Thursday, March 27, 2014

Adventures in the Keys! Part One

Ahhh, time to get on the road again! One Saturday in January we headed south, isn't that what most people do? Our first stop was the fam-camp at Patrick AFB. Alas, it was full so what to do? I made a quick phone call to a nearby campground and found out they had 3 sites left!  We reserved one then made a beeline for Wickham Park in Melbourne. It is a nice county park with plenty of camping and activities for all.

Sunday, we did a little geocaching on our way to Port Canaveral to meet our friends, Connie and Larry,  as they disembarked after  two weeks of cruising the Caribbean. We took them back to Patrick and made plans with them for our trip to the Florida Keys. We must have been camera shy as I can't find any pictures from Wickham Park or Patrick AFB Fam-Camp.

Our first travel picture is at our lunch stop traveling south on US 27 just north of I-75. It was the first place we found where we could pull over and have room for both rigs!
Our next stop was the Miccosukee Casino north of Homestead,  at the intersection of SR 997 and US 41. The tall building in the background is the casino.
Larry needed to catch up on some work so Bob, Connie and I took a walk around the casino. At the rear of the casino we found an old wooden boardwalk. We set out to explore the area and get some steps on our fitbits.
We spent one night at the casino then continued toward our destination: Key West. After checking in at the Key West Naval Station we continued through road construction on US 1 to Trumbo Point.  Here we would camp for two weeks and explore the lower keys.
As you can tell from this picture, it was windy the first day we walked to Mallory Square. I think we saw a cruise ship in port every day we walked the area.
Our walking sessions on Trumbo Point took us by this abandoned sailboat. Most of the valuable items have been stripped from the boat and it has been tagged by the Coast Guard.
Now who in their right mind is going to skip a seafood festival---not us! We strolled from Trumbo Point to the festival and sampled the conch fritters. They were good, but not as good as the ones Bob and I had with Walter at a place in Goodland, FL. We enjoyed the music and also chatting with other Boomer friends.

On our walk back to the campground, we spotted one of the many unique signs in Key West.
Time for another walk to Mallory Square!
Another walk took us past Truman's Little White House. Several U.S. presidents  vacationed at Key West.
As is the custom when Connie and Larry join us for adventures, Bob, Connie and Larry get sick! I, on the other hand, am immune to their ills! Once Larry started feeling better, we went to Bahia Honda State Park south of Marathon. We are standing on the good portion of Flagler's railroad bridge.
This is the portion that has not been repaired!
Now any trip to Key West is incomplete without eating seafood several times. We enjoyed a chilly evening at Hog Fish Bar and Grill on Stock Island.
On one of our other walks we came across Key West Legal Rum Distillery. It was interesting to hear the history behind the distillery and to get a sample. Unfortunately the gentleman dispersing the samples was stingy and only let one person have the cinnamon rum and pina colada samples. We left without so much as a fare thee well since he was being rude.
Fortunately for Connie and I the Key West Winery was just next door! The samples flowed freely and we both purchased some wine. Who would have thought that Key Lime Wine could be so tasty?

I mentioned meeting more Boomers at the seafood festival.We made plans for a Boomer Happy Hour at the Key West Naval Station. Here it looks like we are enjoying a warm get together, but in all honesty, it was breezy and chilly! We ditched the jackets just for this picture. Gisela, Bill, Duane, Betty, Bob, Connie, Larry and I all grabbed our jackets as soon as the camera clicked! Of course, being Boomers, we planned another Happy Hour later in the week.
Key West is a great place to ride bicycles. One Saturday morning, we took our bikes and rode along the beachfront trail.
MWR at Key West Naval Station has a yearly potluck for those staying at the Fam-Camp and Trumbo Point. We enjoyed the food and visiting with other campers. Once again, the weather turned cooler while we were there.
I think that is enough for this session. I will continue the Keys Trip a bit later. We definitely enjoyed our time and will do it again soon!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Home, Baby Shower, and Our Newest Grandbaby!

