All posts by Ken and Debbie

Ken and I are full time RVers currently traveling around the USA. We will be visiting as many of our National and State parks as we can as well as connecting with family and friends that are scattered across the Nation. Our blog is set up to connect with family and friends to let them know where we are and what we are doing. Our goals are twofold, to obtain advice and suggestions from all that may wish to contribute and also provide our fellow RVers with advice that may help them with their own travels. So far, we have received numerous suggestions that have already enriched our journey. Thank you for following us.

Seeing clearly again

Hello to friends and family!

Well since it has been raining here for the first time since we’ve been on Pine Island, we thought it was a good time to get caught up.

As mentioned in our last post, Ken & I took a boat ride to Dry Tortugas National Park which is about 70 miles from Key West.  The boat ride was 2.5 hours each way and the seas were calm and flat, the day was sunny and warm/hot all of which made for a comfortable ride (AC inside and great sea breeze outside).  Upon arrival you can take a tour of the fort, snorkel, or relax on the beach.  Although we brought our snorkeling gear, we ended up exploring the fort for the majority of our time there.  We joined the 11:00 tour which was fascinating.  As a child, I didn’t pay too much attention to history but now Kenny and I are soaking it in.

Upon arrival had to get a standard tourist shot.
Upon arrival had to get a standard tourist shot.
From inside fort looking out view
From inside fort looking out view

Our tour guide was a history nut!  During the 1.5 hour tour, he gave us history from when Ponce de Leon discovered it in 1513 to when construction began in 1846, to current day – all without missing a beat!  After all of the effort in building the fort, it was never completed and never had any battles.  Too much information to get into the blog, you’d fall asleep, but we strongly suggest that if you ever get to Key West, take advantage of the trip there.  Your tour guide will keep you enthralled.

Beautiful architecture!

Our boat was Yankee Freedom and the trip fee included, park entry fee, breakfast, lunch, total of 5 hours of boat time, tour and snorkeling gear to use.  Drinks were available on the way home, the crew was friendly and fun.  If someone named Jeff conducts a tour of the fort (he works on the boat) be sure to sign up with him.  He was so passionate about the history that all were totally engaged and he had exceptionally funny tales about what happened there.

On Sunday, we hung out at Bahia Honda State Park Beach.  Boasted as the best beach in FL, we strongly disagree.  It is very nice but I guess we are spoiled by ME, HI, MA and other more beautiful beaches in FL.  It was a pristine sunny day.  The beach wasn’t overcrowded and the water refreshing.  But in order to get entirely wet you had to dunk in or sit down and splash your shoulders which would not be under water.

For our RV friends, we had tried to get a site there for our stay but they were booked solid.  After seeing the roads into the Park, we were happy we were at the Jolly Rogers. We would have had to unhitch our car and it would have been terribly difficult to get our RV through all of the winding roads.

On Monday, we left for Ft. Myers and stayed overnight at a Good Sam’s park called Lazy J.  The park was okay, the people nice but the only amenities being offered were laundry and sketchy wi-fi, it was a big disappointment considering we paid the same price as a KOA with all amenities.  We were there for only one night so it was fine.  We did see some adorable calves with their momma’s playing in the field nearby – they were fun to watch since they were prancing around like deer and ran over to the fence to say hi to Uma.  She didn’t know what they were and never barked at them and they had no clue what she was.

On Tuesday, ARE YOU BORED YET?, we went to Hudson, FL, to get our cloudy side windows replaced.  That was an interesting four days!  We camped in a parking lot with 10-12 other campers doing the same thing.  We did get out for some local walks but mostly stayed there.  We met interesting folks from all over the US and Canada.  There were crazy tales shared over sipping wine/beer in little gab groups early evening.  Although mostly a dull few days, the results were two huge side windows crystal clear for the FIRST TIME!  It is so nice to be able to see out the side windows and watch the world go by from both the front and the side windows.  We highly recommend Sun Coast for their professional workers and accommodating staff.

Of great importance, during that week we bought a satellite dish!  Hip, hip hooray!  We were missing our Game of Thrones, our guilty pleasure, and now we don’t have to.  For fans of the show, Jon Snow is alive AND Winter is Coming!

We’ve been at a KOA on Pine Island since last Sunday relaxing in the pool and culling down more “stuff” in the RV.  More donation boxes to drop off.  Yes, it is crazy that after 40+ days we are not yet completely organized.  We highly recommend this location.  There are no beaches on the island but the KOA is perfect.

This is our base for another week.  Right now, Kenny and I are sitting outside in the rain – protected by our awning of course – patiently awaiting the arrival of Bill and Jackie (Ken’s brother and our sister-in-law).  We are so excited that they are coming to visit with us for the next week or so.  Jackie and I met when we were 14 working on tobacco in Windsor. She and Bill met when he was living with Ken and I for a short time. And, how cool is that, we are now related!  We are looking forward to some fun adventures with them!

