Tracking Billy the Kid

It’s all the girl at the tourist bureau’s fault. Really it is. The plan was simple, easy, and foolproof–spend a few days exploring Carlsbad Caverns and the UFO Museum in Roswell from our base camp in Lakewood, NM, roughly halfway between. Then take a straight shot down to I-10, overnight in Deming, and head for Tombstone, AZ. Couldn’t be simpler, right?

While in Roswell, we had a bit of extra time on our hands. The UFO Museum was fascinating, and definitely worth the drive, but how many hours can you spend scrutinizing old affidavits and photographs? We found out about a mega-museum that combines art, history and science, and just happens to feature an authentic recreation of the lab of Robert Goddard, creator of the liquid-fueled rocket. His wife donated everything to the museum after he passed away. Being science nerds, we had to check it out.

Next door to the museum was the visitor center. I have no idea what made us go inside. It still wasn’t too late to turn around, follow our plan, and remain blissfully ignorant. But we went inside.

A chatty girl whose name escapes me greeted us. She pointed out a couple of other interesting things to see in town, then asked where we were headed next. “Tombstone,” said I, almost absently, as Dad ran around taking photos of the tourist bureau. “Really? Well, let me help you plan your route!”

Before I knew what was happening, the girl had several guidebooks, maps and magazines spread out before me. Dad came over to see what all the commotion was about. It was too late. We were hooked.

“And you’ll want to go down to Ruidoso. It’s a tourist town, but worth a stop. But what’s really important down that way is the Billy the Kid Scenic Byway. You’re familiar with the Lincoln County War, right? That’s where it all took place.”

No kidding! I wouldn’t exactly call myself a Billy the Kid buff, or at least I wasn’t at that time, but I loved Young Guns and Young Guns II, and had always been intrigued by the mystery surrounding his alleged death. Dad and I looked at each other briefly, and we knew we were both goners. “OK,” Dad said with a half-grin, half-smirk. “We’ll go see Billy the Kid.”

We decided to camp at the Valley of Fires, four miles outside Carrizozo. It’s this amazing lava field, covering 125 square miles. The campground is high on a mountainside overlooking the lava. It’s quite windy up there, as we would come to discover when our satellite dish blew down repeatedly. The LNB arm got bent before Dad had the brilliant idea of lashing it to the trailer. But hey, it still works, the elevation is just totally out of whack.

Anyway, the Billy the Kid Scenic Byway encompasses 84 miles of mountainous roadways through the towns of Carrizozo, where we were based; Ruidoso, the tourist town; Capitan, home of Smokey Bear’s grave; Glencoe and San Patricio, historic towns that are now primarily arts communities; Hondo, known for its fruit farms; and the most important of all, Lincoln, epicenter of the Lincoln County War and the place that Billy the Kid developed from scrappy young kid to deputized member of a posse to outlaw.

The entire area was just so scenic, so full of history, and so magnificent that I was blown away. I could feel artistic inspiration coursing through my veins, whether I was sitting at a picnic table overlooking the lava field or jumping out of the car to take photos at yet another scenic overlook.

Then we visited Lincoln. The town is so magnificently preserved, and the locals are so incredibly dedicated to keeping it that way. The Lincoln State Monument encompasses five sites that played a critical role in the Lincoln County War: the Tunstall Store; the old Lincoln County Courthouse (the county seat moved to Carrizozo in 1913); the Torreon; the Montano Store; and the San Juan Mission Church, as well as a detailed museum that traces the history of the Lincoln County War.

If you’re not familiar with the story of Billy the Kid, here’s the Reader’s Digest version: after a somewhat troubled childhood, he showed up in Lincoln in the mid-1870s. John Tunstall, a British businessman, had recently opened a mercantile and cattle ranch in Lincoln. Until Tunstall opened his shop, L.G. Murphy had a monopoly on the city, including lucrative beef contracts to support nearby Fort Stanton. Murphy, backed by a corrupt local government, didn’t take too kindly to the competition. Murphy also had connections to the most known outlaw gangs in the state. So Tunstall rounded up a bunch of troubled, but not totally outlaw, young guys to work for him, and named them the Regulators. He provided living quarters and an education, while they provided labor for the ranch and store as well as protection.

