Wednesday, October 30, 2013
The word of the week around here has been WORRY. Two days ago, Gary had surgery on his right lower eyelid to remove an area of basal cell skin cancer. He was naturally worried about the surgery, and I was naturally worried about him. Even though the surgery had minimal risk, just the idea of it was terrifying for both of us. My adopted Aunt Sandy came by to take Gary to and from the surgery center. Sandy is VERY funny, and her humor helped Gary to relax to some extent. She was there through the whole ordeal, and I thank her for taking such good care of my best friend. The surgery went well, but Gary looks more like "Scary Gary" now. He is fully prepared for Halloween without having to apply any makeup. He came home with a mountain of bandages on his face. Yesterday, he drove himself (how crazy is that?) to his surgeon's office for a follow-up appointment. The bandages were removed, exposing the wounds beneath them. His eye looks terrible. He can't open it yet, and it's swollen and bruised. His orders are to take it totally easy for the next week to ten days. That's where I come in. There's nobody here but me to take care of him, and I'm doing my best to make him comfortable. I'm not exactly a nurse, but I've seen enough of them on TV to know what to do. Luckily for me, Gary is a good, low maintenance patient. I'm reminding him to take his meds, apply the ointments and ice packs, and to get plenty of rest. Today is October 30th, and we are supposed to go camping on November 11th. We are both hoping we don't have to cancel. If I take good care of Gary, maybe we can go as planned. If not, there's always another time. The most important thing is to get Gary back on his feet. It's time for his meds again, so I'd better get off this computer and wake him up to take them. What would he do without me? Bye for now.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Much to my surprise, Gary took the time to apply the letters to the bicycle license plates he got for me on our trip to New York. He's been busy with a lot of things, so I figured the license plates wouldn't get done for awhile. I figured wrong. These little license plates come pre-printed with common names, but if you have an unusual name like I do, you can buy a blank plate that comes with a lettering kit to make your own. Pretty cool, huh? The New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland plates are the ones that Gary bought for me on our recent trip. The other eleven states shown in the second picture, were picked up on previous trips. Gary and I have been to fifteen different states together. Not bad, but we have a lot of states still to visit. If all goes well, we'll get to them all eventually. My brother Scotty has his own collection of plates, but he only has nine. All of them were purchased when Gary went to Missouri to pick him up after buying Scotty on eBay. I've never been further west than Alabama, so Scotty has six plates that I don't have. But that's okay. Scotty hasn't been up north like I have. It's a friendly competition between us. Poor old Scotty is just a bare frame these days, so it's a given that I'll be getting even more plates before he does. That's the latest news from here. I'll post again when something exciting happens. Have a good one!
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Friday morning, we packed up and headed out of General Coffee State Park. It was sad to leave, and sad to know that our longest camping excursion ever was coming to an end. It was a trip to remember, that's for sure. We were gone for 19 days, drove through parts of 10 states, camped in 6 states, and travelled over 3,000 miles. We met new people, made new friends, enjoyed our time with old friends, spent way too much money, and had way too much fun. There were no mechanical issues of any kind, and the van got decent fuel mileage for as old and tired as it is. If it sounds like a perfect trip, I assure you that it was. Everything here at home was fine when we arrived. Gary had been a bit concerned with that. We camped out in the yard when we got home, and when Saturday rolled around, the van and I got our much needed baths. With that done, Gary put us back in the garage. Notice in the picture that my air conditioner is back in place. It didn't go with us on the trip, but it's hot and muggy here in Florida, and Gary can't sleep without it. Definitely a big difference between 80 degree nights here at home, and 40 degree nights in New York. We like it cold, and we're looking forward to some cooler weather here before long. Our next scheduled camping trip is in mid-November, but I'm not sure if we will have to cancel. Gary is having eye surgery on October 28th, and we'll have to wait and see if he's feeling up to the trip. At least it's a short trip to where we are planning to go. I've been busy all day catching up with my blog posts, so please keep reading and enjoying the pictures as you scroll down the page. Live from the Green Acres Garage once again, this is your old buddy Toaster. I'll talk with you soon.
