Today was a travel day. A lot of things went wrong and part of the trip was in a downpour. It was a horrible travel day, but I’m safely setup in my home for the next two weeks at the East Bank Corp of Engineers Campground on Lake Seminole. It is located in Georgia just over the state line from Chattahoochee Florida.
The day began like a normal travel day. The weather was even cooperating. The sun was out, but it was also very humid. The first problem I ran into was an electrical issue. The devices on my dash board that get power from the house battery system were not working. This is related to the dead or almost dead house batteries that I haven’t replaced yet. It has been able to get enough power from the engine alternator, but not today. I tried to start the generator to provide another source of power without success. In hindsight I probably could have gotten the generator to start if I’d plugged the motorhome back into the campground power temporarily.
I resigned myself to traveling without the radio or rear view monitor and continued on with hooking up my Honda CRV for towing. It took two attempts to get everything right without the backup monitor and power to manually apply the towed car brakes. It was close to noon when I departed the Jennings KOA; almost an hour after the official checkout time.
The actual journey can be viewed in three parts. The first part was almost normal. The sun was out, traffic was light and I got used to the electrical issues. I listened to a podcast on my cell phone and used my mirrors more to watch the rear. The second part of the journey was really intense. About thirty miles east of Tallahassee the rain arrived and lasted all the way through the city on Interstate 10. Visibility was very poor. Lights on the cars in front disappeared after a hundred yards and if they didn’t have lights on it was even shorter. Speeds went down to 50mph and slower in some areas.
The third part of the journey was punctuated by an occasional brief shower, but visibility and conditions were much better. I got off the Interstate onto US 90 for the last thirty five miles. There were plenty of indicators that the heavy storm had already passed through the area. There were a lot puddles along the side of the roads and the trees showed signs of getting blown around a little. I hit one low hanging vine or tree branch going under a big tree at about thirty miles an hour. It sounded terrible, but I don’t see any indications of damage.
I arrived at the campground a little after 3PM. By four I was setup and staying dry inside as another rain storm passed through. It sounds like tomorrow will be another rainy day, before the pattern returns to a normal summer one. One or two storms late in the day is better than many storms at anytime during the day.
The string of rainy days continued. This morning was the worst of the rainy days so far. Around 8AM the rain began. It was moderate to heavy until early afternoon. There were even a few thunderstorms in the mix. There was a severe thunderstorm watch for the area and a flash flood watch remains in place for just north of here. Rain and thunderstorms are in the forecast for the next two days, but it is not supposed to be as bad.
As the rain was letting up I drove north to the Walmart in Valdosta Georgia. It is about twenty miles away. The store was moderately busy to go with the moderate level of confusion I felt trying to find the stuff I needed. I think this Walmart has already been through the nation wide store refurbishment Walmart announced a year or so ago. The layout was subtly different, there was a lot of new signage and all the refrigerator cases had a new kind of door I’ve never encountered before. I still managed to find everything I was looking for.
By the time I got back to the RV park it had completely stopped raining. I was able to take a walk around the pond. The puddles that were completely covering the road with several inches of rain had retreated enough to walk without getting my feet wet. The resident ducks were still hiding under the bushes, but the regular Egret visitor was back searching for lunch in the tall grass along the bank of the pond.
Tomorrow I’m moving on another 130 miles west. I’ll be staying for two weeks including the Forth of July holiday weekend at the East Bank Corp of Engineers campground on Lake Seminole. I was at this campground last September when it flooded out for a couple of days during Hurricane Sally. Hopefully I won’t have a similar experience this time around.
The first full day of summer was more like a spring or fall day. The temperature was only in the low eighties, because the sun never made an appearance. The day started cloudy, but rapidly turned to rain as the morning progressed. A light to moderate rain fell until after 6PM. There was only about an hour during the afternoon that I had to close the windows. The TV weather talkers seem to be calling for a similar weather pattern for the next few days. There is a lot of moisture in the air that Tropical Storm Claudette stirred up as it passed through to the west over the weekend.
Last year on the first day of summer I was in Winslow Arizona. The temperature was just under 100 degrees and I was complaining about the wind. In the last few days it has been over 100 degrees in that area. Reading my blog entries you’d think I was 100 percent obsessed with the weather. I’m probably only about fifty percent weather obsessed. That is too much, but is probably a result of the lifestyle. Living in an RV you always know if it is raining or blowing hard. The sounds on the roof and awnings are loud. Even a very light rain can be heard inside. Also, unless the blinds are closed the rain is in sight all the time. Getting outside my 200 plus square foot RV home is important for exercise, but not in the rain.