Shortly after Billy the Kid joined the Regulators, Tunstall was murdered by a group of Murphy’s boys. That incident in 1878 sparked the Lincoln County War. The Regulators were deputized and given instructions to bring in the men responsible for the murder as well as some of their backers and supporters. But one thing led to another, and it turned into an all-out bloodbath. At the time, the main road through Lincoln was dubbed “The Most Dangerous Street in America.” Sheriff William Brady was killed in the war, and though he had bullets from at least five guys, the killing was pinned on Billy the Kid. The Regulators lost their deputy status and became outlaws.

Billy and the rest of the Regulators continued to hunt down Murphy’s posse, swearing to avenge John Tunstall’s death. The Regulators were tricked into returning to Lincoln in 1879 and trapped in the home of Alexander McSween, Tunstall’s partner and attorney. After a four-day siege, the house was set on fire by soldiers who had been called in from Fort Stanton to assist Murphy’s side. Though Billy and most of the Regulators escaped, along with McSween’s wife Susan, McSween was killed while trying to surrender.

After the War, Billy and some of his pals continued to live life outside the law. Billy was eventually tried and sentenced to hang for the killing of Sheriff Brady, but made a dramatic escape from the Lincoln County Courthouse. A former pal, Pat Garrett, was appointed sheriff in 1880, and was tasked with tracking down Billy. Officially, Pat Garrett shot and killed Billy the Kid in Fort Sumner, New Mexico on July 14, 1881.

But that’s just one version of the story. As it turns out, everything about Billy the Kid is shrouded in a mystery that just gets deeper and deeper. No one knows exactly where he came from, when or where he was born, or what events led directly to his appearance in Lincoln, NM.

There have been endless movies and books both historical and fiction. There is a fair amount of hard evidence demonstrating that Billy the Kid did not, in fact, die in 1881, but not enough to conclusively prove anything one way or the other. There have been talks of exhuming his and his mother’s remains and doing DNA testing to solve the mystery once and for all. But a flood destroyed the cemetery where Billy the Kid allegedly rests, not long after he was supposedly buried. They would have to exhume the entire cemetery to find his remains, assuming of course that they weren’t washed away altogether.

If Billy the Kid did survive, precious little is known about where he might have gone and what he might have done. A few people came forward in the 1940s and 1950s claiming to be Billy, including Brushy Bill Roberts, who sought a pardon that had been promised to Billy the Kid 70 years prior. But none shared much information about what their life was like from 1881 until that time.

So naturally, my writer’s brain went into overdrive. There’s a real-life mystery to be solved in the question of where Billy came from and how old he was during the Lincoln County War. There’s also a speculative mystery to be solved–if he wasn’t killed by Pat Garrett, which I don’t believe he was, then what the heck was he doing for the next 70 or so years?

Enter Danielle. She walked fully formed into my head, just like Harry Potter did to JK Rowling. She actually came in response to an idle question: “What if a woman rode with Billy the Kid?” Dad and I talked about her a little and fleshed her out…it was weird, because he’d say something that I was just thinking or vice versa. She has quite an interesting backstory of her own, and is most definitely not just another sidekick.

So there you have it, boys and girls. I’m still working on my memoir, but I also have a mystery to solve, or at least to speculate about. It’s not often that a historical fiction writer dreams up a story that is set in the place that he or she actually is at the moment. In my case, I was able to go back to Lincoln. I picked the brains of some of the residents. I spent way too much money on extremely well-researched books. I took Dad on lengthy photography missions to canyons and hideouts and ghost towns on dusty trails that have changed little since the 1870s. We’ve turned the local museums upside down and inside out learning all we can about daily life in the 1860s-1950s in this area. It’s quite fun, really, and highly educational. I’ve also made a list of skills I’ll need to acquire to write it accurately, from shooting a gun to stunt riding. I don’t need to be an expert, but I do need to know how it all feels.

