take pictures while Carol sat back in the clam shell to enjoy the undersea adventure!  This is a very cute attraction!

We wandered over to Ariel’s Grotto but the line to have a picture taken with Ariel was 45 minutes.  This led to quite an inner conflict, the little princess in me really wanted to go but the princess I married said no!  Knowing what is good for me, I agreed to pass this time!


At about 9:15 we headed out toward the Christmas Shop in Liberty Square to pick up sorcerer cards and along the way we stopped at Sleepy Hollow for a bite of breakfast.  I had an omelette waffle and Carol had a funnel cake.  I didn’t enjoy mine much, the waffle was undercooked and soggy while the omelette was overcooked and dry.  The funnel cake, on the other hand, was perfect!


With our sorcerer cards in hand we carried on to Pirates of the Caribbean to see if we could spot the mermaids.  Dang – the ride was down again.  They had trouble getting it started in the morning and still couldn’t keep it running.  We agreed to try again tomorrow and headed off to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – the wildest ride in the wilderness!  The sign said a 20 minute wait time but it was almost a walk on – the line hardly slowed down.  We let several groups pass while we took pictures and we were still riding in 10 minutes.  This was our first ride on BTMRR since it was refurbished.  It’s exactly the same, but everything has been repainted and “freshened”.

We caught the Walt Disney World Railway at the station beside Splash Mountain and rode to the Fantasyland station where we poked around Storybook Circus.  There was only a 5 minute wait for pictures with Goofy and Donald so we popped in for a few pictures.

Soon we were back at the entry for the Be Our Guest Restaurant . . . when a cast member said, “Things are slow and there’s no line so were letting a few people in to see Enchanted Tales With Belle.”  We were scheduled to see that as part of our D23 Preview the following day but we jumped at the chance. 


It was amazing.  We don’t want to give away the “magic” and spoil anyone’s enjoyment so we’ll just suggest that you stay alert during the pre-show; “It was amazing!”  Once you are in the library Belle and the cast lead you through a very entertaining skit.  Don’t miss this show!

As we left Belle the line for the Be Our Guest Restaurant had diminished.  In fact it had disappeared so we walked right in and had lunch.  Since we had both had a late breakfast we were not really hungry but we needed to test the new restaurant.  We shared a turkey sandwich; to our surprise it was real sliced turkey, sliced from a roasted turkey, not pressed in a factory.  The food was excellent and the technology used to order the food and deliver it to our table was astounding.  The dining rooms are beautiful.  There are three rooms, The Mysterious West Wing, the Ballroom and the Rose Gallery.  Wow, it’s opulent.

We finished lunch at about noon and headed to the exit where we caught a boat back to the campground.  Zak and Blue were happy to see us.  We loaded them both on the golf cart and took them to the dog park for a romp.  After the dogs were both pooped out Carol and I headed to the pool for a nice soothing soak – it felt good after roaming the park with temperatures in the mid 80’s.

We were back home with the pups by 3:00 and spent a few hours relaxing.


By 5:30 the dogs were fed and walked.  We hopped in the car and headed to Downtown Disney where we were meeting friends Al & Jane for dinner at Raglan Road.  We spent a delightful 2 ½ hours yakking and laughing with them over some great food.  It was a very pleasant evening.


On the way home we made a very quick stop at the grocery store and arrived back at the campground at 9:15. 


After another late night trip to the hot tub we set the clocks back an hour and crashed.  We’re thankful for the extra hour’s sleep – we’ll be up early again tomorrow for the D23 Preview of Fantasyland.

Sunday November 4, 2012


We both woke up early again and, just like yesterday, we hit the ground running again.  This morning things ran a bit smoother than yesterday – when we arrived at the Fort Wilderness dock our boat was just pulling in rather than pulling out.  Hooray!


The line for event check-in outside the Magic Kingdom was HUGE but fortunately a cast member told us we didn’t have to line up, as D23 members we could also pick up our wristbands at the package pick-up area beside City Hall.  Off we went – there was no one in line ahead of us.  By 7:45 we had our wristbands and were heading up Main Street snapping pictures. 

A lady came up and said, “I know you, you’re Gary & Carol.”  It was Spinner from Indiana who we met at MouseFest/Tagomania about 6 years ago.  Like us, she was heading to the preview of the new Fantasyland.  Two of her party had to cancel so she had two extra wristbands.  Hmmmm . . . I wondered if Al & Jane would like those wristbands?  Carol sent a text and the reply came back almost immediately – “Awesome!”

