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Rolling down the highway...

Friday, April 24, 2015

Pick'n and Grin'n

(Cherry Point MCAS, Havelock, NC)  Hi 70 Lo 49 -- We've been visiting with family since we got here so we haven't had any "touristy" things to tell you about. But today we did something special. Jim and I both like bluegrass music. We got hooked on it when we saw a bluegrass group perform in a very small nightclub out in the country in South Carolina our first year on the road. Last week we saw a commercial on local TV for the White Oak Shores Bluegrass Festival scheduled for this weekend not far from us. So we picked up Jim's mom Alberta and went to Stella, NC to the White Oak Shores Camping and RV Resort. They have a large open grassy area surrounded by pine forest, where they had a stage set up for the two-day festival. Everyone brought their own chairs, and there were concession stands selling all kinds of food. This is the ninth annual festival, and they draw three to five thousand people during the two days and nights. Nine different groups perform each afternoon and evening. We saw four of the groups during our afternoon session. We got there plenty early to get a good location in front of the stage. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

Jim and his mom Alberta

The stage

Some of the food stands.

The first band was Boys From Carolina.

They were really good, especially their mandolin player.

The second group was Ted Jones and Tarhill Boys.

Their lead singer (Ted Jones) looked like a young Hank Williams, and he had a high and LOUD tenor voice. They were good, but by the end of their 45-minute set our ears needed a rest from his piercing voice.

Damascus Ridge was the third band.

Their music leaned toward gospel bluegrass, and they were much more mellow than the other bands. They harmonized very well, and put on a low-key show like you'd see in a coffee shop or small club. Beautiful to listen to.

The fourth and last band was Spare Parts. (They don't have a website.)

This was their last performance as Spare Parts. After this weekend they're changing their name to Three Rivers Band. Their music was ok, but they seemed to spend a lot of time between songs goofing off among themselves and tuning their instruments.

All the bands are local groups from around central and eastern North Carolina. It wasn't very crowded today, with it being a work day, but the workers told us it will be much more crowded at tonight's and tomorrow's sessions.

We had a great time and heard some wonderful music. The weather was perfect, about 70 degrees and sunny.

The azaleas are in bloom all over the south, and they're especially pretty around here. Spring is a beautiful time to be in North Carolina.

Our neighbor Vi back at Adelaide Shores RV Resort in Avon Park, FL sent us some photos of our new concrete pad that was poured today. It's going to be so great to have a full pad to park on this fall!

The dirt area on the right is where the widened driveway was originally planned to be. But we decided to move it to the left side of the current driveway. That will be properly aligned if and when we decide to install a park model on the lot. The dirt area will be re-seeded and should be grown in by the time we get there in November.

That's all for now.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Family Time

(Cherry Point MCAS, Havelock, NC) Hi 80 Lo 68 -- It's been rainy since we arrived so we haven't been out much. Saturday morning Jim went to his mom's and joined her at the monthly potluck brunch at her senior complex. He enjoyed meeting his mom's friends, and the food was delicious!

When he got back Saturday afternoon we switched back and forth between the NASCAR Xfinity race and the Cardinal baseball game. A very low key day. Sunday Jim's sisters Robin and Sharon came over for a visit. It was great catching up with them. Later it was more NASCAR on TV from Bristol. The race was delayed all day due to rain and finally got going that night.

Today (Monday) the sun was in and out most of the day, but it was very muggy. We may get some severe weather this evening. Jim did his daily walk and then we did some shopping at the MCX (Marine Exchange) across the base.

I've been busy making little Amigurumi critters. Here's all of them so far.

I still need to get better, but the more I do the better they get. They don't weigh much or take up much room and they're fun to do. It's great for a rainy day.

That's all for now.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Moving up the Coast - Family Time

(Cherry Point MCAS, Havelock, NC)  Hi 74 Lo 65 -- I finished an afghan so thought I'd post a photo of it. It's a basket weave pattern. It's heavier then the others I've done, and would be great for really cold nights.

It's nice to finally be on the move for our summer travels. On Wednesday it was warm and humid when we left Naval Station Mayport. We had a smooth hitch up and we pulled out of the park around 9:30am. The RV and truck traffic was heavy on I-95. I watch license plates as the cars pass us while we travel slowly in the right lane. There were a lot of plates from Canada and the northern states. The trip went smoothly until we were about 20 miles from our destination, when we hit a construction zone that delayed us about a half hour. We finally pulled into one of our favorite "overnight" parks, Bass Lake Campground in Dillon, SC, after 7 hours of travel. It was our longest travel day since we started full timing. Needless to say, we were both pretty beat.

Our site at Bass Lake Campground, Dillon, SC.

The lake (Bass Lake) has a resident alligator.

The office building and small playground. There is a small store in the office.

Its was raining when we arrived, and it rained most of the night, so Jim waited until the next morning to set up the satellite dish. We got a few stations on our antenna, and I was able to watch Survivor, that's all that counted.

It got down to the low 50's Wednesday night, so the blanket went back on the bed again. It was drizzly and dreary on Thursday so we stayed in to rest up from yesterday's long travel day. I was really sore from the long driving day,  from gripping the steering wheel so tight in heavy traffic. I'm whining so I'll take some cheese with that whine. :)

On Friday we got hooked up and on the road at 10am for the (thankfully) shorter 4-hour trip to North Carolina. We're spending some time with Jim's family. They live in the Morehead City area on the coast. We arrived at the Cherry Point Marine base at 2pm. Cherry Point is in Havelock, about 15 miles west of Morehead City. We got set up at the Pelican Point RV Park. (Similar name to Pelican Roost RV Park in Mayport.) This is the second time we've stayed here at Cherry Point, and we love the place.

It's a fairly open park (no encroaching trees), which we like, with full concrete pads and 50 amp, water, and sewer hookups. There's also free wi-fi and cable TV.

It's one of the nicer military campgrounds.

After we got set up we went to Jim's mom's for a home cooked dinner. She cooked up some Tilapia, with sugar peas and twice-baked potatoes. Mom Alberta is an expert at southern cooking, so of course it was delicious!

We'll be here for about a month and we're looking forward to some wonderful family time.

I updated the maps on the right side of the blog so they all look consistent. The maps are interactive so you can zoom in to see the locations better. I like this color coded map of all our trips.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

New Friends - Last Day in Mayport

(Mayport Naval Station, Jacksonville, FL) Hi 79 Lo 68 -- The days are flying by. That's what happens when you're in a favorite spot. It's time to move on tomorrow to South Carolina, on the way to spend a month with Jim's family in Morehead City, NC.

Sunday was a relaxing day doing nothing. We love those days. We did go down to check on the progress at the beach. The pipe carrying the new sand is getting longer and longer.

On Monday I got a text from a friend telling us that Randy and Pam, fellow RV-Dreamers who read our blog, are in our park. I went to the office to find out what site they're in, and found out they're only three sites from us. We walked over to meet them and spent some time getting to know them. It's always great to meet new full timing friends, especially blog readers!

Pam, Randy, Dee and Jim

Also on Monday we went to see the movie Furious 7. It's a fast-paced action movie with totally over-the-top stunts that were amazing to watch. (We have no idea how they filmed some of them.) We both just put our brains in neutral and enjoyed the ride.

Today we went to lunch with Randy and Pam to Singletons Seafood Shack, the same place we went with Jessica and Harry last week. It was great sitting on the deck with a water view, enjoying good food and good conversation. After lunch we stopped at the Safe Harbor Seafood Market to buy some fresh fish for our freezer. Thanks for our time together Randy and Pam. We hope you'll come spend some time at Adelaide Shores with us next winter.

This afternoon Jim did the laundry (the laundry is free here, which is awesome!), and we made final preparations for our move tomorrow.

