Thursday October 15


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 weather trips!


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 early!


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 over.


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!

Saturday October 17


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 trees.

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 Carolina.

Carol doesn’t find the view at all interesting!

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 Fancy Gap.


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 interesting!

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 far away!


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 dinner.


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 she 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 decorations!

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 at 7:30.

No orange juice today, the Welcome Centre doesn’t open until 8:00.  We drove right on past, Carol snapped a picture as we flew by.

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 main gate.

At the Magic Kingdom gate we kept to the right and took the first right hand turn toward Fort Wilderness.

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.

Aaahhh!  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 from us.


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 ball game.


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 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 gifts!

The Dapper Dans rode past while Carol browsed!

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 underway.

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 Hollywood Studios.

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.

The pre-show 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 trip!

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 early.

Thursday October 22


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 pictures.

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 pictures!

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 quadruple nap!)


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 Muppet outfits.


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 trail!

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.

Friday October 23


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 flavourful.


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 Cheeses.


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 Disney Room!


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.

Saturday October 24


We slept until 7:00 a.m. Maybe we’re getting our biorhythms straightened out, or maybe it’s just exhaustion.

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 home.


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 food!


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 campground. 


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 Festival.


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 amazing resort!

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 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 divine!

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 cost?  $46.75

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 to darkness.

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 pictures!

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 fence.

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 moments later!

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 Kilimanjaro Safaris.

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 today.

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 15 minutes.

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!

Three baby 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 Everest later.

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.

Wednesday October 28


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.

We were 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 Wednesday”.

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, Chad, Stephanie, 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.  Hallelujah!


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 Boulevard.

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 be magnificent!


We were back home at about 9:20 and settled in for a quiet night.

Thursday October 29


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 treasures today!

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 gators today!


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 Resort.

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 friends.


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 job!

It took over two hours to complete our circuit and take our pictures, there was just so much to see!


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 need.


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 family.

Our puppies didn’t win any prizes today, but they sure had a good time with the 50 or so other contestants!


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 scene.

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 displays.


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 year!


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’ one”)


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 Wars.


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 the GFI.


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 parking lot.


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 all night.


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.  Not comfy!

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 oven!

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 the sun!


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 the sewage!

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 though!

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 good run.

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 hunt!


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 bit early.

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 view!

After our thrilling flight we went up the escalator and checked in for Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast.

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 good romp.


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.  Aaaahh!

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 delicious!

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 area.

Carol made a pretence of looking at the Kawaii Art, I didn’t.  I sat on a bench and soaked in some cool!

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 group perform.

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!  Aaahhhh!


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 nights.


Al and Jane were joining us for the tour; we were all underway by 6:00 p.m. and met in the Studios parking lot.

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 could.

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 fawns?

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 season!


The transformation was incredible.  We always marvel at what they can accomplish in just one night.

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  Celebrate 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.

Friday November 6


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 day.

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 4:30 p.m.

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 bonus.

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 nap.


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 corner.


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 the puppies.

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 coaster.


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 species.

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 sightings!

There is a new hyena habitat as you enter the savannah.


This baby giraffe posed perfectly!


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 watching television.

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 Christmas Party!


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 trade!

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 open?

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 park.

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 Season”.

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, GA when 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 change!


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 . . . OH JOY!

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 we could!

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 good!

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 at 3:21

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 dinner.


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 miles

  • We spent $1,116.98 on gasoline ($831.12 In US dollars)

  • We paid an average of $108.59 per night for our campsite at Fort Wilderness