Another year bites the dust - 2012 is now part of history!
To recap our year, we traveled close to 5,500 miles in the motor home (and way more than that in the car), staying east of the Mississippi the entire time. Our year started and ended in Georgia with time also spent in Florida, Alabama, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York.
Highlights of our year included first-time stops in areas new to us -
· January: Waycross, Georgia - We learned more about the Sacred Harp and shape method of singing at the Okefenokee Heritage Center; an informal visit to the control tower at Rice Yard - a busy rail switching location; the Okefenokee Swamp Park where we took two informative tours - one by boat and one by train.
· April: Koinonia Farms near Americus, Georgia - where Habitat for Humanity all started; Hillsville, Virginia, where we explored Virginia's music trail - the Crooked Road; Mt. Airy, North Carolina, Andy Griffith's hometown; Fredericksburg, Virginia and the several Civil War battlefields there; North Scituate, Rhode Island, working with fellow NOMADS volunteers in helping Camp Aldersgate, a Methodist retreat center, prepare for the upcoming season.
· July: St. Johnsbury, Vermont - a granite quarry, a bird man and a dog chapel - lots to see in the area; Bridport, Vermont - visited a traditional as well as an automated dairy farm; a guided tour of New York City, arranged by the Otis, Massachusetts Senior Center.
· September: Bainbridge, New York to help local Habitat volunteers and fellow Care-A-Vanners working on a home for Lorraine and her son Garrett; - and let's not forget our cruise - a week touring the New England coast with stops in Boston, Portland, Saint John (New Brunswick) and Halifax (Nova Scotia.)
· November: Montgomery, Alabama - a fascinating Hyundai plant tour; learning more about the Civil Rights movement in this interesting city which was also the birthplace of the Confederacy; Tuskegee - the Airmen Museum as well as Tuskegee University.
Our two month stay at Sabal Palms in Palmdale, Florida, at the beginning of the year was enjoyable as always - we really liked staying in one of the new sites out in what used to be a cow pasture.
Moving up north to Klondike in Otis, Massachusetts - this was the first year we'd leased a site so that we didn't have the hassle of moving our stuff from one RV to another, then back again. Our families and friends were then able to use the fifth wheel we've got parked on the site we own. It was a great season up there - making new friends, renewing friendships with others and helping with some maintenance jobs throughout the park - our time went by too quickly. Just before we left, we started the process of purchasing a second site - the purchase was finalized just before Christmas. With some prep work, we should be able to park there when we return in May.
Which brings us up to December - we stopped for several days in Americus, Georgia, where we connected with Dave and Mary and got Lucille's Habitat laptop tuned up. One day the four of us went to Macon to visit Jay and Joyce, who were leading a Habitat build there, and meet folks from the affiliate and the other Habitat RV Care-A-Vanners there. It's always fun to meet the folks in person that you've been communicating with as part of the registration process. Macon has rolled out the red carpet for the Care-A-Vanners, building RV sites at their office and warehouse along with a covered patio, picnic tables, fire pit and grill - they really love the CAVers!
Next stop was a week in Savannah, where we stayed at the military campground at Hunter Army Airfield - very convenient to tour the city and nearby shopping. One day we drove into the city, parked at the visitor center, and explored on foot from there. The nearby Roundhouse Railroad Museum was a new visit for us. The huge roundhouse (20 stalls for engines) has been renovated and is still a work in process.
From their website: "This National Historic Landmark site is the oldest and largest existing nineteenth-century railroad operations complex in the nation. Construction began in 1850. Thirteen of the original structures remain today. The Central Railroad handled freight, passengers, maintenance, and manufacturing at this single location.
Now the State Museum of Railroad History, the complex is owned by the City of Savannah and has been operated since 1989 by the Coastal Heritage Society. Five of the buildings house permanent exhibits, including the roundhouse with its operating turntable. Visitors can see steam and diesel locomotives, rail cars, steam-powered machinery, model railroads, and a 126-foot brick smokestack with privies around its base."
Time to move over to Camp Carr for the rest of the year where we enjoyed spending the holidays with our family there and the traditional holiday feast Pat and Yvette host, along with Pat's family.
While parked there, Larry got started on swapping out our RV fridge with a residential Samsung fridge. He ran into several challenges throughout the process but after about a week's worth of labor and head scratching, he got 'er done. The new fridge has the same opening width as the other one but it is about 6" taller so the cabinet had to be modified some. The extra capacity (from 12 cubic feet to 19 cubic feet) is great, as is the fact it cools down quickly. An inverter that converts battery voltage to AC voltage allows us to power the refrigerator as we drive down the road. Thanks again to Pat for not only helping to manhandle both fridges in and out, but allowing Larry to use the pole barn as a work area. And we sold the RV fridge as a result of a Craig's list ad - woo hoo!
We celebrated the end of the year with one of Pat's famous low country boils, then sat around the campfire for a couple of hours before calling it a night, and a year!
Coming up: Heading south to Florida through the end of March, before we start our trek north to our site at Klondike in Otis, Massachusetts.