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The first of November I decided (against my better judgment) to move this blog to a self hosted site.  There were many reasons for the decision but the timing could have been a bit better.

I have always been a get ‘er done – gotta have something to do kind of guy so…

READY FIRE AIM

FULL SPEED AHEAD

JUST DO IT AND TO HELL WITH THE CONSEQUENCES

SHOOT FIRST ASK QUESTIONS LATER

IF IT DON’T WORK, THEN READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!

You get it.

The ‘problem’ with the timing was our slow and sometimes absent WIFI connection.  I told myself to just wait till January when we are back to normal with OUR OWN reliable WIFI set up and do other stuff till then.  But that little voice in my head said ‘na get ‘er done we’ll figure it out as we go and it will be an adventure!

It has been an adventure alright.  The first few days I had to drive 50 miles round trip for a WIFI signal close to I-8 and I spent 10 hours both days sitting there getting things back up to speed.  It looked like everything was fine and I decided that the then current situation would be good enough until we are back to civilization.  The plan was to simply keep the blog current and wait for further changes on anything else like theme or formatting etc..

So WHERE is this SILVER LINING?

Well I realized last week that most, if not all of the pictures from the past two years were not connected to the new location of the blog.  YIKES!  That is a problem I can not live with.  Well action is required and like always a few false starts (things don’t work the way they are supposed to), or you have to figure out a way around a problem…  I have always been able to look at a problem and keep ‘hammering it out’ till I find a solution.  Fast forward past all the help from ‘experts’ who’s advice and solutions did not work and I am manually re-attaching the pictures to the posts.

AGAIN, WHERE is this SILVER LINING?

Well it is Thanksgiving and that is the silver lining here.  I am thankful for the decision we made to take the leap and embark on this journey.  I have spent many hours over the past week re-attaching pictures to the old posts and remembering all the fun we have had on this journey.  We hit the road in September 2012 and there have been some really great experiences we have had.  The silver lining is that a ‘walk’ down memory lane is a very good thing.  I am rekindling the wide eyed wonder I had when we started this journey.  Very much looking forward to the adventures ahead of us by being reminded of the adventures we have already had.  And a renewed gratitude for being able to be ‘here’ doing ‘this’ with my best friend and wife Rhonda.

I have made progress on the pictures and as I write this post all the old posts are complete with pictures up to July 9 2013.  Not perfect but acceptable.  That work will continue till all pictures are re-attached.

So a recap seems to be in order, strap in and enjoy the ride.  This will be a long post and along the way you may want to look up archived posts from the months highlighted to read more detail of anything that sounds interesting.

September 2012

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Just before we took off our friends from the boat club, George and Mary had decided to buy a Motor Home.  They camped in our front yard a couple of times in August.  We made plans for the getting together in Florida in January 2013.  You can see the 5er in the far left of the pic of the house.

Time to GO.

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On a rainy day in late September we pulled out of the driveway for the last time.  This time we had the 5er hitched up and we were rolling.  The adventure of a lifetime has begun.  Have we made the right decision?  Time will tell.  Six or seven hours later we were at our first camp with the 5er, Canal Campground on Barkley Lake, KY.

We hung out there for two weeks and it was a great period of decompression.  It rained some of the time we were there and fortunately we found a leak that required a simple but necessary application of Dicor lap sealant.  We have been diligent with maintenance and preventive maintenance and have not had any leaks since.

We met some very nice folks at Barkley Lake and hung out together for some local sight seeing and good times.  We took in the LBL 1880s farm, a working historical farm.  Went out to eat at a great local restaurant, and had wine and cheese at the campfire a few times.  It was a super way to kick off the new lifestyle.

A two week ‘shakedown camp’ early October 2012.

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We moved from Barkley Lake 80 miles or so east to the Tail water Campground on Lake Barren in KY.  Our objective here was to have a ‘soft boondock’ experience.  Camp with no hook ups and rely on the small inverter and the batteries and generator.  Haul in water and haul out the waste water to see how well our systems and modifications we had put together worked.  Things went quite well, in fact we had not one surprise and proved we were ready for camping in the wild.

Our time there was very relaxing and we had many walks in the woods with the ‘boys’, Toby and Dayton.  Toby was a real hoot on the bridge with an open grate deck.  Great times and great memories of those two weeks.

Moving east to Campbellsville KY – Oct to Dec 2012

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Doesn’t Rhonda’s smile say it all.  We are FREE, no longer members of the ‘club’.  This just feels so right and it is getting better each day.

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Our plan was to be in the company of a huge crowd of FT RVers at Amazon.com for their peak season 2012.  Campbellsville turned out to be a great experience and we met some long lasting new friends there.  Fellow bloggers and full timers alike.  It’s a great community out here.  We had some remarkable good times, the Bourbon Trail, local restaurants and lots of Civil War history in the area made for an unforgettable three months.

