Wednesday, September 30, 2015

In the Jungle

On Tuesday we left at about noon, knowing that our drive to the next campground was less than three hours away. The rain was intermittent and light, causing no difficulties. We arrived at about 3:00 pm and parked in what feels like a jungle, with trees dripping Spanish Moss and palm trees everywhere.
Bob and I took Auggie on a walk around the park. My knees have gotten a little less stiff--there were a couple of days when I could barely hobble around the rig, I was in such pain. That was definitely my last lighthouse-climbing trip. My knees just can't take it and I'm lucky I didn't do further permanent damage.

We have one day here before moving on into Bradenton, FL for the month. Since Bob used to live less than a half hour from here, in Williston, today we are driving out to see the house that he built and owned before I met him. And since yesterday morning, before moving, I wound a warp for my Seidel Card Loom, I hope to warp today and start a new project.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Jurassic World in 3D and Hanging with the Elks

We left Gulf Shores as the weather changed late Sunday morning, driving East through sprinkles for about 4 hours to arrive in Tallahassee, Florida. We are staying at the local Elks lodge which has full hook ups for RVs. Even though we are in the city, we feel like we have a bit of privacy tucked in the trees here.

So what should we do in Tallahassee? We were up for going to an art museum and using our reciprocal membership from the Norman Rockwell Museum, but unfortunately those museums were not open on Mondays. However, the local IMAX theater was showing Jurassic World in 3D today, so we decided to go. It was fun, fun, fun. The fly-over shots of South America made me feel like I was right there. And while the plot was predictable, it was enjoyable for both of us. A good movie to see in 3D.

After we returned home we had a bite to eat before visiting the lodge and meeting some of the local members. Bob and I had a nice time visiting. Earlier in the day we had had a chance to see this lodge's claim to fame: the furniture from Lodge #1 in New York. They are quite proud of this furniture, and deservedly so. It is almost 150 years old and is quite impressive.
Tuesday we head out to Micanopy, FL (pronounced mick un OH pee) on our way to Bradenton. Weather is supposed to be rainy for the next couple of days, but since we rarely have been seeing rain, it's OK.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


On our last full day here in southern Alabama, we drove to... Florida! That's right, we took a drive over to the Pensacola Seafood Festival. It has been years since I've been to one of these, and it was fun.
There was a nice turn out, and Bob and I spent some time wandering past vendors selling pottery, jewelry, woodcrafts, clothing, and other items. And food! There was a lot of interesting food!
Over in another section we found local restaurants had set up tents and were selling their specialties. This is what I tried, and was it ever GOOD!

I never thought I'd find myself liking grits, but I guess it stands to reason that if you put enough Smoked Gouda cheese on anything, especially with portobello mushroom applewood smoked bacon cream sauce, it's going to be good. I almost didn't even need the shrimp, but they were a nice touch.

After that, we drove to Pensacola Lighthouse, which is located on the Naval Air Station by Pensacola Pass (where Pensacola Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico.) it is a very pretty lighthouse.
I thought we were going to just walk around it. But all of a sudden I found myself climbing it, and well, I'm not a quitter so I kept going. Bob and I had to rest a few times on the ascent, but we climbed every one of those 177 steps. I could hear the voice of my orthopedist saying to me, "Now, be sure not to aggravate your knees." 

My knees are officially not speaking to me right now.

But the view was stupendous.
We returned home tired but happy. Time to get ready to move on!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sheep Coasters are Finished

I had a fun day finishing the weaving of my sheep coasters, then stitching and trimming them. Fast and easy! And now they are ready for use.
I am very pleased with the way they came out. I folded up my Baby Mac and put it away until the next time. I try and be mindful of the space that my loom and other equipment take up in the living room, and put them away as soon as I finish a project. Bob doesn't complain, but a loom does take up some valuable real estate. I replaced the loom with my spinning wheel so I can continue to spin the Coopworth fiber I have for a pair of slippers. At least the wheel is smaller than the loom!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Beignets and Bloody Marys

Oh what a day we had! After my morning bike ride Bob and I decided to take a walk along the Rosemary Trail at Gulf State Park. We had been told that there was a spot where a large alligator might be found. Unfortunately the temperatures were rising and we decided to turn back. My knees have been bothering me a lot more than usual lately, and walking hurts. But at least we got a nice walk on a beautiful morning.

