I'm afraid Carol is going a bit loco!


It started a few months ago . . . we were getting ready to take the motor home to New England in August.  It was the day before we were scheduled to leave when she said, "We can pull out later tonight if you like!"  WOW!  That's just so unlike Carol!


Carol is a planner, she has schedules and lists, everything is organized and thought through.  She seldom changes her plans and never just "wings it".


This trip we were scheduled to leave on Thursday October 16th and I was dumbfounded when, two weeks prior to our departure, she said, "Maybe we can leave Wednesday night and drive as far as Cicero NY."  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  That was exactly what we did in August on the way to New England so I quickly agreed.


Then on Saturday, five days ahead of our original departure date, she suggested, "Maybe we can leave Wednesday morning."


Holy cow!  What's come over her?

Tuesday October 14


Ever since Carol decided we should leave early we've been charging around at full speed.  Yesterday was Thanksgiving in Canada but we decided to have our Thanksgiving dinner with Carol's family on Sunday so we could work at a break-neck pace all day on Thanksgiving Monday!  And work we did . . . between packing the RV and cleaning out the gardens and flower beds, it took all day and part of the evening.  We were both exhausted by Monday night.


We each had some errands on Tuesday morning but I was sort of expecting that we might leave after dinner and stop near Syracuse New York.  Carol caught me by surprise when she said, "I hope we can get away between 2:00 and 3:00 and get there before dark."  So that's exactly what we did!


We pulled out at 1:50 p.m. under sunny skies.  It was 24° - that's 75° Fahrenheit.  It was a Buffett day - not Jimmy's Margaritaville kind, it was the "blow you off the road" kind.  There was a brisk wind out of the south, with strong gusts that rocked us around as we drove east on the freeway near our home.  Then we turned south and crossed the border.

Driving into the wind was more exciting than the side wind, it kept changing directions, pushing left then suddenly switching to the right!  It was particularly challenging on the two narrow old bridges that cross the St. Lawrence River at the Thousand Islands.

A couple of gusts almost  brought Carol right out of her chair!  The first two hours of the trip were no fun!

By 5:00 the winds had settled; we pulled off at a rest area so Blue and I could stretch our legs.   In just a few minutes we were back on the road for the last leg of the journey.  We crossed into Pennsylvania at 6:00 p.m. and just a few minutes later pulled into the FlyingJ Truck Stop where we spent the night.  After filling up with gas we found a parking spot as far from the gas pumps as possible hoping it would be quiet. 


After Blue went for another walk and had his dinner Carol and I wandered over to Denny's for our dinner.  We played at the computers until bedtime, which came early

Wednesday October 15


It was a long night;  a very long night. 


After rushing the last few days we were both exhausted.  All three if us were in bed by 9:45.


This is our first trip without Zak!  We lost our dear and loyal friend of 14 years a few weeks ago.  Poor Blue doesn't understand  and he keeps looking for his buddy everywhere.  Last night he needed plenty of cuddle time . . . he stayed in the bed all night.


Blue weighs 55 pounds and he doesn't curl up, he sprawls.  Then he pushes!  Soon Carol and I were clinging to the edges of the bed. 


Truck stops are always noisy!  The trucks came and went all night, most using their engine brakes as they exited the Interstate - it was not a restful night.  We never sleep well our first night on the road, but this was much worse than usual.


We were up at 6:15, took Blue for a walk and fed him before Carol and I went to Denny's, in the truck stop, for a bite.  Another quick walk for Blue and we pulled out at 7:45 a.m.

Surprisingly, it was  70° but grey skies threatened rain.  There were some areas with glorious colors but the sky was so dull that it all seemed quite drab.

At 10:00 a.m. we pulled over at a rest area just north of Harrisburg PA for a few minutes, just before the rain started.   It poured and poured.  Sometimes it rained so hard that traffic almost came to a standstill. 


Yesterday the windshield was splattered with bugs; today, not a problem!


We pulled into the Cracker Barrel Restaurant at Chambersburg PA at 11:30 and huddled under an umbrella as we scurried inside.   One advantage to Carol's new "devil may care, let's wing it" attitude is that we were on the road for Chicken Pot Pie day.  Yum, it's our favourite dish at Cracker Barrel.

Our campground, the Hagerstown/Antietam Battlefield KOA,  was only 30 miles past Chambersburg.  We crossed into Maryland at 12:35 and pulled the campground just after 1:00 p.m. - a full day before our reservation.   They were almost empty so we were able to pull right in and get set up.  It was only raining lightly while I hooked us up, so I didn't get terribly wet!

We tried to have a nap (all three of us) but it didn't work, so Carol and I went shopping  (I drove - she shopped!)


She was relatively mercifully quick, Christmas Tree Shop, K-Mart and Martin's Grocery Store, then we were done.  She picked up a warm baguette and a cooked chicken which we took back home for dinner.   The rain had stopped and there was a trace of blue in the sky as we pulled back into the campground at 5:00.  Does that mean good weather tomorrow?


As we ate dinner we watched a local newscast and saw plenty of damage, trees down on houses and cars, flooding and all sorts of property damage.  Some areas had as much as 3" of rain.  I guess we shouldn't complain about a bit of slow traffic!


The campground is a long way from the highway and should be very quiet.  We have a big driving day tomorrow, 436 miles to Wade NC, so we'll enjoy a quiet night of television with Blue, catch up on some sleep and hit the  road early.

Thursday October 16


After dinner last night Carol looked out the windshield and said, "Oh, look at the chickens, aren't they cute."   Sure enough, there were six or eight chickens, all different shapes and sizes, roaming free in a vacant camp site just thirty yards away.


She didn't think they were so cute at 5:00 a.m. this morning when the rooster woke up and "crowed-in" the new day every 15 to 20 seconds! 


We slept very well, Carol and I in the bed and Blue on the couch, but it all came to an end as soon as that danged bird woke up!  We tossed and turned until 5:45 and then gave up.


Carol walked Blue, quickly tidied up the RV and made ready to pull out.  By 6:00 a.m. she was on the phone with Disney trying to add one day to our reservation at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.  The online booking system showed that the place was 100% occupied.  Carol had given up on the online system and called directly to the front desk at the campground.  She pulled out every trick in the book and before you could say "Mickey" we had the extra day we needed!


Meanwhile, I had a bowl of cereal and did all the utility disconnects.  We were on the road by 6:45.  The early start we were hoping for worked out, thanks to that rooster!

It was still quite dark and very foggy when we crossed into West Virginia but by the time we arrived in Virginia, about 20 minutes later, the sun had topped the Blue Ridge Mountains!

There was no rain, no gusting wind, just some dense patches of early fog which burned off later in the morning.

By 7:35 we were gassing up at the FlyingJ Truck Stop at Winchester Virginia.  In no time we were back on the road and making quick time in light traffic.


Just after 9:00 a.m. we left I-81 behind and turned east on I-64, a part of that highway we've never crossed before.

We began to climb, higher and higher, as we crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It wasn't long before a sign appeared, announcing a scenic look-out. 


No trucks or buses allowed!


Well . . . in a purely technical sense, we are neither a truck nor a bus, so in we went.  Wow!  It was glorious.  We were high in the mountains, looking way down into fog-filled valleys, with the sun shining on top of the fog banks.  Pretty as a postcard!

There was no where at the look-out to walk Blue, so we carried on to a rest area about 5 miles further down the mountain and took him out for a short romp.  He's been cooped up far too long and needs some exercise.  Maybe later today!


We passed through the heart of downtown Richmond where we left I-64 and headed south on I-95.


Just past noon we pulled off in southern Virginia and parked behind a gas station for lunch.  We finished up the chicken and baguette from the previous night and were back on the road in under a half hour.  We had a lot of ground to cover and didn't want to waste any time!

The North Carolina State Line rolled under our wheels at 1:05.


We encountered two construction projects in the afternoon, they probably delayed us 30 - 45 minutes.  Ouch, we didn't need that!


We fuelled up once more, at the FlyingJ in Kenly NC then made a quick shopping stop at J.R.'s, a huge discount store beside I-95.  We often stop at the other J.R.'s store, on I-77 at Statesville NC, but the Smithville store is much bigger.  Carol was able to pick up a few small Christmas gifts!


From Smithville it was a quick hop, about a half-hour, to our home for the night.  We pulled into Fayetteville RV Resort at 4:30 and by 5:00 we were all set up.

Carol took Blue for a walk along a wooded trail beside the campground and was able to let him off-leash and toss the ball for him.  He was thrilled, but tuckered out when they came back!


Just after 6:00 we left Blue at home while Carol and I went off in the car for dinner.  We had some terrific fajitas at Chili's . . . then I read my book while Carol browsed the nearby Disney Store!


We were back home by 8:30.  Carol walked Blue again while I hooked the car back up to the tow bar, then we all settled in for the evening.

Friday October 17


I tiptoed out of bed at 5:50 a.m. so Carol could sleep in.


Everything went well for about ten minutes, then the new dumpsters arrived about 50 yards away.  Thump!  Thump!  Thump!  Blue bolted from his spot on the couch, ran to the bedroom and leaped on the bed to protect his Momma (RIGHT! Blue is a total coward, tiny little puppies scare him!)


That was the end for sleeping; we all began preparing for another day on the road.

By 7:25 we were once again southbound on I-95.  Traffic was light and skies were clear under scattered daylight.  I set the cruise control for 63 mph . . . our optimum speed!  If we travel any faster than that I hear a very distinct growl from the passenger side!


We were about 17 miles north of the South Carolina state line at 8:16 a.m. when I pointed to our right and said, "Palm tree!"  We always look forward to seeing that first palm, it means we are truly in the south!  Carol normally spots it before I do, but this was my day!


It was only appropriate that I win this round of palm tree bingo, since she disqualified my first sighting just a few days ago.  We were near home last Tuesday, at the Thousand Islands, and had just crossed from Ontario into New York State.  We had just reached the bottom of the second bridge over the St. Lawrence River. 


I pointed to our left and said, "Look, palm trees!"

Carol, "Where?"

 Gary, "Right there by the toll booth."

Carol, "They don't count."

Gary, "Why not?"

Carol, "Because they're in pots!"


She wouldn't listen to my appeals, my win had been set aside on a technicality . . . but now victory was mine!  Carol was now able to focus her attention on spotting the first alligator and the first armadillo!

We crossed into South Carolina at 8:30 and Pedro was there to welcome us.

Pedro is the fictitious proprietor at South of the Border, a huge tourist trap on I-95 just south of the NC/SC state line.  There are shops, restaurants, a campground, a motel or two and a truck stop.  The highways for a hundred miles in every direction are littered with signs enticing travelers to stop and see Pedro.  We passed by without stopping this trip.

We pulled into a rest area near Florence SC at 9:30 for a quick stretch but were back on the road in less than 10 minutes.  Blue relaxed on the couch as the miles rolled past . . . well, he relaxed as much as he ever does while we're in motion!

Our travel today hugged the coast and we crossed bridge after bridge spanning salt marshes and tidal pools.  It's a pretty area!

I kept my eyes on the road while Carol scoured the rivers and swamps for gators and other critters.

Shortly after another quick rest area stop near Walterboro SC we crossed the state line into Georgia.  It was 12:15 when we pulled off the highway at Richmond Hill and joined the line-up of trucks at Louis' Truck Wash.  We each had a sandwich for lunch while we waited, then an hour and a quarter after we pulled off I-95 we were pulling back on the road.  The RV and the car were now sparkling!


Another hour's drive brought us to the end of our day's drive, Coastal Georgia RV Resort at Brunswick GA.  When we first started stopping at this brand new campground about 4 years ago there was always plenty of room availably.  Now a reservation is a must . . . everyone has discovered this hidden gem!

We were all checked in by 3:00 and set up by 3:30. 


Since the RV was all shiny and bright, it was time to clean up the inside.  Carol hooked up the central vacuum and sucked up a half bushel of dog hair while I cleaned the inside of some windows!


By the time we were finished I was hot and sweaty but Blue was still full of energy.  Carol took Blue to the dog park and tossed the ball for him while I went for a soothing, cooling soak in the pool.  Ooops!  The pool was closed until April 1st.   Don't they every get any Canadian visitors here?

We relaxed in the RV for an hour or so then Carol fed Blue and we headed off in the car for dinner.  We tried Zachry's, a nearby seafood and steakhouse we've looked at a few times before.  It was great!


Carol did some quick grocery shopping at Winn-Dixie while I read, then we headed back home.  She put away the groceries while I hooked the car back up.  By 8:00 p.m. we had settled in for a quiet night of television.

Saturday October 18


We were both up at 5:30 a.m. and did our best to get underway by 6:30.  We were stopping in New Smyrna Beach to visit some good friends from Canada.  Gary and I (yes, Gary & Gary) have been best friends since our days as Cub Scouts.


