Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Niceville and the Destin FL Area

We arrived in Niceville, FL at the Maxwell/Gunter Recreation Center Campground on Friday.  Along the way Pam drove for a couple of hours and I got to do some online work for a couple of hours.
I love my Roadrunner office window and desk.

It was a rained a little on the way there, but the good site with another water front view.
Though the campground is a bit older, it was completely satisfactory.  It had water, electric, cable TV* and a dump station.  
*The cable TV connection was not working but our neighbor was right there when we set up and offered to let us use his.  He and another camper had put a splitter on at his site and our wire was long enough to reach from the Roadrunner to his connection.
The first thing we notice coming into the area off the main street was the new paved road.  Pam and I visited this place (which is across the bay from Destin, FL) a few years back and I remember how many ruts and pot holes there were in the road.  Not now, it is upgraded and not an issue.

Since we were married in Fort Walton Beach, this area has a special place in our hearts and we love to come back here.  The other big draw is our friend Karin.  She works in Niceville and we met for lunch.
We drove around the area later in the day and went back to the Roadrunner to read and watch the golf.  After dinner, the sun came out and we walked around the campground.
On Sunday, we listened to a Lon Solomon podcast and then drove over to Destin.  It continues to grow!  We went by the Fort Benning Rec Area Campground and liked what they have done with the improvements and upgrades. Next, we drove over to Hurlburt Field and stopped along the way for lunch at What-A-Burger.  On base, we searched for the barracks where Pam lived.  It apparently has been torn down and replaced by a larger structure.  Same with the building where I lived.   We made our way back to the campground and chilled out for the rest of the day.

We have only been on the road two weeks after leaving the Virginia Beach area.  In some ways it seems as if it has been six months.  We are loving the driving and setting up at the new campgrounds and seeing this part of the country again!

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  This (according to the Google blogspot numbers) is my 1000th post.  Thanks for being a part of our journey in one or many of them...

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Last Days at Mayport

We wrapped up our week at Naval Station Mayport on Friday.  The more we stay here the more we like it.  Our front row site provided a lot of interesting views watching the activity in the water:
While we were there dredging operations were underway which was fun to watch.  They were going on 24/7 clearing out the silt from the channel and loading it onto barges.  From there they went down about a mile to the beach and created a large temporary pipeline to pump the sand back on to the beach.
Its a little hard to tell but the large pipeline goes down the beach for about a mile.  They pump the sand to the end of it where bulldozers smooth it out from the piles.
I can't imagine how many tons of sand has been reclaimed but it is a lot!

Also while at Mayport, I got a chance to climb on top of the Roadrunner and give it a good wash and rinse.  Surprisingly, it was in pretty clean.  

I then washed the whole thing and started on applying The Solution to shine it up.  I was able to get all of the PS done before I ran out of energy.  This is definitely a more-than-one-day job.

Another day after lunch we went over to Mayport to the St. John's River Ferry and took a ride across the St. John's River to do some exploring.
We drove through Huguenot Memorial State Park and out to the beach where there were a surprising number of people there with their cars.  Must have been 30+.  Reminded me of 'tailgating on the beach'.  People drove up on the hard packed sand beach as far as they, propped their chairs and coolers and umbrellas out and soaked up what little sun there was.

I thought this would be another good place to try out my selfie stick again.
Then we ran some errands and went back to the campground for a quiet evening.
We enjoyed our time here at Naval Station Mayport and look forward to returning.  This may be the best overall military campground we have seen.  We love the way it is managed, we love the sites, the free laundry, the nice staff, the price and there is plenty of new things to do in see in the area.

And little Brooks Carter is growing and enjoying life.  He has changed so much since we saw him two weeks ago!
He just ate and about to take a snooze, but he is all dressed up for some golf later on..

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  And thanks for the notes - we appreciate those comments.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Loving Mayport

We are thoroughly enjoying being here at Naval Station Mayport.  Its just a few miles north of Jacksonville and a perfect spot for us to be staying.  Despite a few rain showers over the past few days, it has great weather.  The showers don't last all day and we have gotten a fair bit of sunshine.  And the temperature has been comfortable in the high 70's / low 80's.  Enough of the weather report...
We have had a few surprises - first an update on the power cord, surge protector issue.
I ordered a replacement surge protector for the one that burned up and failed.  We went with a Progressive Industries EMS-PT50C:
And Pam switched out the new 50 Amp plug we picked up at Lowe's for a different 50 Amp plug we got at Camping World:
I think the Lowe's plug would have been fine, but we liked the handle on the back and the fact the power cord from the coach fit into the bottom of the plug better.  The Lowe's plug is more suited to smaller wiring of washers and dryers.  The Camco plug had plenty of room at the area where it enters the plastic housing for the large power cord.
Then I got on my main project for the morning:  Washing the Roadrunner!  I have been wanting to do this since before Christmas.  I was good to get the grime and dirt from the winter off the coach.
One of the highlights of being here though is meeting blogging friends face-to-face for the first time.  We arrived on Saturday and on Sunday Dee Walter of Tumbleweed fame came over and introduced herself.  We first met online probably 7 years ago before we made the plunge.

