Posts Tagged With: camping

Monday Group Therapy

It looks like there are a lot of views for the site, so now I feel an obligation to post regularly about what’s going on, even if it isn’t a camping adventure.

Had a great meet-up this Monday with friends at Kennesaw Mountain for a walk – just about 5 miles for some of us who needed to get in the steps.  Karen, Kevyn, Jennifer, Jennifer with her dog Molly, Starr, Carla, Lynzee and Anna were there for the morning walk-and-talk.  Something of a group therapy session, since we could chat about the good and bad of the recent year of teaching.  I didn’t get a picture, but I think Kevyn did, and if he wants to share one, I will post it.  Most of the conversation was about how short the summers are for teachers and how it really has become a working vacation for most of us.  For those of you who aren’t teachers and who might be saying “hey, you get the summer off, quit complaining” our answer would be “try a year of teaching and you will understand how much you need a few weeks off” (without pay, I might add) to decompress, get caught up with your normal life and just unwind from the stress.

Unfortunately, the summer weeks have become required staff development and training, often unpaid.  Several walking with us will spend the next 2 weeks in science or math training sessions to learn the updated curriculum and new ways to teach students.  Not that math is really any different or science has suddenly changed, just that there are “new” ways to present the material, new terminology and new pacing guidelines to increase the all important student achievement.  Bit of editorializing there, but it was supported by an article in the AJC this week detailing how much is expected of teachers now, with so little in return.  I could go on about all the crazy expectations of teachers, but I will save that for another day.

Back to camping and RV adventures for a moment.  I made a little “hitch helper” for the hitch end of our tow dolly this week that makes moving it around much easier.  Essentially three caster wheels on a board with a 2″ hitch ball so you can hitch the tow dolly to it and roll it around as needed.  Right now it is rolled under the back of the RV and taking up no more space in the driveway.   (After using it a bit, I would probably redesign it to include a balanced 4 casters or cut the wood as a triangle).  Also, we just booked two weeks back in St. Andrews State Park for next June at the site next to the one we had this year — Yippee!  If you are planning to be camping in the state park next year at that time, let us know — and if you aren’t, why not?

hitch dolly

Tow dolly attached to the new “hitch helper.”

Hitch dolly 2

Side view of casters and hitch ball.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Not our first camping trip . . .

Got to thinking that we must have some pictures of our early adventures camping in a motorhome.  So I pulled out a photo album, scanned (and color corrected) some prints of us in 1978 as we made a camping sweep across Florida that summer.  It was in the quintessential van of its time: the VW micro-bus, camper edition.  It was really quite convenient for two people – small sink that you pumped water from a tank, an icebox that relied on a nice big chunk of block ice to keep cool, food storage and prep tables on the swing out doors, and then you converted almost the whole interior to a bed at night.  Oh, and a pop-up top for extra headroom and ventilation.

No AC, in fact the heater was on for the whole trip.  If you ever had a VW van, you know how the lever and cable to the heating unit usually would rust shut or open, so you either had heat or you didn’t – whether you wanted it or not.

These pictures are from Fort Wilderness Campground at Walt Disney World Resort (sorry, it was an evening arrival), and Daytona Beach.

Daytona 1978 2

Daytona Beach 1978

Daytona Van 1978

Daytona Beach 1978

Ft Wilderness 1978 1

Fort Wilderness 1978

Ft Wilderness 1978 2

Fort Wilderness 1978

It seems we also were in St. Augustine that summer, too.  37 years ago … gosh we haven’t changed a bit!

St Augustine Doug

St. Augustine 1978

St Augustine Jackie

St. Augustine 1978

On a later trip through Cape Cod we put a bike rack on the front of the van with two bikes attached (extra protection in a crash, no doubt), but that’s another story.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Tires and bearings

We are spending the day in Lake Park at Camping World while all our tires are replaced. Now we learned that one of the wheel hub seals is bad so after the tires are done we head to another repair shop to have that repaired. The tire change is a 5 hour repair, so we won’t be back on the road for a while. We transferred pets and cooler to the Rav-4.  With the heat its a matter of the car’s AC or staying in the store.


Jackie is cruising the store with the cat in shopping cart. These two pets have been great.

Anastasia St. Pk (2)

A shot of the RV and car loaded up and ready to leave Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine Beach.  By the way, a pair of Pileated woodpeckers decided to fly about on the live oak above our campsite on the final morning (Teasing us?  But I did get the shot this time).

