Tuesday, November 30, 2010
We have moved on to Daytona Beach for an as yet to be determined amount of time. We had debated staying at the Mayport Naval Station campground longer, as it is a great location on the river and Atlantic. In the end, we decided that we would move on as we were not very happy with the way the campground was operated. We have had issues with this on past visits and have read other folks concerns as well, including the write up on a military campground site.
As background, these campgrounds are funded under a morale and welfare program to support active and retired military for recreation purposes. We have visited many such campgrounds all across the country and this is certainly one of the great locations, but one of the worst managed. This campground appears to be managed not for the use of the designed clientele, but rather for the benefit of the staff which includes somewhere around 12 plus “workcampers” which can stay for up to six months or more. That represents over 20 percent of the sites that are supposed to be available for the intended users.
While we had little problems ourselves, there are many customers who seem to be really afraid of the staff, who patrol the grounds enforcing rules that do not apply to them. In that regard, they are a bit like members of Congress. In short, we decided to leave. It is always a pity when those who present themselves as part of a service organization, are really only supporting themselves instead of the customers. Finally, I should note that this is not unique to the military system, as we belong to a national membership park organization and here again many of the parks are consumed with serving those who work in the parks over the customers. This membership organization is hanging on by its fingernails, at least in part, because of the lack of support for their actions by the paying customers.
We are now located in a commercial park, International RV park, which is very nice and happy to accommodate the needs of its customers. Ironically, with passport America is only 18 dollars a night for the length of our stay.
Since I had no pictures to go with this entry, I have decided to include some pictures I have been looking at from some family sailing vacations in Greece in the late 1990’s, while stationed overseas.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
We had a quiet Thanksgiving in the motorhome, with the convection oven working its magic on the turkey, and Anneke working the magic with the rest of the meal. Halley was perhaps the one most interested in the whole process and apparently understood that she would somehow enjoy at least some of the results of this labor. It was an excellent meal.
The rest of the day was spent lounging around waiting for the Cowboys/Saints game. The truth is we have little interest in football games. I know some will find this shocking, but there it is. The only reason we endured the nearly four hours of coverage was that Fox Sports was broadcasting from the base our daughter is deployed to in the Middle East. Long story short we did not see her in the total of 2 minutes or less that they actually broadcast from there.
Yesterday was also spent hanging around the campground watching the river traffic and enjoying the beach. Not exciting, but we always enjoy being near the waterfront.
It is now time to start planning our next stop.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Yesterday, we moved a short distance south to the Naval Station at Mayport, FL. This will be our third visit here. In terms of water views, it is tough to beat. The campground sits at the mouth of the St John’s River with views of the passing military and commercial traffic. It is also a short walk to the beach on the Atlantic Ocean.
This is where we will be spending Thanksgiving this year. We avoided the mistake we made last year in not planning for this holiday and ended up having to move on Thanksgiving Day from Charleston to Hilton Head. As we prepare for this day, we have been reflecting on how different our Thanksgivings have been since we started full timing four years ago. First and foremost is that it is not assumed that we will always be with family for these occasions. It has also turned out that will not be in the same places for these events either.
Looking back, we spent our first Thanksgiving on the road in Richmond, Va. We were there visiting our youngest daughter, who was on a training assignment away from her duty station in Las Vegas. Despite the wild weather that week, we enjoyed our visit with her and had a very nice RV version of Thanksgiving that Nov in 2006.
In 2007, we were camped at Mayport Naval Station and were invited to have Thanksgiving dinner with friends Ted and Sharon in St Augustine, Fl. Another great event, this time in a sticks and brick house.
2008 found us in Key West; camped along the water in wonderful weather. We celebrated the holiday by ourselves and shared the day with the children by phone.
In 2009, as I mentioned, we forgot about the holiday and scrambled to find a place to stay. Anneke not only got us into a great resort in Hilton head, but also arranged for us to take part in the club dinner. We enjoyed the company of fellow travelers and shared our RV experiences.
This year our plan is to enjoy a quiet day at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean with a Turkey dinner and a walk on the beach.
Wherever this finds all of you, we hope that you have a great day and a lot to be thankful for.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Yesterday morning was devoted to shopping for the upcoming holiday and other items of opportunity. These occasions call for our guest dog, Halley, to spend some extra time in her kennel. So after lunch, we decided it was time to let her see what we are often doing when we head out of the motorhome. We took her along for a little tourist outing close by.
She seemed to be interested in the Tabby construction on the sugar works that was built in 1825 and used to refine the sugar cane that was the primary product of the McIntosh plantation.
She really got a close up look at the oyster shells that were used in the tabby concrete.
On the way back into the naval base, we stopped at the submarine model at the base gate to give Halley a little nautical experience. I think she was ready to enlist.
All in all, I think she enjoyed her day out.