RV Trip 2011 – First Leg

Memories 4 Comments »

This year, my Dad fulfilled a lifelong dream when he bought a 30′ RV. Way to go, Dad! I’m so happy for you. ­čÖé

Dad's RV

His first major trip was in June, to vacation and visit family on the east coast… first us in Florida, then to my sister Kelly in New Jersey, and his sisters in New York. The plan was for Dad, my brother Greg & niece Adrianne to come to our house, stay for a few days, and then fly home. Then Dad and I would drive up to Kelly, pick her up and continue on to New York. Then back to New Jersey and I would fly home.

When Dad arrived at my brother’s house to pick them up, Zoey jumped right in and was ready to go!!

Zoey in the RV

She had to stay home, though. Kinda hard to get a big dog like her home on the plane.

The first leg of the trip was a leisurely 4-day drive from Tucson, Arizona to Spring Hill, Florida.

Dad driving the RV

Day one brought them to Texas, where they camped overnight and then went to The Caverns of Sonora before hitting the road for the day. They said it was the most spectacular cave they had ever been in… a beautifully preserved, living cavern with so many interesting formations!

Cave

Everybody took turns driving. Here’s Adrianne behind the wheel!

Adrianne driving the RV

Next stop – New Orleans, Louisiana. They were able to park pretty close to the French Quarter and spent the afternoon touring Bourbon Street and seeing other sights, such as a giant lubber grasshopper and a sign at a park warning of no swimming due to alligators.

Bourbon Street

I love this picture Dad surreptitiously took of the t-shirts hanging outside a shop. The second one is especially good!!

New Orleans Funny T-Shirt

The end of day three found them in Pensacola, Florida.

RV Trip Pensacola

They stayed in an RV park right on the beach and after taking a little dip in the Gulf of Mexico, they set off for our house. My next post will be about the time we all spent together here.

You can browse the trip archive to see all of the entries in one place.

RV Trip 2011 – Spring Hill

Memories No Comments »

I was so excited when Dad, Greg & Adrianne pulled into the driveway!

Arriving in the RV

They arrived in good spirits, ready to tour our little part of Florida. With no clear plan (hey, it’s vacation!) we set out to enjoy the next three days together. The day of arrival was spent visiting and enjoying a delicious dinner expertly grilled by Trav… ribeye steak, baked potatoes and salad.

Each morning, Sadie was the guide for Crews Lake Park.

Crews Lake Park

The next day, we went to Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin, Florida. Here’s Dad enjoying the sunshine on the beach.

Dad on the beach, Honeymoon Island

Adrianne and Greg on the beach.

Adrianne & Greg at Honeymoon Island

The waves were the biggest we’ve ever seen in the Gulf! If we had known, we would have taken the body boards.

Trav at Honeymoon Island

After the beach, we went to Dunedin Brewery. The beer and food were delicious!! The vanilla bean beer was soooo good. Adrianne & Greg had the 7.9% apv honey beer. Dad had a delicious apricot peach ale. And Trav, our designated driver, had lemonade! I’m so happy we found a good place to eat down there.

Dunedin Brewery

Day six started with 18 holes of frisbee golf at Word of Life Camp in Hudson. It was a first for me, and fun! I took a picture of the map and it helped us find some of the tees. The course was pretty well maintained and we got to see a bunch of birds, including a pair of Sandhill cranes, pretty close up.

Frisbee Golf

After golf, we prepared for canoeing down the Weeki Wachee river. We arranged to rent a canoe and a tandem kayak at Weeki Wachee Kayak Rental. We usually rent from the state park right at the launch site, but they were all sold out for the day. We were very happy with the service from the rental place and would go there again. Here we are at the beginning of the trip.

Canoeing with Dad

The water in this river is crystal clear and 72 degrees. We saw lots of birds and fish, and a merganser of some sort accompanied us for a while.

Greg & Adrianne Weeki Wachee

We stopped to play on the rope swing about halfway through the trip. There were some kids using it and we just joined right in. Dad got some really good pictures. I especially like this one… everybody looks so happy over Adrianne’s big splash!

Rope swing!

As we got closer to the Gulf, we saw 7 manatees! A couple of them were pretty big and we also saw a baby with his mama. The rental guy picked us up at Davis Park and took us back to our car.

We got home with enough time to pick up Greg & Adrianne’s luggage and get them to the airport, where they left feeling satisfied and happy with their vacation… they got to do a lot of stuff and see some neat things.

On Friday, I had my RV driving lesson in the parking lot of an empty warehouse. I did pretty good but got a couple of fails on right turns going over the curb. Then I drove it around on the street a bit and did just fine. I love the view from the front windows in the RV!

That evening, we went to the Elks Club for dinner and dancing. Dad & I did a great polka plus a couple others and line dancing.

Line dancing at the Elks Club

Dad got to meet a lot of our friends and we all had a good time. The early night at the Elks allowed us plenty of time to get home and get to bed for a good night’s rest before our departure.

Next post – the trip to New Jersey!

You can browse the trip archive to see all of the entries in one place.

RV Trip 2011 – Florida to New Jersey

Misc No Comments »

Dad and I set out for New Jersey on Saturday morning. Our first destination was St. Augustine, Florida, to visit the Fountain of Youth. Here we are at the entrance, with Don Juan Ponce de Leon.

