Comin’ Round Chattahoochee Bend

Though this post is listed in “favorite” parks, I assure all dear readers of my blog that it is indeed, my LEAST favorite. But… Keep in mind I’m a glamper- not a camper- I enjoy satellite TV (none here) WiFi (zero here) and septic hook ups at our site (Driver is in the process of dumping our tanks at the community dump station) and while I don’t EXPECT a huge pool and amenities like we found in Gulf State Park, (see post below- we LOVED it!) I certainly have to do a Snoopy Dance once we have those comforts.

That said, if you enjoy roughing it, hiking wooded (read: snaky) trails, a muddy Chattahoochee River and absolutely nothing but outdoor things to do, then this would be your dream come true. See? That’s why it’s listed “favorites” – SOMEONE has to love this place.

About 35 min away from humanity, we made sure to have all provisions as soon as we realized how far away we would be if we ran out of something.

Why did we come here? 1) I had some business in a town nearby 2) it was the closest place we could find and 3) It was highly recommended by our daughter, who I truly realize now, thoroughly enjoys the Great Outdoors.

My business meeting was delayed SEVERAL times which made us stay here longer and caused me to use almost all of our megagigs or whatever measure it is when one runs out of Internet on their phone.

Driver was so sweet to buy some for me so I could live a somewhat normal life until he could get me back to civilization. I’m kinda thinkin he bought it so HE would have some peace and quiet by keeping me busy.

Meanwhile, he did his best to entertain me. More on that in a minute.

The first day we had traveled over 7 hours, from Gulf Shores to this park and came in on narrow, winding roads. The hills are so steep here (I’m a Georgia girl so give me a break) there are signs that say, “Hill Blocks View”. They aren’t kidding. It’s like being in the foothills of the North Ga mountains.

I’m not a fan.

I tried to be sweet and patient but dang skippy, I was D*O*N*E and found myself apologizing to Driver for my clear lack of enthusiasm. A lot.

The Visitors Center was closed when we arrived. I got out and, though I was pretty sure I heard BANJOS I scurried up the steps of this place (scurried to escape bears)

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And had no problem “finding” this:

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Here’s our set up, in the banjo-playing boonies:

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The pups were thrilled to sniff the abundance of wildlife that no doubt was holed up in THAT BUSH OVER THERE for Heaven’s sake. They alerted on so many things and I was fairly certain bears and coyotes were waiting on me to step out of that camper to serve them dinner on leashes.

So I didn’t. UNLESS I took my mace AND Driver. Not sure how hard it would be to mace a bear but I’m not above trying.

One fabulous day we drove to Newnan to pick up daughter and the GrandLittle. They spent the day with us at Lot 124, PoDunk USA. We were having a fabulous day until I was taken aback when our daughter Aubern strapped baby Phoebe Jo to her back and announced they were GOING ON A HIKE.

Wait.

I was not amused. She ignored my worries. Have you thought of the bears, snakes and ticks? And what about late July in South Georgia, in the HEAT OF THE DAY for Heaven’s sake? She headed out the door.

Driver, who is rarely if ever, taken aback, poked his head into the RV and announced he was going with them.

We were all delighted for our individual reasons, but being without cable or decent Internet for days, I was overjoyed. I told y’all I’m a cheap date, didn’t I? Doesn’t take much.

Which leads me to this: The night before we left, my long awaited business was FINALLY concluded. Driver announced he had prepared a rum and Diet Coke for me, which is always special because I rarely drink, and he’d set up a movie outdoors. It’s one of my favorites, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

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So we sat with our puppies, sipped Rum and Cokes, ate Pringles (I’m not a cook, y’all) and watched our movie.
On the way out of the park in PoDunk, USA, I took these pix of the Visitor’s Center.

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And here we are, parked in all our bigness, Driver giving us that last flush as we are all packed up and ready to set sail for home.

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We have about 6 hours ahead of us, normally a four hour trip but we don’t run as fast as we do when we aren’t towing. We have agreed to stop along the way if Driver is tired, but otherwise we’ll be on our back porch tonight.
Wagons ho!
God bless and thanks for stopping by!

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Camp: good friends, good times

Our time in Gulf Shores was somewhat bittersweet, visiting a beloved uncle who isn’t doing well while also seeing some precious friends we haven’t seen in a year.

Oh how the heart gets pulled sometimes.

But I shall focus on the happiest parts since this blog is about the adventure.

