We've had an interesting past few weeks. First it was back to Hendersonville, NC for my mother's memorial service on the 24th of January. We left Ft Lauderdale and stopped by Michele and Gwen's place in Alpharetta, GA where we spent the night and left the motorhome. We also got to meet our beautiful great grandson while we were there! Then we drove to Hendersonville and checked in to the Hampton Inn, where most of the family was staying for the weekend.
The service was wonderful- very moving, and provided closure for us all. Mom had it planned as far as what hymns were sung and what scripture was read, but I was touched most by the piano solo of Clair de Lune, which Mom used to play frequently when we were young, and by what Bob and Betsy said. I chose not to speakat the service, fearing it would be too painful. Bob and Betsy's comments brought back many old memories that I had tucked far away. It was good to be reminded of all that Mom had done during her lifetime. I had been more focused on how she was the last couple years and not on the past. She was truly an extraordinary person!
We enjoyed spending time with the extended family, catching up on what's been happening in their lives, including meeting our new great nephew, Lincoln!
The following Monday we drove back to Alpharetta. Tuesday afternoon we cranked up the Molly Bee and headed for Gulf Shores, Alabama. We decided to stop for the night outside Montgomery at a Cracker Barrel. While driving there, on a narrow bridge, after dark, I was driving too close to the right edge of the road, and hit a bridge abutment, scraping down the entire passenger side of the rig. Kate had been warning me about being too close on the passenger side, and I was working on staying closer to the left hand lane markers, but I slipped up. When we got to Cracker Barrel, we couldn't open the door to get out! I had to call the restaurant and have the manager come out to see what the damage was to the door. He brought out a hammer and piece of wood to bend the lower door trim down so we could get out. Wow, the damage was terrible! All the storage doors are wrecked, The fiberglass front end, fender wells, and rear bumper area all have to be repaired. We drove on to Lake Osprey RV Country Club the next day. We had reservations for a week for a special price of $99. We were very lucky to find an RV repair and body shop nearby. They have very good reviews from rv'ers we've spoken with. They also have a campground within their facility so we can stay there while repairs are being made. He should have the estimate completed tomorrow (Wednesday), so we'll know what to look forward to. The good news is we don't have anywhere else we need to be so we have all the time we need. The bad news is we don't know how our insurance company is going to react to our second claim in six months. We just have to wait and see...
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It's Sunday morning, about 75 degrees and overcast. It's quiet and comfortable and the coffee tastes great!
Rebecca has been with us for the weekend again. Yesterday, she had her weekly session with the musical theater group, taught by "Miss Dolly," a wonderful, very energetic lady in her early eighties, who conducts classes at the Delray Beach Playhouse. Rebecca is going to audition for admission to Bach, a public school focusing on the performing arts. Students must pass the audition, then are chosen through a lottery to be accepted. Miss Dolly has offered to spend extra time with Rebecca to prepare her for the auditions.
We took Becca to her class, and had several hours to kill until she was finished, so we took a sight-seeing drive down Florida A1A, along the coast. The oceanfront mansions in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale will take your breath away! And the yachts along the inland waterway are just amazing! It makes me wonder how so many people can have so much money!
We stopped for lunch in Ft. Lauderdale, at a place called The H2O Cafe. It was very good! We both had Cuban sandwiches, because what else would you have this close to Miami?
As I mentioned earlier, Kozy Kamper RV Park is an interesting place. I will take some pictures of some of the "permanent" residents' sites so you can get a feel for the place. Many of the sites are well kept, but some...
On our trip here in August we stayed at County parks- very roomy and well kept, but not available in the peak season without reservations very much in advance. Kate and I figured out where we will move on to next. After the memorial service for my Mom on January 24th, we will spend a day with Michele and Gwen in Alpharetta, GA., and then head on down to the gulf coast of Alabama. We found an RV resort that, in an effort to attract new clients, is offering a week's stay for $99. I'm sure we will be "offered" the opportunity to hear about what a good deal they have on permanent sites, but we will point out that we are the "sauntering" Sampsons, and don't plan on settling down anywhere just yet.
