04.14.13 TLC Wolf River Resort, Pass Christian, MS

doraleavingtlcOur first weekend experience at an RV campground was a smashing success!  TLC Wolf River Resort in Pass Christian is a nice quiet private campground.  We learned a lot about private versus public campgrounds during the presentation we sat through. You have to be a member of a campground or network of campground to stay at the private one.  Neither of us went into the tlcpool2presentation even considering buying, but that’s what we did.  Lots of benefits to a Coast to Coast membership but the most important to us is having 200 campgrounds countrywide that we can stay at for $0 per night and 200 more for only $10 per night.  Our trip to Minnesota hasn’t been planned yet but it will include all Coast to Coast campgrounds where possible.

It was a new experience for us to set out our big mat and set up our rockers to sit outside under the awning.  We’ve seen so many pictures of people doing this and have sat out in our driveway under the awning but never the real experience!  The people around us were very friendly and we met a real nice couple from Abita Springs, Leroy and Judy.  They had a Fleetwood Excursion like ours but a year newer.  We enjoyed visiting with them outside their RV.  Roy saw the headboard Leroy made for their bed and told me about it.  I’ve been wanting a headboard for our RV bed and theirs sounds perfect so add one more thing to Roy’s long to do list!   When he makes it I’ll post pictures for others that might want to do the same.

We received complimentary buffet tickets to the Hard Rock Casino’s Buffet on the Biloxi Gulf Coast.  It was like a magnificent feast!  We ate Alaskan King Crabs, boiled and ourspotattlcfried shrimp, shrimp salad, fried fish, ribs, turnip greens, and the most scrumptious desserts.  Of course you have to walk through the casino to get to the buffet.  People were smoking all over the place and the droan of sounds coming from all the slot machines were kind of mesmerizing.  We decided to try a couple of penny slot machines and found out they are not just 1 cent, but 50 cents each turn.  $5 was gone within a minute or two.  The next $5 resulted in us winning $20.50 so we left ahead.  I can see how it would be very easy for people to get sucked in and lose a lot.   Between the mega decibels of noise and the smoke in the air I was very ready to get out of there quickly after we pigged out at the buffet.

The rain poured down and the wind was very strong this morning and for a long time we thought we’d be stranded there.  Oh what a shame that would be to be stranded on the Mississippi Gulf Coast near the beach.  Around noon the sun came shining through and we started getting ready to head out.  I took these pictures after the storm and you’ll see some of the standing water in the pictures.  We didn’t take pictures of the back part of the campground near the river but there were beautiful, nicely spaced spots for all size motor homes, 5th wheels and campers.

I’ve been looking into the Minnesota Twins MLB team and hope we can see them play while we’re up there.  I don’t mind supporting them but cannot imagine being anything other than a New Orleans Saint’s fan, no matter what the hometown football team is in Minnesota.

We have our address in Minnesota and it will be: 10176 Bay Club Drive, Kabetogama, MN 56669.  Still not sure how exactly to pronounce Kabetogama but I’m sure we’ll get good at it before long.  It’s near International Falls, MN.  If anyone knows of a good church near there, please let us know.

I’ve made a list of everything I can think of that I need to take care of within the next two weeks and have prioritized it by day.  I’ve completed my two things for today so I’m off to a good start.  I organized the storage areas to make room for the BBQ pit and TV we will buy before we leave for our outside entertainment.  I also created business cards to take with us and give to people we meet.  Roy has a list of sorts and will complete things in his own manner. He doesn’t like the same kind of list I need but we will both get our assigned work done by our departure date.  He had to turn down the opportunity to take care of Madisyn tomorrow which just killed him.   The things on his schedule for tomorrow are just must do things and things he can’t do with a four year old around.  Hopefully we’ll get to spend plenty of time with her before we leave.  Getting Skype set up on our computers is on Roy’s to do list and will help us stay in touch with family back home.

Our real estate agent said the couple that came on Saturday really liked our house and it made their finalist list.  Hopefully we’ll hear something soon!  I have 10 more work days until I retire!  Of course we’ll still be working but it won’t be the same and I can’t wait!  I will miss my coworkers deeply and hope we can stay connected.  Since we all work for the Office of Technology at Southeastern we ought to be able to manage that!

Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!

04.13.13 First weekend camping experience…….

We’re camping for the weekend at Wolf River Resort in Pass Christian MS.  This is our first experience just by ourselves and so far we’re really enjoying it.  I’ve noticed some differences in being here and living in our driveway and wanted to start off by sharing those.

The difference between sitting in our driveway and looking out the windows, or sitting outside here at the RV campground and watching people ride bike or walk their dogs or sit outside playing cars, is like dull vs. refreshing!  Yes we’ve been full time RVing since November but this is really the first time Roy and I have been away by ourselves to experience REAL full time RVing.

Several difference we’ve noticed so far:

We’re using someone else’s electricity so opening the screen door and the windows while the air is running is okay.  I wouldn’t want to do too much of that when we’re using our employers electricity but at any other campground that would be okay.  I know it’s not ecologically correct but having been brought up to turn every light out when not in use, this is a little taste of freedom!

There is nothing I NEED to be doing.  I’ve always felt I couldn’t rest or relax when there were things that NEEDED to be done.  While living in the driveway, there was always the house or the garage that needed something to be accomplished to get everything sold or the house kept in order to show if anyone wanted to see it!  Here there is only the choice between staying inside and resting or piddling and going outside and watching or going around and taking in the sights.  None of which has to be done so I can finally relax.  Roy says he feels the same way.

This morning I woke up and heard something outside and saw Roy’s side of the bed was empty so I thought he must have gotten up and gone outside to do something.  I got up and found him asleep on the sofa.  I realized that living in the driveway I’ve grown so use to knowing that if I heard a sound outside it was him.  Now it could also be someone else that’s parked near us, and it was.  That may sound very minor but in our little world it’s not!

We’re also use to being the only ones who can hear us talking when parked in our driveway.  Now we’re parked near, while not next to, other RVs and those people can hear us.  That one will take some getting use to because our private conversations after 40 years of marriage are unique and not necessarily for the outside world to hear!

Those are a few of the differences we’ve noticed first off.  I’m sure there will be many more as we experience more of this real RV full timing!

Some have asked us what our winter plans are after leaving Minnesota.  There is nothing specific planned yet but we will be applying to Disneyworld and Disneyland and other deep south campgrounds and resorts for the winter months.  If our house sells we’ll be able to be open up our working opportunities because of not needing the additional income, just wanting an RV site.  We would hope to pass through Louisiana around Thanksgiving or Christmas to be with family and see our friends and church friends.   I’ll be applying for those jobs soon since when they start hiring for winter and will post when we have something lined up.  Disneyworld is our preference.

walmartbeachYesterday evening we had our first experience broadening our horizons outside of our lifetime of living in southern Louisiana.  We went to the Wal-Mart on the Gulf Cost and it was ON THE BEACH!  Seeing the beach in front of us when walking out the store door was amazing so I took a picture.  The sky was a brilliant blue and pink and the picture doesn’t nearly capture the depth of the colors.  This store is a super duper mega Wal-Mart, nothing like our little Hammond store which I always thought was a big one.  On the mayonnaise aisle just in the Hellman’s brand they had 8 different varieties.  We were like country bumpkins let loose in the big city.  If seeing a different Wal-Mart is a neat experience can you imagine what seeing the Grand Canyon will be like.  What sheltered lives we’ve led!

Time for me to get out of here and enjoy the beautiful outside life around here.  There have been so many thoughts I wanted to share that I had to get them down while they were fresh.  I’ll write more later.  I’m including one picture of Roy actually hooking up Boots to Dora for the first time getting ready to take him on his maiden voyage.  I tookroyhookingup a bunch more pictures of Roy hooking up Boots behind Dora and he promises me he’ll dictate (notice I didn’t say he’d write it) a blog about all he did to Boots to ready him for the experience ahead of us.  When that day comes the pictures will help tell that story much better.

I truly hope everyone is having a warm clear day and enjoying it to its fullest like we are!

Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!

December 2012 – the whole Disney trip – our first RV on the road experience!

Roy and I decided in November to make our first RV trip a trip to Disneyworld around Christmas. The last time we went to Disney was three years ago at Christmas and it was so beautiful at Christmas that we thought it would be great to make our first official RV trip to see Mickey!! We checked with Madisyn’s mommy Liz and she said she could go with us so we made the reservations at Ft. Wilderness Campgrounds at Disneyworld. Several very helpful friends gave us good tips and information about staying there since we’ve never been to Ft. Wilderness before. There was a lot to do before leaving our sticks house and hitting the road. What was really nice was that we didn’t have to pack – what a difference that made. We didn’t forget one thing, because everything was with us! We loaded up lots of special snacks and food for Madisyn, and us!! We left Sunday after church and headed to Milton, Florida to pick up Madisyn. We meet her mommy in the Walmart parking lot near their home. Madisyn jumped out of her car and ran to see us and Dora. She got use to the RV on her last visit wiht us so she was very comfortable being in it.

After playing for a while we all went to sleep. As weird as I thought it would be sleeping in a Walmart parking lot, it was no different than sleeping at home since we were in our own bed! Knowing that the lights we saw through the curtain were Walmart lights was a big odd though but we slept well! In the morning Madisyn woke us up with her puppy singing Christmas music. We all showered in the Walmart parking lot, ate breakfast and headed off to Disney.

We strapped Madisyn in her car seat in the passenger seat (we called it her throne). Her eyes were big and amazed at the big windows and sitting up so high! A 7 hour trip from Milton to Ft. Wilderness turned into a 9 hour trip with multiple stops for various things including stretching our legs.

Lesson one learned is that trying to walk through the RV on a road that is not extremely smooth is like trying to walk on a cruise ship during a storm. A seriously queasy stomach is sure to follow.  Also, learned that I don’t travel in the RV too well when trying to walk around, getting up and down, fixing lunches, getting drinks for the Princess and her Paw Paw. During the two hours that Madisyn napped in our bed I sat in my passenger seat in the front and felt fine. Since that’s where I’ll be sitting when we’re really traveling I should be fine. Princess Madisyn needed her throne to be safe, so Grannie just stayed queasy until we got there. I’ve decided that’s one of the best purposes of the windows behind the sofas is so they can be cracked open for a queasy passenger, it sure helped!

We thoroughly enjoyed looking out all the windows and seeing everything from a bigger, higher perspective. The weather was beautiful except for about an hour of rain.

When we got to Disney we checked in through Dora’s driver’s window – very cool and convenient! The campground is huge and it took us quite a while to find our spot. We saw lots of Christmas decorations throughout the park, at least half the RVers brought Christmas blow up and light up decorations that they set up outside and on their RVs and the campground did a lot of decorations also. We found our spot which required a lot of driving through narrow curing pathways in the dark. Roy only tried to take out one car that wasn’t parked properly but otherwise handled it all masterfaully.

We stayed at 1444 in Big Bear Run in Fort Wilderness Campgrounds. There were fruit and other trees and bushes all around us giving us total privacy. 50 amp hook-up, water, barbeque pit, and bright orange picnic table on our cement parking pad. We were maybe 200 feet from the bus stop where we caught the Disney bus we took throughout the campground to the ferry which took us to the Magic Kingdom. At the bus stop there was a picture of a missing dog named Quincy. Madisyn felt so bad for Quincy and every time we stopped there she’d touch his picture and say Quincy I hope they find you. She has such a sweet loving heart.

To get to the ferry we took a short bus ride that dropped us off at the Wilderness restaurants. Outside of Trails End Restaurant they hung several hula hoops and one six occasions Madisyn stopped and practiced her hula hooping skills. The first night we ate at Trails End and Roy enjoyed it so much he said I could just leave him there and come back Thursday to get him. It was a buffet dinner of all great home cooked food, salad bar, dessert bar, potato bar and sweet tea in a mason jar. It always seems like when a restaurant serves you sweet tea in a mason jar that the dinner is always delicious. The price of the meal was way too high but we enjoyed it all the same! We headed back to the bus and on the way there stopped at the playground and at the hula hoop station for Madisyn to have fun.

