FSU vs NCS September 2017

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Took the Ka Hale to Tallahassee for the Florida State/North Carolina State game.  Dry camped in the Civic Center Parking lot.  It was very convenient to the FSU campus, the stadium and to downtown.

After getting settled, we took a walk around FSU’s campus.  Barry was reliving his time here 40 years ago.  Boy has it changed.

Friday night was Downtown Get Down.  We had a good time visiting the vendors, listening to music and then having dinner at a spot right in front of the stage.

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The game was scheduled for noon so the tailgate started early.  We had some good muchies and had a good time mingling with our fans & the cheerleaders!

We had great seats (45 yard line) and really enjoyed the game.

It was hot and it was a shame FSU lost.  But, all in all, the weekend was a blast.  Saturday night after the game we went back to downtown (much quieter!) and had a nice pizza dinner at the Brick Haus.

 

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The Great Hurricane Irma Refugee Migration – September 2017

All the forecasters were saying that Irma, at the time a whopping category 5 hurricane could hit Merritt Island head-on.  So we loaded up the Ka Hale and headed out.  Little did we know at the time that we would drive over 1400 miles with countless hours of driving time.  The storm moved west and then straight up the state.  Our home was spared the worst but still felt the full force of Irma.  When we finally got home we found only cosmetic damage and power & water had been restored.  As the saying goes, we are Happy Campers!

Barry’s schoolmate, Dennis, gave us great back road directions.  Our first stop was White Springs, Florida.  We wanted to get North and West and wanted to be at the intersection of I-75 & I-10 so we could plan our next move dependent on the direction of the storm.  We stayed at Kelly’s RV Park (along with numerous other Florida refugees).  It was a nice park with shaded spots.  We had intended to stay here for the duration, but Mother Nature had other plans.

It was interesting seeing all of the utility trucks heading south.

IMG_4478.JPG.jpegWe were monitoring the Weather Station and the “Cone of Uncertainty” started to show a move up the west coast and White Springs could get 70 – 100 mph winds.  We decided we wanted to get a bit more north & west.  Next stop was Gantt Lake RV Park at a beautiful campsite at Gantt Lake, Alabama.  When we called from the road (after calling many other campgrounds, they said they were full.  Soon after that they called back and said they could make room for us.  They were the sweetest people and ended up giving us and extra large site steps from the lake.

 

We were fortunate enough to have our previous neighbors, Glenn & Susan, close by.  They brought us a refugees aid package (just kidding – only bread) and we all went out to eat at a very lovely local joint called David’s Catfish House.

The track is all ready for the Friday night riding lawn mower races.

IMG_4436.JPG.jpegThe track is all ready for the Friday night riding lawn mower races.Again we thought we would stay here a while (and wanted to), but alas, after two nights we thought it would be best to move west.   On the move again, we landed in Laurel, Mississippi At the Sleepy Hollow RV Park.  Once again, there were many RVs from Florida.  We had a nice spot here and could not wait to see what tomorrow would bring.

 

Irma was now moving up towards Atlanta, so we packed up again and headed to Bonifay, Florida (90 miles or so west of Tallahassee).  We continued to take back roads to avoid the congestion on the interstates.  We continued to see gorgeous countryside.

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And got our first look of Mobile, Alabama and then the Mississippi River.

The next morning we headed home.  Again on back roads.  It was amazing to find power out almost everywhere from Tallahassee to Orlando.  Almost no stations had gas.  Fortunately, we ran on diesel and found more of that.  However, when the power is off there is no way to pump it.  In Gainesville we happen to see a Murphy gas station with a relatively short line so we got in it.  After a few minutes wait they announced that gas would not be available for 30 – 40 minutes.  However, they had diesel!  A couple of wonderful patrons helped us back our RV into the station so we could fill up and be worry free.  Good thing we did as we did not see a station with fuel for hours.

We could not have asked for better road worthy accommodations.  The 24 ft RV is easy to park and very easy to set up and unhook.  The interior is perfect for two and is as comfortable as they come.  It holds enough provisions and clothes for an extended trip and operates on 30 amp, 12v batteries, generator & even solar panels.

Can’t wait for our next trip (CAN wait for the next hurricane!)

St. Augustine, Florida (Shakedown cruise) July 2017

Ka Hale Shakedown Cruise to St. Augustine – July 18 – 21, 2017

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Took the RV up to St Augustine for it’s shakedown cruise.  We stayed at The Bryn Mawr Ocean Resort  (click on link to view campground) on Butler Beach.  We had an ocean front space and really thought it was a nice place convenient to the city.  Below is a slide show of RV lot pics.

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The beach was wide and smooth with white sand.  Cars were given a lane to drive on.  Not much surf to speak of though.

We unhooked on Wednesday and drove the RV across the Bridge of Lions, to downtown St. Augstine (where they had very convent and free RV parking).

