Snowflakes started to fall on the mountain early on the morning we were leaving Monte Sano State Park – time to head south! We left Huntsville December first, destination Rincon, Georgia, home of Lucille’s sister and her family. We knew we’d be getting there late so we made arrangements to overnite in the parking lot at St. Boniface Catholic Church. Yvette’s driveway is tricky to maneuver in the daytime and quite difficult in the dark.
Yvette had asked for our help in setting up her office. She recently made the move to manage Burns World Travel’s new branch office in nearby Springfield. Lucille helped pick out the window coverings and Larry installed them, as well as hanging up plaques and awards. (Commercial break: If you are looking for a great travel agent, let us know and we’ll send you her email and phone number. She goes the extra mile in finding the best travel packages for her clients, not the packages that will give her higher commissions.) We also helped her design her business cards, announcements and found her a user-friendly label program.
One evening, we went to the Rincon Church of God to watch the Kidsville Ministries, enjoying the choir and drama presentations that Pat’s grandsons (Brandon and Jarrett) performed in the church’s annual Christmas program with other children.
On another night, Lucille was Yvette’s guest at her Council of Catholic Women’s (CCW) Christmas party held in Savannah. We enjoyed a performance of traditional Christmas songs by another children’s choir and then the CCW members ended the evening with a spirited reenactment of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Lucille was glad everyone was too busy with their own roles to be taking pictures.
Before we knew it, our week in Rincon was at an end – time to hit the road again for an early morning appointment in Jacksonville to have the wheel bearings repacked on the RV—routine maintenance. Because it was raining that day, they had us pull rig and truck into their large bay but what a challenge it was backing it out without damaging either their building or our home on wheels.
We finally got back on the road around 4 pm, hoping to spend the night at a WalMart in the Daytona Beach area. It was raining really hard at this point and after sloshing through the parking lot to the store, we learned that local ordinances prohibit overnight parking and it is strictly enforced. After grabbing a quick supper, we continued to head south, finally driving out of the storms. We got to the military campground at Patrick AFB around 8 pm and got permission to park in front of the office till the next morning. The only available site was under almost a foot of water due to all the rain they had had over the past several days. It didn’t look any drier the next morning so we parked in their overflow lot for one night before moving to a full hook up site overlooking the Banana River. What a beautiful view of the river, the pelicans and shore birds and spectacular sunsets.
The remainder of December was spent commuting to Palm Bay several days each week to visit with Lucille’s parents and do routine repairs on the house. Almost fifteen months after Hurricane Frances destroyed the pool enclosure, the new one finally was installed, just a few days before our arrival. The long wait was typical for anyone with hurricane damages – too much work, not enough help, and material shortages.
The Patrick Air Force Base chapel had a very nice traditional Christmas Eve service. It is interesting to see the differences in the services we’ve attended during our travels. The message is the same but the presentation different.
We had a quiet Christmas with Lucille’s folks as well as with Aunts Florence and Lorraine. We were all gearing up for a special celebration starting at the end of December, overlapping a few days into January. Lucille’s mother celebrates her 80th birthday on January 1st and brother Roger, cousin Richard, sister Yvette, and several others helped her celebrate for several days. We siblings had agreed to each pick a day for which we’d provide the main meal, thus keeping Mom from being overwhelmed trying to feed the gang. Friday was our day and we had rotisserie chickens and all the fixings. Hey - no one said we had to cook it all ourselves – take out was allowed!
One afternoon, we took a bike ride from the campground to the beach on A1A across from the main gate, watching the surfers for a bit and enjoying a short walk on the beach.
Lo and behold – it was New Year’s Eve and 2005 was nearly at an end. No party animals here – 2005 slipped away while we slept. Not only did we celebrate the end of another year, but we’ve been retired and on the road two years – wow! We are still enjoying the full-timing lifestyle and have no plans yet to hang up our keys. There are way too many places we haven’t visited yet in the US and Canada.
Next up: A Habitat for Humanity build in Vero Beach, Florida, sightseeing around Lake Okeechobee and in February – Habitat for Humanity repair work in the Key West area.