I spent the day reading, surfing the internet and watching TV. Tomorrow I’ll probably stock up on food before moving on Wednesday. My next stop is a much greater distance to the nearest Walmart.
The rain arrived just before 5AM this morning. I knew it was coming, but the when and for how long remained a mystery. Up until that time, I had a few windows open for a nice cross breeze in my RV home. Once I heard the rain on the roof, I closed the windows and turned on the AC. Getting used to the AC cycling took another hour or so to get back to full sleep. The rain continued the rest of the morning. During the afternoon the clouds gradually thinned and the sun made an appearance before setting in the west. Scattered thunderstorms are in the forecast for anytime tomorrow, so it could be a nice day or it could be a repeat of today.
The result of the wet weather was a very lazy day. I had an additional cup of coffee with breakfast while catching up on all the latest news and tabloid fodder from the internet. After the rain stopped I took another walk around the RV park pond for a little exercise. The duck with three or four chicks in tow hurried up to me as I approached. Clearly other people have been feeding them, but I just kept walking. The egret that frequents the pond area is nowhere near as people conditioned. As I got within forty feet it flew off to the other side of the pond.
The RV park occupancy was a little more predictable today. Most of yesterday’s arrivals departed by the 11AM checkout time. This evenings guests started arriving around 2PM. There are more sites filled tonight than last night.
Today’s weather was heavily influenced by Tropical Storm Claudette. The actual storm is a few hundred miles to the west and north of here, but the storm’s circulation is bringing tropical moisture in this direction. Most of the day was just cloud covered. At random times the wind would blow stronger or a few rain drops would fall. On the positive side there were also a couple of periods that the sun filtered through the clouds. Overall it was very humid with the temperature around ninety. Tomorrow is forecast to have a high chance of thunderstorms all day. What that actually means for the weather remains to be experienced.
I spent the day getting settled in at my new location. I got the car into touring mode by taking the bicycle and rack off and stowing the trailering hookups. That’s about a fifteen minute task. The rest of the day I wandered around the RV park and the little pond it surrounds. I was cautioned at check in that a small alligator had taken up residency in the pond. If it’s still around, I didn’t see it today. The duck residents made an appearance and a visiting Egret posed for pictures.
Yesterday when I checked in shortly after 1PM, there were several others checking in at the same time. RVs continued to arrive into the evening. I assumed most of them were here for the weekend. Once again, when it comes to guessing RV park occupancy, I was wrong. All but five RVs departed this morning. Continuing with my wrong assumptions about the park occupancy, I expected new arrivals to start showing up around 1PM. By the time the first new overnight visitor arrived at 4:30PM, I was convinced no one was coming. The park is almost as full tonight as it was last night.
The day began and ended with lots of clouds in the sky. During the early afternoon the sun managed to make an appearance to heat up the very humid air into the nineties.
Today was another moving day, so I was up early. Most of the outside tasks were already done, but the few remaining ones left me dripping in sweat. I try to alternate between outside tasks and inside tasks to allow for periods to cool off. Things went smoothly this morning. The result was an early departure. If I didn’t add in a little TV watching time, I’d have been on the road by 9:30. With the delay I was out of the RV park by 10:20PM which is forty minutes ahead of checkout.
My travel began with a “short cut” on one of the Jacksonville Airport access roads. I checked out the route ahead of time to avoid the construction at the intersection of Interstate 95 and 295. It was successful, but probably not needed. The remainder of my journey was uneventful. I made one stop at a rest area to kill some time.
I arrived at my home for the next 5 nights at the Jennings KOA at 1PM. I was at the front of three RVs that all arrived within a minute or two of each other. The park is on the side of Interstate 75 in Florida near the Georgia line. I’ve exchanged the noise of Interstate 95 for the noise of Interstate 75, but it is much further away and there is no airport noise. I stayed here last September for the first time.
The air was a little less humid today. As a result, there weren’t as many thunderstorms in the area. The temperature still got into the mid nineties.
This is my last full day in the Jacksonville area. I’m moving a little west tomorrow. Unfortunately, I am moving toward the path of the tropical system heading north out of the Gulf of Mexico. It sounds like I’m stopping well short of the path of the storm, but I thought I’d be a lot further north and inland by the time the first tropical storm reached landfall. Last fall I had three close encounters with two tropical systems. I don’t want a repeat experience this year.
Travel flexibility this summer is going to be a challenge. With all the new people in RVs, finding longer stays is a difficult. Weekends are often booked, even though the mid week has availability. When I booked here, this coming weekend wasn’t available in this site category, but I can’t say I understand this parks booking system. The site next to mine has been empty the whole time I’ve been here, but the online booking system says it is occupied. I’m moving on tomorrow for a five night stay before moving on for another two weeks that includes the Forth of July holiday weekend.