We were at the Partners statue when the fireworks fired at the Walt Disney World Railroad Station to announce park opening.  We strolled through Cinderella Castle and beat the crowd to Peter Pan.  It was a walk-on; what a rarity that was!


Al and Jane were still at Fort Wilderness and probably had to get dressed and then walk the dogs before they got away so Carol and I continued touring.  We explored a bit more around Gaston’s Tavern and then rode the Under the Sea ride again.  We wandered over to Enchanted Tales With Belle but there was a huge line so we left the new area and headed to The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh where we boarded a Hunny Pot and took a ride.

We strolled through Storybook Circus enjoying the new scenery there and decided to take a ride on Goofy’s Barnstormer.  This was a first, we’ve never ridden the Barnstormer before but since there was no line . . . why not?  It’s a very cute ride with great theming but it really is a roller coaster designed for those who are still teething.  It was a fun ride but we won’t rush back to do it again!

We spent some time poking around in the tent at Big Top Souvenirs.  The circus theming throughout the area is very well done.

By 9:15 temperatures were warming and we were thirsty so we headed off to Liberty Square where we picked up sorcerer cards at the Christmas Shop and then sat for a few minutes enjoying a cold drink at Sleepy Hollow.

We strolled over through Frontierland where Carol took a quick look through the Frontier Mercantile pin store and then we cut through to Adventureland for a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean.  Today it was running and there was no line.  Great!  Alas, we didn’t see the mermaids.  We heard them singing but we didn’t see them.  Next time for sure!

We headed back to Fantasyland and went to Enchanted Tales With Belle, the line was gone.  We walked directly into the first room and there was no one there.  It was great to have a few minutes all to ourselves – we poked around investigating our surroundings and taking a few pictures.  Once we were ushered into Maurice’s workshop we forgot about pictures and stayed focused on the magic that occurs there.  It’s awesome!


After our Enchanted Tale we met Al & Jane just outside the entrance, Carol put on their wristbands for them and in they came . . . very excited!  We went into the Be Our Guest Restaurant with them for a quick peek at the three dining rooms and then stopped at Gaston’s statue for a few pictures before heading on to the Under the Sea ride.  We rode with them before saying our goodbyes and leaving them to explore on their own.

Before leaving the new area we stopped at Gaston’s Tavern where Carol tried the Pork Shank.  A man told us earlier in the morning how much he enjoyed it; he said it was something like a turkey leg only much better.  Carol didn’t like it.  About 80% of her pork shank went in the trash!


We stopped at Pinocchio Haus where I enjoyed a flatbread pizza and Carol had a bowl of soup.

After our light lunch I took the express lane to a park bench in front of City Hall where I waited and people watched while she shopped her way down Main Street.  We were back home to some happy puppies by 12:30.

We enjoyed a very relaxing afternoon.  Carol pointed the car toward Downtown Disney for a solo shopping trip . . . she enjoys shopping so much more when I’m not there!  I took Zak and Blue to the dog park for some exercise and then the three of us laid down for some non-exercise.  It was a wonderful afternoon for everyone!

We left for dinner at about 6:00 p.m., our reservation for 'Ohana was at 6:45 and we arrived a bit early.  Carol checked us in and then browsed the shops for a few minutes while I sat in the lounge outside the restaurant.  If you are beginning to think that I do a lot of waiting while she shops . . . you’d be correct!

Soon our pager was flashing and vibrating and we were seated for dinner about five minutes early.  As always, dinner was great – we really enjoy the meal at ‘Ohana!

Carol took one last snoop in the shops while I made an ATM withdrawal and we headed to the valet desk to pick up the car.  We were home with the dogs by 8:10, Wishes was booming in the background so Blue was very happy to see us!


We took the golf cart to the Meadows at about 10:00 and enjoyed a soak in the hot tub before bed.  Aaaahhhh!


Tomorrow we have a chance to sleep in . . . will Blue co-operate?

Monday November 5, 2012


Nope . . . Blue didn’t co-operate.  He landed on the bed between us at 6:30.  We ignored him; he went away.  At 6:45 he was back.  We ignored him; he went away.  This process repeated every 15 minutes until 7:15 when I got up.  I quietly closed the bedroom door so my princess could sleep then I took the dogs out to do their chores and fed them their breakfast.