We got away just a few minutes late, about 6:40 but we soon encountered a hitch. 

Rather, we had a hitch.

What I mean to say is there was a hitch with the hitch!


The tow bar which hooks the car to the back of the RV has two telescoping arms which lock into position when they're fully extended.  One of the arms was not locking which allowed the car to slide back and forth the length of the arm.  It's unsafe to tow that way so we had to stop, unhook and re-hook.  This set us back about 20 minutes, so it was 7:00 before we got on the highway.

Once again we encountered light traffic and clear weather.

Soon Carol announced, "Look, the sun is rising over the Atlantic."  She snapped a shot through the windshield.  Then she took the camera to the dinette behind the couch where she could snap some shots through the side window.  It was worth the trip!

We crossed the Florida State Line at 7:35 and pulled into the Florida Welcome Centre for our customary picture at 7:40.

No orange juice today, they don't open until 8:00.

We pulled off I-95 at New Smyrna Beach and followed Highway 44 east, crossed a big causeway and pulled up beside our friends condo.

We parked the RV in a vacant lot across the road.

We had a very nice visit with Gary and Sharon and their little Maltese, Preston.

Their beachfront condo has a magnificent ocean view!  Nice!

We were back on the road by 11:30 and followed Route 44 all the way to I-4 near Deland.  The entire area is filled with motorcycles, Biketoberfest is centred in Daytona Beach but it spills over into all the neighbouring cities and towns.

We approached Disney at 12:45.  When we pass under this gate it feels magical.


As we approach the campground it feels better and better.

Once we pass this sign, we are home!

Our site was ready, but we'll be in the 1900 loop for one night, then move to the 700 loop for the rest of our stay!  Since we're only here for one night the hook-up was quick - just electric, cable TV and water.


Our friend Al from Missouri rode up on his bicycle while we were setting up.  He invited us to join he and his wife Jane for dinner later.  Great idea!


Carol got things set up indoors while I scrubbed the bug carcasses off the windshield and the front of the motor home.


After Blue had a short walk we hopped in the car, Carol did some Vinylmation shopping at DStreet  then picked up some groceries at Winn-Dixie.


When we got home at 4:00 Blue suggested that we all have a nap.  Yup, works for me!  Then Blue woke us up at 5:00 to tell us it was dinner time.


Blue had been fed and walked by the time Al and Jane came to pick us up at 6:00.  We headed to Downtown Disney, spent about a half-hour fighting the traffic snarl caused by all the construction in the area, and had a wonderful dinner at Earl of Sandwich.  We sat yakking long after dinner was over.


We wandered over to Ghirardelli's for dessert.  Ice cream sundaes all around!


Al and Jane dropped us off just after 9:00.  We were pooped after all those travel days, bed came early (again).


Tomorrow we have a short drive, less than a mile to the 700 loop.  It will take us most of the day to set up our Halloween decorations . . . we brought a lot of orange and black stuff with us!

Sunday October 19


It was a do nothing morning and a work like crazy afternoon!


We woke up at 5:30 a.m. again.  We had nothing at all to do all morning but wait until we could move to our new site.  So we didn't jump right out of bed, we tossed and turned for a half hour before giving up on sleep.

We drank coffee . . . we wasted time on the computer . . . we drove past site 715 (we are moving there today) to see if the occupants were packing up.  They were still in bed!

At 8:30 I drove to the Outpost and checked us out of site 1932 and checked into site 715.  I tracked down Nelson, the Disney Cast Member who takes care of the 700 loop.  We've gotten to know Nelson quite well over the past eight years.  He was going to prepare the site for us as soon as the occupants cleared out! 


I went back to 1932 and we waited some more.

Carol said, "Drive me to the Meadow Trading Post!" so off we went.  When we got to the Trading Post my mouth was moving, which of course meant that my mind wasn't working!  I drove right past.  "That's OK," Carol said, "Take me to Walgreens."  We stopped at the Trading Post on the way home.  We took another lap past 715 - hooray, they're beginning to pack up.

Check-out time (11:00 a.m.) came and went; our friends Al & Jane were texting us . . . "They're still here."  "Nelson is lurking, trying to hurry them up."  Finally Al texted, "I'm going to walk over and lurk with Nelson."


Then, at 11:14 we got the text we'd been waiting for . . . "They're gone, come on over"  I drove the RV directly to the 700 loop, Carol was ahead of me in the car.  What a surprise, Nelson was working elsewhere, Al had pulled out his own leaf blower and blown the site clean while Jane hosed it down with water.  They had even made a little sign to welcome us!  What great friends!

That was the end of the reverie!  We opened the car, emptied the cargo from the trunk and the back seat, opened the cargo bays under the motor home (we call it "the basement") and hauled out four big plastic tote bins full of Halloween decorations.

I hooked up the utilities and pulled the bikes down from the bike rack while Carol developed a decorating plan, then we both set to work.  And work we did!  Rope lights, Mickey lights, inflatables, signs, a palm tree, flags, the list went on and on.


Another friend, Hilda along with her daughter Stephanie dropped by to say hello while we worked.  We'll be having breakfast at Whispering Canyon with Hilda, Stephanie, Al & Jane in a few days!


At 3:30 we took a short break for a cold drink and a late lunch, then we ploughed back in for another two hours.

Our only interruption all day was a flock of wild turkeys who wandered through the campsite to monitor our progress.  By 5:30 the exterior was pretty much finished, just a few small touches to add over the next few days!

Carol fed Blue a late dinner then we both steamed in a hot shower (separately) to ease our aches and pains.


We headed to Trail's End Restaurant for dinner.  We had made a reservation months ago but Carol cancelled it just a few days ago when we didn't think we would make it!  The restaurant was crammed and there was a huge crowd waiting.  The hostess must have sensed how tired we were, she said, "We can probably seat you in about 35 minutes, but you can also have the buffet if you're seated at the bar.  We can seat you there now, if that's OK?"  Zoom . . . we were seated at the bar before she finished the sentence!


It's always a nice dinner at Trail's End; the restaurant is a real gem that most Disney visitors are unaware of.  It's one of the best dining values in the area.

After dinner Carol got her second wind and decorated the interior of the motor home.  My first, second and third winds were all used up in the afternoon so I just watched her for an hour and a half!  It's looking good!


Bed will come early again, and hopefully we can sleep a bit later in the morning.  We plan to head to the Magic Kingdom for a few hours tomorrow.

Monday October 20


The sleeping in didn't work out for me, I was up at 6:00 a.m.  Carol slept much better after I left, she got up at 7:00.

Just after 8:45 we joined the line at the Fort Wilderness Marina to wait for a boat to the Magic Kingdom.

After a very long wait a boat showed up, with another one right behind it   There must have been a problem of some sort at the Magic Kingdom end of the route; the boats are usually pretty evenly separated!

When we arrived at the park about 9:30 it was incredibly busy.  It was as busy as we've ever seen it.  The line-up for the bag check stretched all the way down to where the line from the buses merges with the line from the boats!  Yikes!


Once in the park we headed straight back to the Seven Dwarfs Mine where we met Kameo and her husband Pasquale from Phoenix. They are here celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary.  Kameo and Pasquale read our blogs and trip reports and have contributed comments to help with a few of my AllEars.net blogs.  It was a treat to spend a few minutes chatting with them.

Then we were off to the Mine Train where we used our FastPasses for my first ride.  Carol had ridden in September.  It is very cute, not a big thrill ride, but cute!  The coaster is very smooth and the animated characters in the interior are extremely well done.

The rocking of the cars added an interesting dimension to the ride.


I had heard about the seats being small and tight, so I had been concerned whether I would be able to pull the lap bar down far enough to lock it.  As it turned out, my girth wasn't a big problem, the width of the bar itself was.  The gap between the sides of the bar was so small I had difficulty getting it past my knees!  I don't know who designed those seats, but they must have had very petite people in mind.


The standby line was 75 minutes long.  Would I wait that long for this ride?  No!  But I'll definitely ride again with a FastPass+.

We wandered over to Tomorrowland well ahead of time for our next FP+  time so we took a relaxing ride on the WEDWAY Peoplemover, then Carol browsed  through Mickey's Star Traders while I sat with a cold drink and did some people watching.


Soon our FP+ time came and we joined the queue at Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin.  We both had terrific scores; Carol hit a couple of big targets early and took an early lead.  Her final score was 387,400 points. I came on strong at the end and edged her out with a score just a bit over 500,000.  I think they were record scores for each of us!

Our next stop was Memento Mori, the new shop which specializes in Haunted Mansion merchandise.  There is some very unique decor and interesting merchandise.  Carol bought a make-up kit for a very villainous friend from Pennsylvania!

Carol met Princess Tiana


It was lunch time as we made our way to the park exit so naturally we stopped at Casey's for a hot dog!  Yum!


Our last stop before leaving the park was Guest Services where we renewed our Tables in Wonderland card.  It gives a 20% discount in many Disney restaurants.


The boat had us back to the campground at 1:18 . . . which gave Carol 12 minutes before the pin trading board at the Trading Post closed . . . she sprinted off to the store while I picked up the golf cart and went to wait for her.


As we left on our way back to the campsite a rider went past on a large black horse.  Carol took a few pictures and spoke with the rider.  The horse, Chief, is one of the two Disney horses used by the Headless Horseman.  You have probably seen him in the Halloween parade!

As soon as we got back home carol let Blue out to do his business.  As they rounded the back of the RV, where he likes to "do his chores", they encountered a flock of about six wild turkeys.  Big surprise - Blue chased a turkey!  It was a huge surprise, totally out of character.  Blue is a coward, who would expect him to chase a turkey into a tree!


To reward our brave puppy we took him off to the dog park.

He hopped right into the golf cart - no hesitation.  He remembers what the golf cart means, and he needed a good romp!


On our way back home we drove past Al & Jane's site; they were putting up a few more decorations. Jane came over to our place to go through some of Carol's pins and they had a marathon session.  Jane had been acting as Carol's personal shopper, picking up all sorts of pins and decorations over the last few months.  Carol pretty much paid for the merchandise with pins!


Fortunately all the trading did not bother Blue and I, we were able to nap through the entire process!


Soon it was time to feed Blue and head out for our dinner.

Tonight we had dinner at 'Ohana, one of our favourites!  There is some major construction underway at the Polynesian Resort which is being re-named "The Polynesian Village Resort".  It's a sort of "retro" change, that's the same name it had in the 70's and 80's.


It was still a very nice meal, but we were disappointed with a few changes in the menu.  The wonderful salad with a mango dressing they used to served has been replaced by a lettuce wrap.  It's a spicy vegetable slaw which you roll up in a lettuce leaf to eat.  It was too spicy for my palate, and far too messy for a natural-born slob like me to eat.


They have also removed the flame broiled chicken skewers from the menu.  They only serve shrimp, pork and steak now.  That changed my meal considerably.  The chicken was my staple.  I never ate the beef or pork, two or three shrimp and plenty of chicken! 


Tonight I filled up on the dumplings they serve as an appetizer.  We made our thoughts know, hopefully they will bring the chicken back soon!  Just before we left our server confided in us that they will serve the salad and mango dressing if you ask.  They are not allowed to offer it.  Good to know!



After dinner I drove Carol off to Wal-Mart and waited in the car reading while she picked up a few groceries and a couple of pumpkins.  The pumpkins in the Meadow Trading Post cost $12.95.  The Wal-Mart ones are a bit bigger and cost $3.00 - smart shopping dear!

We saw this guy, and two others on the way to Wal-Mart



Before bed we took Blue out for a ride in the golf cart.  We toured around several of the camping loops checking out the Halloween decor.  Trick or Treating is still over a week away and there are still plenty of undecorated sites, but it's getting better every day!


Those last three pictures show some of the characters who are hanging out at our campsite!

Tuesday October 21


We got off to a slow start this morning.  It was nice to sleep a bit later . . . we didn't get up until 7:00.  We relaxed with a pot of hot coffee, then I did a couple of little chores outside.  I finished up at 9:00, just in time to have a shower and get ready to leave for breakfast.


I had just gone back outside at 9:25 when Hilda and Stephanie arrived.  Just a few minutes later Al and Jane rode up on their bikes.  By 9:30 Carol and I had hopped on our bikes and the six of us headed off to the nearby Wilderness Lodge Hotel for breakfast at Whispering Canyon Café.

We rode along the Exercise Trail, a mile-long paved path which runs through the forest between the campground and the hotel.  Along the way we encountered two deer who posed for pictures.

They were not the least bit intimidated by us, they just continued to graze alongside the trail while we stopped, talked to them and took pictures.  They were still there grazing when we all rode away!  I think that if I'd had a treat they would have eaten it from my hand.