When we arrived at Gulf Shores (Gulf State Park) we set up camp. It was a long travel day and we have decided to make the evenings as easy as we can after traveling long distances. We hung out that first night with my sister in law Jane & and brother in law Randy who arrived a few days prior.

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The next day was spent in Pensacola visiting Uncle Bill and having dinner with Aunt Lorene, cousin Rhonda, Jane and Randy. Rhonda and Lorene recommended this little out-of-the-way restaurant on Navy Blvd. called Chet’s. Really a down to earth kind of place – and fabulous local seafood. Can’t believe I didn’t get pictures.
Once we got back to camp we spent a little time biking followed by an evening swim in the awesome pool (see previous post).
The next two days were spent seeing our friends who moved to Fairhope Alabama last July. We sure did miss them and it was just great to see them again.

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Our friends gave us a grand tour of the cutest little town of Fairhope, Alabama. Great shops, restaurants and lots of family friendly things to do, and the city is right on the water.
For such a sweet little town, something crazy happens each summer called Jubilee. It’s a phenomenon that happens only in Japan and Fairhope- the oxygen level changes in the lowest level of the water and flounder, crab and other sea life throw themselves ashore. Locals arrive with baskets and buckets, gathering up an abundance of fish. No one knows when it will happen or how long it will last. Click here to read more about Jubilee
I absolutely loved this place.

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Our friends treated us to lunch at Panini Pete’s, and wow, it was delicious! Mine had three different cheeses on it, the top being mozzarella that they actually make on site.

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This was Driver’s burger. I’m pretty sure we are gaining a few pounds on this trip.

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Panini Pete’s is so cool; you can eat on the patio, inside the small restaurant itself or in this beautiful solarium. Very French Quarter if you ask me.

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Speaking of….

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Yeah. French Quarter, alright.
Here’s more of the waterfront – it was raining and hard to get a good shot but hopefully you get the idea: sweet, quaint, wonderful little town. Pretty sure I could live there.

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Thanks for stopping by- there’s more to come, so if you want to read more just sign up for email updates. God bless!

Gulf State Park

We arrived at Gulf State Park after a scenic drive along the coast via Pensacola. Check in was easy and efficient. Thankful to get a pull through, we began setting up our little-big “home away from home”.

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This is a super nice park with everything one would need except for decent Internet and hook ups for cable. I love my Internet as much as the next web-obsessed blogger, but it’s not been too bad. I’m actually blogging from my iPhone right now.
What does the park have? Well, here’s a sample:

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The laundromat was nice but there is no change machine. You can get change at the camp store but it closes at some point so there were a few folks asking for change most of the time we were there. This is 2013 and we spent $13 to wash and dry 3 loads. There’s a trick to saving here: you can add a quarter to extend dryer time. If you wait until the time runs out you have to pay $1.25 all over again.
Another hint: Gulf State Park is smack dab in the middle of EVERYTHING. There are lots of regional restaurants (more on THOSE later!) grocery and convenience stores, tacky souvenir shops and at least two WalMarts. Avoid the Wally on Orange Beach- it is tiny and mostly food. Turn right out of the park (use GPS since I can’t recall the name of the road) and you’ll find a super WalMart, Target, auto parts stores and chain restaurants.

Now: On to the pool…
This pool is HUGE. Hard to believe it is a state funded pool, especially when you consider the awesome fenced in kid’s splash pad! The pool is just over 4 ft deep but features a fountain in the middle. And us, without the grand kids! But our friends came from Daphne, Ala and we got to watch our little two-year old buddy Hudson have a blast!

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Across from the pool is the laundry, camp store and pavilion with picnic tables right along the smallest of three park lakes. Here’s the view from the pavilion:

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You may not notice a little sign saying not to “feed or aggravate” the alligators. Yes, there ARE alligators here and I’m not a fan of them, so I won’t be staying “waterfront” when we return. These folks don’t seem to mind though:

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Another perk of this state park is free parking at certain beach areas just across the highway (driving distance) and we took advantage of that perk today. I love the white sands of the Gulf beaches.

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We ended our day as we have begun each one, here at pull-through site 194; saying a cheerful greeting to this little guy. I named him Mr. Brown.

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I really appreciate your visiting my blog. This retired newspaper features writer is blessed to have such a fun outlet in which to share. Please sign up to be notified of the latest posts. There’s lots more to come!
God bless you!

Our time at Fort Wilderness!

When it comes to parking a 5th wheel, Fort Wilderness gets a bad rap on some websites and particularly on the Fort Wilderness FW sites app. We read about the narrow roads inside the various loops – and how difficult it is to back in.

While its true there are no pull thru sites, negotiating the roads and parking our rig just wasn’t a big deal – and we are VERY new at all this!

Driver figured it out – he tends to do that – and showed me how the site we were assigned had been widened, so perhaps the folks who created the app haven’t updated it. Sure enough, a wide swath of concrete made our site easily accessible. We did get a preferred site, so it could be that only the upgraded sites are wider so do ask before reserving.

Here we are all set up.

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There’s a lot we didn’t do, like dress up the outside. We had torrential downpours every few hours! But with no kids or grandLittles along we didn’t mind it much at all. We actually enjoyed just being “away” and not on task.
In between thunderstorms we set out to discover Fort Wilderness. Sometimes we rode our bikes, other times we set off on Good Ole 140!

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We rented the golf cart and happy that we did! The property is HUGE!
We also took a few boats places like across the lake at Downtown Disney.

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While cruising, we found out that Disney’s Pleasure Island will be completely transformed in 3 years. Total remake. Can’t wait to see the latest and greatest!
Speaking of cruises, we could not believe this… We were hanging out at the Ft Wilderness beach, chatting with a boat captain who was waiting on a group of folks who had booked a private cruise to see the Electrical Water Pageant and the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks. Well, the group cancelled and the captain offered the tour to us! We boarded, along with a family of 5, none of us believing how fortunate we were! This trip is well over $300 and we went for free. Such a blessing. Just being on the water, in the dark, waiting, then seeing those lights and then the fireworks- our front row seats were simply A*M*A*Z*I*N*G!!!!

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The fireworks were incredible and we even heard the “magical” story over the boat’s radio. Wow, wow and WOW. What a night it was.
We spent the next day at Epcot, the only park we would visit during our stay. The campground amenities were great so we enjoyed swimming, walking the pups, biking, dining, and hanging out at the campfire- when it wasn’t raining!
Here I am with the Chippendales! Oh wait- its just Chip!

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Here’s Cowboy Bob- he was great! I haven’t done a campfire sing-along since my kids were little!

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And of course, there was a campfire!

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Later, we sat in Good Ole 140 and enjoyed a drive-in effect during movie time.

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That’s all for today- thanks for stopping by and God bless!

Disney’s Fort Wilderness

We had a very long drive as we headed to Fort Wilderness and it was our first “long” trip. Like a little kid hanging on to the side of the pool, we have camped just an hour or so from home since we brought Baby Beluga (our 36 ft 5th wheel) home. It was finally time for us to spread our wings and boy, did we. It took 7 1/2 hours in rain and heavy traffic in Jacksonville and Orlando. We were whipped.

But we stopped along the way and took the pups shopping at Camping World.

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This was when they started begging for stuff

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The parking lot was super hot so I strolled them back to our parking spot.

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Good thing they are so cute. They didn’t help load Beluga, not one bit.

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After shopping, the pups zonked out.

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More rain, long lines of traffic and finally we arrived. I was one Happy Camper when I saw this sign.

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But SERIOUSLY HAPPY when I saw THIS sign

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Here we are, waiting in line to check in. The adventure begins!

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Our first big trip and introducing Meile!

This has been on our fridge for weeks. We have been too busy to do a countdown but got to see this every day.

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I spent the week getting the house ready and made a staging area to carry stuff back and forth to the storage facility where Baby Beluga (our RV) lives. I pretty much had more stuff to add every day so as a result we put a gazillion things in the RV. I even brought a little sewing machine. It’s amazing how much stuff I think we will need. I try not to overpack and I did edit, edit, edit, which is why all my card making stuff isn’t going (but a small project is!). Still, I am sure I packed too much.

In my earlier blog posts you will see our precious Kerby. We lost her in April. She was 15 years old and in so much pain from eye problems.

Hoover was pitiful without her. He lost two best friends in less than a year and all he wanted to do was lie on the sofa.

We decided to get him a buddy. We prayed about it and adopted Meile (Mee-Lah) from a NC rescue. Yes, it’s the name of a vacuum cleaner as is Hoover, Kerby and Dyson, who passed away tragically from a spider bite in July 2012.

Meile has totally settled right in. Here she is showing off her purple painted nails.

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She likes to dress up too.

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And here she is helping dad and Hoover as they hook up Baby Beluga.

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You might need to zoom in but she’s the pointy eared helper.

This is what I see in my mirror.

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I’m ready to be there already! So much fun. I will be blogging throughout our trip so please sign up for notifications if you want to get the latest updates.

God bless you all and thanks for following my blog!