Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Destin to Knoxville

The trip from Destin, FL to Maynardville, TN on Saturday looked like one of those "too much driving for one day trips".   Google maps indicated it was 533 miles and over 9 hours.  We learned our lesson last time ~ we don't want to arrive late at night again.
We started out about 9:00 AM and drove to Georgia, the northwestern most part of Georgia, just outside of Chattanoga, TN.  By late afternoon, it had turned into a rainy-slow-driving kind of day.  After about 8 hours, we stopped at the KOA a couple of miles off the highway outside of Chattanooga .  We decided we wanted hookups for the night so we could run the air conditioner instead of firing up the generator.
We ended up at Trenton, GA about an hour outside of Chattagnooga and the drive was uneventful except for some of the back roads that Pam was navigating us through.  
Yikes!  We like seeing the country...but I thought these narrow country roads were a little scary...they didn't even have a visible line down the middle of the road.  And they were narrow roads!  Good thing this stretch only lasted 6 or 7 miles until we got to the interstate.

Once we got to Joan and Mike's place in Maynardville, we saw the guys were working on the new barn that Justin (next door neighbor) will use for his car repair business.  He is an expert mechanic and decided he needed a good workshop.  The building is going us piece by piece.  
They have been making good progress from when they started a few weeks ago.

Last time we were in town, we went to the local furniture store in Halls, TN and bought a new recliner.  The one we had (on the right) I never really got used to so we decided to replace it.  The new Lazy Boy (Pinnacle model) is great and a little smaller.
In some ways, you could say we 'downsized' a bit.  The darker recliner is a little bigger than the new Lazy Boy. You can see the old dining table behind the dark recliner.  While we were in Red Bay we had the table removed and we put the table in the foreground (in the right corner of the picture) back were the corian table was.  Now we have more room and like the way things are.

Yesterday we made the rounds:  we drove out to see Pam and Joan's dad, then we decided to go by and see their brother Steve who works at Fox Toyota in Clinton, and then we went to Norris to see their mom.  

After that we got started on a couple of upgrade projects at home.  Pam painted some shelves we built and then we cleaned out a large closet where were we build more shelves.  

That is about it for this edition.  Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Followers always welcome--and thanks so much for your many comments.  Keep them coming!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sun Sand Swimming etc

We are feeling like we have been on vacation here in Florida.
We are enjoying the beautiful weather and getting plenty of sunshine.
Every evening we have been able to pull up lounge chairs and watch  the sun set on the bay where our campground is located.
On Monday, we drove down to Panama City to check out the campground at the Naval Support Activity.  We wanted to go for a drive, plus that was a good excuse to see that and nearby Tyndall AFB.  Only had one problem.  I left my wallet at home.  Oops.  Military bases require 100% ID check.  No ID, no entrance to the base.  

On the way back to the Roadrunner we stopped at a fish store on the street corner and got a pound of shrimp.
We cooked it on the grill and it was fantastic!

Years ago, Pam learned how to play golf at Hurlburt Field.  On Tuesday we played a round at the same Gator Lakes golf course  It was hot!
But it was a nice day and we had fun. She shot a 97 which is great since she hasn't played since February.  I struggled with a 90.

Then on Wednesday Tim his wife Mary came out to see us at the campground. We met at church earlier in the week.  They are considering RVing and serving opportunities as empty-nesters.
We talked about the different things we have done including Care-A-Vanners and NOMADS projects.

One of the best things about our time here has been time at the beach.  And those beaches...oh man!  They are great!
We love sitting on the beach!  White sands, sunny weather, balmy breezes, crashing waves~ I just love it.  I dreamed of doing this for a long long time before we started full-timing.  Time in Florida on the beach---
And we spent hours on the beach this past week enjoying the day and reading our paperbacks.

Hope you had a good week too! Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles ~ we always appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

ReStore ing in Fort Walton Beach

First a big welcome to our latest Follower:
Nantucketbreezes
Thanks for joining us on the adventures of the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Pam and I looked forward to our stint at the ReStore of Fort Walton Beach.  We stopped by a few days ago, introduced ourselves and asked if we could volunteer.  We asked if they needed help on Saturday and they told us to be there at 9:00 AM.
The facility is at a great location in town.
The one in Fort Walton Beach is 8,000 square feet of furniture, supplies and construction materials.
Inside, it looks like a furniture store/warehouse type of arrangement.
Habitat has a number of ReStores in communities or counties where they have established Habitat for Humanity chapters.  The purpose of the ReStore is to raise significant funds to help pay the costs of building homes.  The ReStore is a great concept.

