Our Viva!

Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area • Flagler Beach, FL • AUG 24, 2015


We always enjoy driving on A1A, so we took our time heading south from Anastasia State Park to Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area.

We had site 19, one of our favorite spots at Gamble Rogers. As we were hooking up we met our neighbors, a nice couple from Ocala in a Class A. We’ve described this campground multiple times previously--we’ve spent 27 nights here, far more than any other place.

Rick went for a run in the afternoon. It was supposed to be a four mile run, but he limped home the last mile due to pain in his right foot. Never good!

Rick took the dogs for a walk in the early evening. On the way back he passed a man walking slowly in the same direction. After dropping the dogs off at the Viva, Rick went back to see the man, then later wrote this on his Facebook page:

“Homeless, and walking in flip flops from St. Petersburg to Washington, D.C. In a month he had only made it to Flagler Beach, carrying just his birth certificate, his high school diploma, and a bottle of Charlie perfume. The perfume was his mother's. He lost her to brain cancer four years ago, and he takes it out and smells its sweetness when he needs to think of her. His feet and ankles were swollen and he could manage only a slow shuffle. I walked beside him for half an hour as he told me about his life. I helped him out a bit, and wished him luck on his journey. You'll never see this, but be safe, Kyle.”

Linda took several long walks on the beach and as usual, we enjoyed sunrise here.

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Anastasia State Park • St. Augustine, FL • AUG 23, 2015


We were last here over six months ago, so we were due for a return trip…but maybe not in August. We were able to book just one night at Gamble Rogers Memorial SRA (see the next blog entry), and we thought we would add a night at Anastasia State Park as it was only about 30 miles up the road from Gamble Rogers. Well, we forgot how hungry the mosquitoes can be in the woods in August. An overnight storm didn’t help our camping experience, and it exposed a problem with the Viva…water trickling down on the inside of the right-side window, across from the dinette. Likely a small gap in the seal, and something to fix soon! Overall we had a good time as we rode our bikes, walked the dogs, Rick did a 4 mile run (2 with Zoe), and we had just a short drive to Gamble Rogers the next morning.

We do need to mention the spiders…they were in the trees above us everywhere we went. Fortunately, they stayed above us and not at ground level.

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Willow Lakes RV & Golf Resort • Titusville, FL • AUG 21, 2015


(see the blog entry for The Great Outdoors RV Resort. Some of this will sound familiar)

Well…we love Mount Dora and we love our home, but we’ve had this recurring feeling that maybe we should move to a dedicated RV community, a place where we could park our RV next to the house when not on the road, and not worry about yard work when we’re on the road.

Willow Lakes RV & Golf Resort in Titusville was stop two on this trip. This resort offered a 9 hole executive golf course, a clubhouse, heated swimming pool and other amenities, and sites ranging from pad only to custom built homes with RV ports or garages. This resort felt more comfortable to us, but in the end we decided that we should keep the home we have and take as many RV trips as we can.

We were glad we checked out both The Great Outdoors RV Resort and Willow Lakes RV & Golf Resort. At a different stage in our lives either place might have worked for us, but we realized after our visits that time is not now.

The only photo we took is posted above.

The Great Outdoors RV Resort • Titusville, FL • AUG 20, 2015


Well…we love Mount Dora and we love our home, but we’ve had this recurring feeling that maybe we should move to a dedicated RV community, a place where we could park our RV next to the house when not on the road, and not worry about yard work when we’re on the road.

The Great Outdoors RV Resort in Titusville was stop one on this trip. It offered multiple choices to residents--from a pad-only for parking your RV all the way to large custom homes with RV garages. This resort had an 18 hole golf course, restaurants, beauty salon, onsite RV repair, a non-denominational church, heated swimming pools, pickle ball, tennis, a large clubhouse, etc. It was very nice.

We went to sleep to the sound of gators grunting just on the other side of the treeline.

This was a very nice place, but it just didn’t feel right for us.

The only photo we took is posted above.

Savannah South KOA • Richmond Hill, GA • AUG 5, 2015


DAY 70

At the beginning of our western trip the end seemed so far off—and it was, as 70 days on the road is a long, long time. Well, the end is here, as we are camping for the last night tonight, and will make the drive home tomorrow.

