Our New Wheels

We had already decided the Travato 59K made by Winnebago Industries was the perfect camper for us from now on. We searched 100 miles in every direction around our town and found only a few for sale. But none were just right for one reason or another. For the amount of money these cost we were not going to settle for less than what we wanted. These are built in Forest City, Iowa. The manufacturer does not sell them directly but a dealer, Lichtsinn RV, is one mile from the factory and sells the Winnebago RV’s so we contacted them and secured the perfect one for us at a good price. And they would accept our current RV in trade. So ROAD TRIP

This was not a leisurely vacation, we were on a mission. Forest City is 1,500 miles from our house. It took us four days to get there, driving the big rig on Interstate 90 most of the way. The trip was mostly uneventful.

Lichstinn RV has several parking spots with electricity for their customers so we parked there when we arrived and plugged in. The next morning our Travato was parked next to us and we got our first look at it. It was perfect! By the end of the day all the paperwork was done and we transferred all of our belongings from the old to the new.

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Old vs. New

And we made some new friends also getting their Travatos! One drove in from Michigan and the other drove all the way from North Carolina to make the trade. Customers come here from all 50 states to buy their Winnebagos.

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New Friends

On the way home we drove a bit of the Great River Road down the Mississippi River before turning and going back east. It was another four days of driving but it was a lot more fun than the trip west. The Travato handles very well and is a joy to drive.

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On the Great River Road

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The Great River Road

We stopped briefly at the RV/Motorhome Museum in Elkhart, Indiana. We have been here before but stopped again just for kicks.

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RV/MH Hall of Fame

We got a kick out of seeing this old hippie-style camper bus. My, how things have changed.

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Different Generations

The Travato is only 21 feet long. This allows us to buy gasoline at any gas station and go anywhere and park anywhere a car can go; places we would have bypassed before.

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Overlooking Lake Erie

It’s easier now going the back roads and the two-lane state highways, roads we thought twice about previously. Vermont is gorgeous! And this saved us several miles that we wold have had to drive had we stuck to the Interstates.

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Driving Through Vermont

And now we can park the camper in the garage! It was a tight fit!  🙂

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A Few Inches to Spare

Once we unpack and repack in a more thoughtful and efficient manner we will be taking more local trips throughout the summer and fall. In the winter we have bigger plans.

The big camper got about 7.5 miles per gallon. I think we got about double that but we need to check it out further. The Travato is built on a Dodge Ram ProMaster 36L 280 horsepower V6 front wheel drive gas powertrain.

More to come!

Posted in Daily Post, June | Tagged | 6 Comments

Upsize Downsize

BIG CHANGES

I know, I know, it’s been ages since my last post.  So much has happened, let me fill you in.

We arrived in Southwest New Hampshire the first week of April and are now renting a house!  That’s right, our days of living full time in our RV are over. We decided that we like it right where we are so this is where we will set roots. So, upsizing! Much of our time has been spent moving everything from the RV to the house (who knew we still had so much stuff?), fixing up the house, gathering furniture and more stuff, and of course spending precious time with our family.

And, yes, the RV is for sale!  Let me know if you are interested! We’ll give you a good deal.

2010 Itasca Sunova 33C

And as long as we plan on being here for a while we have become official New Hampsire citizens.

New Hampshirite!

Some of our time has been in New Haven, Connecticut, while our daughter finished up her PhD at Yale!  Woo! We have a doctor in the family. Yale is such a beautiful campus. But it’s doubtful that we will be back to see it again.

Yale University

Of course the MAIN reason we have settled here is this little guy:

Our Grandson

There is a fair amount of wildlife around here. I spotted this little fella in our back yard! We have seen fox, deer, turkeys, raccoon, and a bobcat. Hope to spot a moose one of these days, have heard reports of sightings. There are black bear around too, but probably (hopefully) will not see one in our yard.

Porcupine

BUT we are not done traveling!  Nope.  We have been a lot of places over the last five years or so, but there is more to see.  And since we have a house now, and we don’t feel like driving that bus any more, we are switching to a much smaller and more agile camper-van very similar to this one. So downsizing!

Winnebago Travato

We will be going to Iowa to pick it up in about a month from now. I will be blogging that! There will be other shorter, more local trips around New England; and perhaps a big road trip from New Hampshire to Los Angeles, California, and back to New Hampshire his winter. So stay tuned.

Posted in Daily Post | 15 Comments

Here We Go!

The north is calling! The winter snowbird season is coming to an end and so we have begun our trek back up to New Hampshire for the summer. But we don’t want to go north too fast, it’s still cold and snowy up there. After spending a couple of months at Gulf Shores State Park on the Gulf of Mexico we only went about 20 miles to the Escapees Rainbow Plantation just west of Foley AL for a few days.

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Escapees Rainbow Plantation, Summerdale AL

The annual Foley BBQ and Blues festival was great! Got us some good BBQ there!

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Foley BBQ and Blues

On a different day we went to an arts and craft festival at Fairhope AL. The Azalea Trail Maids were there too. They are a group of high school seniors chosen yearly to serve as “Official Ambassadors” for the city of Mobile AL. They were being interviewed by local media when we saw them.

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Azalea Trail Maids at Fairhope AL

After a few days around the Foley and Mobile AL area we ventured a bit further north, spending one free overnight at the Wind Creek Casino at Atmore, Alabama, and a couple other one night stays in small RV parks by Montgomery AL and Fort Payne AL.

Right now we are in an RV park very near Chattanooga Tennessee. How could we resist a visit to the Chattanooga Choo Choo? It was a real train, and is now a train car hotel. Each Pullman Train Car has been converted into a nice hotel room with a queen size bed. And there is a dining car too. Cool.

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Chattanooga Choo Choo

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Chattanooga Choo Choo Pullman Car Hotel Rooms

We enjoyed Chattanooga very much. It’s a very nice little city. Just outside the city is Lookout Mountain. You can get to the top by car or take the Incline Railway–The World’s Steepest Passenger Railway. This has been designated as both a National Historic Site and a National Mechanical Engineering Landmark.

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Incline Railway, Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga TN

At the top of the mountain is Point Park – Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, a ten acre memorial park overlooking the city.

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Point Park, Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga TN

After that we drove back downtown and across the Tennessee River to the “North Shore.” We got a kick out of the dance steps they had in various places along the sidewalks.

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The Hokey Pokey

Coolidge Park, a waterfront park on the North Shore (of the Tennessee River), was busy with people on this nice Saturday afternoon. The park features a beautifully restored 100-year-old carousel, a Pavilion, and an interactive play fountain. The water has not been turned on yet so I was able to get this shot of one of the fountain animals with the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge.

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Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge, Coolidge Park, Chattanooga TN

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Coolidge Park Carousel

Hundreds of people were enjoying a walk on the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge across the Tennessee River. We did too.

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Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge

Naturally, the Chattanooga Choo Choo song is stuck in my head now.

  • Distance from Gulf Shores AL:  426 miles
  • Lodging 11 days:  $305
  • Gasoline:  $130
  • Distance to get to New Hampshire: 1055 miles to go
Posted in Alabama, Daily Post, Tennessee | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Catch Up

It’s been almost a month since my last post. It’s about time I got caught up here. We are still in Gulf State Park in Alabama. We like it here. Maybe we’ll see if we can stay a while longer yet. However, being in the same location means there’s not a lot of new adventures to blog about. But here goes…

We spend our time walking the trails throughout the park. The team here is busy paving many of the trails and making them great for biking. But there are still many unpaved paths yet. One of my faves is through this grove of long-leaf pines. Some of these needles are 12 inches long.

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Gulf State Park

And the long fishing pier is another favorite walk. There’s always something going on.

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Gulf State Pier

We did fly up north to New England for a few days. Just can’t go the whole winter without seeing the family.

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Flying Over Atlanta, Georgia

When we had some time to kill we stopped to visit the PEZ factory/museum in Orange, Connecticut. That was interesting. Everything you ever wanted to know about PEZ candy dispensers. Plus a viewing window into the PEZ production area.

