We’re sick of snow!  Sick, sick, sick!


I often tell our friends south of the border that we don’t get very much snow in the part of Canada we call home, and that’s the way we like it!  But these last few weeks have been different!  It just doesn’t stop!


We haven’t had any really big snowfalls, nothing like New England or the Canadian Maritime Provinces have had during the same few weeks, it’s just been a slow but steady accumulation.  There isn’t usually enough to justify starting the snow blower, so I grab the shovel and do it by hand.  Day after day after day! 


We have a lot of snow!  I’m tired of shovelling!

That mound of snow along the fence to Blue's right is where tomatoes grow in the summer. 

See the snow piled on the picnic table beside Jake?  YUK!


When Carol suggested that we leave a bit early she got very little resistance from me.  I’ve been ready for weeks . . . but since I’m a natural born trouble maker I had to protest a bit.  So with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek I told her, “Gosh, I don’t know.  If we leave early, aren’t we destroying the sanctity of the countdown process?”  She frowned!


You see, Carol has countdown timers on her smart phone, on her desktop computer and on her tablet.  She’s never more than an arms length away from a display which tells how many days left until we leave.  This is very handy; it lets her know when she can make her dining reservations (180 days in advance) and her FastPass+ bookings (60 days in advance).  These timers are vital to Carol when she’s in “trip planning mode”!


It also dictates some other countdown rituals . . . our Happy-Dances!  When the counter flips over from 100 days to 99 days we do our “Double Digit Dance” and then about three months later it flips from 10 days to 9 days and we celebrate with our “Single Digit Dance”.


My first comment was met with stony silence so I followed with, “If we leave early it means that we were dancing on the wrong days.  It will really mess up our tradition!”  More frowning, more silence!


Then we both started laughing at the same time and said, “Yup, let’s get out of Dodge!”

The freezing rain we had the weekend before we left made quite a mess of the front end of the RV which was sitting outside, so I went over Monday morning to clear some of the ice.  I let the engine run for about an hour, letting the defroster work on the ice a bit, then started scraping.  I loosened the big bus-style windshield wiper on the passenger side then pulled it down out of the way - SNAP!  The wiper arm broke, just snapped!  Dang!  Naturally the manufacturer of Windsport motor homes uses a unique style of wiper arm and it has to be ordered from them in Indiana.  There's just no way it will be here before we leave!


I've ordered one through an RV supplier in Kissimmee, it should be there when we arrive!


You are probably wondering how I'll ever be able to drive if Carol cannot see.  She's expressed some concern about that too!  I expect I'll be doing a lot of squeegee work in rest areas all along our route.


I brought the one-eyed beast home on Tuesday and we began packing!  Hooray - the end of shovelling is in sight!



That shiny red car will probably be pretty grubby by the time it gets a bath in Georgia!

Wednesday I hooked up the tow car, topped up the windshield washer fluid and checked the tire pressure while Carol finished stocking the refrigerator and the pantry. 


We're all set now, nothing left to do but go out for dinner with Carol's parents.  John was celebrating his 85th birthday!


Do you suppose we'll be able to get any sleep tonight?

Thursday February 12


We had set the alarm for 5:15 a.m. so we could get away at 6:30.  At 4:30 I said to Carol, “you’re awake aren’t you?”  “Yes,” she said, “Let’s rock and roll.”  It snowed heavily while we were having dinner last night and it was still coming down when we went to bed.  As soon as we got up I dashed to the window and I was delighted to see that it must have stopped snowing as soon as we went to bed!  There was only a couple of inches on the ground!  Carol drove me off to the local plaza where we had parked the RV overnight.  I positioned it in front of the house while Carol rallied the troops!  John, Sybil, Rob, Jak and Daizy had spent the night at our house so we could get an early start.  We all had a quick bite of breakfast and then started moving toward the RV.


There will be five humans and four dogs travelling and for the next three weeks Carol will have the daunting task of keeping the whole herd moving in the same direction.  Good luck dear!


You might recall our disaster-prone trip last February.  Here’s a quick recap; we enjoyed a blizzard in Virginia, a 5 ½ hour stop on Interstate 77 in North Carolina, an ice storm in South Carolina and then a front tire blow-out in Georgia!  How could so much calamity happen in just four days?


To say that we’ve been apprehensive about this year’s journey would be an understatement!  Carol has been obsessing for months, checking long range weather forecasts, reading the farmers almanac, tossing and turning every night.  I’m surprised she hasn’t consulted a psychic!


We were all anxious to pull away, but Carol has to follow her regular routine and I’m not allowed to move until the check-list is complete.

Carol counted everything off:

  1. Five People?             CHECK!

  2. Five Passports?       CHECK!

  3. Four dogs?                CHECK!

  4. Four dog's immunization certificates?  CHECK!


“Okay Captain,” she said, “You’re cleared for takeoff!”


It was a huge relief when we pulled away at 6:37 a.m. and pointed the cattle-drive in a southerly direction.  We were a mere seven minutes behind schedule!

The navigator had not yet confirmed our final route . . . she had about 26 hours to decide.  Would we leave I-81 at Staunton VA and take I-64 eastbound then turn onto I-95 at Richmond VA?  Or would we alter our original plan and follow our traditional route;  I-81 to I-77 to I-26 to I-95? I have no say whatsoever, our route will be determined by Carol and the weatherman.

After a quick stop at the Duty Free store we pulled up to the border at 7:15.  There were no cars ahead of us so we cruised directly up to the kiosk.  It was one of the quickest crossings ever.  Very few questions and a courteous US Border Agent made it a pleasant experience!

Roads were snow covered in places and wet, the windshield took a beating for the first few hours, but we made good progress.

We stopped for at Watertown New York and Carol picked us all up a hot coffee while I added 25 gallons of gas, enough fuel to get us to the FlyingJ truck stop in northern Pennsylvania.  It was my first squeegee job of the day, the first of several!


We journeyed on, passing through areas of bare, dry road then into areas of swirling blowing snow.  In some areas it was drifting across the road, driven by the gusting wind.  The stretch of Interstate 81 between Watertown and Syracuse is always questionable in the winter, the area gets a lot of “lake-effect” snow!  Today it wasn’t as challenging as we expected.  Other than a dirty windshield it was a breeze!

This was Jake’s first trip in the motor home and we watched him closely.  He sat on the floor at Carol’s feet and was quite nervous, particularly when we were climbing long hills and the engine was roaring!  We pulled into a rest area at Whitney Point at 10:30 and Jake had is first latrine break on the road.  Rest areas and truck stops can be very nerve wracking for a dog, all that noise, all that traffic can distract them from their duties!  Jake was a trooper though, Carol took him out and he quickly delivered everything that was expected of him.  I was busy with my squeegee when she came back and described his ablutions in vivid and stirring terms!  He may just turn out to be a good traveller!


We carried on southbound and the weather improved with each mile.  By the time we crossed into Pennsylvania at 11:20 roads were bare and dry.  At the FlyingJ I filled up with gas (and squeegeed) while Carol picked up a hot lunch for everyone.  We parked the RV off to the side of the parking lot and had our lunch before heading on.

We ran through another series of snow squalls and strong gusty winds in the Hazelton area but by 2:30 when we pulled off in a rest area at Grantville, near Harrisburg, the snow had all but disappeared.  There was hardly a trace of snow anywhere.  The dogs enjoyed another break while I mopped off the windshield yet again!

Soon we hit that part of our trip where we cover four states in 40 minutes.  We left Pennsylvania and entered Maryland at 4:05.  Then came West Virginia at 4:20 and finally Virginia at 4:45.  Sorry about the crumby pictures, but as Carol explains it so clearly, “Some idiot broke the windshield wiper!”

We filled up with gasoline again and topped up the propane tank as well.  The forecast for tonight is a wind-chill factor of -15°F.  We don’t want the furnace to quit!


From the FlyingJ it was a quick 10 mile hop to the Travelodge Motel at Winchester Virginia where John and Sybil had a room booked.  The rest of us were planning to “camp” in the parking lot at the adjacent Cracker Barrel Restaurant, but there was a really nice area in the motel parking lot so I parked there while Carol got her folks checked-in.  The motel manger said we were welcome to stay put, so we dropped the stabilizer jacks, ran out the slides and settled in for the night.


John and Sybil knocked on the door at 6:30 and we walked across to the Cracker Barrel for dinner.


Carol’s parents headed back to their room after dinner.  Rob and Carol walked to a nearby grocery store and picked up a few supplies while I stayed with the dogs.

It looks like Carol and I will be able to stretch out and have a good night's sleep . . . the dogs have all gravitated to Rob's bed!

It was a good day, the weather was not too bad and we covered a lot of ground!  We normally cover about 350 miles a day, today it was 495 miles and we’re over a third of the way to Florida!


A tired herd hit the hay early!

Friday February 13


It was a wild night!  Our furnace kept us warm and toasty, but the wind was howling and bitter cold!


The biggest problem we had was noise . . . we only extended two of the three slide-out rooms, but each one has a “topper” installed.  The topper is similar to one of the roller-blinds that you see on windows to darken a room.  It runs from the top of the slide-out top the side wall of the RV and keeps leaves and debris off the top of the slide to prevent damage when you retract the room.  The wind was lifting and vigorously flapping the topper on the living room slide, directly overtop of the pull-out couch which is Rob’s bed while we are on the road.  It was making quite a racket!  Carol and I were sleeping under the topper on the bedroom slide, but it was on the leeward side of the motor home and was hardly affected by the wind.


Carol and I are always listless sleepers our first few nights on the road, and the flapping only made it worse.  It kept the dogs on edge as well; Rob tossed and turned for hours amid the pile of dogs before finally falling asleep.  I suspect that it wasn’t so much restful sleep as it was partial asphyxia from the weight of the dogs sleeping on top of him!


In the wee hours the winds must have lessened, because the alarm woke both Carol and I from a very deep sleep at 6:00 a.m.  After all the wind and all that flapping I looked out the window with some trepidation . . . no snow!  Hallelujah!  The roads would be bare!

I took a walk down the hill to Cracker Barrel for a quick bite of breakfast while Carol pulled the dogs off Rob and resuscitated him.  By the time I got back the dogs had all been fed and walked and Rob was beginning to show some signs of life!


We had agreed to meet John and Sybil at 7:30 and we were still getting ready to leave when they arrived at 7:00.  We finished up as quickly as we could and pulled out right on time!


I was really looking forward to dry roads and no squeegee duty.  The windshield was immaculate when I put the rig into gear and hit the gas!  Then as we sat at a red light waiting to leave the motel parking lot disaster struck . . . a bird flying past dropped a volley which landed directly on the passenger side of the windshield.  The wiperless side!


What are the odds?

It was an uneventful day.  A blissfully uneventful day!  We rolled along in light traffic at a steady 63 MPH.

The sun shone brightly in the east and soon it reached the point where it was effecting my view.  The sun visor just wouldn’t block it so I pulled out my trusty ball cap.  I can’t stand wearing a hat, I find them very uncomfortable, but I keep my trusty AllEars.net ball cap handy for emergencies like this!


At 9:00 a.m. we left Interstate 81 and headed east on I-64 toward Richmond VA.  That remedied the sun problem and I ditched the cap!

