Once again we got an early start! We had planned
to leave Friday and have a very long day on the road, 494 miles, in
order to check out a campground in Winchester Virginia. It’s open
year around and that’s a rare thing that far north. If we like the
campground it will give us another alternative during our cold
Carol decided more than a week ago that it would
be a good idea to leave Thursday, if possible, to break up that long
drive. I quickly agreed; I would have been happy to leave a week
We brought the coach home Tuesday and spent two
steady but leisurely days packing it full. It always amazes us the
amount of stuff we pack into the “basement” of the rig, and into all
the closets, cupboards, hatches, nooks and cubby-holes inside. At
one point Carol chuckled and said, “Don’t worry, half this stuff
won’t be coming home with us.” She was correct, we are taking a lot
of Halloween candy, over 1,000 pieces. We get 500 to 600 trick or
treaters at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and most
of them get a real kick out of receiving Canadian candies! Of
course, the 4 big plastic totes full of Halloween decorations will
come home with us!
Thursday morning I took the rig into the shop for
a few last minute minor repairs and was back home by 10:30. I
hooked up the tow car while Carol packed a few last minute items.
We paused for an early lunch then harnessed the dogs in their places
on the couch and pulled away at 12:35.
Skies were grey with scattered showers and the
occasional glimpse of sun! Too bad, we were driving through some
awesome autumn colours!
We pulled up to the border at 1:10 and were
processed almost instantly. The agent asked a couple of routine
questions then came aboard, took a peek in the refrigerator and
waved us through!
Traffic was light and we made good time with only
a couple of stops. We didn’t have enough gasoline to reach our
destination, the FlyingJ Truck Stop in northern Pennsylvania, so we
stopped in Watertown NY and added about 20 gallons. By the time we
approached Syracuse I needed a leg-stretch so we pulled off at
Cicero and Carol picked up some provisions at WalMart while I worked
some kinks out of my legs.
Traffic ground to a halt as we approached
Binghamton NY! There is a huge construction project there; the
bridge where I-81 and Route 17 cross the Chenango River is being
totally rebuilt and the traffic back-up cost us about 20 minutes!
We crossed the state line into Pennsylvania at
5:35 and pulled into the FlyingJ about 15 minutes later. We topped
up the fuel tank for tomorrow’s travels and found a spot to park for
the night. The dogs were happy to get out for a walk at about 6:00
p.m. after a long afternoon on the couch!
After dinner at Denny’s we
relaxed in the RV until bedtime! We covered 228 miles and
reduced tomorrow's journey to 267 miles.
Hopefully there will be clear
skies and sunshine because we will be surrounded by fall colours!
Friday October 16
It was a miserable night! Carol
and I always sleep poorly our first night on the road. This time it
was much worse because Blue was upset. He doesn’t like all the
truck stop noises and the truckers keep going all night long. Every
time an engine brake barked Blue huddled between us on the bed,
shivering like crazy. Then the rain started; Blue doesn’t like rain
either, he trembles and cuddles, so no one got much sleep. Finally
at about 4:00 a.m. Carol put him on the living room couch and closed
the bedroom door. He was not a happy camper but we got some rest!
The rain had stopped by the time
we got up at 6:45. I took Blue and Jake out for a walk while Carol
made the bed, ran in the bedroom slide and got breakfast ready for
the pups. Once they were fed we wandered over to Denny’s for that
all important first cup of coffee, followed by breakfast.
One more walk for the pups and we
pulled away at 7:30 under gloomy cloudy skies. Once again the
colours were vivid, but without sunshine to light them up they were
easy to overlook.
About 9:00 a.m. the skies began
to brighten and the sun started to peek through, but by then we were
at higher altitude, in the Hazelton PA area, and the trees were well
past their prime.
At about 10:00 we pulled off at a
rest area near Grantsville and took the dogs for a walk then got
back on the road within a few minutes.
We were about 50 miles south of
Harrisburg at 11:00 a.m., near Shippensburg PA, when Carol turned to
me and said, “What’s that smell?” I smelled it too but had no idea
where it was coming from. Then I saw a truck in the lane beside us,
the lady in the passenger seat was waving frantically for us to pull
I pulled off onto the shoulder
and so did the truck that waved us over. They were towing a
trailer. By the time I got out and started to look under and around
the RV the driver of the truck, Kervin, was running back from his
rig parked ahead of us. They had seen blue smoke, lots of blue
smoke coming out from under the RV. He thought the transmission
might be leaking!
One of those minor repairs I
mentioned earlier was replacement of two metal hoses that circulate
transmission fluid between the transmission and a cooling radiator.
They were a bit rusty. Unfortunately the replacement hoses arrived
but the connectors that came with them were wrong. We decided to
travel with the old hoses and replace them when we got home. So as
soon as I heard “transmission leak” I thought the worst!
Kervin was a farmer and truck
driver from the Lancaster PA area and before you could say Jim Dandy
I had the RV up on it’s jacks and Kervin was underneath looking for
that leak. Unfortunately he couldn’t pinpoint it . . . there was
oil everywhere and plenty of evidence of a leak, but no clear
indication where it came from. Kerwin Miller and his wife
Darlene stayed with us
for over an hour, anxious to help in any way they could. We called
a local Ford dealer and with their help were able to find a mobile
truck repair service who could come in about 4 hours. Our Good
Samaritans left on their 30th Anniversary camping
celebration . . . Kervin dressed in a very greasy shirt!
So we sat on the shoulder of
Interstate 81, rocking in the wind as cars and trucks whistled past
at 75 mph! How frustrating! We had a sandwich for lunch, walked
the dogs in the ditch and sat around for hours lamenting our
misfortune! At times during the afternoon each of us gathered the
dogs and headed to the bedroom for a nap, but between the traffic
noise, the rocking of the motor home and our extreme frustration,
sleep eluded us!
Just before 4:00 p.m. the big
mobile repair van arrived and backed up in front of us. The
technician, Nick, pulled a
creeper out of his van and rolled under our rig. After looking and
feeling all over the tranny he said, “I think the fluid blew out the
breather vent on the top. When did you last check the level?” I told him that I
had all the fluids, belts, hoses and tires checked before we left
and they topped up the transmission fluid.
He wanted to check the level so
we waved through the windshield and Carol started the engine. He
pulled out the dipstick, wiped it and put it back in. When he
brought it back out he said, “Look, it’s just a little higher than
it should be. When they topped it up they must have done it without
the engine running and overfilled it. What came out the top was the
excess that it didn’t want!”
Wow, what a relief! I had been
imagining a bill running several thousand dollars and Carol had
imagined living in the RV in a garage parking lot for four or five
days! We were back on the road by 4:15 and it only cost $241.23 for
the service call. Phew!
I kept a close eye on the
transmission temperature gauge as we zipped through a quick
succession of states.
We usually pass through this area
much earlier in the day, but this time the sun was right in our eyes
and it was tough to get good pictures!
The cavalcade of states began
with Maryland at 4:35
Then West Virginia at 4:49
And finally Virginia at 5:15
We gassed up at FlyingJ and
pulled into Candy Hill Campground at 5:45. We had hoped to be there
early in the afternoon but believe me, we weren’t disappointed, we
were so relieved that we made it at all!
As soon as we backed into our
campsite Carol took Blue and Jake to the off-leash dog park where
they had some long overdue exercise. While they were gone I hooked
up the RV’s utilities, ran out the sliding rooms, dropped the
levelling jacks and made everything comfy for the night.
Carol and the pups got back just
as I was finishing up. She announced that she was done sitting in
vehicles for the day. We weren’t going out to dinner - we were
having grilled cheese sandwiches. “Suits me fine!” I said. So
that’s what we did.
It’s very quiet
here, no trucks, no rain and no quaking dogs! I’ll be watching the
Toronto Blue Jays battle the Kansas City Royals while Carol plays at
her computer. Then it’s off for a good night’s sleep! We’ve had
way too much drama for one day!
We slept much better last night!
Blue wasn’t a pest at all.
We were still up bright and
early, 5:00 a.m., but since we have a relatively short driving day
today we took it easy and relaxed with a pot of coffee to start our
day. By 6:45 Carol had fed and walked the dogs, I had finished
breakfast and a shower, so we started getting ready to pull out and
hit the road again!
It was 328 miles to our next
stop, the KOA Campground on Interstate 77 in Statesville NC. We had
originally planned a more easterly route this time, but it would
have taken us through the area in South Carolina that has been
plagued with recent floods and road closures. A 75 mile stretch of
I-95, that was part of our route, had been closed for a week when we
decided to divert to the westerly route and stay in Statesville NC
rather than Fayetteville NC.
We pulled out of the campground
at 7:30 and continued south through the Shenandoah Valley, heading
to toward that big 7-mile hill that Carol just loves to hate!
It was a glorious morning.
Traffic was light and the weather was perfect. Colours were good,
but we noticed that this area doesn’t get the vivid red leaves we
see at home. Maybe they don’t have the right varieties of maple
Just after 10:00 a.m. we pulled
off at Troutville VA, just a bit north of Roanoke. I have sold
three Mickey Lamp Posts which I’m delivering this trip and the first
delivery was to Yvette from Roanoke. We had planned to meet at the
Cracker Barrel, but the entry looked too steep for the RV. There’s
a lot of length hanging out behind the back wheels and the tow bar
can bottom-out and drag when you start up a steep incline. We met
in a truck stop across the road instead and passed the lamp off to
Yvette’s sister-in-law who works nearby. Carol took the dogs for a
walk while I explained how to set up the lamp.
We were back on the road after
about 30 minutes and continued to make good time! We pulled off at
a rest area just north of Wytheville and had sandwiches for lunch.
Jake has become a great
traveller, he just settles in on the couch and sleeps the day away.
Blue is not quite so easy-going. It takes him a few days to
get used to the RV lifestyle!
We were back under way in no time
and turned onto I-77 at 12:20 to begin a slow climb up the north
side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Carol snapped a few pictures to
distract her thoughts from that big steep downward grade ahead of
us! The 7-mile run down the south slope of the Blue Ridge features
some amazing vistas as you look out over the low country in North
Carol doesn’t find the view at
There are three runaway truck
lanes on the incline and each one serves to heighten her level of
terror! Ancient mariners used to worry about sailing off the edge
of the world . . . Carol is convinced that it really could happen at
Today we set a record. She
didn’t yell at me to slow down. Not even once . . . it’s never gone
that smoothly before. I set our cruise control at 55 MPH and the
engine brake pretty much held us to 60 MPH. I only had to apply the
brakes about a dozen times and I don’t think we ever went faster
than 63. I wonder if I can remember that the next time down?
It’s a stark change once we’re
down that hill. The mountains we’ve been driving through for the
last two days are all behind us. Nothing but gentle rolling hills
for the next two days!
We hit the bottom and crossed
into North Carolina at 12:55.
Carol was able to relax as we
covered that last 50 miles of gently rolling countryside which took
us to Statesville. We pulled into the KOA at about 1:50 and by 2:15
we were setting up in our campsite. We hadn’t reserved a site but
the previous night I reflected on the number of RVs we had seen in
our travels so I made a reservation online. It’s a good thing I did
- they were fully booked! There is a hot air balloon festival at
the airport and a renaissance fair in the town.
We set up our campsite quickly
then we both took the pups to the off-leash dog park. They chased
the ball again and again! After about 15 minutes they were worn out
and we headed back to the RV to relax for a while.
While we lazed in the coach
Kervin and Darlene, our Good Samaritans from the day before, called
to see how we were doing. Isn’t it heart-warming when you meet
people who really care about their fellow man? We all need to try a
little harder to be like Kervin and Darlene!
Carol fed the dogs about 5:00 and
after walking them we hopped in the car. Momma needed some retail
therapy! We drove a few miles back up I-77 to a nearby K-Mart where
I joined her in browsing the Halloween merchandise. When she
started looking at clothes I bailed out and went back to the car
where I read my book until she was done.
Next on the agenda was dinner.
We passed by all the normal fast food chains and decided to give a
locally owned wing joint a try. It was very busy, it was very noisy
and it was very adequate. Carol’s chicken wings were OK, my nachos
were OK. It wasn’t 5-Star fare but it also only cost $25.00 so it
wasn’t bad value!
As we left the restaurant Carol
spotted a Hallmark Store. She has a hard time passing one of those
so naturally I stopped. She was in and out in about 5 minutes . . .
I was astounded. Then she confessed, it was closing time and the
two teenaged clerks pretty much threw her out!
We were back home with the dogs
by 8:15 and settled down for a quiet night. It was a great day,
good weather, clear skies, no trauma and no tragedy!
Tomorrow we will travel 360 miles
through gently rolling hills on our way to Brunswick Georgia. We
will spot our first palm tree and we will pass through some of those
areas in South Carolina that were recently flooded. It should be
Sunday October 18
At 5:45 a.m. I was nose to nose
with Jake! He was sprawled out between Carol and I, with his head
resting on her pillow. Then he started bobbing up and down; Carol
was trying to wrestle back the blankets he dislodged when he plunked
himself down. He looked a bit disgruntled . . . I probably did
too! I solved the problem by getting out of bed. Jake moved over
to my pillow, Carol got her blankets and Blue made a mad dash from
the living room couch to the bedroom where he joined the rest of
them on the
bed. Carol said later that the hour after I left was the best sleep
she’d had since we left home.