I made a final run to the local Walmart for groceries this afternoon. The store was moderately busy. I was able to move right along with my shopping until I arrived at the checkout. The lady in front of me in line had a rather unique approach to the whole checkout thing. She waited until the couple in front had completely finished checking out and departed before putting a single item on the moving counter. The checkout clerk was waiting for each item as she took it out of her basket. Since the belt was moving, I couldn’t put anything on the belt until she was finished or it would get into her stuff. Next she had to place every bagged item into her cart before searching for her money. It took forever, but the payoff was she forgot one bag. The checkout clerk had to run after her yelling and waving the bag. I guess that was my entertainment for the day.
The pictures in this blog entry are from my last walk around the RV park this afternoon.
Today’s weather pattern followed yesterday’s up to a point. The day began clear and sunny. In the early afternoon the clouds built in and it started to look like rain was approaching. Unlike yesterday the storms didn’t arrive in this area. The area south of Jacksonville got clobbered, but so far the north side of Jacksonville has remained dry. As the sun has even started to make another appearance before setting for the night. There is still a possibility of a line of showers moving through from the north around midnight.
As I wrote in this blog when I arrived here at Pecan Park RV resort there is a lot of noise. The park stretches for nearly a mile along the west side of Interstate 95. The older, northern section of the park is about a quarter mile west of the highway. A flea market separates the RV park from the on ramp to the interstate. The newer southern area of the park is right beside the Interstate eight tenths of a mile from the entrance. My site is one of the closest to the interstate. It is less than a football field to the southbound traffic, but there is a fence and berm that may do some noise abatement.
In addition to the highway the RV park is less than a mile from the end of the main runway for Jacksonville International Airport. The older northern section of the park is directly under the low flying aircraft. My location in the newer southern section is out of the direct flight path. The commercial aircraft arrive and depart in scheduling clusters throughout the day. The Florida Air National Guard take off and land when ever they want. The F-15s and F-22s the guard is flying are much louder than the commercial jets and seem to peal off the straight line flight path quicker. They have passed right over my campsite.
You get used to the noise during the day quickly. At night it can be more of a challenge. For the most part you get accustom to the sound of approaching vehicles and following the sound as it increases and decreases as it departs. In a strange way it helps put you to sleep. The gotcha is the aircraft. At night they sound the same as the vehicle traffic as they approach, but they don’t follow the same pattern. The noise gets louder and it doesn’t fade as fast, but still you get used to it. Last night, before I was asleep, I think the Air National Guard had a night sortie. That got everything vibrating in my RV home. I still plan to come back. A little noise won’t keep me away.
The day began with a clear blue sky and full sun. The temperature climbed quickly into the mid nineties. As forecast, clouds arrived by mid afternoon and were soon followed by a line of thunderstorms. A severe storm warning for this area was issued, but all that we got was a moderate strength rain shower with a few flashes and booms. The off and on rain lasted about two hours.
I don’t have much to write about tonight. Other than a little shopping I spent most of the day around my RV home. The shopping was more indoor exercise than buying, but I did get a few chores done around the motorhome. The pictures in this blog entry are from a stop along the river while I was out.
Today began overcast and sticky. As the day progressed the clouds broke up enough to a partly cloudy level, before everything clouded up as the rain showers approached. Only a few couple of minutes long showers occurred in this area. The temperature peaked in the low eighties. A bright yellow orange sun is setting in the west as I start to write this blog entry.
My day was pretty much consumed with doing the laundry. There were two washers available at the laundry room in my section of the RV park when I checked. I returned to my RV home and packed up my laundry bags and stripped the bed linens into a pillow case. Along with the detergent and dryer sheets I loaded up my car and drove to the laundry facility. After loading the first load into a washing machine, I tried to get the machine to accept my credit card without success. The device kept reporting a “card read” error. After transferring everything to the other available washing machine I got the same message on that machine’s reader. Changing credit cards didn’t seem to help either.
On the assumption that it was some kind of communications error I drove to the other laundry facility at the front of the RV park. There was only one machine available in that room. I got my first load going. Twenty minutes later another machine became available and I got my second load started. Then the wait for the dryers began. At least I had a nice place to sit and wait outside on the patio. Almost three hours later I was finished with the laundry.
Back at my RV home I still had work to do. While packing the cloths back into the closet and draws I was disappointed in how some of the cloths appeared. Some of the clothes are showing their age and I don’t think the wash cycle was all that thorough. Making the bed again also took some time. Overall the laundry took more than four hours today.