June 10, 2019

Well, THAT was Fun! (Random Thoughts on Our Recent Journey)

We’re back.  Alan and I just spent a little more than 3 weeks on the road beginning in mid-May, the result of a MAJOR revision to our travel plans early in the year.  You can find the full story on why the vacation we took was not the one we originally intended to take in a post from February entitled, Our Spring Travel Plans Went Right Out the Window” (link HERE).  But let me just say here and now that, although it was an extremely busy vacation, it was also an extremely fun-filled one, too.

Because we both came back to a really long "To Do" list, we’re scrambling to catch up on both business business and personal business.  It took me a full day just to wade through the piles of laundry and sort and prioritize the mail.  I have no medical background, but I do understand the concept of triage, and I can assure you that there was plenty of that this past week.  Since we’re still playing catch up, I only have time for a quick post.  So, I’d like to simply share with you some random thoughts on a vacation that felt kind of like a variety show, along the lines of the old Ed Sullivan Show.  For those of you who are too young to remember the show:  It appeared on TV every Sunday night from 1948 to 1971 and was hosted by (guess who!) Ed Sullivan.  The various acts that appeared included singers, dancers, comedians, acrobats and circus acts – if it was a legal form of entertainment that could be fit into a ten minute time slot, it probably appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.  And I’m so sorry you missed it – it was a classic.  But, I digress.  As I was saying about this vacation, it really did feel like a variety show because we enjoyed such a, well, variety of people and activities.  I’ll be returning with future posts that contain more details but, for now, I’d like to share some random thoughts and observations on our most recent adventure . . . 

·         Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida were the states we focused on during this trip, although we didn’t stay long enough in any one of them to really do the state justice.  The big event was a week-long stay at Fort Wilderness Campground in Disneyworld, but our shorter stays at other locations were just as sweet.

·         What really made this trip a special one wasn’t so much the places we visited, but the friends and family members we got to visit with along the way.  Our cast of characters included grade school and high school friends, church friends, Alan’s brother and sister-in-law plus our own two kids and our bonus kid (our son’s girlfriend).  It was quite a crew – and quite a trip!

 Just prior to our trip, we installed a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) made by Truck System Technologies (TST).  (We had purchased it earlier this year when there was still snow on the ground and we couldn’t get to the tires of our travel trailer.)  We had one little glitch during the installation, but the system worked perfectly on its maiden voyage and we like it a lot.  I’ll report more details on the TST TPMS in a future post.  For now, suffice it to say that it gets a “thumbs up” from both of us.

Five adults spent almost a full week in our 32' travel trailer at Fort Wilderness and, thankfully, everyone survived.  Who would have thought?!

·       Disney does many, many things right (really right), but there are some things that could use a bit of improvement.  (I can see that one sentence leading to a very long post in the future.)

·         U. S. Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds continue to be some of our favorite places to stay.  The facilities are nicely designed, situated in beautiful water-based locations and are well maintained.  We camped in two of them on this trip – one in Tennessee and one in Florida - and would return to both of them in a heartbeat.

·         Our first experience with the Georgia State Park system was wonderful.  We stayed at Crooked River State Park in St. Marys, Georgia, for only two nights and I really, really wished we had been able to stay longer.  (Why does St. Marys not have an apostrophe?)

·         I saw enough alligators and crocodiles on this trip to last me a lifetime.

·         I’ve come to the conclusion that my relationship with “Samantha,” the GPS unit in Alan’s truck, will always be fraught with tension.

·         I will be extremely happy when one single transponder will be able to handle every toll road in every state.  I know the technology exists and that’s what makes this situation especially annoying.

·         Speaking of technology, we saw the neatest thing on one of our travel days . . . A DOT maintenance guy was directing an independent mower deck via remote control as the mower cut the grass on a small, sloping section of land adjacent to an interstate that would have been too steep and dangerous for someone to attempt with a riding or push mower.  Impressive!

·         Remembering to bring water and snacks along with us in the truck ups the chances for a good day exponentially.  I’m not even sure that’s the proper use of the word exponentially, but I’m sure I’ve made my point.  And I’ll bet you know exactly what I mean.

·         Now that our kids are young adults and we’re no longer planning our vacations around school schedules, we’re remembering why we always loved traveling in the “shoulder” seasons of spring and fall – fewer crowds in the tourist hot spots, lower prices, not as many cars on the road and quieter campgrounds.  Sweet!

·         And last, but certainly not least . . . There is ALWAYS room for Krispy Kreme!


  1. I can certainly remember the Ed Sullivan Show! Sometimes I feel like the guy who kept multiple plates spinning all at once. Your trip sounds great and I look forward to reading more. I'm not sure that I've ever seen an alligator or crocodile in the wild so I hope you include a few pictures.

    1. The only thing I didn't like about the Ed Sullivan Show was that it signaled a return to school the following morning. Sigh.

      Alan could differentiate the alligators from the crocodiles by their snouts. Me? I never got that close or stayed that long. Especially after we saw an alligator grab the bobber of a couple who were fishing at the COE campground on the Caloosahatchie River in Florida. So, yes, there are photos, Janis, but definitely not of National Geographic quality. It was all a great experience though, and so different from our normal environment of mountains and forests!

  2. Hi, Mary,

    Loved your comments, especially the one about water and snacks. We've learned that lesson also. From the pictures of road signs, it looks like you traveled very close to our home. Sorry we missed you on this trip, but hopefully we'll get the opportunity soon. Nevertheless, sounds like you had a great vacation. We are back and after three months away, we're still catching up on life in the real world. Have a great Father's Day weekend. P.S. You've reminded me to look into a TPMS. Thanks!

    1. Welcome home, Joe! We saluted you and Helen as we drove through your town on our way from southern Virginia to Nashville. I think we arrived home a day before you did. So happy we all enjoyed safe travels and great experiences!

      We liked the TST TPMS so much that I feel confident in suggesting you include it on your list of possibilities. Now I guess it's back to the real world for all of us.


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