By 7:30 we had finished our
normal morning routine and started to break camp. I did the
utilities disconnection while Carol battened down the interior.
Then she followed me in the car to a spot close to the park exit
where I hooked the Focus up to the tow bar.
We pulled back onto Southbound
I-77 at 8:10. Last October and the October before that we had
travelled through Statesville during the annual hot air balloon
festival and in the early morning we were able to spot dozens of
balloons. Unfortunately the wind must have taken them in a
different direction this year. We didn’t see a single one.
Sunday morning traffic was light
and we made great time as we passed Lake Norman and Mooresville.
We breezed through downtown
Charlotte, it was almost deserted on Sunday morning.
We crossed into South Carolina at
8:55 and pulled into the FlyingJ Truck Stop at Rock Hill 20 minutes
later. After filling up with gasoline and propane and walking the
dogs we carried on south toward the state capital, Columbia.
At 10:33, near Columbia, Carol
picked out the first palm tree. Yippee!
As we circled the beltway around
southern Columbia there were distinct signs of the recent flood.
Trees alongside the elevated portions of the highway showed dirty
high-water marks about 8 feet above the normal water level. Yikes!
Traffic was noticeably heavier
when we turned onto I-26 at about 11:00. Perhaps it was some sort
of hangover from a week or two ago when I-26 formed part of the
detour route for the closed 75-mile stretch of I-95.
Blue didn’t like the heavy
traffic but Jake was oblivious to it.
Do you see any tension there?
We turned onto southbound I-95
just before noon and Carol’s expression brightened significantly.
Yes, we really felt like we were in the final stretch and Disney wasn’t
We pulled into a rest area just
south of Walterboro SC about 12:30 p.m., walked the dogs again and
then had sandwiches for lunch.
From there it was a straight 2
hour drive to Brunswick Georgia. We crossed the South
Carolina/Georgia state line at 1:45.
As always, Carol scoured the
banks of the roadside rivers and salt marshes looking for critters.
No sightings today, but the road
kill award had to go to armadillos. There were over a dozen strewn
along the side of the road.
By 3:15 I was gassing up, the
last time for three weeks, at the FlyingJ in Brunswick GA then we
crossed under the Interstate to the Blue Beacon truck wash where we
waited in line behind a half a dozen transport trucks for our turn
in the wash bay. By 4:30 the RV and our tow car were spic and span!
I threaded the coach through the
parking lot at a nearby grocery store and waited with the dogs while
Carol picked up a barbecued chicken and some ciabatta bread for
We checked in at Coastal Georgia
RV Resort just before 5:00.
Carol took the puppies to the
off-leash dog park while I set up the RV for the night. When
got back and fed the dogs Carol decided to vacuum the coach so I took
the boys back to the park for a second run.
Then it was our turn for dinner.
That chicken on ciabatta was terrific, just what we needed!
The dogs had been cooped up for
days so we gave them one more romp in the park before we settled in
for a night of television and early to bed.
We plan to be on the road early
tomorrow and arrive at Fort Wilderness before noon. The sooner we
get checked in, the sooner we can begin setting up our Halloween
Monday October 19
I woke up at 5:00 a.m. with cold
feet . . . so did Carol. Jake had all the blankets! I yanked them
back to my side of the bed, but sleep wouldn’t come so I got up a
few minutes later. After a pot of coffee we began preparations to
hit the road. We had hoped to be on the road by 7:00 a.m. and we
made it . . . almost! It was 7:02. Close enough!
Traffic was moving well in the
dark! We don’t like to drive in the dark in the north, but hitting
an armadillo would not do nearly as much damage as hitting a deer so
we drove on with reckless abandon. Well, as recklessly as Carol
would allow . . .
We crossed the Florida State Line
No orange juice today, the Welcome Centre doesn’t open
until 8:00. We drove right on past, Carol snapped a picture as we
Since we didn’t get a picture of that famous welcome sign,
I “borrowed” this one from a previous trip!
We approached Jacksonville at
8:00 a.m. and decided to take the eastern I-295 beltway bypass.
There’s quite a striking view from that big bridge!
At 9:35 we turned onto I-4 and
had no slowdowns until downtown Orlando. There is a huge
construction project underway, I-4 is being totally rebuilt through
the city. The lane diversions are all wide, well designed and
smooth. There was hardly a delay.
At 10:45 we drove through the
At the Magic Kingdom gate we kept
to the right and took the first right hand turn toward Fort
We were lined up at the
drive-thru check-in queue by 11:00. Our site wasn’t ready and
they wouldn’t tell us the number; we had to wait in the overflow
parking lot and wait for their text telling us when it was ready.
We quickly unhooked the car and I
drove back to the 700 loop while Carol stayed with the dogs. The
site we had given Disney as our first-choice, # 707, was sitting
empty. Fantastic . . . it’s our favourite site in the entire
campground! I drove around and found the maintenance man, our
friend Nelson. He dashed over to get it cleaned up and ready for
us. When I got back to the RV Carol left to pick up a cable modem
package from the Meadow Trading Post.
By the time she came back I
was talking with Bob Clyde from Pennsylvania. He built that amazing
Haunted Mansion display we saw last year. He and his wife
Tammy had just
arrived and were sitting in the overflow lot waiting for their
site. They’ll be in #550 this year. Here is his Haunted Mansion
coffin, sitting on his golf cart, in the back of the truck he tows
behind his motor home.
Our site was ready so I followed
Carol to the 700 loop and she directed me as I backed in.
Home at last!
We started unpacking and piling
up all the cargo we brought! We had every nook and cranny stuffed
full! The car was crammed! Once it was unpacked we paused for a
quick sandwich, then got back to work, putting all that stuff
together and setting it up. Carol began with the decorating while I
pulled the bikes off the back of the RV, hooked up the utilities and
dropped the stabilizing jacks. Then I joined my princess and helped
festoon her royal carriage!
It took all afternoon. By 5:00
p.m. we were about two-thirds finished outside . . . we were bushed
and the dogs were hungry. We dashed off to pick up our rental golf
cart, then Carol fed Blue and Jake while I sat to cool off. We had
a 6:00 p.m. dinner reservation at Trail’s End so we washed up and
took a cooling ride in the golf cart.
Dinner was great, Trail’s End is
one of the best values on Disney property. It’s an excellent buffet
for only $25.99. It has become one of our Disney traditions to have
dinner there our first night in the campground.
We headed back to the RV and had
a short visit with our friends Al & Jane from Missouri. They
arrived at Fort Wilderness yesterday and are camped directly across
Back at our site we carried on
outside for a few minutes, setting up more lights and wiring up some
of the inflatables and lamps that we had positioned earlier. We
moved indoors about 8:45 and Carol decorated the interior of the
coach while I played at the computer and listened to the Blue Jays
Carol carried on
until about 10:15 . . . we were about three quarters finished, the
rest would have to wait until tomorrow! We were exhausted and
declared it a night!
Tuesday October 20
It must be an after-effect of our
four days on the road . . . we were up much too early! By 6:15 we
were both sipping coffee and catching up on the computer.
We left home at 8:15 to head for
the Magic Kingdom where we were meeting our Tagrel.com friends
Lizanne from Seattle and Lynne from Minnesota.
We rode the golf cart to the
marina and had a very long wait for our boat.
Finally it arrived, giving us
just enough time to shop for a few minutes before heading to Sleepy
Hollow to meet the girls! Even though I thought I had finished my
Christmas shopping in California, Carol pointed out a few potential
The Dapper Dans rode past while Carol
Jingles - designed by Alex Maher
FastPass viewing area for Wishes
We arrived at the restaurant at
9:30 sharp and within a few minutes both Lizanne and Lynne arrived.
We sat and yakked for about an hour; I had a waffle with
strawberries for breakfast and Carol enjoyed a funnel cake with
berries. All four of us will be back again in December for
Tag-O-Mania and we talked about our plans for that event. When we
finally broke up and said goodbye at 10:30 Lizanne came along with
Carol and I; she had a FastPass for Peter Pan about the same time as
ours. After our flight with Peter, Lizanne headed to the Haunted
Mansion while Carol and I headed home to finish decorating.
Naturally we had to divert our
course past Frontier Mercantile so Carol could look at pins. We
browsed through the Emporium on our way to the exit and it was 11:30
when we caught the boat back to the campground.
We puttered around for an hour or
so finishing up the decorating and by the time we were finished we
had decided to skip tonight’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and do it
another time. We were both pooped after four days on the road
followed by some marathon decorating! Carol stayed home with the
dogs while I caught the boat back to the Magic Kingdom. At Guest
Relations I swapped our Tuesday night party tickets for Thursday
night tickets, then caught the boat back home. I was back by 3:00
p.m. and all four of us enjoyed a well earned nap!
At 4:00 p.m. I loaded the dogs on
the golf cart and took them to the off-leash park for a bit of
romping. The temperature was in the mid 80’s and it wasn’t long
before they were panting!
The puppies and I were back at
4:30; Carol and I left very soon after to catch the boat back to the
Magic Kingdom for dinner at the Plaza Inn.
It was very tasty, as usual.
Carol had meatloaf while I enjoyed a club sandwich.
We finished our meal by sharing a
banana split! Yummy!
We slowly made our way down Main
Street USA and left the park before the Halloween Party got
Once we were back at the
campground darkness was setting in so we spent a few minutes
adjusting some of the lights we put up today . . . before long Carol
announced that it was all perfect. Just perfect!
We left the dogs home and went
“looping” in the golf cart. We drove slowly around several camping
loops checking out the Halloween decorations. The best in the
campground is site #550 where Bob Krick has set up his Haunted
Mansion display. It’s magnificent . . . and he’s not finished yet!
I took a few
pictures of our site before we crashed for the night!
Wednesday October 21
This morning we slept in . . .
until 6:30. Still too early, but it’s getting better. By 8:30 the
dogs were fed and walked and we were in the car on our way to
We had just pulled out of our
campsite when we spotted this armadillo. There are lots of signs of
the little critters around the campground, but this was our first
sighting since we arrived.
We had arranged to meet Danny &
Martha Johnson, from Atlanta, at Starring Rolls around 9:30 a.m. We
stopped in one of the shops along Hollywood Boulevard so Carol could
return a sweater she bought the day before and decided she didn’t
love after all. As she waited for the cast member to finish the
return she spotted Martha not far away, in the same shop. I had
just noticed them chatting when the man in front of me turned around
- it was Danny. Small world! We walked over to Starring Rolls and
sat yakking for about an hour as we enjoyed coffee and pastries.
Danny and Martha left to ride Toy
Story while I waited for Carol as she checked out the pin store.
She didn’t see any exciting pins
so we headed to the Great Movie Ride.
has changed a bit, they’ve added some new coloured clips from the
Wizard of Oz, and the ride cars are now narrated by Robert Osborne.
There had been a light shower by
the time we left the theatre and it continued to drizzle off and on
for a few hours. We headed toward the Muppet 3D Theatre and took a
quick diversion into the Writer’s Stop. Carol is looking for a
recipe book she saw in September. She hasn’t seen it anywhere this
We chuckled through another
performance at Muppets 3D and exited the theatre at noon. We
decided to have a sausage on a bun at Min & Bill’s. I grabbed a
shady table while Carol went for the food. Soon she waved for me to
join her - they’ve dropped the sausage from the menu. What? There
were a couple of cast members standing nearby, outside the
restaurant. One of them urged us to try the foot-long hot dog, told
us it was really good. “No thanks,” I told him, “We can get a hot
dog anywhere. I can’t believe that you’ve taken the best food item
in the park off the menu. We’ll just go home and have a sandwich.”
So we did, Carol browsed her way down Hollywood Boulevard then we
drove back to the RV and had lunch there.
We relaxed with the dogs for a
few hours and managed to get them to the dog park for a romp between
showers. They really look forward to the golf cart ride, they know
it ends at the park!
Carol fed the dogs a few minutes
early and by 5:00 p.m. we were back in the car heading to Disney
Springs, the new name for Downtown Disney. It’s going to be a while
before that new name rolls off my tongue easily.
We had a 6:00 p.m. dinner
reservation at Raglan Road but we checked in at 5:30 hoping the be
seated a bit early. That didn’t work out too well, it was 6:10
before our table was ready. We shared an appetizer and a dessert;
both were great. Unfortunately the stuff in between was only so-so.
I had a very quiet and relaxing
night, I sat outside Earl of Sandwich reading my book while Carol
browsed all of her favourite shops in the Marketplace area of Disney
Springs. She didn’t buy a thing! Where is that recipe book?
It’s a long walk from Marketplace
back to the new parking garage and the place was really crowded.