Carol yawned her way out of the bedroom at about 7:45.  I had some toast for breakfast and took a spin on the golf cart while Carol got ready to head out for the morning.  We were going to the Magic Kingdom.

Before striking out we loaded Zak and Blue in the golf cart for their last trek to the dog park.  Along the way we snapped a few pictures of some of the Thanksgiving décor.  Most campsites switch from Halloween to Christmas but some put up Thanksgiving displays for a few weeks.  It’s a nice touch!

By 10:00 a.m. the dogs were pooped and back in the RV.  We boarded a boat and arrived at the Magic Kingdom at 10:20.  All the Halloween décor is down and the poinsettia trees are up at the park entrance.  There is some Christmas décor in the shops but the garland is not yet installed on Main Street and the giant Christmas tree is not up yet.

Our only objective today was to find those elusive mermaids at Pirates of the Caribbean.  We slowly headed back toward the Pirate ride, via the shops on Main Street.  Carol was helping me out with my Christmas shopping by guiding me through the stores, pointing at various things and saying, “I like that, I like that, I really like that.”  She can be very helpful sometimes!


Soon we stopped at the Christmas Shop for our sorcerer cards.  They were having some “system issues” and we left without cards after a 5 minute wait. 

There was a short line at Pirates, a 10 minute wait.  We were both vigilant but Carol made the sighting, the first mermaid was swimming in the water to the left of the boat just after the mist projection.  Look for bubbles in the water and projected lights.  The second mermaid is a skeleton reclined in the wreckage of a boat in the island scene.

After our successful mermaid mission we made our way back down Main Street toward the Fire Hall to get the sorcerer cards.  The Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It Street Party was underway so Carol snapped a few pictures as it passed.

Soon we had our cards and headed to Tony’s Town Square Restaurant for lunch.  We hadn’t eaten there for years.  We had a poor experience at Tony’s a while ago but we decided it was time to give it another try.  We were seated at a very nice table with a good view of the Lady & the Tramp fountain. 

The food was quite good, better than we remembered but the service was very poor.  Today was one of those rare times when I decided not to use my Tables in Wonderland discount card – I didn’t use it because Laura did not deserve a tip!


After lunch Carol shopped on one side of Main Street while I shopped on the other side.  Yes, you read that correctly – I shopped!  My Christmas shopping is now done.

We boarded the boat and arrived back home about 1:00.  The dogs were happy to see us.  We tied them on their leads and they stayed outdoors with us while we made ready for tomorrow’s departure.  The Halloween decorations were all packed up a few days ago but today everything else had to come down.  I began by packing away the palm trees and the Mickey lamp while Carol stowed away the folding chairs, the rope light Mickeys, the awning lights, our Fort Wilderness sign and all that other ever-so-important paraphernalia. By 2:15 the bicycles were hung on the back of the motor home, the tow bar was ready to hook onto the car, the holding tanks were dumped, the awning was retracted and all the accessories were packed away.  The place looks naked!


Tomorrow all we have to do is unhook the water, electric and cable TV, retract the three sliding rooms, raise the stabilizer jacks, hook up the car and drive away!  Less than 10 minutes work and we’ll be gone.

We’ve been keeping a close eye on the weather forecast; a Nor’Easter is supposed to dump some rain and snow along the northern half of our route.  We have considered delaying our departure for a day or two but for now the plan is to head home in the morning!  Someone even posted a weather warning on our web site guest book.  Jen – Thanks for letting us know!


Once the campsite was bare we headed to the pool for a swim and a soak in the hot tub.  Aaahhh!  By 3:45 we were back for a well earned nap but the nap didn’t seem to work for either of us . . . we were both back up before long and got caught up on the computer.


At 5:45 we caught the boat back to the Magic Kingdom for our last taste of Disney for a few months.  There was a gorgeous sunset deepening in colour as we waited on the dock.

The Magic Kingdom was busier than we expected.  We scurried back to Frontierland and had dinner at Pecos Bill’s Mile Long Café.  The fixin’s bar really dresses up a burger; we enjoy the grilled onions and mushrooms!  When we finished our burgers we wandered over to Frontier Mercantile and joined the crowd assembled to watch the 7:00 p.m. showing of the Disney Electric Parade.  Carol found a platform to stand on where she could overlook the crowd and she took some good pictures.