Of course, since I’m doing all this historical research anyway, I’m going to try to monetize it in the meantime. So I’m submitting to Arcadia Publishing, which puts out a book series called Images of America. I’m going to try to get a job writing their Lincoln edition. It would be a work-for-hire, so definitely not a get-rich project, but I would make some money and gain a bit of credibility for the historical fiction project.

Amazing how a chance meeting with a random person can entirely change the course of your life. If we had never stepped foot inside that tourist bureau, I wouldn’t be working on these projects now. I have no idea whether this book will ever sell, but it’s a story I feel I need to tell. Wish me luck!!

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An Amazing Life

We’re currently in Lakehills, TX, outside of San Antonio. After New Orleans we went to Lafayette, LA for a few days, then headed west. We spent nearly three weeks in Willis, TX, outside Houston, then a glorious week in Austin before coming here. In a few days, we’re headed to Roswell.

The park had a huge free dinner tonight for Memorial Day weekend. Dad and I sat with a couple who have been full-timing for almost a year. They’re still learning the ropes, so we shared some tips from the road–balancing costs, staying in hostels, all sorts of things. We also shared some road stories.

Finally the wife could no longer contain herself. She blurted out, “You really have an amazing life! I hope we get to do all those things!”

Seeing my blank look, she explained. Apparently in the previous half-hour, we had started stories with the following:

When we were fording three glacier streams in Alaska…

At the youth hostel that used to be a brothel in Atlanta…

One of our dearest friends was the top tarot reader in Jackson Square in the French Quarter…

On our most recent cruise…

I hadn’t even realized we had done that, and I certainly hope she didn’t think we were bragging (though they genuinely seemed excited about the possibilities that lay ahead for them). It’s just my life, and just like any other life, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day minutiae and forget to look around and enjoy it.

Her words did remind me of a conversation we had on a cruise ship a few years ago. We were speaking with another cruise passenger. Clearly she had the money and the interest in travel, or she wouldn’t have been there. But we were sharing stories of our experiences, and she blurted out “Wow, I thought I had a cool life. Mine’s got nothing on yours! I wish I could travel all the time!”

Dad and I really do have a cool life. There’s no other way to describe it. On any given day, we might awaken to find deer outside our door, or catch a parade in the middle of the afternoon, or touch a moon rock, or celebrate Australia Day with a bunch of Aussies. We might get stuck in rush hour traffic in a city we’ve never seen or accidentally find ourselves on a narrow, winding mountain road (both of which happened just this week, thankfully not simultaneously!). We might share a jigsaw puzzle with a brilliant child or gorge ourselves on a banana split (both of which we did today). Or just wander the streets of a Wild West town and pick up a 1930s guide to New Orleans at the used bookstore (that was yesterday).

A dear friend suggested on Facebook several days ago that we should all try to flip our filters. Instead of constantly posting “I hate my life” entries about the negatives of the day, why not post “I love my life” entries focusing on the positives?

So here’s mine for today:

I am blessed to be able to travel the world and get paid to write about my adventures. I am blessed to be able to share those adventures with my father, who also acts as my photographer. Most people never get this opportunity, and even fewer get to share it with a parent. I love my life!

To you, my dear readers, a question and a challenge:

Are you doing what you truly, deep down, want to do with your life? I don’t mean the material trappings: the house of your dreams, the car of your dreams or the white picket fence. I mean the work you do, your hobbies, your day to day existence. Are you filling your hours with the things that mean the most to you?