Gary spent a full day of antique shopping in nearby Douglas, GA., and a couple of other towns too. This time, he came back with a bunch of cool things. He loves to shop for antiques, almost as much as I like to shop online. But all that shopping didn't stop him from visiting the animals at Heritage Farm again. They LOVE their carrots! Here's a few more pics of the animals at the farm, and a large turtle that was right here in our campground. He was BIG!!!
Since time worked out in our favor, Gary and I decided to spend three nights at General Coffee State Park in Nicholls, Georgia. It's our favorite Georgia park, and the only one to have farm animals. It was less than 150 miles from Magnolia Springs to General Coffee, so we arrived early and made the most of our time. The other times we've been to the park, we've camped in site #32. It was occupied this time, so we substituted with site #31, which is right across the street. As usual, there were very few campers there. It amazes us that most people don't seem to know about the park. It's quiet and peaceful and very pretty. Gary and I love the animals there. On the way to the park, we stopped at Wal-Mart. Gary bought 12 pounds of carrots to feed the donkeys with. Some of the other animals got a few bites of the carrots, but Poncho and Jenny (the donkeys) got most of them. They are unquestionably our favorites. They remind us of Jack and Diane, the donkeys at Gary's sister's farm. Poncho and Jenny got 4 pounds of carrots on each of our three days there. Like I did with my Letchworth post, I won't show you a bunch of pictures of me at our campsite. Been there, seen that. Instead, I will focus this round of pictures on the animals at Heritage Farm. They are too cool for school! Enjoy.
In all of the southern parks we go to, there are signs saying "Beware Of Alligators". Often times, there are no alligators to be seen, but here at Magnolia Springs, that's a different story. Gary took me down to the spring, and we saw four alligators, two that were relatively large, and two that were pretty small. If you're a turtle fan, Magnolia Springs is the place for you. There are HUNDREDS of them in the spring. A lady was at the dock, and she was feeding an entire loaf of bread to the turtles in the water. Moments later, one of the larger gators swam over to join in the fun. I was surprised to see the turtles and gators don't seem to have a problem with each other. Gary went antique shopping for most of our second day at the park. He was gone most of the day, drove to stores in four different towns, and came back empty handed. I know he had fun looking, but he was disappointed he didn't find something he couldn't live without. We had hoped to have enough time left in our trip to spend a couple of nights at one of our favorite parks, General Coffee State Park. Luckily, things worked out well, and that was our final stop on the "northern tour". Pictures and news from there in my next post.
Now that we've experienced the incredibly beautiful Letchworth State Park in New York, everything else basically pales in comparison. But, every place has it's own beauty, and Magnolia Springs definitely has a lot to be proud of. As far as the campground goes, the sites are big. Some are pull-thru sites and some are back-in sites. Gary says the bathroom, something that I obviously don't care about, is relatively new and very clean. The bathrooms were something that were not that great at Letchworth, judging from the complaints of Gary and others. There are lots of picnic areas, playgrounds, and a swimming pool, although it was closed for the season. There's a big lake right around the corner from the campground, with an amphitheatre, a boat ramp, and a nice big deck. The area around the springs is very picturesque, with a pagoda deck and a bridge. And there's LOTS of squirrels. You know how much I love squirrels. There's some other critters here as well, and I'll show you some of them in my next post. All in all, Magnolia Springs is a very pretty park, and one we wouldn't hesitate to come back to.
By the time we had made it to North Carolina, we were getting close enough to Florida to feel more familiar with our surroundings. Gary knew we could make the 392 mile trek from the KOA we were at, all the way down to Magnolia Springs State Park in Millen, Georgia. After sleeping well, we hit the road by 7:30, and clicked off the miles in a hurry. We ran into a little rain in northern South Carolina, but it wasn't bad and didn't last long. We passed by the heavily advertised South Of The Border attraction, and the humongous Harbor Freight Tools warehouse, both located just below the North Carolina/South Carolina border. At the Santee, SC. exit, we took US-301 southwest, crossing into Georgia. We eventually made our way to Magnolia Springs State Park. We had never been there before, but had heard good things about it. It didn't disappoint. The plan was to spend two nights there. Gary knew of antique stores in the area that he wanted to go to, and I just wanted to rest up and be my lazy self. We picked out a pretty pull-thru campsite that was big enough for at least three van and trailer combos end to end. It was REALLY nice. In my next post, I'll show you around the place. Stay tuned!
