Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Our Final Days of Summer 2010

After several great days in north Georgia, we pulled up stakes and headed south. We stopped for one night outside of Greenville, AL, at a small city park called Sherling Lake Park. We got lucky and were given the site with the most shade and a deck, too.

After we got set up, we walked down to the lake.

We decided to enjoy our breakfast on that cool deck before heading down the road again.

Then it was off to Foley, AL. Foley is about 15 miles north of Gulf Shores and the Gulf beaches. We’ve been wanting to go there for some time and this was a great opportunity to do so.

We were pleasantly surprised to hear our friends were going to stop there on their way west. As luck would have it, we arrived about ten minutes after they did. Our new home for five nights was Johnny’s Lakeside RV Resort. Here we are after we were all set up next to each other.

And here’s the view we had out the front window of our coach.

This area has OMG good food! Every meal was awesome. Our first was at Lambert’s. This is a small chain known for its “throwed rolls”. Yep, if you want a roll they’ll throw it at you. If you don’t catch it, they’ll throw another until you do. And these rolls are the size of softballs! HUGE! Have you ever had hog jowl? Julian ordered that and it’s much like really thick sliced bacon. I had meatloaf. We brought about two-thirds of our meals home with us. Another example of WAY too much food. But very yummy.

The next day we all headed to the beach. We stumbled onto “The Hangout” which sat right on the beach.

We all had the most amazing shrimp quesadillas – with TONS of shrimp in them.

After driving up the beach in both directions, we saw a restaurant called “Ribs and Reds”. Our burning question was “what are reds?” So we stopped to see if we could find out and get a dinner menu to look at as well. Well, reds are Royal Red Shrimp and the menu looked so good that we went there for dinner that night. Another wonderful meal. Reds are a very deep-water shrimp and are somewhat saltier than other shrimp. Julian and I split a meal for 2 of crab legs, reds, mussels and oysters. No shortage of food here either.

I’m afraid the highlights of our time in Foley are primarily the restaurants. We had lunch at Wintzell’s Oyster House and dinner at The Original Oyster House where we could watch the sun set. We had lunch the next day at Mikee’s Seafood, where we split a snapper dinner that was awesome.

We walked a couple times at the RV park, hoping to counteract some of the food we’d been enjoying. (Diets await us at home.) We drove further up the coast one day, all the way to Florida. We walked the beach a little – it was hard on Julian’s hip. We enjoyed late afternoon conversations on our friends’ patio – they had more shade. We really had a great time in south Alabama.

And then, after a day and a half of driving, we arrived home. It was a short(ish) trip this year. Only 51 days out. After that seriously rocky start, we had a really great time.

So, until next time: Happy Trails!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Trip to the Hospital

We went to Cleveland, GA, to Babyland General Hospital, the home of all Cabbage Patch Kids.

When we planned our trip to the mountains of north Georgia, we didn’t even know that we would be so close to the birthplace of these famous dolls. A friend heard we were coming up here and told us to be sure to go see the Hospital. I’m so glad she did.

We drove up to the “Hospital” and were struck by the coolness of the building.

When you walk in the front door, it is as if you were actually walking into a hospital. The receptionists were in full nurse uniforms, including the hats. (That’s the one picture I wish I had taken and didn’t.) You sign in and then move through the nursery area to a larger room full of "Kids". You just can’t help but smile.

A school class appeared to be in session here:

And lunch was being served:

"Kids" were everywhere.

We even witnessed a “birth”. One of the nurses came to the tree to help deliver the new baby. They really played it up big. It was a very imaginative production. And then the little girl was “born”.

There were eight or so people present for all this. When the baby was presented, the nurse asked us to name her. Someone offered “Hannah” as the first name. When asked for the middle name, Julian chimed in with “Christina”. So we contributed to the naming of a new little baby. There will be a “Kid” added to the nursery named Hannah Christina. What a hoot!

After all this, it was time to pick out a “Kid” for our granddaughter, Sha’Micah. She will be five at the end of October. This will be her Christmas present from Grandma and Grandpa this year.

We wanted a toddler rather than a newborn, to be closer to Sha’Micah’s own age. She had to be dark skinned and have great black curly hair. We found her in the corner, resting with a friend on a small bed. She was perfect. We had a nearby nurse take our picture with her.

We asked for a different outfit to be put on her, which they were happy to do. We also picked out a second outfit and shoes so she would have something different to wear right away. (They tell us any clothes 3 to 6 months in size will fit these Kids. Cool!) Then it was off to the adoption station.

