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July 1, 2013

Video about Wilderness Lakes

WAY back when we were first thinking about living fulltime in an RV, I found www.gonewiththewynns.com, and began reading about Jason and Nikki’s adventures.  They too had decided to sell all their stuff, move into an RV, and travel the US.  While we were on a trial run in Northern California, we ran into them at Pacifica.  Molly and I got to talk to them about various things, and we continued to follow their adventures online.  Well, we ran into them again last April, while they were here at our “home” park of Wilderness Lakes, in Menifee, CA.  We volunteered, along with our friends the Ewing’s, to be in their photo’s and videos of the campground.  One of the ways they earn money on the road is to produce these videos and reviews for RV Parks.

In their blog post, you’ll see some info about the local town of Temecula.  We’ve discovered it to be a great place to go ourselves, and it always amazes my what kinds of stores and entertainment we find there.  At the bottom of the post, there’s a final picture of all of us.  I don’t know what kind of pose I was going for.  In the video, you can see the Ewing’s, and Molly is in there with Hester, fishing and golfing.

Enjoy!

http://www.gonewiththewynns.com/temecula

Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 David Gardner
February 24, 2013

Carlsbad, NM

So, we left Medina Lake, and headed towards Carlsbad.  We had a planned detour based on a recommendation from some good friends.  They’d told us about the Monahan’s Sand Hills State Park. Since we didn’t plan on going to White Sands, this was going to give us a bit of a taste of the sand dunes.  It turned out to be a great stop.  Based on the timing, and our future plans for snow, we went ahead and purchased one of the saucer sleds they have.  Molly had a blast going down some of the sandy slopes.  Not much fun going up, but I agree with her on that part.

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We then got back on the road, and headed to Carlsbad.  We had a reservation for the Carlsbad KOA, which is about 30 miles or so north of the main town area.  But, IT finally happened to us.  This particular IT, is a tire blow out.  Fortunately, it was one of the rear dually tires, on the outside.  Unfortunately, CoachNet picked the wrong intersection of Derrick and 285.  Seems there is one WAY north of where we were, and they chose that one, even though I said I was almost in Carlsbad.  That mistake cost me 7 hours of sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tire repair guy, when there was a shop, literally, 5 miles away.  Anyway, enough about that.  We got it fixed up, and headed to the KOA.  Diane and Molly had some time on the side of the road, and had also gone ahead to the KOA to let them know we’d be late, and get our check-in stuff.

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We’d planned to spend our one full day in Carlsbad by going to the Caverns in the morning, then up to Roswell for the afternoon.  Since we’d gotten into the park so late, we opted to sleep in a bit, and just go to the Caverns.  Diane was in the bat cave spirit with her hat, and we were all impressed with the size and beauty of the Caverns.

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The people at the Carlsbad KOA were fantastic.  They have a restaurant there, and even deliver to your RV after you order!  We were grateful for their understanding the first night, and overall hospitality.

 

Next stop, Tucson, AZ.

Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 David Gardner
February 21, 2013

San Antonio

After a stay in Livingston to get mail, car inspection, etc., we headed over to San Antonio.  There, we stayed at a couple places.  First, we spent a couple days in town at the Carefree Travelers World RV Resort in San Antonio.  This was a pretty nice, clean park.  They were pretty full, and the spot we got barely fit our RV length.  The location of the park was what we were after, as it was close to the Alamo, and provided a good launch pad to get to the local Sea World, and up to Austin.  Our first day there, we headed into town for the Alamo, and we were all surprised the the size, location, and such.  It’s quite the tourist attraction.  After milling about there for a while, we headed to the river walk sections, and had fun with more crowds and detours around work areas.  Eventually we found a fantastic Mexican restaurant called the Guadalajara Grill, and got some dinner. It had a fun atmosphere, and great Mexican food that hit the spot.

The next day, we went up to Auston.  The main purpose was to visit a work colleague of mine, but we took some time to also visit the capital building of my state of residency. Molly was able to add another stamp in her “State Capital Passport” book.  The capital buildings are all running together, but this one seemed pretty nice, with lot’s of information and historic photo’s on the walls.  We were able to get in to see all the buildings too, since we were there on a Sunday.  For the afternoon and evening, we enjoyed a great visit and meal with a fantastic family there in Austin.  

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While still “in town” in San Antonio, we hit up Sea World.  It was a bit of an off season time for them, but we were still able to see much of the park, and get a good feel for it.  I bet it’s hoping in the Summer, with ski shows and a water park area.  Molly got a caricature done as well. This visit also means that Diane, and Molly have now been to all three of the Sea World locations.  I haven’t been to Orlando, or it would have been for me too.

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Once our “in town” tasks were done, we headed to the famous Texas Hill Country, and stayed at the Thousand Trails park called Medina Lake, in Lakehills, TX.  We were there for a few days, working, and enjoying the quiet of the hills.  We also had LOTS of activity with deer.  We even picked up a big bag of feed corn for them on one trip to the market.