Time flew last summer. It seemed we were barely home before it was time for the baby shower for our newest grand baby to be. Before the shower we took a day off to have a cookout and swim party for Andy's family visiting from Connecticut. All the boys tried a simultaneous jump into the pool.
 Then it was baby shower time!
 My sweet sister made the favors for the party. I made the diaper cake.
 Time for those last minute decorations.
 Everyone had a great time. Princess Petunia is going to be the best dressed baby anywhere!

 After much anticipation, Sydney Isabella arrived!
 Great Grandma Dot and Great Grandpa Bob came to visit when she was a few weeks old.
Bob and I took them sightseeing at World Golf Hall of Fame near St. Augustine. There was a lot to see in the way of golf memorabilia. There was also a traveling tribute to Bob Hope which we all enjoyed viewing.

Sydney had to meet more of her doting fans (Aunt Bea and Uncle Walter), so Jennifer and I made a trip to Jacksonville.

Whew, now that Sydney has arrived, maybe we can catch our breath before our next big adventure.....

Time to Head Home

Bob and I left Siloam Springs knowing we had to be home before mid-July to get ready for the baby shower.  We decided to make two overnight stops during the 1600+ mile trip. Our first stop was just into western Mississippi on US 82. On a previous trip we scouted places to camp in this area. We found Warfield Point Park, but at that time it was flooded. Not so this trip.
 We pulled in and found a spot with water and electric.

The park was once run by the Army Corps of Engineers, but now it is a county park.  There was a lookout tower to climb to view the river and surrounding areas.
After another long day of driving, we pulled into Cottonhill Corps of Engineers Park near Ft. Gaines, GA.
We had a waterfront site complete with ants which seem to be furnished free of charge by all southern COE parks.  Ft. Gaines is on the western edge of Georgia, southeast of Eufaula, AL on the Chattahoochee River. As we drove through Eufaula that evening, we decided to stay 2 nights at the COE park. Eufaula is known for its historic homes. The next day we drove back to Eufaula and took the walking tour through downtown. It started near the old peanut company. Of course, there were a few geocaches to be found along the way.

After our walk, we drove to one of the homes further outside of town, Fendall Hall. It was one of two homes open for tours.
We enjoyed visiting Eufaula, but it was time to get on the road. Next stop: home!

A Visit with the Great Grandparents

 The heat followed us to Siloam Springs, but I think we left the mosquitoes behind!

One Sunday, we drove to Pea Ridge National Military Park. Chris and DeAnna earned their Junior Ranger badges as we drove through the park.

 While we were in Siloam Springs, DeAnna learned to ride her bike without training wheels, but not until Great Grandma Dot showed her the basics.
 Siloam Springs has a great community pool. Chris liked to ham it up coming down the slide.
 DeAnna was just glad to stay cool!

 Bobby and Cathy arrive to get the kids to take them back to El Paso via Ft. Sill, OK. I couldn't resist getting a picture of four generations of Childre men.
 Of course, we needed a picture of Chris and DeAnna with their great grandparents.
 Of course we hated to see them leave, but it was time for Bob and I to head home to get ready to welcome a new grandchild into the family.

More of Last Summer!

As many of you have figured out, I did not complete the blog for last summer's trip. I thought it was about time to catch up since we are already planning this summer and next fall's trips.

Once we left the Hot Springs area, we made a stop at Springhill Park Lock and Dam near Fort Smith, Arkansas.

 Unlike our other campsites, this one was not on a lake so the kids couldn't swim. The most memorable thing about this site was the mosquitoes! We couldn't leave the rv without 'eau de deet' to try to keep from getting bit!
Since there was no place to swim, we visited many of the local playgrounds. This one was in one of the local parks. We also found a few geocaches, but once again, the heat and the mosquitoes kept us from staying out too long.

This playground was in the Corps of Engineer Park.
  Another day we visited Janet Huckabee Nature Center. There were a lot of hands on nature activities and walking trails.
  The temperatures were rising so we found a place to sit and relax for a while.
We walked a few trails, then Chris and DeAnna found the human spider web!

 We had a good time in Fort Smith, but the heat and the mosquitoes were unbearable so we left and continued on our way to Siloam Springs.