Welcome to our travels and adventures

Welcome to our travels and adventures

Our Christmas at the Plantation

Linda Teaches Jean Apron making In our last post, we saw the Fish River Santa parade. The following week of Dec 16th was full of activities getting ready for Christmas day. Barb joined an apron bee, building aprons out of old denim jeans for the clubhouse kitchen and I tried helping a friend with their laptop but I’m not sure I made it better or worse. I’m still working on it, I can’t let it win!Playing Cards

I think all Escapees belong to the LEO club – Let’s Eat Out! Barb & I met fellow ERPU friends for lunch at the LA BBQ then off  to their new home in Foley for a tour. Their home is very nice with lots of room for them to spread out after spending many years full timing. Diane and Jerry are musicians and their new home gives them a music room for them to practice and play. We had a fun afternoon playing Wizard with regular cards and of course, the score keeper won – and it wasn’t me.

 More Please. I'm not Driving! Blah, Blah, Blah I promise Santa, I've been very,very good!

On Thursday, the quilting ladies know how to have fun besides sewing, they had their annual Christmas party and gift exchange – complete with Santa. Naturally, when I heard they were having a Santa, I made the leap that he was a ‘Chippendale’ Santa but it was just one of the guys from the park. They had lots of finger food and a endless amount of laughter so they must have had a good time.

On Friday, we went to the movie theatre with another couple to watch Cirque du Soleil 3D and wow, it was spectacular. We have never seen one of their shows Merry Christmas Babe, from me to you!before and were blown away by this one. To end the week before Christmas, we went out for dinner at a great Mexican restaurant in Fairhope with Simon and Sandy. The food was very good, the beer cold and the company fun, what more could you ask for?

Barb & I could not decide what we wanted to do for each other for Christmas this year – we don’t need anything. Barb suggested we take $30.00 each and we had to buy 3 gifts. So to make it more fun, we did it on Sunday, Dec 23rd! Ya gotta be part of the Christmas mayhem to really get in the Christmas mood! We also did our Christmas card exchange in the card department of Walmart. It was too funny, there we were reading the cards we would get each other and then take a picture of each of us with the desired cards. A fellow shopper saw us and took a double take then said ‘I thought I have seen everything but not someone talking pictures of their cards before they buy them’. Well, wouldn’t she howl if she only knew we were not buying them!

Christmas Eve tooThe Gift Circlek us to the clubhouse after dinner for some caroling, a secret Santa and of course,Let's Eat!!!! more eating with finger foods that we all took over. For the secret Santa, we made a circle with our $5.00 gift in hand and listened to a story read by one of the members. Each time we heard the word left or right in the story, we had to pass the gift in hand to the person in that direction. At the end of the story, the gift you held was yours. It was fun with lots of laughs.

Christmas morning, Barb & I opened our fun gifts and had some laughs over what we each got – of course we had our Gifts Under Our Tree traditional rum and eggnog in hand. We had breakfast More Rum!!! and then called each of the girls to see how their Christmas’ were going. Finding that all were enjoying their families, Barb & I retired to the deck for our morning coffees. What more could we ask for, we were out on the deck in our shorts, enjoying the beautiful warm morning before a busy afternoon.


Coffee Out On Deck in our Shorts on Christmas Morning Soon, we were preparing our dishes for the Christmas dinner potluck at the clubhouse. Snowmen Ready to Adorn our Christmas Table at the Clubhouse Barb prepared a candy bowl covered by a knitted snowman for each guest at our table. Our table host provided a shrimp plate while each of the members brought other delicacies. Our dish made us a bit nervous – Barb made a sweet potato bake for Americans who know their sweet potatoes. Needless to say, it was a hit, many asked for the recipe. Since several of the bowls were hot, we all stood and treated the table as a buffet and walked around the table and retrieved all the delicious food we wanted without passing the dish. That was a neat idea for a large table of 12 dinners.