After a good night sleep we woke up at 7:30, ate breakfast at the picnic table while visiting with Squirley who came to visit. He later followed us to Disney and that thrilled Madisyn! We took the ferry which was a fun experience in itself. Madisyn had never ridden on a boat that big and we sat outside on the bow. It’s a beautiful ride to the Magic Kingdom on the ferry. We took it slow once we got off the boat and entered the Magic Kingdom to let Madisyn take it all in. She knew the names of all the characters she saw pictures of as we entered, and couldn’t wait to meet some of them. First stop was to meet Princess Aurora, Rapunzel, Princess Jasmine and Daisy Duck. A stop was necessary at one of the vendors to get her some sparkly Minnie Mouse ears – hot pink of course! Then on to the Mad Tea Cup for a ride and other rides in the morning.

We headed back on the ferry to Dora after lunch and took a long nap then headed back to the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon. Madisyn wore her Cinderella dress back to Disney after the nap and was just delightful. Seeing her skipping or running (which she did quite often) in front of us was so precious. Her childish joy and exuberance was contagious making Roy and I almost skip along with her. She’d twirl around in her dress causing those around her to just ooh and aah and of course we the proud grandparents smile, just loving it! Since she had her Cinderella dress on we went back to meet the Princesses and get their autographs. Cinderella was there this time and we got a video of Madisyn meeting her looking just like Cinderella. They sat on the floor visiting and then hugged. It was truly a magical moment for this little girl who thinks that was really Cinderella. We rode Dumbo the Flying Elephant a few times, took some pictures and then headed off on the bus for Hollywood Studios so we could see the Osborne Family Lights and see the snow fall on that street. When we walked around the corner and there it was, Madisyn’s eyes lit up. She could hardly stand it when it started snowing and she kept trying to lick it up with her tongue as it fell. The lights covering every square inch of every building that flashed with the music kept her dancing in the street for quite a while. We took a video of her doing her ballerina dancing in front of one building while an audience watched her. Disney is truly a place where a little girl’s dreams do come true!

On we went to Epcot around 8 pm to watch the 9:30 Illuminations firework exhibit. It was cold so we bundled up and found a place to catch the show and just huddled for a while. The show was beautiful as always and Madisyn enjoyed every minute of it except that her fingers were plugged into her ears to keep the loud fireworks noises out. If someone has never seen this firework show, it’s much more than that. It’s a very moving experience about the world coming together in peace. The end of the show features the song “Let there be Peace on Earth”. Everyone joins in and for that moment you do feel that peace on earth could be possible. It’s a beautiful way to feel at Christmas time. After all Jesus is our Peace and wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all feel that way. We didn’t get home until 11 that night and Madisyn was still awake. Within minutes of hitting the bed she was sound asleep and slept until 9 the next morning.

It was a little harder getting going on Wednesday our second day there but once we hit the beautiful clear wind on the ferry we woke up and were all looking forward to our day. Madisyn again wore her Cinderella dress and was the center of attention a good bit of the time. There were lots of other little girls with their princess outfits on and they tended to gravitate together and make friends. Anyone who has been to Disney knows the wait is long for the rides. Even though at Christmas the wait is considerably less (maybe 15 for most rides, 40-60 minutes for a couple of rides), the princesses would gather and visit, complimenting each other on their gowns and fixed up hair. Madisyn and Roy were selected to participate in two events together. One was when Madisyn met Belle (who is her favorite) from Beauty and the Beast and Roy was the Knight in the skit. It was one of the new attractions at Fantasyland and was a perfect child oriented event. They also participated in a street skit where a Lady in Waiting and the Gentlemen’s Gentlemen (not sure if that’s what he’s actually called) were teaching the children how to curtsey, and various other important technicalities to palace life! A group of street clowns had a child’s interactive skit she was in, and very much like her daddy was more interested in the bright posters behind her than in the clowns!