The drive took us up and down as we crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains.  There are several scenic lookout points where you can pull off and enjoy the vista.  We stopped at this one!  The pictures below really don’t do it justice, that’s an amazing view behind Sybil and John!  The dogs weren’t all that impressed with the scenery but they did enjoy sniffing around where thousands of other dogs had left scents for them.

Back on the road we carried on, chewing up the miles!  We turned onto I-95 southbound near Richmond VA and just before noon pulled off the highway and into a gas station parking lot.  Rob walked the dogs again while Carol prepared a light lunch which we ate in the RV.  After everyone had a leg stretch and some welcome fresh air in the warm sunshine we carried on southward.

We crossed the North Carolina State Line just after 1:00. 

Maybe it was the warm sunshine coming in the (very clean) windows, maybe it was the fresh air we enjoyed after lunch or maybe it was a combination of both factors, but everyone seemed to have a nap in the afternoon.  Sybil nodded off occasionally at the kitchen table while Daizy slept constantly on the bench seat beside her.  Rob and John took turns, sometimes snoring on the couch beside Jak and Blue . . . sometimes they slept alone in the chair behind the passenger seat.  Jake slept on the floor in front of the passenger seat, shaded by the dash.


Carol dozed in the passenger seat above Jake.  As you probably suspected, I drifted away a few times behind the wheel.


At 2:30 we stopped at a FlyingJ Truck Stop and fuelled up again.  Carol picked a coffee for everyone, that was the end of the napping. 

By 3:30 we had arrived at John and Sybil’s home for the night, the EconoLodge near Fayetteville NC.  As we pulled into the motel a jubilant Rob yelled out, “Palm Tree!  Palm Tree!”  Sure enough, there they were, lining the motel property.  Rob wins the “Eagle Eye” award for spotting the first palm tree of the trip!


Once Carol’s folks were settled in their room the rest of us headed three miles up the road to our campground.  We had a lot of work to do!  We have been travelling without water on board.  The motor home was still winterized; running with water in the pipes in very cold weather can be risky business so we prefer to wait until we reach a warmer climate!  This was the day to get the plumbing working!


We pulled into the campsite at about 4:00 and I plugged in the electric connection so Carol could vacuum and clean the interior while I did some cleaning outside.  First step - hose down the salt-crusted car so we can see out the windows!  Then I hosed down, brushed and rinsed the RV windows before hooking up the water supply to the RV, flushing the antifreeze out of the pipes and filling the holding tank. 


By the time I was done setting up the plumbing and disconnecting the tow car Carol had cleaned up inside, fed and walked the dogs and she and Rob tossed the ball to give them all a bit of exercise.

We hardly had a minute to relax before it was time to hop in the car and pick up John and Sybil for dinner.  They were waiting for us when we pulled up at 6:00 and off we went to nearby Fayetteville in search of food.  We drove up and down a busy shopping strip just off Route 295 looking at all the dining options.  Pretty much every restaurant chain was represented and after a few minutes we decided to turn back to one of the first ones we saw.  It was Friday night, Valentines Day Eve, and many places were extremely busy; we decided to take an easy option, Burger King.


After dinner we dropped John and Sybil off at their place and the rest of us headed back to the campground where Carol and Rob dropped me off to stay with the dogs while they headed back to Fayetteville for some retail therapy.


They were back by 9:15.  I really don't understand the shopping compulsion, but I was glad when they presented the 6-pack of beer they had picked up for me!  Nice!


It was another great day, 394 miles and no squeegee work!  Perfect!


We enjoyed a bit of TV and once again got to bed early.

Saturday February 14


Carol got up just before 6:00 a.m. and turned on the coffee maker.  I followed just a few minutes later.  We sat at the computers for a few minutes catching up on the news; I had a bite of toast for breakfast.


It was our first morning with running water so I enjoyed a nice long hot shower then headed out to disconnect the utilities.  Rob walked the dogs while Carol tidied up inside and fastened everything down for travel!


We were 15 minutes late when we picked John and Sybil up at 7:45.  They were watching out the window of their room and scurried out as soon as we pulled up.  We were on the road within five minutes.

It was a beautiful morning, the temperature was just below freezing but the sun was shining brightly and traffic was light.  We made good time in near perfect conditions. 

Dogs and humans were comfortable!

At 8:50 we waved at Pedro as we crossed into South Carolina and hurried passed South of the Border.  South of the Border is a gigantic tourist trap and Pedro is the mascot/spokesman.

They operate a motel, campground, amusement park, lizard farm, several restaurants and they sell an endless array of worthless trinkets!  The adventurous can even head to the top of the giant sombrero which doubles as a lookout tower and gives a stirring view of the highway below!  We consider it a once in a lifetime experience - and we’ve already been there.  We won’t be going back!

At 9:45 a.m. the dogs took the humans for a stroll in a rest area about 15 miles south of Florence SC and we returned to the highway.  The temperature kept rising steadily as we drove southward.  There were no traffic slowdowns or bottlenecks all day.  It’s flat country in the Carolinas and the roads are very good in most places.


At 11:20 we passed through Walterboro and stopped in a rest area about 10 miles later.  Carol made lunch which we ate in the motor home then we walked the dogs again.  It was about 50°F and we relished the fresh air and sunshine.

We crossed into Georgia at 1:00 and drove directly to Brunswick.  As usual Carol kept a close eye on the roadside rivers, swamps and salt marshes.  She has yet to spot a gator, but she keeps trying!

We pulled into the FlyingJ Truck Stop at Brunswick at 2:20 and topped up the tank for the last time on our southbound trip.  Our next priority was to give the RV and the car a good bath.  We drove to the other side of I-95 and approached the Blue Beacon Truck Wash.  Yikes - there was a huge line!  Rather than wait several hours for our turn we decided to try again in the morning!

We pulled into the Coastal Georgia RV Resort at  3:30; the temperature had risen to 63°.  Aaahhh!  We quickly set up for the night!  Within a half hour we were all snug and cozy.  Carol drove her parents to the nearby EconoLodge and helped them check-in.  Rob and I took Jak, Blue and Jake to the dog park.  There is a very nice “off-leash” area here and they had a good run.  They had a lot of energy after being cooped up for several days and they ran all of it out this afternoon.


Back at the RV I remembered that it had been several days since my last nap.  I remedied that oversight!


We left just before 6:00 p.m. and picked Carol’s parents up for dinner.  There aren’t a lot of dining choices in the immediate area so we opted for a nearby Steak ‘n Shake outlet.  We don’t have this chain in Canada and we enjoy a stop there once in a while!

Carol and Rob had spotted a few stores that needed their attention, so we dropped John and Sybil off, then headed to the campground where the wannabe shoppers dumped me out to dog-sit.  There were some tuckered out puppies waiting for me!


You can imagine my surprise when Carol and Rob came back in under an hour with only one bag.


It was another great day; we covered 345 miles, saw no snow, no heavy traffic and there was no squeegee work!

Sunday February 15


We woke before the 6:00 a.m. alarm again.  Carol got up at 5:50 and turned on the coffee; I followed just a few minutes later.  After catching up on computer news I had a quick a bowl of cereal and a shower then started disconnecting.  Carol did dog duty and got the interior all battened down and ready to roll.


We picked John & Sybil up right on time at 7:30.  Carol picked up coffee and donuts for everyone at Dunkin’ and we hurried off to the truck wash.  Wow, what a difference a day makes!  There were two trucks waiting, one in front of each wash bay.

In about 10 minutes we pulled in and they started hosing and brushing us down!  By 8:11 we were pulling out, all spic and span.  It hasn’t looked so good in months!

Sunday morning traffic was light, the sun was shining and spirits were high!  We crossed the Florida state line at 8:40 and soon pulled into the Florida Welcome Centre for our customary pictures and orange juice!

Carol picked up a few Disney Parks time sheets and we quickly got back on the road.  We gave the dogs and all the humans a legs stretch at a rest area just before reaching I-4 then boarded the coach again to finish up the drive!  It was a short drive today, only 221 miles, but we were still anxious to get there and get settled.


We made the turn onto I-4 at 11:00 and not too long later Carol served lunch “on the fly”.  She rocked and swayed in the kitchen making sandwiches as we bobbed down the highway and we ate as we travelled!  She doesn’t often do that, she must really be in a hurry!

Traffic slowed as we passed through Orlando; it was creep and crawl for about 10 miles.  We pulled off onto Route 192 and pulled into the KOA Campground at 1:00 p.m.


Set-up went very quickly, by 1:20 the holding tanks were dumped, rinsed and the utilities were all connected.  Carol had the interior set up for our one-night stay and we sat out at the picnic table enjoying the 70° temperature, the fresh Florida air and the warming sunshine!  Aaahhh!


Just before 2:00 p.m. Carol and Rob hopped in the car with John and Sybil to drop them off at the nearby Red Roof Inn.  Then the two shop-a-holics went to a local pawn shop and returned home at 3:00 with no purchases; there were no bargains in the pawn shop!

They took the dogs to the dog park for a run then the three of us drove about 6 miles to the West Gate Flea Market.  Carol wanted to check out the Booster Packs and Beyond stall there.  She and Rob will be heading there for a pin trading gathering next Saturday and she wanted to get her bearings.

We were back home at 4:30 where some hungry dogs were waiting anxiously.  Once they were fed and walked we left them again to pick up John and Sybil for dinner.

Macaroni Grill was the place to be tonight; Carol had a hankering for Chicken Parmigiana.  The restaurant was just down Route 192, near mile marker 12.  The food was good, the service was just shy of so-so, verging on atrocious.  We really like Macaroni Grill restaurants but that particular one has been added to the list of places we will never return to!


After dinner I was dumped back at the RV and John and Sybil were dumped at the Red Roof Inn.  Carol and Rob struck out for the Disney  Character Outlet Store on Vineland, and a Publix grocery store nearby.  They never seem to tire of shopping! 


They were back home by 9:30; we watched a bit of TV and retired early.


Tomorrow we have a very short drive; only 8 miles to Fort Wilderness but we'll have plenty of work to do setting up the campsite when we get there!

Monday February 16


With a very short trip ahead of us we were able to sleep in today.  But, of course, we didn’t.  We were up at 6:15.  After fiddling at the computer for a while I had a shower and a quick bite.  By 8:00 a.m. I was at Camping World looking for my wiper arm.  Bad news - it’s not in yet.  Good news - it left Indiana on Friday.  They agreed to call when it comes in.


I left Camping World at 8:25 and drove directly to the Red Roof Inn, where John & Sybil were waiting; we all went back to the KOA campground.  They had coffee and some breakfast while I unhooked all the connections, then we sat yakking for a few minutes.  It wasn’t long before I said, “Why don’t we head to Fort Wilderness and finish this conversation in the overflow parking lot!”  Everyone agreed so off we went, John, Sybil and I in the RV while Carol and Rob followed behind in the car.


They were able to get some interesting pictures of the motor home from a perspective we don’t often see.

We pulled up to the Fort Wilderness guard house at 9:50 and after checking our Photo ID they waved us directly over to the drive-thru check-in lanes.  One of the lanes was open so I drove directly in.  Carol parked the car behind us and walked up to the kiosk to deal with Leeann, the cast member who was taking care of us.  Carol always handles the check-in . . . it’s not something I want to do.  Guess what?  The sites we were give were Carol’s first choice.  We always fax in a request about 5 days ahead of our arrival and give about three “preferred” sites.  We will be in 820 and 822, the first choice on our list.  GREAT!  They back onto a nice long dog walk area.  By 10:10 the check-in for both sites, ours and the site for John, Sybil and Rob’s rental trailer.