Later we drove over to Bill's By The Beach for lunch. Our table was perfect, with a view of the sparkling Gulf waters. We had a great lunch and were waiting for our desserts to arrive when we saw a huge Bloody Mary being delivered to the woman at the next table. No lie, this thing was the most unusual drink I have ever seen, with all kinds of food stuck to it. Check it out.
Yep, that's a full sized burger, shrimp, bacon, sausage, cheese, and hot peppers in there with the fruit and celery. But I didn't spend too much time watching her because my beignets arrived.
They were hot and fresh, with gooey chocolate inside. Oh. My. Seriously good. I missed out on the beignets in Louisiana last fall so I was excited to see them offered here. They were worth the wait.

After lunch we drove to Orange Beach to check out the little museum in town.
I enjoyed the Indian artifacts they had on display, including many arrowheads that had been found in this area. Those who know me well know that one of my life's goals is to find my own arrowhead one day. I took a photo of the poster hanging there--who knew there were so many types of arrowheads?
Maybe one day I'll find one. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Hunt for a Bottle Opener Begins

I used to be a real collector and spent a lot of time and money seeking out and purchasing tchotchkes to decorate our home. Antique stores were the best, often providing hours of fun looking for that one treasure to buy. In fact, one of Bob's and my first dates was to New Hope, PA where we spent the day browsing through the many antique stores in town. It was on that day that Bob and I started pointing out hideous items and telling each other that they would be "perfect for a guest room," ensuring that a guest would not overstay their welcome. But I digress...

Today we went to a couple of local antique malls to look for a wall mounted bottle opener for our kitchen. We have the perfect spot for it, and that's saying a lot because there really is very little wall space available for hanging anything.

We looked for close to two hours, only finding "faux antique " bottle openers made of cast iron in a variety of tacky styles. They were in both malls, in great abundance. We decided to pass on them, preferring to keep looking another day. Sometimes the hunt is more fun than actually finding what you want. I could find something on eBay but I think I will enjoy having an excuse to visit antique stores for a while. And as a bonus we can watch for new items "for the guest room."

I did some more weaving today, savoring this current project. If I'm careful I can make it last much of the week. I also took a bike ride and went for a nice long walk with Bob and Auggie. I can feel it in my knees when I don't move around enough so I have been upping my exercise lately.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sheep Coasters

We have had a lovely, relaxing weekend. Bob and I took a drive west along the coast on Frifay. The road passes little beach cottages on stilts and leads to the ferry to Mobile, AL. It was fun to imagine staying in one of those little cottages in the nice weather, but Gulf Shores gets some cold, windy winter weather, too. And hurricanes. Nope! Not for us! We'd rather avoid the cold and move our home to where the sun keeps shining!

Yesterday I pulled out my warping board and Baby Macomber loom and warped up some coasters to protect our new furniture. I've had this project in my weaving queue since 1990, when Handwoven published the draft (Mar/April of 1990, if you want to go look for it.)  Ten years ago I even purchased the yarn, and still I waited, somewhat intimidated by it.

And do you know what? I am thoroughly enjoying weaving these. My edges were a bit wonky at first but have improved. And I'm glad I increased the length of this warp by an extra yard because I'm having too much fun weaving them. Just look at how cute this is:
I'm enjoying it so much that I don't want to finish them. So I must pace myself lest I weave the whole warp off in one day and have to warp again.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Wonderful Wednesday

On Wednesday we were very busy! Our friends Wanda and Jerry took us to lunch at a restaurant called Lulu's, located on the Intercoastal Waterway.
We sat outside on the deck by the water, watching boats go by as we enjoyed some really yummy seafood and great conversation. September is really a great month to visit this area--warm but not too hot. We are loving it!