Soon we were at the hotel, checked in at the Café and seated at our table.  The dining experience at Whispering Canyon is a raucous affair.  The cast members are full of life and very engaging.  It's always a very interactive experience! 


We have eaten there several times over the years and always enjoyed it, but it's Al and Jane's favourite spot!  They've gotten to know the servers very well and this adds a new level to the interaction.  It was a terrific time.

Al, Chad, Stephanie, Bridget, Hilda


Our server was Chad, he's Al & Jane's favourite.  Another server, Bridget left her tables several time to sit with us and criticize the job Chad was doing!  Restaurant Manager Ann Marie stopped by several times to make sure the servers were harassing us to our complete satisfaction.  We spent a hilarious two hours lingering over a delightful meal and got to know our friends a little better.  What a nice way to spend the morning!

The deer had moved on by the time we rode our bikes back home.


Blue was delighted to see us when we got back just after noon.  We spent some quality time with him; he enjoyed another golf cart ride to the dog park before Carol and I headed off to Animal Kingdom.  We were in the car, leaving the campground, when we decided that it was a better idea to spend some time at the pool and leave Animal Kingdom for another day.

Aaahh!  A luxurious soak in the hot tub and a cooling dip in the pool felt great!  Just what we needed!  We relaxed for about an hour, then when the cast members fired up the big amplifier to conduct all the children's games we fled!  Blue insisted that all three of us have a nap.


Blue had his dinner a bit early; at 4:30 Carol and I headed off to the Magic Kingdom to enjoy Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.

Our second trip to the Magic Kingdom and we had another long wait for the boat.  Sure hope this isn't a new trend!


The line at the park was short this time, we whipped through, picked up our wrist-bands and were on our way!  Our first stop was the Fire Hall where Carol picked up the special Sorcerer Card issued for the party!

We wandered back to Liberty Square and rode our only attraction of the evening - naturally it had to be the Haunted Mansion!


It had been a long time since breakfast so we stopped for dinner at Columbia Harbor House.  After dinner we wandered through Frontierland; I found a rocking chair while Carol bought a Halloween Party mystery pin - she was after the Daisy Duck pin.  Dang, she didn't get it!

We carried on from the pin store to Country Bear Jamboree, I really enjoy this classic old show, and we visit every year or two.

As we left Country Bear we received a text message fro Al & Jane, they were holding spots for the parade at Frontier Mercantile.  We looked up from the text message and could see them, right next door!  We stood and yakked for an hour while we waited for the parade.


It wasn't long before another text came along, this one from Larry who we've met on a couple of AllEars.net group cruises.  Larry, his wife Sue and their family were enjoying the party too.  Soon they joined us in front of Frontier Mercantile for Mickey's Boo To You Parade.

The Cadaver Dans serenaded us while we waited for the parade!

This is our favourite of all Disney's parades.  The Disney characters are dressed in Halloween costumes and some of the other parade performers, such as the dancing grave-diggers, put on a spectacular show!  It's a great parade!

Larry, Sue and their family were heading off in their own direction so we said our goodbyes.  Al and Jane joined us as we made our way through Adventureland to The Hub to watch the fireworks.  Along the way we stopped at a Trick or Treat station in Adventureland.

Before long a large cast of characters appeared on the castle forecourt stage for the Villains Mix & Mingle party.  The lively music and dancing kept us amused while we waited.  A few minutes after the Mix & Mingle we watched the nightly Celebrate the Magic Show.  Even though I have seen this laser and light show many, many times I am still awed by it.  The way they transform Cinderella Castle using only projected light is just mind-boggling!  Wow!



Al and Jane said goodbye just before the fireworks began, their dogs had been alone for quite a while so they made their way closer to the exit.  Once the fireworks were over they planned to dash to the boat.


Carol and I watched the Hallowishes fireworks spectacular from the hub.  Like the parade, this show is our favourite.  There are some extra effects added for Halloween, including a series of 360° barrages.  Huge starbursts surround the entire park  . . . it's amazing!

While we waited for the crowd to thin out we sat and enjoyed an ice cream sundae at the Ice Cream Parlour on Main Street.


A bit more trick or treating rounded out our night.  After visiting three more candy stations in Tomorrowland (and filling our bags) we decided to head for home.


The boat had us back to the campground at 11:05.  We were exhausted after a long day - after Blue had a quick walk we fell into bed!  Zzzzz!

Wednesday October 22


Finally we slept a full night, it's amazing what exhaustion can do for you!

We got up at 7:00 a.m. and enjoyed a leisurely start to the day.

We drove over to Disney's Hollywood Studios, arrived there at 9:30 and took a slow stroll back to Toy Story Midway Mania where we had FastPasses.

We get so competitive in this attraction that we both end up with sore arms.  I narrowly edged Carol, but neither of us had particularly good scores today.


We walked past the Hot Set and dropped into Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Frozen Snowground.  This is an area where children can play in snow; it's more like shaved ice, but for children who have never see snow it seems to be quite a thrill!  There are pails and brick molds the kids can use to build snow castles and some even try to roll the ice into balls and make snowmen.  It's fun to watch and it's a nice place to cool off on a hot and humid day!

Carol and the Carollers!

After "chillin'" with Oaken we wandered slowly up the Streets of America.

We went to the Writers Stop for a Carrot Cake Cookie.  It was for research purposes only, I needed a picture for a blog I'm writing!  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!


After Carol and I shared a delicious cookie we strolled across to the Art of Animation Gallery and said hello to Ink and Paint artist David Rippberger.  Today he was busy painting the new Olaf cel.

We had FastPasses for the Tower of Terror, so that was our final ride of the day.

We both enjoy this attraction . . . as you can tell by our expressions!

We headed toward Echo Lake for a quick bite at Min & Bill.  Along the way we passed two troupes of Streetmosphere performers.

These two damsels were in distress, their car wouldn't start and they were deathly afraid of everyone passing by.  We were all potential muggers or perverts!  The one in the passenger seat swung her umbrella at me as we passed and screamed, "Get away from me Wilford Brimley!"  I had never thought of that, but I suppose there is a resemblance!

Lunch at Min & Bills was great, we each had a sausage on a bun.  Yum!


We left the park at 12:10 and headed back to the campground.  Along the way we received a text from Al & Jane asking if we had heard the news from Ottawa.  There was a shooting in the Centre Block of the Canadian Parliament Building.  We rushed home and turned on the television to watch the coverage of this apparent terrorist act on CNN.  It wasn't long before we were on the phone to our son Steve who works in Ottawa but lives across the river in Gatineau Quebec.  He was fine but unsure when he would get home.  The central part of the city was in lockdown and all the bridges to Quebec were closed.


We both followed the rather sketchy news throughout the afternoon while I finished yesterday's update of our trip report and Carol did a few loads of laundry.

Soon it was time to meet our friends from the Tagrel.com internet community.  There were 15 of us; we met at Trail's End Restaurant at 5:00 p.m. and yakked on the veranda for a half hour, then moved inside for dinner at 5:30.

It was almost dark when we emerged from the restaurant at 7:00 and began our walking tour.

We walked around parts of 4 of the camping loops checking out the Halloween decorations.  There are a few very lavish displays, and new ones are appearing every day as Halloween draws closer.

The highlight of the evening was site #508.  Bob has created a masterpiece based on Disney's Haunted Mansion.  There are hitchhiking ghosts behind the mansion gates, animated jack-o-lanterns which sing several spooky songs, a coffin which opens and closes and many of the gravestones from the Haunted Mansion cemetery.  It's very spooky and extremely well done.  Great job Bob!

Our walk brought us back to our campsite where we all sat and yakked for an hour or so.  This was the "Dog" portion of the traditional Lights & Dog Tour so Blue came out to mingle.  He actually cowered more than he mingled, but everyone agreed that he was a pretty dog so he could be forgiven for being so anti-social.


It was nice to sit and catch up with old friends, even if it was for a short time.  By 9:00 p.m. we had escorted everyone back to the marina where they all caught boats to their destinations.


Carol made us some sandwiches for tomorrow's swamp buggy tour and we both played at the computers before turning in.

Thursday October 23


We were up at 6:30 and quickly made ready for our big day!  It was Swamp Buggy and Butterfly Day!  And what a great day it was.  It was sort of Disney . . . but it was very unlike Disney!


Carol and I hopped in the car at 8:00 a.m. to go pick up Al; as we pulled out there he was, walking in our direction.

It's about 20 miles from the campground to the Disney Wilderness Preserve but we allowed a little extra travel time.  Good thing we did, there was more traffic than I expected, even a few school buses to slow us down.

We pulled in at 8:50, just 10 minutes before our tour was scheduled to start.

Our chariot was parked beside the Welcome Centre, a massive green swamp buggy!

We registered in the Education Centre Meeting Room and met our hosts for the day, lepidopterists Tom Palmer and Sue Farnsworth along with Petra Royston, Operations Manager at The Nature Conservancy.  Petra manages the office at the Disney Wilderness Preserve and today she doubled as our swamp buggy driver!


Tom Palmer narrated a slide show describing the butterflies and plants we would see during our travels and then it was time to "mount up".

By 9:45 we were on our way.  A pair of Sand Hill Cranes were standing by to see us off!

Tom and Sue watched carefully for specimens and called out whatever butterflies they saw.  We stopped frequently and disembarked to take pictures of the flitting and darting beauties!  This was a challenge.  I don't know why the butterflies haven't been trained to pose for tourists . . . they sure don't co-operate.  Every time you get a shot lined up they dart away before you can focus!  We each had our cameras snapping away, we shot hundreds of pictures and got a few good ones!

We stopped a few hundred yards from Lake Russell and walked over to the shore.  Petra pointed across the lake and indicated where Reedy Creek emptied into Lake Russell.  Reedy Creek is the main watercourse running through Walt Disney World and is part of the headwaters of the Everglades!


It's a beautiful area, especially here where the cypress trees line the shore.


There are a number of monitoring towers and scientific stations scattered throughout the preserve and Petra explained the significance of them as we passed.  They measure everything from carbon in the atmosphere to minerals in the soil.

Our morning drive took us south seven miles through forests and wetlands to a pair of cabins near Lake Hatchineha.  All along the way our hosts described the butterflies, birds, trees and wildflowers we were passing by.

We arrived at the cabins at 12:30 and stopped there for an hour.  Everyone brought their own lunch which we enjoyed on the veranda.

We roamed the area around the cabins snapping a few shots before boarding the swamp buggy at 1:30 to begin the 7 mile northbound journey.

More forest, more wetlands, more butterflies and a very special treat.  We saw a few scrub jays, an endangered and very rare variety of blue jay!

This little guy is about the size of your baby fingernail!

It was a wonderful experience.  The beauty of nature, species we do not see at home, clear skies, good weather and a swamp buggy!  How could it be any better?


This event happens only once a year, one tour only, limited to 15 guests.  We feel truly honoured and thankful.to have had the chance to enjoy it!


We were back to the Welcome Centre at 3:00; all of us yawning after a day in the fresh air.  We were back home at Fort Wilderness by 4:00 and took a well earned nap!


By 5:00 Carol had fed Blue and we debated our dinner plans - do we go to EPCOT to enjoy a bit of the Food & Wine Festival or do we go to Earl of Sandwich at Downtown Disney so the lady who brings joy and comfort to my life can shop.  I left the decision to her, grabbed my book, and off we went to Downtown Disney.

Earl's was great as always.  I grabbed a table outside while Carol waited for our sandwiches.  As I waited, along came friends Pam, SusanL, SusanR and Lizanne.  They picked up sandwiches and joined us.  We hadn't seen them in almost 20 hours . . .


After dinner everyone went their separate ways and Carol went shopping - it was browsing, she didn't buy a thing!  I stayed at Earl's enjoying my book.  I lifted my head from the page long enough to see friends Nancy and Rod from Maine waved on their way past, then Carol returned.


She was all finished checking out the stores by 8:30.  We stopped at Best Friends Kennel on the way home and she booked a indoor/outdoor suite for Blue on Saturday.  We have a long and busy day planned, too long to leave him alone in the RV.


We were home with Blue by 9:00 and had a quiet evening.  Soft yawns were the only sounds in the RV!

Friday October 24


My first words today were, "Holy crap!"  It was 7:30 when I opened my eyes and looked at the clock.  Last night was cool with no humidity and we were able to open the windows.  All that fresh air yesterday, followed by fresh air last night meant a very restful sleep.

We hit the ground running, we were meeting friends from Tagrel.com at the Magic Kingdom.  Carol took Blue out for a walk and discovered three deer on the dog walk behind our campsite.  It was a momentous day for Blue - he found the courage to bark at a deer.

We're now three for three in the slow boat department.  It took forever for the boat to arrive at the Fort Wilderness Marina.  Normally they are very reliable, but not this week.  We arrived at the Magic Kingdom at 9:25.

I hustled through the "No Bag" line and headed directly back to the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train while Carol was processed through bag-check.  I wonder if they'll ever eliminate that annoying bag-check which sprung up after 9/11?

We met up with friends SusanL, SusanR, Lizanne, Mary, Pam, Sharon and Carl for a group ride on the mine train.  As we yakked after the ride Karen joined us for a few minutes.

Soon we moved on to Sleepy Hollow, a snack bar in Liberty Square, where we had a cold drink and a quick bite.

We wandered through Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe on our way to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  As soon as our FastPass times kicked in we all joined the queue for the wildest ride in the wilderness!



Our next stop was Splash Mountain.  Carol surprised me when she announced that she was riding too!  She doesn't like to get wet at the parks . . . but today was warm and sunny so she joined in the fun!  It wasn't time for our FastPasses when we arrived, but the standby line was only 20 minutes so we hopped in line.  We were through the ride within 15 minutes.  Carol and I got fairly wet, but Pam who was two rows in front of us got soaked!  We moved out to the entrance, waited until our FastPass times rolled around then Pam road again with Karen who had just joined us.

After Splash Mountain we said our goodbyes to everyone and headed toward Be Our Guest Restaurant where we had a 12:50 FastPass.  Along the way Carol popped into Frontier Mercantile for a vinylmation trade and then visited Memento Mori, the new store featuring Haunted Mansion merchandise.

Lunch at Be Our Guest was good, we ordered two sandwiches, the sliced turkey and the Croque Monsieur and shared them.  Yum!

We caught the boat to the campground at 1:50 and were back home by 2:15.  Blue was delighted to see us.  We treated him with a trip to the dog park.  He ran and ran chasing his ball.  When he was all out of huff and puff we took him home.

Blue and I had a nice nap while Carol went for a bike ride.  She visited the stables, snuck a few pictures of the wreckage of River Country through the fence and then rode past the new bat house behind the 300 loop before returning home.

We sat outside with Blue for a while, just watching our fellow campers and their dogs pass by.  At 5:00 p.m. Blue reminded us that it was his dinner time.  After he was fed and walked Carol and I struck out to dinner.  We went to the Orlando Ale House on nearby Route 535.  Carol pronounced it edible, but not high on her restaurant list.  There are so many restaurants we like better that we're not likely to return there often.


After dinner we drove to the Outlet Mall and Carol scoured the Disney Character Outlet for bargains while I waited in the car with my book.  It wasn't long before she returned with a small bag of Disney goodies!


We were back at the campground by 9:00, just in time to load Blue on the golf cart and drive around the campground checking out the Halloween decorations.  There are more and more appearing every day.  It should be spectacular next week!

Saturday October 25


We sprang out of bed at 6:45 . . . well, we sort of sprang.  We had to get moving this morning, Blue was going to the kennel for the day and we weren't sure how long the check-in process would take.

Blue barked at another deer this morning!  He's getting to be very brave . . . when his Mommy is close by!

We were on the road by 8:00 a.m. and dropped him off at Best Friends Kennel which is only about a half-mile away.  He shivered and shook all the way into the kennel and was still shaking as they led him off to his suite!


We parked at Hollywood Studios at 8:30 and headed toward Tower of Terror.

SusanL, Pam and Karen came out the Tower of Terror exit as we approached.  They had already ridden Toy Story Midway Mania and the Tower.

I joined them and the four of us took a plunge on the Tower together while Carol browsed through the gift shop.

We made our way to Pixar Place where we were to meet the rest of our Tagrel.com friends for a group ride on Toy Story Midway Mania.  It wasn't long before Nancy, Rod, Lizanne, Carl, Mary and SusanR joined us and we entered the FastPass queue at 9:35.

Carol was ahead after the first game-board and maintained a narrow lead until the very end, when I squeezed by to win by a very slim margin!  She's a fierce competitor!

We stopped for coffee and a sweet treat at Starring Rolls then Pam, SusanR and I made our way to Rock 'N Roller Coaster where we used the Single Rider Line to take a quick spin with Aerosmith.


The rest of the gang were waiting for us when we arrived at Tower of Terror.  Karen, SusanL, Pam, Carol and I used our FastPasses to take another thrilling plunge!

The gang spilt up and everyone went their separate ways until lunch time.  Carol and I poked around in a shop on Hollywood Boulevard then she dashed off to look for a special Vera Bradley purse.


These wretched street performers called me Wilford Brimley again . . . getting old is no fun!

We all met at noon for lunch at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre.  It's an interesting restaurant.  The interior resembles a classic drive-in theatre; you sit in replicas of old 1950's convertibles as trailers for cheesy old science fiction movies play on the big screen.  There were 15 of us and we occupied three cars.  It was great fun!

Carol and I had to rush off after lunch, we had a D23 function on the Boardwalk.  We snapped a few pictures as we scurried out of the park.

We boarded the Friendship boat and rode from Hollywood Studios to the Swan and Dolphin dock.  From there it was a short walk to the Boardwalk.

The Atlantic Dance Hall was the site for D23 Fanniversary.  This was our first D23 event and we had no idea what to expect.

When we entered we were given a few participant gifts, a D23 Fanniversary pennant, one of four D23 buttons and a card.  Trivia questions were scrolling on the big screen to keep us amused while we waited for the two-hour programme to begin.

At 2:30 our hosts, Kevin from Syracuse NY and Billy from Burbank CA took the stage.  There were no pictures allowed, so I can't show you what we saw, but I assure you that we were completely spellbound and well amused for two hours.  They talked about the many Disney anniversaries happening this year, starting with four attractions from the 1964 New York World's Fair (Carousel of Progress, Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln, It's A Small World and The Magic Skyway) and worked their way through to the most recent events, such as yesterday's announcement that the big Sorcerer's Hat would be leaving Hollywood Studios.


They used slide shows, music and video to illustrate the "insider" stories they told us, and we were shown some video clips that have never before been publicly aired.  There were some funny bloopers by Walt Disney as he recorded segments for the Disneyland Show in the late 1950's and a very touching interview with Julie Andrews when she described working with Walt on the Mary Poppins movie.


It was over all to soon.  We couldn't believe that two full hours had passed!

Kevin and Billy posed for pictures with two classic pieces of Disney history pulled from the archives for the occasion.

Kevin is holding the hat that Julie Andrews wore when she portrayed Mary Poppins.

Billy is holding a "Duckster" - this was an award for "service above and beyond" that was awarded from time to time at the Disney Studios.

Carol and I caught the Friendship boat at the Boardwalk dock and sailed back to Hollywood Studios to retrieve our car.  Next stop Best Friends Kennel where we sprung Blue from solitary confinement.  He sure was happy to see us!


Back home at the RV poor Blue drank and drank.  He obviously didn't drink at all at the kennel, he likely just sat in a corner shaking all day.  We comforted him for a while, then fed him dinner before we took off for dinner ourselves.

We went to Olivia's at the nearby Old Key West Resort.  It's only a mile or two from the campground.  We had a very nice meal and were back with Blue by 8:00 p.m.


I expect Blue will be sleeping between us tonight, he had a very traumatic day!

Sunday October 26


It was a cool night, a low of 57°, great for sleeping.  I rolled over at 6:45 and said to Carol, "Is that an owl I'm hearing?"  It was!  What a great way to wake up, the gentle who, who, who off in the distance!


Carol took her camera rather than her phone when she walked Blue, hoping for some better pictures of the deer.  But there were no deer today, they must have caught on to her schedule!

We hit the road at 8:15, in the car heading to Animal Kingdom.  As we neared the campground exit we spotted three deer, a doe and her two fawns.  We pulled over to get pictures of the young ones who were running and romping.  It was almost too cute!

We arrived at Animal Kingdom and met our Tagrel.com friends at the entrance to Kilimanjaro Safaris at 9:15.

We sat around yakking until 9:30 and then entered the FastPass queue for a group ride.  There were plenty of animals today!

Carol got a great shot of the cheetahs!  That's always hard to do, they typically hide in a shady area at the back.

We took a slow stroll to Expedition Everest, waited until 10:30 when our passes were valid, and in we went for a high speed run through the Himalayas.  They have done a few repairs since we last rode, the bird is back at the top of the ride, and the Yeti in the last scene is a little brighter and easier to see as you hurtle past!

We left our buddies for a few minutes; Carol and I wandered through a few shops, looked at kangaroos and searched for otters.  There were no otters to be found!

Carol browsed one more shop, Disney Outfitters, on our way back to meet the group.  I waited outside.  She came running back, camera in hand, and said, "I saw the most amazing bird show, where were you?"  They are testing a new macaw show, Winged Encounters, just outside the shop.  Three handlers and a narrator appear, followed by a couple of dozen brightly coloured macaws.  The birds all fly in, skimming over people's heads.

The narrator describes the birds and their behaviors while the handlers feed them treats.  Then, on command the birds all fly off again, skimming heads as they leave.

At noon we headed to Flame Tree BBQ where we met the Tagrel.com gang for lunch.  At about 1:00 we said farewell to them all; many are flying home tonight or tomorrow.  Their homes are scattered across the USA.  It may be some time before we see them again!

We were back home by 1:30 and took Blue to the dog park for a romp.  When we took the tuckered puppy back to our campsite; both Carol and I had a few chores to do before our nap.  I was almost finished when some strangers came along.  They introduced themselves as Krista & Tom from New Brunswick.  They read our blogs and were camping here this week so they dropped by to say hello on their way to tonight's Halloween Party.  Thanks for stopping in guys, it was nice to meet you both!


Then it was nap time!  We have been quite busy the last few days and a bit of quiet time was just what we needed!


By 4:30 we were rolling again!  Blue had been fed and walked early so we could head off to the Magic Kingdom for dinner at Be Our Guest.  It's a very nice restaurant and we both enjoy the dinner menu there. 


Today we had much better luck with the boats, they pulled up as we arrived and we got to the park in plenty of time.  Carol browsed the stores along Main Street while I waited at an outside table near the Ice Cream Shop.  We wandered to Tomorrowland, checked the line for Buzz Lightyear, ooops - a 40 minute wait.  We didn't have that much time so we headed to the restaurant and checked in early for dinner.  We waited about 15 minutes and were seated about 15 minutes before our reserved time.

The food was great, the atmosphere was great, we had a wonderful time.


We finished dinner at 7:00 p.m. just as the park closed and the Halloween Party began. 

What a struggle to get to the exit.  Party patrons were filing in and we were fish swimming upstream against the flow.  We made it to the dock just as the boat arrived and were back at the campground by 7:30.

Carol popped into the Settlement Trading Post to trade a few pins on their trading board.  The board comes out every night from 7:30 to 8:00.


Back at the campsite we let Blue out, then drove over to Al & Jane's site and picked them up to go "looping" in the golf cart.  We spent almost an hour and a half driving around the camping loops admiring Halloween decorations.  There are more and more every day!


We were home by 9:30 and settled in for the night!

Monday October 27


This morning we didn't have to rush off to meet our Tagrel.com friends.  We slept in until 7:15.

The deer were back when Carol took Blue out for his walk, this time they were across the canal from the dog walk but she still got a few good pictures, and Blue had a chance to grump and growl at them!

We boarded a boat to the Magic Kingdom at 9:10 . . . it was waiting at the dock when we got there!  We arrived at the park at 9:25, in plenty of time for our FastPass at Peter Pan.

After Peter Pan we used the standby line to ride It's A Small World.

There was no line, we walked directly on.  Carol shot some great pictures.

We stopped at Frontier Mercantile as we passed and Carol traded a vinylmation, then we headed on to Big Thunder Mountain for a wild railroad ride.

It was warming up, so we paused for a cold, soothing treat.  Carol had a citrus swirl and I had a pineapple float.


Our final Fastpasses of the day were at Pirates of the Caribbean.  We had just gotten in the queue when the ride stopped.  We waited about ten minutes, there was no sign of the attraction resuming so we left.  We can always ride another day!

It was almost noon so we headed toward the exit and stopped at Casey's for a hot dog.  We ran into Linda and Bruce, friends from Georgia, who sat and chatted with us for a while.


We caught a boat home at 12:15 and did a few chores around the RV.  Blue insisted that I have a nap with him, then once we were both rested up we persuaded Carol to join us on a trip to the dog park.  Blue ran and frolicked for about 20 minutes, there was no frolic left in him!   We were back home by 3:30 and sat outside enjoying the wonderful weather.

Blue had his dinner a bit early, our friends Deb and Linda were coming for dinner and a campground tour. 