And guess what?  Our site was ready - we had expected to wait in the parking lot for several hours - but we drove right back.  Carol directed me as I backed in and at 10:25 we were all parked in our home for the next two weeks.  WOW, another bonus!

There’s always a lot of work to do getting settled in on the first day.  I did the usual connections, then pulled out the awning, emptied all the cargo bays under the coach, took the bikes down off the bike rack, set up the Mickey lamp posts and the Mickey rope lights, set up the Musket Mickey sign with our name on it, stuck flag poles in the ground, etc. etc.


Carol was busy inside, in addition to her regular set-up chores she pulled out tons of stuff we had stashed away that needed to go next door.

While we were working away, Rodney Moore, owner of Moore Camping Rentals arrived with the big 5th wheel trailer we had rented for the rest of the herd.  He had quite a time manoeuvring it into the site beside us.  It’s a big unit and access to the site was tight because of some poorly parked vehicles beside neighbouring campsites.  Carol made us some sandwiches and we were out enjoying lunch at the picnic table when Rodney and his son came over to announce that they were all done.  The trailer was all ready to move into.  Moore’s do a very nice job.  There were four sturdy lawn chairs set up on the outdoor carpet they had spread under the awning.  The beds were made, there were flowers on the table . . . they do a first class job!


Leeann, the cast member who checked us in rented a unit from Rodney Moore last year.  She said, “Mr. Moore is such a nice man.  His is the only one of the rental companies I recommend.   He really cares about his guests!”  High praise indeed from someone who deals with the rental companies every day!

Rob started hauling boxes, bags and totes full of gear from our campsite to theirs.  By 3:00 p.m. we were all done-in.  We weren’t done . . . just done-in.  Tomorrow we still have to hang some lights on our awning, stretch some rope light down the side of the driveway, hang a few flags and complete a few other small chores, but for now we’re all out of steam!

Carol loaded John, Sybil and Rob in the car and took them to the grocery store where they stocked up on chow for the next few weeks.  I wrestled with about 100 miles of wire while they were gone and managed to get a WiFi router hooked up to Disney’s cable modem so we can all have internet access.

It wasn’t long after the shoppers returned that we John, Sybil and I hopped on the golf cart (it comes with the rental from Moore Camping Rentals) while Carol and Rob rode bikes.  We all headed to the Trail’s End Restaurant here in the campground.  We got there about a half-hour before our reservation and they snuck us in about 20 minutes early.  We always enjoy the buffet at Trail’s End.  There is a nice variety of food; it’s well prepared, nicely presented and a terrific value at $24.99

A few trips back we met the head chef at Trail’s End, Tjetjep (pronounced Tee-Jay) from Jakarta, Indonesia.  TeeJay spotted Carol and asked where we were sitting.  Later he came by, said hello to Carol and I and met the rest of the crew.  It wasn’t long before he appeared with one of his unique “signature” dishes, mashed potatoes topped with pulled pork and sprinkled with cheezies.  Yes, it sounds very odd . . . John, Sybil and Rob were a bit leery when they tasted it but all soon agreed that it was very tasty.

After dinner Carol and Rob rode their bikes to the Settlement Trading Post to check out the pin trading board.  The rest of us rode the golf cart home.  The bikers arrived not far behind us.


When everyone was back home John & Sybil presented Rob with a birthday gift.  His birthday is March 1st, our last day at Disney, but since they were giving him a Disney Gift card it only made sense to celebrate a bit early!

By 8:30 we were all snugged in our separate RV’s, except Rob.  He took the golf cart to The Settlement, he planned to hop on a boat and travel around Bay lake visiting the other two resorts nearby.


It’s been a long drive and today was a very busy day.  We’ll all be fading early!

Tuesday February 17


What a treat to sleep with open windows and fresh air!  I was really looking forward to sleeping in and waking to the sound of birds singing and boat whistles tooting.  It was quite a rude surprise when my tablet started singing at 6:30 a.m.  I had forgotten to shut off the alarm!  Drat!


The tablet must have startled the cardinals just outside our window too, within seconds they were calling to each other and just a moment later I heard a boat whistle.  All was not lost.  Carol and I laid in bed for about fifteen minutes listening to Fort Wilderness come to life in the morning, then the aroma of fresh brewed coffee pulled us from our reverie!


We had a very leisurely start today.  After the quick start we had each day we were on the road, we savoured this morning.  Today was to be a “non-park” day.  We will be here 14 days but John, Sybil and Rob will be using 10-day passes.  That means we’ll have to skip the parks a few days and Carol decided quite a while ago that today would be a shopping day.

Carol left in the car at about 9:30 and drove to the nearby Port Orleans French Quarter Resort where she met our friend Cindy.  Cindy had picked up several Disney pins so they met before Cindy and her family went off to watch the Mardi Gras Block Party.

She was back at about 10:20 and we were soon back in the car.  John and Sybil stayed home to dog-sit while Carol and Rob went shopping; I was the chauffeur.  The first stop was Theme Park Connection, located not far from Sand Lake Road and Orange Blossom Trail, near the Florida Mall.

It is filled with all sorts of Disney merchandise and memorabilia.  Everything from old books and magazines, to figurines and toys, to furniture and fixtures from renovated resorts and attractions.  It’s a real hodge-podge and Carol always enjoys poking through it!

They spent about an hour browsing, I watched them shop for about 20 minutes then retired to the car with my book.  At about 12:15 they came out with a few small purchases and we drove onward.

We took Rob for his first visit to Chick-Fil-A.  He pronounced it good and said, “I wish we had these in Canada!”


Rob’s eagle-eye spotted a Goodwill Retail Store just a few doors down from Chick-Fil-A.  They walked over while I drove the car.  Orange Blossom Trail is divided by a median in the area and I had to drive close to a mile and do a couple of U-turns to cover the 200 yards between the buildings!  They came out with no purchases just after I arrived!

We drove back toward the campground and tracked down the Character Corner shop Carol and Rob had spotted on Route 192 the day before.

 It’s a good sized tourist trap with one corner full of some interesting, but horribly overpriced, Disney collectibles.  Carol bought a Christmas ornament for $10.00 but she spotted one particular ornament which adorned our tree this year.  She picked hers up at a discount store back home for $2.50 - the Character Corner was asking $40 for it.  Ouch!

They were asking $229.95 for the Jack and the Beanstalk set pictured on the right!  Ouch! Ouch!

We were all back home by 2:15.  John joined Carol and I as we loaded Blue, Jak and Jake on the golf cart for a trip to the dog park.  Jak sniffed around the perimeter of the off-leash park while Blue and Jake ran and ran chasing the ball.


The boys were tuckered out when we got back home so we took them off for a well-earned nap!

It was raining heavily by 4:45 when we all hopped in the car heading to the Polynesian Resort for dinner at ‘Ohana.  We had a terrific meal!  We asked to have the Mango Salad rather than those bland and messy lettuce wraps.  We were delighted when our server confirmed the rumours we had been hearing, the chicken skewers have returned and the pork is gone.  We never liked the pork and we really missed the chicken!  It was great; terrific food and good servers.  We were all stuffed when we rolled out of the resort at 6:45.


Thank goodness for the free valet parking which comes with the Tables In Wonderland card.  It was still raining but the valet service kept us nice and dry!  The showers are forecast to continue until about 7:00 Wednesday morning.


I stayed home with the dogs while Carol and Rob drove off to Downtown Disney.  Carol wanted to pick up our Annual Pass renewals tonight so that we’re all set to go tomorrow morning when we head off to the Magic Kingdom.


I suspected that there was also some shopping in their plans . . . but they didn’t elaborate!

Wednesday February 18


The rain continued all night, a steady drum-roll on the roof.  I rolled over about 4:00 a.m. and heard the light pitter-patter of drops falling from the trees onto the roof - the storm was over.  We both slept until 6:50 when the fresh coffee aroma stirred our senses.


We had all our morning chores finished by 8:45 when we picked up John and Sybil on the golf cart.  Carol and Rob rode their bikes to the dock while I chauffeured the rest.  The boat was waiting as we approached the dock so we scurried to catch it.  We were the last to board, they closed the doors behind us and cast off the lines.  It was a bright, sunny morning, but cool.  It was under 50 degrees with a forecast high of 78.  Carol rode on the open front deck, the rest of us stayed inside out of the wind.

We walked slowly up Main Street and had a few character encounters.  Both the Mayor and Madame Victoria greeted us.

We walked through Cinderella Castle and made our way to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train just in time for our 9:25 FastPass+.  It was the first-time ride for John, Sybil and Rob.  They all really enjoyed it . . . John kept singing “Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho” all the way through it!

We still had a half hour to wait before our FastPass+ for Peter Pan so we took a ride through It’s a Small World.

John didn't sing through It's a Small World, but he sure did enjoy it!

The animated clock was just striking 10:00 a.m. as we exited!

We strolled down the hill to the new Memento Mori shop to kill a few more minutes.

Rob posed for one of the lenticular pictures; sort of a hologram.  From one angle you see a normal picture of Rob, but if you tilt the picture a bit you see a more macabre version of Rob.  It’s a pretty cool effect!  Sybil took the opportunity to try on a few hats.

Once Rob’s picture was done we wandered back up the hill to Peter Pan and sailed out of London with Tinker Bell, Peter and the Darling kids.

Our next FastPass was for Splash Mountain so we headed through Frontierland.

Naturally Carol had to stop at Frontier Mercantile to check out the pins and Sybil had to try on another hat!

While we waited I crossed to the nearby food cart and picked up Churros for all of us.  This time Sybil didn’t share hers with the seagull!

As we stood enjoying our snack we noticed that the Country Bear Jamboree show was about to start so we made our way in and laughed through all the funny songs and corny jokes.

Then it was time for Splash Mountain.  It was a cool day to ride a wet attraction, but Rob was determined.  He had never ridden it and it was shut down for refurbishment during his last two visits.  He even convinced Carol to ride . . . she seldom does that on a warm day!


John and Sybil waited for us in a sunny location that was sheltered from the breeze.  We got lucky, Carol and Rob got the front row, I sat directly behind them.  None of us got terribly wet, until the end of the ride when we bumped to a stop beside that nasty waterfall!  We were all cold and wet when we rejoined John and Sybil.

It was almost noon so we scurried through Adventureland and down Main Street to Town Square where we staked out a good spot in front of the barber shop to watch the 12:00 p.m. parade.

We really enjoy the new Festival of Fantasy Parade, particularly the fire-breathing dragon!

After the parade we made our way directly to the marina and caught the boat home.

It was one of the smaller open launches, fortunately it had warmed up a bit.  It was a comfortable ride!


Carol and Rob stopped at the Settlement Trading Post to check out the pin trading board while the rest of us rode the golf cart to our campsites.

Carol made a light lunch which we enjoyed at the picnic table.  We had just finished and were getting ready to head to the dog park when a lady passing by on a golf cart called my name.  It was Nancy and her husband Kevin from Ypsilanti Michigan.  We had never met them before but they read our blog and were camped about ten campsites down the road from us.  Like the song says, it really is a small world!


We chatted with Nancy and Kevin for a few minutes then Carol, Sybil and I loaded up Blue, Jake and Jak on the golf cart for a trip to the off-leash park.