Many of the materials are donated to ReStore.  Often the same material can be found at Home Depot or Furniture or thrift stores.  The merchandise in the ReStore is priced to move~they want to sell this stuff and it really is a win-win.  People who want a bargain can get what they need, the ReStore can make some funds to defray operating costs and generate capitol for construction materials for new homes.

On Saturday, our job was to paint the shelving that had been donated.  The shelving was the heavy duty home depot like shelving and we spent our day covering them in green.  A different group of volunteers had started the previous week painting both blue and green on the shelves.  We were able to finish up for them.
We got quite a workout.  The temperature outside was 95 degrees inside we had a couple of large fans going but we were sweating like we were in the sauna.  There was a breeze and the guys were very appreciative so we had a good day.

Have you been to a ReStore?  You might want to check it out next time you get a chance.  There may be one near you...just Google "Restore" along with "your town".

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Red Bay then Destin

First we want to say Welcome! to our latest Follower:
La Louvre
Thanks for joining us!

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We waited until after noon to get into the Service Bay to check out our sagging tanks.  We were willing to stay a couple of days more to get them fixed if they needed it.  The basement floorboard under the tanks is starting to bulge a little.  We were concerned that the wood was rotting and wanted to be sure we were ok.
Pete, David and Craig all agreed they were in good shape and we were in no danger.  There was no evidence of leaking or any wet plywood.  We have a 6 year warranty on them so we can check them again next time we are in Red Bay.

That was a 15 minute check and it was approaching 1:00PM.  We decided leave Red Bay for Destin FL where we had reservations at the Destin Army Recreation Area.  It was a long but good drive and fun until about 9:00 PM.  We called ahead and let them know it would be after 8:00 PM before we arrived.  They said it was no problem - they were open until 10:00 PM.

We debated whether or not to stop at the state line/Florida Visitor's Center and go in first thing on Thursday morning.  But we decided to continue on and passed a lot of deer along the highway.  That was a bit unnerving as we got into the Niceville/Eglin AFB area off I-10.

So after 16 months on the road~ we became 'one of those guys'.  I always wondered what the big deal was that would make someone travel late at night and why they would want to arrive in the dark and set up in the dark?  
We have seen it many times and commented, "Not for us!"...  Ha!
But I doubt we will do it again.  We'll see.

We got to Destin and missed our turn onto Benning Drive.  We turned around, went back and arrived at the gate at 10:20 PM.  Pressing to get there and seeing lots of deer by the roadside ~ that was the no fun part.  We were very glad to see someone in the registration office!  She could not have been nicer and more helpful!

We are pretty excited to be here.  This is one of the best kept secrets in the Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine MWR (Morale, Recreation, Welfare) system!
We had not heard of it but it has been here for 30+ years.  It is open to active duty military, military retirees and DoD civilians.  Our site is costing $19/night.

Thursday was a day of exploring.  Pam and I met down the road at Fort Walton Beach in 1978.  We were both in the USAF stationed at Hurlburt Field.  We came back and visited with our kids in the early 1990's and haven't been back since then.  We were anxious to drive around to see what's changed.

Wow!  Fort Walton Beach and Hurlburt Field have changed a LOT since we were last here 16 or 17 years ago.  The base has grown to be a huge place now.  It is the home of the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).  In the late 1970's it seemed the base was a sleep hollow type of place. Now it is booming!  We did not recognize most of the buildings on base.  It has really come of age.

Later, in FWB, we went by our first apartment.  It is now a condominium and it was nice to see it is still well maintained.
We also went to the beach on Santa Rosa Island.  This area has the arguably the whitest beaches in the world.  We have never seen anything like them.  We would come here often.
After living her in the late 1970's these beaches became the standard by which we have measured all others.  Nothing like them!  There is absolutely no evidence of oil or remnants of the tragic oil spill in the Gulf.  None.  Nada.

Before the end of the day, we had time to go back to the campground pool and enjoy that for a while.
After dinner, we went down by the water again and watched the birds and water and the stars in the sky.
The campground is about 2 miles from the gulf side of the beach and located on the water of the Choctawhatchee Bay on the Florida Panhandle and the Emerald Coast.  We are off to a great start here in Destin and loving the high 80 degree temps.  The soft balmy breezes are what we have been looking forward to.

Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles today.  We are glad you stopped by!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Plugging and Chugging in Red Bay

Greetings to our latest follower:
Dave
Thanks for joining us!