See you next time.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Day Trip to St. Marys Submarine Museum

(Mayport Naval Station, Jacksonville, FL) Hi 81 Lo 68 --  Friday morning we woke up to the sounds of cadence as several groups of sailors ran by on their training run. (Click on the pictures to enlarge).

Later that morning several armed security boats were hanging around the Navy channel. In our past visits here whenever there was that much security around it usually meant a submarine was on the way in. Sure enough, a short while later we could see a long, black shape in the distance.

When a sub shows up it brings out a lot of spectators. I talked to a lady who was stationed here for four years and this was the first time she saw a submarine. We're lucky.

Speaking of subs, we decided to take a drive about an hour north to check out the King's Bay Submarine Base. On the way we stopped at the small town of St. Marys, which is just outside the base, to see the St. Marys Submarine Museum. It's in a small two-story building, and has many exhibits on display that show the history of submarines, both in the U.S. and the rest of the world. We especially enjoyed the one-hour video showing life on board a Trident missile sub.

Jim and I tried out a real working periscope.

We spent a couple hours in the museum, then drove a few miles to the Kings Bay Sub Base. One thing we wanted to check out was the famcamp, which has won many yearly awards as the best military famcamp in the U.S. It's a beautiful park, with nice landscaping and excellent facilities. But, even though it's on a lake, it doesn't have the great water views like here at Mayport.

By sundown storms were coming in.

We drove around the base, and found out very quickly that security is very tight. There is a separate gate to the waterfront area where the Trident ballistic missile subs are docked. With no other reason to go into that area except to "look around", we were basically told to scram.

This morning we walked down to the beach to see how much progress they've made replenishing the sand.

The rest of the day Jim watched the Cardinals ball game and I worked on pictures and sat outside watching all the boat traffic. Several cargo ships came in and out of the river to and from the Jacksonville port. That's enough to keep me entertained.

We went down to Jacksonville Beach to have dinner at a great BBQ place we ate at when we were here before. But we were disappointed to find out it was closed. We found a place called Smashburger, with burgers and chicken sandwiches. We enjoyed our meal, then came back just in time to see a Carnival cruise ship heading out on it's weekly cruise to the Bahamas.

Every Saturday evening at the clubhouse they have an ice cream social. We went and met another couple that has just retired from civil service. They're looking forward to traveling in their motorhome.

We've settled in for an evening of NASCAR racing.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Base Activities - Moved to Front Row (River View)

(Naval Station Mayport, Jacksonville, FL) Hi 83 Lo 63 -- Wednesday there was a lot of activity just down the road from us. There was more firefighting training going on, this time in a large structure meant to simulate the interior of a ship. There were around 50 students gathered in front of the structure, and I could hear the instructors giving out instructions on how to put on the air tank, mask and protective gear. They then went into the building to put out fires. I could only see smoke coming out from the top story.

Our military folks sure are an active bunch. We saw everything from golf frisbee to bocce ball being played in the fields around us.

Today we got to move to a site on the front row of the RV park, with a direct view of the river. It didn't take long to bring in the slides and hitch up, and the move was only about 200 feet.

We came from where the arrow is...

... to our new site.

This is the view from our awning.

We've been having some issues with our satellite signal going out periodically. Jim thought our coax cable was starting to wear out, so he bought a spool of cable at Home Depot, cut it some different lengths, and attached new connectors. We're hoping that will solve the problem.

The dredging project that's going on is very interesting. They're dredging the channel and the ship basin to make it deep enough for an aircraft carrier. The sand is moved on a barge from the ship basin out to the mouth of the river where it's sucked off the barge in a long pipe and deposited on the beach.

You can see the spray of sand to the left of the first trailer.

Bulldozers then spread the sand along the beach. So along with deepening the channel, they're also taking care of beach erosion that's been happening through the years.

This barge moves up and down the channel 4 or 5 times a day carrying sand to the beach area.

This afternoon we watched this Guided Missile Destroyer come into port. It sure is a beautiful sight!

We're sure enjoying our stay so far!