After lunch Bob and I stopped in to the Gulf State Park Visitors Center to learn about the animals in this area. We discovered that the area really does have a lot of alligators, and we were glad our site is a little ways from the water because there is a thirteen foot long one in the park. I was happy to see this baby, though. He was kind of cute.
There are four types of poisonous snakes in the area as well: the coral snake, diamondback rattlesnake, dusky pigmy rattlesnake, and the cottonmouth. All have been found in the park.
There are other, non-poisonous snakes here as well, including king snakes and rat snakes. This green tree snake was very interested in us.

Along with live snakes, the Center has a number of formerly-live stuffed animals on display. And some beautiful pine needle baskets. I'd love to learn how to make these!

Later that evening the four of us drove to the Flora-Bama bar/nightclub that featured live bands. 

You could tell that this place gets pretty rowdy at times, as evidenced by the discarded bras displayed in a couple of the rooms. I stifled the urge to add mine to the piles.
We had a really fun time, and the band playing was excellent. 

Thursday was a quiet day, spent mostly reading and relaxing, except for a morning bike ride. We think we'll stick around for another week before moving East and South.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Beach

It was a little overcast today but still warm and pleasant. Bob and I sat outside for a couple of hours this morning and just read. I may have even dozed a bit, with the sound of songbirds in the nearby bushes and the soft warm breeze...

After lunch we drove along the coast to find a beach to walk on. We made it all the way to Florida, which it turns out is only 8 miles away. We had no idea we were so near the border! Guess we should look at a map and see where we are. :)

We stopped at Alabama Point East Public Beach Access which had a long boardwalk across sandy dunes to the Gulf waters. Tide was high and we sat on rocks to watch the waves roll in.
I was amused to see the tiny sandpipers scurrying around, picking at something that was too small for us to see in the sand. They were really cute, and came pretty close to us.
The breeze was quite brisk and seagulls would flap their wings without moving forward. I found myself pondering why in the world a seagull would work so hard to fly against the wind when he could just go the other direction and soar? I mean, what is so important that he has to go to THAT PART OF THE BEACH? Wouldn't you think that downwind would be just as good? Think about it.
It was very nice, and doesn't Bob look handsome in his sunglasses?
We returned back to the campground and spent some time hanging out with our friends Wanda and Jerry, who have the cutest little 
Shasta trailer. I just love little retro trailers.
We have made plans to go to lunch with them tomorrow. We are looking forward to it!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Just Another Day in Paradise

This morning I had a goal: to take the bikes and find the dog park. Bob took the bikes off the back of the motorhome and I was shocked to see how filthy they got, riding under the cover for thousands of miles. It has, um, been a while since we rode.

So we got a hose, bucket of soapy water and a "Magic Eraser" sponge, and cleaned those bicycles up. Auggie was happy to settle in to his basket on the front of my bike, and off we went.

Boy are we out of shape! We went too far (and never did locate the dog park,) facing a brisk wind in our faces on the way back. We were really tired by the end of the ride.  I'm going to have build up to another ride like that by taking shorter rides daily. Could we be getting old???

All around the park are signs like this:
I even saw one right next to the playground equipment. Now that's one good reason why you wouldn't just send the kiddos to the playground by themselves at this park!

Later we drove to Walmart for some groceries and saw a case of bait being sold in front of the registers. That's a first for us!
Our neighbor, Wanda, came over for a visit after we got back and stayed to chit chat for a while while I spun some yarn on my spinning wheel. We all agreed that making new friends was what being an RVer is all about. We had a great afternoon!

