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(September 24 to December 31, 2008)
This travelog documents our trip back to the east and then up around
Lake Superior. Overnight stops are shown because these travelogs also
serve as a journal for us to look back on in later years.
Tennessee (281 miles)
Just an overnight stop.
September 25 to
October 19: Douglasville, Georgia (140 miles)
I-24; I-75; local roads
per gallon at a Flying J in Resaca
We had heard there was a fuel shortage in the southeast so we weren't
sure what to expect when we arrived at the Flying J in Resaca, Georgia
where we usually fill up. The Flying J website indicated they had fuel
at this station, but it was a critical supply. We were limited to 25
gallons, which I figured would get us to Jill's place with enough to
get to the Flying J in Jackson, Georgia when we headed south to Florida.
Our stop in Douglasville was the usual visit with kids and grandkids
and to take care of doctor and dentist visits.
We were also looking forward to visiting with my high school friend,
Joanne, who had moved to the Atlanta area from Long Island last year.
She and her husband, Rich, had a house built and moved in while we were
touring this year. They invited to dinner at their house and we had a
very nice meal and visit. They have totally assimilated to their new
home and were already involved with friends and the community. It was
great to see them again.
One weekend we drove the car down to the Destin, Florida area where our
daughter, Jill, got married to Chris. It was a small, but nice ceremony
right on the beach attended by family.
October 20 to
October 21: Lake City, Florida (307 miles)
n Pines RV Campground
per gallon at a Flying J in Jackson; $3.389
per gallon at a Flying J in Lake Park
We always try to stop in Lake City as we head into and out of Florida
to visit with Diane's brother Jerry and his wife Jan. Plus, we
enjoy the Oaks n Pines RV Campground.
October 22 to
October 29: Orlando, Florida (155 miles)
I-75; FL 44; US 27; US 192
Lake Magic RV Resort
Another favorite spot is the Encore park
in Orlando (although the mailing address is Clermont). We usually
winter here when we are in Florida. However, in recent years we have
been wintering in Port St. Lucie to be closer to where my mom is living
in an assisted living facility. We several friends who winter at Lake
Magic, but none were there as yet when we were there this time.
Luckily, Gustav was in town and got a site across from where we were
staying. He had been traveling with a couple who were long time close
friends of his. We met Franz and Angelica Rieder who had been traveling
with Gustav in his motorhome. They would be returning to Germany from
Orlando. Gustav and I took out our grills and we had a couple of nice
meals and visits together.
Unfortunately, Gustav had some problems with his refrigerator and his
Honda. The Honda had to be towed to a repair facility that diagnosed
the problem as requiring a new transmission. Ouch. Sadly, that messed
up Gustav's plans to spend time visiting Disney World with his friends.
Diane and I were more than happy to drive them to the parks so they
could experience Disney World. It was a very nice few days meeting new
friends and seeing Gustav again.
October 30 to December
31: Port St. Lucie, Florida (140 miles)
conditions: US 27; FL 60;
Lucie West Blvd; US 1
PSL RV Resort
and Rich's brother's house
Flying J in Fort Pierce, Florida for $3.269
We arrived in Port St. Lucie and set up at the PSL RV Resort until we
could scout out a few storage places where we could store the rig. My
brother Charlie suggested storing the motorhome and spending some time
in his house. That was an offer we couldn't refuse. There were several
storage facilities in the area, but we opted for one close to where my
mom's assisted living facility was located. We actually lucked out and
got a great site. The guy in the office first said he had nothing
available, but then said he could create a site by combining a couple
of small vehicle sites in the back. The facility was all asphalt and
there were small trees that shaded the motorhome after the sun past
overhead in the early afternoon.
Our Dutch Star had never been in storage so this was something new to
us. We had to empty all the tanks, including the fresh water tank. The
we just hoped that everything would work out okay. Being close to where
my mom lived gave us the opportunity to check on the rig at least once
a week. It turned out the rig was in storage for four months and
everything worked fine.
In addition to my brother living in the area, my high school friend
Frank Pesile also still lived in the area. It was great to see him
again and get out to play golf almost every week. He was still singing
at assisted living facilities, including where my mom lives. The folks
love him as he sings favorite songs and jokes with them.
