Thursday, September 16, 2004
16 September, 2004. We stayed at a dive motel the night before arriving back in Chesapeake City, MD. Nothing to report there. Jason, the boat salesman here at Harbour North Marina, had found us a 6 horsepower outboard motor for $41 on ebay which he was going to pick up in Philadelphia a few hours after we arrived. Rocky went with him and it looks like it's going to work just fine after some basic maintenance. We've been having dinner with Jason and he's been letting us sleep on his houseboat. We love this place. The owner, Paul, has been very accommodating and we're hoping to repay his hospitality by fixing up and selling some of the boats that are just taking up space here. We still need to apply bottom paint to our 24 foot Tidewater sailboat, patch the sail and string the mast but we hope to get it in the water soon so we can learn to sail and then re-sell it in Annapolis. We're eyeing some 25 and 27 foot sailboats for our next project. We can't get internet access yet.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
14 September, 2004. We saw wild peacocks before arriving at the lake. And as we entered, we saw a fox run across the road. The parking pad here is split into an upper and lower section. Although it places the firepit away from the vehicle, it also places the tables away from the vehicle. This place is very quiet.
Monday, September 13, 2004
13 September, 2004. Rocky spends a lot of time working on the bus but it's getting more sluggish every day. We've put probably 10,000 miles on her in the last 6 months and she's getting tired. Once we get a decent live-aboard sailboat, we may sell her. We arrived here just before dark and so didn't do much at this campground either. We should be back in Chesapeake City, Maryland after 2 more campgrounds. Our plan is to finish off our 24 foot sailboat, learn to sail and then sell it in Annapolis, Maryland. After that, we're going to start on our 2nd boat, sell it and work our way up to a comfortable live-aboard. The extra battery in the bus is almost fully charged after a few days of electricity. We plugged in the air conditioner again even though it was cool outside and were able to use our electric coffe maker again. We just now heard a pack of coyotes howling in the near distance. Everything we own is in the bus with us, except our microwave/convection oven which we loaned to Natalie, our scanner, which we loaned to Gail and a monitor which we left for Gail to sell at her yard sale before moving from Zephyrhills to Tampa. All things considered, we have plenty of room to function in here.
Sunday, September 12, 2004
12 September, 2004.This place gets very high marks, even if it is one of the many campgrounds surrounding J. Strom Thurmond Lake. Yes, the racist politician J. STROM THURMOND has a lake named after him! We didn't see any fire or brimstone but we steered clear of the water anyway. The trees are very tall here. The bathrooms here are nice, with hot and cold controls for the showers, which is uncommon for Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds (Usually there is just the one setting for the showers- scalding hot). The parking pad is very level and flat, coated with crushed lime that also keeps the bugs away from your feet and legs. The electric and water hookups are set next to the flat wooden wall that borders one side of the site so we were able to plug in the electric coffee maker without an extension cord. In addition to the picnic table, fire ring and hanging, hooked post for a lantern, there is an extra table that was very useful. It's nice to know that our favorite campgrounds (Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds) always take our Golden Access Pass for half price ($9 per night for us to camp here). We even plugged in the air conditioner and slept in cool, white noise comfort again. We're right on the Georgia-South Carolina border so we may even make it to North Carolina by tonight. We'll see. On the way out, we stopped at the South Carolina Welcome Center and they had a goldmine of pamphlets identifying Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds all across the country. We also picked up a pair of cell phones from Verizon with a $50 rebate. We hardly ever get our rebates back from anything (after sending in all the necessary paperwork and information) so we're not holding our breath.
Saturday, September 11, 2004
11 September, 2004. State Parks are oftentimes nicer than federal campgrounds but on the east coast, they rarely offer any significant discount with the Golden Access Pass (if any). This place cost us the full $20 but it was worth it. It was nice to feel safe after staying in the Oceola National Forest. An armadillo scurried past our site- I almost forgot how many armadillos there are across the country. They are so much more welcome than raccoons, bears or snakes. We got a full internet signal here so I was able to do email. We plugged in the air conditioner and both of us got our first good night's sleep in weeks. There were no barking dogs or screaming people (the adults can scream just as much as the kids at some of these places). It was uneventful but we enjoyed the quiet.
Friday, September 10, 2004
10 September, 2004. We didn't get out of Zephyrhills until the 9th. All campgrounds in the Oceola National Forest were closed due to hurricane Frances but we parked and popped up there anyway. Trees were down and branches made access into the campground difficult but we put our $2.50 in the slot (half of the $5 fee since it is federal and all federal campgrounds accept the Golden Access Pass for half price). There were lots of signs indicating that bears were prevalent and with everything all stirred up by the hurricane, we feared for snakes as well. We were really on edge there since we weren't supposed to be there in the first place and the Bush brothers had turned Florida into a police state in the wake of hurrican Frances. The bugs were unbearable. There was an outhouse and no clean water. We were planning on staying at a campground in the Ocala National Forest with water and electricity but they were also closed so we headed north to the Oceola National Forest, unsure if they would be open. Electric lines were down all over the area and ice was nowhere to be found. I didn't realize how far north hurricane Frances had tore up Florida. Sometimes it's good to get the blood pumping with a little fear. The bugs sure noticed our increased heart rates.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
1 to 9 September, 2004. We made it in time to attempt our third hurricane party as “Frances” crept toward the Atlantic coast. Many coastal areas were evacuated, including Ft. Pierce (specifically South Hutchinson Island), where Michael, Natalie and Roxanne were still living. Their car was in the shop so Rocky drove over to pick them up and bring them to Gail’s. We bought 20 lbs. of chicken, 10 lbs. of ribs, a whole ham, lots of hot dogs and lots of Coca Cola, beer and ice. Of course, we forgot buy any candles or batteries but we had some on hand. The hurricane showed up this time and brought about 10 inches of rain. Ft. Pierce got pounded and Natalie feared the worst. It turned out that despite all the destruction there, there place was spared any real damage. Rocky brought them back to the island on 7 September and got stuck due to a curfew until 5 am the following day. There were lots of heavily armed National Guardsmen patrolling the island. Rocky made it back to Zephyrhills on Wednesday morning and we’re planning on heading back to Maryland soon with all of our stuff in the bus.