Dee is a regular on the RV-Dreams.com chat forum and when I was first checking out this lifestyle we corresponded a few times.  Then in 2009 we both hit the road.  We have not really kept up over the years and it was a pleasant surprise to finally meet her and Jim.

It was primarily due to Dee's friend Jessica (RV Days with Jessica and Harry) who read our blog and Dee's blog and told Dee, "You are right next to each other at that campground!".  Sure enough, Dee and Jim are parked four sites down from us.
We were able to have Happy Hour with them and get a feel for what they've been up to and where they are headed and just have a nice get-together.  One of those RV things that we love!  And they invited us to lunch yesterday at a nearby locale place.

They invited us to lunch yesterday to check out one of their favorite places and it was great!   We drove with them to the the Singleton Seafood Shack about noon and had a great seafood lunch on the water.
It was really good:  fried oysters, shrimp, hush puppies, cole slaw, fries and ice tea or water.  Perfect lunch.

We are enjoying our time here and you can see why...

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Some Excitement!

We are pretty excited about being here on the waterfront near Jacksonville.  This is one of those places that makes one say, "It doesn't get any better than this!"

The view out the front window is pretty great.  We are right on the waterfront at Pelican Roost RV Campground at Naval Station Mayport.
More than that, this campground is very well run.  It has free laundry, you can wash your RV on site and the trash containers are nearby.  And we had to pay $2 for a front row site for a total of $21/night. Pretty great!

However, like much of life, things always aren't 100% great or 100% bad.  We ran into a challenge shortly after we arrived and got parked at our first site.  After plugging in to the pedestal, our inverter was reading:  "AC overload!".   I took out the surge protector plugged it back in and it gave the same reading.  

Occasionally we run into a site that has a bad power supply.  So we asked to move to another location while the office manager tried to locate the campground host so he could over to check what was up. 
When we moved to the second site, we got the same readings.  Ugh oh.

I looked at the surge protector.  The prongs going in to the pedestal looked good.  I looked at the connection of the surge protector and the end of the MH 50 cord.  Bingo!
It was fried...
  I took off the lock box type connection and could plainly see - these bad boys were done!
We were counting our blessings that this was the extent of the damage.  
We weren't too sure if the solution was to just replace the end of the motor home power cord or if there was more to it.  We called all four 'Mobile RV' phone numbers of folks listed in the Campground Office and one guy actually called us back.  

Meanwhile, a neighbor came by and we talked about our latest challenge.  The mobile RV guy said he couldn't come out but we should be able to find a replacement plug end at Home Depot.  
Off we went.  
Home Depot did not have what we needed but we found it at Lowe's.

Next we got back to the coach and I and our CTO (Chief Technical Officer) / head electrician started to work.
A little while later our neighbor John came by with his friend Steve.  Steve is a real electrician and asked if we wanted him to hook it up?
We thought about it for about 1/2 a second and said, "YES!" by all means.  It took some doing but they worked at it and got the plug to cooperate.
About 45 minutes later, we were in business!
What started out as a bit of a pain turned into a learning experience and two new campground friends.
They were displaying a couple of Masters Tournament beverage containers that I gave them for their help!

We will buy a more permanent plug and install that in the next couple of days.
We are off to a great start and balmy weather in Florida!

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

On To Hilton Head

The mechanics at the Gaffney Freightliner Repair facility stayed late and got all our work done.
The main item was the Freightliner M3 maintenance schedule.  At 84,000+ miles, we needed to go through a through inspection of hoses, replenishment of fluids, fuel filter changes, fuel / water separator filter replacement and air filter replacement.

We also asked them to check out the cockpit heater and air conditioner which was not heating/cooling very well.  We got a call in the middle of the day that all our tie rod boots were deteriorated and need to be replaced.  Once that was done, the front end needed alignment.  All that added an additional $700 to our bill which ended up being $2,444.35.

But, we are determined to keep the Roadrunner in good condition and think the money is well spent. There is a reason why we budget $525 / month for RV/Car Maintenance.

After we finished up we drove over to Camp Lake Jasper RV Campground.  It has level sites and is a new campground.  We checked www.rvparkreviews.com and it had a very good rating.
A little pricey at almost $40/night, it was convenient and a nice place to stay.

We went over to see Joyce who has lived in the area now for 10 years.

After a brief visit we went over to Hilton Head for dinner at the Salty Dog Cafe.
It was very crowded with a 90 minute wait and we walked over to Land's End Restaurant.  Great choice.
Had to try out my selfie stick again.  I didn't notice the woman right behind Pam in the picture which makes for some interesting shapes...
Our dinner was outstanding!
We split a plate of flounder and shrimp.

We need to come back to Hilton Head.  It has more to see than our quick trip to the South Beach Marina.  It is pretty crowded this time of year and the PGA golf tournament preparations were underway.

It was a full day!  Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!