Today was a big day—424 miles. We drove farther than expected because a semi overturned on I-77 around 4:30 a.m. and had traffic backed up for hours. Fortunately, a flashing sign on the side of the road alerted us to the accident and we were able to take a detour. It was quite lengthy, but much better than creeping along for miles.

We were tired by the time we reached the KOA. We were assigned a shaded spot. The temperature was in the mid-90s all day, so shade was imperative. This turned out to be another nice KOA. The pool was huge, but we didn’t use it as we’ll be home tomorrow and our clubhouse pool is great. The dog park was nearby. It was very tidy, and in the top two or three of all the dog parks we’ve had on this trip. Tybee and Zoe were pleased.

Not much else to say about this stop, other than we are so ready to get home. It’s been a wonderful, amazing trip filled with beautiful sights and exciting adventures. We both feel so incredibly lucky to have been able to spend 70 days on the road. We shared our stories and our photos on this website, and we hope you enjoyed traveling along with us, at least in spirit.

We’ll be taking the rest of the month to catch up all the things we couldn’t do while we were away. We’ll also give the Viva a thorough cleaning and perform some maintenance. She was a reliable little workhorse, and of course we couldn’t have made this trip without her! We also want to thank Ken and Betty, J.P. and Lois, and John and Christine for watching our house, watering our plants, and getting our mail. Good friends all. We’ve also heard that our neighbor Tom has kept our yard mowed and looking great, and we appreciate all he has done as well.

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Holiday KOA • Wytheville, VA • AUG 4, 2015


DAY 69

Homeward bound. 330 miles today, two more states added to the Viva’s total (West Virginia and Virginia).

Holiday KOA was very nice—plenty of amenities such as cable TV, a nice pool, basketball court, miniature golf, volleyball, cornhole, and other things that we weren’t able to enjoy. There was a nice, fenced dog park where the Tybee got to sniff and Zoe got to run about.

A thunderstorm rumbled through, but we were settled in so it didn’t affect us. Rick caught up the blog, and then it was off to bed as we have a long day and many miles ahead of us tomorrow.

Closer to home.

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Rolling Acres • Mount Vernon, OH • AUG 3, 2015


DAY 68

Our next destination after Alum Creek State Park was Rolling Acres in Mount Vernon. This is an exclusive campground, so exclusive we had the first RV to ever camp there.

Actually, “Rolling Acres” is the home of Linda’s sister, Susan, and her husband (our brother-in-law), Phil. And of course they invited us to take our first bath in nearly 70 days (hey, we do shower) and spend the night in a comfortable bed inside their home. But that would break our streak of consecutive days sleeping in the Viva, so we parked in the driveway and christened their place as “Rolling Acres” as every campground on our journey has a name.

Phil had a 30 amp outlet in his garage, so we plugged in and were able to use the air conditioning, microwave, toaster, etc. Those things don’t run on typical household current—they require 30 amp service.

Phil took Rick to see the new Ariel-Foundation Park on the site of the old Pittsburgh Plate Glass factory. It was beautiful! the people behind this project had incredible vision to take something decrepit and in ruins and make it a lovely green space, while turning some of the ruins into functional, artistic structures. And it’s still a work in progress. Rick walked to the top of the spiral staircase encircling about half of one of the old smokestacks and had a great view of the surrounding area.

Our niece Heather came over along with her son (our great nephew) Dane. We couldn’t believe how tall Dane is now. Dane had to leave for work and band practice, but he was able to come back later in the evening. Susan made us a great vegan meal.

We were later joined by Chuck and Marla (Marla’s brother, Bob, is married to Linda’s sister, Judi), and their son, Mike, and his wife, Holly. Mike and Holly want to travel out west, so they wanted to hear about our experiences.

We had a fun night filled with conversation and travel stories. Phil and Susan generously shared some great wine and port. Dane returned from band practice and we were able to spend some more time with him as well.

Susan, Phil and Dane got up early the next morning to see us off. As we’ve said more than once on this trip, time passed too quickly. It had been too long since we last saw them, and hopefully it will not be as long before we see them again.

Overall, we have to give Rolling Acres 5 out of 5 stars!