If not, then I challenge you to simply begin. If you love dance, sign up for a class. If you love art, start painting or drawing. If you love poetry, then start writing. A wise man once said, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” No, don’t go quit your survival job. But quit putting off what you enjoy. Fill every moment you can with the things that you treasure most. Life’s too short to keep putting it off.

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Crashing Into an Extended Stay

I will post a Mardi Gras/New Orleans update shortly, complete with photos. But in the meantime, I wanted to touch on emergencies on the road, since that’s where we now find ourselves.

Mardi Gras Day was March 8. Our original plan was to leave for Lafayette on March 10, but for a variety of reasons we decided to stay an extra week. We moved from St. Bernard State Park, 20 miles outside the city, to Pontchartrain Landing in New Orleans East. The park is beautiful, with lots of upgraded amenities and a shuttle bus to the French Quarter, allowing us to save money on parking.

We decided to take March 11 off so I could get some writing done. Dad was pretty exhausted from all the running around, and neither of us was thinking entirely clearly. That evening, Dad mentioned that we needed to pick up another carton of cigarettes. I elected not to go with him, since I was still in the middle of writing.

Now here’s where it gets weird. We had just bought a carton of cigarettes two days prior. Somehow it was nowhere to be found, and neither of us remembered that we had bought them! He wouldn’t have gone out at all that night if we had.

Even weirder: Dad totally forgot about the gas station five minutes from here. He set off for the cigarette outlet in Chalmette, where our previous RV park was, 20 plus minutes away.

Weirdest of all: Our GPS is super-easy to follow, but Dad completely missed the road it told him to turn down. So he technically shouldn’t have even BEEN on the road he was on.

Anyway, I get a call just after 9:30 pm. Dad’s been in a wreck. A woman ran a red light. He’s fine, the other people are fine, but the car’s torn up. Ugh. We spent so much time and effort finding the exact vehicle we wanted: a Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer with a heavy duty tow package. It’s an 07, but has less than 40,000 miles on it.

So here we are in New Orleans, already having spent an obscene amount of money this month. And now we have a torn up car. Thank God that everyone is all right, but now what?

Well, it turns out that handling a car accident on the road is no different than handling one anywhere else. We have GEICO with a $100 deductible. The other driver insists that she is not at fault, so the liability adjusters are working through the process.

Meanwhile, we were finally able to see the damage adjuster yesterday at a shop in Houma, about an hour from here. He was super nice, and did a great job answering our questions and making us feel secure. We’re set up to get the repairs done at Crescent Ford in Harahan, where my parents originally bought their van, starting on Monday. GEICO’s paying for a Ford Explorer rental initially for ten days. We’re extending here through March 31 to give plenty of time for everything to get done.

It’s a pain in the butt, but it’s also a relief. I’m glad that if it had to happen, it happened in New Orleans, since we used to live here. But I’m also glad to know that we really can handle things on the road. It’s fundamentally no different than handling them anywhere else.

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Summerdale, Alabama Fun

Downtown Foley

So we just spent nine nights at Rainbow Plantation, an Escapees park in Summerdale, Alabama. There’s not a whole lot to do in Summerdale proper, but the park was one of the biggest, nicest, most resort-feeling parks we’ve been to yet. Didn’t have a lot of chance to participate though, because I was busy writing and doing research (read sightseeing…God, I love my job!).

Foley, Alabama is one of those quaint small towns that hasn’t really been marred by progress. We stopped at the Visitor Info Center, which turned out to be connected to a free medical museum, housed in Foley’s first hospital building.


Creepy Hospital

Now here’s where it gets creepy. The first room we walked into was the operating room, all decked out with old-school operating table and equipment. It totally reminded me of a set from the movie Saw. But that’s not really the creepy part. As Dad and I moved through the museum, I realized I had seen it before. A few months ago, I had a nightmare. As soon as I woke up, I got it all down on paper, because I think it would be a fantastic plot for a novel. Anyway, the setting was that particular hospital! Now, I’ve never been anywhere remotely close to Foley. The place doesn’t advertise. It’s never been in a movie or novel. So how the hell did I manage to dream that exact hospital?!?! Pretty scary stuff! But the museum was pretty cool.