Our Table Set For DinnerEveryones Starting to Gather at The Clubhouse Jeff In Fancy Hat

Dig In!!!

Well, after a delicious meal and desserts, we were all stuffed, sitting and chatting and I’m sure looking for a chaise to lounge on! It’s a good thing we brought a wheel barrow so Barb had an easy way to get me home!

Storms were threatening the rest of our day so we retired to the rig and watched TV to see where the storm from off the Gulf was going. We had invited 3 other couples over for a get together but 2 cancelled out due to the weather but I’m sure it was due to the amount they ate during dinner and could not move! Dick & Marcia did come down and we had a terrific visit, discussing quilting, the storm, quilting and other hot topics.

That brings us to Boxing Day – huh, it is not recognized as a holiday down here but a shopping day to get all the Christmas wrap and decorations you need at 1/2 price! But everything goes back to normal – as normal as normal can be. We didn’t do anything, kept our heads down and tried not to eat after such a huge meal yesterday. Thursday, Barb was off to the quilt group and I went to the computer group. A few people came in with some viruses and I agreed to help them clean up their systems. That little task was an all day affair – I don’t mind helping as I was not doing anything anyway. These pesky bugs can really kill a computer – I just don’t understand what the virus creator gets out of it but maybe some people do actually click the ‘I accept’ button and then they are in more trouble. Lots can be said for good virus protection.

Well, that was our Christmas. We were safe, well fed and with friends. What more can anyone ask for? Best wishes for the New Year and throughout 2013. Until then……..

Merry Christmas to All

I know our wish to y’all is not politically correct but why not live on the edge a little? I can’t believe that it is Christmas time already. It seems we have just arrived and looking forward to the festivities and celebrations around the Plantation. We have a lot of stuff to cover to bring you up to date of our ‘doins’.Our Outdoor Pointsettias

Our Lites Under The Magnolia The last post left you on the edge of your seat, wondering what  our decorations were look’n like – or not! Well, I’m gonna show y’all anyway! On Dec 5th, Barb & I started with the great outdoors, planting poinsettias in our planters and put up the lights that we purchased last year on the post Christmas sales. We ‘McGuyvered’ a way to hang the icicle lights around the shed. Each light is LED, alternating blue then a white one. Unwittingly, we bought all blue and white lights last year – who knew! We strung another blue and white set of flashers around the edge of the deck – we don’t like Icicles On The Shed flashers so this will be their last year on Barb Hanging The Lights On The Shed - Hang on Barb - no falling! display at our site. I don’t mean to rub it into our northern readers but it is nice to hang the lights in the 70’s (20C). Now let’s move inside and mix up some rum & eggnog to fulfill our Christmas decorating tradition… The wreaths were hung with care and the lit garland draped over the slides. Now lets add some poinsettias and small ornaments. It is coming together nicely and helping to create a festive mood. Last but not the least, we hang snowflakes from the ceiling to give us our ‘winter wonderland’ and that’s as close to snow we want to get!

Barb Hangs Christmas Lights - where's the eggnog? Terry Puts Up the Garland - needs both hands eh so no eggnog.






We also start to get the site back into shape – pulling the grass out of the walkways, lifting deck boards to get the grass and a tree stem out and spraying some Round-up so this pesky grass does not come back while we’re here. We have 1 garden left to clean out and we may do more than just clean it out. The Wisteria grew a couple of runners about 15 feet long, wow we have never experienced growth like this – my designer is pondering the options.Table Topper Complete For December Swap

Our Christmas Table RunnerBarb is back to the sewing and quilter gatherings at the club house. I am going to do some caning for the Mardis Gras auction but I’ll start that in January. So, we’re getting back to normal here – it took us a few days to get our bearings with all the goins on but we did hit the ground running and have caught up. Here is a link to the calendar to give you a feel of the activities available to anyone staying here. The ladies have a Christmas party  and gift swap and Barb has been working on it for awhile and the results show it. Great job babe, Mary will love it! Since she was making one, it’s not too much more effort to make 2 so she did one for us it too looks great.  On ours Barb put 3 Nutcrackers on the back that are paper pieced.