Christmas 2012 and the
New Year on an island in Pensacola FL

Our first experience staying at a Wal-Mart overnight was in Birmingham AL.  It was about 20 degrees and the end of a long travel day from Campbellsville KY.  Our Tempur-Pedic Mattress was slightly frozen.  We ‘chilled out’ and rolled early the next morning on down to Pensacola FL and Ft. Pickens Campground.

first walmart

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It sure is hard to pick the pictures and limit it to just a few.  We were at Ft. Pickens Campground for Christmas and New Years.  Beautiful white sand beaches and Pensacola bay on one side, the Gulf of Mexico on the other.  Joe Patti’s Sea Food Market a few miles away and the Naval Air Museum close by too.  Pensacola Light House and Ft. Pickens all combined for a fantastic kick off to the new year.

Rhonda’s daughters Anna and Erin came to visit.  Erin drove and hauled Cybil and Ryleigh along, Anna flew in from CA.  A great time was had and great memories were made.

Time in the jungle January 2013

We rolled from Ft. Pickens to Alexander Springs in Ocala Nat Forest near Ocala FL.  Camped along the way at Lake Seminole, a great campground with a bunch of gators although they were hibernating when we were there.

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We were in the jungle!  Alexander Springs campground was a real treat.  The only reason we came here was George and Mary were headed to Astor FL and we planned to join them close by to hang our for a couple of weeks.  That is the plan we made the previous August, remember?  I am so glad we did this as part of our first few months ‘out here’.  Again great memories were made and great times were had.  We’ll never forget being chased by that huge gator.

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We got together to fish and eat (fish) and drink (beer) and fish and watch Downton Abbey.  The fishing was spotty but as they say, a bad day fishing, beats a great day,,,

Thanks George and Mary for the great memories and fun times we had there at your camp on the St. Johns River.

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Some other stuff we did was hike the Yearling Trail and drive on Daytona Beach.  That part of Florida has an abundance of springs, we went to Blue Springs & saw Manatees, Juniper Springs and took in some local history and since we were heading west real soon, it just seemed we needed to go as far east as we could before point it in the other direction!  Those were great times and very glad we did it.

Next destination, NOLA

Our plans and commitments had us scheduled to be camp hosts for the first time in March.  Along the way to Lake Bruin we planned to stop in New Orleans.

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Great times in the Big Easy.  Found that in many ways it sure had changed since I was there 30 years earlier.  In many ways it had also stayed the same.

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We toured a number of Plantations, Oak Alley and the Laura Plantation were two examples of very different cultural styles.  It was quite educational and interesting to find out the strong connection with St. Louis with the Laura Plantation.  Just love the history and we could have spent a lot more time there.  But we soon were at the point when we needed to be at Lake Bruin. 

March 2013 Camp Hosts Lake Bruin

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We rolled into Lake Bruin just north of the town of St. Joseph, LA.  The month flew by but what a great time we had.  Made lasting friendships with Teri and Joe and more casual friends with some of the campers at the campground.  I will say there are regional differences, a kind of personality to an area and the folks in Louisiana are some of the nicest people you will meet anywhere.

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Longwood and Winter Quarters plantations, the original Coca Cola bottling plant from the late 1800s the National Cemetery and battle of Vicksburg, the Cairo Museum and the list goes on.  We had a great time learning and exploring the area.  Out first job of camp hosting was a great experience under the direction of Teri and Drew at Lake Bruin.  We miss you guys all and think of you often.

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Close to ‘home’ Meramec State Park April – June 2013

Another thing we had pre arranged was camp hosting back in familiar territory.  Close to the old stomping grounds and close to a few of the kids and grand kids before we went west.

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Friends Phil & Susan had helped us get together with Tamela and arrange our position as camp hosts a year before we became Full Time RVers.  Thank you Phil & Susan very much for your guidance and insights.

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Buildings do not include 13 in the floor count, I don’t think campgrounds should have a site ‘13’ either.   For the early spring of 2013, there was an abundance of rain, flooding turned out to be a regular occurrence.  We did get a lot of practice moving the camper.

The good time rolled.  the kids from near and far came to hang out at various times.  We had float trips and cook outs.  There was never a dull moment.

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George and Mary came out with their Motor Home and bike for a weekend.  It was great to stay in touch and catch up over what we had been up to the past three months.

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In addition to new co-worker friends Terry and Marilyn, there were some regular visiting campers that became friends too.  Bette and Mike, I will always remember the Great Meramec State Park Dog Parade of June 2013!  Thank you for the super times and great memories.

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Go west young man – Westward Ho July 2013

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When it was time to head west, a short stay at Truman lake was planned.  Our time there included visits to my brother in law’s cabin at the Lake of The Ozarks, a visit from my Daughter Stephanie and grand daughter Kayleigh and George and Mary stopped in on their way to Oregon.

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We took in some local historical points of interest and before long it was time to go.  Our travel over the next few weeks will be an adventure and along the way we get some news from St. Louis that pulls Rhonda back from just across the line in New Mexico.  For the following couple of weeks Toby and I make our way to Cottonwood Arizona alone, not totally sure of what is ahead of us.

For now this is as far as I am in re-connecting the pictures to the old posts on the blog.  I plan to continue the process until all is as close to what it was as possible.  It sure was good to retake that trip through all the memories and good times we have had.

It sure has been fun to review the memories, hope you enjoy them as well.  Thanks for being part of the adventure.

Stay tuned as the adventure continues, and remember, TurnWhenTheRoadDoes.com