Model Railroad

We also went to the old train depot, where there’s an O gauge model railroad setup. My cousin Eric would have stayed all day, I think. The volunteers that run the place were fascinating to talk to, and we spent a bit more time than we intended.


Foley Soda Fountain

We also had a snack at the 1950s soda fountain, topped off with a chocolate Coke (diet for Dad, gotta watch those carbs). The place was pretty cool, and there’s still an old-fashioned pharmacy in the back.


USS Alabama


Next up was the USS Alabama and the Drum submarine docked beside it. That involved an amazing amount of climbing, but it was so worth it. The ship’s a little different than the one Dad was on, and I must have asked him a million questions. Much fun was had by all.


Mobile Carnival Museum


The next day we went to downtown Mobile. The Carnival Museum may have been my favorite of all. Mobile’s actually the home of Mardi Gras, despite New Orleans fame, and the museum was quite detailed. Our guide was an older lady with a ton of energy, and she was playing up the friendly Mobile-New Orleans rivalry for the out of towners in the group. Good times!


Phoenix Fire Museum

The Phoenix Fire Museum and the rebuilt Fort Conde are annexes of the Museum of Mobile, and we went to all three. We learned  so much about the history of the city, and got to see some extremely old firefighting equipment. We also went to the Cathedral and the Police Museum, which were kind of fun.


Mobile Police Museum

What I found interesting about the Police Museum, though, was that it was actually IN the precinct. A female cop came out to see if we needed help, then disappeared into the back room. No metal detector, no officers hanging over our shoulders…you don’t see that friendly, small town trust much anymore. It was neat.

Dad scaled a cemetery wall to get a specific photo which, alas, I can’t show you now. It’s on his phone, since the camera batteries were dead. But the guy’s name was Joe Cain and he was responsible for reviving Mardi Gras in Mobile. After he died, the next Mardi Gras the whole town had a picnic in the cemetery, and really trashed the place. So the next Mardi Gras it was locked up tight, except to relatives of the deceased. A lady in a black dress and veil showed up in a limo claiming to be Joe Cain’s widow, and was allowed inside. The next year, two “widows” showed up together. Today there are 13 “widows” and a number of girlfriends (who wear red). They pay their respects to Joe Cain before parading on Mardi Gras day. I’ll upload the photo soon, I promise.


Lambert's Cafe

That night we had dinner at Lambert’s Cafe in Foley, home of the throwed rolls. It’s one of those totally over-the-top Southern restaurants, and both the food and the service were awesome. And the portions…OMG! Dad and I split the meatloaf dinner. It must have been a pound of real, home-cooked meatloaf with overflowing side dishes (we got coleslaw, mashed potatoes and corn, again all cooked from scratch). Plus, they had servers walking around with free all-you-can-eat “pass-arounds”–fried okra, black eyed peas, some kind of macaroni and tomato sauce dish, fried potatoes and of course, “throwed rolls,” so named because the servers toss them to you). We also bought a small-ish apple pie for $2. We seriously have enough leftovers for at least two more dinners. The grand total with the pie and a huge tip, was $22! Can’t beat that!

Now we’re on the way to New Orleans. We meant to leave yesterday, but had to get the hot water heater fixed on the RV. For awhile now it’s refused to stay lit for more than a few minutes. Dad made an appointment at Camping World, but it turned out there was an RV repair guy in the park. So he came over and fixed it for us at a VERY reasonable price, and we didn’t have to take it in. Worked out quite well all the way around.

I’m so excited for New Orleans, but a little nervous as well. Been gone for awhile now, I hope things haven’t changed TOO much. But either way, Mardi Gras should be fantastic this year! Anderson Cooper is headlining Endymion, and the cast of Treme is on Orpheus. Can’t wait!!