The boys had a good run, then Jake and I celebrated with a nap.  That little puppy sure is a good napper!


We picked John and Sybil up for dinner at 5:45.  Rob decided to pass on our trip to Sweet Tomatoes.  As we were leaving Carol was deliberating, “Do we need the camera?”  Then she answered her own question, “No, we probably won’t need it.”   Wrong, we spotted seven deer as we were leaving the campground.  Sorry, there are no pictures.  So far we have spotted turkeys, deer and armadillos; Carol has been the first to spot each of the species!  Rob saw the first palm tree, but Carol is way ahead with the critters!


As always, we had a nice dinner at Sweet Tomatoes, then the four of us took a drive out Osceola Parkway where John and I waited in the car while Carol and Sybil prowled a shoe store.  John and I were astounded when Carol bought a pair of shoes and returned in only ten minutes.


We were all back home with the dogs by 8:15 and enjoyed a bit of TV before bed.

Thursday February 19


There was a frost warning for the Orlando area last night.  This morning when we woke up it was chilly; about 40°F, not at all the kind of weather we came to Florida looking for.  Brrr!  I decided to leave my shorts behind today.  I put on jeans and a windbreaker!

I chuckled when I saw this picture from North Carolina on the Internet.

It reminded me what we left behind in Canada and I decided that 40°F wasn’t so bad after all.

I felt better still about Florida when I saw the picture of Niagara Falls frozen over.  That doesn’t happen very often.

We picked John, Sybil and Rob up at 8:45.  Sybil reminded me of Randy Parker, Ralphie’s little brother in the movie A Christmas Story.  She had about 36 layers of clothing on.  Remember when little Randy cried, “I can’t put my arms down!”  That was Sybil!  She finished off the look by taking a Disney blanket, wrapping it around her head and shoulders and fashioning it into an extra long babushka.  It was a sight to behold, but it seemed to keep her warm!


We're all looking forward to the warm temperatures returning this weekend!


We headed off to Animal Kingdom to frolic with the frozen animals.

Our first stop was Kilimanjaro Safaris.  It was a bright, clear morning and the lighting was perfect for pictures!  Unfortunately it was so cold that there were very few animals out.  Carol managed to get pictures of a few, but it was one of the poorer safari excursions we have had.  Our driver tried to offset the scarcity of animals by describing the terrain and the vegetation in very dramatic terms, her efforts helped, but it wasn’t as much fun as seeing the animals!

We wandered back to Discovery Island where we enjoyed the 3D movie It’s Tough To Be A Bug.  We’ve seen it many times but it’s still fun.  We all laughed on the way out of the theatre . . . Sybil had so many layers of clothing on that she didn’t feel the bugs leaving beneath her!

We wandered toward Expedition Everest, keeping to the sunny areas whenever we could.

Sybil sat in a sunny nook, sheltered from the wind and soaked up some warming rays while the rest of us took a high speed run through the Himalayas!  It’s even cooler when you hit those high altitudes!

By noon we were huddled in the check-in area at Yak & Yeti Restaurant.  We checked-in early for our 12:30 reservation and they had a table for us in just a few minutes.  Aaaahhh - warm at last!  We always enjoy the fare at Yak & Yeti and today was no different . . . everyone really enjoyed their lunch.

We made our way to the exit and drove home to see our lonely dogs.  They were very happy when we pulled in just before 2:00 p.m.


Most of us had a relaxing afternoon . . . everyone but Carol.  She gathered up dirty clothes from both the RVs and spent a few hours feeding coins into washers and dryers.

At about 4:45 a text message chirped on Carol’s phone.  Our friend WillCAD, from Maryland, was having dinner with his family at Trail’s End.  Carol was busy feeding the dogs before we left for dinner.  I hopped on the golf cart and sped off to say Hi to Will.

By 6:15 John, Sybil, Carol and I were in the car headed to Port Orleans French Quarter where we parked and caught a boat to Downtown Disney.  We’ve been here for three whole days and have not had a sandwich from Earl’s.  We were about to remedy that!


The boat was waiting as we approached the dock.  They are “open-air” vessels so we were thankful that it was a short distance to our destination.

Once we arrived at Marketplace in Downtown Disney we walked through the shops whenever we could in an effort to keep warm.


We found a table right away at Earl’s and Carol went to bring food while the rest of us guarded the table!  The hot soup and hot sandwiches were great, just what we needed to fortify us for the cool boat ride on our way back home.


We were back with the dogs before 9:00 p.m. after another good Disney day!  If you have to be cold somewhere, why not do it at Walt Disney World?

Friday February 20


This morning when Carol took the dogs out at 6:45 a.m. it was a brisk 34°F.  The pups were quick to do their business.  The forecast high today is 58° and then it is supposed to warm up to 75° tomorrow.  That will be nice!


To put things in perspective once again, it was -9°F back home with a “severe cold” warning.  High winds out of the north were generating a wind chill factor of -30 to -35.  At those temperatures exposed skin will freeze in under 10 minutes.  Suddenly Florida sounds good again!

We were all in the car at 8:45, on our way to EPCOT  We headed directly to The Land where we had a 9:20 FastPass for Soarin’.

I really enjoy this attraction, we have seen it many times and I still see new things when we watch it.

As we were leaving the theatre, heading toward the food court, someone called out Carol’s name.  We turned to look behind us, there was our friend WillCAD with his father Will Sr., brother Scott and niece Leslie.  We chatted with them for a few minutes then went on to Sunshine Seasons and had short break to enjoy a cup of coffee.

We boarded a boat and took a cruise through the greenhouses at Living With The Land.  The hydroponic technologies and aquaculture they have on display are always fascinating!

This is the only kind of snowman we want to see - made of sand!

See the two girls behind - they're photo-bombing us!

Our next stop in Future World was The Living Seas where we enjoyed the Nemo and Friends ride, then toured the aquariums.  Carol never misses a chance to visit the manatee.

John and Sybil always get a big kick out of The Jammitors and they were due to play as we approached the Innoventions East breezeway.  Carol and Rob dashed off to shop at Mouse Gear while the rest of us enjoyed a unique percussion show!

Our last stop on the way out of the park was Spaceship Earth.

We really enjoy this attraction and it surprises us how many people pass by and don’t even know it’s there.

We headed for home at 12:45 and made one quick stop along the way.  The previous evening Carol had stopped at Jackson Square, the gift shop at Port Orleans French Quarter, and when we got home she noticed her little change purse was missing.  She searched and searched, to no avail.


We had faint hope of seeing it again, but stopped at the resort to ask nonetheless.  I parked under the porte-cochère while Carol ran in.  She was beaming when she returned just a few minutes later, the purse clutched in her hand.  The $102 it contained was still there!  Only at Disney!

We had a light lunch in the RV then Carol and Rob drove off to pick up some groceries while I did a few chores around the campsite.  I took Blue and Jake to the dog park for a romp and by the time we returned Carol was home.  The four of us enjoyed a short nap!

Rush hour at Fort Wilderness!

At 5:00 p.m. we began our return trip to  EPCOT.  We had a dinner reservation for 6:00 p.m. at Teppan Edo in the Japan pavilion.

Our chef was Ayumi from Yamakashi Japan.  She did a terrific job; the meal was delicious and she kept us entertained in wonderful style as we watched her prepare it.  The only drawback to the meal was the horribly long wait after the meal as they tried to prepare our checks.  They have apparently been having “system trouble” for over a week.   We had to wait close to a half-hour after dinner while they struggled to get our checks printed.  Not good!

We exited World Showcase via France and stopped to enjoy the movie Impressions de France.  It’s one of my favourites, I was delighted when Sybil asked that we stop to watch it.

We walked through the rose garden toward the park exit and stopped at the Character Spot in the Innoventions West breezeway.  It was only a 20 minute wait, so we hopped in line and enjoyed an up-close and personal experience with Mickey. Goofy and Minnie.  It was a perfect way to finish off a great day.

Illuminations was just starting behind us as we exited the park.  We were home with the dogs at 9:20 p.m.; they were glad to see us!

Saturday February 21


There were no theme parks in our plans today so we could sleep in!  Naturally we didn’t!  I was up at 7:00 a.m. and took the dogs out to complete their chores.  Carol followed a few minutes later and got their breakfast ready.


We lazed in the motor home for a few hours.  We sipped coffee and revelled in the nature all around us.  The cardinals were singing, squirrels were scurrying, several wild turkeys trotted by, dogs and their walkers passed behind us in the dog-walk trail and the boat whistles tooted.  Sometimes, off in the distance, we could hear the faint murmur of the PA announcer at the 10K race underway at EPCOT, but it wasn’t enough to intrude on the serenity of the campground.  It’s times like this when we really appreciate the huge difference between Fort Wilderness and any other Disney resort!  It is far and away our favourite!

At 9:30 we decided it was time for the dogs to sit for their annual golf cart portrait.  I positioned the cart and we sat the puppies in position.  From time to time each of them changed their pose slightly and I just kept clicking shots until we had the perfect one.  They really are great dogs!

At 10:00 a.m. Carol and Rob left in the car.  They were on their way to a pin trading event off Route 192 just west of Walt Disney World.  I did a little tidying around the campsite.  I pulled the leaf-blower out of a cargo bay under the motor home and blew all the pine cones, needles and acorns away from our site.  Then I went next door and blew John and Sybil’s site clean.


By 10:30 it was a balmy 65° and the sun had risen enough that there was a nice shady spot under the patio awning.  I sat on the deck with the dogs for a half hour, reading and enjoying the tranquility of this wonderful place.

At 11:00 John and I headed off to visit the horse barns near Pioneer Hall.  I detoured through the 700 loop to show John where Carol and I like to stay when we’re here on our own.  We were about 2/3 of the way through the loop when I heard someone call my name.  It was Ryan Smith from Florida, less than an hour’s travel from The Fort.   We hadn’t met before but Ryan reads our blog regularly and had tried to catch us when he was here during our stay last Halloween.  I’m glad we finally connected Ryan, safe travels home tomorrow.


When we pulled up near the horse barn I saw that we were in for a special treat.  The farriers were there and a couple of very lucky Disney horses were getting pedicures.

We stood watching and talking to the two farriers for about 20 minutes.  One of the horses had a bit of fungus in his hoof, which they cut out and then filled the void with a quick setting epoxy to support and strengthen the surrounding tissue.  Then the hooves were filed and new shoes nailed on.  What a treat . . . you don’t see this sort of thing at any other Disney resort!

We toured the horse barn, listened to the steam calliope and met a number of the horses who work at the Magic Kingdom pulling carriages and wagons.

We were back home by noon and had a bite of lunch.

We had agreed to meet after lunch to take the dogs to the off-leash park before our nap.  John came over just before 1:00 p.m. and off we went.  There were about three small dogs in the park when we arrived and our three, Jak, Blue and Jake joined the fray.  The six of them ran like the wind for about five minutes.

Then a newcomer arrived, a ten-week old Australian Shepherd puppy.  He was a blue merle, colourings similar to our Blue, and he was full of energy.  He and Jake bonded instantly and started chasing each other.  Sometimes they were just a blur . . . some of the other dogs tried to keep up but the little guys left them all in their dust.  It was quite a sight to behold.  At one point they ran tight circles, at full speed, around one of the log benches.  They were going so fast it looked like they were on a high-banked oval track.