There we took a tour of the city on The Old Time Trolley (another link).  For about $25.00 each, this hop on & hop off tour of more than a couple of hours was well worth it.  Sites included were the Old Jail, Our Lady of Leche Shrine, Potter’s Drug Store, Grace Methodist Church, Flagler College, Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse, Colonial Quarter, Oldest House in the USA, Government House, Spice & Tea Exchange, Mission of Nombre de Dios, Old City Gates, Scarlet O’hara’s, Wax Museum, The Fountain of Youth, Whetstone Chocolates and, of course, the banks of the St. Johns River.  Enjoy the slideshow below:

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On one stop we at at Harry’s and walked by the Hilton that had over four feet of water during hurricane Matthew in 2016.  Another stop was the fort Castillo de San Marcos.    We were quite impressed with this fort in the nation’s oldest city.

Our final night we met up with school chum, Steve Downes and ate at Panama Hattie’s.

All in all, a great trip!

Our New Adventure Begins

On July 15, 2017 we took our camping experience to a new level.  Since it has been a couple of years since we had our ultra-lite MPG trailer, we started getting itchy to get back on the road.  We wanted to ratchet up our on-the-road accommodations and after looking at these wonderful Airstream RVs for the past few years, in May we made the big jump and ordered a 2018 Airstream/Mercedes Grand Tour EXT.  White with oyster interior.  Basically an Airstream trailer with an engine.  A great Class B rig nicely appointed and specially built for two.

We named this baby “Ka Hale” which means house in Hawaiian.  Can’t wait to take it on our shake down trip.  Three days next week on the beach in St. Augustine, Florida.  If you are interested in following our “glamping” pursuits, just enter your email to follow our blog.

2003 VW Eurovan Weekender (2012 – present)

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Weekender with 14′ Queen Mary on top

We bought a cabin in Yosemite and decided to sell the trailer.  Not wanting to be without a camping vehicle, we purchased a used 2003 VW Eurovan weekender.  It has a popup top, bed, dinette, icebox and awning.  But does not have the stove and sink that our full camper had.  This vehicle has basically become our surfmoblie as it is perfect for putting a couple of boards (and Cooper – R.I.P) inside and head to the beach.  The Eurovan inherited the Beach Hut plates.

2011 MPG Trailer (2011 – 2014)

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After selling the fully decked out VW camper and moving to Pismo Beach, CA, we decided to buy a travel trailer and explore West Coast surfing spots and National Monuments and Parks in the American West.  After looking for a while and being inspired at the Pismo Beach Vintage Trailer Show, we settled on the Heartland MPG 185 ultra-lite which we appropriately named “Beach Hut”.

We loved the retro look of the MPG.  It had smooth curves and great style.  The outside decals, fenders and wheels help accent its style.  The body was only 6′ 6″ wide, yet with a slide-out, it easily accommodated four adults for entertaining and slept two very comfortably.  The MPG is also extra tall on the inside and even a 6′ 3″ man does not bump his head.  The inside included a well equipped kitchen (2 burner stove, sink, microwave, refrigerator); a sofa on the slide-out that converts to a small bed; a bathroom with potty, sink and shower;  the sitting area has room for four +, converts to a dining room and at night is a roomy queen size bed.  The trailer had all utilities, a/c, heater, a AM/FM radio, CD/DVD player and a six gallon water heater.  We added a 22″ flat screen TV.

Had a blast touring California with our Beach Hut.

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Above is from California Gold Country. Below are three photos from Lake Nacimiento.

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We also had the Beach hut at Morro Bay & Moss Landing:

1999 VW Westfalia Camper (2005 – 2008)

Once settled in Santa Barbara, California, we decided to get another VW camper.  We found a 1999 Westfalia European fully outfitted included a pop top.  We had fun exploring some of California including Big Bear, Pismo Beach, Ventura and Bodega Bay (where the movie “The Birds” was filmed and just using the van as our local surfmoblie. Having a six cylinder engine gave it lots of power.  Much better highway driving than the slow “Te Koop” in Europe.

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24 ft Dodge Class C ( 1983 – 1984)

Upon returning to the USA in 1983, we settled in Melbourne Florida.  On a visit to Janice’s parents in Pacific Grove, California, they offered us the chance to buy the RV they had bought from Janice’s aunt & uncle.  It was in great shape.  We drove it from California to Florida visiting friends in Texas on the way.  Most of the trip was on Route 66.  What an adventure it was.  After a couple of years touring Florida spots in the camper, we sold it to a fellow who was going to drive it to Alaska to live in it.

1979 VW Camper (1981 – 1983)

We began our camping experiences while living in The Hague, Holland.  We bought a 1979 bright green VW camper.  Every weekend and most holidays and vacations we toured around Europe.  On many of your trips, Amiga, our afghan hound went with use.  We had a blast for two years going all through Europe including:  Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Denmark and Germany.  We named this camped “Te Koop” which is for sale in Dutch.  Barry’s dad saw the for sale sign and its name was decided.