Happy Mothers Day to all moms.  Our usual Mom’s day was kayaking together on the Farmington River and we will most certainly be missing all on that day.  It was always one I certainly cherished as a special family day.  We miss our kids/grandkids desperately but are in contact with all weekly.  For those with kids local, hug them tight as we wish we could.

So, here are Bill and Jackie!!  Need to sign off.  We hope all is well in your worlds.  Until next time, we raise our wine glasses and toast to you:

Don’t wait out the storm, learn to dance in the rain.

K, D & U

P.S.  I have pictures but my IPhone isn’t communicating with my IPad again!  Need to spend two hours on the phone with an IPhone representative.  I will add some pictures to this post when I can find time to do this.  This has been an ongoing problem since my email changed.  GRRRR.

 

 

Downtime

Hello friends and family! We were too busy relaxing last week to write anything but we are on the road again so we have some time to get caught up.

We enjoyed Flager Beach so much that we extended our stay. Our view from the front windshield was the ocean.  Although the park was pretty full, there were very few people on the beach and at night we had bonfires in the sand right in front of our RV.   There were only two other groups having bonfires as far as the eye could see.

Our long lost friends, Susan and Mark, were kind enough to continue to be our tour guides and joined us at the end of our stay at Beverly Beach Resort (Flager).  They brought us to two amazing locations. The first location, Princess Place Preserve, is tucked away from the beaten path and is located on 1500 acres of breathtaking property.  You feel as if you stepped back in time.  There you can hike/walk on any of their well maintained trails. There are also equestrian and bike trails, canoeing/kayaking, fishing, and both equestrian and regular camping sites.  We had Uma off leash and we saw only four people on our trail all day.  We owned that trail!  Very secluded; a hidden gem.

For birders, there is a 40-year old bald eagle’s nest which contains one chick and two diligent parents. We didn’t see them but the chick is due to fly April 2016. The day was well spent walking, having a picnic lunch, and soaking in the beauty of the reserve.

On Friday, Susan and Mark brought Ken and I (and Uma, of course) to another hidden treasure, Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park, also located in Flager, which had been a plantation and mill. Susan and Mark took us on another trail there which was equally splendid to travel. The trunks of many of the trees were enormous! They must be hundreds of years old. When we had some rain, we “hid” under tree limbs to keep from getting too wet.   Later, we explored the ruins of the mill where there the history of the plantation was provided. We had to say our goodbyes to friends at the end of the day because we were heading out Melbourne.

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Mark, Susan and Kenny on trail in Bulow

In addition to the time with friends, we took long walks along the empty, pristine beachfront. (We have to get our FitBit steps in!)  Oh, and Kenny wants everyone to know that our RV had a Spa Day when a mobile unit washed and detailed it.  Although ours is an older model, it looks pretty snappy!

For our RVing friends, we recommend the park we stayed in, the Beverly Beach Resort in Flager.  Thanks to Brian and Lisa D. for their recommendation.  We suggest that you stay across A1A rather than on the beachfront.  Although the view had spectacular sunrises, the salt spray pelted our RV and, believe it or not, within that week, both of our bike chains became so rusty that we had to have the chains cleaned up at a bike shop!  Conveniently, across the street is a snack shack that served everything from stuffed cabbage and knockwurst to fried Brie salad.  One-man-show though so you can’t be in a hurry.  Great food with great prices.  We highly recommend that you try it.  The owner/chef/server is very friendly and the food is not your normal snack shack fare.

On Saturday, we headed to Melbourne to visit some family and reconnect with Cindy and Lenny B., our CT camping buddies.

We met up with my second cousin’s wife and one of her sons, his fiancé, and their beautiful 7-month old beauty queen.  Right before leaving Melbourne, we had dinner with our friends from CT, Cindy and Lenny B., who happened to be in the area the same time as we were.

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Paul, Melissa, and sweet baby Phoenix
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Andrew, Sharon and Kenny with puppies – though hard to see

After visiting family and friends, we left Melbourne on Wednesday, stayed in Ft. Lauderdale overnight on our way to the Keys.  While in Ft. Lauderdale, we saw Kenny’s cousin Sharon and her son Andrew as well as their happy dachshunds, Eva and Maggie.

For fellow RVers, take note.  I would not recommend staying at the Kozy Kampers RV park in Ft. Lauderdale.

Our current location at the Jolly Roger in Marathon is spectacular!  You can snorkel right here and everything is no more than 1.5 hours from this base.  There is a very large Bark Park, you can fish off the pier, good size pool, clean, friendly fellow campers.  We are overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.  If I walk ten steps, I can be in turquoise water.

We have reservations on the Tortugas National Park Ferry (our second National Park of our adventure) on Saturday.  However, if you have more pre-planning time than we have had, set up your reservations.  We were lucky that there was a cancellation.

Until next time, we raise our wine glasses and toast to you:

May you live as long as you want, may you never want as long as you live.