There were live entertainers performing in four outdoor locations
and we had to fight our way through and around the crowds who had
stopped to watch the entertainers. We were both hot, sticky and
tired when we finally got home at 9:00.
After a bit of TV we crashed
We were up at 6:30 again and
enjoyed our normal morning routine.
By 8:30 we were in the car on our
way to Animal Kingdom where we had a few FastPasses booked.
The pin trading trash can was out
when we entered the park so Carol had to stop and check it out.
As we headed toward Discovery
Island DeVine was just coming out from the backstage area to begin
her 9:20 performance. We were the first to see her and Carol got
some good pictures before the normal crowd gathered.
First on our agenda was
Kilimanjaro Safaris so we headed back toward Harambe Village in
Africa, pausing here and there along the way to watch a few animals
and enjoy the scenery.
By 9:55 we had boarded our safari
truck and were headed out on our photo tour. We lucked out, there
were plenty of animals out and once again Carol captured some great
There is a gorilla enclosure to the right as you
leave the safari area and today this big guy gave us our best show
ever. He was a real ham and posed for several minutes before
wandering off out of sight.
After the safari we wandered
through the new Harambe Marketplace area. Carol saw it during her
September trip but it was my first time through this newly developed
area of the park. We paused along the way to take some goofy
We crossed into Asia and by 11:00
boarded our train to Mount Everest. The front row is the best ride
on this roller-coaster so we waited just a few minutes to get the
prime seat! It’s one of the few coasters Carol really enjoys, so we
rarely miss it!
After our ride together Carol
waited while I dashed off to the “Single-Rider” line for another
wild ride through Tibet.
You can’t really see me too well
in this picture Carol took, but I’m 2/3 of the way back, wearing a
red shirt with my arms in the air!
We stopped at Yak & Yeti and had
some counter-service egg rolls and fried rice for lunch, then it was
time to get back home to the dogs so we headed to the exit.
“Hey, look over there,” Carol
cried, “Mickey Bars!” She had a Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich and I had
a Mickey Bar as we walked toward the car.
We were back home at about 12:30
and spent a restful afternoon with the dogs (translation - it was a
At 4:00 p.m. I loaded Blue and
Jake into the golf cart and drove them off to the dog park for some
exercise. While we were gone Carol got their dinner ready and they
ate as soon as we got back. It was a bit earlier than usual for
them but we wanted to get away to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween
Party by 5:00 p.m.
We rode our bikes to the marina
and caught the boat to MK at 5:15. The sun was hot and very harsh
on the eyes so we left our normal seat on the open bow and went
inside for some shade.
We strolled around Town Square
checking out the Halloween décor then walked up Main Street USA on
our way to Liberty Square.
It was time for dinner so we
walked down through Frontierland to Pecos Bill’s. We knew that the
menu had changed so we wanted to check it out. We knew that our
favourites, the taco salad and the burgers, were no longer offered,
but we were surprised to find that nothing from the old menu is
there anymore. It’s all tacos and fajitas. There was absolutely
nothing there that appealed to either of us. We went to Columbia
Harbor House where Carol had a chicken and fish platter while I
enjoyed a shrimp platter.
It was a Halloween party so
naturally we had to ride the Haunted mansion!
There were some amazing and
imaginative costumes. These three guys did a great job with their
Then it was time to trick or
treat! We picked up goodies at several stations in Frontierland,
then a couple in Fantasyland and finally followed the Fantasyland
Treat Trail which began at the Fantasyland train station and ended
at Tomorrowland. There were three or four treat stations along the
It was time to get into position
for the 8:00 p.m. Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular show in the
Castle Forecourt. We fought, shoved, pushed and barged our way
through the dense crowd lining the curbs along Main Street and found
a good viewing spot in the hub.
We were a long way from the stage
but we had good sight lines!
After the show we fought the
crowds some more as we moved toward Hall of Presidents to watch the
8:35 parade. It was much too crowded in the area where we usually
watch the parade so we kept on going. We ended up on the elevated
sidewalk at Liberty Square Tavern behind two rows of people. We had
a decent view, but it wasn’t a good spot for pictures!
This is our favourite of all the
Disney parades and it was disappointing to watch it from a poor
location. It seems that Disney is selling far more tickets to the
Halloween party than they have in the past. We have never seen it
so crowded before!
After the parade we made a
bee-line for Casey’s and got lucky. We found a table with front row
seats for the 9:45 Celebrate the Magic show and the 10:00 p.m.
Hallowishes fireworks spectacular. We rested with cold drinks and
enjoyed an ice cream cone as we waited for the shows to begin.
Once they were over we sat a few
minutes while the crowd dispersed, then made our way to the dock and
caught the boat back home.
The dogs were delighted to see us
when we rode in at 11:00 p.m.
We slept in until 7:30 . . .
nice! We lazed around for a while then hopped in the car to
head to EPCOT just after 9:00.
It was time to enjoy a bit of the
Food & Wine Festival!
Our first stop was Spaceship
Earth where we cashed in our FastPass. That handy pass jumped us
ahead of the 8 people in the stand-by line.
I waited in the breezeway while
Carol stopped at Mouse Gear to return some merchandise then we
carried on to the Festival Center. There were a couple of seminars
underway and plenty of merchandise on sale, but nothing that
appealed to us.
Carol enjoyed a couple of free
chocolates from Ghirardelli and we carried on toward World Showcase.
We paused for a few minutes at
the cranberry bog to learn a bit about the cultivation and
harvesting the fruit; then it was time to begin our culinary tour.
We turned right heading to Canada
and made our first stop at Hawaii. The pork slider was delicious.
At the Dominican Republic we
enjoyed a tasty Caramel Flan before carrying on to Greece where
Carol picked up a Chicken Gyro.
At Canada we shared a Filet
Mignon, it was a bit too well cooked, but still tender and
Carol dashed off and came back
with a Croissant Donut from the nearby Refreshment Port. We split
it before heading off toward England.
Next along the route came Ireland
where we shared a Lobster and Seafood Fisherman’s Pie.
We were getting full and decided
to call it a day. We walked through the Rose Garden on our way
toward the exit. At the Wine Studio I enjoyed the Trio of Artisan
Our final food stop of the day
was at the Sustainable Chew where Carol had the Pork Spareribs with
Mascarpone Grits. She really enjoyed it!
The final tally for the day's
lunch was $44.25.
We left the park shortly after
1:00 and were back home with the dogs by 1:30. We were roused from
a quadruple nap by a knock on the door. It was our friend Jane from
Missouri, she dropped off a custom made Orange Bird lamp she had
ordered for Carol. Wow! It’s going to look terrific in Carol’s
We spent a few minutes putting up
the last of our Halloween decorations and I took Blue and Jake off
to the dog park for a romp before their dinner while Carol vacuumed
up a bale of dog fur!
We left at about 5:45 on our way
to the Grand Floridian Resort where we had a very nice dinner with
Al & Jane.
It was a character dinner at 1900
Park Fare. As we yakked the characters from Cinderella roamed by
the table to interact with us and pose for pictures. The
step-sisters were particularly entertaining.
Good company, good food and good
entertainment combined to make a wonderful evening.
On the way back to the RV we
paused briefly at a grocery store where Carol picked up a few items
while I read in the car. We were back home with the dogs by 9:15
and enjoyed a quiet night of television.
We slept until 7:00 a.m. Maybe
we’re getting our biorhythms straightened out, or maybe it’s just
By 9:00 a.m. we were all ready to
face the day and pointed the car toward Hollywood Studios.
The place sure looks better
without that big ugly hat stuck in the middle!
Our first FastPass+ was at Toy
Story Midway Mania. We were both beavers again, but I squeaked out
a narrow win!
We took a very quick tour through
One Man’s Dream to see the recent changes. Thankfully most of it is
still intact; Walt’s office has been shipped to the Walt Disney
Family Museum in San Francisco and the movie has been replaced by a
trailer for the new movie The Good Dinosaur. There are very few
tributes to Walt Disney left in the theme parks and we’re sad to see
this one slowly fading away!
We had some time before our next
FastPass+ at The Hollywood Tower of Terror so Carol took a few
minutes to browse her way down Sunset Boulevard. I headed to Rock
‘N Roller Coaster and stepped into the Single Rider line. Things
were moving very slowly and at first I didn’t understand why. I had
never seen the single rider queue that slow before. Then I saw the
reason . . . there were three “Dream Flight” groups in the loading
area. It was fun to see those special needs kids so excited as they
boarded the coaster. It made the wait worthwhile!
Carol was waiting near the
entrance to the Tower of Terror when I came along and we walked
straight into the FastPass queue. There was hardly a delay, soon we
were risking our lives in the glitz and glamour of 1939 Hollywood!
It was about 11:00 a.m. when we
left Hollywood Studios and made our way to Disney Springs. We
invented a parking spot behind the Hilton Hotel and then invented a
crosswalk to get across Buena Vista Drive to the Marketplace
shopping district. Carol headed directly to the Pin Store while I
staked out a shaded table outside at Earl of Sandwich. Before long
she returned with her purchases, a couple of Vinylmation Mystery
Boxes and four gift cards which came with a free pin.
When she opened the Eachez
mystery boxes she was quite pleased! She got a Mickey and a Minnie
- just what she wanted!
We each enjoyed a Tuna Melt at
Earl’s - YUM; then scurried back across Buena Vista to our car.
Next stop was the K-Mart store several miles away in Route 192. We
needed a 9V battery for our smoke detector; Carol shopped for an
hour and came back with the battery, plus a whole bag full of stuff
she didn’t know she needed until she saw it!
As we drove away from K-Mart she
said, “That’s all I need today, we can go home to the dogs now . . .
OH LOOK, there’s a shoe store!” A half hour and two pairs of shoes
later we were back on the road again.
Our final stop was Camping world
where I picked up some 12V light bulbs for the coach and some
plumbing anti-freeze which I’ll use to winterize the RV on the way
We were home with the dogs by
3:15 and I took a short nap. Waiting for Carol while she shops
really seems to knock me out!
Jake is really adapting to the
golf cart, he knows that his ride will end at the dog park so he
jumps right on, just like Blue does. We gave them both a good run,
then took them home for an early dinner.
By 5:00 Blue and Jake had been
walked again and we left for the Polynesian Village Resort for
dinner at ‘Ohana.
This has been one of our
favourite restaurants for years, it’s a nice atmosphere and good
After more food than we should
eat we returned home, loaded the dogs on the golf cart again and
drove around several camping loops admiring the Halloween
decorations. There are more and more decorations going up every
day. By Halloween it should be spectacular.
We were back home by 8:30. I
relaxed in the motor home while Carol loaded a basket full of
laundry onto the golf cart and headed to the Laundromat in the
nearby comfort station.
It was another early night after
a busy day!
Sunday October 25
We had a slow start planned for
the day . . . a very slow start. But Blue accelerated things a
bit. It started raining at 6:30 and Blue doesn’t like rain;
especially in the motor home where even a light shower sounds like
drum beats on the roof. He immediately bounded up between us on the
bed and sat there quivering!
We both tried to sleep some more
but it just wasn’t working! We were up at 6:50. But all was not
lost, we poured ourselves some coffee and sat outside, with the
dogs, under the awning enjoying the morning serenity of the
A pair of cardinals flitted
around in one of the bushes, not more than ten feet from us. Fort
Wilderness is an amazing place, it’s nestled in the middle of all
those theme parks and resorts, but it’s so calm and laid back here
that it seems like it’s hundreds of miles from all that hubbub!
After a couple of relaxed hours
it was time to get moving. I had a quick shower and headed out to
clean the car windows. I’ve been waiting about a year for Carol to
clean them, but it appears that’s not going to happen! The
afternoon sun has been accentuating just how dirty they were! All
spic and span now though!
We left the campground at 10:30
a.m.; destination EPCOT. We knew that the Food and Wine Festival
always draws big crowds on the weekend . . . but when we pulled into
the parking lot just ten minutes later we were astounded! The east
parking lot was already full and they were waving new arrivals into
the last few rows of the east lot. The line of cars approaching the
parking attendants, normally single-file, was four abreast today and
every driver was jockeying for position.
Carol said, “Do you really want
to do this?” “Nope!” We drove right on around to the exit, our
plans for an hour of Food and Wine followed by a ride on Soarin’
were dashed! Before we were out of the parking lot we had a new
plan for the day - a visit to Booster Packs and Beyond at a nearby
flea market followed by a trip to Property Control. Quick as a wink
we were westbound on Route 192 and pulled off at the Gate West Flea
Market. I spent a few minutes looking at all the pins and
Vinylmations then went and waited in the car reading my book.
Within a half hour the love of my life emerged with a new Figment
ornament commemorating this year’s 20th Food and Wine
It was time for Property Control,
the store where Disney sells off surplus merchandise. We drove over
to the Magic Kingdom area, past the Contemporary Resort, turned
right at Space Mountain and just past the monorail garage took a
left. There was a huge pile of gravel where Property Control was
supposed to be. “You’ve driven past it!” Carol said. “Nope, I
don’t think so.” I replied, “Looks like it’s been vaporized!”
