Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Yucky Part of RVing -- Getting Your RV Serviced

We arrived at Alliance Coach around mid-day on Sunday, checked in with the office, and got set up on our assigned site #7.  Fortunately, they are not as busy in December so there were plenty of sites available.  Except for getting caught up on laundry, we had kind of a lazy day just watching TV and reading.

On Monday morning, we went to the office to meet with our service adviser to go over the work we were having done to put the stainless steel strips on the big slide to further protect the bottom of the big slide.  They picked up the coach around 9:30 and had the work completed around 1:30.  We had originally planned on driving on to Suncoast Designers in Hudson, Florida, for our Tuesday morning appointment to see about getting rear window fixed that had shattered.  However, since we had to leave the slide out to allow the urethane to dry overnight, we stayed a second night at Alliance.

On Monday evening, we treated ourselves to a Mexican dinner at a new restaurant that was not too far from Alliance Coach and then drove over to Brownwood Square in The Villages, the newest of The Villages' townsquares.   We parked the car and walked around the square checking out some of the restaurants and shops.  We walked into a golf cart store to check out some of the preferred modes of transportation in The Villages.

Some of the golf carts are designed to look like "mini" cars.

We walked back to the grandstands in the center of Brownwood to listen to some of the evening music on the square,  The couple who were performing played a lot of tunes from the 70's that we thoroughly enjoyed.

We got up early Tuesday morning to drive 1.5 hours to Suncoast Designers and arrived there around 8:30.  They also put us in a site where we waited until someone could come look at the window.

This is our shattered window.
They took out the entire window to get accurate measurements for the glass.

After getting some measurements, they determined they would have to order the glass and that it would not be in for a couple of weeks (which we knew was a possibility ahead of time).  The good thing is the shattered glass is holding together because of the film of the inside window tint.  The bad thing is we will have to drive all the way back down to Hudson, Florida, to get the new window installed after we leave Pensacola in December.

After leaving Suncoast, we called Alliance back to see if they could work us in this week to get our annual maintenance work done (oil change, fuel filters, etc.).  They were able to work us in so we drove back to Alliance on Tuesday afternoon and we even got back in our same site #7.

On Wednesday morning, we pulled all the slides in and waited around most of the day thinking they would be coming to get to our motorhome any time.  Chuck checked with our service adviser that afternoon and he apologized for not getting to us.  He checked with the techs and they said they would start work on our motorhome first thing Thursday morning.

Since the weather was nice, I went for a walk after we found out they would not be getting to our motorhome today.

I found this little guy walking around looking at the RVs.

I think he was looking for one of those amphibious RVs.  :)

As promised on Thursday morning, they pulled our motorhome into the shop a little after they opened up to begin doing the annual maintenance service on the engine.  Since they didn't finish until after lunch, we decided to stay one more "free" night at Alliance before heading north on Friday.

We left Alliance around 7:30 on Friday morning, filled up with fuel at the nearby Pilot and began heading north on I-75.  Since we had almost 650 miles to travel back to Nashville, we decided to break it up over a couple of days.  Also, that would put us driving through Atlanta on a weekend rather than a busy weekday.

We stopped at Wanee Golf & RV Park for the night.  Since the weather was still nice and the park allowed washing of vehicles, Chuck decided we should go ahead and wash the motorhome and car.
He started on the roof which really needed it.  It had not been washed since back in March.

And then he washed all the rest of the outside of the motorhome and the car.  He did all the hard scrubbing work.  I just followed along behind him to rinse off.  Sometimes I missed and sprayed him too.  Ooops!  :)   Of course, he couldn't let that go and had to accidentally spray me too.  :)

We had another quiet evening of watching a little TV and reading.  Tomorrow, we are planning on driving as far as the Chattanooga area and then head on into Nashville on Sunday.

Back in Tennessee Again

After leaving Wanee RV Park around 8 am, we were soon heading north again on I-75.  I-75 in Georgia is one of the busiest interstates we travel and the closer you get to Atlanta, the busier it gets.  With it being Saturday, the traffic was not near as bad as it is during the week.  I'm glad we weren't heading south because the traffic heading south was very congested and stopped in places because of construction.

We drove straight through Atlanta this time rather than taking the bypass (285).  We drove right by Turner Field, current home of the Atlanta Braves, but not for very long.

We stopped to re-fuel at a Pilot in Cartersville and paid 20 cents a gallon less than we had paid in Wildwood, Florida, the day before.  Overall, our fuel costs have been much lower this year which is great considering all the miles we have traveled.

After passing through Chattanooga, we decided to stop at a campground on the Tennessee River that we had stayed at previously.  Two October 2015 reviews on RV Park Reviews were not that good but we decided to take a chance and were glad we did.  The park is fairly empty right now and we ended up with a nice site right on the lake.

After driving 300 miles, Chuck was ready to relax and watch some of the Saturday college football games.  While the weather was still fairly nice, I decided to take a little walk down to the marina.  I noticed this old cemetery with monuments from back in the mid to late 1800's.

The old buildings from the old Hales Bar Dam are still standing.

This is what it looked like when it was in operation.
There is a putt-putt golf course near the campground and marina but it is closed down now.

Looks like there was a big water slide into the lake at one time also.

Staircase to what was the top of the waterslide still remains...
....but no slide.  Just water.
The campground and marina also has a pool but it doesn't appear to have been used in awhile either.

As I walked back to the camper, I noticed this huge rose bush at the entrance to the campground...

...and it still had several big roses blooming on it.