They arrived at 5:00 p.m. and we sat outside chatting for an hour before heading to the restaurant.  The head chef, Tjetjep (pronounced Tee-Jay) from Jakarta, Indonesia, came out to review a few dietary issues with Deb.

It turns out that the two of them are old friends and during dinner we were given a few special treats!  We always enjoy the buffet at Trail's End but is was enhanced by two very special dishes Tjetjep prepared just for us.  First was a side dish, pulled barbecued brisket and chopped green onion served over mashed potatoes and garnished with cheese crisps.  It sounds like an odd combination but it was delicious!

The grand finale was a spectacular dessert..  A tower of deep fried Oreo cookies, surrounded by strawberry compote and sliced bananas.  Chef Tjeptep drizzled it  with chocolate sauce while we watched.  Yum!

After dinner we boarded our golf cart and toured the camping loops showing Deb and Linda all the amazing Halloween décor.  We stopped again and again; they took dozens of pictures and plenty of video clips during our two-hour tour.

What a wonderful evening.  We laughed as we shared a delightful meal with friends we don't see very often.  Then we had a chance to show them how creative, inventive and fun-loving Fort Wilderness campers can be.  We all had a great time!


We were back to our campsite at 10:00 p.m.  After saying goodbye to Deb and Linda we played at the computers for a while before bed.


Tuesday October 28


We were up at 7:00 and loafed around the campsite for a few hours.  I took Blue for a walk along the canal behind the 800 camping loop.  No deer again this morning!  Maybe Blue was too ferocious and scared them away permanently?  Nope, no chance of that!

We left for EPCOT at 9:30 to begin eating our way around the world at the Food & Wine Festival.

We'd been here over a week and had not made it to EPCOT yet!

Our first stop was The Land where we rode Soarin'.  I still really enjoy the ride but Carol finds it boring.  I agree, perhaps it's time for a new film, but I really enjoy the technology.

We crossed The Land pavilion and took a ride on Living With The Land.  No matter how many times we see those high-tech greenhouses and all the hydroponics, it's still impressive!

World Showcase had opened by the time we left the greenhouses so we headed toward Mexico to begin our roving feast.  There are kiosks set up all around the lagoon where you can sample small portions of international foods.  It normally takes us about three days to work our way from Mexico to Canada sampling all the treats in between! 


There is a handy-dandy little passport which describes what is available at each location, and you can have your passport stamped at each stop!

Our first stop today was Terra where we shared Blackened Chick'n Breast with Farro Wheat and Spicy Gumbo Sauce.  Carol enjoyed the Chocolate-Blood Orange Cupcake but only after she scraped off the Tofu Icing!

Patagonia was next in line.  I had staked out a shaded table while Carol picked up a Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Purée. 

She was on her way back when someone walked up and said, "Hi Carol."  It was Chris & Bruce from Rockport MA.  They get their "Disney fix" between trips by reading our trip reports.  They wanted to say hello and urge us to keep on writing.  Thanks for saying Hi, it was nice meeting you both!


While we were chatting with them we lost our nice shady table so we leaned on a nearby wall to enjoy our skewer.  That happens a lot at Food & Wine.  We've eaten some real delicacies on the top of a trash can!

We passed by three kiosks, New Zealand, Oddyssey Coffee Cart and Craft Beers.  Our next stop was Australia where we picked up Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes, Lemon Myrtle and Rapini. 

Desert was Pavlova, a Crispy Meringue Shell with Fresh Berries and Vanilla Custard.  Very tasty!

A few steps took us to Mexico for a Rib Eye Taco.  It was very tasty and I managed to avoid slopping any of it on my shirt.  That doesn't happen often with tacos!

Farm Fresh is a new vendor this year.  We ordered Nueske's Pepper Bacon Hash with Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Hollandaise and Pickled Jalapeños.

We quickly tossed those fiery little peppers and enjoyed the rest of the dish!

The China kiosk had one of our favourite dishes, Chicken Potstickers.  Delicious!

Nothing at the South Korea booth appealed to us so we carried on to Africa where we enjoyed South African Bobotie with Turkey and Mushroom.  We had no idea what we were ordering and we still have no idea what it was that we ate, but it was tasty!

We bypassed two more vendors, The Refreshment Cool Post and Singapore.  Our last food items of the tour were Roast Bratwurst in a Pretzel Bun and a Berliner-Yeast Doughnut filled with Apricot Jam, both from Germany.


We washed the bratwurst and doughnut down with Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Beer from the Brewer's Collection.  Carol announced that it was the only beer she ever enjoyed!


It's funny how those small dishes add up.  We shared every one, and only one from each kiosk but we were full after making our way about one-third of the way around the lagoon.  We'll resume the trek tomorrow!

We headed to Future World and stopped in at the Food and Wine Event Center, located in the former Wonders of Life Pavilion.  There are many seminars, lectures (and of course vendors) located there.  Carol bought the special Food & Wine Festival vinylmation, then we headed to the parking lot and made our way home.

We took Blue for a very short walk at about 1:30 then relaxed in the cool of the RV.  It was 88° and humid and we were both wilting . . . but mostly me!


After I cooled off Blue and I had a nap.  When I woke at 3:00 it seemed like a good time for a swim.  Carol rode her bicycle down to the Bike Barn where she registered us for the Campsite Decorating Contest and for Trick or Treating.  She signed Blue up for the Halloween Dog Parade . . . he's contestant #107.


I drove the golf cart to the pool and we lounged and soaked for about an hour!  It felt great after a hot and sweaty day!  We felt so good that we loaded Blue on the golf cart and took him to the off-leash park for a run.  There were several other small dogs there and he almost played with them.  Almost - but not quite!

By 5:45 Blue had been fed and walked; Carol and I were on our way to Downtown Disney for dinner at Earl of Sandwich!  She diverted into the new Co-Op Store on our way to Earl's, and waved for me to follow.  She quickly discovered a Vera Bradley bag that would make a perfect Christmas gift for her.  She handed it to me and then closed her eyes while I bought it.  She'll be ever-so surprised Christmas morning!


We sat outside at Earl's and shared a bowl of Tomato Soup, a Tuna Melt and a Seasonal Turkey Sandwich.  Then Carol went shopping.  This time it wasn't browsing - she came back with a bag!


We were back with Blue just after 8:00 p.m. and enjoyed a quiet night at home!

Wednesday October 29


We were up at 7:00 a.m. and relaxed as we savoured a pot of Tim Horton's coffee.  We always make sure to bring enough Timmie's to last the entire trip!


By 8:45 we were on the road, heading to EPCOT to continue our culinary trek.

We were parked and approaching the gate at 9:00 a.m.

Our first stop was Spaceship Earth.  We had a FastPass but it wasn't necessary today, there was no line.  Since we had one we used it anyway . . . it zoomed us ahead four spaces!  Wow!


There was some confusion as the party ahead of us boarded their Time Machine so we had to rush to get in ours before the door closed.  The video monitor, asking us to select a language, flickered off before we had a chance to sit.  "Oh well," I said to Carol, "The default language is probably English."  Not in our Time Machine - it was Japanese.

Spaceship Earth is always an educational ride, and today we learned a few new things:

  1. The ride is better when you understand the narrator.

  2. The woolly mammoth does not speak Japanese, he sounded exactly the same as always.

  3. The Japanese narrator sounds nothing like Dame Judy Dench.


Masayo, we now have a video for you to translate . . . it means nothing to us!

Carol browsed through the Mouse Gear shop while I walked over to the Mission Space attraction and piloted an X-2 Deep Space Shuttle to Mars.  The JAMMitors performed in Future World while she waited.

We still had some time to kill before World Showcase opened at 11:00 so we headed to the Festival Center.  We played hide and seek among the potted plants along the way!

Carol browsed a few shops (mostly the Ghirrardelli shop) while I watched Seasons of the Vine, an interesting movie about vinyards and wine production.  There was absolutely no reason for me to watch it, I don't grow grapes and I don't enjoy wine, but like I said, we had time to kill!

The JAMMitors were starting their show again as we headed toward World Showcase.  I watched for a few minutes while Carol found a cool seat in the nearby breezeway.  The day was heating up, it was 85° and  quite humid by 11:00 a.m.


We hopped the Friendship boat from Mexico to Germany and popped into the Werther's store.  Their caramel corn is terrific, Carol bought a bag while I took a few pictures around the store.

Our roving lunch began at Poland.

We had Kielbasa and a Potato Pierogi with Caramelized Onion and Sour Cream.

At Italy we enjoyed Chicken Tenderloin, Cremini Mushrooms, Marsala Sauce and Ciabatta Bread.  Very tasty!

The village in the model train display at Germany was all decorated for the Food & Wine Festival!

We stopped at Hops & Barley, beside the American Adventure.  I enjoyed a nice cheese plate with Cabot Cloth-wrapped Cheddar, Purple Haze Chèvre Goat Cheese and Cave Man Blue Cheese.  Carol had a Florida Grass-Fed Beef Slider with Pimento Cheese.  It was all yummy!

After travelling back in time with that mysterious Japanese lady, we had to stop at Japan and try a Teriyaki Gyoza Bun, a Steamed Bun filled with Chicken, Vegetables and Sweet Teriyaki.

Just a few steps away was Morocco.  We sampled a delicious Kefta Pocket.  It was seasoned ground beef served in a pita pocket.

Our final kiosk of the day was Belgium, naturally we had a Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream.  Very nice - those Belgians know a thing or two about waffles!

There were some refurbishments in the France Pavilion about a year ago and we had yet to visit the two new shops, the Ice Cream Shop and the Bakery.  That was our final stop today.  We shared a scoop of Cinnamon, Caramelized Apple and Crumble Ice Cream (I had most of it), a wonderful ham & cheese sandwich served on a croissant and a vanilla éclair.  Wow . . . we'll be having lunch in France sometime soon!

It was about  12:45 when we headed toward the exit.  We passed Great Britain and arrived in Canada while the new show, Canadian Lumberjacks, was underway.  I really enjoyed Off Kilter who used to play at that venue.  They always drew a huge audience, people were clapping, tapping toes, some even danced. 


The lumberjacks are as dull as dishwater; I can't imagine anyone over eight years old enjoying their show.  Why would they get rid of Off Kilter and replace them with something that boring?  I simply don't understand!  Dudley Do-Right would be more entertaining than the lumberjacks; it would also be a Canadian stereotype I could live with!

We were back home with Blue by 1:30 and had a quiet afternoon.  Blue had a trip to the dog park and an early dinner.


Carol and I were back in the car at 5:00 for our return trip to EPCOT.  We had a dinner reservation at Teppan Edo.  We walked past Canada again on our way to Japan.  The lumberjacks were playing again; it was equally painful the second time.

We checked in at the restaurant about 10 minutes early and were promptly seated.  Our chef and server did a great job and our tablemates, from Worcester MA were avid Disney fans.  We had plenty to chat about; it was a very nice meal.



After dinner we walked through the Rose Garden and used our FastPasses for a quick ride on Soarin'.  Then we dragged our hot and tired carcasses to the car for the drive home.  It was still 77° and humid at 8:30.


Blue was happy to see us when we pulled in at 8:45.

Thursday October 30


Today was a "non-park" day.  We didn't go anywhere near a Disney park.  Friends Gary and Sharon were coming over from their condo at New Smyrna Beach to see the campground and watch the costumed dog parade.


We slept in until 7:15 and enjoyed a slothful morning.  We popped out for a few minutes to buy some groceries and gas up the car but weren't away from Fort Wilderness more than an hour and a half.

Our guests arrived at noon and we sat outside yakking for a while, then enjoyed salads and sandwiches for lunch.

Then it was time to board the golf cart and tour them around the camping loops.  Their dog Preston, a tiny Maltese, rode along with us.  They were amazed at all the Halloween decorations; there were campers who had just arrived today, frantically working to get their decorations and displays set up in time for the judging which takes place tonight!

We scoured many of the camping loops and then at 3:00 p.m. dropped Carol and Preston off at our campsite.  Gary, Sharon and I continued the tour; I took them to all the places pets are not allowed, the Pioneer Hall area, the Marina, the Backyard BBQ Pavilion, the Horse Barns, The Pool, the Bike Barn, Chip & Dale's Campfire & Theatre.  We saw turkeys, deer, archery lessons, canoes and so much more.


We were back at the campsite by 4:00 and picked up Carol, Blue and Preston.  It was time to head to the dog park for the gala dog costume competition and parade.  We met friends Al, Jane and their cocker spaniel Boo at the park.  Smudge and Nico decided they didn't want to dress up so they stayed home.

Jane & Boo, Carol & Blue

There were some very imaginative costumes, most of them Disney themed!   Blue, Preston and Boo didn't win any prizes, but they made some new friends!