Rebecca stayed with us for a week before school started again. She'll spend more time with us during the remaining time we're here in FL. We are meeting some of her friends and they are typical 11 year olds, just like her. Having raised two boys, it cracks me up to watch her grow up. So different than boys. Fortunately Rebecca gave me instructions on how to apply make-up. I have been doing it incorrectly for over 50 years.
The park we are staying in leaves a lot to be desired. 70% of the sites are permanent, meaning that people live here. And some of the residents do not take care of their RVs or sites. Hopefully you guys are getting the gist of this.
Both of us are very badly bruised because we are banging into things while we are getting used to the layout of the rv. We're both black and blue. :)
Our 3 pets are loving this RV life, except when we drive too many hours. They all enjoy that we are so close together in the small amount of space.
To be honest, it is taking me a while to get used to the space. It is very difficult to keep the RV looking neat, because it gets cluttered, And it is bugging me. But every full-timer says that it takes time to get comfortable. This too shall come to pass, as my dad used to say.
However, it takes no time to clean the RV. This, of course, suits me just fine. Do not mind cleaning anymore.
It has been unseasonably hot for this time of year.....cooling down tomorrow. It makes me feel sorry for the folks that are struggling with the cold and snow in other parts of the country. My son, Jeff, told me that it hurts to be outside where he lives in western NY. Starting to think about where we will travel to next, and that is exciting. Hopefully our tendency to fly by the seat of our pants lifestyle will not get us in trouble since we do not plan in advance and make reservations. Closing for now.....talk with you soon. Hoping that the new year is going well for you. Thankfully it is for us.
Okay, we've actually been sauntering since Saturday, December 27, and it's taken this long to recover from the ordeal of breaking ties with a physical address. At 1:00 PM that Saturday, we had the house emptied, locked up, and the Molly B. (our rig) loaded up and ready to go. As I closed the door and prepared to drive away, I noticed that the steps did not retract. They had worked just fine earlier that morning, but now they were stuck in the extended position. I checked fuses- all good. So off to Camping World we go to see if they can fix the problem. The service manager discovered that the magnet that activates the microswitch for the door was missing. I guess it was broken off while we were loading the motorhome. He got another magnet and sure enough the steps extended and retracted as they should. But wait... there's more! Examining the drive motor for the steps, we discovered that the mounting bracket was broken, and the motor was not securely fixed to the frame. Sure enough, after three or four more activations of the step switch, the whole motor assembly fell off, dangling only by its wiring harness. I had visions of being stuck at Camping World for days waiting for parts to come in. We had to be in Boca Raton by the next evening to pick up our granddaughter, Rebecca, as we were to be taking care of her for the next week while her dad worked. Camping World came through, though. The tech was able to extract the broken bolt, replace it and remount the motor. We were on our way after a mere two-hour delay (and a $197 repair bill). We drove for about six hours that evening, stopping for the night at a Walmart in Madison, GA. We had decided to take the western route down US 75, hoping it would be less harrowing than the madness we knew would exist on US 95. The next morning at about 6:00, I punched Boca Raton into the GPS and off we went. Unfortunately, I was focused on the trees, rather than the forest, The route chosen by Rand McNally was taking us diagonally across Georgia to 95, adding quite a few miles on secondary roads to our trip. Kate had a gut feeling that something wasn't right, but I just kept plugging on. It's a guy thing... When we both realized our situation, it was obvious that we needed to pick up our pace if we were to reach Boca at a reasonable hour. Our plan to drive at 55 mph to optimize fuel mileage had to go. Molly B. sped up to about 70 to 75 mph for the remainder of the trip, dropping our mileage from 11 mpg to about 9.5 mpg. We got to Boca around 6:00 PM - 12 hours on the road at 70 plus mph on 95! Rather than going the campground that night in the dark, we spent the night parked at a Cracker Barrel, a great place to stay since breakfast is so conveniently located! The next morning we arrived at the Kozy Kamper RV Park. Because we were a few days later than expected, we had to park in an overflow site the first night, but now are in our "permanent" site for the month of January! Okay, that's enough for today. Happy New Year to all!! To be continued...