After the parade we headed back to Pirates to check out the mermaids again.  This time there was also a mermaid in the water on the right side of the boat.  The projector must have been off on our ride earlier in the day.


We slowly wandered through Adventureland toward the park exit.  Carol stopped to pick up a citrus swirl at Sunshine Terrace and I grabbed a pineapple float at Aloha Isle.  We sat at a table in the gazebo beside Aloha Isle and enjoyed them while Wishes boomed away in the background.


Carol shopped her way out of the park again while I scurried off to a park bench near City Hall.  She picked up a new Christmas ornament and joined me near the exit at about 8:30.


We left the park and boarded our boat which had us back to Zak and Blue by 9:00.  Carol neatened up inside the RV and battened things down a bit getting ready for morning.


Tomorrow we plan to have breakfast at Trail’s End Buffet and get on the road as soon as possible.

Tuesday November 6, 2012


Blue let us sleep in until 6:45.  We had a pot of coffee and tinkered at the computers for a while.  By 7:45 we had showered pointed the golf cart toward the Settlement where we had a nice breakfast at Trail’s End Buffet.


Back at the campsite I disconnected the utilities while Carol got everything inside ready to roll.  We pulled away just before 9:00 a.m.  Carol followed in the car and we pulled off into the special “hook-up” lane near the exit.  It’s a designated area where you connect your tow car.  I had just connected the car and we were pulling out when Carol got a text from our friends Al & Jane, in a strange quirk of fate they were in their van just behind us so I pulled into the overflow parking lot and we said a quick goodbye.

We were on I-4 by 9:20 and started our four day trek home.  We encountered occasional light showers during our first hour on the road.  Aside from a little slow-down as I-4 passed through downtown Orlando traffic moved very well.  At about 10:30 we turned onto northbound I-95 and soon pulled off at an Indian River citrus store.  Last February we picked up some delicious sweet and juicy oranges to take home.  We were looking for the same variety today.  They were Honey Bells, but unfortunately it’s a bit too early in the season for them.  They will be ready in about a month.  We picked up a bag of tangerines and carried on.


About a half hour later we stopped at another citrus stand and they told the same story; the Honey Bells will be available from December until mid February.  Maybe we will get some next time.

At about noon Carol asked me, “Do you know what day tomorrow is?”  This is the sort of question every man dreads!  I panicked . . . my mind quickly ran through the list – birthday, anniversary, memorable relationship events . . . Dang – nothing clicked!  I think she was enjoying my discomfort.  Finally I said, “It will be Wednesday November 7th.”  She smirked and said, “Yes, and it’s chicken pot pie day at Cracker Barrel.”   Gee – how could I forget that?

We crossed the Georgia State Line at 12:45 and stopped at Brunswick Georgia to gas up at the FlyingJ Truck Stop.  Carol walked the dogs while I pumped gas and then we had a quick sandwich in the RV before getting back on the highway.


We ran through some occasional heavy showers during the afternoon but there was nothing heavy enough to slow down traffic.

We made good time and crossed into South Carolina at 3:00 p.m.  We pulled into New Green Acres Campground and checked in at 4:00 p.m.  Our first priority was to change from shorts into our jeans.  It’s much cooler here and tonight it is forecast to go down to 36 degrees.  Brrrr!

I hooked up our utilities and unhooked the car while Carol ran out the slides and dropped the levelling jacks.  By 4:15 we were settled for the night and I took the dogs out for a romp.  They needed a run after being cooped up all day.  Blue ran and romped, Zak moseyed and sniffed!


By 5:30 the puppies had been fed and Carol and I hopped in the car for a quick trip to Ruby Tuesday for dinner.  We were back home by 7:00 and Carol decided she was too tired to carry through with her planned shopping excursion.  Doing nothing all day can sure tire you out!  I hooked the car up, ready for morning, and we settled in for the night.


Tomorrow we cover 323 miles on our way to Wytheville Virginia.  Most of the trip will be on flat, straight highways but the last 50 miles of the days journey will see us climb to the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains at Fancy Gap Virginia and then descend into the Shenandoah Valley.  There is a possibility of wet snow in the weather forecast . . . we’re hoping it’s not too much snow!

Wednesday November 7, 2012


Carol was up with the crows . . . I awoke to the sound of dog kibble being poured at 6:00 a.m.  Yikes!  I think she was in a hurry to beat the nor’easter we’ve been hearing about but not seeing. (Touch wood!)