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Adventures in Pensacola

Pensacola Beach

We had a fantastic, though short, stay in Pensacola. We were able to get a great site at Fort Pickens, right next to some super friendly neighbors. I love people like them…interesting stories, quick to laugh, great fun to hang out with–but also involved in doing their own thing. They told us stories about some of the people who have latched onto them over the years…there’s definitely a fine line between friendly and over-involved, and I’m thankful that none of us crossed it. They’re Escapees too, which gives us a natural bond. Escapees is a multi-layered social organization for RVers, and we’re actually headed to an Escapees park now.

Globetrotters Game

The Globetrotters game was everything we could have hoped for–great seats, lots of comedy and audience interaction, and we got to meet Flight Time and Big Easy afterward. As huge Amazing Race fans, we were thrilled to hear that they’ll be back on the show this season. Hope they do well!

Fort Pickens

Next up was a day at Fort Pickens. The fort was built for harbor defense in the 1820s along with Fort McRee, which is now underwater thanks to natural shifts in the barrier islands, and Fort Barrancas, which is on the Pensacola Naval Air Station. The three forts never really saw combat until the Civil War. The Union held Fort Pickens, while the Confederacy got McRee and Barrancas. They took potshots at each other, but did no real damage. Why? Because the forts are a mile and a half apart, and Civil War cannons were accurate only to a mile or so. Fort Pickens was later used to house Geronimo, the famous Apache leader, and several of his men, along with their families. They were given the run of the place and at one point even served as a tourist attraction.

Concrete Battery

A new concrete fort was erected on the grounds of Fort Pickens after the rifled cannon made the brick fort obsolete, but air combat made the new structure an obvious target. After World War II, all three sites were declared obsolete for defensive purposes.

Fort Pickens and Fort Barrancas joined the National Park Service in 1971. Today Fort Pickens is a major tourist draw under the auspices of Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Just getting to Fort Pickens was quite an adventure. Our GPS sent us down a stunning and lightly traveled toll bridge. In a regular car, it’s not so bad–just $3.75. With the trailer, though, it was an additional $3.75 per axle, for a grand total of $11.25!! Nobody ever said RVing is cheap! Thankfully the main bridge is only $1.00, and only on the way in, not out again. We got half price camping with Dad’s Golden Access card, making it $10 per night, and we did not have to pay the normal $8 vehicle fee to access the park.

Fort Pickens Road

The road to Fort Pickens is on its 7th iteration. Originally a one-lane oyster shell path built in the 1950s, it was widened and paved when the National Park Service took over in 1971. The road was destroyed by Hurricane Frederick in 1979, Hurricane Opal in 1995, Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and, less than a week before its scheduled reopening, by Hurricane Dennis in 2005. Opened in 2009, the new road is intentionally below grade. This allows sand to wash over it and protect it from flooding damage.

Oil Spill Response

There’s still quite a bit of obvious hurricane damage, as well as signs of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The water’s beautiful, but there are tar balls on the beach. Thankfully cleanup crews are on site, and the park is open for business as usual. Wildlife was everywhere, and seemed healthy.

Yesterday we went to Fort Barrancas and the Naval Aviation Museum. Both are on the grounds of the Pensacola Naval Air Station, so make sure you take your ID with you if you go.

Naval Aviation

The Naval Aviation Museum was spectacular! We did the second floor on our own, then took a 1.5 hour guided walk of the first floor, followed by a 50-minute trolley tour of the flight line. The trolley guide was a combat pilot, and happened to be one the pilot who took off from the Nimitz on Operation Eagle Claw. That was the rescue attempt for the hostages in Iran in 1980.

Combat Pilot

What was particularly cool about that for us is that Dad was stationed on the California, one of the guided missile cruisers that accompanied the Nimitz on that mission. Small world, eh?

