Dec'99-Mar'00

OUR FIRST TRIP

A few days before our Dec 15 departure date it started raining. From the RVAMERICA BB I had come up with a couple of checklists to follow before leaving. One was to check tire pressure. Where the MH was sitting I would have had to get into mud to check the back tires so I decided to wait until d-day to check. On d-day it had quit raining. Pulled the MH out into driveway and checked tires. One was flat. An inside dually. Damn! Checking around I found the valve extension had worn through and caused the leak. I removed it and aired up the tire using my air compressor in garage. This incident convinced me I needed some sort of compressor to carry with us. Put that on the list.

We had been watching the weather (after all it is Dec.) and there was some bad weather headed our way. Cold, ice, snow. It was time to leave. Loaded up ourselves and LZ, our toy Dachshund. We headed south and east. First destination was Freightliner factory in Gaffney, SC. Wanted to get MH serviced and a couple of things checked out. Stopped in east Tn. Was a long day but wanted to beat the weather. Canít remember the name of the campground since I lost all files when transferring from desktop to laptop in Julí00. But it was a nice place. Next day we made it in to Gaffney. Freightliner had hookups for those waiting for service the next day. We hooked up and called some friends (more like family) and they came by for a nice visit. Next day bright and early---8AM---(this is early for a guy that gets up at the crack of noon) we were at their doors. While MH was being serviced I was given a tour of the plant. It was very interesting! I like those kind of things anyway. Work was done in a timely manner and most importantly---it was done right.

After Gaffney we headed for York, SC to visit with my daughter Sherry and her husband Rob. Ended up staying in a park near an amusement park. Another name lost in puterland. Glad the amusement park was closed for the season. Sherry & Rob came to the MH and we had a nice visit and Rob helped me out with my desktop computer. Had a bunch of stuff in there I didnít need and Iím never sure what can or cannot be deleted. Puter asks me questions that I donít know the answer for. So I just leave it alone. We just have lots of memory. :>)

Left SC to Savannah, Ga for the holidays. Kayís whole family was there which made it extra special. We stayed at Belaire Woods campground. It was OK and we went back the next year but Iíll get into that later. New Years Eve we went to a friends house to party. Too many amateurs out on the roads on that night. Especially for the millennium celebration. All was going well until midnight. There were fireworks and flares going off all around. And I had a Vietnam Ďmomentí. I usually avoid fireworks displays for that reason but it didnít occur to me that New Years Eve would have them in such abundance, and the flares. But it was a special new years so I guess that accounts for it. It was nice to know everybody was concerned but Kay told them to just let me be and Iíll work my way out of it. And I did. Itís just something I have to keep an eye on.

After Savannah we went to Ft. Benning, Ga and stayed at the post campground. Nice and quiet. Good place to recover and regroup from the holiday activities. Drove around looking for my old barracks and that sort of thing.

Then to Tallahassee, Fl. One of Kayís sisters, Mary, lives in Tally. Stayed at the Elks lodge campground for 2 weeks. There are directories for Elks lodges around the country that have camping facilities available. Some are full hookups and some might just let you park on their lot. Others are somewhere in between with hookups. Only qualification is you must be an Elk. And it is easy to crawl back to the MH after a night in the lounge. They always make visiting Elks welcome.

Moved on down to Fanning Springs, Fl. to visit my platoon sgt from Nam---Ron Benton and his wife Judy. He lives near Tampa and has a place in Fanning Springs. We backed up next to his house, plugged in and we were set. Used his house for showers, etc. He flew up in his plane to visit us and I drove to Tampa one day to say hello to Judy and have lunch with another one of our Nam buddies.

Next, off to Birmingham, Al. for a weeks visit with some old friends. They showed us a couple of State parks in the area and the visit was topped off with a visit to Talladega Speedway. Being a motorhead I really enjoyed that.

Vicksburg, Ms was next. Parked in Isle of Capri RV park. They ran a shuttle to their casino and I think Kay ran the wheels off of it. I never even went to the casino. We visited the Civil War battlefields and enjoyed them. Learned a lot. Driveshaft disconnect was acting up and one of the manufacturers was in Dallas area.

Headed towards Tx., stopped and had the repairs made. They were great people to deal with. Didnít see the Ewings. After repairs went to Ft Hood, Tx and stayed at post campgrounds. Ft. Hood is home of the 1st Cav Division---the unit I was with in Nam. Visited the museum on post and across from the campground was the Long Branch Saloon. Went there and it was full of 7th Cav people. That is the battalion I was with. Had a good time drinking free beers. Moved to Lackland AFB, Tx campground outside of San Antonio. Visited the Alamo and did the Riverwalk thing.

By now it was time to head for Harlingen for the Y2K Party. Arrived and met the nicest bunch of people weíve met in a long time. Got to put faces with names from the BB. Met Bob & Donna Eberly and hit it off immediately. We have plans to go to Alaska with them in summer 2001. Drove down to South Padre Island, it was nice but no wild college kids and bikinis running around. Boy my timing is off. Left Harlingen and went to Corpus Christi with Bob & Donna. Went in and had a nice dinner and made plans to visit the sights the next day. By next morning I was coming down with bronchitis, I get it enough that I know when it is coming on. We skipped the sights visit and headed to Dallas so I could go to the VA Hosp and get some medication before the Bronchitis hit me real hard. Parked at the Elks lodge in Garland. The VA visit was not bad. I had been hearing stories about difficulties trying to get VA treatment at different clinics while on the road but didnít have a problem. We moved to a campground about an hour out of Dallas for me to recover. Nice quiet place. Was there for 3 days when we got a call that Kayís mom was taken to the hosp. Packed up and headed back to Effingham, Illinois. Drove straight thru and I was tired. My brother-in-law had arranged for us to park in the hosp parking lot when we arrived. At 3 AM we got there. Kay went into hosp and I went to bed. Stayed in Effingham for a couple of weeks until mom-in-law left hosp and then we headed home to Harrisburg, Il.---about 2 hrs away. Arrived home towing the truck so it must have been a successful trip.