After a pot of coffee and a bowl of cereal we pulled out of the campground.  We were back on I-95 by 7:20.  Skies were clear and traffic was light.  I set the cruise control at 63 mph and we loped along.  By 7:30 we were on I-26.  Suddenly there were about eight drops of rain on the windshield; I turned the wipers on for a single swipe.  I had to repeat this once again in the afternoon.  That was the only sign we saw of the nor’easter.

As we approached Columbia South Carolina we were surprised to see a truck load of palm trees pass us.  I guess they have to get from Point A to Point B somehow, but we have never been passed by a truckload before and it caught us by surprise!

We stopped at Rock Hill South Carolina where I gassed up at the FlyingJ while Carol walked the dog and then picked us each up a coffee in the shop.  By 10:30 we had crossed the state line into North Carolina.  Skies were still sunny with occasional overcast patches and traffic was light.


At 12:00 we pulled off at Jonesville North Carolina and enjoyed chicken pot pie at Cracker Barrel.  Yum!  As we pulled out of the Cracker Barrel there was a bump as the tow bar hooked to the car bottomed out on the pavement.  Clunk – it happens occasionally because the back of the RV extends so far behind the rear wheels.  You need to be very careful on grades; today I misjudged the slope – Clunk!

By 1:00 we were back on the highway and approaching the Blue Ridge Mountains.  We crossed the state line into Virginia at 1:10 and started up Carol’s favourite 7 mile hill.  The climb was uneventful; we had anticipated some cross winds but there were none.  At 2:00 we pulled off in Wytheville Virginia.  I gassed up again and we pulled into the campground at 2:30.

My first chore was to unhook the car and then hook up the utilities.  I unhooked the tow bar and the safety chains then reached to pull off the light cable.  Hey . . . where the heck is the light cable?  Dang – it was gone!


Then I spotted it, broken off and hanging down under the car.  Half was still plugged into the back of the RV and half was plugged into the front of the car but the wire which should have been connecting them was broken and hanging under the car.  It must have been pinched under the tow bar when I clunked out of the Cracker Barrel.  I had been driving all afternoon with no lights on the tow car.  Ooops!


Once I had the utilities connected I hit the road in search of a wire harness for the car.  I tried the TSC store – nope, don’t have anything like that!  Then I went to Autozone – nope, can’t help you.  At NAPA Auto Parts they just shrugged and said sorry!  I gave up, bought a length of 4 strand wire and went home to make a new cable using the old connectors from the broken wire.


By 5:00 p.m. the new cable was ready, the dogs were fed and Carol was ready to shop.  I waited while she made a quick dash into K-Mart . . . she was back in just a few minutes . . . and we headed off to the Peking Restaurant for dinner.  Great won-ton soup and egg rolls!


We were back at the campground with the dogs by 7:30.  I hooked up the car and we settled for a night of TV.


Tomorrow we cover 361 miles as we drive north through the Shenandoah Valley on our way to Harrisburg Pennsylvania.

Thursday November 8, 2012


We were up early again, this morning it was 6:15 when we rolled out of bed.  Something about life on the road makes us early risers!


We didn’t linger too long over our coffee today, I had a quick bowl of cereal and unhooked us while Carol got the interior ready and strapped the dogs in.  We were on the road by 7:45.  Skies were clear and there was no sign of snow.

The Weather Channel has started naming winter storms and the news had been full of warnings about “Athena” for several days.  We considered delaying our journey home to avoid Athena.  Here’s what winter storm Athena looked like at her worst today!


The coastal areas recently impacted by Hurricane Sandy did get snow and high winds from Athena, but the impact of Athena beyond the coast was grossly exaggerated!

Carol has been getting messages from friends on Facebook as they follow our progress and wish us safe travels.  Yesterday two friends even wished us “Happy Chicken Pot Pie Day!”


At 10:30 we pulled off at Staunton Virginia to stretch our legs and get a coffee.  (Hi Kelley!)  We were quickly back on the road and stopped again at the FlyingJ Truck Stop north of Winchester Virginia, just a few hundred yards short of the West Virginia State Line.  I gassed up while Carol popped in to look at the take-out food.  The hot dogs looked good so she bought us each one we ate them in the RV.  Our plans for a sandwich were scrapped!  We walked the dogs and got right back on the road.  State Lines followed in short order, West Virginia at 12:35, Maryland at 1:00 and Pennsylvania at 1:12.