Gary and Sharon had originally intended to go home after the dog parade, but we got the impression that they might like to stay and see some of the Halloween décor all lit up after dark.  Carol got on the computer and booked us a dinner reservation for Trail's End at 6:25

We checked in early and were seated a few minutes before our allotted time.  On our way in I spotted chef Tjeptep who had given us those terrific treats a few nights ago.  I waved as we passed, he was helping another family with some food allergy issues.


We had a very nice time, sharing memories with good friends we don't see often, while enjoying the good grub they always serve up at Trail's End.  We were just finishing our dessert and getting ready to go when chef Tjeptep showed up with his signature dessert. 

Yup, those delicious deep-fried Oreo cookies!  Even though we were all stuffed Gary, Sharon and Carol made a valiant effort to finish them.  I was very thankful that I dislike chocolate.  If I had eaten any more it would have been painful!

It was fully dark when we left the restaurant and started retracing our earlier route around the camping loops.  We saw plenty of lavish campsites, some very blinged-out golf carts, some horse drawn carriages and we even had a spooky encounter with the headless horseman! 


We stopped again and again for Gary to take pictures.  I sure hope some of them turn out.


We were back home by 9:00 p.m. and everyone was yawning.  Gary and Sharon said goodbye and pulled out just after 9:00 - Carol and I continued to sit around yawning.  Disney Cast Members are judging the decorated campsites tonight between 9:00 p.m. and midnight.  The winner will be announced tomorrow night.


Will we be able to stay awake until midnight in order to turn out the lights?  Stay tuned and we'll let you know!

Friday October 31


We had plans for Magic Kingdom this morning but we were both feeling a bit lazy so we opted for another "non-park" day.


We left the campground about 10:00 a.m. and drove to a Wal-Mart about 7 miles away, just off Sand Lake Road.  I picked up some chemicals for the RV toilet and Carol bought a few groceries.  On the way home we detoured to the Disney Character Outlet where she picked up a few inexpensive Vinylmations to use as traders.


We were back home by noon.  We had a quick sandwich for lunch then Carol went to the two Trading Posts to trade from the pin trading boards while I delivered a couple of Mickey heads I made for people.  Some folks are nervous about cutting the acrylic globes to assemble the lights so I made a few up at home and brought them along for people who were going to be here.

I took Blue to the dog park and then he and I had a nice nap while Carol did some laundry.  Then it was time to get ready for the 5:00 p.m. golf cart parade.  At about 4:00 I loaded our lawn chairs on the golf cart and set them up alongside Fort Wilderness Trail to make sure we had a good vantage point for the parade.  There were already people waiting, some were all dressed up and ready for trick or treating!

As I returned to the campsite along came our friend Jack with his friend Janine.  Suddenly we were missing those lawn chairs!  We all sat around the picnic table and chatted for a while.

Jack and Janine left to see some of the decorations before dark while we fed Blue and took him for a walk.  At 5:00 we settled into our chairs, beside Al & Jane from Missouri, to watch the parade!  Woody and Jessie led the parade which features some very creative carts.

We scurried back home after the parade, had a quick sandwich and settled outside waiting for trick or treaters!  They were scheduled for 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. but naturally they started early.


There were some wonderful costumes, plenty of princesses and pirates, Elsas & Annas everywhere, a few little Minnies, Peter Pans, Spidermen, Draculas and one lonely Harry Potter.

Many of the parents dressed up to accompany the kids.

Glitzy golf carts, all tricked out for the parade, roamed the loops escorting the kids!


Cindy (DizzneeMomma from Tagrel.com) dropped by with her children. Carol chatted with them while I doled out treats to swarms of kids.  It was so busy that I didn't have time to say hello, let alone take a picture!  Maybe next time Cindy!


Jack and Janine came back at about 8:00 to say goodbye, after spending some time with other friends in the 1000 loop.  We said a quick farewell between kids.

At 8:15 I left Carol, hopped on my bicycle and headed to Chip & Dales Campfire and Sing-Along.  I waited until 8:30 for the announcement of the campsite decorating contest winners.

When the movie under the stars began I figured something was amiss so I rode back home.  We double-checked the schedule and saw that the winners had been announced at 7:00 p.m.  I guess we'll get the details later . . . sure hope that Bob Clyde in site 508 was selected!

We ran out of candy at 9:00 p.m. and the flow of kids petered out very soon after that.  We estimate that we had between 450 and 500 kids.  Hope they enjoy the Canadian candy bars we brought!


We sat for a while with Blue, he was a bit bewildered by the evening's activities and needed some calming words!  We played at out computers for a bit and got to bed early.


Tomorrow we plan to spend the morning at Disney's Hollywood Studios and then pack away our Halloween decorations in the afternoon.

Saturday November 1


We all know that it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind - but today I discovered that it's Carol's prerogative to change my mind.  It wasn't all that tough to do!


She said, "Let's not go to Studios this morning, let's go to Earl's for breakfast."  After mulling it over for a nanosecond I said, "Okay!"

We left Blue in the RV at 9:15 and were enjoying breakfast sandwiches at 9:30.  Carol had a BLT and I had a Bacon, Egg & Cheddar.  Even the breakfast sandwiches are great there.

By the time we finished our coffee, juice and sandwiches it was 10:00 a.m. and the shops had opened.  Naturally Carol had to stop at the Pin Trader's store.  She had a list of new releases to pick up for some friends at home.  Naturally there was a new series of boxed mystery pins released today so she had to have a few boxes of those!

I roamed around taking pictures of an almost deserted Marketplace.  All the construction is focused in the central area, the former Pleasure Island and has had very little effect on the shops.

Traffic on the roads and parking in the area is a challenge, but people still come in droves by bus and boat!

We were back home by 11:15 and took advantage of the cool temperature by taking down the Halloween decorations.  It was very hot and humid when we put them up, today it was a nippy 57°.  Everything came down except the rope lights and the Mickey lamp posts.  It's funny how it comes down so much quicker than it goes up!  By 2:00 p.m. is was all down, cleaned and packed away ready for next year.  The totes full of decorations were all stowed in the hatches under the motor home and we took a few minutes to relax.


We had a light lunch in the RV then I took Blue to the dog park for a romp while Carol puttered in the RV.  Blue and I laid down for a nap and he slept soundly, but sleep eluded me, soon I was up playing at the computer.


Blue had an early dinner and we left at 4:30 on our way to Hollywood Studios.

We wandered slowly up Hollywood Boulevard to the Big Ass Hat where Carol checked out the pins!  Then we went to Star Tours.  Carol had booked FastPasses but she doesn't really like the ride . . . the motion and 3D gives her a bit of vertigo, so she waited while I rode.  There was no need for a FastPass, there was no one in the standby line!  During my trip our Starspeeder 1000 eluded Darth Vader and his Storm Troopers, almost crashed on the planet Hoth, then careened through  the wreckage of the Death Star before delivering the rebel spy to Rebel Alliance HQ.

Carol and strolled past Gertie the dinosaur and stopped in at 50's Primetime Restaurant to see if they were taking any "walk-ups" - NOPE!

Our next stop was Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre where she asked the same question.  This time the answer was yes.  We were seated by 5:45 and had a nice dinner.  We shared an appetizer of onion rings, shared a Reuben sandwich and then shared a tasty dessert, a honey glazed doughnut with cinnamon apples and vanilla bean ice cream.  Just the right amount for us and all very good!

After dinner we enjoyed the MuppetVision 3D show.  It has been a while since we've seen it and there were a few changes.  A few new crates and boxes have been added in the pre-show room and a few new scenes have been added to the pre-show video.  It's always an amusing experience!

We wandered through the dark and quiet Streets of America.  They are all wired up and cordoned off for the Osborne Lights which begin in a week.  Things won't be so quiet then!

Our last stop was at Toy Story Midway Mania.  I won this round of the shoot 'em up competition!

We made our way toward the exit, detoured onto Sunset Boulevard to trade a Vinylmation at Villains in Vogue, but there were no good trades tonight!


We left the park at 7:50 and were home with Blue just after 8:00.  Tonight we set the clocks back, we'll have an extra hour of sleep before we head to the Magic Kingdom tomorrow morning!

Sunday November 2


Last night, when Carol took Blue out at bed time, he met his first armadillo.  He didn't see it, but he sure heard it!  Those critters make a rustling sound when they root around in the pine needles.  This mysterious noise is apparently very disconcerting to dogs; it makes it hard to concentrate on their nightly chores!  Blue grumped and woofed a lot at the unseen threat before Carol could convince him to tinkle and go to bed!


It was time to put the clocks back so we enjoyed an extra hour of sleep.  Aaahh!  We've had a busy few days, that was just what we needed!

We had a 9:35 a.m. reservation for breakfast at Trail's End but we were ready a bit early so we checked in early and were seated before 9:00.  The breakfast there is one of the best values on Disney property - all you can eat, a huge variety of delicious food and only $15.99 for adults.  I had a hearty breakfast, Carol doesn't normally eat breakfast so she only nibbled.  She did try the chef's unique twist on Eggs Benedict, pulled pork instead of Canadian bacon.  She pronounced it good - that's a big compliment!

We hopped a boat to the Magic Kingdom by 9:30.  In deference to the cool weather, it was 46°, we sat inside.  The locals were all bundled up in parkas, hats, mittens and scarves but since it promised to get warmer later in the day we stuck with our shorts and t-shirts.  Carol wore a long sleeved shirt, perhaps she didn't want folks to assume she was Canadian!

We wandered up the shops on the east side of Main Street and made our way to Tomorrowland.  The park was very busy; we usually avoid the Magic Kingdom on weekends because of the crowds.

It was too early to use our FastPasses at Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin so we walked right past and took a spin around the Carousel of Progress.

There were a few new features at the CofP, like this TV showing old clips of Walt and the Sherman Brothers.  Maybe it's been spruced up because D23 is shining a spotlight on the 4 attractions from the 1964 New York World's Fair.

When we exited the Carousel it was time for our FastPasses at Buzz.  Today Carol trounced me, 222,000 to 137,000.  That's why I look so determined in the picture . . . I was pressing hard for the win but it was not to be!

We walked through Mickey's Storybook Circus and browsed through Big Top Souvenirs.  It's a pretty shop in that big circus tent.  All the merchandise is displayed in shelves which resemble train cars from the Casey Junior Circus Train at Disneyland.

We slowly meandered through New Fantasyland and joined the standby queue for Under the Sea - Voyage of the Little Mermaid.  The sign indicated a 20 minute wait but we were through in less than 10 minutes.

The crowd was getting larger by the minute as we made our way to Frontierland.  Our next FastPass was at the Jungle Cruise but Carol wanted to trade a Vinylmation at Frontier Mercantile along the way.  After her trade we ducked through the breezeway into Adventureland and enjoyed a thrilling adventure aboard Sankuru Sadie.

Our Captain was Michael, he was very animated and put new life into those corny old jokes!

By 11:30 it had warmed up to about 60° and you know what that means!  Yup, no lines at Sunshine Tree Terrace or Aloha Isle.  Carol picked up a Citrus Swirl, I grabbed a Pineapple Float and we sat in the sunshine beside Aladdin's Flying Carpets and froze our brains!


Once our grey matter had thawed a bit we used our last FastPasses of the day at Pirates of the Caribbean.  It's a classic old ride and we have to do it at least once every time we're here!


It was time to get back home and let Blue out so I dashed down Main Street USA and found a nice bench in front of City Hall.  I enjoyed some people-watching while Carol browsed a few shops, picked up her Sorcerer Cards and traded a few pins.

An endless throng of people were still entering an already crowded park when we caught the boat back to Fort Wilderness at 1:00 p.m.


I took Blue to the dog park, then we enjoyed a quiet afternoon.  Yes, we had a nap too!


Blue hasn't quite adjusted to the time change so naturally he was looking for his dinner an hour early.  We split the difference and fed him at 4:30. 


By 5:00 he had been walked and we were in the car on our way to a Disney Premiere Character Outlet, not the nearby one on Vineland, this was one Carol had just heard about, about 10 miles away near Universal Studios.  We were driving east on I-4 when Carol said, "Gosh, I'm hungry."  We realized we hadn't had lunch, our big breakfast at Trail's End had carried us all day!


I waited in the car while Carol browsed the Premiere Character Outlet store in the Premium Outlets Mall at the far northern end of International Drive.  When she came back she was empty handed, no purchases, and she announced that she had been there before.  It used to be a Disney Store Outlet.


On the way home we stopped at Sweet Tomatoes in the Crossroads Centre and had a nice dinner.  We were back at Fort Wilderness with Blue by 8:00 and had a quiet evening.

