September 26, 2016

We arrived in Vero Beach, Florida yesterday. We're all set up in a nice RV park about 15 or so miles from Tom and Karen's house, so today we spent the afternoon with them, visiting and catching up! Then it was dinner out. The original intent was to eat at their favorite restaurant on the water 'Squid Lips", but they were closed for renovation. 

Just down the street (still on the water) was Mulligans, a good second choice. 

The guys had the fish and chips - a huge chunk of fish!!

Karen and I had the flat bread.  Looks good?  It was good!!

We have booked our flight to Ecuador for November 1st, returning January 31st. and we'll be hangin' out here, at Sunshine RV Resort until the end of October, so we'll have lots of opportunity to hang out with Tom and Karen. We are so looking forward to our stay here!

September 24, 2016

 New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Very cute, very touristy!!  There are two downtowns in this community. There is the Canal Street Historic District which is quite boring compared to the Flagler Avenue Beach area. This place was hopping.

Cute, quaint little shops line the street from one end to the other. I have to say that the shops were mostly way out of my price range!! We had a good time just wandering in and out of these shops. Being such a hot day it was relieving to say the least.

We happened to be in town for the annual Jazz Festival, so it was nice to hear the music coming from all over as we strolled along.

We finished out our day at the beach. The water was so warm it wasn't even refreshing - thank goodness there was a breeze!!

Up and down the 5 miles of white-sand beach you could see parked cars. What a novel idea, and a good source of income, I might add.  Cost $10.00 per car and on a good day they can get 7500 cars parked.

But you have to obey the rules just like on the road - speed limit 10 mph, no texting or phoning while driving, and no cruising, just find a spot and enjoy your day!

There are three different traffic entrances, but many, many walking entrances.  And 'natural zones', which mean no motor vehicles of any kind allowed.

We had a great day! Enjoyed the sun and the water.

Tomorrow, we will be in Vero Beach where we will enjoy some time with cousin Karen and her husband Tom!! 

September 21, 2016

We spent a few days just south of Charleston, SC at a nice little park called Lake Aire. Here we just kicked back for a couple of days. We  had this view from our front window.

Then we moved on to Brunswick, Georgia and stayed for a few more days at Golden Isles RV Park. Nice park with an awesome restaurant!  Ate the best fried chicken I think I've ever eaten.
Well..... North Carolina has the Outer Banks, Georgia has the Golden Isles.

Nestled on the Georgia coast, midway between Savannah, GA, and Jacksonville, FL, lies the mainland city of Brunswick and its four beautiful barrier islands: St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island and the southern most island Jekyll Island. This is the one we visited today as it is the closest one to Brunswick, where we are camped. 
The cute Main Street in the Beach Community
There is shopping up and down the street.

In 1886 a group of wealthy families purchased Jekyll Island as a private retreat and by 1900 the membership included the Rockefellers, Morgans, Cranes and Goulds and represented over 1/6 of the world's wealth. In 1942 the Club closed and was purchased in 1947 by the State of Georgia.

Jekyll Island offers many recreational activities that are sure to please visitors of all ages. Some of the amenities include ten miles of white sand beaches (the sand is like powder) 63 holes of golf, tennis, water park, fishing pier, horseback riding tours, dolphin tours, nature centers, Georgia Sea Turtle Center and 20 miles of bike trails. And I mustn't forget shopping, restaurants and hotels! 
Driftwood Beach

We enjoyed our day touring around the Island. It was hot and humid so most of our 'touring' was done inside the car with the a/c. but we did walk along the beach, visited the Beach Village with a walk along the boardwalk. 

The Moss Cottage - once owned by by one of the elite members!

Georgia Sea Turtle Center

September 15, 2016

Last Wednesday morning we left Avon and the Outer Banks.  We opted for the ferry ride vs driving back up to catch Hwy 64. As we figured it out it was a saving of over 100 miles (160 km) and we could just relax on the ferry ride! 

The first of the two ferries was the Hatteras Ferry, a free 40 minute ferry that connected Ocracoke Island to the rest of the Outer Banks.  Then it was a 20 mile drive from one end of the island to the other to catch the Ocracoke Ferry, a 2.5 hour ferry ride to the mainland at Cedar Island. We pulled up to the Ferry Station at 1:00 pm (departure time). The next ferry was at 4. Anyway, as the angels are usually on our side, they held the ferry and repositioned the cars to get us on!  Wasn't that great!  

All this being said, now for the bad news!  Shortly after we left our RV Park in Avon, as we were driving toward the Hatteras Ferry we heard this pop! then phewwww! Michel pulled over thinking we blew a tire, but that wasn't the case. Onward we went only to realize that rather than a tire blowing it was our air bags!  We had a very rough ride you can imagine! But we did drive it - all the way to Wilmington, a total of about 180 miles (290 km). The reason it was Wilmington?  Triple T Equipment is the only company for miles around that could work on our problem.  And that they did! We arrived in their yard on Thursday night and spent 6 nights in their yard with the other trucks, buses and RV's. We were the only ones actually sleeping in our unit though - lol!