We rolled into our campground at Harrisburg Pennsylvania at 2:30 and by 3:00 we were all hooked up and settled.  Carol hopped in the car and headed off to the nearby Christmas Tree Shop to see what was new!  Zak and Blue had quite a restful day so I took them out for some exercise. 

Blue always travels on the couch.

Zak spent the day at Carol's feet.

As usual Blue romped and chased his ball while Zak sniffed around the field.  Then we went for a nap; we all slept until Carol returned just after 4:00.


By 5:00 Carol had fed the dogs and walked them again.  We headed out to meet friends Mike and Ann for dinner at Macaroni Grille.  We had a good evening, chatting and laughing until almost 9:00 before heading home.


Sleep came early; tomorrow morning I will dump the holding tanks and flush them out well before we leave.  Then we will cover 382 miles on the last leg of our trip.  If all goes well we should be home by 4:00 p.m.

Friday November 9, 2012


We bounded out of bed at 6:15 . . . Okay, I admit in my case it was more of a plod than a bound!  I was not anxious to go out in the 36 degree weather and drain the holding tanks!  Brrr!


We enjoyed a pot of piping hot coffee and I had a bowl of cereal but then I couldn’t put it off any longer, out I went!  Brrr!  By 8:15 it was all done, the tanks were emptied and well flushed and the utilities were disconnected.  Carol had fed and walked the dogs, retracted the slides and jacks and battened down everything inside.  We were back on the highway at 8:20.  The skies were sunny and clear.


At 10:45 we pulled in to the FlyingJ Truck Stop at New Milford Pennsylvania and I topped up the tank with some more cheap American gas, I like to have it full when we cross the border into the land of $5.00 per gallon – Yikes!  We also filled up the propane tank, we had to use the furnace several nights on the way down and on the trip home.  We’ll be using a lot more propane when we head south again in February.


When we got back on the road the skies became overcast and by the time we crossed the state line into New York at 11:15 it was a very grey and dreary day.  The trees were all bare . . . why didn’t we stay in the sunny south?  What the heck were we thinking?

We pulled off at Cicero New York and had lunch at the Cracker Barrel.  No chicken pot pie on Fridays, but we each had a delicious bowl of turkey noodle soup.  Yum, it was just what we needed on a cold day!


At 3:15 we pulled off the road for a final shopping excursion.  This time it was my turn!  We pulled into the Harbor Freight Tools store at Watertown New York, I really enjoy poking around their stores.  They always seem to have things I didn’t know I needed until I see them!  This day was no exception! 


A funny thing happened as we were checking out and paying for our purchases at Harbor Freight.  In order to tell you about it, I’ll have to backtrack a bit!  Hop into Mr. Peabody’s WABAC machine with me as I dial it back three days and several states.  Last Tuesday Carol and I were having dinner at Ruby Tuesday in Walterboro South Carolina.  Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a husband and wife in their mid to late 30’s.  The lady ordered a drink and the waiter, also mid to late 30’s asked for ID.  I chuckled and then told Carol about the last time I was “carded”.  I was 30 years old and buying a 6 pack of beer in a Florida convenience store.  The clerk selling me the beer and asking for ID was a pretty little girl, no more than 12 or 13 years old.  In Ontario she would not be old enough to work in a store that sold beer.  So, let’s get back to Harbor Freight . . . the cashier picked up the cute little 2 ounce aerosol can of WD40 (a very handy size for pocket or purse) I was buying and asked for my date of birth.  I was dumbfounded and asked her why.  It turns out that kids are sniffing WD40 and she must have mistaken me for a kid.  How she missed the grey hair I don’t know.  It’s getting pretty thin, but there’s still some hair there and it’s grey!  I laughingly told her that I had been born before sniffing was invented . . . but she wasn’t having any part of that line.  It was “no sale” until I gave her my date of birth!  Sniffing must be a huge problem in Watertown if they have to “card” grumpy old grey-haired men!  Carol and I laughed all the way across the parking lot and chuckled sporadically most the way home.


We pulled up to the Thousand Islands border crossing and were surprised that there were only a few cars ahead of us.  After a few quick questions the Canada Customs agent waved us through.  We were back in Canada at 4:20 and parked in front of our home before 5:00 p.m.


It was a terrific trip, we had plenty of fun but it always feels nice to get back home!