We turned around and drove back
to the Campground. While we ate sandwiches I looked online and
tracked down the new location for Property Control; it’s now over in
the Animal Kingdom area. We had a short visit with Hilda, a friend
at Fort Wilderness, then drove over to the new Property Control
location, found it easily and poked around the merchandise for a
while before returning home for a nap. Aaahhh!
By 4:00 the dogs let me know that
it was time to go to the park. I opened the motor home door and
they rushed out to assume their travelling positions! They sure do
like their golf cart rides!
We had the off-leash park all to
ourselves and they had a good run. Their tongues were hanging out
when we got back home.
Carol gave them an early dinner
at 4:45 and we got ready to head off for dinner at Beaches and
Cream, an old fashioned soda fountain at the Beach Club.
I mentioned earlier that it’s
calm and serene here at Fort Wilderness . . . this is what we saw
as we drove toward the exit.
Fort Wilderness really is an
Dinner at Beaches and Cream was
great, as usual.
There were two Kitchen Sink
sundaes served while we were there. They are enormous!
We were back home with the dogs
by 7:30. After a bit of television we rode to the pool and enjoyed
a soothing soak in the hot tub. What a nice way to end the day!
Monday October 26
It was a wonderful morning; there
was no rain and no dogs vaulted onto the bed!
It was bright and sunny,
just perfect for sitting outside, sipping coffee and letting mother
nature entertain us!
Carol snapped a few pictures of
some of the passers-by!
Jake and Blue sat out with us and
watched the parade of wildlife.
We left just after 10:00 a.m. to
enjoy a bit more of the Food and Wine Festival; it wasn’t nearly as
busy at EPCOT when we arrived at 10:25.
Our first stop was Living With
The Land. We always enjoy the boat ride through the greenhouses and
the ecological message that is central to the attraction.
By the time we finished it was
just after 11:00 - the Food and Wine Marketplaces were open! We
headed toward Chew Lab which we had skipped our first time through.
Along the way ran into our friend
Chris from Tagrel.com along with her husband Jim and son Scottie.
We sat near Imagination and chatted for a few minutes then carried
on toward the Rose Garden and Chew Lab.
Carol picked up the New York
Strip, Olive Oil Poached Salmon and the Liquid Nitro. She ate the
steak and said it was delicious; we shared the salmon - WOW it was
good! The Liquid Nitro was a chocolate-almond truffle with warm
whisky caramel sauce. I thought it was vile and disgusting, but I’m
one of those freaks of nature who doesn’t like chocolate. Carol on
the other hand couldn’t get enough of it! She thought it was
We walked up the main concourse
to the World Showcase Lagoon and turned left. The first Marketplace
we encountered was Farm Fresh. We tried the Loaded Mac ‘N Cheese.
It was excellent!
Then came Patagonia where we
sampled the Roasted Verlasso Salmon. It was a bit overcooked and
dry, not nearly as good as that salmon at the Chew Lab!
We took a boat ride across the
lagoon from Mexico to Germany and resumed our taste-trek.
At Poland we tried the Kielbassa
and Potato Pierogi, Nice!
Carol popped into the Werther’s
shop in Germany. She surprised me by coming out with a bottle of
water and no caramel corn!
At Germany we tried all the
offerings, Apple Strudel, Roast Bratwurst in a Pretzel Bun and
Schinkenudeln, which was sort of like a very cheesy quiche lorraine
with pasta noodles cooked in. It was very good!
At China we stopped for Pot
Stickers . . . that finished up our meal. We were full! Today’s
We left the park at 12:45 and
went home to spend a quiet afternoon with the dogs. We sat outside
with Blue and Jake for about an hour and our friend Jane came over
for a visit. Carol and Jane mapped out a strategy for the new
“Resort Christmas Mittens” series of Limited Edition resort pins
being released. Carol won’t be here when they’re released but Jane
and Hilda will, so they spent some time discussing exactly what
Carol wants! Pin Collecting is a very demanding hobby!
We napped in shifts, Jake, Blue
and I went first, then Carol and Jake took the second shift! Jake
is an excellent napper!
About 4:00 we loaded the puppies
in the golf cart and they enjoyed a nice long romp in the park; we
had it all to ourselves today!
By 6:00 the dogs were fed and
walked so Carol and I made our way to the marina and caught a boat
to the Magic Kingdom.
We wandered back to Fantasyland,
since we hadn’t eaten there in a very long time, we had flatbread
pizza at Pinocchio Haus. It wasn’t very good . . . we left
wondering why we hadn’t gone to Casey’s for a hot dog!
We had a FastPass+ for the Seven
Dwarfs Mine Train, it was great. We really prefer this ride at
night when your eyes don’t have to adjust as you move from daylight
After the train ride Carol went
to the FastPass kiosk in Tomorrowland to ask a few questions about
out FastPass for the Main Street Electrical Parade while I headed of
to Adventureland and picked up a pineapple float at Aloha Isle.
Soon Carol joined me with a citrus swirl she had picked up on the
way. We sat and savoured our treats!
She stopped at a couple of
Sorcerer’s portals and checked out the Frontierland pin store while
I sat in a rocking chair people-watching! Then we headed to Town
Square to watch the Electrical Parade. It was our first time using
the FastPass and it worked well. We checked in, found a front row
seat on the curb and Carol settled in for the 45 minute wait until
parade time. I went and sat on a nearby bench for a half-hour then
joined my princess on the curb.
It was a terrific spot to watch
the parade. Our sightlines were great and Carol got some wonderful
After the parade we ducked
through the Town Square gate and walked through a “backstage” area
to the hub and entered the FastPass area to watch the Celebrate the
Magic show and the Wishes Fireworks show. Once again it was our
first time using the new FastPass system for these shows and it
worked out very well. It’s a nice area with a clear view of the
castle and plenty of room to spread out. It wasn’t overly crowded!
Carol sat on the artificial grass while I leaned on a wrought-iron
Once the show started she joined
me along the fence. It was a good spot for pictures!
After the Celebrate the Magic
show we decided to skip Wishes; the dogs had been alone for quite a
while! Yup, that’s the reason! It’s not because we’re old, feeble
and lack stamina. Nope, couldn’t be that!
We had a long wait for a slow
boat and finally got home to the dogs at 11:00. The snoring began
Tuesday October 27
We slept until 7:15; it was a
dull and cloudy morning. We sat outside under the awning with
coffee as a gentle rain fell. It drizzled all day long. Just
before 10:00 a.m. we left for Animal Kingdom; we had a FastPass for
I was waiting near a pin stand
while Carol browsed the pins; suddenly a pair of Macaws flew past,
close enough to ruffle my hair. They flew to the front of the Tree
of Life where they put on a show several times a day.
Carol and I rushed over to watch
the brief but colourful show!
We strolled slowly toward Harambe
Village and took a few side trails along the way.
First was the Tree of Life Garden
Trail which winds back close to the tree and looks out over the back
of the compound where the kangaroo play. There were no roos there
Next was the Discovery Island
Trail where we always see saddle-billed storks and porcupines.
We saw this stork and Carol met
Turk on the Discovery Island Trail today!
When we arrived in Africa and
walked up to Kilimanjaro Safaris a huge FastPass line awaited us.
We had never seen it so long! It
stretched from the normal FastPass entrance all the way down the
trail to the Standby entrance. Yikes! Fortunately, once we got
into the line it moved quickly and we were boarding our truck within
Once we got moving, then
stopping, then moving again, then stopping . . . we understood why
the line had been so long! There were three baby giraffes out and
they were blocking the road.
It was our longest safari ride
ever, but we got some great pictures, especially of the giraffes!
warthogs - new gnus!
The safari was so long that we
missed the window for our ride on Expedition Everest, so we decided
to stop for lunch at Yak & Yeti and use the single rider line at
We didn’t have a reservation, but
we got lucky and had a table within minutes.
We arrived at Everest an hour
after our FastPass time; I was headed to the single rider line when
Carol stopped and told a cast member at the FastPass entrance about
our delay at Kilimanjaro. She put on her best pouty expression and
before long they waved us into the FastPass line.
We asked for the front row, as
usual, and had a terrific ride!
It was time to head for home. As
we left park at 1:20 it began to rain heavily.
We stopped at Property Control,
which is not far from Animal Kingdom, did some shopping and were
home with dogs by 3:00 p.m.
The dogs were disappointed!
Because of the rain there was no trip to the off-leash park today,
but they were somewhat appeased when we had an extra-long nap.
Carol and I headed out for dinner
at 6:15 and saw these cuties near the campground exit. The fawn is
one of a set of twins but a noisy truck scared the other twin off
before we could get a picture!
We had dinner at Sweet Tomatoes
in the Crossroads Centre. I really enjoy the salad bar there!
After a light dinner we stopped
at Walgreens for some additional strings of Halloween lights then
headed back home for a relaxing night of television.
Once again we woke at about 7:00
to a slow drizzle. The rain picked up a bit about fifteen minutes
later, that’s when Blue landed on the bed with a thud and nestled in
between us! It was obviously time for me to get up!
It was much too wet to sit
outside but after a couple of cups of coffee we ventured out to do a
few necessary chores. Carol mopped off the picnic table and
straightened things up while I pumped up the bicycle tires and
dumped the RV’s holding tanks. Just after 9:00 the rain had stopped
so we decided to risk riding our bikes over to Wilderness Lodge.
meeting Al, Jane, Hilda and Stephanie at 9:40 for breakfast at
Whispering Canyon Café. It’s a Wednesday ritual for Al & Jane and
this is the second year we’ve joined them for “Whispering Canyon
Breakfast there is always an
adventure; the food is great and the servers are spirited. It was
nice to spend some time sitting and chatting with the group.
Gary, Carol, Hilda,
Al & a little bit of Jane
The servers are doing a
selfie with Al's phone!
Here's that selfie!
While we ate the rain picked up;
it really poured down! We weren’t looking forward to biking home in
the downpour, but it let up just before we left. We timed things
perfectly, when we left at 11:00 a.m. there was a very light shower
falling, not even worth putting on the ponchos Carol had in her
bag. Thunder was rumbling in the distance and dark clouds were
blowing closer. Two deer ran along the trail beside us for twenty
or thirty yards but we didn’t even slow down to get a picture . . .
we needed rush to get home before the impending storm!
We just made it. We were only
inside a minute or two before the skies opened up and down it came!
We sat inside for a few hours while it rained cats and dogs. Blue
and Jake weren’t impressed with all that rain drumming on the roof!
What do you do when you can’t go
out and play? Why you have a nap of course!
By 2:00 p.m. the rain dwindled
and soon stopped so Carol and I went out to repair the storm
damage. All of our inflatables were flattened and the lights were
out. Wet wires had tripped the ground fault interrupter. Carol
started shaking the water, pine needles and leaves off the blow-ups
while I pulled out the leaf blower and blew as much standing water
as I could off the concrete pad.
Do you take a leaf blower when
you go on vacation? You should . . . they’re very handy.
After the campsite was cleaned up
a bit I plugged in the two circuits powering our decorations. I
really expected the GFI to trip again but to my surprise it didn’t.
We’re back in business.
We sat outside with the dogs,
enjoying the results of our work, but the rain left so much humidity
in its wake that our glasses kept steaming up. We had to head
indoors to cool off!
It wasn’t long before I got cabin
fever, so I drove the golf cart down to the Bike Barn and registered
us for the campsite decorating contest, trick-or-treating and the
pet costume parade. While I was gone Carol wiped down the outdoor
decorations to remove all the remaining sand, leaves and pine
needles. By the time I got back it was all looking great.
At 4:30 we gave the dogs a small
snack and left for Hollywood Studios. We had a FastPass for Toy
Story Midway Mania and a dinner reservation at Mama Melrose. Wow -
it was hot! The humidity was oppressive as we walked up Hollywood
We headed directly to Pixar Place
and hopped in the FastPass line for Toy Story. Neither of us scored
particularly well, we were both beavers again!
The Streets of America were
almost completely set up for the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights
which begin in about a week. We took a slow stroll through the
area, previewing some of the unlit features.
Before we knew it dinner time had
rolled around so we checked in at the restaurant. What a relief to
sit in the air conditioning while we waited!
We hadn’t been to Mama Melrose in
many years and we left wondering why that was. We really enjoyed
our pasta selections and I’m sure we’ll be returning there soon!
We made our way to the exit and
were home with the dogs shortly after 7:00. They were anxious for
their dinner, it was two hours past their normal feeding time and
they seemed to have forgotten about that snack they had!
Once they were done eating we all
loaded on the golf cart and took an extensive tour of the
campground, checking out the Halloween decorations. There are more
campers arriving daily and every day brings lavish new decorations.
By the time trick-or-treaters are roaming the campground it should
We were back home at about 9:20
and settled in for a quiet night.
We got off to a quicker start
today! Momma needed pins! We were both out of bed just after 7:00
a.m. and in the car heading to Disney Springs by 8:40. There was a
new Limited Edition pin being released there when the pin store
opened at 10:00 a.m. and Carol wanted to be in line by 9:00.