In the time we spent in Wilmington, we really didn't do anything. The first day (Friday) while they had our rig in the shop to access the problem and order parts we drove out to Carolina Beach/Kure Beach and had a nice relaxing time soaking up the sun.

Saturday morning Michel woke up feeling like a steam roller ran over him, so for the weekend we just hung out close to our rig in the shade. It was very hot and humid!  Come Monday morning it was my turn to feel like crap!  But our rig was back in the shop in the morning so we had to leave. Not feeling like doing anything, we found a library in downtown Wilmington and just surfed the net and read. In fact, that is exactly what we did Tuesday as well. Finally at noon on Wednesday the job was complete. Our rig was back up and running - after replacing 4 air bags and 4 shocks! Oh and don't forget 8.5 hours of labour - OUCH!!  

It feels like we're riding on air!! 

That's it for now - thanks for reading!

September 6, 2016

Today we visited the Camp Hataras Lighthouse in the town of Buxton, just 10 minutes south of Avon where we are camped.  The lighthouse is 187 feet (57m) high and there are 257 steps to reach the light.  I must be honest and tell you that I did not climb to the top - but Michel did. 

In 1999, the lighthouse had to be moved from its original location at the edge of the ocean to safer ground. It was moved 2,900 feet (880 m) inland, and 1,500 feet (460 m) from the shoreline and despite much opposition the job was completed three months later on September 14, 1999.

Then we went for a walk in the Buxton Woods Nature Trail located near the Hataras Lighthouse. 

There are about 1,000 acres of forest in the Buxton Woods with trails leading in many directions, but we just walked the 3/4 mile loop. We didn't see any wildlife but we saw many different species of plants along our walk. 

You can see here the left overs of Tropical Storm Hermine. And because hurricanes and tropical storms happen here quite regularly, all houses are built on stilts. 

The biggest attraction of course is the ocean.  

.... and surfing is the biggest past time. 

September 5, 2016

Tropical Storm Hermine subsided yesterday so after one night in Elizabeth City, NC, we left for the Outer Banks.

The Outer Banks is a 200-mile-long (320 km) string of narrow peninsulas and barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina.  They are a major tourist destination and are known around the world for their subtropical climate and wide expanse of beachfront.

The Wright brothers' first flight in a controlled, powered, heavier-than-air vehicle took place on the Outer Banks on December 17, 1903, at Kill Devil Hills near the seafront town of Kitty Hawk. 
Here there is a Monument to the Century of Flight. The monument consists of 14 wing-shaped stainless steel pylons ascending in height from 10 feet to 20 feet in an orbit of 120 feet (the distance traveled by the Wright Bros. on that first historic flight in 1903). 

Down the road a bit at Kill Devil Hills is The Wright Brothers National Memorial. This 431 acre area houses the Visitor Center, markers showing the distance traveled during the first four flights and reproductions of the Wright Brothers living quarters and hangar buildings. The visitor Center contains reproductions of the 1902 glider and 1903 flyer.  

On the grounds is another monument
And another replica of Wilbur and his plane

Michel and Wilbur

After our visit at the National Memorial we carried on down the highway toward our RV Park, still had 50 or so miles to go. Lots of little beach communities along the way. Tropical Storm Hermine created a lot of havoc along this route. 

When we arrived at the RV Park we were told that yesterday there was 3 feet of water on the roads!!   

September 3, 2016

A couple of days respite in a small place called Tuano, VA.  Nice place, nice pool and nobody in the RV Park!

Then on to Norfolk, VA. Here we spent a few days and visited the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

This 155-acre garden includes one of the largest collections of azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons and roses on the East Coast. 

These gorgeous 'shrubs' are Crepe Myrtle. I've never seen them before, but just love them!! 

Crepe Myrtle has the most interesting bark! Smooth gray or light brown bark peels off to reveal smooth, pinkish inner bark.

There are more then 40 themed gardens and visitors can tour the gardens by foot on more than 12 miles of pathways.  
 We took a 45 minute narrated boat tour around the outer park and a 20 minute trolley ride around the park.
I'm pretty sure we saw the majority of the park.  It was wonderfully relaxing day - I do miss my garden!!

For the next two days we drove into Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach is a resort city with miles of beaches and hundreds of hotels, motels, and restaurants along its oceanfront. The population is about 450,000, much larger than we had expected.  The Boardwalk is 28 feet wide and stretches for three miles. 

The beach was beautiful and went on forever.  We had lunch and a beer at one of the restaurants the first day, but opted to bring our own lunch for day 2.  We relaxed on the sandy beach and swam in the water. It was great!

As we were leaving the beach on day 2 the black clouds were rolling in. In fact it was beginning to rain as we neared our car.  It was about 2 when we got back to the motorhome and we decided to move along. We only travelled about an hour when we pulled into a rest area - the first one in North Carolina. Tropical Storm Hermine set in pretty good.  The rain pelted down and the wind blew.  We hunkered down and stayed for two nights.