If you’re into military history, the museum provides in spades. We could easily have spent the day there if we weren’t in a hurry to get to Fort Barrancas.

Fort Barrancas

The fort tour was a lot of fun. The place is comprised of gorgeous brick arches, great fun for photographers like my dad.

Spanish Water Battery

There’s a steep, dark tunnel that connects the American fort to the old Spanish water battery, the last remnants of the original Spanish fort. The water battery was oddly reminiscent of the Mayan pyramids we climbed in Tulum, near Cozumel. Dad went all the way up, but he had the camera so I couldn’t get a photo.

Pensacola Lighthouse

We stopped by the Pensacola Lighthouse and got some photos from outside, but Dad’s back wasn’t up to climbing it after all the adventures of the day. Ah, well. That’s what next time is for.

We’re just outside Summerdale, Alabama now, where we’ll spend a week at the Escapees park. Not planning much sightseeing, I’m going to try to catch up on some work. Then it’s off to Mardi Gras!!

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Pensacola, Here We Come

Spent the night at Pine Lake RV Park in Fountain, FL, somewhere in the middle of the Panhandle. When RVing, we’ve discovered that drives generally take about twice as long as they do with a car. We left Clermont shortly after noon, and pulled into Fountain seven hours later. Thankfully we crossed into the Central time zone, so it was only 6 p.m. here.

The park manager was very nice, and the price was only $10 with our RPI membership (plus $3 for electricity). The park looked nice enough by the light of day this morning, but we didn’t even unhitch. Just set up as much as we needed to and curled up in front of the TV. It was freezing…literally. The overnight low was just above 30, with a wind chill in the mid-20s. It’s still winter up north here!

Today we have tickets to the Harlem Globetrotters in Pensacola. We’re hoping for a site at Fort Pickens, part of Gulf Islands National Seashore. But they’re walk-up only this time of year, so no idea if there’s room for us or not. If not, there’s a nice-sounding state park nearby.

We had a lovely adventure this morning. For some reason, Dad didn’t want to stop for gas last night on the way to the park. So we had 15 miles to empty, and the interstate was 15 miles away. We had seen a Raceway, but we didn’t remember exactly where. Thankfully we limped into the Raceway with 4 miles left to empty! That much excitement I don’t need, especially considering we actually ran out in Tampa last month. Yep, that was us, sitting there on a curve waiting for AAA to bring us gas. Always an adventure when you go RVing!

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On the Road Again

I apologize for horribly ignoring this blog. I’ve been busy with work. We went to Florida shortly after my last post to buy a car. We’re now the proud owners of a 2007 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer with low mileage and all the bells and whistles.

We stuck around Orlando for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, which was fantastic as always. The best part was the VIP lounge, where we got private interactions with the icon characters, as well as behind the scenes talks with the designers. Dad had the best impact of all on Halloween night, when he collided with a scare actor wielding a prop knife! Two stitches, a tetanus shot and a visit to the hand surgeon later, he was fine, thank God.

We also spent the holidays in Orlando. Did the Disney stuff and went to Medieval Times for NYE, which was SO much fun. Unfortunately we came down with the flu the next day and missed Grinchmas at Universal. But we recovered within a week, so it could have been worse.

Also did two musters with SMART, the Special Military Active and Retired Travel club…one for Veteran’s Day and a big one at Lazy Days in January for the Tampa RV SuperShow. I just love SMART, and I think Dad does as well. We drooled over a few RVs at the show, but I think we’re going to wait a few months or so to actually buy. Let’s get used to the car payment first!

So now we’re headed out on our grand Western adventure. First stop, Pensacola, where we have tickets to the Globetrotters tomorrow. We’ll actually overnight somewhere along the way tonight, since we got a late start. Can’t check in too late when you’re hauling a travel trailer. Then we’re headed to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, and on from there. Probably heading back to Orlando for HHN this year, but that’s still kind of up in the air.

Will try to update with pictures from each place! I’m excited!!

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