As we rounded the corner and
walked toward the store at 9:00 the line started moving; they had
opened the store an hour early! Bonus! We hopped in the queue and
inched our way toward the three cashiers who were handling the crowd
lined up for the new release. By 9:50 we were all done and I was at
Earl of Sandwich ordering our breakfast sandwiches! Carol had the
BLT and I had the bacon, egg and cheddar - Yummie!
On our way back home we decided
to skip the Food and Wine Festival today and instead enjoy a quiet
day at Fort Wilderness. We were back home with the puppies by
10:45. Our friend Deb, who is staying in a Fort Wilderness cabin,
came by for a short visit. After chatting with her we took Blue &
Jake to the dog park for a romp. They were overdue, they hadn’t had
a good run for a few days!
After the dogs were worn out we
dropped them off at home and took the car out to the overflow
parking lot. They were judging for the campsite decorating contest
after dark and we wanted to have it out of the way.
Once we got back home it was pin
trading time at the Trading Posts so we took a bike ride to the
Meadow where Carol checked out the trading board. There were no
We pedalled up to the Outpost but
it was a bit early for trading so we rode over to Tri-Circle-D Ranch
to see the horses.
We had an unexpected surprise,
the farrier was there shoeing the horses. He’s there every
Thursday. We watched him work for a while then moved on to the
barns to visit the horses.
Then it was time for the board to
open. Carol was first in line, in fact she was the only one in
line! Once again she didn’t find a pin she wanted, so we both
drowned our sorrow with ice cream!
As we left the Trading Post we
met Deb and followed her to their cabin to say a quick hello to
Linda. Their cabin had just been refurbished; it’s a really nice
blend of rustic and modern.
We drove around a few camping
loops to looking at the decorations then headed back home where Blue
and I took a nap while Carol and Jake went for a walk. They
searched for gators along the canal behind our camp site . . . no
Before we knew it the time had
come to feed the dogs and head off for dinner.
We took the golf cart, picked Deb
and Linda up at their cabin and drove to the Fort Wilderness Marina
where we caught a launch to the Contemporary Resort.
At the Contemporary we
transferred to the monorail which took us to the Grand Floridian
We had a delightful meal at the
Grand Floridian Café. It was our first time there and we really
enjoyed it! I ordered French onion soup and a surf and turf burger;
Carol had the salmon. Everything was excellent, especially the
company. It’s always nice to have some quiet time with good
After dinner we caught a launch
to the Magic Kingdom and a cruiser to Fort Wilderness where we
started a photo-tour.
Our two golf cart convoy scoured
most of the camping loops, stopping often to take pictures of many
of the more elaborate campsites. Some of the campers do an amazing
It took over two hours to
complete our circuit and take our pictures, there was just so much
We got back home at about 10:15,
just after the Wishes fireworks show had finished so the dogs were
particularly happy to see us. Somehow we had managed to fill up our
relaxing day and we weren’t long falling into bed!
Friday October 30
Today was planned as a “non-park”
day . . . the Fort Wilderness Halloween festivities were getting
underway. We were up at 7:00 a.m. and after a cup of coffee Carol
was in the car headed to the grocery store for cold cuts and
salads. We’ll be having a couple of quick meals at the campsite
over the next two days!
Once Carol was home with the
provisions we went to the 1100 camping loop where Moore Camping
Rentals had their “treehouse” trailer. We’ve rented it for Carol’s
parents next April and we’d agreed to meet Austin Moore there to
have a quick peek at it!
While we waited for Austin the
folks who were renting it, nice couple from NJ, allowed us to have a
look. They were all packed up and ready to go home and described
what a great time they had, and how well Rodney and Austin Moore had
treated them.. The treehouse is great, just perfect for what we
At 11:30 I
dashed off to deliver the second of three Mickey lamps I brought
down with us this trip and when I returned our friends Gary and
Sharon had arrived with Preston their seven-year-old
We had a light
lunch of sandwiches and salad at the picnic table and enjoyed a
leisurely afternoon. We took a daylight golf cart tour of the horse
barns, marina and a few camping loops.
Before we knew it the time had
come to get ready for the Pet Costume Parade. It’s something Blue
looks forward to every year and Jake had heard so many good things
about it he was filled with anticipation!
By 4:00 p.m. we were in the
off-leash park putting on their costumes!
Preston was a scarecrow.
Blue was an aviator.
Jake was the headless horseman.
Our friends Al and Jane joined us
with their little girl Boo. She was all dolled up in a Princess And
The Frog costume!
Some of the costumes were cute .
Some were creative . . .
And some involved the entire
Our puppies didn’t win any prizes
today, but they sure had a good time with the 50 or so other
Click on the red arrow to the
left to see a video of the dog parade.
The parade finished up shortly
after 5:00, giving us just enough time to feed and walk the dogs
before heading out for dinner at Trail’s End.
Since the campground is fully
booked, the restaurant was very busy but our wait wasn’t too long.
They have a terrific buffet and it’s reasonably priced; one of the
best values at Walt Disney World.
We were all stuffed when we left,
and darkness had fallen. We took slow-paced two-hour golf cart
tour of the camping loops. It’s amazing how much new stuff had
sprung up in 24 hours!
As we passed through the 1400
loop there was a horse-trailer pulled off along the side of the
road. We heard the sounds of a horse being unloaded as we passed
by. Carol said, “I bet that’s the Headless Horseman heading to the
campfire and sing-along.” I parked and we all hustled over to Chip
& Dale’s outdoor theatre and campfire area.
They were in intermission and
folks were toasting marshmallows but it wasn’t long before Chip,
Dale and the Emcee came back on stage and the Headless Horseman
galloped in. Spooky music and theatrical smoke made for a dramatic
In the 1600 loop a walk-through
haunted house was causing a traffic jam. There had to be 15 or 20
golf carts parked along the roadside as the occupants walked and
screamed their way through several tents filled with spooky and
gruesome scenes! Some people put a great deal of work into their
We were back home just after 9:00
and relaxed for about a half hour before Gary and Sharon started
their hour and a half drive back to their condo at New Smyrna
Beach. Preston had a great time . . . I think they’ll be back next
What a nice way to spend a day
with good friends!
Saturday October 31
We were both wide awake at 6:30
a.m. We had absolutely nothing to do until 5:00 p.m. but we must
have been anxious to get started. I spent about an hour
getting our trip report up to date; we’ve had a couple of busy days
and late nights so I fell a bit behind. Sorry Judy!
We took our coffee outside and
sat with the dogs soaking up some nature. It was a glorious sunny
morning; there was nary a cloud in the sky. (For our American
friends, nary is an old English word that means “hardly a frickin’
The dogs kept nosing us and
giving some less-than-subtle hints that a trip to the dog park was
long overdue. We ignored their suggestions until we thought the dew
had evaporated, then I loaded them on the golf cart and took them
for a romp.
Carol stayed home in case our
friends John and Cathy, from New Jersey, arrived while I was gone.
They were a bit delayed getting here . . . there was a huge line to
get into the campground and most people were turned away. So many
people who live in the area try to “crash” the campground for the
trick-or-treating that they put extra security on for the day.
Unfortunately we didn’t think to let the front gate know they were
coming and they were turned away. Fortunately John and Cathy know
Disney very well . . . they drove over to the Wilderness Lodge
Resort, about a mile away, and caught a boat to the campground. I
took the golf cart and picked them up at the marina.
When we got to the campsite Deb
and Linda had just arrived so we all had a nice visit. It’s been
several years since the six of us have all been together and we
enjoyed an hour of spirited chatter.
Deb and Linda headed home to BBQ
some lunch while the four of us had a picnic on the patio.
Then it was time to tour that
campground again so the four of us hopped on the cart. Touring
never gets old because the decorations change every day. How much
fun is Fort Wilderness at Halloween? John and Cathy liked the
festive holiday air of the campground so they thought they might
like to book a cabin for Halloween next year!
John, Cathy and I hopped in our
car at about 2:30 and I drove them to Wilderness Lodge; they were on
their way to the airport for a 6:00 p.m. flight home.
As I drove back through the
campground at 3:00 p.m. people were already sitting out along Fort
Wilderness Trail waiting for the 5:00 golf cart parade. I’ve never
seen them set up two hours early . . . so I grabbed our two chairs
and set them up in a spot where we could get some good pictures.
Then it was nap time!
I went out to sit along the
parade route at about 4:30 while Carol fed the dogs and walked
them. Soon she joined me and so did Al & Jane. There was just
enough room beside us for a gi-normous, humungous 1959 Cadillac
convertible to pull in, partially off the road, and block our view.
Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe dummies were splayed in the
backseat and the Elvis actually moved his lips and sang. The
husband and wife got out of the Caddy; he had a microphone which was
the remote control for Elvis. He spent about 15 minutes moving the
volume from high to low and changing songs every 10 or 15 seconds.
Hound Dog, Don’t Be Cruel, Teddy Bear, Fools Rush In, Love Me
Tender, Jailhouse Rock, he had quite a repertoire! Soon the man and
wife had a spirited discussion after which she stomped off in one
direction while he drove off in the other. The balance of nature
was restored; we were able to enjoy the sounds of silence and relish
our perfect sight lines again. Nice!
How many ways can you decorate a
golf cart? Here are a few samples from the more than 140 carts in
the parade. Some of them were very creative!
A Fort Wilderness cabin.
We didn't recognize our
neighbouring camper, Ryan Smith.
A fighter from Star
A Star Wars TIE Fighter
A classic golf cart.
A Disney monorail car.
A Disney bus.
WOW! It's the
Millennium Falcon! This cart won first prize!
After the parade ended about 5:30
we rushed home to get ready for the trick-or-treaters. The official
start time for “shelling-out” is 7:00 p.m. but we knew the little
ones would be arriving by 6:00.
Click on the red arrow on the
right to see a video of the golf cart parade.
Be sure to turn on your speakers!
We grilled up some hot dogs and
were just finishing them when Deb and Linda joined us to hand out
goodies. The ghosts and goblins arrived right on time, just before
6:00. Our site had two treat stations, Deb with one stash and Carol
with the other. Deb ran out of candy first and they headed off to
visit with some other friends camping here. The relentless
onslaught of kids (of all ages) continued until we ran out of candy
at about 8:15. We brought about 1,000 pieces of candy with us from
Canada and gave one piece to each kid. Those who were very tiny or
very cute got two. We estimate that we “shelled out” to well over
600 kids and had nothing left for the 200 or more who walked past
after we ran out. It was a very busy evening.
Ralphie, You'll shoot
your eye out!
I am Groot.
During the course of the night
some friends came by with their children.
Cindy stopped in with children
Jonah and Hannah.
Our Mouse Fan Travel agent Suzy,
her husband Del, their two daughters Mina and Lili, Suzy’s cousin
Miriam along with her husband and family trick-or-treated around a
few loops and then stayed for a nice visit. Mina and Lili were a
big help handing out treats while the adults enjoyed a visit. Mina
handed out the last of our candy and once it was gone Jake came out
to play with the girls. Later Janice W., her sister and their niece
Disneyana came by; we brought out the small stash of candy we had
set aside for Disneyana.
We sat out Del, Suzy and the
girls them until about 9:30 when I unplugged the golf cart and drove
them to the marina. They planned to watch the 9:45 Electric Water
Pageant and Wishes then catch the boat home.
Shortly after I got home Carol
took the dogs out for there evening duties. As she stooped to turn
off the outdoor lights they all went out, just as she was reaching
for the switch on the power bar. The damp evening air had tripped
We took that as
a sign that enough was enough! We went to bed!
We haven’t heard full details of the contest winners yet, but first
place in the dog parade went to the family and their 2 dogs who all
dressed up as Star Wars characters. The same family took first
place in the golf cart parade with their cart decorated as the
Millennium Falcon. First place in the campsite decorating
competition went to our friends Bob and Tammy Clyde from
Pennsylvania for their Haunted Mansion themed display.
Congratulations Bob and Tammy!
Sunday November 1
This was supposed to be a restful
day . . . it didn’t turn out that way. We set out clocks back
before going to bed on Halloween but naturally we didn’t sleep past
our normal time. We were wide awake at 6:00 a.m. standard time and
try as we may, we couldn’t get back to sleep. Carol pressed the
button to start the coffee maker before it’s pre-programmed time and
we soon got busy taking down all of our Halloween decor.
It was very humid and the
temperature rose steadily as we worked. By 9:00 we were both
drenched with sweat, but everything except the inflatables had been
taken down, cleaned and packed away. The inflatables had been
operating for almost three hours but they were still wet with dew.
Carol pulled them off the sand and let them run on the concrete pad
to dry. We went indoors to cool off; I had some toast for breakfast
and then we unplugged the blow-ups; Carol rolled them and stowed
them in a big plastic tote which I loaded in the basement of the
RV. We were both drenched with sweat again!