We filled out the paperwork, deciding on a name.

Meet Julonna Mijoy Cole, born October 31, 2008. She has a very official-looking birth certificate stating all this. (She’s wearing her new clothes, standing on the couch of our motor home.)

We named her after us, of course (Julian & Donna). Her middle name is the same as Sha’Micah’s. Amazingly, her birth date is the same, too, just three years later!

Can you tell that we really enjoyed the experience? We did – and more than either of us had anticipated. They really play up the fantasy and make it fun for everyone.

I plan to make a mini-album of these pictures and write the story along with the photos. We’ll give that to Sha’Micah along with Julonna at Christmas. I can’t wait!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

North Carolina and Beyond

Well, it seems to be well past time to update you on our activities of the past few weeks. I don’t have many photos to share, but I’ll give you the rundown on things we’ve done.

In general, we walked anywhere from a mile to 2.5 miles when we felt like it, or when we had time. We hung out and relaxed a lot. There was a lot of reading and napping in the month of August. Then there was happy hour most afternoons by the creek. We got to know several really great people by joining in with that group. And what’s not to like about having a drink and the occasional appetizer in the shade of tall trees right next to the creek? Trust me; it’s a great way to end a day.

We went to the casino several more times. Our luck was never as good as the first two trips up there, but we really did enjoy it all. And in the end, we didn’t spend all we had budgeted, so we can’t complain at all.

We went to the Farmers Market in Asheville a couple of times. There’s great fresh produce there plus lots of fun snack items you don’t find in your local grocery store.

We gathered all our expenses regarding the accident in July and sent the information off to Blue Ox to see how much they’ll pay us. Julian talked with them a week or so ago and learned that the paperwork has gone to the desk of the president for final decision. So we’re hoping to hear on that in the next few days.

I spent an afternoon with my friend Stacy helping her make some note cards. She had a number of photos that she wanted to put on the fronts, so I helped her choose paper colors and assemble them. She was SO happy with them when done. We had a great time and it’s about the only card making I’ve done since leaving home.

We had lots of lunches out and a few dinners out, too. We had some great and some not so great. We visited several small towns and enjoyed them all. Here’s the view we had while having dinner one night outside of Maggie Valley.

I went to a church “Christmas in July” sale and bought a couple of things. One of our friends from “happy hour” belongs to the church and suggested that next year I sell my cards at this same bazaar. So I left my contact info with the lady in charge and we’ll see what happens.

We went to a couple of other “fairs” in the area. Maggie Valley had a craft fair over Labor Day weekend. The same weekend was the “Apple Festival” in Hendersonville. There were several blocks of craft booths and vendors selling their apples in every form you can imagine. We bought a fried pie and a caramel apple. We had lunch in town and bought an apple dumpling (something I’d never had). All of it was totally delicious.

On September 8 we moved to Georgia. We spent four nights at R Ranch, about 10 miles north of Dahlonega. It’s a really beautiful campground. All of the sites in our section are huge with very level concrete pads. That always makes the set-up process go so much easier. Anyway, here we are at our site.

It’s a good thing that there is all this beauty around us as we were totally cut off from the rest of the world here. There was no AT&T cell coverage. There was no wi-fi except at the Lodge near the front of the park. There was no cable available at the site. We finally got the antenna and converter running, but the signals didn’t hold very well and popped out from time to time.

We spent a day walking through and enjoying the downtown area of Dahlonega. Their claim to fame is having the first gold rush in Georgia. There are still several mines where you can visit and maybe get some gems. We had a great lunch and a really good time.

The next day we went to the Cabbage Patch Kids Babyland General Hospital. What a fun time we had there. They really play up the whole birth and adoption process. I’ll be making a separate post on that cool trip.

Our last day was spent in Helen. It was like being transported to a mountain town in Bavaria.

After walking up and down Main Street, we positioned ourselves for the parade. It was part of the 40th Annual Oktoberfest. It is the longest anywhere, running from September 9 through October 31.

This band was huge! They seemed to just keep coming. And they could really play, too!

It wasn’t a particularly long parade, but it was a lot of fun.

After the parade was finished, we headed off to find lunch. We’d seen a great looking restaurant right on the river and went there. By the time we got there, a line had formed, but it moved quickly and we got in without any wait time. We shared a Weiner Schnitzel platter and enjoyed every bite.

We stopped at the Lodge at the campground to get some photos from there. It sits on top of the hill and we knew we’d get some great views. These mountains are beautiful!

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in north Georgia and at this campground. It’s beautiful country and the surrounding towns have a lot to offer.