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PEZ Museum

While we were in Keene, New Hampshire, it was pretty darned cold, one morning being seven degrees below zero. And, of course the snow, and the ice, and scraping windows, and heavy coats…what were we thinking?

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Yay, Winter!

After getting our family fix we flew back to good old warmer Alabama.

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Pelicans on the Pier

Saturdays we drive to Pensacola, Florida, to visit the Palafox Farmer’s Market.

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Palafox Farmers Market

And enjoyed free entertainment while there.

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String Farm

Back at the Pier we couldn’t resist showing off one of the frosted cookies we purchased at the market.

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Gulf State Pier

Early this morning we had some severe weather pass by. There were some tornadoes north of here, but they missed us. After the rain we walked the beach to see what might have washed up. There were a few Portuguese Man-O-War.

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Portuguese Man-O-War

But not much of anything else washed up. Here’s a few more pictures from this morning.

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Leave Only Footprints

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Gulf of Mexico

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Jellyfish

………

 

Posted in Alabama, Daily Post, January | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Christmas at the Beach

Ah, the beach life! Friends invited us to their beach condo for Christmas dinner, what a great day. First a good meal on the deck with a view of the Gulf of Mexico, then a walk on the beach, a good visit, and a beautiful sunset to end the day. Here are some pictures from our day:

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Sunset on the Gulf of Mexico

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Posted in Daily Post, December, Florida | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Big Lagoon and Gulf Shores

We have been having some computer problems lately, but I think we have it fixed now. So time for an update of what we’ve been up to.

Big Lagoon State Park, Florida

The three of the four days we stayed at Big Lagoon were cold and wet so not much to report about that. But one of the days was nice enough that we ventured out to walk one of the trails.

 

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Big Lagoon State Park FL

One of the highlights of the park is the observation tower overlooking the Big Lagoon. A few of the condos on Perdido Key can be seen across the water. The Gulf of Mexico lies just beyond that.

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Big Lagoon Observation Tower

 

Gulf State Park, Alabama

Now we are at Gulf State Park at Gulf Shores, Alabama, and have booked a two-week stay here. This is one of our favorite state parks. It feels like a cross between a state park and a resort. There are a lot of empty spaces right now, but I expect that will change after Christmas when the snowbirds arrive.

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Gulf State Park

Thursday we went out to the Gulf State Park Fishing Pier for a guided tour walk/talk. There were several people fishing but nobody was catching anything. We did see a pod of dolphins in the distance.

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Gulf State Park Fishing Pier

“Sam” kept us company during our tour walk.

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Sam

Today we went for a walk on one of the many trails that surround the campground. They have made many improvements since our visit here last year, paving many of the trails and building new boardwalks. We will be checking out more trails in the next few days. The weather should be very nice for hiking. Love the long needle pines.

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Gulf State Park

  • Lodging:  Big Lagoon State Park, FL: $96 (4 nights)
  • Lodging:  Gulf State Park, AL:  $555 (2 weeks)
  • Guided Pier Tour:  free with Park pass
Posted in Alabama, Daily Post, December, Florida | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, FL

It did rain a few days while we have been here at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, FL, but there have also been some beautiful days, and on those days we have walked some of the trails and went back to the beach. Here are some pictures:

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Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

Besides the Gulf of Mexico and the beautiful sugar-white sandy beach there are some coastal dune lakes here in the park. These are small bodies of water found in the sand dunes next to the beach. No swimming here because there could be alligators, but we did not see any.

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No Name Lake

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Turpentine Trail

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Campbell Lake

Today, on our way back, two deer met us on the path. They didn’t seem too bothered by us. We just sat on a bench for a while and watched them.

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Deer!

It’s been very quiet in the park. We almost have the place to ourselves. Things should get busy soon as the snowbirds come south after the holidays.

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Santa Rosa Beach and Vacation Rentals

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Santa Rosa Beach

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Santa Rosa Beach

Tomorrow morning we leave Topsail and move about 100 miles west towards Pensacola, Florida.

Posted in Daily Post, December, Florida | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment