Saturday, November 27, 2010 (Laura S. Walker State Park, GA)

I have that damn cold back again! I can’t believe it! The day before yesterday, I ignored my scratchy throat; yesterday, I willed it away; today, I have to accept the fact that it’s back! Sheesh! Unable to sleep, I decided to get up and lay on the couch with a box of Kleenex by my side...this was at 3:00 a.m.! I took an Advil and managed to doze off and on for a few hours.

After the heavy rains we had yesterday, we woke up to clear blue skies today...but much, much cooler. It was only 43 degrees (roughly 6 Celsius) outside and there was quite a breeze as well. We actually had to put on jeans, long sleeves, jackets and socks and shoes today...a far cry from a yesterday and the previous week!! We haven’t had long pants on since we returned from Victoria on November 8th!!

We had some shopping to do today, so we drove into Waycross. Steve dropped me off at Kroger’s to pick up some groceries while he went to Lowe’s for a product (called Zone Defence) to keep ants away that the Camp Hosts had recommended. Before heading home, we fuelled up the truck at the Kroger’s fuel bar. Kroger’s has the best price on diesel at $3/gallon...and with a “Kroger’s Card” you get an additional 3c off. This time, though, we actually had to apply for a card. No problem, we can do that...all they wanted was your name and address. There is such a difference in prices when it comes to gas and diesel. Not like at home where all prices are the same at each station.

Once home, and with the groceries put away, we decided to go for our daily power walk on the Nature Trail. Today in our long pants and sleeves...I even had my vest on as well. But it was a beautiful day...not a cloud in the sky!

After our walk, Steve decided it was time he cleaned the barbeque while I thought it was time to tackle setting up an Excel spreadsheet to track our spending. Both “chores” that we had been putting off... After a couple of hours, it was time to relax with our bevies and enjoy the late afternoon sunshine. As soon as the sun went down, though, it got really cool so Steve got the campfire going. We sat enjoying the fire until dinner time and then decided to go in and spend the rest of the evening watching TV. Firewood is at a premium around here...after buying 2 bundles and spending $6/bundle; each having 6 crappy pieces of wood; we decided to save the second bundle for another “short” fire tomorrow night.

Friday, November 26, 2010 (Laura S. Walker State Park, GA)

Well, if I said we had nothing on the agenda for yesterday, today would be the ultimate in non-agenda days. Rain was in the forecast but it really didn’t look too bad out there when we got up. There were broken clouds and a beautiful sunrise but as Steve left the trailer to go for his shower, it started sprinkling out...hmmm...guess there is a big cloud right above us. It didn’t last long and it ended up being a pretty warm, sunny morning.

Roy and Sandy headed out at about 9:30. We were out to watch him hook up his SUV to the motor home and say our goodbyes. They again encouraged us to call them upon our return to Florida after Christmas. I think we’s always nice having someone show us around!

Just before noon we thought we should get out for a walk while we could. Dark clouds were heading in! As we were on our power walk around the nature trail, we had a few sprinkles fall on us...yikes, I hope we can get back before it starts raining! We did but the wind was picking up and really dark clouds were coming in from the north. Just as Steve started barbequing hot dogs for lunch, it started to pour! Holy Cats! When it rains around here, it pours!! We couldn’t even stand outside under the awning because the wind was whipping the rain underneath.

And it poured all afternoon...and into the evening! We even had to change our plans for barbequing hamburgers for dinner...opting for tacos that I could make inside. Needless to say, we spent the afternoon and evening inside. Steve was watching his favourite TV channel...The Military Station...and I worked for a long time on uploading pictures to our blog. Once I had that done, I read my book...a pretty darn relaxing day!

I have no pictures of our rainy day today so thought I would end todays posting with a picture of an alligator that Steve took the other day....

And a picture of the decorations up at the entrance to the State Park...

Thursday, November 25, 2010 (Laura S. Walker State Park, GA)

Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends! We really didn’t have anything on the agenda for today. The main thing I wanted to do was get our travel journal up to date and posted, along with pictures, on our blog. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a slow, slow process uploading pictures when using the Rogers Rocket Stick down here...patience, Dianne!

After we got the morning dishes done and the kitchen cleaned up, Steve headed out for a boat ride to see if he could see some alligators. I hunkered down with my laptop and wrote...trying to remember what we did over the past few days. I hate it when I’m unable to keep the journal up-to-date. My usual routine is that I write the previous day’s first thing each morning. But occasionally, I’m unable to do that or decide to do something else...I was behind today mainly because instead of writing yesterday morning, I had chosen to see if uploading pictures to the blog would be faster in the morning. It didn’t seem to matter and the consequence of this decision was that I would have to write two days the next morning. I’m really glad that I am keeping the journal/blog, though. It is amazing how quickly you forget (or should I say, “I” forget) exactly what we did each day.

I was still working away when Steve returned and asked if I wanted to go for a walk this afternoon. Sounds like a plan...I’m almost finished here. We headed out for our “usual” walk on the Nature Trail. I had my pedometer with me...I was still trying to get it set correctly. After the loop, it was still out...sheesh, guess I’m going to have to keep walking this loop until I get it right...but not today. On the way back, we decided to walk through the day use area. There were a bunch of cars parked down there so there must be a Thanksgiving gathering in one of the group shelters.

Once back, we relaxed in the shade with a cold bottle of water...whew, it was hot! I checked the Weather Network and found out that the current temperature was 79 degrees and 86 with the humidex. Okay...yeah...I am rubbing it all our family and friends back home where they are experiencing cold and snow!

I left Steve outside having an afternoon siesta while I went back inside to try getting some pictures uploaded to the blog. After much perseverance, I managed to get Monday and Tuesday’s postings finished and posted. That just left yesterday’s to do and since we had had a full day, I had lots of pictures I wanted to include...that would take more time...and patience!

A little later in the afternoon, we had an invitation from Roy to come over and have a tour of their motor home. We also took our road atlas with us because Sandy had offered to show us the locations of some of the parks they have stayed at. We spent a couple of hours visiting with them...very nice, down-to-earth, genuine people. We discussed our plans when we return to Florida in January and they were emphatic that we call them since they do not live far from Orlando. They would be more than happy to show us some of the sights in their area. After exchanging contact information, and taking pictures, we headed back to our trailer. They were leaving tomorrow but we would see them and say our goodbyes before they take off.

Well, having received no invitations for a Thanksgiving turkey dinner, we had our own...barbecued chicken breast (instead of turkey) and stove-top stuffing. After dishes, we settled in to watch some TV...unfortunately most programs seemed to be re-runs that we had already seen...probably because it was Thanksgiving here.

After trying unsuccessfully to have a Skype call with Chris, I settled for MSN texting back and forth with him. After working long hours for the past week or so to meet a milestone date, he is looking forward to a more “relaxing” day at work tomorrow and actually taking the whole weekend off. We are looking forward to seeing him and catching up when we are all “home” at Rob and Angie’s for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 (Laura S. Walker State Park, GA)

We were going to Jekyll Island today so there would be no dilly dallying this morning. But it was still later than we had hoped to get away. We still had a few ants showing so Steve did another quick spray and too much chit-chatting with neighbours, I guess! It was 9:40 by the time we headed out for the 70 minute trip straight east on highway 82 to Jekyll Island. I was a little concerned by the clouds this morning but as we headed towards the coast, the clouds disappeared and we had a beautiful sunny day.

We stopped at the Visitor’s Information Centre (which is about 2 miles before you actually get to the Island) and after getting a map and directions, we continued on. There is a “Greeting Station” as you get onto the island where you have to pay a $5 parking fee to park on the island...interesting. The literature says that it is used to support conservation and stewardship of the natural and cultural resources of the Island...well, okay then. We found the Island History Centre...oops, “Center”...and after parking in the huge, but almost empty, parking lot, we found that we had just missed the 11:00 tour of the historical area. The next tour was at 1:00, so we started off in the museum. We learned that the island’s present day prominence as a favourite vacation spot was prefaced by an era of unrivalled status and prestige. Beginning in 1886, for well over five decades, the island was the exclusive domain of the Jekyll Island Club—the winter retreat for some the most elite and wealthy families...the Rockefellers, Pulitzers, Vanderbilts, name a few. As usual, there was so much reading!! But very interesting, especially when you get to the part after the island was bought for $125, 000 and fifty-three prominent Jekyll Island Club members created an exclusive gilded era island retreat for family and friends.

Just after 12:00, we thought we should go eat our picnic lunch before the 90 minute tour started at 1:00. The tour was great...what a wonderful way to really find out about an area. The guided tram tour of the 240-acre historic district included entry into two “cottages”...hardly cottages!  Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the cottages.  The Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark District is one of the largest ongoing restoration projects in the south-eastern United States. The Jekyll Island Clubhouse is now an award-winning four-star Jekyll Island Club Hotel; the Club Wharf is now a seafood restaurant; the Club Power Plant is now the Georgia Sea Turtle Centre; and a number of other buildings that housed servants are now a shopping area. A number of cottages also house other things...for instance, the Goodyear Cottage houses the Jekyll Island Arts Association and gift shop; and the Mistletoe Cottage showcases the work of a renowned Jekyll Island sculptor. Another one, the Furness Cottage is now a book and antique store. The first Trans-Atlantic phone call was even made from the island by Alexander Graham Bell who had become ill and could not make it back to New York in time. So they strung cables to the island so he could make it from there! The tour was well worth the $16 is cost...we really enjoyed it!

These are pictures of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel...

This is Indian Mound Cottage, owned by the of the two cottages we had a tour of.  You should have seen the size of Mrs. Rockefellers bedroom!  Very opulant!
This was the Rockefellers (and others) favourite mode of transportation around the island...
The Goodyear Cottage...
The Crane Cottage (yes, the fellow who started all the bathroom stuff...faucets, toilets...)...
This is the first had 6 large suites in it...

After the tour of the historical district, we went to the Georgia Sea Turtle Centre ( It is Georgia’s first sea turtle rehabilitation, research and education facility providing state-of-the-art emergency care to sick and injured sea turtles. Again, there was much reading but we learned a lot about sea turtles and even saw the hospital room where they are treated and then the “recovery room”—the rehabilitation pavilion where a number are being nursed back to health.

This is Griffin.  He was found in 2007 with a
gastrointestinal infection.  He also had a stroke making it impossible for him to dive.  So he will live in that tank for the rest of his life...
 By the time we had finished at the Sea Turtle Centre it was after 3:30 and we still wanted to drive around the island. Once back in the truck we headed north and stopped at the ruins of the Horton House, a circa 1742 remnant of English colonization. Constructed of tabby (we’ve learned a lot about this seashell and sand mixture used a lot for construction of buildings back then), Horton House was built by Major William Horton. He had established a thriving plantation on Jekyll Island in the 1730’s.
Across the street was the DuBignon Cemetery, another prominent family back in the 1700’s...

Our next stop was the Clam Creek Picnic Area and Fishing Pier where we walked to the end of the pier and took lots of pictures.

After that, we continued around the tip and headed south along the east side of the island where there are plenty of hotels and resorts dotting the oceanfront...all with a lovely beach. Unfortunately, a portion of the road on the southern tip of the island is closed. I understand they are doing some major renovations to the shopping centre and gas station.

It was about 4:30 when we left the island and headed home. As you can see, we’d had a full day! It was pretty close to being dark by the time we got home, but we had one quick drink outside as the sun was setting. We then headed inside for dinner and some TV.
The campground was really starting to fill up as people arrived to spend their Thanksgiving weekend here....still hoping we’ll get an invite for turkey dinner tomorrow...haha!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 (Laura S. Walker State Park, GA)

Well, we thought we had all the bugs worked out of our 5th wheel...but today we found more...hundreds more, as a matter of fact! We have been invaded with little teeny tiny ants. Just lovely...(said VERY sarcastically!) There are warnings posted about an ant problem here and Steve had been monitoring around the outside of the trailer but hadn’t noticed any...yet. I guess they decided to make their invasion during the night while they had the cover of darkness! I was not impressed, to say the least!!

After spending the morning vacuuming up ants (Steve sprayed the inside of the hose with Raid to kill them) and spraying all around the outside of the trailer, we ran out of Raid. So we made a trip into Waycross to pick some more up at Walmart.

We were trying to avoid having to spray the inside of the trailer but upon returning from Walmart, we found that many more were enjoying their new found home. So we closed up all the windows and Steve sprayed all around the corners of the trailer and closed it up while we went for a walk.

We walked the nature trail again. I had my pedometer with me and was trying to calibrate it. To do that, I needed to know the distance between two points and since the trail is 1.3 miles (2.08 km), I can use that. After going around the loop once, I found that my pedometer was still out quite a bit so after adjusting the stride on it, I decided to do another loop and test it. Besides, I needed the exercise. Steve didn’t want to, so he went back to the trailer. Whew, it was hot! But I had a good 45 minute power walk and it felt great! I still don’t think I have my pedometer quite right yet, but I wasn’t about to do another loop! I’ll test it again on another walk later in the week.

Well, the trailer had been closed up for 2 hours...hopefully, that did the trick! We opened it up to air it out while we sat outside enjoying the late afternoon sun with a beverage. We are still finding the occasional straggler but nothing like the infestation we had this morning.

After dinner, Steve lit the campfire. Our a big Class A motorhome two sites down from us...are coming down to join us for a visit. Roy and Sandy are from Daytona, Florida and have enjoyed RV’ing since 2003. They are not full-timers but do enjoy extended trips each year. He retired when he was 47 (he’s 61 now)! He then went on to explain how he was able to retire at such an early age. In 1973, right out of the service, he was offered a job by a friend who was developing a computerized billing system for a local health care company. In a nutshell, it was right at the start of the “computer-age” and with a lot of hard work and long hours; the company grew and was eventually in 42 States. The company was eventually purchased by another larger one and the deal made was that all current employees would not lose their jobs. Only the executives (i.e. founders) of the company...he was a Vice-President would go. Consequently, he retired...but he carried on as a consultant  for a bit afterwards.

It was close to 10:00 when they left and we put out the fire and went inside. We had had a great evening sitting around the campfire chatting with new friends!

I thought I would end today's posting with some pictures of the campground that we took while out on one of our walks.  This is a picture of the day-use area...
That's our truck way in the background...

Monday, November 22, 2010 (Laura S. Walker State Park, GA)

We had our usual start to the day. After breakfast we sat outside enjoying the sunshine as we waited for a phone call from the company that was going to come out and take a look at our satellite dish. At about 10:00, Steve decided to give them a call...they were “working on it” and should have a technician out later this afternoon.

Well, okay then...let’s go out for a ride in the boat and see if we can find more alligators. We had the other end of the lake to explore so we headed out in that direction. It was such a beautiful day as we skimmed quietly along the water towards the bridge. We went under the bridge and the other side was very cool...”Welcome to Baba’s Swamp Tour”...Steve announced. But unfortunately, no critters at all, for that matter...just very interesting scenery.

That's the campground in the background behind Steve...

On the way back, I saw two little turtle heads peering out above the water but they quickly disappeared. That was it for our wildlife sightings.

After lunch, we waited and waited for a phone call...they said that they would call once they knew when a technician would be available. So finally Steve called again...the technician was on his way. Well, sheesh, it would have been nice if you had called to let us know.

While we continued to wait, we did have a little entertainment...Steve spotted an alligator floating in the lake right in front of our campsite!

Lee (“the satellite guy”) arrived just after 2:30. The good news is that there is nothing wrong with the LNB arm on the dish...but it did take him about 45 minutes to find a satellite signal...and he had very expensive equipment to assist him. Great...what does that mean next time we try finding a signal by could be pretty expensive getting a technician out to help us find the satellite every time we put it up! (In Canada we never had a problem aiming the dish before and this was our first attempt in the USA) However, once inside they were still unable to get any stations. Lee went over all the setting and double checked everything he could...but still no stations. So, that meant a phone call to ShawDirect...and another exercise in frustration as you wait on hold forever! As it turned out, if you don’t use your dish for over a week, it automatically blocks and you have to phone ShawDirect to have it unblocked. Well, no one told us that! It is supposedly some kind of security feature. Wouldn’t it be nice if they automatically deducted the time it is blocked from your monthly bill?

It was after 5:30 by the time Lee left. He had been here for 3 hours and only charged us $75 for the service call. He said it had been a learning experience for him as well working on a Canadian system and that was why he only charged for the service call. Wow...thank you very much! I saw dollar signs in front of my eyes as the hours ticked by and had not been looking forward to the bill.

Needless to say, we stayed inside tonight...we had satellite TV and could now get CHEK and BCTV news! As a matter of fact, I turned on CHEK news just in time to hear all about the snow storm that was happening in Victoria. The southern west coast is sure getting hit hard with a cold snap right now.

Sunday, November 21, 2010 (Laura S. Walker State Park, GA)

I thought I was over my super-early morning risings...but there I was wide awake laying there listening to Steve snore...and it wasn’t even 5 a.m. yet! Sheesh! My mind started racing and I knew it was useless so I finally gave in and got up. It has been quite a while since I have been up so early.

What a beautiful sunrise this was going to be another gorgeous day. Steve sat outside with his coffee enjoying the early morning sunshine while I did my exercises inside. He decided to do his exercises when I went over for my shower.

After breakfast, as Steve was getting the boat ready to take out for ride, he struck up a conversation with the couple across the road from us. They retired in May 2009 and are now full-timers in an Airstream Trailer with no slide-outs. She did say that it was a little narrow. They are from Ontario and are heading towards Los Angeles where he has family. It’s too bad that we hadn’t had a chance to talk longer with them. She seemed very resourceful in what she had learned over the last year and a half full-timing.

Once Steve had the electric motor all hooked up in the boat, we set out to go “alligator hunting”. I’m telling you...that water is such a dark coffee colour and full of weeds and critters, that the thought of accidently going overboard just gave me the willies!!!  It was actually very beautiful as we quietly skimmed slowly across the water.  Here is a picture of our campsite taken from the boat...

We saw 3 alligators...from a distance...along with a few turtles poking their heads out of the water. It got very weedy as we approached the end of the lake and of course, the weeds got all wrapped around the propeller...numerous times. After cleaning the weeds off many times, Steve decided to just row us back out of the dense weeds. Once free of the thick weeds, we headed slowly back. The wind had come up and the poor little electric motor was having a bit of a hard time going against it so it was time to go in. We had been out for an hour...we’ll explore the other end of the lake tomorrow.

I made sandwiches and we sat out in sunshine eating our lunch. There were plenty of clouds around but for the most part, the sun was managing to get through and it was very warm the upper 70’s (it may have even made it to 80 but we’re not sure because we forgot to bring the thermometer outside).

After a short afternoon siesta following lunch, we decided to check out the hiking trail. The trailhead is across the highway from the park entrance. It is only a 1.3 mile hike but it has some interesting features...and critters. We didn’t see any critters but the vegetation was interesting...Saw Palmettos were abundant. They look just like a “fan palm”...I was just saying to Steve that I wondered what they were called and low and behold, the next thing we saw was a sign on the trail naming the plant. We came across a big hole that had been made by a Gopher Tortoise (  ) digs tunnels up to 30 feet in length and as far down as 3 to 20 feet!
It was a very nice, easy trail with a good portion of it a wide boardwalk over what I’m supposing is a swampy area (when they have rain).
On our way back we stopped at the park office to give them a set of keys that we had found on a bench in the park. While there I thought I would ask if by chance, there had been a cancellation for the long weekend next weekend. Not having a reservation anywhere for the Thanksgiving Weekend was really bothering us because the more people we spoke to, the more we realized that it had been very poor planning on our part. To our surprise, there had been a cancellation...2, in fact! YAY! We didn’t have our wallets with us and to reserve you need to make payment right away. So we quickly walked back to the trailer and picked up Steve’s wallet. Once back, we reserved and paid for another 5 nights...making our stay extended until Monday, November 29th. What a relief...and what an awesome spot to spend the extra time at!

Steve and I were sitting in the sunshine drinking a much needed bottle of water when we realized that it was only 2:30 p.m. It was one of those very rare days where the time seems to be going much slower than normal. It was really nice for a change.

Other than putting on a load of laundry (there are 2 washers and dryers in the bathhouse) we spent the rest of the afternoon just relaxing. Steve read his magazines and I thought I would try to get some pictures uploaded into our blog so that it can be posted. I was a little behind on the postings mainly because the pictures are taking a little longer to upload using the Rogers Rocket Stick as my internet connection.

Once the sun went down, we changed into warmer clothes and Steve lit a campfire. We had a couple of drinks and then did up burgers on the barbeque. After dinner, I checked to see if Rob or Chris were signed into Skype. It was 7pm here, making it only 4pm back home but Rob was on so we called. The picture quality wasn’t good but it was still great seeing Rob and Angie and having a good chat with them. I can hardly wait to see Angie when we get home at Christmas...I need some “girl-time” with my favourite daughter-in-law!!! Steve placed a Skype call to his dad. Nothing new with him as usual...same old same old as he always says.

I had chatted with Chris briefly this afternoon on MSN...he was at work. A very important milestone (the game is going into “Alpha”...whatever that means) is coming up this Wednesday so he decided to put in a little extra work this weekend. He wasn’t sure what time he would be home to Skype us but I said that I would check throughout the evening to see if he was on. He wasn’t on I’ll check again later.

We returned to the campfire and had just re-stoked it when our neighbours, Toddie and Vic returned home. They joined us by the fire for a short visit before heading inside. They had been packing up today in preparation for leaving tomorrow so were tired from a busy day. We stayed out for another half hour or so and then decided to go in and watch the season finale of Glades that we had PVR’d.

Before heading to bed, I went on-line one last time to see if we could connect with Chris. Not yet...oh well, we’ll have to try tomorrow. With the 3 hour time difference, it was just after 7pm in Vancouver but after 10pm here and we were heading to bed. But just as I was about to sign out, I had a Skype call from my brother, Dwight. Although a bit choppy and broken up, it was great seeing and hearing from him. Sounds like it is pretty cold back home and more snow is in the forecast...unusual for Victoria and very early in the season!

Saturday, November 20, 2010 (Laura S. Walker State Park, GA)

Well, the first thing I found out this morning as I fired up my laptop and got onto the internet is that it is snowing back home! It looks like they are going through a bit of a cold snap and there is a snowfall warning...10 to 15 cms of snow expected in both the Vancouver and Victoria areas. Sorry guys...but we’re in our shorts and sandals down here in southern Georgia, enjoying lots of sunshine and temps in the mid 70’s (mid 20’s for those back in Canada).

After breakfast, Steve called the Okefenokee Swamp Park to book a 2 hour boat tour of the swamp for today. Unfortunately, he was told that the boat tours had to be cancelled due to lack of water...drats! But there was still the train tour available.

But before heading out, we had one more thing to take care of...we did a Google search for local satellite dealers in the area that may be able to come out and troubleshoot our problem. Steve researched a couple of options and then called one...”What’s yor problem, honey?...” (said with the most perfect southern drawl...). After explaining the situation, she was most helpful and will have a technician out as soon as possible Monday. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that there is a fairly inexpensive solution!

Okefenokee Swamp Park is only about 8 miles away and we arrived there just before 11:00 a.m. ...just in time for the scheduled 11:00 train tour. We enjoyed the tour but unfortunately we could not hear a lot of what the tour guide/train driver was saying. The combination of a rather inadequate speaker system, the noise from the engine along with his southern accent made it a real challenge. There was also the diesel exhaust from the engine in front of us which was rather unpleasant as well. But he did stop the train a couple of times and when you could hear what he was saying; he was really knowledgeable and very interesting. He had been working in the swamp since 1971 and we really learned a lot about alligators.  He even had a name for all of the heck do you distinguish one from the other??! He then listed off all the different characteristics of each of them! A very interesting fellow!

This is Lucy...she is very sick.  They have tried to separate her from the others and nurse her back to health but she is not doing well...

We saw lots of alligators!
After the train ride, there was a show in the Interpretive Center, so we headed down there. Another very interesting fellow shared his knowledge of the swamp...he had 2 types of snakes and 2 baby was 2 years old and the other 3. He brought out each one individually telling us all about it...and then walking through the audience letting everyone have a close-up look and feel. No thanks...I’ll pass on that! I’ll just admire from a distance...but of course, this only made me his target...great! At one point, he had me up front and wanted me to put my hands out in front of me...and of course, he was going to put the snake in them....just couldn’t do it...I touched it and then basically scurried back to my chair!

Then he brought out the baby alligators...awww...they are “so cute”! As with the snakes, he brought it into the audience and just as he came over to Steve, the alligator peed. Boy, did Steve jump...good reflexes, honey!! The fellow’s’s just Gatorade! Too funny!

I’m glad that we went to the park and were able to see what we saw...mainly lots of alligators...but we were both very disappointed that we were unable to go on the boat tour deep into the swamp. It’s very obvious why the boats aren’t running...the water level is so low in the canals that the distance between the platform (dock) and the boat is incredible! They desperately need rain.

After a good 2 ½ hours at the Okefenokee Swamp Park, it was time to go into Waycross and find the Walmart Supercenter and pick up a few groceries. That was not a problem and we were in and out of there and on our way back home in no time...okay...a little time...

We were back home by 3:30. Steve decided to unload the boat while I put the groceries away. We are going to take the boat out for a ride around the lake fishing...just sightseeing. I did a little banking and then it was time to sit out and enjoy the late afternoon sun before it slid away behind the trees on the other side of the lake. While we were sitting there, the camp hosts came by inviting everyone in the campground to the Chilli Cookoff. For $2 each we could come and try the different pots of chilli made by the entrants to the cook-off. It was from 6:00 to 7:30 over at the interpretive center hall. That sounded good to us and after chatting with our neighbours Toddie and Vic, they were going to join us as well.

So, armed with our flashlights, the four of us set out at 6:00 for the chilli cook-off...aka dinner! There was a nice gathering of people who had decided to partake in the event. And the 4 big pots of chilli were soon devoured! They were all delicious...I chose to mix the super-spicy with a mild one...just the right combination!

After some good conversation and great chilli, we headed back to our campsites. We changed into our “campfire” clothes and joined Toddie and Vic by their fire for about an hour and then retreated inside to watch a PVR’d show before heading to bed.  This is a picture of Toddie and Vic...
While Steve was getting ready for bed, I decided to go on-line and check our email...then I decided to return a couple. Needless to say, that took longer than I anticipated and Steve was snoring peacefully by the time I made it to bed. It’s not very often that he is asleep before me...

Friday, November 19, 2010 (Laura S. Walker State Park, GA)

What a gorgeous view that greeted me this morning as I opened the window blinds! It was going to be another lovely day. I sat in my recliner with my coffee and laptop and looked up often to take in the beautiful view we have of the lake. It was still too cool to be sitting outside...will have to wait for the sun to do its magic!

We weren’t planning on leaving the campground today; instead we thought we’d have a relaxing day around here. The main thing we wanted to do was get a satellite signal so we could watch TV...I miss the BCTV Morning News! What a huge frustration that was! We spent over 3 hours at it! Even after a call to ShawDirect and getting the satellite coordinates from them, we still couldn’t latch onto the signal. After a second call to Shaw, we determined that it could possibly be the LNB arm on the dish that is malfunctioning. Great...sure, it’s under warranty but they can’t ship a replacement to us down here...they offered to send out a technician...yes, please...our current address is Waycross, Georgia! Hmmmm....guess not, eh? So now we will see if we can find a technician locally who can come out and at least confirm what the problem is. Depending on the cost, we may just go ahead and buy a replacement here and then get a warranty replacement (as a backup) when we are back in Canada next April.

It was after 3:00 by the time we had given up on the satellite dish...and time for a power walk around the campground! It is obviously a very busy park during the summer months as there are 2 big group camp shelters, numerous group picnic shelters as well as a big playground and swimming pool. Swimming in the lake is prohibited because of the alligators...haven’t seen any yet, though. On the other side of the park there are a few small (and very rustic looking) cabins. There are also some hiking trails that we will have to explore another day.

We sat enjoying the late afternoon sun with a cocktail before dinner. It certainly cools down quickly as the sun gets lower in the sky. I had to go in and put some sweats on. But with no campfire, it was just getting too cool to stay out and besides it was time to go in and put the water on for the spaghetti.

We had met our neighbours this morning and they had invited us over to join them by a campfire tonight. Dottie and Vic are from Long Island, New York and since retiring in 2004, spend 5 months each year travelling. They are avid golfers and have developed many friendships down in this area.

We visited with them for just over an hour and then returned home to watch some shows that Steve had PVR’d. Since the satellite dish was still hooked up, we are able to watch them....strange...the dish has to be hooked up in order to watch anything that has been downloaded.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 (Travel from Fort McAllister State Park to Laura S. Walker State Park, GA)

We had planned to be on the road by 11:00 a.m. this morning but that didn’t quite work. After our morning routine, breakfast, packing the 5th wheel up and stopping at the sani-dump on our way out, it was just after 11:30 by the time we were on the road.

It was another beautiful sunny day as we headed south down I95. We took exit 9 onto Georgia State Highway 82 going west towards the town of Waycross. Laura S. Walker State Park is 2 miles off the highway and 9 miles out of Waycross. We’ll have to check out Waycross another’s got to be fairly large—they have a Super Walmart Center, after all.

We pulled into the park at about 1:45 and after registering ($26/night with electricity, water hook-ups and free showers) we were free to go in and pick our site. Well, that didn’t take long! Site #8 was lakefront...that’s the one for us! The park is really nice...quite different from Fort McAllister. It is much more open here with large grassy areas between the sites.

After getting backed in, levelled off and the sliders out, I decided to play “Susie Homemaker” and give the trailer a good vacuuming before I put out all the furniture. While I was doing that, Steve was outside setting up all the outside stuff involved in setting up. I had the vacuuming done and the inside pretty well all set up when it was time to get the satellite dish out. We had wide open skies, so there should be no reason not to be able to get a signal...we just had to find the right satellite. Well, that proved to be very frustrating...there was no way we could find a signal stronger than 18. Something must be wrong. So rather than continue with the frustration, we decided to leave it until tomorrow when Steve could call Shaw Direct and see if they could help us.

The sun was going down and it was getting cool so after changing into warmer clothes, we got a campfire going and sat outside enjoying our beautiful view of the lake. It so lovely just sitting there that instead of having the planned spaghetti for dinner, we decided to just roast hot dogs over the campfire.