Hales Bar is not a bad campground but I guess if you are wanting a place with a lot of things to do you might be a little disappointed.  We kind of like the quiet and the scenery though.  :)

I'm sorry to say that we got out the electric blanket today.  The temps are supposed to reach a low of 31 tonight here in Guild, Tennessee, and then 24 and 29 tomorrow and Monday night in Nashville.  Brrrrr!  That's too cold!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tearful Goodbyes but Amazing Memories

Chuck and I began getting ready to leave a little after 8 on Sunday morning and by 10 am we were saying our tearful good-byes to Ken and Bonnie.  Wow!  It's hard to believe we have been together and traveled together for almost half a year!  What amazing things we have seen and done together this year.  Here are a few those amazing things:

From a bike ride to Bokeelia on Pine Island in Florida... a burro ride to Boquillas, Mexico.

We have been to the top of Angels Landing in Zion...

...and to the lowest point in the western hemisphere in Death Valley.

We've been as far west as the Pacific Ocean...

San Francisco
...and as far east as the Atlantic Ocean.

Bocce on the beach with Fred and Dolores at Avalon.
We have traveled as far north as Saint Andre d'Argenteuil, Quebec...

Thank you so much, Ernie & Noela!!!
...and as far south as Lovers Key, Florida.

We've seen beautiful mountains,

Top of Lost Mine Trail, Big Bend NP
Yosemite National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
and some of the largest living things on the face of the earth.

Sequoia National Park
And we have shared our greatest blessings with each other:  our families!

I could go on and on and on and when I look back on these few pictures of hundreds that were taken, the memories never cease to amaze me.  We are so very, very blessed!  Blessed to be able to see so much that most people never get to see.  And these memories are extra amazing and special because they are memories created by sharing them with such wonderful friends and family.  

We're looking forward to creating and sharing many, many more!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Last Days in Venice

On Thursday, we left for the pickleball courts at 8 am.  The pickleball courts were full but the tennis courts that were marked off for pickleball were empty so we were still able to play.  After a fun hour and a half of playing pickleball, we rode back to the campground, got on our bikes and rode into Venice on The Legacy Trail.  

We went back to the Upper Crust Bakery and this time I had a scone all to myself.  Chuck got a muffin this time and he said it was very good too.  We didn't want to cross the same busy bridge into Venice on our bikes, so we rode further out the canal to the next bridge and then rode back to the campground which added another couple of miles to our ride.  We were all very hot and tired when we got back so we rested until 3 pm and then loaded our beach gear and rode over to Nokomis Beach again.  The sharks teeth are much more difficult to find this year but the views and the surroundings are still beautiful.  

North Jetty at Nokomis Beach

We stayed at the beach long enough to enjoy the sunset.

Then, we drove back to the campground, ate dinner and got back together for games with the men winning Spades and Pinochle.  Well, that was frustrating!

On Friday morning, we left for the pickleball courts by 8 am and still had to play on the tennis courts but that was ok.  Just means you have to chase the balls a little further!  :)  After we returned to the campground, we packed lunches and went back to Nokomis Beach to enjoy the beach for a few hours.  This was the last trip to the beach for Chuck and I.  :(

We returned to the campground in time to get ready and go to Barb and Ray's for a social hour of fun and getting to meet new people.  Ken and Bonnie had met Barb and Ray a few years ago and had visited them at their home in Maine too.  They were such fun and we met a lot of other nice people from the campground too.  Now we're really sad to be leaving!  :(

Barb and Ray sharing a Maine treat:  Moxie!
We ate so many delicious appetizers that the social hour became our dinner too!  We headed back to our camper around 7 and played a couple of games before calling it an "early" evening around 9 pm.

On Saturday morning, we drove over to the park to play pickleball around 8 am again only to find that all of the pickleball and tennis courts were full!  We've got to stop spreading the word about how much fun pickleball is to play.  We found one other nearby park but the courts were full there too so we decided to try playing at the pickleball court at the campground again.  The surrounding grass and the court was completely dry today so we didn't have to worry about slipping and falling today.  After we all got adjusted to the lighting and after Ken got re-fueled on a protein bar, we had probably our best day of pickleball!  The weather was perfect and all of us played some of our best winning at least one game or two!  

Because this was our last day, we had decided that we would just enjoy a lot of the recreational activities the campground has to offer.  We first stopped at a crafts fair in the recreation center and looked at some of the beautiful photographs of one of the campground's residents.  Then, we walked over to the office to get clubs so we could play putt-putt.  Bonnie's first shot went just a little further then she intended but Chuck came to her rescue and retrieved her ball out of the ditch.  

Ken and Bonnie held on to Chuck to keep him
from going into the ditch too!
Unfortunately, it was not one of our better days for putt-putt so the guys won both games fairly "handily." 

Then, we walked over to the shuffleboard courts to play a few games of shuffleboard.  The weather was perfect today for being outside.  We played 3 or 4 games before going back to the campers to get ready to go out for lupper!  

Ken and Bonnie took us to a place we had not been before:  Pop's Sunset Grill.  

Because we were early, we had perfect seats right on the water.

A young blue heron sat on a nearby post hoping for a treat!

How about that?  I taught him to sit on my head!  :)
Ain't he pretty!  :)
All of our "luppers" were delicious and the setting made it just perfect!  

We returned to the campground and played Up the River (7 Up) and Pinochle at our place with the men winning Up the River and the women winning Pinochle.  We took a little break, went to McDonalds to get some sundaes, and then returned to Ken & Bonnie's to finish our evening playing 5 Crowns, SkipBo, and Ken's least favorite game of all, Sequence Dice.  The women won all three of these games but we were all so sad this was our last evening together.