Tomorrow we are going to visit the beach. :)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Southern Alabama

We left Saturday morning to head south, stopping overnight in Meridian, MS along the way. It was so nice to be back on the road! We had an uneventful traveling day and headed out this morning to the coast of Alabama where we will be for a week. We have a pretty view from our front window this evening.
Several years ago I purchased one oz of qiviut yarn at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Qiviut is the yarn from a Musk Ox and it is one of the softest (and priciest) yarns on the planet. There's not a lot you can do with one ounce of yarn and I wanted to use it for something special. The woman who sold it to me gave me a pattern for a lace cowl that was perfect. It took me three years to get the courage to start this. I had a false start in May, then picked it up a few days ago, ripped it back to the beginning and started again. I finished three days later, and here it is.

It is so soft and I know I'll wear it a lot this winter when I need just a little something around my neck.

Tomorrow we will get the bikes off the back of the motorhome and go exploring. Tonight we are just enjoying the serenity of a lovely evening.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Finally Done

While we were having our hot water heater calibrated I spent some time putting things into our new cabinets. What a pleasure to be able to do that.  And today we finished all of our repairs on the Phaeton, so after 27 days we are finally done. Tomorrow we head south.  Hooray!

As you can see, we had quite a list of items to be addressed, and we got them all done. It's a good feeling to have everything working and updated. Our list had about 20 items on it, but we spoke to people who had 70 or more on theirs. Wow.

The people in Red Bay were so helpful and friendly that it was a pleasure dealing with them. Having said that, we are really happy to be heading out. I'm thinking we want to head to the ocean and spend some time near water. We've been landlocked too long.

Bye bye Red Bay, hello world!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Cabinets Are In!

We have had a very slow week, with not much to talk about until today. We have been in the paint bay, which is as interesting as, well, watching paint dry. The techs were finishing painting the replacement piece around the tire that blew out last November, and it was finally done today at 9:00 am. Unfortunately, we had to sit around all day hoping to get our water heater looked at, but without success. I spent the day knitting.

But later on we got a call from T. J. Allison, our cabinet guy, telling us that he could install our new cabinets at 4:30. Yay! It took him about an hour and a half to install both cabinets, and here they are.
This one is behind the passenger's seat and replaces the sofa bed.

This one replaces the booth-dinette. You have to picture the chairs with different seats, though, because I am going to re-cover them. The table pulls out another 18" to allow for seating for four. And there's a place for the computer and printer in there, too. Plus loads of other storage.

I love the way our motor home looks now--much more "homey." T. J. Said he had never seen the two tone effect in a MH but he really liked it. Maybe we will be trend setters!

Hopefully we will be able to finish up tomorrow and we can head out Saturday. I'm really ready to leave.

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Ride on a Trikke

What's a Trikke? I had never heard of one either, before last week when our friends Abner and Beatrice zipped past us last week on the way back from town. Although Trikke (rhymes with "bike") makes a human powered version, this was an electric vehicle capable of 18 mph and with a range of up to 25 miles.

I had to try it out!

Our friends gave us instructions on how to control the Trikke, which turned out to be quite easy.
Look at that grin on my face! We zipped around the campground a couple of times. It goes fast, and I never had it up to full speed. It's quiet, too, making only a soft whirring sound as it moves down the road. Auggie was a little concerned, and maybe wished he could ride along. Beatrice has a dog basket for their miniature pinscher but it wasn't attached to the Trikke for our ride.

Bob had a turn next and had a blast, too. I could feel my legs got a workout but my knees felt fine. That's a good thing. The Trikke has a ski-slalom type movement when you turn and uses muscles that haven't been used since my skiing days. It's been a lot of years since I've hit the slopes.

The Trikke would be a great way to sightsee, especially in a city That has limited car parking. It folds up like an umbrella stroller to take on a bus, and may be locked up like a bicycle if you go into a store or museum.

We aren't ready to spend the money yet, but maybe in a few months...we'll see! I think we would get a lot of use out of them.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Rattlesnake Saloon

It has been quiet here in Red Bay the past couple of days, even more quiet than usual. Anyone who had a place to go for Labor Day weekend has bugged out, while we who are left sit and wait.