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Alum Creek State Park • Delaware, OH • AUG 1 - 2, 2015


DAYS 66 and 67

We always post only one photo for each blog entry, and then link to the remaining photos for that trip. When dear friends drop by, over the course of two days, and multiple photos of them are taken, how could we choose only one photo? Who to leave in, who to leave out? Couldn’t make such a decision, so “Tybee Behind The Wheel” is the solo photo for the blog page. Photos of our good friends can be found at the link below this page.

On the way to Alum Creek State Park we stopped by Sharon Woods Metro Park. Rick ran thousands of miles there while training for marathons. Whenever he returns to Columbus he always tries to run four miles there. When Linda was training for her marathon (the Honolulu Marathon—she’s no dummy!), she put in a lot of miles at Sharon Woods, plus she has always loved to go there just to walk as well. So we took the opportunity to each take a lap. Rick went first and ran an easy 34:28 while Linda stayed with the dogs. Linda then went for a walk, but the marathon memories came back and she actually ran part of the way. We both loved it.

We then went to Alum Creek State Park for our first ever stay there. We got a surprise (and if you’re a dedicated reader of this blog you have noted that we get surprised with some regularity) when we found that our campsite had electric but no water hookup (or sewer, but we knew that in advance). We had never camped without city water hookup, but we had no choice as that is the norm here. Our onboard water tank was nearly empty, so we had to go fill up and then come back to our site to hook up…just the electric.

Our site was great—nestled in the woods, with a picnic table and fire ring. The restrooms were across the drive, which was handy as we were expecting quite a few visitors. And visitors soon started dropping by.

Our long-time, and very close friends Bob and Marsha, Diane, Judy, and Betsy were the first guests of the weekend to arrive. We worked with Marsha, Diane, Judy and Betsy at our “main job,” and we also worked with Marsha, Diane and Judy at a second job making paper chef hats for a few years. Those were good times!

Mark and Jan joined us a short time later. They are also long-time and treasured friends. Mark and Rick (under the pseudonym Nicholas Sarazen) coauthored the suspense novel “Family Reunion,” which was published in 1990 and did quite well. It’s been out of print for years, but is now available as an e-book (end of shameless plug). Both Mark and Jan are huge Buckeye fans, and Jan’s dad was a great football coach and is in the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Our friends were so thoughtful to bring us vegan dishes and vegan snacks and dessert. Everything tasted great. We sat around the campfire and laughed and talked and reminisced for hours. It was a wonderful, magic evening, and it reminded us that no matter how much we love living in Florida and now traveling the country, we still have good friends in Ohio that we wish we could see much more often. After violating the campground’s quiet time by close to an hour (it was Saturday night and all of our neighbors were still out and having a good time, too), we had to say goodbye.

Our first visitors the next day were Jim and Karen. Jim was Rick’s Team In Training (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) coach for many years, and was directly responsible for Rick achieving his goal of qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon. Jim was also Linda’s coach when she ran the Honolulu Marathon. We love Karen, too, and together they are so much fun.

Jim and Laura, two more long-time and wonderful friends, arrived next. They have to be the world’s greatest Bruce Springsteen fans—they have seen him countless times all over the country. And although Bruce is The Man to them, they have seen so many of the top artists since they were teenagers and started going to concerts. We worked with them for many years, have socialized with them, and they even visited us in Florida.

Erik and Judy joined us. Again, good friends we have known forever. We worked with Erik and watched him rise to the top of the agency. He’s just a great guy, and we love Judy, too.

Well, let’s add two more to the mix. Our good friend and former coworker Cyndy surprised us with a visit. She is one of the sweetest, kind-hearted people we know. She worked directly with Rick for several years, and also got together with Linda and other friends outside of work.

Tony was the last to arrive. He and Rick go all the way back to Hinkles Donuts. They have had many adventures together (some of which also involved Mark), and without going into details (although the stories were told to the gathering this weekend), they are actually somewhat lucky to have survived several of those adventures.

After weeks of rain and nasty weather, Central Ohio delivered two perfect days, and those days happened to be when we were camping here. We are so thankful, because that enabled us to reconnect with people who have been and always will be a special part of us.

Our great adventure is winding down. Tomorrow it’s off to Mount Vernon to visit with Linda’s sister and her husband. After spending the night in the Viva there, it’s southbound and down.

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