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The lake at Medina Lake is very low.  I read up on it a bit, and it seems to be a normal cycle of drought and flood.  A few more years, and they should be back to a full/too full lake again.  It’s already a nice place in the woods, but the lake would make it that much better.

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Our next stop is Carlsbad, NM.

Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 David Gardner
February 13, 2013

Some recent posts here…

Because of certain filtering that may happen to certain publishing tools, you might have missed some of our recent posts.  Here’s a list with links so that you can easily catch up.

Virginia – Link to Virginia Post

North Carolina – Link to North Carolina Post

Georgia…again – Link to Georgia Post

Newnan – Link to Newnan Post

West Monroe – Link to West Monroe Post

Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 David Gardner
February 13, 2013

Hey Houston…Nice Space Center

On a work trip a few months ago, we held a Roadshow event at the Houston Space Center.  I made it a point then to try and work it out so that we could visit on our way back to California, and we were able to make that happen today.

We got there when the opened at 10am, and were there till after 3:30 in the afternoon.  We got to see all of the exhibits, take the big tram tour, and even see a couple of their demonstration shows.  They even have a moon rock that we got to touch!

On the tram tour I took a few months ago, we got to go see where the astronauts train for missions, such as ISS, the Space Shuttle, and the new Mars missions.  While that was closed today, we did get to go into a new area they just opened yesterday.  Our tour was the third to be able to go in and see the old mock-up test Shuttle that was used for EVERY Space Shuttle mission.  This mock-up allowed them to test all the equipment, from an engineering and functionality standpoint, prior to any launch.

There is also a museum of sorts, or collection of artifacts.  It was odd, in that you really had to look for it to find it, but it held a bunch of information and items from the space programs history.  I think Molly was impressed to hear about Skylab, and to see the real Saturn V rocket in “Rocket Park”.

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Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 David Gardner
February 10, 2013

West Monroe, LA

First stop, Duck Commander / Buck Commander HQ.  We started watching the show several months ago after I caught it on TV.  It is really entertaining, and everyone here enjoys the show.  So, when we saw some friends “check in” there via one of the social media apps, we looked to see where it was, and if we could drop by as well.  Turns out, for our trip from Georgia to Livingston, it only took us about 5 miles out of our way.  That made it a must see in our book! We assumed we were going to swing in on our way out of town, as we’d arrive before they closed Saturday, but we made some good time and got there with 30 minutes of shopping and picture taking in.

The parking lot was quite crowded, but we found a spot for the RV with the car in tow at a neighboring Car Wash.  The girls had a great time, but were unable to spot any of the “stars” of the show.  Still, a fun stop.  And, we got a couple souvenirs.

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Bayou D’Arbonne Camping, provided a nice overnight stop.  For $20, and it was nice and quiet, with good hookups.  Neighbors are a mix of residents, long term campers, and even some in a tent.  Felt sorry for the tent people as it began to pour rain while we left.  The owners of the campground were pleasant to deal with.  We did have to call to reserve, but he was also kind enough to come over when we arrived and get us into the right site, and to make sure the hookups were all ok.  The name just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it?

WestMonroeRV

Next stop, Livingston.

Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 David Gardner
January 7, 2013

Florida…Fort Pierce

After all the fun of New Years, a trip to Clearwater, and visiting cousins from Florida AND Indiana, it was time to move back to the RV, and to visit the cousins in their hometown of Fort Pierce, FL.

We had moved the RV to Fort Pierce so that some work could get done at Diane’s Uncle Ed’s shop.  They did a great job in getting it aligned, oil changes for engine and generator, some new suspension pieces for a level ride, a re-extended tailpipe, brake inspection and adjustment, and some new front tires.

If you find yourself in the Fort Pierce area, and need to have some mechanical work done on your RV, I would HIGHLY recommend you give Ed and the crew a call.  Yes, Diane is related to most of the employee’s, but, they do great work, and they are awesome people.  It’s Hickman’s Brake and Alignment Service.  They do all kinds of mechanical work.  Before the economic downturn, they did a lot of large vehicles, but now, more cars and RV’s, and the occasional big truck.  http://www.hickmansbrakealignment.com/

We stayed at a local RV park, called Road Runner Travel Resort.  They were very nice to deal with, and the park was really nice.  The residents were also very friendly and helpful.  This was even AFTER I took out one of their site marking poles, and crushed the top of a sewer inlet.  I discovered that it’s not a good idea for me to try and drive/park the RV while sick.  I’d started coming down with a fever and the flu earlier that day.  Made for a rough time parking. We still have the scars on the back of the RV, as the pole left several white stripes, and pulled off a plastic part that is now held on by tape.

While we were there, the family had a BIG birthday party for Ed and Gail’s new granddaughter, as well as for Ed.  I sat this one out, so as not to spread the flu, but Diane and Molly had a great time.

Molly, Rhiannon, Annabelle on 1st Birthday

 

Molly and Rhiannon with Annabelle, the birthday girl.

 

Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 David Gardner
January 3, 2013

Florida…Christmas and New Years

We have a timeshare condo (yeah, I know) and one of the places we can use our points is in Orlando.  They have two resorts here.  Based on the points we have, we could stay 2 weeks in a smaller unit, or 1 week in a larger one.  Since Megan was going to be with us till New Years Eve, we opted for the smaller one.  While it is small, it’s a bit larger than the RV (although sometimes, it didn’t feel like it). :)

So, we relocated the RV to Fort Pierce, and set it up for some maintenance at Diane’s Uncle’s shop.  I’ll post more on that later.  While I was there, my sister Chellie and her family were in the area, with her in-laws in Port St. Lucie.  I was able to stop by and see them for a few minutes, which was a surprise for my niece and nephew.

We also were not going to be able to leave Francie in the RV, nor take her with us to the condo, so we had to put her up in a pet hotel for the two weeks.  She wasn’t too happy when we picked her up, but she survived.

While at the condo, we had a side trip to the Tampa area, and went to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  We’ll have a separate post on that as well.  It was a great time, and Diane’s cousins and her daughters got to join all of us visiting with Winter, the dolphin there, from the movie Dolphin Tale.

Christmas was awesome.  We had a small tree, and had brought all the presents with us (LOT’S of trips in the car).  It was great to be all together, and to have Megan with us.  One of the big surprise presents was that Diane had acquired a new SodaStream machine, and several bottles of flavoring. I was truly surprised, and had (and continue to have) fun making soda with it.

Molly had spent quite a bit of time tracking Santa’s location, and was worried about getting to sleep.  She made use of this eye cover to help her out.

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As New Years approached, we said goodbye to Megan, and put her on a plane EARLY on New Years Eve.  She was able to get an early flight so she’d be back in time to participate in some festivities back at home.  It was great to see her.  She’s grown up so much in the past year.

We also had my sister and her family over for New Years Eve.  They had left the in-laws, and were going to head back to Indiana, but first, a visit with us for New Years Eve.  The kids all got to hang out at the pool, we had a family New Years Eve Pizza dinner, and then all rang in the New Year.  The next day, we all had breakfast, and then they made the big trek back up to their home in Indiana.  It was great to see them again.  With the RV, we’ve been able to see them more than just once a year, like it was before.

We continued to stay at the condo till January 4th, then headed over to pick up the RV, and stay there in Fort Pierce for the weekend.

Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 David Gardner
December 30, 2012

Florida…Clearwater Marine Aquarium…Dolphin Tale

Like many, we saw the movie Dolphin Tale, and really enjoyed it.  While in Florida, we wanted to get over and see “Winter”, the star of the movie.  The movie was filmed at her home, in Clearwater, Florida, at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  You can get more info here… http://www.seewinter.com/  They now have both the Aquarium, and a large building that holds some movie props, and lot’s of information about the true story, and filming.

We drove over and met Diane’s cousin Amity, and her two girls, at the Aquarium.  The drive was pretty easy, and Tampa is not far from Orlando.  The view’s in the Tampa area were amazing!  If we’re back in Florida in the future, we’ll have to try and spend some time on the gulf coast.

We started in the Aquarium, and had our pictures taken on the way in.  They asked for us to pose in some strange ways, standing in front of a green background.  So odd.  The pictures turned out pretty cool though.

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Once inside, we got to see Winter, and some of the other animals that were in the movie.  The Aquarium is focused on rescuing animals, and you can see that the popularity of the movie has greatly impacted the number of guests that come there now.  It wasn’t built for so many, but they do a good job of making sure everyone has a good time, and learns a thing or two.

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Everyone waiting for Winter to come out and show off.

We’d arranged for a big multi-room hotel spot for us in the area, so we spent as much time as possible at the Aquarium and at the annex area.  It was a great day with family.

Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 David Gardner
December 16, 2012

Florida…Gatorland

A couple years ago, Molly, Diane, and I were in Florida as part of a work trip.  While there, Diane and Molly got to go to Gatorland, and they loved it.  It may be hockey, or a bit of a tourist trap, but it is still a fun day none the less.  Since Megan and I were here with them, we decided we’d all go this time.

Needless to say, they have a LOT of Gators there at the Gatorland.  The surprising thing was how many birds they had there too.  A few were in cages, or with clipped wings, but the majority were just native birds, hanging out with the gator’s.  It seems the Gators had no interest in the birds.

We toured the grounds, watched them try to get the Gators to jump out of the water for some meat, watched one guy wrestle a Gator, and even bought some turkey dogs to feed the Gators.  A great time was had by all.  If you’re ever in Orlando, just head on down to Gaterville… er, Gatorland.  www.gatorland.com

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We had some fun, and saw some weird things sitting on the Gators…

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Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 David Gardner
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