Monday November 3


It was another lazy morning; Blue is adjusting to the time change, he let us sleep until 6:45.  We puttered at the computers and enjoyed a pot of coffee.  At about 9:00 I took Blue out for a walk, let him off the leash and tossed the ball for him.  He was a happy and tired dog when we left for Animal Kingdom at 9:30.

Traffic was backed up on Buena Vista Drive, there was a huge line waiting to get into Disney's Hollywood Studios.  Carol said, "Good, everyone is going there, it should be quiet at Animal Kingdom."  Wrong!  There was a a huge line at the gate when we approached.  Why is it so busy?


Once we had scanned our MagicBands and passed through the gate we spotted DiVine on the right hand trail heading toward Discovery Island.  She had drawn quite a crowd; we stopped for a few quick pictures!

On Discovery Island we stopped and watched the kangaroos frolicking, then turned right toward Asia and Expedition Everest.

As we approached Island Outfitters two Macaws swooped over us, almost grazing our heads.  They were heading to the new Winged Encounters show.  We hurried over to the area across from Flame Tree Barbeque and watched as they performed for a few minutes and then swooped away again.  It's a very entertaining display, if you see some very bright birds flying low on Discovery Island be sure to hurry over to enjoy their show!

We arrived at Expedition Everest at 10:45 a.m. and used our FastPasses to take a high speed run past the Yeti.

One ride was enough for Carol so she roamed around and took a few pictures while I hopped in the single rider line and enjoyed it a second time.


It was 11:00 when we passed Yak & Yeti.  Carol asked if I felt like having lunch there.  Silly question.  We shared an order of egg rolls, a plate of Honey Chicken and a side of Chicken Fried Rice.  Yummy!

We had FastPasses for Kilimanjaro Safaris.  The line for FastPasses looked longer than the 30 minute Standby Line, but we scanned our bands and away we went.  The line was deceiving, we were boarding our safari truck within 10 minutes.  The ride today was disappointing, there weren't many animals to see at 11:45 but our British guide, Joanne, was very animated and kept us amused throughout the two week safari!

We slowly made our way toward the park exit and stopped for a few minutes at Harambe to explore the area around the new Festival of The Lion King Theatre.  We will see the show in the new theatre during our next trip, in February 2015.

Carol made one more Vinylmation trade before we left Animal Kingdom at 1:00 p.m.


We were back at Fort Wilderness in time for her to trade a few pins from the pin board at The Settlement, then we joined Blue for the afternoon.  He enjoyed another trip to the dog park, he just loves chasing his ball!


Carol took a long bike ride around the campground while Blue and I enjoyed a well earned nap.

It was another early dinner for Blue, we had been invited out to dinner by our friends Deb and Linda.  We left at 4:45 and arrived at their home at 5:30.  After a cocktail on the lanai Linda served us a delicious home-cooked meal.  It was a wonderful evening spent dining and chatting with good friends.  Thanks you so much for your hospitality ladies!  As always, it was difficult to say goodbye, but Blue had been alone long enough.  We were back home with him shortly after 10:00 p.m.

Tuesday November 4


A terrible thing happened on the way to bed last night - I could not upload the day's activities to our trip report.  I started to panic - friends would be looking for their update in the morning and it wouldn't be there!  I felt terrible, but there was nothing I could do.


I was up at 6:45 and dashed off a message to my internet hosting company . . . I hadn't heard back by the time we left for breakfast at Wilderness Lodge.

We went back to Whispering Canyon Café with Al & Jane.  We spotted two deer as we biked down the trail to the lodge.

Chad was our server once again and both Ann Marie and Bridget dropped by to harass us.  Chad had a unique twist on the ketchup routine today; he brought us a bottle of Heinz finest in a champagne cooler.  It was lovingly wrapped in linen.  Jane had to open it and check the "nose" before Chad would leave.  It must have been a vintage year, Jane decided it was acceptable - we all had a good chuckle.

After a delicious and entertaining breakfast we biked back home.  After I checked with the internet host (sorry, no reply yet) we let Blue out for a tinkle and headed off to Downtown Disney so I could complete my Christmas shopping.  The new Disney themed Pandora charms had just been released and Carol needed some.  We headed directly to the World of Disney Store and got in line at the jewellery counter.  Carol isn't the only Pandora fan, there were lots of people there.!


She pawed through a bunch of charms and a couple of Alex and Ani bracelets, picked out the two she just had to have and left.  It's a game we play - I bought them but she didn't see it.  She can still be surprised on Christmas morning and I don't buy her something stupid.  It's a system that works well for us!

This is how Gary does his Christmas shopping!

Rush Hour at Fort Wilderness


We pulled back into our campground home at noon, just in time for the pin board at the Meadow Trading Post.  Carol did a quick trade then we went home and began packing up.  We wanted to do as much as possible today so we can spend tomorrow, our last Disney day, enjoying the parks.


I dumped and rinsed the holding tanks, then hung the bikes on the back of the RV while Carol took down flags, lights, signs, decorations and pulled up rope lights.


By 2:00 p.m. it was all done, the patio mat was folded and stowed, the cement pad was blown clean and I was exhausted!  Whine, whimper!


We hopped in the golf cart and took Blue off to the dog park where he met some royalty.  A couple who regularly camp in the 300 loop with their eight (yes - 8) Corgis had two of them in the off-leash park.  Blue didn't play with them, but after just a few minutes he stopped running away from them!  That's quite a milestone for Blue!


Back at the campsite I checked again with the internet company.  Hooray - they had done a reset and I could connect again.  I uploaded the report and all the pictures, then at 3:30 Blue and I laid down for a well earned nap!

By 4:30 Blue was looking for dinner, he's still not adjusted to standard time. Carol held off feeding him until 5:00 then took him for a walk.   We puttered at the computers until 6:30 when Al & Jane came to pick us up for dinner.  Al drove us all over to the Polynesian Village Resort where we enjoyed a nice meal at 'Ohana.  It would have been outstanding if they still served the oak grilled chicken.  All four of us agreed that it had been our favourite and we could not understand why it was dropped from the menu.  We compensated by eating more of the pork dumplings!


The dessert hasn't changed, the bread pudding with banana Foster sauce is amazing!  We didn't leave a crumb!


We were back home by 9:15 and settled in for the evening.


Tomorrow is our last Disney day, we plan head to EPCOT in the morning to finish our roving lunch around World Showcase.  In late afternoon we'll head to the Magic Kingdom for dinner and then watch Cinderella Castle light up for Christmas!

Wednesday November 5


Blue landed on the bed with a thud at 6:30.  When we didn't stir he laid down and slept until 7:10.  Maybe he's adjusting to the time change!


I turned on the computer and discovered a weather report in our online Guest Book.  One of our regular readers had looked at the forecast all along our route home and filled us in on what to expect.  Looks like we might have light showers as we climb the Blue Ridge Mountains heading into Wytheville VA.  Other than that it should be clear skies!  Thanks Jen, it's good to know you're looking out for us!


Thanks as well to all the others who have signed the guest book, it's always nice to hear from people who enjoy travelling with us.

We hopped in the car at 9:15 and were inside the park at EPCOT by 9:30.

The standby line wasn't too bad so we stopped at Spaceship Earth and took a trip back in time with Dame Judy Dench.  This time we were quick to press the English button.  It's much better when you understand the narrator!

We wandered very slowly from Future World to a deserted World Showcase.  The back end of the park wouldn't officially open until 11:00 a.m. so we took our time and snapped plenty of pictures.


By 10:45 we were in France where we found a shady bench and rested for 15 minutes until the food kiosks opened.  Our mission - to finish our way around the Food & Wine Festival!

We decided to skip the Brazil booth, nothing on the menu appealed, so when the clock struck 11:00 Carol was in line at France.

While Carol was picking up the food at France I spotted an acquaintance, ShanMan or Shanta from a few of the Disney camping discussion groups so I stopped to say hello.  As we were talking, some other Fort Wilderness fans, Merrily and her husband Dick, came along and said hello.  They follow our blogs and we met them at Trail's End in February 2013.  We had a nice chat, then Carol arrived with food so we scurried off to a shady table.  The Boeuf Bourguiginon and the Gratin de Crozets de Savoie (fancy-schmancy mac & cheese) were both very good!  The chow in France was so good that we went to the French bakery for dessert.  Carol enjoyed a tasty raspberry macaroon while I scarfed down a wonderful crème brûlée.

We crossed the bridge at International Gateway and passed through England on our way to Ireland.

Carol tasted my Lobster and Seafood Fisherman's Pie at Ireland and said, "Meh." but I enjoyed it.


They had just opened the stage beside Canada as we darted past.  Thankfully the lumberjack show didn't begin until we were almost out of earshot!

We checked the menus at Canada and Greece and saw nothing we really wanted to sample.  Carol spotted the Refreshment Port just across from Greece so naturally we had to share a cronut!

The Puerto Rico kiosk was tucked into a corner of the rose garden.


We sampled Slow Braised Beef with Puerto Rico Grown Rice.  We both liked it!

At Hawaii we sampled the Kālua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise.  I enjoyed it but Carol ooohed and aaahed as she savored every crumb.

Our last stop was Scotland, we shared the Seared Sea Scallop with Spinach-Cheddar Gratin and Crispy Bacon and the Cronachin, a tasty dessert with raspberries, toasted oats and whipped cream.  Yum!

We were full by the time we finished, and made our way to the exit.  Carol did one final Vinylmation trade at Mouse Gear, and we were home with Blue by 1:00 p.m.


Carol soon hopped in the car and went off to Publix for a few groceries while I stripped about 200 yards of wire out of the RV.  For some reason we cannot figure out Disney does not have WiFi at Fort Wilderness.  Every other campground we stay at has WiFi but at Fort Wilderness they give you a cable modem and several big bundles of cable.  We bring along our own WiFi router so we can connect our two laptops, two smart phones and one tablet.  Carol cusses at the nasty maze of wires every time I hook it up!


I took Blue off to the dog park in the golf cart and just after we got home Carol returned in the car.  We all had a nap!


Blue ate an early dinner again and we were getting ready to head out for the Magic Kingdom when friends John and Sharon from Ohio drove up.  They are camped in the 1800 loop.  We visited with them for about a half hour then scurried off to catch the boat which had us at the Magic Kingdom by 5:45.

We snapped pictures of the Christmas décor all around Town Square.  Once Halloween was over the changeover in decorations was made overnight.  It amazes us how quickly they can do it!

We made our way to the hub to watch the 6:15 Castle Lighting Show.  This was the first night Cinderella Castle was lit up for the Christmas season.  The ceremony was quite different this year.  It was a short forecourt show featuring all the characters from Frozen.  If you plan to watch the show, get as close to the forecourt stage as you can for the best view!

After the castle was lit we dashed over to the Plaza Restaurant where we had a 6:20 reservation.  There was a slight mix-up in the reservation which meant that we had to wait an extra four and a half minutes.  They compensated us with a window table and a FastPass for any attraction.  Thanks!

After a nice dinner, Carol had a Philly Cheesesteak and I had a mammoth Brisket Burger, we headed to Buzz Lightyear and used our prearranged FastPasses.  We had a very bad car, it wouldn't hold it's position and kept spinning.  We had to fiddle with the joystick constantly.  I edged Carol for the win!


We took a ride on the WEDWay People Mover before heading to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  We cashed in the complimentary FastPass and took our first ride after dark.  We really preferred the night ride.  When your eyes don't have to adjust back and forth from daylight to dark you can see a lot more detail inside the attraction.  If you haven't ridden the mine train at night be sure to give it a try!

After our mine train ride we headed toward the front of Cinderella Castle to watch the Celebrate the Magic Show.  As many times as we've seen it, this show continues to amaze us.  Music, lights and lasers animate the castle - they really bring it to life!  WOW!  We found seats beside the castle, in the eating area beside the Sleepy Hollow quick service counter.  This is a great place to watch the show, the projections on the side of Cindy's place are the same as the projections on the front, and it's a whole lot less crowded.


After the show we stayed in place to watch the Wishes fireworks display.  Unfortunately it's not such a good place for the fireworks.  All the shells shot from far behind the castle are hidden behind trees.  We left very soon after Wishes started.

Carol headed to Frontier Mercantile for one last Vinylmation trade while I headed to the exit.  It wasn't long before she joined me at the dock.  Our boat pulled away at 9:15, just as the Electric Water Pageant was starting up in front of the Grand Floridian Resort.  We followed the pageant barges past the Contemporary Resort and saw the show begin again in front of Wilderness Lodge.


We were in the golf cart approaching our campsite as we heard the pageant start in front of Fort Wilderness at 9:45.


We knew we'd be saying goodbye to Mickey tomorrow morning and beginning our long drive home, so bed came early!