It was after 9:00 when we finally decided to go in. I actually seem to have a stronger internet connection here...must be the wide open we did a little research of the Ocala National Forest in Florida. This is where we are planning to go to next. The only issue we are having is that next Thursday is the American Thanksgiving and it seems that the campgrounds get very busy over that weekend. We are scheduled to leave here next Wednesday but we don’t have anything reserved so that may be a bit of a problem...we’ll have to deal with that one over the next few days.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 (Fort McAllister State Park, GA)

We woke to clear blue skies this morning. Yesterday’s forecast for rain hadn’t really amounted to much...just a few sprinkles. This is actually too bad as they desperately need rain according to the locals. After exercises, showering and breakfast, we were ready to go just after 10:00 a.m. Steve tried calling Ronny at Roberts Truck Center to see if the part for the truck had arrived but after being put on hold twice, he decided to hang up...we will drive up to the Park office and use Skype on my IPod with the free Wi-Fi...why waste our USA minutes on the cell being on hold.

The part hadn’t arrived yet but was expected any time now so we decided to head there would likely be there by the time we arrived. Thankfully the truck has run perfectly without the new flow switch! It was shortly after 11:00 when we got there and yes, the part had shouldn’t take too long.

Well...2 hours later, we finally were on our way to Tybee Island! I had (again) packed a picnic lunch with the intension of finding a nice picnic area by the beach but a lady at Roberts (while out having a smoke break) had mentioned The Crab Shack. It sounded quite unique as she described how it started off as just a small Tiki Bar then had was added it is quite large and has exotic birds and an alligator pool. It didn’t take much to ditch the picnic idea and go out for lunch. It was, after all, quite possibly our last chance for fresh seafood since the next State Park we were staying at was away from the coast.

What a very cool spot...unfortunately, the pictures just don't do it justice...

We shared the ‘half and half plate’ which was ¼ pound of shrimp and 5 crab legs (and a small bowl of coleslaw) was very good but the crab legs were just too much work for me!

After lunch we carried on down the main street of Tybee Island to the Pier/Pavilion where we parked the truck in the public parking lot. One thing we noticed is that all the streets have paid parking that is strictly enforced...that must be a good source of revenue for the community. After paying $1.50 for one hour...and noticing it was 3:13 p.m. already...we were ready to onto the huge pier. As we were leaving the truck, Steve happened to look up and noticed that the bolt (on the driver’s side) holding the boat loader on was gone...and upon checking the other side, noticed that the nut was off so just the bolt was holding that side on. He checks them regularly because they often come loose as we travel, so he couldn’t believe they had come right off. Well, that kinda put a damper on we had to find a hardware store to buy replacement bolts.

We took a walk down to the end of the pier and I took pictures...very beautiful! And that’s the wide-open Atlantic Ocean out there!

Back at the truck, I pulled out Serena (GPS) and punched in “hardware”...the closed one was 11 miles away just off Tybee Island as you head back into Savannah. Well, if that is the nearest one, then “Ace, the hardware man, it is”. It was located in a small strip-mall with plenty of room to pull out the ladder and replace the missing bolts. Steve had an issue with one side...he couldn’t tighten up the nut, but it wouldn’t come off either. So after “screwing” around with that for a bit finally decided to just leave was going onto 5:00 by this time, the sun was going down and we still had about an hours’ drive back to the campground...through rush hour, of course.

One thing that is very evident down here is the preparation for the ‘Christmas Season’ which starts next Thursday with Thanksgiving. Decorations are going up everywhere...there’s something wrong about seeing a snowman display when its 75 degrees and you’re in shorts and sandals! We even saw live Christmas trees being sold already!!

We stopped at Kroger’s to fill up with diesel. It had the best price...$3.00/gallon...but if you had a Kroger’s card, you got 3c off...making it $2.97. We didn’t have a card, but the attendant still gave it to us at the reduced cost anyway...thanks!

It was almost 7:00 by the time we got home. We decided not to have a campfire tonight; instead, we just went inside. Steve read while I prepared chicken fajitas for dinner. Unfortunately, the only fajita seasoning mix that I could find was McCormick’s, not the usual Old El Paso, and they weren’t very good. The seasoning was totally different.

After dishes, we decided to go for a walk around the campground...Steve was wearing his nifty headband with the light in it to guide the way. We saw racoon “eyes” staring at us everywhere as we made our way around the loop. I’ve never seen so many racoons...more than a dozen and I swear, there is a squirrel for every tree in the campground!

After our walk, settled in to watch a movie. Suzanne, we watched Temple Grandin. It was very good...I quite enjoyed it...very interesting... Thanks, again to Dennis for the movies...hopefully, we are able to get satellite at our next campground because we have run out of movies now!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 (Fort McAllister State Park, GA)

Before heading to Tybee Island today, we needed to decide on our next stop and reserve a was Tuesday already and we were leaving on Thursday. It still amazes me how fast a week can go by! We had narrowed it down to either Crooked River State Park, which is closer to the coast, or Laura S. Walker State Park, which is further inland. We thought we would stop at the Park office here and see if they could help with our decision.

The fellow manning the office today basically said that each had their own attractions. Crooked River, being on the coast, has similar vegetation and is on the salt marsh as there is here at Fort McAllister. Laura S. Walker, on the other hand, is further inland and has fresh water lakes. We opted for a change and decided on Laura S. Walker State Park. He let us use the office phone and we made our reservation...arriving Thursday, November 18th for 6 nights.

On the way to Tybee Island, Steve wanted to stop at a tire shop he had noticed along highway 17 and have the truck tires checked. As usual, the truck garnered a lot of attention and many questions from the fellows working in the shop. The manager even sent one of the guys out to take pictures. Steve was busy talking with the fellows while they checked the tires while I sat inside on my Ipod...I had managed to pick up a WiFi signal. Although slow on that little keypad, I managed to respond to an email.

It was quite breezy out this morning and there were clouds moving in. When we heard the “rain” word being mentioned, I thought that I should check out the forecast since I had an internet connection on my Ipod. Sure enough, thunderstorms with an 80% chance of rain....hmmmm...maybe we should go to Tybee Island tomorrow when the forecast is for sunshine. We had a lot of “stuff” to do that we were going to do tomorrow so we decided to just switch days. Hopefully, all would go smoothly tomorrow with the truck (the part would arrive early so they could get it fixed) and we would have time to visit Tybee Island.

So back to the trailer we go where I gathered and sorted the dirty laundry into 3 big bags. Steve found the information he needed to phone Keystone and I had the info I needed to phone Rogers. But before we head up to the WiFi zone at the Park office, let’s have the picnic lunch I had packed for Tybee Island...that’s picnic #2 that we haven’t had at Tybee!

Okay, now it was time to take care of some business. Sitting outside the Park office (and with a good strong internet connection), Steve used Skype on my Ipod (with a microphone built into the headset) to call Keystone Customer Service. We needed to find a Montana dealer in the Orlando, Florida area that would do some warranty work on the 5th wheel while we were at home for Christmas. He called a dealer that was about 13 miles from the Orlando airport...we could drop the trailer off December 14th and leave it and the truck there for the 3 weeks we were going to be gone...yay!

Once he was finished taking care of his business, it was my turn to use the Ipod and call Rogers—I wanted to see if it would be possible to suspend our cell service while out of the country. If by chance, they would do that, then we would buy a cheap phone at WalMart and purchase a pay-as-you-go card for it. Nope, they can’t suspend the service...I didn’t think they would, but it was worth a try. So, instead, I purchased a US Travel Pak...$25 for 40 minutes that expires in one month. When we are home at Christmas I will have to research better options with Rogers—she had suggest a “voice add on” package for the 3 months when we head back down in January.

After a quick skype call to Chris (because he was not answering my emails and I hadn’t had any contact with him for awhile—he’s fine, by the way...just very busy at work), we headed into Richmond Hill to the Laundromat. Now, that was truly a bad experience...and I thought the one in Elliot Lake was bad. We stopped at “BC’s Laundromat” and I went in to take a look...a dump! Okay, I had seen another sign further down the road that said “Laundry and Dry Cleaners”...unfortunately, it wasn’t a Laundromat. The only Laundromat was “BC’s” back we go. With no other choice, we haul our laundry bags inside and I load 3 of the “better looking” washers. What an absolute joke! The wash cycle had barely any motion...the sheets in one of the washers wasn’t even getting wet...sheesh!!! We were not happy, needless to say! After the so-called spin cycle, we hauled all the wet clothes out and back into the bags and back into the truck. There are laundry facilities back at the Park but there is only one washer and one dryer and I thought it would be easier since I had at least 3 or 4 loads to just go to a Laundromat and get it all done at once...bad decision. We ended up taking all the wet laundry back to the park and I did the 3 loads one at a time. After 10 million trips back and forth to the bath house (where the laundry is), it was well after 6:00 p.m. by the time it was all done.

While sitting by the fire Steve noticed that Rocky Racoon was back. The fitting to our secondary filter drips a bit so the racoons have been showing up for a drink. Steve thought that if he sprayed the fitting with bleach and opened the other tap a bit that that would keep everyone happy. Nope...coons like bleach it seems!  Unfortunately, the picture didn't turn out very good...

Needless to say, we had a later dinner...then it was movie time...and that was our day! Hopefully, we will make Tybee Island tomorrow...

Monday, November 15, 2010 (Fort McAllister State Park, GA)

I had my usual start to the day...up just before 7:00. It looked like it was going to be another beautiful day...a perfect day to go to Tybee Island. Tybee Island, from what I’ve read in the pamphlet, is supposed to be a quaint little community with a beautiful beach. It is just a short distance east of Savannah and is touted as “Savannah’s Beach”.

I went down to the bathhouse and took a shower...we have electrical hook-up and water but no sewer which means we have all the water we need for a shower but our grey-water holding tanks would be full in no time if we took showers in the trailer. So even with water hook-up, we still need to be careful of how much water we use...sheesh!

Once back, I made sandwiches for a picnic lunch today...we are retired and on a fixed income, so we can’t afford to be eating out all the time...drats!! By this time it was 9:30 and we were good to go. On the way out of the campground, we stopped at the dumpster to dump our garbage and as Steve put his foot on the brake, it made a funny grinding sound and then the ABS light, the service brake light and a loud warning alarm tone all went on....great... We drove the mile and a half to the Park entrance and the office...we’re going to need to use a phone! Luckily, the brakes seem to be working okay. After about an hour of being on the phone first with GM Customer Service USA who told Steve we had no warranty and then GM Canada who said we did have warranty, we were given the name of a local company that did warranty work on our truck type. I wasn’t too comfortable about going out on the highway with breaks that we weren’t sure were going to work. But once we fired up the truck, all the warning lights and alarm were was like nothing had happened. We were still going to Roberts Truck Center in Garden City (just east of Savannah) to have it looked at anyway!

We arrived at Roberts Truck Center at about 11:30 a.m. It is a large, busy business with a lot of big semi-trucks being repaired. Ronny took all the information needed to get approval for the warranty work and once approved, told us they were very busy but would try to get to it this afternoon. Great...I didn’t like the “try” part...but hey, what could we do? So we took our picnic lunch and sat at the cement employee picnic table where we were joined by Joe, a very nice fellow, as we ate our lunch.

And there we stayed for the afternoon, being joined by various employees coming out for a smoke break. A mechanic did come out and get our truck and drive it into one of the bays...good, they were at least “getting to it” this afternoon. Just before 3:30, a fellow came and told us the problem was with a ‘flow switch’ and it would have to be replaced. Unfortunately, one was not to be had in Savannah so it would have to be ordered in which meant they would not get it until Wednesday. On the bright-side, we could take the truck and bring it back then, so we wouldn’t have to rent a car.

So, it was just after 3:30 when we left Roberts Truck Center. After a quick stop at Camping World to pick up some new water filters, we were home shortly after 4:30. Well, that had certainly not been the way I had expected to spend our day. Oh well, thank goodness the problem happened when it did and not as we were boogying down the Interstate pulling the 5th wheel!

Our evening was pretty much the same as we have been having lately...bevies in front of the campfire, dinner and a movie.

We were going to try for Tybee Island tomorrow....

Sunday, November 14, 2010 (Fort McAllister State Park, GA)

We decided to have a nice relaxing day today...a “down day” from all the sightseeing. We each did our exercise routine and by the time we had done that, had breakfast and cleaned up, it was 11:30. Another very fast morning!

I finished up the travel journal so it was ready to be copied and pasted over to our blog and then downloaded all the pictures Steve had taken the previous two days. I was now ready to pack up my laptop and drive up to the park office and use the free WiFi so that I could post entries to our blog.