By 1:30 all three dogs were pooped so we loaded them up and drove back home.  Carol and Rob returned within minutes and reported a very good trade session.  They were able to trade for a few good pins but they were both very happy with the Vinylmations they were able to swap for.


I took a quick trip to Camping World to pick up a few parts for the RV, including the new wiper arm.  I’ll be able to drive much better on the way home now that Carol will be able to see again!


I took two very tired dogs for a nap!

Carol fed them a bit early, then she walked them and we left at 5:30 heading to The Boardwalk for dinner at Big River Grille.  Along the way we scored a wildlife trifecta.  We spotted wild turkeys, deer and armadillo!



An hour later we were seated outdoors at Big River Grille, overlooking he boardwalk, with the Yacht Club and Beach Club across the water.  It’s a very pretty setting and everyone enjoyed their meal.

We were back home by 8:30 and spent some time with the dogs, then at 9:25 John and Sybil came over and we all hopped in the golf cart.  We drove to the marina to watch the Electric Water Pageant and Wishes.  That was something we missed with them last year.

It was much warmer tonight and there was no wind.  A late night trip to the dock is always a wonderful way to end a day at Fort Wilderness.

Sunday February 22


Carol was up first this morning, at 6:55 a.m. and I followed a few minutes later.  She opened the door to take the dogs out and was startled when an armadillo scurried across our campsite and disappeared under John & Sybil’s trailer next door.  Just a few minutes later John came out with their two dogs and the armoured rodent ran across road and vanished behind another camper.  We never see that sort of thing in Canada!

We left for Hollywood Studios at 8:45 - it was already 70°.

We had a 9:30 FastPass+ for Toy Story Midway Mania but as we passed Voyage of the Little Mermaid we noticed they were just about to start.

John and Rob had never seen the black-light puppet show before and they really enjoyed it!

We carried on to Toy Story where I rode with John, Rob rode with Sybil and Carol went solo.  We all finished the ride with sore arms from yanking the little rope to activate the guns.

As we walked through Pixar Place on our way to the Backlot Sybil decided to ham it up a bit with a toy soldier!  Soon John joined in.  Then Rob!

As we approached New York Street Rob spotted Mike and Sully at a PhotoPass location and there was a very short line.  We hopped in and posed for a few pictures.  As we were all posing indifferent groups one of the cast members said to Sybil, “Is that Gary?  I read his blog.”  Sorry we didn’t say Hi . . . we didn’t hear about it until a few minutes later.

Our next stop was Muppets 3D.  Carol sat beside her father and she grinned as he chuckled through the entire movie.  I think it’s his “happiest place” at Walt Disney World.

We walked toward Tatooine where Rob and I were going to ride Star Tours.  As we passed the end of New York Street we heard Mulch Sweat ‘n Shears performing.  Carol, John and Sybil went over to watch their show while Rob and I carried on to Star Tours.

  Carol had her 15 minutes of fame . . . and I missed it!  She was picked to perform with the band as they cranked out their stirring version of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way”.  They gave her an “air guitar” - literally - it was a blow-up guitar. 

She had to dance with the band, play the guitar and then as a grand finale she pretended to smash her instrument on the pavement.  She found it impossible to smash her inflatable axe so she was allowed to keep it as a souvenir!

Meanwhile, Rob and I enjoyed a great ride on Star Tours.  The gang regaled us with a description of Carol’s epic performance when we returned and I ate the remnants of a carrot cake cookie the three of them shared while they waited for Rob and I.  Yum!


We headed toward Sunset Boulevard where we had a FastPass for Tower of Terror.  Along the way we spotted a family with a young son and Rob gave the boy the Mulch Sweat 'n Shears air guitar.

Sybil waited in a warm sunny alcove while the rest of us took a thrilling plunge at the Hollywood Hills Hotel.

We were back home by 1:00 p.m.  Skies were sunny and it was a glorious 86° - this is what we’ve been waiting for!


We had a bite of lunch in the motor home then took the puppies off to the dog park.

Blue is very timid around other dogs but Jake is a very sociable little guy.   Once he has met all the other dogs, and shared a sniff with them, he comes back to chase the ball with his big brother Blue. Jak was content to catch up on the news, sniffing his way around the park.

As I drove the golf cart back home we spotted a Tom turkey in full display.  His tail was fanned, his breast was all puffed-up as he strutted.  Even at Fort Wilderness this is a sight you don’t see every day.  I stopped and held the dogs while Carol snapped a few pictures.

As you probably expected, I managed to squeeze in a nap before it was time to head out for dinner.  As I sat reading under the RV's awning I spotted this guy in the bushes about 10' away.

At 5:15 p.m. we headed off to the marina and caught a boat to the Magic Kingdom.

We arrived at Be Our Guest just in time for our 6:30 reservation.  This has become Carol’s new favourite Disney restaurant.  She just loves the steak there!



It was 7:45 when we left the restaurant so we had to scurry to catch the Main Street Electrical Parade.

We did our best to dash through the crowd toward Liberty Square and squeezed into a great viewing area close to the Liberty Bell.  We always enjoy this parade, the bright lights, imaginative characters and lively music are captivating!

Our next challenge was to cut through the crowd and find a spot in The Hub where we could enjoy the Celebrate The Magic show.  I am constantly amazed at the way they animate Cinderella Castle using nothing more than projected light.  Wow!  If you have not seen this show you really should take the time.

After the show the Wishes fireworks display was due to start in five minutes, but we were all tired after a long day.  We had seen the pyrotechnics from the Fort Wilderness beach the previous night so we decided to head home.  While everyone was distracted watching the bright lights in the sky we scampered to the exit.  I took a few quick pictures as we waited for the boat and we watched the final barrage, the grand finale, reflect off the water as we crossed the Seven Seas Lagoon.

The dogs were happy to see us at 9:35.  We were all worn out, but very contented after a wonderful Disney Day!

Monday February 23


What a treat to sleep with open windows and enjoy the fresh air.  The cardinals sang me awake at 6:30 and I spent a half hour or so finishing up yesterday’s instalment of the trip report.  Carol was up early too; she fed and walked the dogs.  It was warm, about 75° and overcast.

When we approached the marina at 8:30 the big boat had just left for the Magic Kingdom but a resort launch was waiting across the dock.  We decided to take the launch to the Contemporary Resort and then the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom.

That was a mistake.  They were doing maintenance on the Monorail line this week and things were running slow.  It took us an hour to get to the theme park!

We hurried back to Frontierland and arrived at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Carol and John rode together in the row directly behind me.  I took a few blind “over-the-shoulder” pictures with mixed results.  Here are the best two out of a bunch of crumby pictures!

We had a FastPass+ for Splash Mountain but it was still a bit too cool to get soaking wet so we decided to give the ride a pass!

We walked through a strangely empty Frontierland toward the Haunted Mansion and enjoyed a ride through one of my favourite attractions.

Next on our agenda was Mickey’s Philharmagic.  John chuckled throughout this 3D movie as well, but not as much as he did in the Muppets film!

We stopped for a cold drink at Friar’s Nook in Fantasyland.

As we left and walked toward Tomorrowland The Main Street Philharmonic paraded by playing a ragtime tune.

Carol rode with Sybil and I rode with John as we helped Buzz Lightyear defend Sector 9 from the Evil Emperor Zurg.

On our way to the exit Carol received a text message from our friend Carrie.  Carol had a pin she had picked up for Carrie and they wanted to connect so Carol could hand it off.  We met just outside the train station; the deal was done and we headed home!

The temperature had risen to 79° and skies had cleared.  Fishing must have been good in Bay Lake today, a squadron of pelicans kept us entertained as they dove for fish again and again.


We were home at 1:00 p.m., had a nice lunch in the RV and packed up Jak, Blue and Jake for a trip to the off leash park.  They were the only three dogs there for the first 15 minutes and they had a very good romp.  A wagon went by while they played, the cast members were training a young team of Persherons.

We both had a short nap (dogs too) and then I fiddled at the computer while Carol hopped on her bike and toured the campground.

She found some wildlife.

And some not-so-wildlife!

By 4:40 the dogs were fed and walked.  We hopped in the car and made our way to Hollywood Studios.  We had a 5:30 reservation at 50’s Primetime Café but we hoped to get in a bit early so we could catch the 7:00 p.m. Fantasmic show.

It was our lucky day, we were seated in the restaurant by 5:00 p.m.

Our server was Cindy and she did a terrific job!

We were finished shortly after 6:00 and made our way down Sunset Boulevard to the Hollywood Hills Amphitheatre.

We found great seats near the centre of the theatre and settled in a half-hour before show time.

We really enjoy this multimedia show.  It has everything, live action, animation, lights, fire, music and pyrotechnics.  And Mickey always triumphs over the forces of evil.  It’s a nice way to end your day!

After the show we hustled out of the park and were home with the dogs by 8:30.  After letting the dogs out we settled in for an evening of TV.

Tuesday February 24


The cock crowed cardinal sang at 6:35 a.m.; I stirred and I rolled over.  I woke just enough to notice that Carol was already gone.  I drifted back off and finally got up at 7:00 when the coffee was ready!


We sipped coffee, puttered at the computer for a while and I had a bite of toast before we began loading everyone in the car.

We were parked at Animal Kingdom at 9:00 and passed through the gate at 9:15.

DiVine was waiting to greet us as we headed toward Discovery Island.

Carol had received an e-mail telling her that Expedition Everest was not running.  We had the option of using the FastPass+ we had for Everest at any of a number of other attractions. 


Even though it was about 75° and overcast, we selected Kali River Rapids and struck out toward Asia.  The sign at the entrance indicated a 30 minute wait for stand-by riders but there was absolutely no one in line.  Not a soul!  John, Rob and I climbed aboard our giant inner-tube and began our immersive experience at the rapids while Sybil and Carol found a good spot on the bridge to take our picture as we passed below them.


John chuckled as a lady to his left got a bit of a shower at the bottom of the first plunge.  He wasn’t chuckling after the we slid down the second big chute and a wall of water came over the side and drenched him and Rob.  I got quite wet, but John and Rob could not have been wetter even if they had jumped overboard into the river.


After the ride they both took their shirts off, wrung them out and put them back on.  The three of us were wet for the rest of the day!

We crossed behind the Tree of Life and stopped for a cold drink at the snack cart near Kilimanjaro Safaris.

After a rest and some refreshment we swiped our Safari FastPasses and hiked up the trail to board our truck.  It was a much better adventure today.  Even though three of us were still very wet, it was warmer than our last ride and there were plenty of animals to see!

At 11:00 we arrived at the new Festival of the Lion King Theatre in Harambe Village.

Ooops - we were too early.  Our FastPasses were for 11:30 and we thought we should line up at 11:00 a.m. for an 11:30 a.m. show.  It turned out that the show was at 12:00 p.m. and they didn’t begin letting folks in until 11:30 a.m.

No problem, we found a bench in a sunny spot, had a cold drink and a cookie, and dried out a bit more as we waited a half-hour.

By 11:30 we were back in line and in no time at all they led us in.

We had great seats in the Warthog section.  This was the first time Rob had ever seen the show and the first time in the new theatre for all of us.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the colourful, high-energy show.

If you haven’t seen the Festival of the Lion King show you really must go.  It’s not something anyone can describe to you, you have to experience it.