We were all done by 10:00 a.m.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to shower before company
arrived. Cindy and her children Jonah and Hannah were back with
some pins Cindy had picked up for Carol. We had a nice visit with
Cindy while Jonah played with Jake, then we took them on a short
golf cart tour of the campground as we chauffeured them back to the
By 12:30 we were showered and
feeling human again! We hopped in the car and headed toward Winter
Garden where we had a quick lunch at Panera before stopping at
PetSmart. We needed some dog food . . . Oh Look! The dog
Halloween costumes are 75% off! Blue and Jake now have brand
new costumes to wear next year!
We pointed the car back toward
Lake Buena Vista and made stops at Walgreens, Seven Eleven,
Character Corner, Camping World and WalMart before returning home to
the dogs at 4:30.
That left just enough time for a
trip to the dog park. I took the boys for a romp while Carol put
away our purchases and got some kibble ready for the boys. It
didn’t take the two of them long to tire out in the heat and
humidity; they were home eating their dinner by 5:15.
We ate at home too, Carol had
picked up some great looking bacon and cheese burgers at Publix the
day before so I fired up the grill and cooked them. They were
tasty, we’ll be having more of those!
After dinner Carol took a couple
of loads of wash to the laundry in the nearby comfort station. She
was back and forth in the golf cart a few times to tend the washer
and dryer and returned home with our clean duds at 8:00.
We watched some TV and crashed
early after a busier day than we had planned!
Monday November 2
We were both sleeping soundly
when Jake woke us up at 6:15 this morning. He was tapping Carol
with his paw and walking over her. When she shooed him away he came
and started licking me. It soon became apparent that his clock had
not been reset. He hadn’t “fallen back” an hour; as far as he knew
it was still breakfast time! We were both up at 6:30.
We couldn’t see out the
windshield/front window! It was fully covered with a heavy layer of
condensation. It was very humid out and our A/C had been running
The weather has been good, but we
can’t remember a Halloween this hot! The temperature has hit the
low 90’s every day and the humidity has been very high. There have
only been a couple of nights that we’ve been able to open the
windows for some fresh air. It’s sort of like those hot humid days
we get in August back home . . . except that we don’t go outside
when it’s this hot at home!
It was Blue’s 5th
birthday. He didn’t get a cake but he did get this swell Disney
birthday button and birthday card from Smudge, Nico and Boo .
We had a relaxing few hours
before leaving for the Magic Kingdom. We got to the Fort Wilderness
Marina at 9:40, just as the cruiser to the Magic Kingdom was pulling
away. We boarded the waiting launch which was headed to the
Contemporary Resort. At the Contemporary we transferred to the
monorail and took the grand circle tour to the Magic Kingdom.
By 10:30 we were walking through
the Emporium on our way to Pirates of the Caribbean.
Did I mention it was hot? It was
over 80° with steamy humidity. By the time we passed under the
Adventureland sign we were wilting . . . how convenient that we had
to pass by The Sunshine Tree Terrace and Aloha Isle. A pineapple
float and a citrus swirl were just what we needed!
We were refreshed when we arrived
at the Pirates ride at 11:00 to use our FastPasses.
Our boat was fully loaded with
passengers and had an inch of water laying in the bottom of the
hull. There were four big guys like me seated on the right side to
it listed about ten degrees and bottomed out regularly. All of the
bilge water ran to the right side, fully submerging my right foot.
Next on our agenda was Big
Thunder Mountain Railroad so we wandered through Frontierland, my
shoe squishing all the way, past Splash Mountain and took a wild
ride through the wilderness.
By noon the temperature was
approaching 90° and stepping outdoors was like stepping into an
We were anxious to get to the
Beast’s Castle for our lunch at Be Our Guest.
Carol and I both ordered the
roast turkey sandwich and when they arrived we remembered that
they’re so big we had agreed to share one the next time. I ate most
of mine, Carol ate half of hers and brought the rest home. Maybe
next time we’ll remember to share.
Our final FastPass was at Buzz
Lightyear Space Ranger Spin so we wandered slowly to Tomorrowland
and joined the FastPass queue at 1:25 p.m.
Neither of us had a good score,
the heat may have fried our brains. We stepped back out into the
oven and headed to the park exit.
The cruiser had us back to Fort
Wilderness at 2:20; even the breeze on the bow offered little relief
from the intense heat!. This sign never looked so good.
I saw a cute golf cart in the
cart parking area beside the Settlement Trading Post. They must
have just arrived, it wasn’t in the golf cart parade!
I yanked off my wet shoes and
they went on the picnic table to dry in the sun, then we went into
our cool, air conditioned home to greet some happy dogs! The heat
had really sapped us, we laid down for a nap, another quad!
At 4:30 I took the dogs to the
off-leash park while Carol got their dinner ready. At one point I
was watching Jake run back to me, the tennis ball in his mouth, when
I felt a warm sensation on my right ankle. The birthday dog was
piddling in my shoe! Yuck! Luckily there was a garden hose just a
few yards away, I rinsed off and we carried on playing. It didn’t
take long to tire the boys out, their tongues were dragging when we
got back to the RV at 5:15. There were two pairs of shoes drying in
After the dogs were fed and
walked it was time for us to head out . . . I had some shopping to
do. We headed up Palm Drive to Turkey Lake Road and stopped at the
Wal-Mart near Sand Lake Road. They didn’t have what I needed -
Dang! As we left we spotted a Chick-Fil-A so we stopped for a quick
bite of dinner, then went back to the Wal-Mart on Route 535.
Would you believe that Carol waited in the car while I shopped?Yup - it really happened! I found the Virgin Mobile 4G LTE
device I needed then we went to a nearby Publix where I read my book
in the car while Carol picked up a few groceries. We were back with
some happy puppies by 8:30 and enjoyed a quiet night of television.
Tuesday November 3
We were both wide awake at 6:00
a.m. We couldn’t blame the dogs this time, they were still sleeping
when we got up at 6:15. Once again the windshield was covered in a
heavy layer of dew.
We savoured a few cups of coffee,
then I went outside to do a few romantic chores. (I dumped the
sewage tank!) It took over 5 minutes for the fog on my glasses to
clear! That was because of the humidity, it had nothing to do with
At 7:45 Carol and I hopped on the
cart and headed to Trail’s End for breakfast. The breakfast buffet
is terrific, and at $18.99 it’s a great value! The restaurant was
very quiet when we arrived.
Josephine seated us right away
and stayed to chat with us until our server, Linda, arrived.
Josephine is a delightful woman. Disney recently renamed the take
out counter (formerly Trail’s End To Go) to P & J’s Southern Take
Out. The P & J refers to Paulette and Josephine who have both been
at Trail’s End since it opened in 1971.
We had a wonderful breakfast.
Eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs, breakfast pizza, ham, sausage, bacon,
fruit, cinnamon buns, Mickey waffles, bread pudding, cereals,
yoghurts, biscuits, sausage gravy, vegetable frittata and more;
there’s a huge selection to choose from.
We were both full and getting
ready to leave when Linda asked if everything was to our liking.
Carol said, “It was all great, but I really miss the strawberry
compote you used to have on the buffet.” Linda said, “I can get you
some of that!” and disappeared off to the kitchen. Seconds later
she was back with a little bowl full of that tasty strawberry
sauce. Carol has been known to make a complete meal of that sauce
and a few biscuits. It tastes so good on a light fluffy biscuit!
Carol said she was too full to eat it but she didn’t want to offend
Linda so she dashed off for a biscuit. Just between you and me, she
didn’t look too full as she ate it! Don’t tell her I said that
Back at the RV we sat out under
the awning with the dogs for a while. The 4G LTE Internet device I
bought the previous night didn’t work s we were heading off to
Wal-Mart to exchange it, but we wanted to give the puppies some
fresh air first. It wasn’t really all that fresh! At 9:30 a.m. it
was 80° with steamy humidity, making it feel like 86°. The forecast
called for a high of 90° with a “real feel” of 96°. We decided to
take Blue and Jake to the off-leash park before it got any hotter.
Our timing was perfect! There
were a couple of small dogs there when we arrived and our boys had a
After a few minutes three more
shelties arrived; it was a virtual sheltie-fest!
There was a blue merle, Simba,
who looked a lot like Blue.
The five-month-old sable puppy,
Flopsie, who ran and raced with Jake.
The third was a tiny tri-color,
Petey, who was full grown and only weighed six pounds.
After our guys visited with the
other dogs for about a half-hour we took them home to cool off on
the air-conditioned coach.
Carol and I took off in the car
to do our errands. I dropped her off at the Premium Outlets on
Vineland; she scoured through the Disney Character Outlet store
while I made my exchange at Wal-Mart. We were back home at noon.
Carol headed to the pool for a
dip while I fiddled with the computer getting the new Internet
device connected and configured. Everything worked out well this
time and at 12:45 I joined Carol at the pool.
I found her chatting with our
friends John and Sharon from Cleveland. They just arrived at Fort
Wilderness, after a two month RV tour which took them from Ohio to
Washington then south to Texas and east to Florida. They saw all
kinds of amazing sights along the way; Old Faithful, Hoover Dam, The
Alamo, etc. etc. That’s the kind of trip that is on my bucket
list. Alas, it’s not on Carol’s list!
We had a nice visit with John and
Sharon, all four of us submerged to escape the heat, then Carol and
I headed back to the campsite. By 2:00 p.m. the dogs had convinced
me it was nap time.
At 4:00 o’clock Carol and I were
both at our computers when she happened to look out the window.
There were about a dozen wild turkeys in our campsite. I passed her
the camera and she took a couple of pictures out the window. Then I
opened the door and took Jake out . . . he enjoyed his first turkey
That turkey standing near the
grill sure made tracks when Jake started barking!
Do you see the terror in the eyes
of that bird in the bottom right corner?
We had no idea he was a bird-dog!
Jake strutted proudly around the
campsite for a few minutes.
Meanwhile the turkeys slowly
paraded up the road!
The dogs were fed and walked a
Then Carol and I hit the road to EPCOT where we had a reservation
for dinner at Garden Grill.
Naturally Carol’s first stop was
the pin station!
The sun was setting but the
temperature was still 85° and it felt like 90°. We’ve had lousy luck
with weather this year! We went to California in August and they
had record high temperatures during our stay. This time in Orlando
we’re sweating through record highs again. Yikes!
We had FastPasses for Soarin’ . .
. my favourite EPCOT attraction. It might be our only ride this
trip, so we made sure to ask for row B1 where you have the clearest
After our thrilling flight we
went up the escalator and checked in for Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest
It was a very nice meal; fresh
salad, roast turkey, char-grilled sliced beef fillet, tilapia with
all the trimmings. It’s all-you-can-eat and served family style.
The initial serving was plenty for Carol and I.
During dinner the characters
mingle and pose for pictures. It was great fun!
After dinner we headed back
outdoors into the oven. We stopped at the old Innoventions building
and picked up our souvenir Annual Passholder Food and Wine Festival
wine glasses. They are souvenirs we’ll never use, but they’ll look
great in Carol’s Disney Room!
When we got back home to the dogs
at 8:00 p.m. it was still 81° and felt like 85°. We enjoyed an
air-conditioned evening of television!
Wednesday November 4
It was another steamy, misty
windshield morning when Jake started his dance on Carol at 6:30.
This was our Universal Studios day. Carol hasn’t been to Universal
in over 20 years and I’ve never been there. Ever since Harry
Potter’s Hogsmeade opened there several years ago it’s been on our
to-do list. This time it actually made it onto our “official”
schedule; so we were under plenty of pressure to go! Then we heard
the weather forecast - 90° with a “real feel” of 100°. So we talked
it over . . . do we spend about $270 (Canadian dollars) to spend a
couple of scorching, uncomfortable hours at Hogsmeade, then give up
and head home to the air conditioning? We decided to wait for
better weather when we could take time to see it all and really
enjoy it! Hopefully when we’re back in April!
So we enjoyed a leisurely morning
with the dogs.
We had coffee in the lawn chairs
and watched the cardinals who live in the shrubs all around us.
A horse-drawn carriage
clip-clopped past on a practice run.
Looks naked without all
the Halloween decorations!
Mornings at Fort Wilderness are
so much more pleasant than any resort hotel!
Carol needed a quart of milk, so
we boarded the golf cart and headed to the Meadow Trading Post.
Along the way we stopped at the bike bark to see the list of
Halloween contest winners. Bob and Tammy Clyde, from Pennsylvania
won first prize in the site decorating competition; their prize was
a Segway tour of Fort Wilderness for four adults.
We headed back home - Oops,
forgot the milk! Oh well, we’ll get some later!
We took the puppies off to the
dog park before it got too hot (it was already 80°) and gave them a
We left for EPCOT at about 10:20
to finish our ‘Around The World Dining Extravaganza’. We decided to
brave the heat for a while, but when it got to be too much we would
bail out and head home.
We walked straight up the middle
through Future World and took a right turn through Canada and
England on our way to France. It was 10:45 and nothing was open yet
so there were very few people around. We got a few good pictures
with no crowd!