December 16 to December
31: Chandler, Arizona
conditions: via Delta
Diane's sister had been asking us for years to come spend Christmas
with them. They all came to our house back in 1995, and Carol and her
youngest daughter Jenny came again in 1999 just before we sold our
house. So we decided it was time to return the favor. We had a
companion coupon for Delta so we got two tickets for the price of one.
The trip from West Palm Beach through Atlanta to Phoenix was great.
Diane and I love to fly so we don't mind any of the minor
inconveniences associated with flying these days. We had a long enough
wait in Atlanta to avoid any pressure in making a connection and to
relax and do some people watching.
Kevin picked us up at the airport and then we went to get something to
eat before popping into the place Carol was working to say hi. Diane
and Carol are pretty close and they loved seeing each other again.
They surprised us with tickets to a Michael W. Smith concert that was
held at a huge church. It held more people than some small auditoriums
we had been in for concerts. He's a religious/secular singer, I guess.
This was a Christmas concert and he put on a great show and sang
beautifully. It was a nice evening and we appreciated the treat.
We did not rent a car on this trip because they were running more than
$400 per week due to the holiday season. Kevin and Carol offered their
cars, but I don't like driving other folks' cars. Not because I'm not a
good driver, but because I didn't want some idiot involving me in
his/her stupidity and getting into an accident. I would feel very badly
if that happened. But the lack of a car didn't turn out to be a big
problem. Carol worked close to the mall where the movie theater was
located so we tried to go to movies when she could drop us off or pick
us up. Kevin would pick up the slack on the drop off or return. We were
there for 16 days so we did get to see several movies and read several
One of the highlights of the trip was watching their traditional baking
day. A few days before Christmas, Carol and her two daughters, Justine
and Jenny, baked for 14 hours. Carol did the entire 14 hours and the
girls helped until they had to go to work their part time jobs. Diane
pitched in where she could and I just sampled everything as the goodies
came out of the oven. They baked so many different types of cookies.
The smells and tastes filled the senses. I hadn't seen so many goodies
since the time my maternal grandmother would bake lots of different
cookies and cakes from her Slavish heritage.
Kevin has a lot of family in the Phoenix area. They hosted the
Christmas Eve dinner with everyone bringing over a dish. We had met
most of the folks before so we were comfortable in the setting. Carol
told us they used to exchange lots of gifts with each other until the
family got so big that it got very expensive to do that. So a couple of
years ago they started giving everyone a number. Then everyone would
pick a number and buy a gift for just that person. No one would know
who was buying for whom until Christmas Eve. They started with one
person giving a gift to their designee. Then that person would give
his/her gift and so on. It was fun to watch and a good way for a large
family to handle the gift giving.
Our stay was drawing to a close with New Years Eve and Day left. We had
a nice New Years Eve dinner at Jay's house, a close friend of Carol and
Kevin. New Years Day was mostly spent watching bowl games. And then it
was time to head home on January 2. We couldn't get a reasonable flight
home out of Phoenix so we had to book our of Tucson. We had planned to
rent a car to drive down there, but Carol and Kevin offered to drive to
extend our time together. It was sad saying good-bye at the airport.
This was the first time that Diane and I hadn't spent Christmas with at
least some of our kids and grandkids, so we weren't sure how we would
feel over the holidays. It turned out that we had a wonderful time
thanks to the kindness, generosity, and love we always feel when we
visit with Carol, Kevin, Justine, Jenny, and Jeff.
That wraps up our 2008. We'll be wintering in Port St. Lucie and then
heading north to Atlanta to visit family and friends and take care of
medical visits. Due to the severe financial crisis and recession that
hit the world in late 2008, our travel plans for 2009 are to stay in
the east and try to limit our travel to 5,000 miles or less on the
motorhome. We will probably go to the Hudson Valley in New York to
visit family and friends and then slowly head south and tour Virginian
and the Carolinas.
Until next time, safe
Copyright © 2009,
Roaming America with Rich &
Diane Emond -
All Rights Reserved