American by birth, Southern by the grace of God.
Louis Grizzard, a great American
It's choice ~ not chance ~ that determines your destiny.
Jean Nidetch

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Saturday, August 30, 2008

~ Sold Motorhome ~

Just chillin' while we look for light weight travel trailer.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

~ Low Internet Service ~

We decided to leave St. Andrews on Friday, 8/22, when the state ordered mandatory evacuation of all the campers. Volunteers could stay, but because we had SOLD (!) the motor home we thought we should keep it safe until we deliver it to the new owners in Newnan, GA.

We stopped over in Vernon, FL, at our cousin's place to wait out the storms and rain. Today there is finally some sunshine. The internet service with my Sprint data card is slow (roaming) in this area so I haven't been able to do much. We've been busy packing up our belongings in the MH and will unload it all at my daughter's house in Georgia before delivering it to the new owners. Then we have the fun (?) of looking for a new RV - this time a travel trailer.

We're planning to leave for home tomorrow! Yippee! Four months is a long time to be away from family. Our next "gig" isn't until November at John Tanner SP near Carrollton, GA. In the meantime we will be visiting with family while looking for a new home on wheels.

So long old girl. We had a fun ride for a year!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

~ Just like a woman...... ~

Fay has changed her mind again! We'll be getting some rain - not sure how much. Probably nothing like Melburne or Flagler Beach received. People are still arriving at the campground. Guess no one is very worried about Fay. The rangers said to expect a two-foot surge. We are about 80 feet from the water and maybe 10 feet above sea level. I don't look for it to become much more than a rainstorm, lasting about 24 hours.

It was a nice day yesterday, sunny and not too hot. We drove up to Torreya State Park just to have something to do. We were close to Sneads, where Sam's brother Donald and his wife Ann live, so we called them to meet us for lunch at Apalatchee Restaurant in Bristol, FL. Yummy fried chicken and black-eyed peas. Marilyn was with us and she had fried catfish, the house specialty. Very good home cookin'. Marilyn is camping with us this week. She brought her 24' Hi-Lo and is set up right next to us.
We actually were going that way to make a stop at Bank of America in Blountstown, which is the nearest branch to Panama City.....a mere 47 miles. All of our banking is done with auto deposits and online bill pay so we rarely need to visit in person. We took care of business and had a nice chat with the teller. She told us about the restaurant where we had lunch. Now normally we keep very little cash, dealing mainly with debit cards. The restaurant took cash only (go figure?) so Marilyn paid for ours. After lunch and our excursion to the State Park, we ended up back in Blountstown where the bank was located. We got $$ out of the ATM to repay Marilyn and to have a little cash. Well, dummy me drove off and left my card in the machine. I realized it when we stopped for gas a little later. That's the first time I've ever lost a card of any kind! No real problem....I called the Customer Service Dept. They canceled that card and are mailing another one in 5-7 days to my mailing address in Georgia. We will be there in less than 2 weeks and will pick it up it at that time. Til then, Sam has a card to the same account with a different number which is not affected.

Gregory House is a plantation home built in 1849. It's located in Torreya State Park on the banks of the Apalachicola River.

Front of GregoryHouse, facing the river.

Looking down at the river from the front yard.

Sam and Marilyn walking her dogs.

Monday, August 18, 2008

~ Fay turning away ~

Looks like we will just get some rain from Fay. We're on the panhandle just east of that little peninsula that points south. Maybe north Georgia will benefit from some of the rain.
~ Wind Chime is happy today! ~

Saturday, August 16, 2008

~ More rain........and here comes Fay ~

Gosh, I thought the rain was gone for awhile (see Aug. 13 for pics; it looks the same!). Now we're watching tropical storm Fay. Per the local weather, the projected path shows her coming VERY CLOSE to us on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Actually, about 80 to 100 miles east of here in "big bend" area. That is, just southeast of Tallahassee and by then she will be a hurricane with minimum winds at 90-100 mph.

The maps shows Fay turning sooner, towards Tampa.

If it comes too close, there will be a mandatory evacuation of the park. We would just head inland to our cousin's to wait it out. If it's really close, we might have to move the motor home. Ironically, our cousin has reservations to come here camping next week arriving Tuesday. Not sure how that will play out. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

~ Rainy Days and Mondays..... ~

We had thunderstorms Monday night, all day Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Also tornado watch part of the time. Beautiful today!
(Click on any pic for bigger view)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

~ Double Red Flags ~

Last week for a full seven days, the Gulf Coast beaches were closed to swimmers due to dangerous and deadly rip currents. Only surfers with their boards tethered to their ankles were allowed in the water. Because of some storms at sea, there were some pretty good waves (considering this is the Gulf of Mexico).

The shuttle boats didn't go to Shell Island. The kayak's weren't rented.

The dunes were beautiful, as usual.

(Click on any pic for bigger view)

Monday, August 4, 2008

~ A look back….. ~

Walkway to beach.