Ahhhh, the beans are working!!!!

One of the mainstay activity is the Flatulent Fest. Members bring their cooked bean dishes in slow cookers to the club house and the rest of us get to savor all the delicacies. Hummm good, lots of great bean dishes and of course, the fart jokes are  not with standing. The Tuesday and Thursday meals are always well attended and inexpensive – maybe that's why they’re well attended.

Our TV saga continued through the first part of the month. I had sent an email to the campground ‘grape vine’ scrounging any used satellite equipment that anyone wanted to recycle and were offered a couple of systems. One even came with the manual and the remote! It’s always good to ask. Anyway, to make this ordeal even longer, we spoke to both providers down here, Dish & Direct. We understood Dish would give us a monthly plan if we owned our own equipment but this was not the case. Both providers wanted a contract and both were prepared to come out with new equipment and install their service. Both would suspend service for 6 months while we were away but now we have an even longer contract! After talking with several RVers, most use Direct so we tried to initialize one of our donated satellite receivers but found out it was too old and would not work on the latest satellite technology! But of course, the Direct rep was more than happy to upgrade us! Dan, a friend here, suggWow, so simple AND it works!!!ested we hang a Parts for the needed for our HD OTA antenna piece of wire off one of the input jacks on the trailer and see what we can get off the air. Wow, we pulled in 8 digital channels so I jumped  online and googled OTA antennas – I am basically cheap and didn’t want to pay $50-$100 for a nice looking antenna that may or may not do the job – so I found a site to describe how to make a HD Bow Tie Antenna for OTA digital signals. The parts cost me less than $10 and about an hour of time to construct but voila, we picked up all the channels (about 30) that are available. We get all the major networks and CW plus a bunch of PBS channels. Barb can watch her soaps, we can get most of our favorite shows in the evening and some golf! The down side is no Canadian news, weather or shows so we feel a little disconnected from home.  Amazing after being on the road for 13 years that this is our first year we feel we are away.

Hurry, your not pedaling as hard as me.... If you checked out the activity calendar, you will see all the plans for our Christmas celebrations, a parade, Christmas dinner and dance, Christmas eve party and gift exchange, Christmas dinner on Christmas day Santa's naughty list rides along with him and a Boxing day pot luck. The parade meandered all through the park and the village. The golf carts and tractors were all decked out with lights and holly, we had cyclists and of course the requisite convertibles and Santa on a flatbed trailer with all the ‘kids’ that were on the naughty list!


One of the community events is the Santa Boat Parade along the Fish River. Last year was a good show but it was cold. Not knowing what to expect last year, we went a little early and froze ourselves, so this year we arrived a little later but the temps were in the 60’s (15C) which made the viewing much more comfortable. We have met new friends from the Ottawa area and are having a blast with them. The 4 of us went to the boat parade together with the appropriate libation – Sandy and Barb with Margaritas and Simon & I testing that the Black & Tan and Guinness bottles had not gone bad! Yes, Mark, I drank Guinness, LOL.  After an even better parade than last year, we went out for a cat fish feast in Foley. A great day and evening – too much fun, this can’t be legal.

 Hummmm good, mines fine, how's your? Lots of Christmas decorated boats float by

So, we wish all y’all a very Merry Christmas with happiness and success in the New Year…..