By the time the Marketplaces
opened up at 11:00 a.m. I looked as though I had ridden Splash
Mountain or Kali River Rapids. All we did was walk slowly from the
park entrance to France and my shirt was wringing wet. We spent the
next two hour dashing from one shady spot to the next, sampling food
from the kiosks.
Our first sampling was at France,
we enjoyed the Croissant aux Escargots and the Boeuf Bourguignon.
Then we cheated a bit, we went to
the boulangerie (French bakery) for Créme Brûlée. The portion they
serve is twice the size of the one served at the kiosk, and the
price is the same. Oh yes, the bakery is also air-conditioned.
Next came Brazil. We both
enjoyed the meat pie, cheese bread and coconut candy!
This canopy above out
table sure was pretty, but it didn’t offer much shade!
At Belgium we enjoyed the Belgian
Waffle with berry compote. It was so good that we gobbled it up
before we thought to take a picture.
At Morocco we tried the Kefta
Pocket, seasoned ground beef in a pita pocket. Once again in our
haste we forgot to take a picture. So here’s a word picture to help
you visualize it - it looked like a pita and it tasted great!
At Japan we tried a steamed bun
filled with chicken, vegetables and sweet teriyaki. The bun was
much to thick and doughy in our opinion, but the filling was
Carol had heard a bout a new
exhibit in the Japan Pavilion so we ducked into the store
(air-conditioned and cool) for a slow saunter back to the exhibit
Carol made a pretence of looking
at the Kawaii Art, I didn’t. I sat on a bench and soaked in some
An a cappella group, American
Music Machine, was performing in the America Gardens Theatre as we
approached. Carol wandered through a few nearby shops and I sat for
a few minutes, on a shady bench, and cooled off while watching the
Then we carried on to Hops &
Barley, beside the American Pavilion. On her first trip Carol came
back with a beef slider with pimento cheese and carrot cake. It was
very good; while we sat nibbling several lobster rolls passed by and
they looked so good that we had to try one as well. Delicious,
better than we’ve had on the east coast! We really enjoyed the
carrot cake with warm cream cheese icing - yummy!
Our final dining stop was Italy.
We sampled the Ravioli and the Chicken with mushrooms, Marsala sauce
and Ciabatta Bread. Very nice!
Three things conspired at once to
convince us it was time to go home. We were full, our glasses were
permanently steamed up and the Friendship boat was approaching the
dock at Germany.
We boarded the boat and sailed to
Mexico before beginning the long hot trek to the parking lot.
Carol and I both chanted a mantra
as we plodded toward the car, “I think I can, I think I can, . . .
“ This is what we saw as we drove down Buena Vista Drive on our way
to the campground. Yikes! It actually felt hotter than that!
Back home we made a very quick
change and headed to the pool fast as we could get there. A cast
member with a microphone was screeching instructions to the kids in
the pool, directions for some game they were playing. The volume
was cranked up so loud that we could hear him very clearly as we
parked the golf cart over beside Chip ‘n Dale’s campfire. We were a
football field away, with a building in between us and every word he
spoke was crystal clear. I’m pretty sure the little tykes only ten
feet in front of him had no trouble hearing. But we didn’t care;
the pool felt so soothing that we did our best to block out all that
annoying noise and restore ourselves to a normal body temperature!
What do you suppose came next?
Yup . . . a nap; another quad.
We had a simple dinner, hot dogs
on the grill. It felt cooler as we barbecued so we decided to brave
a trip to Hollywood Studios for a preview of the Osborne Family
Spectacle of Dancing Lights. They don’t “officially” open until
November 6th, but they’ve been in testing mode for a few
Al and Jane were joining us for
the tour; we were all underway by 6:00 p.m. and met in the Studios
Wow! The lights are just
spectacular. It’s a shame Disney is discontinuing them.. There’s
plenty of redevelopment and construction going on at the park and
the entire Streets of America area, where the lights are strung,
will soon be levelled and rebuilt. Rumour has it that the lights
are supposed to reappear somewhere else, but who knows when or where
or if ever!
The area wasn’t crowded so we
were able to take our time and get lots of pictures.
As we left the Streets of America
we paused at Writer’s Stop for a couple of carrot cake cookies then
headed to the exit. We were home to some happy dogs shortly after
8:00. The heat had really taken a lot out of us, sleep came early.
Thursday November 5
Once again Jake was walking all
over Carol and nuzzling me at 6:30 . . . we really need to get him
adjusted to standard time!
We moved a bit quicker this
morning; there was a new pin being released at Disney Springs and
the lady who brings joy and bliss to my life needed to be there at
9:00 a.m. when the pin store opened. I scurried and did the best I
We walked around the corner at
9:05 and spotted a very short line at the pin store.
By 9:30 we had picked up our pins
and were waiting for our breakfast at Earl of Sandwich. I tried
their ham and cheese omelette with some added roasted red pepper.
Very good; it may be my regular breakfast there from now on!
After breakfast we headed west,
toward Animal Kingdom and paid another visit to Property Control.
There wasn’t much new, Carol bought some pretty paper folders to use
for her trip plans. You just can’t plan a fabulous vacation without
a fabulous folder!
We took an intentional right turn
on Western Way as we left Property Control. We knew that Route 192
was out there somewhere, but we weren’t sure where. It seemed to
take forever to get there, we drove through abandoned orange groves,
swamps and housing developments before we found the highway and
reoriented ourselves. There’s no shortcut when you exit that way,
we won’t go there again!
We made a quick stop at Walgreens
where Carol picked up a quart of milk and I bought another laser
light, a green and red Star Shower.
We pulled back into the
campground at noon. I pulled off beside the side-road where people
hook and unhook their tow cars so Carol could hop out and get a few
pictures of these guys who were posing for us! How cute are the
Before long I took the dogs off
to the park for a run, then it was nap time!
We relaxed at the campsite during
the heat of the afternoon, then fed the dogs a bit early again and
headed off to the Magic Kingdom. We boarded a cruiser at 5:00 and
were docked at the park by 5:15.
There was an overnight
transformation in the park Tuesday night, Halloween had gone and
Christmas had arrived! It was time for us to greet the Christmas
The transformation was
incredible. We always marvel at what they can accomplish in just
We wandered up through the
Emporium and stopped at Casey’s for a hot dog. Hard to believe we’d
been here over two weeks and hadn’t had Casey’s hot dogs yet! It
was still hot out, so for dessert we each picked up our favourite
frozen treat, a citrus swirl for Carol and a pineapple float for me.
Then it was time for our first
FastPass+ at Splash Mountain. The picture proves how hot it was,
Carol actually rode without a poncho and got wet!
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
came next; we asked for the back row and bounced and jostled our way
through the wilderness. The ride seems to be wilder in the dark!
There was time to spare before
our next FastPass so we took a slow saunter through Frontierland and
Fantasyland, snapping pictures along the way.
When we got to Tomorrowland we
boarded the WEDWay PeopleMover for a relaxing ride then headed to
Buzz Lightyear to redeem our FastPass.
Carol noticed that the standby
wait was only 5 minutes so we hopped in the standby line for a ride
before using our FastPass. Carol humiliated me! Look at the
concentration in this picture. Carol was ahead 400,000 to 80,000
and I was striving desperately to catch up. This game brings out
the beast in each of us!
We rode again using our
FastPasses and she won again. The scores were closer, but she swept
me two games to none! Next time I’ll have to cheat!
the Magic castle show was underway as we headed toward the park exit
on our way home. As we dragged our hot and tired carcasses toward
the dock we watched the cruiser cast off and leave without us.
Dang! Luckily, it was only 10 minutes until the next boat arrived;
we were home with the dogs by 8:30.
I woke at 6:45. Jake was beside
me and Carol was gone. She had gotten up about 45 minutes earlier.
Hmmmm! Maybe Jake isn’t the problem - maybe it’s Carol.
It was only 73° outside, still
sticky out but not hot yet, so we turned off the AC and opened the
windows. It’s been almost a week since we last opened up and
enjoyed fresh air. That lasted an hour, then it got steamy again!
I chose today to become a party
pooper. For the last few days I’ve been achy with a scratchy
throat. Today it settled right in as a cold and I felt cruddy all
Carol wanted to go to Hollywood
Studios to pick up some special Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights
pins. I tagged along so she could get some extra pins for friends
then I hobbled back from Sunset Boulevard to the car while she
walked to the Streets of America to exchange some ornaments and a
shirt. The shops weren’t open yet but she spotted a pair of legs
under the canopy that was draped over a kiosk. Those legs belonged
to a very accommodating cast member who just swapped the old
products for some new ones, even though she couldn’t open the cash
register yet. That was service above and beyond and saved Carol a
return trip to the park later in the day!
She joined me in the car and we
struck off to the local Winn Dixie grocery store where she picked up
enough kibble to get Blue and Jake home.
Then it was time for me to go
home and rest. The cold had really dragged me down; I found it
difficult to breathe in the hot, humid air. It was the kind of day
the dogs just love . . . we napped off and on from 10:30 a.m. until
Carol received a text message
from Jane letting her know that Scoop Sanderson was doing something
special at the Magic Kingdom at 2:00 p.m. so she caught a cruiser
and sailed off to meet Al and Jane and see Scoop. She walked up
through the shops on Main Street and stopped in Adventureland for a
citrus swirl. She crossed through Frontierland to Liberty Square,
playing Sorcerers of The Magic Kingdom along the way, and picked up
Sorcerer cards at the Christmas Shop. They were handing out
Halloween Party cards along with the usual packet. That was a nice
When Carol got back to Main
Street she was hot again so she went to sit in the side street near
the Jewellery Store. There was Al, sitting waiting for Jane who was
off shopping. Does that sound like a familiar theme? Soon Jane
came back and they struck off to find Scoop!
They found him on Main Street
across from the Jewellery Store at 2:00 and he presented Jane with a
special pin that he signed and dated for her. Then there was a
round of hugs . . . apparently Scoop likes warm hugs too!
Carol was back home by 2:45,
checked my vital signs and then joined the three of us for a brief
I got up at about 4:30 and we
took the dogs off to the park for a romp. The heat was still
oppressive and they tired very quickly.
We had planned to spent the
evening at Hollywood Studios but I just wasn’t up to it, so we spent
a quiet night at home. We rode our bikes over to Trail’s End
Restaurant at about 5:45 and ran into our friend Will, from
Baltimore. He had finished dinner as we arrived. We chatted a few
minutes, then our table was ready.
We were seated in a nice quiet
I was very comfortable until
Carol pointed out the brain-sucking bison that snuck up behind me!
We were back
home shortly after 7:00 p.m. and I stayed with the dogs while Carol
rode her bike off to the Meadow and the Settlement to join in the
nightly pin trading when the trade boards open up in the Trading
Posts. She was back home about 7:45 and we had a quiet night with
Saturday November 7
Jake was restless at 6:30 but we
ignored him; next thing we knew it was 7:30. Finally we slept in!
After our normal morning routine
it was decision time! We had FastPasses booked at Animal Kingdom .
. . was I feeling up to it? I decided to give it a try, if it was
too much we could always cut it short and head for home.
We left the campground at 9:30
and parked at Animal Kingdom 15 minutes later. We had plenty of
time before our FastPass at Expedition Everest expired so we
wandered through a few shops and Carol checked out plenty of pin
lanyards. It was already hot and humid so we took our time and
snapped a few pictures as we strolled through Asia.
At 10:30 we boarded our train and
took a high speed ride through Nepal!
This is Carol’s favourite roller
This pretty pink flower
caught Carol's eye!
Guano Joe has been doing
this gig for a long time!
The Flights of Wonder show was
just about to start as we walked past on our way to Africa. We
haven’t stopped for this show in a couple of years and it was just
about the time I needed a rest . . . so in we went. It’s always a
good show and passes on a powerful message about the plight of many
Our last stop of the day was
Harambe Village where we boarded our safari truck.
There weren’t as many animals as
usual, probably due to the heat, but we did have a few unique
There is a new hyena
habitat as you enter the savannah.
This baby giraffe posed
Baby warthogs playing!
Carol loves to watch
these otters play!
After our Kilimanjaro Safari we
headed to the park exit and made a bee-line home to Fort
Wilderness. We had sandwiches in the motor home and then spent an
hour and a half packing things away, getting ready to head home.
Yes, sadly our trip is coming to an end!
We pulled up rope lights, packed
away our palm tree and one of the Mickey lamps. We took down the
Mickey head rope lights from the easels and trees then folded up and
stowed patio tables. The Musket Mickey sign, gas grill and propane
stove all got packed away in the basement. It was a steamy
afternoon and we were both soaked when we were done. I was soaked
with sweat, Carol was soaked with “glow”. We hopped on our bikes
and took a ride to the Meadow where we soaked in the pool for a few
minutes. The pool was very noisy and very crowded on Saturday
afternoon, but it felt oh-so-good!
Then it was nap time! I slept
like a log for two hours. I woke at 5:00 p.m. to the sound of dog
kibble. Carol was pouring out some dinner for Blue and Jake. “You
missed the wedding.” she said.