As we exited the theatre it was pouring rain.  Carol opened her bag and pulled out an umbrella and a poncho.  Sybil squirmed into the poncho and Carol huddled under the umbrella.  John, Rob and I just shrugged and walked on.  We were still soaked so why bother!

We had planned to head to Yak & Yeti for some egg rolls from the counter service restaurant but since there’s no covered seating there we diverted and went to Pizzafari Restaurant.  Hot pizza tasted good and warmed us a bit.  By the time we were finished the rain had let up we had a dry walk to the car.

We were home with the dogs at 1:35 p.m. and the rain returned a few minutes later.  Carol had a list of groceries to buy so she, Sybil and Rob took off in the car at 2:00 and went shopping.  I fiddled at the computer and then took a couple of dogs for a nap.  It was much too wet for a trip to the dog park!


The shoppers were back home at 5:00.  They had covered three stores, The Character Outlet in the Premium Outlet Centre on Vineland, the Character Corner on Route 192 and the Publix supermarket.  I had a hunch that there might be more than groceries involved . . .


Once they had a chance to stow their purchases away we hopped on the car once again.  John, Sybil, Carol and I went to a nearby Panera Bread  where we had soup and sandwiches for dinner. Rob decided to pass and went off to the Magic Kingdom.

After our meal we dropped Carol’s parents off at the campground and drove to Port Orleans French Quarter where we met Carol’s pin trading buddy Kelly.  There were some pins to be exchanged . . . Kelly lives in Ocala and is one of Carol’s “sources”.  Kelly had pins for Carol and Carol had pins for Kelly. Some of these pins have thousands and thousands of miles on them before they get to their rightful owner!

We were back home just after 8:00 p.m. and Blue was thrilled to see us.  The Wishes fireworks show was in progress; the overcast skies and humid air made it even louder and brighter than usual.  He was panting and quaking; there was a lot of tail-wagging when we came in! 

Carol and Sybil gathered up about six pounds of quarters and went off to the nearby comfort station to do a few loads of laundry.  I stayed home with the dogs - sometimes it’s good to be me!

Wednesday February 25


We were up at 7:00 a.m. as usual today but we decided to take a slower start . . . I’m glad, I’m starting to tire!  We loafed until 9:30 and then started getting ready to pull out.


Carol was at the computer and chuckled as she read a Facebook message from our Disney friend Diane from Westborough, Massachusetts.


The message read as follows: “So, I'm chatting about Walt Disney World with a friend, after church.  She is talking about this guy, Gary, a blogger, who stays in Fort Wilderness.  I asked her 'Gary Cruise?'  'Yes . . . he and his wife go to Walt Disney World a lot and he is a great blogger.'  She looked at my face and said 'Seriously?  Don't tell me you know them too!'  I had a wonderful time telling her about our wonderful time with you and Gary at the Fort Wilderness Holiday Lights tour a year or so ago.  It is indeed a small world!  Have fun.”


Yes, Diane (and your un-named friend) it truly is a small world!  We’re glad you both enjoy reading about our travels!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled trip report!  We were all loaded in the car and heading out of Fort Wilderness at 9:45; destination EPCOT.

It was very overcast and damp and the lighting made for some less than stellar pictures, but we cannot enter EPCOT without a few pictures of Spaceship Earth


Preparations were underway for the annual Flower and Garden Festival which opens next week.  Many of the topiaries were already on display.

John, Rob and I left the ladies and headed off to Mission Space.  We swapped our FastPasses for orange (high intensity) tickets and were soon spinning our way to Mars.

Meanwhile Carol and Sybil snooped around the Art of Disney store and then watched the Jammitors perform just past the Innoventions East breezeway.  They were both sporting Junior Jammitors stickers when we rejoined them.

We headed across to the west side of Future World and headed up the ramp to The Land.  All five of us went to The Circle Of Life show.  Carol and I had not seen it for at least 15 years so it was almost like seeing it again for the first time.  It’s a powerful message about ecology and conservation, presented in a very engaging way.

We zipped down the escalator and cashed in our FastPasses at Soarin’.

After hang- gliding across The Golden State we took a slow stroll through the Rose Garden, admiring the flowers and topiaries as we made our way to World Showcase.

By 12:25 we were seated for lunch at The Rose & Crown.  Four of us enjoyed fish & chips, Carol had corned beef on toast.  It was all delicious!

We made our way to the Canadian Pavilion to watch O Canada, the CircleVision film.  As we approached the pavilion that wretched new lumberjack show was starting.  We hurried past to avoid being embarrassed if anyone recognized us as Canadians! 


Soon we were criss-crossing Canada with Martin Short.  It’s a very big country so naturally we worked up quite an appetite.  There is no better way to slake your appetite than with a cronut from the Refreshment Port right next door!  Yum!

Our final stop of the afternoon was at Club Cool where we enjoyed a few Coca-Cola products from around the word.  As a grand finale we all choked down a small cup of Beverly, made nasty faces and headed to the exit.

We were home with the dogs at 2:45 . . . it was nap time!  Everyone but Sybil had a nap . . . we’ve been on the go a lot and we’re all starting to wind down a bit!

After our nap it was time to take some frisky dogs to the off-leash park.  There were three other dogs there when we arrived but they all left within minutes and we had the place all to ourselves!  That's the way Blue likes it!

They ran and ran until their tongues were hanging out . . . but I guess you can see that can't you?

At 6:15 we all piled into the car again and headed back to EPCOT.  Wow!  The coloured lights on Spaceship Earth combined with the soft pink of a natural sunset to give us some very nice pictures.

The fountain was spraying as we passed and a light mist was blowing toward Pin Central.

Carol used the spray as an excuse to divert her course - she took Rob and Sybil with her through the Mouse Gear shop.  John and I carried on past the fountain on the east side where Mouse Gear is located.  The sidewalks were dry, there wasn’t a trace of mist.  As I suspected, it was just a clever ruse to give them another few minutes of shopping.  John and I found a seat near the door and waited about 10 minutes for the perpetual browsers who returned with no bags.

We slowly strolled to China, admiring the topiaries along the way and soon found a table beside the Lotus Blossom Café quick service restaurant.  The food is quick and tasty and the place is seldom crowded.  It’s one of our favourite quick service stops!


Rob wanted to see the show at The American Adventure so we carried on around the lagoon and arrived just a few minutes before the 8:15 performance.

While we waited Sybil asked, "Can we go into the shop and look at hats?"

The show ended at 8:50 and we scurried back the way we came, hoping to get to Mexico in time for a boat ride with the Three Caballeros.  Illuminations was just beginning as we got there; we managed to get into the Mexico pavilion, but the Gran Fiesta Tour had just shut down.  We’ll have to catch it next time!

Sybil took time to try on a few more snazzy hats, this time John joined in too!

The park would be closing as soon as Illuminations was over so we made a dash toward the exit with the fireworks and lasers blasting away behind us.  The grand finale finished just as we walked through the exit.  There were about 30,000 people ready to crash the exit right behind us and we had beaten the rush!


The dogs were happy to see us when we got home at 9:30 p.m.

Thursday February 26


We had a thunderstorm overnight.  It rained heavily enough that it woke me up . . . that takes a lot of rain!


It was a non-park day and a glorious opportunity to sleep in.  That didn’t work out, we were up at 7:15.


I had nothing planned.  Carol wanted to make a quick trip to Downtown Disney to return a purchase and pick up a case for her cell phone.  By 7:30 Carol had the dogs fed and was out walking them while I puttered with yesterday’s instalment of the trip report.

Suddenly she was back with the dogs, hustled them through the door and called out, “Hand me the camera, QUICKLY!”  I passed out the camera and she was gone.  In about five minutes she was back with pictures of a pair of owls.

The overcast morning light was pretty difficult for pictures but she got a couple of good shots, here they are!

In Canada we converted 100% to the Metric System in 1975 and we use measurements like Celsius degrees, litres, kilograms, meters and a whole lot of others that don’t mean much to an old dinosaur like me.  I still convert things in my head; the old Imperial System is the only one that I can understand.  Carol was looking at the weather app on her smart phone and said, “Hey, it’s minus eighteen degrees at home and it’s eighteen degrees here.”  That was Celsius and, I must admit it sounded a lot more poetic and symmetrical than 0°F and 64°F.


Carol left for Downtown Disney at 9:00 a.m. and I got the web site updated with the previous day’s activities and pictures by about 9:15.


I sat outside reading with dogs for a few minutes and then about 9:30 I plugged in the leaf blower and cleared away all the pine needles, cones and other debris which came down in last night’s storm.  I try to be a good neighbour, so I blew out John and Sybil's site next door as well.


That was the end of my chores for the day.  At 10:00 I hopped in the golf cart and went to the Meadow where I enjoyed a dip in the pool followed by a nice long soak in the hot tub.  It was my first visit to the pool this trip.

I got back at 11:15 and Carol had just arrived.  It was a successful mission; she was pleased with her new Lady and the Tramp cell phone cover.


At 11:30 Carol and Sybil rode off in the golf cart to the Meadow Trading Post to pick up some milk.  I sat outside reading with dogs.  In about 40 minutes they were back. 

Carol and I went for a cart ride, said hello to a friend in the 400 loop and then went to the Settlement Trading Post to catch the pin trading board which opens at 1:00 p.m. for a 30 minute session.  She found two pins, then we returned home for a bite of lunch in the motor home.


We spent the afternoon reading, napping and playing at the computer.

At 5:30 four of us hopped in the car to head out for dinner.  Rob was planning to catch the boat to Magic Kingdom; the rest of us went to Port Orleans French Quarter where we caught a boat to Downtown Disney.

It’s a very pretty boat ride!

Dinner was a sandwich at Earl’s!

After dinner Carol and Sybil headed off to the ladies room; John and I had agreed to meet them at the Pin Traders store.

When we arrived at the store three minutes after the ladies left we were surprised to see them in a line, waving us over!  They had been sidetracked by a pin trading board.  It had a section of  Disneyland California Hidden Mickey pins.  She asked the cast member why the California pins were there; apparently the Walt Disney World Hidden Mickey Pins were delayed and Disneyland sent their left-over pins from last year to give traders something new.  Carol wanted them and she needed us to trade for her.


Both John and Sybil made their first pin trades!

Sybil fell in love with the Olaf hat!

After our stressful trading session we were all tuckered out so we caught the boat back to French Quarter and made the short drive home.  We were back with the dogs by 8:00 and watched some TV before bed.

Friday February 27


We were up at 7:00 a.m., it was another cool and overcast morning.  We followed our normal morning routine and by 8:40 everyone was ready to go.


Carol rode her bike to the dock while John, Sybil, Rob and I followed behind on the golf cart.  An open launch was waiting; we decided to brave the brisk, damp 54°F air rather than wait 20 minutes for the larger boat.

We walked up Main Street then turned right through Tomorrowland Terrace on our way to the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor.

Dang!  It doesn’t open until 10:00 a.m.  To fill in the time we carried on around the corner to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin where the wait was only 5 minutes!


By the time we had helped Buzz save the galaxy it was time for our FastPass+ at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

On the way Fantasyland we stopped at Mickey’s Star Traders so Sybil could try on a few more hats!

At one point John and Rob put on complementary hats in an effort to upstage her, but it didn’t work.

That lady really knows how pull off haute couture with a hat!

Soon we were rocketing around on the mine train.  Sure glad we had the FastPasses . . . the standby line was seventy minutes long!  It’s a cute ride, the Imagineers did a great job, but I don’t think I’d wait that long for a ride!

Next on our agenda was the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor.  It was now open.  This was a first time experience for John & Sybil and they thoroughly enjoyed it!  John chuckled all the way through the show and Sybil wondered, “Why are they always picking on ‘that guy’?”  I was relieved . . . about half the time they select me as ‘that guy’.

We crossed the hub on our way to Adventureland and I stopped for a few pictures.  The area has been under construction for many months as they trimmed back the lawns, gardens and river to make more standing area for the fireworks and parades.

While I hate to see the green and the waterways go, they really have done a nice job of it.  Many of the old elements, including the small character statues remain and some fountains have been added.

I dashed through to Adventureland and caught up with the herd in time for a swashbuckling ride through one of the Disney classics!

Then it was my time to leave.  I headed to the exit and caught a boat back to the campground to meet our friends Deb & Linda.  They had some ‘stuff’ for us and we had ‘stuff’ for them.  We found a few minutes in their busy schedule when we could get together for a swap.


Carol and the others stopped at Pecos Bill's for coffee.  Carol watched the line grow for a few minutes and then said, “It’s getting busy, maybe we should have lunch now.”  Carol and John enjoyed burgers from Pecos Bill's while Sybil and Rob opted for chicken and seasoned waffle-fries around the corner (formerly McDonald’s fries)  They said, “Wow!  These fries are really good.”  They disappeared before Carol even got a chance to taste them!

After lunch they cashed in their FastPasses at The Jungle Cruise.  Animatronic thrills and corny jokes . . . what’s not to like?

They headed to the exit, had another chilly ride on an open launch and arrived at the campsite just as Deb and Linda arrived.  That was a bonus, we weren’t sure Carol would be able to see them.  Our visit was all too short but of course it was better than no visit at all!


Would it surprise you to hear that I had a nap?  Everyone but Sybil had a nice snooze and before we knew it the time had come for Carol and Rob to leave.


They got away at 4:30, heading to Coronado Springs for an official Disney Pin Trading Event.  John, Sybil and I stayed home with the dogs and had dinner in our campers.

I spent the evening at the computer, reading and watching TV.  Carol and Rob were back at 10:00 and reported a good trading session.  Carol picked up a few pins and Rob was happy with his Vinylmation trades.

Our time is winding down, just two more Disney days and we pull out to head home.  It sure would be nice if the weather warmed up for a few days!

Saturday February 28


We woke up at 7:00 a.m. to a truly miserable morning.  It was 56°F and raining steadily.  This was to be our last day at Hollywood Studios; what to do?  Do we go?  Do we go late?  Do we not go at all?


At 8:00 Carol wandered next door to check with her parents.  Neither John nor Sybil were anxious to get wet, Rob grunted from the bed but she thought she knew what he meant.  They decided to wait an hour and have another pow-wow.


She went back at 9:00 and once again they deferred the decision for an hour.  I read my book for a while and Carol spent some time sorting the pins and Vinylmations she had picked up the previous night.


At about 9:20 Rob came by, the folks next door had decided that we should leave at 10:00.  So that’s when we loaded in the car and drove off to the park, all loaded up with umbrellas and ponchos.

We needed all the rain gear, it was really coming down as we approached the bag-check area.  We were too late for our first FastPass+ at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror so we scurried through the puddles and a sea of ponchos to Toy Story Midway Mania.

Our next stop was Star Tours but on the way there we stopped at the foot of San Francisco Street where Rob posed with the umbrella from that famous scene from Singin’ In The Rain.

In fact, Singin’ In The Rain became the theme for our day.  Later we bumped into Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor several times.



John, Rob and I rode Star Tours; it ended up being the same series of adventures we had enjoyed a few days ago, simply presented in reverse order.

Carol and Sybil met us in the gift shop so conveniently located at the exit to Star Tours and we headed to the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre just around the corner.  We had a 12:00 p.m. reservation but checked in a bit early and were seated in no time at all.  It was nice to sit and dry off for a few minutes!

It was much too wet to pose for a picture in this old Chevy outside the theatre.  Just imagine that we're all sitting there!

The Sci-Fi restaurant is unique experience.  The tables resemble classic 1950’s cars parked in a drive-in theatre.

As you eat they play cheesy old sci-fi and horror flicks on the big screen.  Imagine the worst films ever made and you’ll probably find clips of them at Sci-Fi!  The food is quite good . . . and did I mention that it was warm and dry inside?

Everyone donned their rain gear again and we made our way to One Man’s Dream, a stirring tribute to Walt Disney.

Posters and images follow Walt’s life story as you move down a curving gallery containing hundreds of artefacts, one-of-a-kind animation art, paintings, storyboards, photos, models, props, costumes and set pieces.  The second part of the tribute takes place in a theatre where Julie Andrews hosts a 15 minute film in which Walt recounts his story using historic film footage and Disney family home movies.  It’s a wonderful tribute to a great man!




It was still raining heavily as we exited so we dashed around the corner to The Great Movie Ride for the reprise of Singin’ In The Rain.


Carol, John and Sybil headed toward the park exit while Rob and I went down a very soggy Sunset Boulevard to Rock ‘N Roller Coaster.  We entered the single rider line which quickly got us under cover, but then the line stopped.  We were just inside the first door when the line came to a halt and we stood still, not moving an inch, for ten minutes.  We decided that our wait was going to be well over a half hour and we didn’t want to leave the rest waiting in the rain that long.  We worked our way through the people lined up behind us and rejoined the herd in a shop near the exit.

We were back home with the dogs at 3:00 p.m.  It was a relief to peel off the wet clothes . . . hey, why not have a nap?


Later in the afternoon Carol checked with her parents to see if they wanted to go to the Magic Kingdom later, or maybe go out somewhere for dinner.  They preferred to stay home where it's warm and dry.  We did the same, sandwiches in the RV and a night of television.  Rob is a bear for punishment, he left at 9:00 p.m. for a few hours at the Magic Kingdom.


Tomorrow we have to pack up and get ready to travel.  Hopefully the rain will ease up and let us get to EPCOT for a while!  It's Rob's birthday and we'll celebrate with dinner at 'Ohana.

Sunday March 1


We were up as usual at 7:00 a.m. and were delighted when we noticed it was not raining.  We hurried through our normal morning routine and by 8:00 a.m. we were outside packing things away.  Everything we touched was soggy and needed a good wipe-down.  Within minutes we were both sweating in the steamy humidity.


Things we could wipe dry got stowed away, things that needed to dry were hung anywhere we could find.  We folded the patio mat and stood it on end to drain, disassembled and stowed two Mickey lamp posts, folded lawn chairs, etc., etc.   By 10:15 the majority of our “stuff” was packed away and we both headed in for a shower.


That’s when I remembered that I hadn’t posted yesterday’s update to the trip report so I got it done as soon as possible.  Sorry Judy, but we were pretty busy!


I have been fighting a cold the last few days but this morning I lost the battle.  Before we started packing up I told Carol that I would stay home when the herd went to EPCOT.

By the time everything was packed up and everyone was ready I was feeling a bit better so I went along too!  We left at 11:00 a.m.

Our first stop was Spaceship Earth.  There was a surprisingly long line, we were happy to have our FastPasses.

As we passed through the breezeway on our way to The Land we spotted Chip and Dale so we stopped for a few pictures!

The standby line for Soarin’ was 70 minutes; we swiped our MagicBands at the FastPass entry and walked past a huge line of people.  In no time we had boarded our glider and taken off!

We stopped at Sunshine Seasons and had a light lunch, then crossed the park to World Showcase.

We took a ride through Mexico with the Three Caballeros. 

By the time we finished the ride my tail was dragging.  I probably should have gone with my first instinct and stayed home . . . the heat, humidity and the cold had really ganged up on me.

It was 87°F and brutally humid.  I barely made it back to the car in the parking lot!


We were back home at 2:25.  My first priority was a nap.  We turned on both roof air conditioning units to cool the RV quickly and I was snoring in a matter of minutes!

By 5:00 p.m. we were on the road again, heading to the Polynesian Resort for the last dinner of our trip.  It was Rob’s birthday and he chose ‘Ohana.

We had a great meal and a terrific server.  A nice way to end the trip!


We were back to the campground at 7:15, dropped John, Sybil and Rob off, packed some more cargo in the bays under the motor home, then left for some last minute shopping.  Carol needed a few grocery items for our lunches on the way home.


By 8:30 we were home and settled in for the night.

Monday March 2


This was the day we always dread - time to go home.  We will spend the next four days watching things go from green to brown and then finally to white!  Yuk!


We were up early after a fitful night’s sleep.  Carol couldn’t sleep because of my constant tossing, turning, coughing, sniffling, hacking, gurgling, snorting and moaning.  Her occasional complaints kept me awake!


The plan was to pull out about 8:30 or 9:00.  Carol and I got the motor home all set for travel then Rob and John started carrying the rest of their stuff over and Carol packed it away.  It was 9:00 when we pulled out and drove to the hook-up area near the Outpost.  Carol and Rob stayed behind to give the rental trailer a thorough search to be sure nothing had been left behind.  They soon pulled up behind us, I hooked to car onto the tow bar, and away we went.

We waved goodbye to Mickey and Minnie as we passed the end of Hotel Plaza Boulevard and by 9:20 we were eastbound on I-4.  We virtually flew through Orlando.  It was the quickest trip I have ever had through the city, we never slowed under 50 mph.  Wish it could be that way every time.


The dogs and the people quickly settled into their routines.  Sybil sat at the kitchen table, laptop in front of her, and played computer games as we bounced and jiggled down the highway.  Daizy slept on the seat beside her.  Rob, Jak and Blue snoozed on the couch while Carol rode shotgun with Jake at her feet.  John sat in the easy-chair behind Carol.


We made terrific time all morning, at 10:30 we turned from I-4 to I-95 northbound and about 45 minutes later we pulled off near St. Augustine to fill our propane tank for the trip home.  We’re going to need the furnace before we get there!

We made a quick stop just north of St. Augustine to pick up a few bags of oranges to take home.  It was noon as we approached Jacksonville so we  decided to take the eastern I-295 bypass to avoid the construction and traffic in the downtown area.

This also took us over the very scenic Dames Point Bridge (officially the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward Bridge) which crosses the busy Jacksonville harbour.

We crossed the state line into Georgia at 1:05 and stopped to gas up at the first Georgia exit.  After fueling we pulled around to the rear of the truck stop where we walked the dogs while Carol made lunch.

We were back on the road at 2:00 p.m.  Traffic conditions were great and the weather was the best we’ve seen since we left home.  Clear sunny skies all the way!  John, Carol and Rob played some musical chairs after lunch.  John rode shotgun, Rob behind him in the easy-chair and Carol on the couch with the dogs.

Don't let Carol know that I shot this out the windshield with my tablet!

John and Rob dozed the day away.  I couldn’t see Carol but I expect she may have nodded off as well.

We crossed from Georgia into South Carolina at 3:35 and less than an hour later dropped John and Sybil off at their motel in Walterboro.

We headed to our campground less than a mile away, quickly got set up and I had a short nap while Carol and Rob gave the dogs some exercise.


Jake encountered his first cat.  There are several cats around the campground,  we think they’re house-cats, and they seemed to take great pleasure in teasing Jake.  As I wrote this passage I watched two cats take turns ambling by our screen door while Jake growled and bounced inside!

We left at 6:00 p.m. to pick John and Sybil up for dinner at the Cracker Barrel across from their hotel.  Naturally Carol and Sybil had to browse the shop after dinner.  Sybil got in touch with her inner Rhinestone Cowgirl and really wanted to buy this hat . . . but we all spoke at once and vetoed it!


We dropped Carol’s parents off at their hotel and returned to the campground where Carol and Rob let the dogs out again, then they drove off to WalMart to pick up a few grocery items they hadn’t been able to find in Florida.  They were back shortly after 8:00 and I hooked the car up so we’re ready to roll in the morning.


Everyone seems to be on the edge of coming down with my cold (Typhoid Gary strikes again) so it will be an early night for everyone.

Tuesday March 3


We had another night of un-restful sleep.  At 6:00 the coffee pot began to gurgle . . . it sounded just like me!  We were up and rolling in no time and fiddled at the computer for a while.  I had some toast for breakfast and a quick shower then began unhooking the utilities in a light drizzle.  Carol prepped the interior for take-off and we pulled out ahead of schedule!  John and Sybil were ready when we pulled up to their hotel and they boarded quickly.  We were on the highway and up to “cruising” speed by 8:00 a.m.  It was about 50°F, roads were wet but clear!

The drizzle was constant all day as we drove in and out of showers.  Occasionally the rain was heavy, but traffic was light and we made quick time.


At 8:30 we turned onto I-26 westbound and arrived at Columbia where we turned onto I-77 northbound at 9:25.


North of Columbia I started looking for a rest area to pull over for a break, but there weren’t any.  We drove on and on, and finally pulled off for our pre-planned fuel stop at the Rock Hill NC FlyingJ truck stop at about 10:20.  Carol And Rob walked the dogs while I pumped gas, then Carol grabbed coffee for the herd before we pulled out.

Jake had been fussing a bit at Carol’s feet so she took him back to the kitchen and let him lay on the bench seat . . . he settled and slept the rest of the morning!

We crossed into North Carolina at 11:10.  The camerawoman   forgot how to turn the camera on   had trouble turning the camera on   blamed the blurry picture on a defective camera.

At noon we pulled off at Statesville and parked in the big parking lot in front of the J.R.’s store.

Actually we were in front of the former J.R.’s store . . . this sign told the sad story.  The store had moved 14 miles south and we were already past it.  Dang!  I was sure we would find a nice Elmer Fudd hunters cap for Sybil’s picture of the day!


Carol made sandwiches for everyone and we enjoyed a leisurely lunch.

We were back on the road in about 40 minutes.  The drizzle continued!

We crossed into Virginia at 1:15 . . . that stupid camera still wasn’t working properly!

We climbed Carol’s favourite hill in dense fog.

She prefers it foggy, her theory is, “What you can’t see cannot hurt you.”

Once we crested the Blue Ridge it was all downhill as we approached our destination for the day.

We pulled into the KOA at Wytheville VA at 2:00.  It was nice to get in early in the day and have some time to relax.  I unhooked the car and connected the utilities while Carol extended the three slide-out rooms and dropped the stabilizing jacks.  By 2:15 we were set up for the night.  I laid down for a rest while Carol and Rob drove John and Sybil off to their hotel.


When they came back to the campground they took Jak, Blue and Jake to the off-leash dog park for a long overdue run.  I was up when they came back at 3:45 with some tuckered puppies.

We relaxed until dinner time, then drove over to the hotel where we picked up John and Sybil just before 6:00. 


Sybil has developed a cult following with her hat pictures.  At least, I think it’s a cult.  Does two people constitute a cult?  Well, if it’s not a cult . . . she has a fan club chapter in Missouri! 


We were so disappointed when we weren’t able to get a hat picture at J.R.’s that we had a plan.  As soon as Sybil sat down in the car I slapped an AllEars.net ball cap on her head and snapped a picture.  I think it turned out well!  Let’s see what the folks from the Show Me State think!

Dinner was at the Peking Restaurant.  We discovered this place one of our first times in Wytheville and we’ve been back many times since.

They make their own egg rolls; in a word - awesome!

After dinner we dropped John and Sybil back at their hotel and then . . . guess what?  Shopping!  Carol had been in the USA almost three whole weeks and she had not yet visited a K-Mart.  You gotta know that’s an untenable situation!


As usual, Carol and Rob shopped while I sat in the car reading.  They said they wouldn’t be long and they were good to their word.  We were back home with the dogs before 8:00 p.m. and had a quiet night of television.

Wednesday March 4


Mornings happen earlier for us when we’re on the road.  We were up at 6:30; it was raining lightly.  After a quick bite of breakfast I unhooked the utilities and drove the car to the Red Roof Inn where I picked up Carol’s parents at 7:50 a.m.  Carol had the RV ready to roll when we returned so I connected the car and we pulled out at 8:11.

By 8:15 we had reached cruising speed, northbound on I-81, the highway we will follow for two days.  The light rain continued for two hours, with heavier showers from time to time, but traffic moved along well.

The rain ended near Lexington and we carried on northward on dry roads.

John was snoring all morning in the passenger seat beside me.  Like me, he’s suffering with a cold!


After two and a half hours we all needed a stretch so I parked the rig in a rest area just north of Staunton and we all too a break.  Even the dogs had a chance to stretch their legs!


Our last stop in Virginia was the FlyingJ truck stop at Winchester.  We pulled in at 12:20 and I topped up the fuel tank, then pulled off to the RV parking area where Carol whipped up lunch for everyone.  Once all five of us had our tanks filled as well we got under way again.

The West Virginia State Line is just a few hundred yards from the FlyingJ truck stop.  We were in West Virginia at 1:05.

We crossed the State Line into Maryland at 1:28 p.m.

At 1:39 we crossed into Pennsylvania and made a 70 mile sprint to Harrisburg.  We pulled the RV into the Red Roof Inn to drop John and Sybil off, but their room wasn’t ready so they came along with us to the campground.  We were settled in our site by 3:15.


While Carol and John walked the dogs I unhooked the car and connected the utilities.  Carol drove her parents back to the motel and got them settled while I started to winterize the motor home.  It’s going to be cold when we get back to Canada!


I drained and flushed all the holding tanks, isolated and drained the water heater then pumped non-toxic anti-freeze through all the water pipes.  The Harrisburg weather forecast was for a quick drop in temperatures in the early evening.  Rain would turn to freezing rain and then to snow.  I finished winterizing in the rain, but thankfully it hadn’t started to freeze!


By the time I finished Carol had returned and had things all set up inside.  I laid down for a well-earned nap!

On our way to pick up John & Sybil for dinner we made a quick detour to Harbor Freight Tools and my only shopping stop of the trip.  I walked the aisles in about 10 minutes and left with $10.00 worth of hand tools.


We had a great server at Outback and the dinner was good, except for Rob’s prime rib . . . the kitchen messed up badly.  Their first offering was sent back right away – the second cut was better, not what he ordered . . . but at least it was closer!  We aren’t often disappointed at Outback, but that night we were.

Carol, Sybil and Rob popped into a Thrift Shop near the Outback; the same shop where Rob found Carol a very valuable Disney pin last year.  Once again they picked up a few pins including an old “Musket Mickey” pin from Fort Wilderness.  Carol was delighted with the pins, Sybil was tickled with their selection of hats!


We dropped John and Sybil off at their hotel and I sat reading in the car while Carol and Rob poked around the Christmas Tree Shop.  We were home early and I took my cold to bed by 9:00 p.m.

Thursday March 5


We were up at 6:15 and very quickly peeked out the windows to check the weather.  Yes, we had freezing rain and it was followed by light snow, but not very much snow!


The Red Roof Inn did not serve a Continental breakfast so I drove the car over and picked up John & Sybil at 7:30.  I connected the car and disconnected the  utilities while they ate breakfast and away we went!  Cautiously!


We were out of the campground at 8:10 a.m.  I took a detour, a longer route out of the campground, which avoided a steep hill.  The anti-lock brakes on the car were chattering as I slid down that hill on my way to get Carol’s parents!

We were on Route 283 by 8:15 and just a few minutes later turned north on I-81.  It was snowing much harder by the time we hit the Interstate.


We tucked into the middle of a long line of trucks and joined them in a slow parade.  Every lane was snow-covered and the single lane we and the trucks were using was icy and slushy.  We had to pull over about every half hour so I could clear the built-up ice off the windshield wipers.  Then we’d pull out and rejoin the parade!

We saw plenty of cars and trucks in the ditch, our parade did a slow-motion slalom around several wiped-out vehicles.  We got a bird’s-eye view of the wreckage of a minivan and a U-Haul trailer as we snaked past the flatbed trailer they were loading the pieces onto.

John snored most of the morning away in the seat beside me; I was glad to have him there.  Had Carol been there I would have heard her gasping, whimpering, moaning and occasionally even sobbing as she urged me to slow down!  John just snored.  It was blissful!


My loving bride was probably gasping, whimpering, moaning and occasionally even sobbing on the couch behind me, but I couldn’t see her and I couldn’t hear her.  Nice!

The 70 mile drive from Harrisburg to Hazelton took 2 hours, and it wasn’t fun!  Then suddenly the snow stopped, the roads were dry and we were doing 63 miles per hour.  Hooray – it’s over!


We stopped at a rest area just north of Hazelton; everyone got out of the RV and we all did a happy dance!


By 11:30 we were in northernmost Pennsylvania and stopped for our final fill-up at the FlyingJ Truck Stop near New Milford.  We parked in the area set aside for overnight RV parking and had a quick bite of lunch before pulling out.

Jake really wanted to ride on the couch with the big boys!

“Please Mommy, can’t I ride up front?”

We crossed the New York State Line at 12:30 and continued to make quick time in good driving conditions.  We made our final rest area stop near Preble then dashed through Syracuse and Watertown.

About 30 miles from the Canadian border the sky began to clear.  The closer we got to home, the sunnier, brighter and bluer it was!

We crossed the first Thousand Island Bridge (US side) at 3:40 and made a quick stop at the Duty Free Store.  My favourite Canadian whisky, Forty Creek, is only $32.00 a bottle there, much better than the $58.95 I pay at home!

We pulled up at the Canadian border at 3:55 p.m. and had a very quick crossing.  There were almost no questions; we were back home in Ontario in seconds!

We drove straight to John & Sybil’s home and unloaded their stuff, said our goodbyes and carried on to our home.  By 5:30 I had the car unhooked and the bikes off the rack and parked in the garage.  Meanwhile, Carol and Rob had most of the stuff in the RV unpacked and stacked in the garage.


Carol drove Rob home while I transferred the garage stack into the house.  As soon as Carol got home we took the RV to a nearby strip plaza to park overnight. 

Tomorrow it will get a much needed bath at the local truck wash.


We detoured to a nearby McDonalds drive-thru on the way home and picked up a light dinner.  My cold took me to bed about 9:00.  Carol was busy with laundry for a several hours after that.  There looked to be enough to laundry keep her busy for a few days!


It was a fun trip; everyone had a great time!  Carol and I always enjoy ourselves at Disney and it’s especially enjoyable when you we can share the fun with others.  It seems to add another dimension to our enjoyment!


But as always, the trip home is anti-climactic and it’s great to be home and settled again!


Thanks for travelling along with us . . . see you next time!