Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Care-A-Vanner Build in Macon - Feb 2016

We joined the Habitat for Humanity Care-A-Vanner group for a two week effort in Macon Georgia.  Other RVers from all over the country signed up online and we arrived this past weekend.
We had our first team meeting and Meet and Greet on Sunday afternoon in the very nice Macon Habitat facility.  On Monday, we met the Construction Manager (Jerry) who went through our Work Plan for the week and gave us a walk through tour of the woodshop and supply area.
The facility includes large warehouse, offices, a training room along with the Habitat Restore.  Very nice facility.

Our six RVs are lined up along one side of the parking lot.
They have water and electric hookups along with a dump station on the other side of the building.

Our work for the week is out in Lynmore Estates.
On Monday we worked on installing some inside insulation and installing two doors.  Dot and Gabe are showing how its done.
Larry and Colleen working on a different area with the insulation.

One thing that naturally happens at these events are the impromptu get-togethers.
We have folks here from South Dakota, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

Here is our first 'team photo'.

On Tuesday we split up into two groups and worked on decking at both houses.
Pam and Brian bring over another cut piece of decking.
This local affiliate enjoys a great relationship and support from the community.  Jim (on staff with Habitat) was able to get Texas Roadhouse to provide dinner for us on Tuesday evening.
We tried to get everyone together for a team photo with a couple of the managers at the restaurant.  It was a great meal and a great evening.  Texas Roadhouse employees also volunteer and have an event this week at the Restore in which they are participating.

We are off to a great start and looking forward to our time here in Macon.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Visit to Amelia Island

We are only about 20 miles from Amelia Island, so we thought we'd take the Mayport Ferry across the St. John River and see what we could see on a day trip.  We quickly added an hour to our drive when we found out the ferry is closed for repairs until further notice.

So we drove the long way around to I-295 and I-95 to take the exit for Amelia Island.  We stopped for coffee at Dunkin' Donuts and then drove around the Historic Section of town.  What a quaint place.  Reminded me of St. Simon's / Jekyll Island on a smaller scale.

There is a good sized waterfront, some shipping and lumber and lots of Victorian houses in the town.  And lots of stores that are thriving despite the old turn-of-the-century look.

We quickly found the Amelia Island History Museum.  It was excellent!

The history of Florida is convoluted to say the least, but I found this good synopsis online:

Originally home to the once-thriving Timuncuan Indians, around 2,500 B.C., it has also been 

Nearly 80% of Florida's Atlantic white shrimp is harvested in the surrounding waters, with 2 million pounds of shrimp delivered annually to the Fernandina docks.
the home of an English plantation, an international port, Civil War fort, turn-of-the-century playground for rich tourists, terminus of Florida's first cross-state railroad and world headquarters of the shrimping industry, which was first modernized here.
An aura of simple innocence belies what was once a hotbed of corruption, buccaneers and bootleggers. Named for the daughter of England's King George II, Amelia Island, was under the Spanish flag in 1807, when the Jefferson Embargo closed all U.S. ports to foreign shipping. The Spanish harbor of Fernandina became the nation's center for smuggling slaves, liquor and foreign luxury goods, as well as buried pirates treasures.
Amelia Island played another historic role during the Cuban War for Independence (1895-1989), when freedom fighter Jose Marti was overheard plotting his strategies in his island suite in the Florida House Inn (Florida's oldest surviving hotel). This led to the demise of the ill-fated revolution.

We were in Cedar Keys a few months ago, we learned that the first railroad across Florida into that city originated at Amelia Island.  One of the main crops shipped by rail from one coast to the other (and thereby avoiding the long and often dangerous ship route around South America) was lumber.

Two main industries were centered in this area of Florida:  lumber and shrimping.  Both continue today.
 We arrived just in time for the docent's tour of the museum.  After about 20 minutes in one room and getting up to the year 1565, we knew we were in trouble.  As the group moved to another area, we opted out and spent the rest of our time there  poring over displays.
 The museum was very well done and worth the $7 admission.  It had first quality and very informative displays.  The area was heavily involved with the slave trade from the late 1700's until well after the Civil War.
 After the arrival of the railroad in the 1850's and well into the 1880's, it also became favorite spot for the well-to-do Northerners and vacationers.  Large Victorian homes were built and some remain today in excellent condition which serve as Bed and Breakfast venues.

After our time at the museum we drove around the historic town which has a very large old town section with thriving shops and boutiques.  There are a lot of restaurants and the city wharf and park is close.  It is a place we could spend hours and hours.

We did a drive by of the local lumber yard and shipping company and watched some logging trucks empty their load.  Then we took a drive over to Fort Clinch State Park and checked out the two campgrounds.  Never know when we'd like to hang out there.  One campground was near the old fort which now serves as the Visitor Center.  The other campground was near the beach where there were less trees and an open area that looked like a better place for satellite TV.

