Sunset was at 5:40 pm. Last night’s sunset was a bit of a bummer as the clouds were so thick. Today was much nicer (although more humid!), so we parked ourselves on the beach about 5:30 pm to watch the sunset. I took more than 50 pictures, but a few are worth enough to put into a photo gallery:
We’re settled in at the Siesta Bay RV Park in Fort Myers, Florida just a couple of miles from the causeway to Sanibel and Captiva Islands. We arrived Friday afternoon, picked up a rental car, and got checked in. We did some shopping on Saturday and some wandering around in the car on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. We did go down to the beach for a little while and sat on the sand.
The water is actually quite chilly. Neither of us will be spending any time in the ocean any deeper than up to our ankles! The weather is very nice here. Today the high was about 81º with 63% humidity. I have been sweating! Definitely not used to this amount of humidity. I’m sure it won’t take too long to acclimate, though.
We went to Church at the Fort Myers Ward this morning and attended the full block. This was our eighth Sunday on the Roland and Nina Great American Road Trip and the most diverse Ward that we’ve attended. They had two speakers, a musical number by the Primary, and one by the Relief Society as their Christmas program. We’ll find a different Ward next Sunday to keep up the tradition of being somewhere new every Sunday.
After Church and lunch we drove down through the Fort Myers beaches and stopped at sunset on the beach to see what, if any, sunset might be visible. The clouds were heavy and thus we had a very dull and dark sunset. However, it was quite delightful to sit on the beach as it got dark. Nina did find a few seashells!
We left Ninety Six, South Carolina this morning headed south as Nina’s sister and her husband left heading north. I think we’re going in the better direction! We drove straight south on non-Interstate roads past, as Nina says, “… a billion pine trees!” Along with passing the worlds largest wood pulp factory, a very impressive sight from the highway in Jessup, Georgia. The weather is a delightful (at least to us northerners) 60º here in Jacksonville and will be about 5º higher in Ft. Myers when we get there tomorrow afternoon.
We’ll be staying in Ft. Myers for about ten days. We haven’t settled on where we’ll go after that, but it’ll be somewhere here in the Florida area. We’ve got a car reserved, which will be important as the map for the RV park in Ft. Myers looks to be wall-to-wall RV’s. We’ll want to be somewhere else quite often.
Marsha and Billy have a nice home on a cove on the Greenwood Reservoir. Every day except one was clear and sunny while we were there, as evidenced by the previous post. So, one picture of a cloudy day on the reservoir is warranted, for sure. It’d be nice to have a place on a large reservoir like this one, but perhaps a bit further south where the lake would be useable for more of the year.
We had a very nice time in South Carolina. I was able to get some repair work done on the motor home, the laundry got done, we got the next hepatitis B shot in the three-shot series, my shirts were run through a shirt laundry … and we’ve left behind a pair of pants.
I took my shirts and a pair of pants that needed extra attention to the laundry where they had assured me everything would be ready by the next afternoon. While Nina and I (being chauffeured by Nina’s sister) went to Clinton, SC to get the hepatitis B shot, Billy stopped by to pick up the laundry. The shirts were done … actually quite nicely done … but the pants were no where to be found. They eventually found them at a different facility and not finished. So, we’ll pick it up when we come back in January on our way to to the airport and the trip to Mumbai.
Getting the Hepatitis B shot was also an adventure in bureaucracy (as well as being somewhat expensive). State health agencies are one place where immunizations are readily available. I was able to make an appointment for Wednesday afternoon to get the shot at the Laurens County Health Department (Greenwood didn’t have any appointment times available). Nina’s appointment was for 2:45pm and mine was at 3:00pm. The whole process took over ninety minutes. I’ve never seen so much paperwork in my life for something as simple as an immunization. Further, the computer systems were very slow and at one point completely lost all of the information. The woman helping us was clearly frustrated but was also very cordial and pleasant with us. I was very impressed with her composure while working through something that must be a constant problem with the computer system.
With all that, two of the three shots are finished. The last one is due in April after we get to Hawaii. Hopefully it won’t be as complicated as this one was!
Finally, on Tuesday evening we went to the Greenwood Choral Christmas concert. This all-volunteer choir put on a delightful ninety-minute performance that spanned the spectrum from chants to madrigals to modern classical compositions. We came away infused with the Christmas Spirit! Merry Christmas!
