Saturday we took advantage of the great weather and took Victoria for her first beach visit and photo shoot. We went to our campground Emerald Beach RV in Navarre, FL. This is a great place to be with friendly staff and good facilities including a private beach on the intercoastal waterway. Since our daughter Katie was also in town for Easter weekend, this was a great opportunity to get her involved in the pictures, especially since this was her first chance to see Victoria.
We had a lot of fun taking the pictures and Victoria could well become a beach person!
We will be enjoying Easter in Florida with our Granddaughter Victoria, and proud parents Heather and Ryan. As an added bonus, our daughter Katie is coming for the weekend. She is currently in training at Maxwell Air Force Base and so a reasonable short drive for the weekend.
Over the weekend, we headed a bit north to investigate the center of Santa Rosa County-Milton. The city is located along the Blackwater River and is one of the oldest cities in Florida established in 1844. The city’s main industries were lumber mills and those industries that depended on the river for transportation. The first major blow to the city came with the Civil War and the industries were destroyed to prevent them from falling into Union hands. At the same time many prominent residents fled to Alabama and eventually lost all their holdings in the city.
By the end of the Second World War, the major commerce of the area was fading away and the city started its decline.
We went to see the Scratch Ankle festival, which has been held for decades. Apparently, everyone who had wanted to attend one of these had already done so, and attendance was very low with little in attractions that would draw a bigger crowd. We did find that the city has a very nice war memorial along the banks of the Blackwater River. I try to visit all of these that we find. It is good to remember the sacrifices made for all of us.
One of the reasons we picked this town to visit on our day off from babysitting Victoria was the local hardware store. It has the reputation of being a small town home depot. It was indeed a fully stocked and friendly place. While looking for the store, we stumbled on an RV repair place that had taken over a huge Ford sales lot. While chatting with the guy at the counter, the topic of the Norcold recall came up. He said they had a number of fire repairs. They had one motorhome in the back waiting to start the repair. Apparently, the fire started while they were sitting outside relaxing in the sun. They were able to put it out with a garden hose. He estimated that it did 35 thousand in damage. We strolled back and had a look at the coach. It was not pretty, but there must have been a lot of damage inside, as well for the repair to reach the 35 K level. So if you have not taken care of the recall, it sure looks like it would be a good idea to get on it.
Growing up on a farm, I always have had what I suppose is a functional view of animals. That is to say animals are just that-animals. They are not people and do not respond to things like people. So, imagine my surprise when yesterday, I attended an Easter egg hunt for dogs sponsored by a local pet store. Now from my perspective, none of the attendees had any clue what was actually going on but did seem to enjoy smelling each other while we all waited for the starting whistle. The dogs in attendance, while not actually interested in the hunt for the treats sealed in plastic eggs, they were well behaved. I wish I could say that was true for the assumed higher forms of life involved. Most of the proud owners were just interested in trying to get their dogs to “play the game”, but there is always that ten percent who dived into the hunt field scooping up the eggs like they were filled with gold dragging their dog behind them. It was funny and sad all at the same time. I cannot say if Halley really enjoyed herself, but the treat samples were a bust. They were largely the healthy type treats with lots of fiber, vitamins, etc. and Halley clearly was hoping for something tastier at the expense of nutrition. Ok, so maybe dogs are like people in this area.
This morning we got started early to get the motorhome underway for some exercise, since it has been sitting in one spot for over six weeks. We were planning on heading onto the barrier island and driving in the National Island seashore and parking along the Gulf and spending a few hours enjoying the water view. As we entered the park, there was a flashing sign indicating that the road was closed for marathon run-rats! So we turned around in the first parking area and ended up in the parking lot at the east end of Okaloosa Island for coffee and a stroll to the beach. The good news is all the equipment seems to be working fine after sitting for so long.
Finally, I cannot resist a picture of ever growing Victoria. After a big meal, I think she looks like someone developing a beer belly.
Today is my better half’s birthday. Birthdays are a major event in Dutch culture, so we have always attempted to celebrate this special day. Reflecting on past birthdays, we have found that Anneke has had a varied experience on this day. From acting as a flower girl in her uncle’s wedding to traveling on a train between Zurich and Paris. This special day has been spent in a number of different countries and, of course, in RV’s.
The most important thing is that she has been able to spend these days (now lots of them) with friends and family. Happily, today will be no exception.
We have completed one full week of taking care of Victoria while her mother returns to her teaching duties. It has been a bit of a shock to our systems, rising early every morning and getting organized and heading to their house. The hours are long and we are busy with all the usual activities associated with infant care and maintaining the household during the day. Anneke also prepares the evening meal for everyone, so it makes for a long day.
The good part is that we spend a lot of time with Victoria. Now I know that all grandparents think their grand kids are great, but she really has been an easy child to take care of. She fortunately has no problems and is a happy kid. That makes the “job” a lot easier and fun.
Of course, there are the added duties of watching over the three dogs-Halley, Zoey, and Bella. Let’s not forget Abby, the obnoxious cat and the very quiet rabbit-Dusty, and finally two tanks full of fish.
While it still is a ways off, we have started some planning for our return to traveling. We already have changed our master plan. We had been thinking on heading west, which was our plan for the winter before Victoria appeared on the scene. After thinking about that for awhile, this no longer appeals to us. So now we will be heading north taking in some of the sights in the areas that we have blown by or missed in the last four years. Going west again would have involved traveling through many places we would have already spent quite some time. The summer months would have included a great deal of hot weather and storms.
While we have no firm plans, we will first stop for the balloon festival in northern Alabama and then maybe some time in Arkansas and Missouri. Following that, we are thinking the far northeast?
We will have to do some serious study of what there is to see and do. We have never even taken a vacation in that corner of the USA, so it will be definitely something new.