Something happened on Day 3 of our scheduled 60 day trip that we didn't mention in our previous blog entries, because we were delaying our decision and hoping for the best. It didn't work out that way.
On the third day of our trip, our air conditioner went out. It was still producing cold air—no problems there—but the cylindrical fan that blows out the air was either broken or it had slipped out of its sleeve on one end. It was turning, but it was making contact with another part and emitting an unsettling noise, so bad that we were afraid using it would cause more damage. We called from the road and found a Coleman (our AC brand) shop that said they could take a look at it if we swung by the next day. We were thrilled, because it's hard to get same day service on an RV, and we can't leave it for several days because it's both our mode of transportation and our home on wheels when traveling. But not only was the place not open when we stopped the next day, it looked like really, really bad news—not a business we felt we could trust.
So, we spent a couple of days discussing our plight, trying to decide whether to press on and hope for cool weather the entire trip (going to Michigan and then all the way up to Maine would be different than heading out to the scorching west), or bite the bullet and head back to Florida. Reality set in—we knew there would be many hot days ahead of us, and we couldn't go on without a functioning air conditioner—so we decided to cut our losses and go home. It was an extremely painful decision. We had plans to see our older daughter, Mandy, and to visit friends and relatives—Sol and DJ in Michigan, Roger and Fran in Pennsylvania, high school buddy Steve Malley and wife Claudia in New York, and nephew Cory in New Hampshire. There were places we wanted to go that we'll probably never get to see. Things happen, though.
We left Dayton and made it back to Florida it two very long days. We stopped in Cartersville, Georgia, just to sleep for the night, and we were so tired we don't remember much about the campground. We were like zombies when we finally pulled into our driveway at home.
A disappointing end to a much anticipated trip!
(front row: Elizabeth, Linda, Zoe, Brandy; back row: Rick, Sangeet, William, Bill)
We had forgotten what a lovely shade of gray Ohio skies can be! And the cool temperature and steady drizzle on the day before the start of summer—perfect! (Yes, we miss Florida already…and as Rick is writing this blog entry, a family of three just walked by wearing jeans and fall coats).
We left Corbin, KY, shortly after dawn and spent much of the trip on I-75, including long stretches of heavy rain. Linda was checking weather and traffic ahead of us, and fortunately saw a massive traffic jam just across the Ohio River in Cincinnati. We took the outerbelt, which added more miles but saved us a lot of time by avoiding the delays.
Caesar Creek State Park Campground was not what we were expecting. We knew we weren't on the waterfront, but we thought there would at least be water views. Wrong. The campground is set back from the lake and is carved out of the woods, with the sites having a short, narrow ribbon of blacktop about the width of most RVs, and an electric hook-up. No water, no sewer, and of course no laundry, no cable, no wi-fi, and only the weakest of cell phone service. We were clearly spoiled by spending two days at Disney's Fort Wilderness with all of its amenities and activities.
We took Zoe for a walk and then Rick and Zoe ran two miles. That was about all there was to do here. We retired to the Viva for the evening and listened to the rhythm of the falling rain…
The next day, Friday, was so much better! First, at the campground, we saw beautiful Indigo Bunting (see the blue-colored bird in the photos). We then had a wonderful visit with our younger daughter, Brandy; her husband, Bill; grandchildren William and Elizabeth; and Sangeet, Elizabeth's boyfriend. Rick got to see Brandy and Bill's lovely home (Linda had seen it on a previous visit), then Brandy drove us to Wright State University to give us a tour of her office at the ONEIL Center for Research Communication, where she is the Executive Director. Very impressive training and research going on there!
After a fantastic lunch at Wheat Penny (vegan pizza!), we went back to the house where undefeated champion Brandy challenged the family to a game of croquet. Make that "previously undefeated champion," as Rick rose to the challenge as he usually does and won the match.
We enjoyed meeting Sangeet and seeing everyone again. We were surprised with the gift of a bottle of Dom Perignon to celebrate our 40th Anniversary and also Linda's upcoming "decade birthday" (to live to see another day, Rick won't specify which decade birthday it is…). William and Elizabeth gave us a sampling of locally brewed beers which we will especially enjoy on hot days back home in Florida. William also gave us a wonderful sampling of vegan offerings from his new food industry venture, Picnk. The food was great, and we are predicting big things for his business!
It was hard to say goodbye, but it became time to head back to the campground as we had a decision to make. Check out the next entry.
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A long day of driving, just about 20 miles short of 400, with much of it on I-75. Not much to see, not much to talk about, so we'll leave you with the above photo of our campsite and the hope of more eventful days ahead!
We took Zoe for a walk and to the dog park, Rick ran a couple of miles, and Linda got in an exercise walk before we disconnected and headed for the next campground.
As we drove deeper into Georgia, we saw several homes and buildings that had been reduced to piles of rubble. Rick remarked that a tornado had to have gone through the area, and we later learned that indeed one of the March tornadoes that swept across the south had hit Talbot County, causing significant damage. Very sad to see the aftermath of that storm.
The route was not long today, so we had time to stop at Calloway Resort & Gardens, a must-see destination if you're ever in this area. In addition to the resort, restaurants, and golf course, there are the Gardens with a scenic drive through acres and acres of beautiful trees, plants, flowers, and lakes. The walking and biking paths have small signs identifying the types of vegetation. We walked several of the paths, including one leading to the Ida Cason Calloway Memorial Chapel, an absolutely beautiful chapel nestled in the trees overlooking one of the lakes. What a truly lovely and peaceful setting. We also saw an authentic pioneer log cabin that had been built around 1830!
The skies darkened and we got caught in a rain shower, but that didn't stop us from visiting the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center where more than a thousand butterflies fluttered about all around us, in an indoor conservatory with tropical vegetation and waterfalls. Stunning!
The campground was less than five miles from Calloway Resort & Gardens. We arrived shortly after 4:00 p.m., and the office was already closed—fortunately, our site info was in an envelope posted outside. We found our site and hooked up just before another shower started. After the rain passed, we took Zoe for a walk and let her visit the dog park. The campground had some nice amenities—a large pool with a sauna, a playground for kids, and a recreation building—but the scattering of small trees throughout the grounds didn't offer much shade. It was overcast, so we didn't need to put out the awning.
Day Two is already in the books…we're just getting started, and the days already seem to be flying by!
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36 states down, 12 to go to complete the Lower 48 in 5 years!
For the fourth time, our good friend and former neighbor J.P. Perry sent us off with a song, this time with his version of "On The Road Again." Lois was enjoying Disney with her family and couldn't join us on her ukulele, but J.P. was great as usual and it was nice to see him again.
A long RV trip involves an unbelievable amount of planning, preparation, and details far too numerous to list here. Linda toils for months in advance, mapping out our route, selecting campgrounds along the way, making reservations, and arranging for sights and sites to see and things to do on our trip. The closer we get to departure day, the more stressful it becomes to make sure we didn't overlook something that needed done. As we were doing the final loading of the Viva for this trip, Zoe knew it wasn't just another short drive to Flagler Beach. She was constantly by our sides, to make sure she wasn't left behind. Rick did take Zoe for a one mile early morning run before we left, which took the edge off both of them!
Day One was uneventful, mostly driving from point A to point B without much scenery along the way. Our first stop was about 280 miles from home, in Albany, Georgia. The campground offered spacious sites and ours, like most, was level and shaded. There was a pond with ducks to watch and a dog park for Zoe that was large and well-maintained. The campground had lots of trees, was reasonably priced, and turned out to be a great place to spend the first night.
The adventure has begun!
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