We continued on our drive and went by the Amelia Island Plantation area that started development in the 1970's.  It has the large conference hotels and high end tourist accommodations.

It was a great day to see the area and find out more of the history of the region.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Back in Florida After a Short Visit to Virginia Beach

We had a wonderful time in Virginia Beach seeing our kids and grandson and extended family and friends.  We arrived on Wednesday and returned here to Mayport Naval Station at the Pelican Roost Campground.  Our 1200+ mile round trip was worth it in every way!  Even though our kids are grown and married and left home a long time ago, I still miss them!  So this short trip came at a good time.

We got to see Brooks who is growing and growing up by leaps and bounds!  He is turning into quite a little personality.  Lovable, affectionate, friendly, funny and very mature for his age (said another Grandpa...).  He is no short of amazing.

And it was great to see Adam and Melissa who came down from Fairfax for the weekend.  And Jon's parents made it up from August to also celebrate Brooks' birthday.  It was really fun to see everyone and catch up.  It's one of the most fun things we do.

We were also able to squeeze in some medical appointments and I got in to see Jake, the same Physical Therapist Kelly and Pam have seen in the previous months.  Pam got some help in alleviating some foot pain and got on track with some good walking/running shoes that are a good fit.

This time I got in for a couple of sessions to see if I can actually start running again.  It's been years and years since I have regularly run, but I'd like to get back to doing that again.  We'll see.  I was very pleased with the plan of attack (Return to Run -RTR) program he put me on.  It focuses on flexibility, stretching and a very conservative approach to move from walking to running again.  I have already been surprised with the stretching results so hopefully I can stick with it and start running again.

I also got in to see the Opthamologist and get my eyes checked.  A few months ago, I had an 'event' -- something I described as an 'oil spill/floaters - that came and went in my left eye after about 30 minutes.  I knew something was going on and I tried get in to see an eye doctor in December.  But I had some Tricare administrative issues.  Those got fixed and I had a complete eye check in both eyes with dilation and the doctor's scrutiny under his laser light.  It all checked out fine so that was a relief.

Thankfully, the return drive to Mayport was without incident.  I drove a couple of hours, Pam drove while I took a nap.  Then we stopped to fill up and grab something to eat.  We arrived back in the Jacksonville area about 5:30 PM.  We decided to go out to eat.  I asked our campground neighbor if he had any suggestions.  He thought for a moment and then said, "Seafood Kitchen" near Jacksonville Beach.  Great food, low price, modest looking restaurant".
Boy was he right!  Pam and I each had a shrimp dinner.  I opted for cheese grits while she had french fries and we both had cole slaw.
 Definitely one to put on your list if you are in the area.  I love these kind of 'local joints'.

This morning we were treated to a Navy ship getting underway right in front of us.

Nothing like a 'room with a view'.

And a few hundred yards away an aircraft carrier getting some work done.

We've been able to get the wash done, caught up on our mail and done some work around the Roadrunner.

We'll be here for a few more days and aim to enjoy it.  Hopefully the great weather will hold up.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Monday, February 15, 2016

A First for Brooks!

Yep - today is Brooks' first birthday!  Can't believe it all went by so quickly.  (I know I am not the first to say that!) But it's true.  

And a few things are similar one year later.  The weather for example, last year it was snowing and cold on this day.  Jon called early and said, "It's time!" We told him we'd meet them over at the hospital and a few hours later.  So...
From This:
To This:
He is one little fun loving, walking, running, active, energetic, precious little boy!

We left the Roadrunner for a few days at our campsite in Florida and drove the Honda CRV to Kelly and Jon's to celebrate his birthday.  His official birthday is the 15th but the party was on Saturday afternoon.

All his grandparents and lots of friends and buddies showed up for the big event.
Miss Becky named him the Prince many months ago and that became the theme for the event, "The Prince is 1".

We had way more food than we needed but that was OK.
 It was a good time for friends to get together.  That's Owen - one of Brooks' best buddies.
 When it came time for Meme's birthday carrot cake - Brooks wasn't too sure what to make of it.
 But after everyone sang him 'Happy Birthday' he plunged in with both hands.
 And this friends loved playing together while all the grown ups stood around and talked.
 Adam and Melissa came down from Fairfax for the event and stayed overnight which was great.
 Haven't gotten to see them since their wedding back in October.

The afternoon was exciting and the finale of bubbles was a real hit.
After the party we got to hang out with Jon's parent's (Meme and Poppy) and spent the evening with Adam and Melissa.
 It was a fun day.

Earlier in the day, we got to go to Brooks' "swim lessons" at the local recreation center.
The little ones are in the pool with a parent and basically walk around getting used to the water.  Today they went under for a quick dunk and did good!  So far he is enjoying it and has added water fun to his amazing skill set!

It was really great to see him and everyone again and to help celebrate Brooks' first birthday.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!