I left Steve to relax by himself while I went to the office. They don’t really have an area to set up your laptop...only a wooden bench in the reception area but there are chairs in the lecture room where we watched the video, so that is where I sat with the laptop on my lap. I was sitting in there for almost 2 hours—it takes time to pick out which pictures to post and then upload them! I also managed to download last week’s Survivor episode as well as last Thursday’s CSI.

After almost 2 hours, I had had enough...besides the laptop battery was almost dead and I had not bothered to bring the cords to plug it in. I packed up and headed back to the campsite. Well...I have no problem driving the truck as long as I am going forward...not so good going in reverse, though. Steve was directing as I was backing into our site...I missed the big trees but there was a low wooden sign that I didn’t see... Yup, I scraped the boat-loader post on it. I felt so bad...Steve is so particular about the truck...and it had just been repainted...sorry, honey...

Steve resumed his his chair outside reading...and I joined him for a bit before we decided to go for a walk. The campground had gone from being completed full to almost empty today. There were a few people down at the pier fishing but it didn’t look like they were having much luck...mainly just enjoying the beautiful sunshine. We continued until we found the Magnolia Nature Trail. It was only about a mile long but it was a pleasant walk.

Once back, I decided to take the truck into Richmond Hill to pick up some milk...when I got back, I figured I'd better let Steve back it up into the campsite. I had no argument there...gee...I thought he would have let me do it, after all, I do need more practice...haha!

By this time, it was campfire time. As I’ve said before, we are really enjoying our campfires! We enjoyed a couple of bevies and a visit from a fellow walking his dog before it was time to get dinner on.

After dinner and dishes, we sat down to watch the 2 shows that I had downloaded that day...only to find that the Survivor episode is the one we had just seen...oh right, we didn’t miss last week’s episode after all! And the CSI download had not worked...sheesh! Okay, we’ll watch another movie...another of the many Dennis had downloaded for us...thanks Den!

Saturday, November 13, 2010 (Fort McAllister State Park, Richmond Hill, GA)

We were going into Savannah today so wanted to get an earlier start that usual. That didn’t really mean getting up earlier; it just meant I had to get my butt in gear a little faster. I was up just before 7:00 with my coffee working on the journal. I won’t be able to get it posted today...that will have to wait until I go up to the free Wi-Fi at the park office. The connection I am getting on my Rogers Rocket Stick here at the campsite is very intermittent and I know that even if I could get the dialogue posted on the blog, there is no way that I’d be able to attach any pictures.

We were on our way into Savannah just after 9:30—it was about a 30 to 40 minute drive. We found our way to Old Savannah Tours, purchased our tickets and were ready for the 90 minute trolley tour. We had purchased the “on/off tour” which meant that you could get off and explore the area at any of the 15 stops along the way and get back on again and continue the tour.

It was another gorgeous, sunny day but definitely cooler. There were lots and lots of tourists taking in the sights of Old Savannah but unlike us, most were wearing long pants. Maybe the few others we saw wearing shorts were also crazy Canucks!

As we started our tour, the driver told us that the tours this company gives are not scripted like others, rather each guide gives his own tour—they have 15 stops so that if you were to get off at one and then back on, you’d likely have a different guide who gives their own personal version of the tour. Our guide was good but we found him to be a little hard to could be a combination of his southern accent along with the roar of the diesel engine as we sat at the back of the trolley.

Just like Beaufort (and the whole east coast), there is just so much history here...the architecture of the buildings is beautiful and quite unique in some cases. Over 800 heritage buildings were destroyed before the Savannah Heritage Society was, there are strict guidelines for construction and all have to be approved by the Society. Even brand new buildings must “look” like the old ones.

This is the building that Henry Ford sold his first care from.  By the way, Henry Ford led the restoration of Savannah back in the early 1930's...
We decided to get off the trolley at the River Street stop (#11). The old commercial buildings along the 10 block riverfront have been refurbished into a major tourist area with lots of shops and restaurants. The street down to the River Street is paved with what looks like old cobblestones but are actually rocks used as ballast in the old sailing ships that transported the cotton to is all very cool. It was a tad before noon when we decided to beat the rush and selected The Shrimp Factory for lunch. Good choice! Steve had their special, Shrimp and Grits, while I had the Boiled Shrimp Lunch. Both came with their “Caesar Style Salad” and blueberry muffins (odd combination) and both were delicious! 
After lunch we wandered up and down the riverfront taking in the sites...and a few of the shops.

Memorial to Veterans of WWII...that fellow was actually posing for his wife who was  taking a picture beside Steve....
These are pictures of City Hall...

It was about 1:30 when we boarded the trolley again and continued the tour. Once back at the Visitors Centre, we decided to take the tour again and get off by the old cemetery to see it and the surrounding area a bit better. The tour guide on this trolley, Chris, was an absolute scream! His combination in knowledge of the area mixed with humour kept everyone on the trolley in stitches the whole time. He was excellent! He was born and raised in Savannah and, as he explained, took a great interest in its history. His love of Savannah and its history truly shows through the enthusiasm and passion of his tour. In fact, he was so good we decided to stay on the trolley for the whole tour rather than get off and explore the cemetery.

We were back at the truck just after 4:00 and with the help of Serena (GPS), made our way back out of the city. We stopped at Kroger’s (a huge grocery store) for a few groceries...mainly hot dogs (because we had decided to roast them over the campfire for dinner tonight).

It was 5:30 and getting dark by the time we got home. Steve built the campfire while I put the groceries away. We are really enjoying being able to have a campfire. After a glass of wine, I went in to prepare the hot dog buns and wrap them in foil. When I came out I left them sitting on the picnic table (with the hot dogs wrapped in a paper towel) while we enjoyed another drink before dinner. All of sudden there was a commotion behind us...and there on the table was a racoon! Thankfully Steve was able to shoo it away quickly before he got at our dinner! Needless to say, removed the buns and dogs off the table. The little fellow was rather persistent though, because he was back up on the table minutes later. Of course, once Steve had his camera ready to take his picture, the little guy didn`t return...figures!

We roasted our hot dogs and sat by the campfire a bit longer before deciding to go inside and watch a movie. I tried really hard to stay awake for this one...but found myself nodding off even if I was actually sitting up!