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Sunday we awoke to a beautiful day.  I was up early getting some hours in working.  We took our time getting to the First Baptist Church in Red Bay and made the 10:45 AM service.

After that we drove the Roadrunner over to the wash rack at the Allegro Campground and spend 90 minutes cleaning it up.  It needed a wash badly!  Then we parked it at our site and I spent the next 2-3 hours applying The Solution it.  It was really shining up nicely!

We watched some tennis and football and arrived back at the Service Bay at 7:00 AM on Monday morning  so they could complete the touch up and painting for the crack and the two joint caps on the corner of the slide outs.
The left side of the picture is 'before'; the two pictures on the right top and bottom is the 'after'.
Kelly and LJ did a very good job and finished us up by 2:00 PM.

We returned to our site and we had Chris Berry come over to finish installing the trim and cabinet underneath stove.
It turned out nicely also.  He will add a piece on each side of our black out shades in the cockpit and we will be done.

We are now sitting in Brannon's parking lot at Custom RV outside of Red Bay in Vina, AL.  He is going to install a Wilson antenna and a couple of other minor things.  We should be heading to Florida tomorrow and we are looking forward to it.

Thanks for stopping by the Roadrunner Chronicles today!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

More Repairs in Red Bay

While they were working on the Roadrunner we had the chance to go over to Belmont Mississippi which is about 3 miles away.  Tiffin Motorhomes has their main paint shop over there.  Before we got into the paint shop we could see some tile work going on in one of the plants.  Sure enough, tilers were building 3 tile floors.

They layout the area on top of wooden platforms about 3 feet off the ground and they put down tile on top of a thin sheet of what looked like plywood or luan.
The guys we spoke with were very nice and going at it pretty steady.  Each of the three areas usually do 3 or 4 floors a day.

Next, we went next door to the main paint facility.  I didn't specifically count the number of paint booths they have but it was over 10.
Painting a motor home is a long and delicate process.  It requires almost 4 days to get it done.  Painting takes longer than building the motor home!

I always wondered how they put on the designs of the different models.  They have so many swirls and designs I wondered how they could keep it straight.
The answer is they use decals that come off during the painting process.  Computer generated graphic decals come in two feet wide, large rolls that get attached to the entire length of the side of the motor home.  Ladies (instead of men for some reason) hang the decal on the side, line it up, smooth out the wrinkles and then peel off the backing paper.
When the time comes in the painting process, the decal(s) come off in the specific area to be painted.  One thing about the work at this facility--they really hustle.  They even have an analyst with a clipboard timing things and trying to figure out how to make things faster.

Over in Mississippi we passed a number of cotton fields.  We had never gotten a close up look at the cotton plant so we parked the car and walked over to the see one.
It isn't as fluffy as it looks.  It has 4 or 5 little seeds in the clump.  The impact this plant has had on our nation is fascinating.

Then it was back to Allegro Campground and service bay 29 to see how the shades were coming along.  Tanya and Steven were moving along well and we got the four shades around the cockpit installed before lunch time.
Our next stop was the paint and body guys.  We have a small crack near the rear slide out.  Yikes!  This is not just a crack in the paint, the side of the RV is cracked at this point.  Ugh!  I thought it was minor but it looks like a bit of a design issue.
We could panic about the engineering and design of the side wall, or go with their repair solution and move on.  They have had a few motor homes crack like this and they have tried a number of different fixes.  This repair is the most effective and had the best results.  They sanded it down, prepared the area with new fiberglass and then buffed that out.
Next, they put a relief joint in the side but cutting an 8 inch opening the width of the small saw blade.  After filling it with rubber caulking, they covered it with a 1 1/2 inch-wide piece of rubber trim.  It will not leak and it provides room for expansion.  On Monday they will paint it all and buff it out.

We finished up Friday night by attending the Red Bay High School Friday football game.  Red Bay has a population of a little over 3300.  ~So we are talking about a really small town atmosphere.
We thoroughly enjoyed it!  The stands were filled with young and old and the kids really get a lot of support from the local businesses and family and friends.
It was another piece of Americana that we had the privilege of viewing.

Yesterday I spent all day (literally from 6 AM to about 5 PM) on the computer working.  Pam went into Russellville to the grocery store while I worked.  In the afternoon we got a good rain shower then it cleared up.  We walked over to Gil's Restaurant for some grilled lemon catfish and cole slaw for dinner.  We wanted to check out the local cuisine at least once and it was a good meal.

Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles today!  And special thanks to you readers who leave comments and all you Followers!  We appreciate it.  Have a great Sunday!