Our first volunteer position was October, 2007, through January of 2008, at St Joseph Peninsula State Park, Cape San Blas, Florida. The park is directly on the Gulf of Mexico with St. Joseph Bay on the back side. It’s a beautiful park with 119 sites, all with water and electric. We love St. Joe and have plans to return next year.

The most beautiful beaches!

As volunteers, we worked 20 hours a week, or 5 mornings for 4 hours each. Duties included clearing underbrush near sites to get ready for the burn, walking through the campground to pick up trash, occasionally cleaning restrooms, and a few scattered days filling in at the museum in Port St. Joe. This park had the most structured work schedule of the 3 parks we’ve volunteered for, so far. The months we were there were very slow. Some weeks there were less than 10 sites occupied. Of course, the park was full around Thanksgiving and the week between Christmas and New Year's.

Us working.

Fires burning.

After the burn.

The rangers were friendly and very laid back. Park Manager, Brian Addison, was friendly and accessible. One month he and his wife hosted a Pasta Dinner at their home in the park. At Thanksgiving they supplied the turkey, and the volunteers (there were 6 couples and 1 single) brought the side dishes for a fun gathering. Ranger LeeAnn Hinson was volunteer coordinator and worked with all of us for special needs. We were able to go home for Christmas and be with family over the holidays. Our oldest grandson, Kyle, returned with us and his whole family followed for a short beach vacation.

Kyle, Logan, & Tyler

Tyler's first beach!

Kyle & Dad Nate caught fish!

Had to do Some'mors!

The only down side to this park is it's isolation.....which could be it's saving grace. If it were more accessible and better known, I'm afraid it would be overrun by locals and tourists alike, similar to St. Andrews where we are now. We love St. Andrews also, but the two are as different as day and night. St Joe State Park is 20 miles from Port St. Joe, the nearest town with groceries (Piggly Wiggly), and a whopping 55 miles to Winn Dixie & Wal-Mart. Being from Atlanta, I am used to having 5 Wal-Marts in a 12-mile radius and Kroger, Publix, & CVS on every corner! But there is a great Mexican restaurant in Port St Joe - Pepper's - the best one we've found in Florida. (Happy Hour on Wednesday's, 6 to 9 pm!). Makes the 20 mile drive worth it!

Nate, Kyle & Logan @ Pepper's

There is a nice lighthouse just outside the park. The houses are currently being renovated.

Cape San Blas Lighthouse and the lighthouse keeper's house.
Here's a few of my beach buddies...

And some glorious sunsets just outside our motorhome...

And we met one courageous German Shepard!

We also took a trip over to Appalachacola to see what the fuss was about regarding the lack of fresh water for the scallops and mussels over there. They are wanting more water to be released in Georgia to allow more fresh water in the mouth of the Appalachacola Bay. All I can say is looks like there is plenty of water coming into the bay from the river down there and our lake back home, Lake Lanier, is still 16 feet below full pool. 'Nuff said. We did find a great little diner with great food - The Hut. And it is only 30 miles from St. Joe. We visited The Hut three times.

Beach houses along Hwy. 30E. Fishing boats on the river in Appalachacola.

The Gorrie House in Appalachacola. He invented the Ice Machine (maybe where the fresh water went?).

This turned out to be a long blog, but there was a lot of catching up to do. I want to remember how beautiful this park is. We look forward to returning next year and to enjoying a little solitude for just a month or two.

(Click on any pic for bigger view)

Friday, August 1, 2008

~ Me, Me, Me ~

Fab Grandma tagged me for a MeMe that is going around. I haven't done this before so here goes.....

I am: on the computer too much.
I think: I need to go outside more.

I know: that work is at 2:45 today.
I have: dinner in the crock pot.

I wish: we had much more $$.
I hate: that I can't lose any weight.

I miss: my kids and grandkids.
I fear: heights.

I hear: kids playing outside.
I smell: the crockpot.

I crave: steak from Longhorn's.
I search: for travel blogs.

I wonder: where we might be this time next year.
I regret: that we didn't buy a trailer instead of a motorhome, because of gas prices now.

I love: spending winters at the beach.
I ache: to hug my grandkids.

I am not: riding my bike enough.
I believe: in God.

I dance: but my husband won't.
I sing: with the radio.

I cry: when the grandkids leave.
I fight: the urge to eat the wrong things, but not very well.

I win: at computer solitaire.
I lose: my patience too easily.

I never: have enough $$.
I always: watch Survivor on TV.

I confuse: Yellowstone and Yosemite.
I listen: to Country music.

I can usually be found: playing games or reading blogs on the computer.
I am scared: of most bugs.

I need: to lose weight.
I am happy about: being retired.
I imagine: that we will travel out west in a couple of years.

That was fun! Ok - I tagged Froggi Donna and The Meandering Ziaja's and Alona and Jim.