Friday, March 6, 2015

The Road to Texas

Orlando was our first stop once we left the tropics south of West Palm Beach.  We returned to Moss Park Campground, a beautiful oasis on the outskirts of Orlando where we had stayed last year.

We settled in a couple of days before FETC, the Florida Educational Technology Conference which I was attending and where Lucie was doing 4 presentations!

The day before the conference we had another technology educator, Rushton Hurley from California over for dinner and to check out the Sand Hill Cranes who make the campground their home.  It was great to hang out with Rushton, who was one of the featured speakers at FETC, and to share our nomadic lifestyle with a fellow educator.

As soon as FETC was over Lucie flew back to Vermont to spend some time with the grandchildren and to continue working on some of her educational projects.  On my last day in Orlando I drove the car to Daytona to visit my Uncle Charlie and Cousin Sheryl.  It was good to see them and spend the afternoon chatting and catching up.

The next day I drove the RV to Cedar Key, it was an uneventful drive, which I am always glad of when our home moves.  I enjoyed being back at Sunset Isle Campground and settled right back in to sunsets on the dock, bluegrass music and a friendly community of campers.

One sunny afternoon while at Cedar Key I "swung the radiator" on the Wanderlodge so I could adjust the fan belts.  When I got the radiator uncovered I discovered that it is nearly worn out and is seeping coolant.  I hope it will get us home, where I will need to get it re-cored.  A major expense, but not unexpected with a 32 year old vehicle.

After a few delays Lucie booked a flight to Gainsville.  On the day I drove the car east to pick her up I stopped to visit my friend Jeff Petermann, who was near Gainsville on a road trip through Florida.  It was great to see Jeff again and catch up, it had been too many years since we had last gotten together.

This picture is of the first leg of Lucie's trip back to Florida, a train ride through a blizzard to Connecticut.
Once I got her back to Florida it was sunset at the Tiki Bar!

It was good to have Lucie back!

While we were at Cedar Key our friends Deb and Frank McCarthy drove up from the Tampa area to spend an afternoon with us.

Our next stop was the Ho Hum Campground near Apalachicola on the Florida Panhandle.  We got a site there for a week and hung out enjoying walks on the beach and oysters on the half shell.

 The weather was changeable.  Going from short sleeves to cold and windy.  But we couldn't complain because back home people were surviving the coldest, snowiest winter in ages.

One day we climbed a light house for a panoramic view of this "less traveled" part of Florida.

On Valentines we got dressed up and went in to Apalachicola where we met some friends who are nomads also.

 Kristen and Jason Snow (the Snowmads) were in their brand new Trek RV with their canine traveling companions. 

We all took advantage of the restaurants and bars in Apalachicola, having a wonderful Valentines day celebration.  

A memorable Valentines Day in Apalachicola Florida with the Snowmads.

When it was time to leave we took advantage of the free camping under the bridge we had learned about from our friends the Snows.

We got there just as they were leaving, their next destination, New Orleans.


Lucie and I had scheduled work obligations that day so we parked under the bridge, took care of work then spent the day taking a walking tour of Apalachicola.

Then we retired to the Wanderlodge, under the bridge for the night before heading west towards our next destination, San Antonio Texas.

The next morning the trip started out a little rough with the alternator on the Wanderlodge not working.

We ran the generator while we drove along the Florida coast, then when the alternator started (all on its own) pumping out electricity we shut off the generator and continued on our way to Biloxi Mississippi where we parked in a Walmart parking lot for the night.
When we started up the RV the next morning the alternator started functioning normally.  I put the problems down to ocean moisture from parking next to the water the night before.  
The day progressed normally until just as I was navigating the traffic through Baton Rouge Louisiana I got a call from work that the Internet was flaky and could I fix it?  I drove until I could find a safe place to pull off near a cell tower and got to work.  A few minutes later we determined that the problem at work had passed.  It was a routing glitch on the part of our ISP and there had been nothing to do but ride it out for 15 minutes anyway.  When I restarted the CAT to move on - no power.  
And that was how we arrived in Texas - running the RV's generator to keep the batteries charged so we could run the RV's diesel to keep heading west.  We approached Houston just as rush hour was about to begin and saw signs for a Flying J truck stop.  We settled in between idling diesels and I spent a while cleaning contacts and checking things out.  I sent out a cry for help to the Wanderlodge Owners Group and almost immediately other Wanderlodge Owners chimed in with lots of good advice, only some of which was possible in a truck stop parking lot.

But we had made it to Texas!