We’ve been here at Nina’s sister’s place for several days … it’s sometimes hard to count time! We left Daryl’s on Wednesday, December 10th, stopped in New Castle, Deleware to get a new 2meter antenna for my ham radio (which lasted not quite two days … see below), and drove to Bracey, Virginia where we stopped for the night at a campground on Lake Gaston. That was a very nice campground and looked like it would be a lot of fun to visit on a vacation.
The next day we drove the rest of the way to Ninety-six, South Carolina and parked our RV in Nina’s sister’s driveway. They have a nice home on one of Lake Greenwood’s inlets. We’ve been here a couple of times before and always enjoy our visits with Marsha and Billy. They are both retired and manage to stay quite busy. The weather is delightful … 60º days and low 40º nights.
The arrival was a bit eventful, however. I didn’t check the address exactly and we drove down the wrong driveway. The home owner had a garden with a fence covered with netting with a wire cable going across the driveway up into a tree on the opposite side to hold up the fencing. The ham radio antenna snagged on the cable, pulled it down the tree (and the antenna snapped off in the process). When the cable went across the top of the motor home, it literally sawed the refrigerator vent off the roof. That then necessitated me climbing up on the roof to guide the cable back across the motor home as Nina backed it out of the driveway. By that time, Billy had run over on foot to guide us back to the right driveway.
A local RV shop (Jody’s RV) in Greenwood had the necessary part. Yesterday I spent the afternoon on the roof replacing the vent and patching up other places where the roof is leaking. The roof is 15 years old and probably needs to be replaced, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
We went to Church today at the Greenville Ward for a very nice Sacrament Meeting. The Ward is very friendly and we felt very welcome for the time we were there. Tomorrow we’ll drive to Ashville to visit the Biltmore House which has been beautifully decorated for the holidays followed by a visit to a world-class gingerbread house competition / display. It’s feeling rather festive!
Life is very comfortable!
And, of course, the hack happened just before the backup on Saturday morning which was the combined daily / weekly / monthly backup. The site should be back in working order once again. All the passwords changed, once again. And, this time, I’ve made all the program files un-writeable, which means that any upgrades takes a LOT of work. I’ve no idea how the hack is happening, but maybe the site is a little better protected.
We’re back in Pennsylvania … Downingtown, Pennsylvania to be precise. Our son Daryl, his wife Laura, and their daughter and our granddaughter Lilly are the next stop on our Grand American Tour. We arrived here late Thursday evening, December 4, 2014 (Happy Birthday, Jim (December 4) and Happy Birthday, Laura (December 3)) after an eight-hour drive from Pickerington, Ohio.
We had a very nice visit with Jim and family in Union, Kentucky. It was a great place to spend Thanksgiving, get our laundry done, do some shopping, and do a whole lot of visiting and talking. Jim plays a binary game of Scrabble. He thoroughly trounced everyone in the first game and then came in last (by a lot) on the second game. He serves on the High Council in his Stake and is assigned to a small branch south of Union. I went with him to the meetings at the Branch on Sunday morning and then we went to his home Ward on Sunday afternoon … except that Jim had to take his son Steven to the emergency room where Steven was completely mis-diagnosed as having a canker sore in his upper lip rather than what really was a raging infection caused by getting “stabbed” by the dental hygienist while getting his teeth cleaned earlier in the week. That was the only excitement for the week…. but was more than enough.
On Monday, December 1st, we left Union and meandered along southern Ohio. We drove down along the Ohio River then up to some Indian mound locations (hence the picture at the top of the page). While driving along we came across a very unusual driveway … at least unusual for us. It turns out there were a number of places along this river with very similar driveways! Why go to the expense of a bridge??
We spent the night in a nice little campground near Frankfort, Ohio. They have a few sites open year around. They are very nice people, run a great operation, and I highly recommend them. HOWEVER, be careful when using a GPS to get there! Their website says:
For those of you with GPS please note, Hwy 28 to South Musselman will lead to a dead end road. The bridge that connects North Musselman and South Musselman has been out for 30 years but the maps have not been updated to reflect that change. County Road 550 is the only road to cross North Musselman Station Road.
Of course, I didn’t read the directions … just entered the address into our TomTom GPS unit (known for getting us almost all the way there). Nina was driving and as we went down, down, down on a very sketchy road, we came to a “Road Closed Ahead” sign. There was a small area where we could turn around. When we got back up out of the valley and had cell phone signal again, Google gave us much better directions.
As an aside, the GPS manufacturers such as Magellan, Garmin, TomTom, etc., need to take a page from Google’s book. Our TomTom first asks for the state, then the city, then the road, and finally, the number. It doesn’t let us enter things like “North Musselman Station Road”, only “Musselman Station Road”. Directions like north, east, south, and west can’t be entered for the street name. Google, on the other hand, has you enter the entire address at one time: “2466 N. Musselman Station Road, Frankfort Ohio” and then parses the address into the correct elements. That’s a Much Nicer User Experience!