Anastasia St Pk (4)

UPDATE: After 6 hours of tire change waiting and a determination that a wheel bearing seal could not be found in S Georgia, we hit the road and are now back home. Another 5 hour nerve-wracking drive but we are all safe. Did I say I love my shower? Bar’s open! Adventure recap later.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Another day another beach








Loving this vacation in Florida.  We are on St. George Island, which sits between the Gulf and Apalachicola Bay. Quite a barrier beach, reminds us of Ft. Pickens near Pensacola Beach.  Quiet campground with more tent campers.  We rode bikes along the dunes, Doug did a bit of paddleboarding in the bay and we swam in the Gulf of course.  Windy, so the surf seems more like the Atlantic Ocean than the Gulf of Mexico, lots of waves, but the water is warm and clean.  Did I mention I got my fitbit wet in Panama City and it crashed, dead.  So now none of my exercise steps count (if you fitbit, you know the withdrawal).  But fitbit will replace it, soon as I get home and send them a copy of the receipt (yippee, but will I make it until then?).  One more of my “smart purchases” is Omaha Steaks before we left.  Easy portions that are frozen and ready to defrost and grill.  Yeah, we could do the same thing with vacuum sealer and all, but this worked out just fine (lots of steak on the grill, some chicken and burgers – good eats).  We roll out of here in another day, then on to Manatee Springs for some cool water snorkeling and maybe a manatee sighting.

BTW, I finished up “Edge of Eternity”, book three in the Century Trilogy by Ken Follett.  Great read, even though it took me from Christmas until now.  Now in the midst of “The 6th Extinction” by James Rollins.  What are you reading this summer?




We are now in Manatee Springs and were finally able to post pictures from their snack bar. Bought a triple meat platter of barbecue for dinner at the snack bar. Delicious and finger licking.

More when we can…

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Last Night at St. Andrews

St Andrews 6-12 (12b)

Great day at the beach after morning paddleboarding to sandy point to see dolphin. Even though we have seen plenty at Hilton Head, it is always a thrill when they fluke and pop up near you. Water in the gulf was pretty stirred up with big swells crashing in, so the snorkeling was a bit murkier. Dinner on the beach at Sharky’s (grouper sandwich and grilled tuna steak on salad) capped off a great week, even with morning thunderstorms. Packing up in the morning to move to St. George Island State Park and headed for more adventures.

St Andrews 6-113 (6a)St Andrews 6-113 (7a)

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day at the Beach

Panama City Beach


We made it to St. Andrews State Park just fine and are having a great time, thanks to some smart planning and some good purchases. The tow dolly we bought worked great to bring the Rav-4 with us and the extra hour spent hooking the car up was worth it. The first part of the trip was tense, as it took a while to relax and realize the car was just fine, but a few stops to check all the winches and hitches made us feel better.

We stopped in Dothan, Alabama to buy a countertop ice maker at Camping World and have now put it to use. The first cubes were unimpressive, in fact they were six tiny little cubes that popped out in 10 minutes, making us wonder how that would ever make enough ice to handle cocktail hour. But we left it on for the afternoon and we now have a full ice bucket in the freezer. Another smart purchase.

The campsite we have is level with a nice cement pad, so it was easy setup once we arrived. Unhooked the car and stowed the tow dolly and we got ready to hit the beach. Sunday we took the paddle boards out in the bay and paddled to the inlet – just a spit of sandy beach where the current circles around. It was fun to walk along the white sand and splash in the warm clear water – spotted a sting ray in the water and two dolphins on the paddle back to the dock. Lots of boat traffic kicked up the wakes, but it worked out. Tried my JVC camera (similar to GoPro) and got some video, but need to learn the controls better. Hope to try some while snorkeling. Another smart purchase.

Paddleboard cart that we made from PVC and wheels was a big help to pull them from the car to the water, then back to the campsite.

Afternoon was at the beach near the jetty – snorkeling was amazing. New masks and fins (yep, another smart purchase) made it much more fun and we managed to keep the masks from fogging up! Always important. Did I mention one other smart purchase? The Tommy Bahama beach cart made it so easy to get chairs, towels, cooler and gear up to the beach … and this year the beach is nice and wide, so it’s a lot more walking to get to the water. Good day at the beach, nobody is burned. Going to try snorkeling early tomorrow and get some video if we can.

St Andrews

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Florida Bound

Gulf Islands

Can you smell the salt air?

We are packing up and getting ready for the trip to Florida.  Several of you asked about the trip, so I have posted the link to the Roadtrippers route below.  Roadtrippers is a fun app if you are planning any road trips this summer.

By the way, we were sitting on the deck this weekend, finishing dinner and noticed our doe walking quietly across the backyard to the neighbor’s fence line.  Out of the ivy stepped a spindly-legged young fawn to greet mom.  Off they went further into the backyard (too dim for pictures).  So this is our third year for fawn births in the yard (and you will recall last year’s encounter between Benji and the doe didn’t go so well for Benji).

Our Florida Trip:

florida 2015

Florida Trip

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: