Sunday, February 21, 2010

Home at last! We arrived home at 7:30 p.m. last night after driving 760 km. It took an hour to get across the border just due to the volume of traffic. We were very happy to be back in Canada. We are both SO Canadian, it is funny! As soon as we crossed the border, we got out our boxed set of 4 CD's/88 songs by Gordon Lightfoot, and listened to that all the way home! Weather here is 23 F, and we have maybe a foot of snow. Roads are clear though. Kit kats are glad to be home, and were busy examining every square inch of the place last night! Today, they are both sound asleep, only waking long enough to eat breakfast. Paul too got up long enough for coffee and cookies, then slept all morning. I was able to catch up on a week's worth of Coronation Street this morning! Photos are: Gord Lightfoot CD's, Paul, Ambassador Bridge, and Escarpment at Milton.
The trip was wonderful, full of adventure and good times. It has been a dream of mine for many years to drive to Florida and stay for a month. I also wanted to re-visit the Magic Kingdom and Don's apartment, Daytona Beach and Flagler Beach, and to visit with the Hill family. And to make a side-trip to Destin to visit Grace and Earl. And I had for many years wanted to camp at Disney's Fort Wilderness. I'd also wanted to try the teeny tiny RV style of camping and travel. And of course, we had been planning to have this trip with Rob and Emily, celebrating his 25th birthday and Master's degree, for several years. So with the exception of getting a cold, it was all good! Thanks to everyone for their support, encouragement and advice, especially George. Now we need to plan the next adventure!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Piqua, Ohio (north of Dayton, south of Toledo). La Quinta Inn. Temperature today is about 30 F, and there is about a foot of snow on the ground in Ohio. We started seeing snow in Tennessee, then a bit more in Kentucky, and we are definitely in it by Ohio. We drove 600 km again today. We saw some funny names as we drove along: Stinking Creek Road in Tennessee, Big Bone Lick National Park in Tennessee, and finally, as we were stuck in the most horrific traffic jam in Dayton, Ohio, the name of the next exit was (no joke) Needmore Road! Well, we were in hysterics most of the day over these names, they just kept getting better and better. Who names a park Big Bone Lick? Paul thought maybe that's the way the locals say "lake", ha ha ha. We expect to cross the border and get back home tomorrow. Kit kats will be delighted! I will be glad to cough up a lung at home instead of away from home. It has been quite an adventure, we have had lots of fun! Pictures are: Ice in Tennessee, Snow on mountains in Tennessee, Stinking Creek Rd. sign, Abby ready to drive the motorhome!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sweetwater, Tennessee (north of Chattanooga). Magnuson Hotel. Temperature today was about 50-ish, going below freezing tonight. Sunny day, nice for driving. We drove over 600 Km today. Unremarkable day except for Bandit trying to go walkabout again tonight from the hotel! Took 10 years off Paul's life! This is the second time our little guy has tried this - runs out the door and runs around, scared witless! I finally got him back in the room by holding Abby in my arms, room door open, shaking the cookie bag - then he knew where to run to. Not sure who was scared more, us or him! The place we are staying offers free hot buffet dinner as well as free hot buffet breakfast, it is the same chain that we stayed in last night, they are really quite good. I think the kit kats are getting a little road-weary, and will be glad to be home. Photos are: Bandit lying on the bed as we drive up I75, and Bandit looking cute as a button right after he was on the lam in Sweetwater!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valdosta, Georgia. Best Western/Magnuson Hotel. Weather was mid-50's today, and going to freezing tonight! We walked Daytona Beach this morning and saw vehicles driving on the hard packed sand. The sunrise was fabulous! We then went to the Daytona Speedway this morning, then made our way up the coastal highway through Ormond Beach, Flagler Beach, St. Augustine. It was a beautiful drive, very scenic and provided some time for quiet reflection on the journey. We then made our way west to catch I75 to start heading north, and arrived in Valdosta, Georgia, around dinner time. Apart from my cold, it was a lovely day that we both enjoyed very much. It's nice to go away, but I am looking forward to getting back home now. Photos are: Flagler Beach Restaurant, me by the traffic sign on Daytona Beach, Daytona Beach pier, driving up the coastal highway, Daytona Beach sunrise.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Daytona Beach, Florida. La Qunita Inn on the beach. Last night was our last opportunity to watch the Disney fireworks from our campsite - they are fantastic, especially viewed through the trees! Today, the temperature was about 65 F and it was sunny. We left Disney's Fort Wilderness to take the motorhome back to Camping World because last week's repair did not work. We arrived at about 9:45 a.m. for our 10:30 appointment. They put the RV in the bay about 11:15 or so, and finally about 2 p.m. they did a 20 minute repair (with Paul there making them do it), and we finally left about 2:45 p.m. Their service is terrible! The cats were in their travel crates in the customer waiting room, they were as good as gold. They did not like the dog that was there, but were fine when he left. We decided to make our way north and east and are now at Daytona Beach (now that the Daytona 500 is over and the crowds have lessened). We are hotelling since my cough and cold kept us all up all night, and I don't want it to get any worse. We will decide tomorrow what to do next. Paul wants to go to Daytona Speedway, so we'll likely stay another day. Life is good except for my cold. Photos above are: Daytona Beach at sunset, Daytona Beach pier at sunset, Welcome to Daytona Beach sign. Video below is Daytona Beach at sunset - click on the arrow and wait a minute for it to load to view the 16 second video.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Kissimmee, Florida. Yesterday's temperature in the afternoon was about 70 F finally! And today it was the same. Too bad the weather was so cold when Rob and Emily were here. Rob & Emily got back to Toronto safely, and their cat Phineas was very happy to see them! Unfortunately Rob had a bit of a cold (so do I) and now has airplane ears (all mucked up). Today Paul and I went back to Downtown Disney using the free buses, and shopped till we dropped! We lunched at the Earl of Sandwich again, and are going to BBQ steak tonight. The motorhome repair that we had done last week did not work, and we have to take the vehicle back to Camping World tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. (the new valve they installed is leaking, plus there are two NEW leaks that were not there before). It should be an adventure getting the motorhome serviced while we have the cats with us! (last week the cats were safely ensconced at the rental house). Nights are pretty cold, although our little furnace kept us snug as a bug last night. I am thinking I would like to see a few more things in Florida, then start heading back to Canada - we have been gone 3 weeks now. Photos are: Bandit making a bridge between two seats to get to the food, hot air balloon at Downtown Disney, Campsite 1633 at Ft. Wilderness, thermometer on Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Kissimmee, Florida. Happy Valentine's Day! Temperature this morning is about 32F, the same as in Toronto! We just returned from taking Rob and Emily to the airport, and are tidying up before we check in at Disney's Ft. Wilderness Campground. The holiday with Rob and Emily was a rare treat, we had a great time and hope to be able to do it again! They are both amazing kids, and we always have fun with them! We are scheduled to be at Ft. Wilderness for Sunday night and Monday night, and will decide then whether to drive further south, or start the drive back to Canada. It's fun to go away, but it's good to go home too. Not sure if we will have internet access at Ft. Wilderness, so do not be alarmed if there are no new updates for a few days.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Kissimmee, Florida. Temperature this morning was very cold, about 30 F, and it was windy. By late afternoon it reached about 60 F in the sun. We decided to have one last visit to the Magic Kingdom today, but boy, was it ever COLD! And BUSY! It is a long weekend here, President's Day, and the park was very crowded, lots of kids! We took the ferry across the lake to the park entrance, then showed Rob and Emily Don's stone in the Walk Around the World, then went into the park. We took the train around the park, and Rob and Emily went on the Tea Cup ride again. Then we all went on the Haunted Mansion ride again. Rob and Emily had funnel cakes, and we lunched at Columbia Harbour House because they could do gluten-free food for me. It was very busy too. All the rides had very long waits, so we shopped Main Street and saw the daytime parade. We came home for dinner, intending to return to the Magic Kingdom for the night-time Spectro Magic parade, but Rob and Emily went swimming in the heated pool, and we decided to catch up on the laundry and pack up for tomorrow's departure. We watched TV after dinner to relax. Pictures are: Rob at Don's stone, Crystal Castle at Arribas for $37,500, Rob & Emily on the Tea Cup ride.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Kissimmee, Florida. Temperature today reached a high of about 50 F, and it was raining cats and dogs! In the morning, Paul & Rob accompanied me to Lake Mary to where Don used to live. The complex is now a different name, but oddly the pass code to open the gates has not changed. We walked around a bit, over to the pool and to the dock where Paul used to fish, but were not there long. I am very thankful to Paul and Rob for coming with me, they are absolutely the best! After lunch, Rob and Emily went shopping at the mall and Downtown Disney. Paul had a bit of a nap while I made reservations to camp Sunday and Monday at Disney's Fort Wilderness again. Then we went to Celebration (the Disney residential community) where I was happy to find that the "Soft as a Grape" store is still there, so I was able to buy another hat from them. Then Paul & I went to the grocery store, came home and I made dinner for us. Rob & Emily decided to order from Outback again (because they can't get it in Canada anymore). Weather permitting, we plan to go to the Magic Kingdom again tomorrow. Photos are: "Soft as a Grape" in Celebration, cats relaxing looking out on the pool, Celebration Market Street.

Kissimmee, Florida. Temperature Thursday was cold again, slightly warmer than Wednesday. We were going to go back to the Magic Kingdom, then decided against it in favour of resting and relaxing. Paul went to get an oil change on the RV while the rest of us went back to bed! After lunch, Rob & Emily went to Downtown Disney to shop, Paul slept, and I relaxed. We had takeout from the Outback for dinner (except me of course), which everyone enjoyed. I looked forward to watching the first show of the new Survivor in the evening. Weather prediction for Friday is cold and rainy. Paul & I are thinking we might start our journey back to Canada on Sunday since there is just no warm weather to be had here. Photos taken by Emily are from the Lion King show that we saw the other day at the Animal Kingdom.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Kissimmee, Florida. Disney's Animal Kingdom today! Very cold temperatures, about 40F when we got up. then only about 50 or 55 F at the highest. I wore a T-shirt, plus a hoodie, plus my winter coat to the Animal Kingdom, it was THAT cold! When we got home, Jim, Michelle and Alicia Hill came to visit and have dinner. It was great to see them, we had a wonderful visit and look forward to seeing them again, maybe in Canada next time! Photos: Rob & Emily at the Tree of Life, the Parker and Hill families, Louise & the Tree of Life, Paul, Lou & Rob at the Animal Kingdom, Animal Kingdom entrance.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Kissimmee, Florida. We had planned to go to the Animal Kingdom today, but the weather forecast was for rain & thunderstorms, so we decided to wait till tomorrow for that. Instead, we took the RV to Camping World for maintenance, and went to an outlet mall for a few hours. We picked up the RV when it was ready, then relaxed for a bit. Paul & I heated up leftovers for dinner, while Rob and Emily decided to go to the Outback for dinner. We plan to have dinner with Jim, Michelle and Alicia Hill tomorrow, so are looking forward to that. There is no rain in tomorrow's forecast. Temperature was about 70 F today.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom! Mouse House! Temperature today was about 65 - 70 F, but chilly at times in the shade. We finally made it to the Magic Kingdom, and had a great time! We ran immediately to the Haunted Mansion, and went through it twice as is customary. Next was Pirates of the Caribbean. We grabbed a quick lunch, then we went to the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, and on to the the Mad Hatter Tea Party Tea Cup ride. We saw the Carousel of Progress, rode the People Mover, then used the train to make our way back to the main entrance. We came home for about an hour and a half to change and decompress, grab a bite, then went back to the park for the Spectromagic night-time parade. We saw the fireworks as we were leaving, then came home, had a swim and a snack. Great day for everybody! Photos are: Spectromagic night-time parade (2), Rob & Emily as Pirates, Rob & Emily on Tea Cup Ride, Paul and the Queen of Hearts, Cinderella's Castle.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Kissimmee, Florida. Sunny day, temperature about 60F, but chillier at times in the wind. We went to the Disney Character Outlet Store before lunch. After lunch Rob & Emily went swimming while I chatted online with George and my friend Grace. Then we went to Downtown Disney, took a short boat ride from the West side to the Marketplace, where we shopped for a bit. We came home and cooked dinner, and are relaxing watching the superbowl and making phone calls. I spoke to Jim Hill this morning and plan to call him this evening to make plans to get together. I am really looking forward to that. Tomorrow we plan to go to the Magic Kingdom (Mouse House!) Pictures are: Rob & Emily with mouse ears, Rob in front of the Legos (Soviet Union) at Downtown Disney, Rob & Emily at Downtown Disney.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Kissimmee, Florida. Temperature today was about 65 - 70 F, nice and sunny but breezy. We picked up Rob and Emily at the airport, they are understandably very tired as they had to be at the airport so early to catch their flight. We lunched, then it was siesta time for the weary travellers (and Paul & I too, and the kit kats!). Dinner was BBQ pork chops, baked potato and salad, yum yum! We are all tired, so relaxing on the couch, getting caught up, just enjoying ourselves as we plan for the upcoming days. Kit kats are settling in nicely to their new digs. Photos are: family room, Rob & Emily in pool, pool, living room, front of house, kitchen.