K, D, & U

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction to our Adventure

For those aware of our contest to name our blog, the winner is Lisa P., who has also helped us tremendously with the WordPress tool.  With her help, the blog is now up and running.  Sincere thanks to you!  There were many clever submittals but her submittal felt right for our trip.  She submitted the “wine”ding road” which we tweaked only slightly to R”wine”ding road.  For the purchase of the blog name, it had to be http://www.rwinedingroad.com.

Finally, after taking too many months to sell out home, completing the final upgrades on the RV and becoming official South Dakota full-time RVers, we left CT on 3/25/16 almost six months after our anticipated leave.

We have been delighted that Uma, our 9-year old Sheperd, is a great traveler!  She loves all of the new smells and isn’t a barker so can stay in the RV when the temperature is agreeable and we can’t take her with us.  We have been able to easily day-board her when needed and she even loves that.  What a huge relief for us that she is enjoying the ride.  However, she has taken over one of our couches as her own.  We are okay with that since the leather couch is easier to clean off the dog hair than our other couch which would be a magnet for dog hair.

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Kenny’s upgrades (with help) have paid off.  The new floor is easy to clean (thanks Dan), the roof looks snappy and we won’t have to worry about any leaks anytime soon (thanks Bill, Brett, Kari, Jackie), new TV set-ups give the interior a definite upgrade and take up so little space (thanks Aaron, Nikki, Dan), and another thank you to Herbie and Patty for their overall support during all of our preparations for this trip.  The RV is running well and we will keep our fingers crossed that we won’t have any major issues moving forward.

Love, hugs, and kisses to our wonderful children and their spouse/significant others, our amazing grandchildren and strong support of our extended family and friends that made us feel that this trip is one we deserve even though we will all be separated for some time.  We think of everyone everyday and have our sappy, crying jags regularly missing all.  But we know now is the time to be selfish.  We both have our health and are happy for it.  Thanks to all for your support.

This initial blog will be wordy, but in going forward we hope to give you some insight to our trip but also provide you with information you’d like to know so please send us comments or questions you may have.

To date we have been traveling pretty much on a whim traveling down the East Coast visiting friends and family.  We are currently in FL where we will tentatively plan our year while we are here so stay tuned.

On our journey to FL, we stayed in Virginia Beach.  While there, we stayed in an amazing KOA campsite.  Of note, there are jets flying overhead all day with crazy maneuvers and the noise runs from 9 am until 9 – 10 pm.  Regardless, we loved it – so much fun to watch pilots having so much fun.

During this time we organized the RV more but did have some fun biking and hiking.  At Back Bay Wildlife Refuge, we took a boardwalk hike and the following day went biking with a picnic lunch on the beachfront in Virginia Beach.  Of the time in Virginia Beach, we enjoyed most our hike in First Landing State Park.  There were very few people around and with Spanish Moss draping gracefully from the trees we passed, it felt so magical and surreal.

Colonial Williamsburg was worth the trip.  A must if you can fit it into your vacation plans.  So much history, it was much like Sturbridge Village on steroids.  Check student vacations and stay away from summer, if possible.  It has become somewhat commercialized in the last five years, from what we understand.

We imagine that during the summer all areas we visited would be completely, crazy, overcrowded.  Regardless, we have now added Virginia Beach to our bucket list.  We’d love to stay on the beachfront with our entire family.  We’d provision for our time there just like a boat trip and never leave the property.  The beach is spectacular but traffic would be horrible during the best season!  Best to provision and stay put.

We just left  St. Augustine which was founded in 1565 and the history is so fascinating.  So much to see and do for any interest.  We suggest that you take the full trolley ride then determine what you wish to see. We took in the fort and the fountain of youth as well as some of the museums.  While visiting the Fountain of Youth, we drank water from the Fountain of Youth.  Alas, we still woke up with our wrinkles.

Today, we moved to a beachfront RV park in Flager where, for the next seven days, we are perusing our RV travel magazines, sipping cool alcoholic drinks, watching FL sunsets, having glorious campfires and mapping our next stops on Rwinedingroad.

We don’t know yet how our blog will evolve but if you are a future full-time RVer or travelling cross county, or want to know prices of places we stay, or issues we’ve had to address or can offer your suggestions of places to see or things to do in any areas we are moving to, we’d love to hear from you.

We have a new contest for anyone interested.  MaryEllen M gave us a Travelocity gnome and he’s travelling with us.  You will see pictures of him as we travel along.  He’s like the gnome in the movie Amelie but smaller.  Desperately, he needs a name.  Any suggestions you provide will be considered.  There are no monetary awards for naming him, just bragging rights and our acknowledgment on this blog.  We look forward to hearing from you.   He wasn’t feeling  well on our trip to Williamsburg or St. Augustine but he’s now on the mend.

When we post where we are headed, we’d love your suggestions of places to visit, restaurants, hiking or biking trails, anything at all that you think we’d enjoy on our journey.

Until next time, we lift our wine glasses to you and make a toast.

May your best of today be your worst of tomorrow.

K, D & U

 

 

 

 

 

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