Look Out Rainbow Plantation, her We Come

Heading South with the Fog The repairs are done and I’m sure we have worn out our welcome inAwesome Piece Of Road Chanute so let’s get outta here! So, bright and early – yea right, about 9:15 we hit the road again for our winter site in LA (Lower Alabama)! The day  was bright but cool and the foggy mist was starting to burn off. The drive south through Bella Vista to I40 is a pretty drive though the hills of western edges of Missouri and Arkansas. Once past Bentonville – head quarters for Walmart – the roads flatten out and are more boring. As we have travelled, Barb knit Barb's  Interstate Socks herself a new pair of socks – she doesn’t have as much to do now that we have a GPS buHaving Lunch In Rest Area In Arkansast Barb is still my main navigator. We like the GPS for travel times  and mileage remaining. At lunch time we pulled into a rest area on I40 toward Memphis and sat  out on a picnic table and enjoyed the autumn colors once again. On our first night, we stayed at a Walmart near Lonoke, about 30 miles east of Little Rock. The assistant manager suggested we may get a visit and harassment  from the local RV park, suggesting we were not welcome to stay but she advised us to ignore him. We didn’t see or hear from him. It was a smaller Walmart but still room for us. There was a big truck on the other side with his noisy refer running so we tried to stay away from him.Fall Is In The Air

Saturday morning, we took the Memphis bypass for fuel then south on I55. Again, the traffic and weather were in our favor, making it an easy drive. Before long, we were at our night stop at the Walmart in Hattiesburg Mississippi. We could have carried on a bit further but this was the last Walmart before we got to Mobile so we decided to hold up here and finish our journey into LA on Sunday AM. After checking in with Customer Service to ensure we are welcome to stay the night, we walk a couple of loops around the parking lot to get the wrinkles outta our butts and loosen up the joints. It’s a good thing we had lots of recorded shows since we could not acquire a satellite signal for TV. But there is nothing wrong with an early bedtime either!

We roll into the Plantation around noon time. It took us a few attempts to get the rig in the exact spot – we have awning brackets on the deck that need to be aligned with the awning of course. Once we had it off the truck, friends and neighbors started to come around to welcome us back. I think this was the longest time for us to ever set up on a site – it was pretty nice to be welcomed back.

At 6PM, we went to the social hour at the clubhouse and after many hugs and hand shakes, we knew we were home. A quick look at the activity calendar told us to hang on because we’ll needLadies Monthly Luncheon to hit the road running to keep up. Barb had a ladies luncheon on Monday while I went out with a few of the guys for our own luncheon. The usual stuff was going on, chair caning each morning – I’ll go once the dust has settled, sewing and quilting on Tuesday and Thursday, evening meals on those days as well at the clubhouse. We’re getting geared up here for the Christmas celebrations, meals, parades, crafts and gifts. Some of the classes are being done in the evenings due to a full day time calendar.

Grass Grows Over Our Decks One of the things we did not expect was the rapid growing season they had here during the summer. Holy wow, look at the over Our Walkway Is Hiding growth we’ll have to deal with quickly. Last year we were panning a flower garden in a back corner but this type of extra work was not expected so maybe we’ll reconsider. Here is the top of one of our Saga Palms. Looks very weird but must just be the new growth coming out.Top of Our Sago Palm

But for now, it is time to decorate for Christmas. We dig the bins out of the shed and reach for the rum and eggnog but whoa, you can’t decorate for Christmas without a little libation. We have to postpone the the decorating until we have had a chance to go shopping!

Oh the Suspense. You’ll have to wait until next time to see it . Hope all is good where you are…..

Not Our Idea of a Good Time

Parking in Our Usual Spot At City Park Chanute As planned, we rolled into Chanute on Saturday, Nov 24th around lunch time and the weather is perfect, warm and sunny. The golf course adjacent to the city campground is very busy. The campground was virtually empty so we had our choice of sites and took the one we use and like the most – very satellite dish friendly. All level and stable now to the TV dish…. we use BellTV and have had no problems over the last 12 years anywhere in the lower 48. But, we’re having trouble today, after a couple of frustrating hours of trying to find the satellite signal, I’m starting to believe the rumors that BellTV has redirected their signal and are no longer CANADIAN SNOWBIRD FRIENDLY!!!!! We jump on the internet and the satellite forums are all talking about how most Canadian Snowbirds are switching from BellTV to ShawDirect satellite service since they have not yet moved to the newer satellite technology and their support services will actually help a Canadian Snowbird set up in the USA! BellTV never did condone receiving their satellite signals in the USA and would suspend your service if they got whiff of you doing so. What now? We don’t want to move to  Shaw even though we like watching our Canadian content, news and weather. It is nice to see what is going on back home and we will miss that. Our options are limited to Direct TV, Dish or free OTA. Since we do not have the usual bat wing type of RV antenna, OTA may not be an option. This gives us something to do while we’re waiting for the repairs on the rig. After lunch, we wash all the road grim off the rig, clean the windows and enjoy the warm temps.

Last time we were here, we discovered some good places to eat and since the rig is going to be laid up for a few days, it didn’t make sense to stock up on groceries so we can try some of these few spots. The Mexican restaurant has good food, quick service and priced great. We also like the sports bar – Bench Warmers and we had heard that the Italian restaurant was also good so we’ll try that too. Opps, it was closed, I guess the economy is hitting Chanute too. On Sunday, a few more Hitch Hikers 5ers pulled in and we assumed they were here for service too. I asked the neighbor about their service issue and the time they were to be there and he said 8AM. When we checked the NuWa web site, we noticed the service hours were 8-5 Mon – Friday and since they were closing down the assembly line, we assumed the service department had changed too. So we didn’t need to have a real early morning to be there by 7AM. We set about removing the drapery and valances around the windows of the dining slide – it was being removed to replace the slide floor.Removing Glued Wood

Monday AM, we rolled into the service area a little after 8 and the foreman was wondering where we were. We should have been there at 7! Oppsss, a little embarrassed and not getting off to a good start, putting the guys an hour behind already. So, we’re all checked in and we all understand what is to be done. Barb & I are off to have a hearty breakfast at the Grain Bin, a Rot At Front Of Rigsby great place for morning eats. After breakfast, we wander back to see the progress and they  have the rig in a bay and have the front fiberglass cut and the rotten beam exposed and the slide is almost ready to remove. Wow, that is quick work but I guess when you come in a little late, they played catch up and put 3 techs on the job! We stayed to watch the slide removal and were amazed at the rot and mold in the floor. OSB just doesn’t hold up when it gets wet! We knew that we would have to make a decision on the floor covering of the slide since the carpet was a mess with mold. We decided that we would carpet the main area of the rig as well. We weren’t to keen Dining Slide Comes Out on the carpet samples that NuWa had on hand so we were going shopping and Daryl suggested we have the carpet to them by late PM today as they would be ready to install it in the slide! Wow.

Well, it’s almost lunch time and we go check into the Super8 – really the only motel in town where you can be somewhat comfortable when cooped up for Terry Rick Looking At Wet Floora few days. We unload all the ‘stuff’ we need for our stay – pillows, laptops, e-readers, clothes and of course, Barb’s sewing machine and supplies. It didn’t take us long to get ourselves situated and comfortable (as comfortable as we could anyway) and Barb’s sewing centre established. Off to see what carpet we can find in Chanute! There are not any of the large outlets here like Carpet1 so instead we tried Caldwell Floor Coverings that Daryl suggested. We arrive there and the owner greeted us as if we were old friends. After some browsing and a few questions, we select an ‘earthy’ berber loop. The owner said he would have it cut after lunch if we could come back then – hummmm we’re pretty busy but I guess we could! Heading out to lunch, we pass a satellite TV shop and stop off to do some research. Apparently, if we own our equipment with Dish, we can have a monthly plan which suits us best. That way, when we head north, we can cancel service until we come back in November again without paying for something we will not be using. With Direct, you have to have a 24 month contract to even open an account. They will suspend service for 6 months and charge us $5.00/month for the privilege and the 6 month suspension is added to the length of the contract. So a 24 month contract now becomes a 48 month contract – not ideal! If we do a US satellite, we will do Dish.