On Tuesday we stopped at a couple more Indian mound locations including the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Chillicothe, Ohio. That was a fascinating visit. We now have books and info to learn more.
We arrived at Nina’s brother Ralph’s home about dark on Tuesday to a delicious lasagne dinner. We parked the motor home in their driveway and spent two nights and Wednesday with them. We went to a huge antique mall where, after two hours, I’d only been through maybe half of the store and then went to the North Market. During the summer this is apparently a huge farmers market. During the winter a number of vendors are doing business indoors. I bought some very nice chocolate from a Belgian chocolatier. I now wish I had bought twice as much!
The weather has been quite cooperative for December. It’s been cold … but we’ve avoided the snow (for the most part) and have enjoyed a few sunny days. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is not a fun road to drive even in the best of weather. I’m very thankful for the great weather we’ve enjoyed.
Life is very good!
Meanwhile, more pictures. Here are some of the covered bridges in Ashtabula County we visited:
We arrived in Union, Kentucky late yesterday afternoon. We left North Branford Tuesday morning and drove through New York, New Jersey, and into Pennsylvania before stopping for the night in Washington, PA, south of Pittsburgh. We stayed at a nice KOA campground where full hookups were available. While it was cold, there was no precipitation during the night. The campground was fairly quiet, just freeway noise from I-79.
We were on our way by 9 am and arrived at Jim’s house right at 4 pm. We drove through serious snow for the first hour or so. The rest of the trip was very uneventful.
We’ve had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, played some games, enjoyed a fire in the fireplace, and getting ready for bed.
Life is good!
We bought this house when we returned to the United States in 1976 from our assignment in Germany. The house was almost finished when we bought it, so we stayed in an Howard Johnson motel for a few weeks while waiting for the occupancy permit to be issued. We sold the house in 1989 when we moved to Pleasant View, Utah.
The people who bought the house in 1989 have lived there since and the woman is now a widow. The trees and foliage have just about consumed the house. The driveway is like it was … with the bend in the driveway just as bad as it always was. This is the house where our kids all grew up.
We went out to eat twice with Pam and Ed. This one was at the Red Robin restaurant in Willougby, Ohio for lunch. The snow had started and by evening we had plenty of snow to contend with on the drive home.
Ed and his buddies get together each Tuesday evening to practice for a couple of hours. Nina, Pam, and I had spent the day visiting the covered bridges in Ashtabula County and got back to Pam’s house just in time for the boys to start practicing. The next two and a half hours were just absolutely delightful. Ed has an amazing talent!
We lived about 13 years in Chardon and the downtown area was an important part of Chardon life. In the 1830’s, Kirtland was part of Geauga County where Chardon was the county seat. As a result, Joseph Smith went often (particularly in 1838 and 1839) to Chardon for various court appearances. The Ohio Legislature created a new county called Lake County in 1840 to separate the Mormons from the rest of northeastern Ohio. By that time, the Mormons had left the area for Missouri and Illinois.
The Geauga County Courthouse sits on the eastern side of the central park in Chardon.
The gazebo on the green is a favorite spot for weddings and many other community events. We would come up to the green in the summer for band concerts in the gazebo. Ed and his band plays occasionally in the gazebo or elsewhere on the green during the summer.
About 4″ of snow had fallen when we drove around the square taking pictures. By the next morning close to a foot of snow was on the ground. Chardon gets a lot of snow, particularly lake effect snow from Lake Erie.
The Park Auditorium and School was an elementary school and the only school auditorium when we lived in Chardon. Since then it looks like a nice auditorium has been built at the high school. All of our children performed in plays, musicals, recitals, and other events in this auditorium.
James, Heather, and Dawnmarie all graduated from Chardon High School. We moved to Pleasant View, Utah when Trevor was a senior. He attended all but his final semester in Chardon but graduated from Weber High in Pleasant View, Utah.
We left Chardon, heading towards Albany, New York on Saturday, November 15th. The big lake-effect storm was underway. This was the storm that dropped six feet of snow in the Buffalo, New York area. We had nine inches of snow that required me to climb up on the roof and remove the snow so that we could close the slide-out. With that, we said goodbye to Pam and drove off. We stopped to get gas at the freeway entrance at I-80 and Ohio Route 44 … and Pam showed up to say one last goodbye!