Dad & Emmy at the Fountain of Youth

It was a nice little place to explore, with exhibits about the native Indians and the Spanish people who landed there in 1513. We were welcome to take a drink from the Fountain of Youth. It tasted of sulfur.

Drinking from the Fountain of Youth

The park guy said we were lucky it only stank a little because some days it was just terrible. We finished our tour and after driving all afternoon ended up in Savannah, Georgia, where we camped at a little RV place just off Route 16.

Camped in Savannah, Georgia

There was a bad storm during the night and a very large tree came down near the entrance. It rained so hard some of it got under the slider covers and when Dad pulled out, it spilled down his back in the driver’s seat when he first braked! Luckily it wasn’t overly much but it was sure enough to wake Dad up fully!

We made our way down to the beach in Tybee Island and it was a very pretty drive. Some of the streets of Savannah are very narrow… we took up the entire lane.

Street in Savannah, Georgia

Tybee Island is a beautiful place and I would love to go back someday. It’s full of little artsy shops and stuff. We parked a block away from the beach and walked down to put our feet in the sand. Here’s Dad on the beach.

Dad on the beach at Tybee Island, Georgia

On the way back we saw these cats doing what cats do best… laying around and looking pretty. ­čÖé

Tybee Island cats

I drove from the beach on the very narrow roads (only hit one curb, whew!) and then we went all day. For Dad’s Father’s Day dinner we found a steakhouse in Smithfield, Virginia, where I treated Dad to two of his favorite foods – steak and ribs! The food was very yummy.

Father's Day Dinner 2011

It was almost dark by the time we left the restaurant and got to the RV park in Selma.

Camping in Selma, Virginia

We camped by a lake and in the morning, some ducks came by to see if we had anything for them.

Virginia Ducks

We had another pleasant day of driving, conversation and listening to music. We went under the Baltimore Harbor. I’m always amazed by these feats of engineering… driving under a big body of water like that is incredible.

Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, Maryland

I’m also a big fan of bridges but some of them were a little scary in the RV… the ones that had very low sides made me pretty nervous. Seems like you could go right over the edge if something bad happened. Even just looking at the picture now gives me the willies!!

Crossing a high bridge with low sides

Here’s a spectacular bridge that goes from Delaware into New Jersey – the Delaware Memorial Bridge. There was a lot of traffic but we kept moving.

Delaware Memorial Bridge to New Jersey

Yay! After crossing the bridge, we were very close to our destination.

Welcome to New Jersey!

The next post will be about our first couple of days with Kelly in New Jersey. Read about the entire trip here.

RV Trip 2011 – New Jersey, Part 1

Misc 2 Comments »

We arrived about five minutes before Kelly got home from work. Nice timing! For a lovely welcome, Kelly shared a special bottle of wine with us – one she brought back from Italy.

Italian Wine with Kelly

The wine was delicious and went perfectly with dinner – rack of lamb! Kelly is such a good cook – the food was yummy and we had a good time chatting.

Kelly grilling rack of lamb

Here is Kelly’s new kitchen! It’s awesome… granite┬ácounter tops, spacious cupboards and a stove to die for.

Kelly's new kitchen

The next day we went to Philadelphia. First stop – Kelly’s work. We met many of the people she works with – all very nice. I wish I had taken their pictures! Here we are near her building, with City Hall in the background.

Emily & Kelly in downtown Philadelphia

Kelly treated us to lunch at one of her favorite restaurants –┬áBarbuzzo. Kelly & I had pizza (hers with a fried egg on it and mine with lardo) and Dad had a burger. We really enjoyed the meal and it was an interesting place to visit. The chef sent over an antipasto platter when we got there, and boy was it good! Olives and vegetables and cheese – nom nom nom.

Lunch

After lunch we decided to spend the afternoon at the Camden Aquarium, just over the river in New Jersey. It’s a very nice place! They had a HUGE tank with all kinds of interesting stuff in it – various sharks, stingrays, huge turtles and big schools of fish. Our favorite in that tank were the fish riding on the wake of the stingrays.

Here we are touching the stingrays. It’s surprising how they are velvety soft.

Touching the stingrays at the Camden Aquarium

The piranhas better watch out for Kelly!! hehehe

Kelly biting the piranhas!

I loved this part of the aquarium. It was very tranquil, being surrounded by all that water.

Aquarium tunnel

There were so many awesome creatures to see. I took lots of pictures but won’t bore you with a whole bunch of them – unless you come over and ask to see! There’s video, too. I did want to include this beautiful sea dragon, though.. he’s just stunning. The picture doesn’t really do him justice.

Seahorse at the Camden Aquarium

The last “show” we got to see was the Penguin March. The penguins knew it was 4:30 and time for them to go in, eat and bed down for the night. They lined right up and marched in when the door was opened. Each penguin has its own spot inside and I think they said they enter in the same order every day… they have a hierarchy thing going. So cute!

Penguins waiting to go in for the night

I don’t remember what we did for dinner that night, but in all, it was a fun and relaxing day spent in good company.

The next day we planned on driving up to Rochester to visit with Dad’s family there, so that will be my next post! You can also┬áread about the entire trip here.