The star event of the visit was of course “It’s a Small World”. She loved it so much she immediately wanted to ride it again so of course we did that. Actually we did most things twice and some even three times. This was Madisyn’s time at Disney so, within limits, we tried to do what she wanted. We ate a delicious lunch at Pinocchio’s house where we enjoyed a nice rest to the constant go go go. After lunch we made our visit to Belle’s Mansion for the skit there and met Ariel in her Grotto. The carousel was a big hit and it is so beautiful I felt like a princess on it, though I was just the photographer! We flew in the sky with Peter Pan and by that time it was getting dark so we bid farewell to the Magic Kingdom, much to Madisyn’s deep despair. She was very cooperative throughout the trip except for when we were leaving and we fully understood the tears that fell as she walked away, waving bye bye to Mickey. At least we knew we had introduced her t the magical, marvelous world of Disneyworld, the happiest place on earth. After our last ride on the ferry, by 7:30 we were all ready for bed and our last night at Disney with Dora!

The morning we were to leave we all slept until 9 am, which means all of us slept at least 12 hours last night. Madisyn and I went out back of Dora and picked some grapefruits from the tree behind us. It was a great place to stay. By 11 we were waving goodbye to our little cement parking spot and heading back to reality.

On the way back we ran into about two hours of rain. Roy drove very well through the storm. I feel so much more comfortable with him driving in Dora than in one of our regular vehicles. I learned from our trip going to Disney not to roam around when the RV was moving so I didn’t get queasy!!!!!!! Yeah, big relief – Dora would have been for sale when we got home if that hadn’t stopped! Paw Paw taped several episodes of Dora the Explorer while we were at Disney and we made good use of them keeping the little chatter box occupied on the long ride home. We also enjoyed the movie Cars on this trip. Madisyn is napping on our bed right now so I’m enjoying some blog writing time.

We’ll be at Madisyn’s in a couple of hours and will spend the night at Walmart again before heading back to Hammond in the morning. It’s been a wonderful trip and we are both so thankful to have been able to have this experience with our granddaughter Madisyn. We’ve been to Disney several times over the years and this one was like going the first time. Everything was new for her and we got to experience that. She’s only 3, almost 4, so she may not remember all the details of our trip but we believe we’ve created some lasting memories for her of how very much her grandparents love her and how special she is to us!

My next blog will be a bunch of pictures from our trip – please check them out!

December 2012 – Disney trip with Madisyn

After hearing our Trinity Baptist Church Adult Choir present their Christmas Cantata “All is Well”, we came back home and prepared to set out for Disneyworld. It never feels like Christmas until we hear the choir sing their Christmas cantata. It’s always such a wonderful reminder that Christmas is not about all the commercial things it’s made into by society. It’s first and foremost about the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He left his heavenly home and came down to earth as a tiny infant with the sole intention of sacrificially giving his own life to save us from our sins. That is so much bigger and more wonderful than any green and red decoration or present we find under the tree. Our choir is made up of regular every day people who sing because they love the Lord and the message they always bring to us blesses my heart so much.

Madisyn and her Christmas buddies.
Madisyn and her Christmas buddies.

This has been an absolutely magical trip. Seeing Disney through the eyes of a 3 year old made this the best trip ever. We picked Madisyn up Sunday evening and got to Ft. Wilderness at Disneyworld Monday evening. Dora made the trip just fine and Roy was a master RV driver navigating our way through Ft. Wilderness Campground in the dark. Madisyn lined up all of her stuffed Christmas buddies in the RV window and posed for a photo with them our first morning there. She’s been a joy to have with us and I’m so thankful we got to share this experience with her. She’s been dressed in her Cinderella dress most of the time we’ve been here. Everyone has been so taken with her little cinderella self and she’s made friends with all the little children she met. We’re headed home in the morning but wanted to post a brief blog about our trip and our wonderful granddaughter. It’s only 7:30 and I think we’re all headed for bed! Goodnight!

Madisyn on Paw Paws shoulders watching the show at the Enchanted Castle!
Madisyn on Paw Paw’s shoulders watching the show at the Enchanted Castle!