We rolled out of the Maryland welcome center around 8AM on Saturday morning, and continued to head south. Gary stopped at a Wal-Mart in Abingdon, Maryland so I could get my souvenir license plate. This would be the last stop on our trip for the souvenir plates, since I have all of the others between Maryland and Florida from our previous trips. I got four new ones on this trip, thanks to Gary's persistence in finding them for me. For most of the day, it rained lightly, just as it had done the previous day. We made our way through Maryland, paid our final toll when leaving the state, and crossed over the Potomac River on a big bridge that took us into Virginia. We stopped for a little break at a roadside park on the Virginia side of the bridge. Somehow, we had gotten off of I-95, and had ended up on US-301. It was a nice road, so no complaints. We eventually ended up back on I-95 just north of Richmond, then cruised south towards the North Carolina border. Gary wanted to stop earlier, rest up, take a shower, and catch up on computer stuff, so I knew we wouldn't be driving a whole lot further. We stopped at the North Carolina welcome center, and Gary checked the internet for the nearest KOA. We were at exit 180, and the closest KOA was at exit 154, the Rocky Mount/Enfield exit. We headed there, checked in, and took it easy for the rest of the night. The place was pretty much out in the sticks, but TV reception was good. We watched the NASCAR race, planned our next stop, and hit the hay. It was super quiet, so we slept well, and felt rested for the long haul to our next stop in northern Georgia.
Friday morning had arrived, and it was time to leave Letchworth. Most of our friends had already hit the highway, and reluctantly, it was time for us to do the same. Gary usually has a game plan of which way we will travel, and where we will end up each day. He's generally a meticulous planner, but this trip back to Florida was going to be MUCH different. No advanced reservations had been made, and no exact route had been planned. He told me we were going to "wing it". Always up for an adventure and seeing new places, that sounded pretty good to me. Did I have any choice? Gary had not even looked at a map to see which direction to take when leaving Letchworth. He decided rather quickly that we would head southeast, in an effort to eventually get as close as we could to Interstate 95. But that was a LONG way from where we were, and it would take all day and part of the night to get to a stopping point. We took I-390 and I-86 southeast to Binghamton, NY. Once there, we took I-81 into Pennsylvania, and caught I-476 (the Pennsylvania Turnpike) at Scranton. It began to rain around that point, and it rained all the rest of the day. That's why there aren't more pictures of the day's activities. We went through a couple of tunnels in Pennsylvania. I LOVE tunnels. We obviously don't have them in Florida. Somewhere around Philadelphia, we headed into New Jersey. As you know by now, I collect those little bicycle license plates from each state we go to, and Gary made this little detour just for me so I could get my New Jersey plate. We were well into darkness at this point, and it was still raining. Looking at the map, Gary determined that we could clip the edge of Delaware also, and I could get my little souvenir license plate from there too. It seemed like we stopped constantly to pay tolls. We don't have many toll roads in the south, but it seems like everywhere you go in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, you have to shell out big bucks for tolls. My souvenir license plates ended up costing a fortune because of the tolls, but Gary never complained. He just stopped at Wal-Mart stores and bought them for me. What a guy! After making our Wal-Mart stop in Delaware, we crossed into Maryland and slept at the Welcome Center for the night. It was 11PM, and we were tired and weary from the long drive and constant rain. We slept pretty well, even though the noisy 18-wheelers were coming and going all night. Our goal had been reached. We made it to I-95, but where to next was a mystery.
Okay, I have kept my big mouth shut, and let you enjoy some pics of Letchworth without having to read my comments. Kind of nice for a change, huh? We had four glorious days at the park, which wasn't nearly enough. A trip to New York from Florida is a LONG ride, but I sincerely hope that Gary will be willing to make the trip again. I know I'm up for it. Many thanks to all our friends that attended and helped to make the campout a fun one. We had an absolute blast. On to our next stop as we head south towards home. I'll post again soon. Lotsa Love, Toaster.