Yes, you read that right,
directly behind our RV, in the dog walk area along the canal behind
the 800 loop a down-home, cowboy-themed wedding had taken place
while I was comatose.
Carol had gone to sit outside while I slept
and went to investigate all the noise she heard. She found a chapel
with pews made from hay bales covered in white fabric, an altar of
hay bales framed by a rustic wooden arch, and dozens of celebrants
in cowboy hats and western boots. She, Al and Jane had watched the
wedding while I was snoring!
As soon as I heard about it I
grabbed the camera and dashed out to get these pictures.
I have no idea who the happy
couple were, but I congratulated them and wished them well!
By the time I got back home the
dogs were finished their dinner and it was time for Carol and I to
leave. We drove to the Olive Garden Restaurant nearby on Route 535
and had a very nice dinner. Carol had spaghetti with chicken and
shrimp in a carbonara sauce; I had Shrimp Alfredo. We really miss
Olive Garden and wish they still had restaurants in Canada!
We were back home just after 7:00
p.m. and I settled in for the night. Carol rode her bike to The
Settlement and picked up a new pin from the trading board. She
planned to go to the Magic Kingdom to pick up some Sorcerer cards
but after waiting over a half hour for the boat, and seeing a few
lightning flashes, she decided to come home instead.
The wedding party was still going
on when she got home just after 8:00. We enjoyed a quiet night
Sunday November 8
Once again Jake was antsy at 6:30
a.m. I decided to be a gentleman and take him out to do his
business so my sweet princess could sleep. It took some work to
convince him to leave the bed; I had to call several times but
finally he came out, did all his chores and went bounding back to
bed. It looks like it was all a ploy to get me out of bed so he
could curl up on MY pillow beside HIS momma! What a
conniving little cur!
The three of them got up about a
half hour later and we enjoyed a slow start to the day. It will be
our last slow morning until we are home. Our only plans for the day
were to finish packing up, get Carol to her pin trading meet at noon
then go to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the evening.
After a pot of coffee we headed
out and got to work. The patio mat and lawn chairs were folded up
and stowed, the last Mickey lamp post was taken apart and packed
away, the holding tanks were drained and rinsed, the awning was
retracted and locked down for travel and the bicycles were hung on
the rear ladder and wrapped in case we hit bad weather. There are
plenty of little jobs to do after we’ve been camped for a few
weeks. By 10:30 we were both tired and sweaty, but the job was
done. We’re almost ready to pull out . . . tomorrow morning it’s
just our regular morning routine, unhook the utilities, retract the
stabilizing jacks, retract the three slide-out rooms, hook up the
tow-car and drive away! The campsite looked naked . . . but we’re
ready to roll!
After a refreshing shower we
drove over to The B Resort on Hotel Plaza Boulevard where Carol
spent an hour and a half trading pins while I had lunch and read my
book in the hotel restaurant. She recognized about half the traders
from previous trading events and was very happy with the deals she
was able to make.
On the way home Carol spotted
these turtles on the bank of a pond just a few hundred yards from
the entrance to Fort Wilderness Campground. That guy on the right
is over a foot in diameter! There are interesting critters
everywhere you look around here!
We were back home before 2:00
p.m. and spent a relaxing day with the puppies. I’m still fighting
a cold so I took a two-hour nap to build up strength for the
We fed the dogs a bit early and by 5:30 we
were on our way to the Magic Kingdom. Our cruiser docked at 6:00
p.m. and we lined up for our wristbands.
Then it was time to pick up Sorcerer cards . .
. special cards only available at the party!
As we left the fire hall with the cards Carol
spotted a couple of cast members wearing lanyards and asked one of
them to trade. Lauren was thrilled . . . it was her first pin
We meandered up through the Emporium and
stopped at Casey’s for dinner, love the hot dogs there! As we
finished the Castle Forecourt Show, A Frozen Holiday Wish, was just
beginning, so we rushed up to The Hub to watch the cast from Frozen
light up Cinderella Castle. All the little girls (and their
mothers) were chanting, “Ice and Snow, Ice and Snow”. All the boys
(and their fathers) were groaning, “Will they ever go away?”
The Frozen part is really getting tiresome,
but the process of lighting the castle really is spectacular!
Next on our agenda was a citrus swirl and a
pineapple float. What the heck? Both Aloha Isle and the Sunshine
Tree Terrace were closed. Really Mickey? You couldn’t keep them
We carried on to the Jingle Cruise . . . the
same old Jungle Cruise with a bit of a Christmas overlay and some
different corny jokes. We were at least 90 minutes late for our
FastPasses but Carol used her trusty old feminine wiles to get us in
the FastPass queue.
We headed to Frontierland where she picked up
the Christmas Party pins, then we picked a good spot to watch the
8:15 parade. While we waited we enjoyed the free cookies, hot
chocolate and apple juice they give out at several locations around
The spot we picked for the parade gave us
great sightlines, but the light wasn’t very good for pictures, here
are the best of the ones Carol was able to get!
Once the parade was over we scurried out of
Frontierland, cut behind the Christmas Store and made our way to
Casey’s where we snagged a table where we could sit and watch the
Celebrate the Magic show, then the fireworks. Our view was
partially blocked by a tree and a bunch of people standing in front
of us, but we saw enough to really enjoy the show, and the special
elements added for the Christmas party.
After the fireworks were over we waited about
10 minutes while the crowd cleared, then made our way to the front
of The Hub to watch the 10:05 castle forecourt show “Celebrate The
By the time we got to the viewing area it was
drizzling steadily. Within a few minutes they announced that the
show was cancelled due to the rain. Drat!
At least the cast came out and gave us a bit
of the show’s finale!
As we headed toward the exit they announced
that the 10:30 parade was also cancelled, so we quickened our stride
to the exit and beat the crowd to the boat. The temperature had
plummeted to a positively frosty 78° with steamy humidity. Even the
boat ride home was hot. We were home with the puppies shortly after
11:00 p.m. and fell into bed.
Monday November 9
We plan to shorten our trip home
from four days to three, and that means longer travel times each
day. We were both wide awake at 6:00 a.m. This time Jake had
nothing to do with it, we knew we had to get moving so we were up
early entirely on our own.
We were all unhooked and pulled
out of the campsite at 7:15.
Carol followed me in the car to
the special “hook-up” lane and this little guy watched as we
connected the car to the tow bar. We left Fort Wilderness by 7:30.
Was it still hot? It was so hot that I had trouble pulling gloves
on my sweaty hands before hooking up the car!
Traffic was slow through Orlando
but picked up once we were east of the city and we had no slowdowns
for the rest of the day.
We turned from eastbound I-4 to
northbound I-95 at 9:00 a.m. and soon made a stop at a citrus stand
near St. Augustine and picked up some tangerines.
We crossed the state line into
Georgia at 11:15.
The rain and drizzle started
pretty much immediately after we crossed the state line and carried
on all day. We stopped for gas at Brunswick, GA and had a quick bite
of lunch while we were stopped. We were northbound near Pooler,
I noticed that the air conditioning was working very well. I opened
the window, poked my are out and said to Carol, “Open your window
and feel the air outside.” She did . . . and a big smile erupted.
It was a wonderful, glorious 63°. Yes it was drizzling, it was
damp, but it was so refreshingly cool! I reached down to the dash
controls and shut off the A/C; we rode on gleefully with the windows
open, shedding some of the heat we absorbed over the past two
weeks. After about an hour Carol reached back and pulled a blanket
from the chair behind her to cover her legs. She was chilly . . .
still happy, but a bit chilly!
We crossed into South Carolina at
1:45 and it wasn’t long before I reached down to the dash again and
turned on the heater. It sure was nice to feel some cool for a
We stopped at a rest area just
south of Walterboro, SC to stretch our legs and give the dogs a
potty breaks, then carried on northbound to I-26 where we turned and
headed west toward Columbia. By 4:30 we were northbound again on
I-77. After a quick fuel stop at the Rock Hill, SC FlyingJ Truck
Stop we carried on the last fifteen miles to our home for the night,
the KOA at Fort Mill, SC. It was 6:00 p.m. when we pulled in, it
was dark and it was raining. I don’t like setting up in the dark, I
don’t like setting up in the rain, setting up when it’s dark, rainy
and you’re tired from 10 hours behind the wheel . . . that’s just
cruel and unusual punishment!
We were both tired after a long
day on the road and debated what to do for dinner. Eat in the RV or
go out. I voted for a change of scenery so I swapped the RV’s
captain’s chair for the car’s captain’s chair and we drove north 2
miles to Culver’s. It’s a chain of fast food restaurants, mostly
located in the mid-west, and they specialize in homemade frozen
custard. It was very nice, several levels up from the golden
arches, with a varied menu and the custard was scrumptious! It was
recommended to us by Jen from Charlotte, NC who reads our blog.
Thanks for the tip Jen, we really enjoyed it!
After dinner we headed home to
the dogs, tried to stay awake for a bit of television, but it just
wasn’t working. We were both in bed by 10:00 p.m. It wasn’t long
before the rain was just teeming down and drumming on the roof of
the motor home. This meant that two dogs joined us in bed . . .
Tuesday November 10
Two dogs in bed with us usually
makes for a restless, sleepless night, and that’s exactly what we
had! Partly because we went to bed early, but mostly because of the
dogs, we were up and moving early in the morning. We hit the road
at 6:55 a.m. Yikes! Our campground was only 4 miles from the state
line so Carol was poised with the camera . . . but traffic around
Charlotte NC was just terrible.
It took 13 minutes to cover the
first 4 miles and we turned onto the I-485 beltway just as soon as
That 20-mile beltway saved us a
lot of time, but the first 30 miles of our day’s journey still took
a full hour. We won’t be staying at that campground again, it
wasn’t a bad spot, but the congested traffic is more that I want to
face in the morning!
Once we passed Mooresville on
northbound I-77 we picked up speed again and for the rest of the day
we drove as close to the speed limit as the navigator would allow.
Skies were sunny and life was
We reached the Virginia state
line at 9:10 and pulled in at the Welcome Centre for a leg-stretch
before climbing that big hill that Carol loves to hate.
She doesn’t mind climbing it
(it’s the trip down the hill that terrifies her) so on a bright
sunny morning she kept busy snapping pictures as the engine roared.
By 10:00 a.m. we had turned onto
I-81 northbound and headed toward Staunton where we planned to have
sandwiches in the RV at a rest area. Somehow a Cracker Barrel
restaurant reeled us in before we reached that rest area, so we had
a hot lunch instead of sandwiches. The Tuesday special was meatloaf
and we both enjoyed it!
The rain started shortly after
lunch and it rained all the rest of the day. Sometimes it was just
a drizzle, sometimes it poured, but it never stopped! We gassed up
and stretched our legs at the Winchester, VA FlyingJ truck stop at
2:30 then began crossing state lines in rapid order!
Soggy West Virginia at 2:44
Drenched Maryland at 3:09
And finally Puddled Pennsylvania
We pulled into our campground in
Carlisle, PA at 4:15 and quickly hooked up the utilities. I was
tired after two long days behind the wheel so I had a nap before
We met some pin trading friends,
the Evil Queen and her consort, at a nearby Applebee’s restaurant.
They live just a few miles away at Camp Hill and we always look
forward to connecting with them on the way home. We had a great
time visiting with them, even though I was struggling to stay awake!
We were back
with the dogs by 9:30 and once again bed time came early!
Wednesday November 11
There was a bit of work to do
before we pulled out on our last morning, Carol did a thorough
clean-up inside while I dumped the holding tanks and gave them a
very good rinse.
Then it was time to pull up
stakes . . . we pulled out at 7:50 and immediately noticed how light
the traffic was approaching Harrisburg. It’s the State capital and
rush hour usually means slow traffic . . . then it hit us – it was
Veteran’s Day. State workers must have had the day off!
The night before the Evil Queen
had promised to share her “weather bubble” with us and it worked
well all morning. We breezed along in light traffic and made great
time. Winds were gusty when we crossed the high mountain area
around Hazleton and a misty drizzle developed as we approached the
New York state line.
We made our last fuel stop at the
FlyingJ in northern Pennsylvania and crossed into New York at 11:25.
Wednesday is Chicken Pot Pie day
at Cracker Barrel so we pulled off in Binghamton, NY and had a nice
hot lunch. We both really like the Chicken Pot Pie!
Carol had some shopping to do
before we crossed the border so we made quick stops at the Christmas
Tree Shop in Mattydale and Wal-Mart in Cicero. The final shopping
stop was mine, some Forty Creek Whiskey at the Duty Free Store.
We passed through Canadian
Customs at 4:45 and pulled up in front of our home at 5:15. Then
the unpacking started – Yuck! Where did all that stuff come from?
A few statistics for the trip:
We travelled 4,546 kilometres or 2,841
We spent $1,116.98 on gasoline ($831.12 In
We paid an
average of $108.59 per night for our campsite at Fort Wilderness