 Sledge Hammer Finesse to Install New Beam After lunch, we pick up our new carpet and deliver it to NuWa to install – the carpet place would do it but we thought it better to let the NuWa techs do it as it isn’t their first rodeo. Also, we would have to take the rig to the carpet place for them to do it. We drop the carpet off and head back to the motel for the rest of the day. The room has a small fridge so we stock it with water, beer and other food essentials. Our choice for dinner is the Mexican restaurant and had a good meal with lots of food and reasonable prices. Great spot.

Tuesday brought us cool mornings with lots of frost but the days warmed u New Carpetp considerably. Our Winegard satellite pole needed some repairs so I went over to NuWa to fix it – not sure why since we do not have a satellite dish to put on it any time soon.  Wow, the new floor was in the slide and both the main area and the slide floor were carpeted already. The new beam was installed and the glass would be going on soon. Barb completed a new project – a friendship bag like she made the grand daughters for Christmas.

Barb Working On BagFinished Friendship Bag

Fiberglass Covers Seam Wednesday, we were hopeful that NuWa would be able to let us know when we can continue our journey. We went around to view the progress and also stopped off at the parts store to buy new lights for the bedroom. We are going to update the look in there this year but you’ll have to wait to see what we’re doing. NuWa is finished with the slide and the body guy is nearing the end of his task with the glass. The front has been painted and a new decal will be going on so he can feather out the buffing to blend the work with the upper part of the rig. Daryl was confident that we will be leaving tomorrow afternoon. Yea!

Wednesday afternoon, we had a late lunch at Bench Warmers then down the street to the show to see the final (maybe) episode of the Breaking Dawn part 2! Not my cup of tea but Lydia went with Barb to see part 1 last year and they can’t do it this year so I got volunteered. After, we toured the town’s Christmas light display in the downtown park. The downtown businesses all contributed to the excellent displays – good job Chanute. 

Christmas Lane On Main in Chanute Lots of pictures in between that we did not show.

 Rigsby Out Of The Hospital For RVs - Can't even see the scars! On Thursday morning, I went over to NuWa to see what the final decision is for our departure time. All is looking good, just a little tweak here and there and we should be released by 2ish! That’s good and bad news for us – good that we’re able to carry on but bad because the bill will be due! I asked the motel for a late check out as a convenience for us but they wanted more $$ for that convenience! Now that is customer service for ya…. To use up the time until 2PM, we packed all our stuff in the truck and decided to tour the Safari Museum in Chanute. It was pretty amazing and interesting. We can’t imagine how they Barb With The Johnsons embarked on their adventures without an RV! I suggest it is worth your time to click on the link and read about Osa and Martin Johnson.

At 2PM, we arrived at NuWa to hook up our home. All was done and the bill paid (ouch by the way) but when we brought the slides in, the new slide floor was scraping across the kitchen floor and leaving a black mark! Oppss… Daryl had a quick look, thinking that the protective tape that they installed had too many wraps on to cause this but didn’t. To fix it, they added a layer of tinfoil tape so it wouldn’t leave a mark but it still touched the floor – not the kind of response we expected from the manufacturer, both guys say they have never seen this before after replacing a slide floor. It would seem to me that a slight adjustment was required but they disagreed and said it was the lighter carpet we put in and that if we had put the same pile depth carpet in we wouldn’t be experiencing this! Their explanation suggested that with the deeper pile, the slide would ride up on the carpet and keep it away from the kitchen floor. Ok, call me a doubting Thomas but I don’t believe that but they are the professionals! So with the band aid on, we get back to the city campground and set up Quilt Show At Art Centre to leave Friday morning – we decided that if we get released after lunch, we would wait until Friday to get outta Dodge! After dinner, we visited the Chanute Art Gallery. There was an art show and sale on with a small quilt show. Did I say quilts – not many but the state champion was there with her prize winning quilts. After, we crossed the Barb At The Soda Fountain street to experience Cardinal Drugs soda fountain. We both had an ice cream sundae, the old fashioned way – it was a neat treat.

That’s enough for now, stay tuned for our trip to the Plantation. We hope all is good where you are….