Thursday November 6


We were up at 6:45, after a cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal it was time to get to work.  I stripped the lights off the awning and rolled it up, then disconnected all the utilities.  Carol battened down everything inside, harnessed Blue and by 8:15 we had pulled out.

Carol followed in the car and pulled in behind me at the hook-up area near The Outpost. 

By 8:30 the car was hooked up and we were heading to I-4.

Traffic was slow through Orlando, but thinned out on the east side of the city and we made good time under sunny skies.  We turned onto I-95 at 9:50.


We stopped at about 11:00 a.m. on the south side of St. Augustine and picked up a couple of bags of tangerines to take home, stretching our legs and walking Blue while we were there.

An hour later we crossed the Georgia State Line and pulled off at Brunswick where we filled up at the FlyingJ Truck Stop and had a bite of lunch.

We were back on the road at 1:30, crossed the South Carolina State Line at 2:45 and drove straight through to our home for the night, New Green Acres Campground at Walterboro South Carolina.

We pulled in at 3:30 and were all set up by 4:00.  Carol and Blue had a nap, but sleep eluded me, so I fiddled at the computer for a while.


Carol walked and fed Blue and at 5:30 we hopped in the car in search of dinner.  We stopped at WalMart along the way and Carol managed to find an Olaf inflatable.  We saw a few of them at Fort Wilderness and she just had to have one.  They apparently sell as fast as they are put on the shelf.  Carol managed to persuade the WalMart clerk to climb a ladder and scour the top shelf.  There was the last one, cleverly hidden behind some other inflatables.  She bought the only Olaf left in the store!


We had a celebratory dinner at Cracker Barrel and drove home.  I had the car hooked back up  by 8:00 p.m. and we settled in for a quiet night of TV.

Friday November 7








We were up at 6:45 a.m.   I had a quick bite and we soon got ready to go.

By 7:50 we were back on I-95 northbound!


The driving sometimes seems serene in the Carolinas, the highway is often split, the northbound and southbound sides separated by a wide median densely filled with trees.  All you can see are your own two lanes of almost deserted highway.

We turned onto westbound I-26 at 8:20 and within minutes we had an up close and personal experience with a crane.  Not the two-legged fish eating crane . . . this was the big, huge, ginormous, tall crane that lifts heavy stuff way up in the sky!  It was the self propelled variety, the driver sits in a little glassed-in box out in front of the folded boom.  It came careening down the access ramp and decided to insert it between us and the truck in front of us.  We were both going faster than he was, but he decided to impose himself anyway!  I hit the brakes harder than I ever have before,  the motor home creaked and groaned as it suddenly slowed.  That big yellow two-ton hook wobbling on it's cable missed our windshield by six inches.  Carol would normally scream when something like this happens, but today she couldn't find her voice.  I guess having that two-ton hook swaying dangerously about four feet from your head would leave anyone speechless!  Several seconds later I heard a whispered, "Holy crap!" or words to that effect!  As we passed the crane I expected Carol to give the driver some kind of digital salute, but she behaved herself!


At 9:15 we turned on to I-77 which we would follow the rest of the day.  We stopped for our first leg stretch at the FlyingJ Truck Stop near Rock Hill SC.  I gassed up while Carol took Blue for a walk.

We were soon back on the road and crossed the State Line into North Carolina at 11:00.  The autumn colours were a few weeks past their prime, but there were a few very nice patches of vivid foliage.

Then just a few miles after Carol snapped those pictures the trees were bare and the scenery was drab.  Just like we'll be seeing at home in a few days!

We pulled into a rest area at 12:15, gave Blue another stretch and had a light  lunch before pulling out again.


Shortly after 1:00 p.m. we were approaching the Virginia State Line and that big hill that Carol loves to hate!  The wind was gusting and she was getting tense.  I looked up in the sky and said, "Wow, look at that!"  The clouds were lined up like rolling waves.  There were two sets of wavy clouds going in different directions.  It looked like someone had sewn two pieces of corduroy together at right angles.  It was really weird and these few pictures really don't do it justice!

Suddenly Carol wasn't tense anymore, she was leaning out over the dash snapping pictures through the windshield, she ran back to the kitchen where she sat in the dinette and took a few shots out the side window.  She almost forgot that the Blue Ridge Mountains were approaching!

Then at 1:15 we crossed the Virginia State Line, at the bottom of the seven mile hill, and reality set back in.  Overhead signs were flashing a warning about high winds and urging drivers to adjust their speed for the weather conditions.  Carol white-knuckled the dash and only yelled at me twice on the way up.  She even managed to release the dash a couple of times to take a few pictures.


The wind gusts did make it exciting, but it wasn't nearly as thrilling as the trip down that same hill in all that ice and snow last February!

We both sighed a bit in relief as we crested the top and began the 35 mile descent on the other side.  Our final destination, Wytheville Virginia was only a short distance away.


As we approached I-81 Carol noticed a huge field of pumpkins to our right, then another field, then another.  It was an immense pumpkin plantation.  There must have been 1,000 acres or more, field after field of pumpkins.

We turned onto southbound I-81 for four miles before pulling off at exit 77 and climbing a short hill to the KOA campground.  We were in our campsite by 2:00 and all connected by 2:10.  Yesterday when we pulled in it was 80 degrees and after hooking up I was so sweaty I couldn't sleep.  Today I was shivering when I finished!


The forecast low tonight is 29° so I didn't hook up the water, it's no fun dealing with a frozen hose in the morning!  In case you're interested, tonight's forecast low for our home city, way up in the frozen wastelands of Canada, is also 29° . . . and we have travelled exactly half way from Orlando to our home!


Carol gave Blue a quick stretch and then took off in the car on her own.  She wanted to browse through K-Mart and Food Lion, Blue and I wanted a nap!


I was just taking Blue out for some exercise about an hour later when Carol returned.  She only had one small bag, hardly worth the trip!

By 5:45 Blue had been fed and walked again.  Carol and I headed out for dinner at one of my favourite Chinese restaurants.  Carol enjoys it, but not as much as I do.  She humours me though!  Carol grudgingly agreed that dinner was delicious. 


It was a brisk 36° when we returned home at 7:00.  My fingers were cold by the time I had the car hooked back up.


It will be a quiet evening in the campground, no one is out roasting marshmallows!

Saturday November 8


We both woke up at the same time.  I rolled over and asked, "What time did you set the coffee for?"  Carol replied, "It's set for 6:15, in one minute."  Soon we heard the gurgling sound of our morning java brewing and up we got!  There was a heavy white coating of frost on the ground and on the tow car.  Brrr!


It was our normal morning routine, coffee, breakfast, shower, feed & walk Blue, pack up and disconnect.  My fingers were very cold when I came in after disconnecting!  We pulled out and were northbound on I-81 at 7:50.

We'll spend the next two days on I-81 and we'll be in the Shenandoah Valley almost all day today.  It's my favourite part of the trip, mountain ranges on either side and so many beautiful vistas along the way!

We had a bit of technical trouble with the heater - not the RV furnace, but the truck heater that runs the heat and air conditioning which blows out from the dash.  The power wire kept falling off the blower motor and Carol crawled under the dash twice to replace it as we bounced down the road.  The connection was so loose that it kept coming apart so we pulled into a rest area at 9:15.  I put it back together again and gave the connection a good crimp with pliers.  That did the trick, we were back on the road in less than 5 minutes.


Our next stop was another rest area, near Staunton Virginia where both Blue and I had a leg stretch.  After 10 or 15 minutes we were northbound again, soaking in the occasional glimpse of colour and some beautiful mountain scenery.


At 12:10 we pulled off just north of Winchester Virginia, into the FlyingJ Truck Stop. I fuelled up while Carol walked Blue again, then she went inside to pick up some hot soup to eat with our sandwiches.  She came back with soup and two hot dogs.  Who can resist $1.50 hot dogs!  Scratch the sandwiches!  The soup and the dogs were delicious and sure hit the spot on a cold day!

We were back on road again at 12:50 and three state lines rolled under our wheels in rapid succession.

West Virginia  at 12:54

Maryland  at 1:18

Pennsylvania at 1:30

We crossed the Susquehanna River and drove straight to our campground home for tonight.

We pulled into Harrisburg East Campground at 2:35.  We were all hooked up before 3:00.  Our grey water holding tank (waste water from the shower and sinks) was full and the black water tank (from the toilet) was half full.  I decided to drain them this afternoon. 


The proper way to do this is to drain the black tank first, then drain the grey tank so that the grey water rinses all that nasty sewage out of the hose.  So that's what I did, I hooked up the sewer hose, pulled the drain valve on the black tank and listened to the whoosh as all that poop went rushing down the drain.  I closed the black water valve and pulled open the grey water valve.  Whoosh, all the dishwater and shower water started rinsing the hose on it's way down the drain.  That's precisely when Carol said, "Ooops!" and pointed to the unoccupied campsite next door.  There was a poop volcano gushing up out of the sewer pipe.  Yuck!


I suspect there was a blockage in the sewer line somewhere just beyond the site of the volcano.  I walked over to the office and reported the environmental disaster . . . apparently it was no big deal, it happens all the time.


Naturally we were all worn out after the "chocolate fountain" incident so we took a nice nap!

By 5:30 Blue had been fed and walked; Carol and I hopped in the car to meet friends Mike and Ann for dinner at a nearby Macaroni Grill.  They are "Disney friends" we see often at pin and Vinylmation events.  It was like Christmas - Carol had her Mystery Pins from the September pin event at EPCOT mailed to Ann, so Carol received a bag of goodies!  Ann had Carol buy some pins and Vinylmations for her over the last few weeks so there was a goody bag for Ann too!  I bought a Blisslight online and had it shipped to Ann so there was a box for me.  Everyone came away with a treat except Mike.  Poor Mike! 


We talked, laughed, shared memories and shared experiences for almost three hours, then it was time to head home.  As we walked to our cars to say goodbye Ann gave us a box of home-made sticky buns.  She topped them with lots of raisins, just the way I like them.   A perfect end to a wonderful evening!


Mike and Ann headed south on I-81 to their home, we went north to the campground.


We were back with Blue just after 9:00.  I hooked up the car while Carol walked the puppy, then we settled in for a quiet night.


Tomorrow will be our last day on the road, 382 miles and we'll be home!

Sunday November 9


I rolled over at 6:10 and asked, “Did you set the coffee for 6:15 again?”

“No,” Carol replied, “I set it for 6:00, it’s ready now.”

“I didn’t hear it brewing.”

“How could you over all that snoring.”

I guess I walked right into that one, but it was very early!


This was our last day on the road, so I gave the tanks another dump and a good rinse . . . no fountain this time; it was a much lighter load!

We pulled out at 7:45 but stopped before leaving the campground.  The tow bar was not locking into position correctly.  Dang, gotta get that fixed!  After a bit of fiddling we got it set properly and off we went at 8:00.


Traffic was very light on a Sunday morning and we made good time under clear skies.

Our first stop, at 10:30, was 150 miles north at the FlyingJ Truck Stop in northern Pennsylvania.  It was our last fuel stop of the trip so we got the full treatment, filled the RV, filled the tow car, then headed to the propane-fill area and topped up the RV’s propane tank.  We’ll be heading back south in February and it’s reassuring to have a full tank of propane.  It will keep the furnace running for days on end!  Carol walked Blue while the propane was filled, then went inside for coffee.  She picked up a half dozen chicken wings for brunch.  I’m not a wing fan, so the coffee was plenty for me.


We were back on the road at 11:00 and crossed the New York State Line at 11:20.  It was getting overcast.

At 1:15 we pulled off at Mattydale, a suburb of Syracuse, where Carol popped into the Christmas Tree Shop while I walked Blue and had a quick sandwich.  When she got back we shared the last of Ann’s home-made sticky buns.  Those things are delicious, but they sure don’t have much of a shelf-life!


Our next stop was at Cicero, just a few miles north of Mattydale.  Carol made a quick dash into WalMart and came back with a 22 pound turkey.

We drove straight to border.  A tiny river, about 20 feet wide, separates Wellesley Island in the USA from Hill Island in Canada.  You drive over the river without knowing it’s there!

Today there was a huge line and no Nexus lane open.  We waited in line for about a half hour and finally crossed into our home and native land at 4:00 p.m.

We pulled up in front of our home at 4:35 and began the tedious task of unpacking.  By 6:00 the tow car was unhooked and unpacked, the majority of the stuff in the coach was unpacked and Carol was cooking a nice home-cooked dinner.  Tomorrow we will unpack all the Halloween decorations, stow them away in the garage, give the coach a good clean up and off it goes for a few minor repairs.  Then we’ll put it back in storage until February when we head back to “The World” again!


Thanks for travelling along with us!