But last night we got away with friends Abner and Beatrice for a few hours to visit the Rattlesnake Saloon, about 19 miles away in nearby Tuscumbia, Alabama. The saloon nestles into a cave that was originally used for raising hogs. Later on it became a local attraction that could host trail riders, atv/motorcycle events, and chuck wagon races. The saloon got its name from a nest of rattlesnakes that was found when the cave was cleaned out.

When we arrived there were horses and RVs everywhere. We bypassed the saloon taxi to walk down to the cave, although we rode it back to the parking lot at the end of the evening. It was a wild ride up the hill!
The cave was pretty impressive and the place was packed. We snagged the last four seats available together and had a nice view of the cave.
The music was good! The evening passed quickly as we shared stories with our friends. The food was good, too, although it was rather slow getting to us. But it was worth the wait.  Bob and I had some of the best onion rings we've ever tasted, along with some tasty sandwiches.

The a Rattlesnake Saloon is only open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and you'd better have I.D. if you want a beer because they card everyone coming in.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

We Trade our Dinette for Chairs

I know that my blog postings have not been consistent this week, but there has not been a lot happening on a daily basis. Today, however, I am happy to say that we have cleared the mechanics bay (jack replaced, odometer checked) and the only thing left is paint. Hopefully that will happen soon.

Bob and I went over to our new favorite place in town, McKinneys, to see if they would buy our booth dinette. This is what we bought the rig with, and I have hated it from day one.

It is difficult to open the big drawers underneath and was just not our cup of tea. The cushions have seen better days, that's for sure. It was time to get it out, and since we have a new freestanding dinette with computer workstation coming I wanted to see if we could do a deal. We needed some simple kitchen chairs and found two we liked. These are the Phaeton options:
We found two chairs that we really liked; they are sturdy, match our wood and have a flip-up seat with storage underneath.

I plan to weave new seats for them. McKinney had priced them at $125 each but was willing to trade them for our booth dinette. Yes!!

We drove the coach over to the shop and McKinney's workers took them away. We are one step closer to our freestanding dinette.

And boy, is our coach feeling roomy with furniture leaving! We are eating off TV tables at the moment.

To change the subject, my niece-dog Lily received her new collar in the mail that I wove for her many months ago, and she looks beautiful in it. I originally wrote about it here.

I think it complements her fur. My sister, Gail, says that Lily loves it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Plans for Another Reno

Well, we waited all day for a call to go into a repair bay that never came, but it was a nice day Monday nonetheless. I stopped in to the waiting room to say hi to some friends whose rigs were being worked on before I got a call from Bob that he needed me for a bit. Later on, T.J. the cabinet man stopped over and gave us a quote for a cabinet to replace the sofa. We were really pleased at the amount and told him we wanted to go ahead with the project. And it will be installed next week! So we will definitely be around here for another week, although if repairs suddenly speed up we will have to change campgrounds.

On Tursday Bob and I went across the street to McKinney's, a place that sells used rigs and supplies. We walked through the warehouse where they have any kind of furniture or appliance a person might need.
It's a dusty place with nothing priced. Bob and I found a solid cherry work station with an opening for a pullout table and a pullout computer station, place for a printer, and lots of room for files. The doors even are the same as the cabinets in our coach.  We have wanted one of these but didn't want to pay $3,000 to have one put in. So after a call to T.J., we purchased this one for $350 and he will make it like new for another $400. Deal!

Plus we are going to try and sell our current dinette and the Corian top (above) that we don't want back to McKinney's to further defray costs.

Later we got a call to go into the cabinet bay where the techs are working on our cattywompus kitchen counter.

They removed the side and a support that was holding the countertop up and made a new one.

This is what was behind the now-gone sofa. As I write this, we are just waiting for adhesives to dry and we can move it back to our site.