Note from Me: Diane and I have had a very busy week (on top of a very intense year so far), a lot of good things have happened and a couple of crappy things as well...you will get the change to read about it ALL soon, until then I have a couple of interesting (I think so anyway) stories that I have copied from my FMCA blog archive. Here is the first one.
Entry posted by -Gramps- · 24 Jul 2012
I can’t really tell you where my mind has been the last two months. The summer has been blazing hot and my creative writing juices seemed to just dry up. So, as a result, I have not posted a new blog entry since April something. Now it is time to fix that.
It has been a hot summer so far, and a busy one as well. My biggest project has been installing the background music wiring and speakers, point of sale network, telephone system and computer network for a new restaurant in Colonial Williamsburg called the DoG Street Pub. The Pub, as I have come to call it, is a British Pub Fare restaurant with an American twist. They serve lots of craft beers, on tap and in the bottle, along with comfort food like fish and chips, bangers and mash, Scotch eggs and lots of other good things. The Pub opened to the public in June after a delay of about ten days. The goal had been to open Memorial Day, and that was why I was working so hard; to finish my part of it.
In the early morning hours of Memorial Day, two days before opening, the interior of the place caught on fire. The fire started in a new light fixture that had paper in it. Not a good thing. I found out about the news online, and made a quick phone call to the project manager, who asked me to come make an inspection of all my work. At that point no one was sure what caused the fire, so I needed to make sure it was not some fault in my wiring or equipment. I drove to Williamsburg and spent the next few hours inspecting the wiring. Many speakers had to be removed because of water collecting in the ceiling.
Remarkably the damage was minimal considering the extent of the fire. The sprinkler system extinguished it very quickly.
None of my work was damaged. Seven days later the Pub had its soft opening, guests by invitation only.
Diane and I drove our coach to Williamsburg, set up camp at the Anvil Campground, changed into some party clothes and drove over to the Pub by Six O’clock. We mingled with friends and strangers as the kitchen and wait staff brought sample after sample of the good food they had created. We had crispy Calamari Fingers, Fish and Chips, homemade split pea soup with lots of real bacon, crab and lemon, prime rib, lots of really good cheeses (I found out that I like Stilton cheese), steamed mussels, and of course really great craft beer and British cider. We left the pub stuffed and happy.
The next morning we headed up 64 west to 81 south. Our home at Deer Creek MotorCoach Resort was waiting for us
The DoG Street Pub is a gorgeous place with great food. I was very pleased to be a small part of it coming to be. If any of my fellow motorcoachers are planning a trip to Williamsburg, make sure you make a visit to this fine establishment part of your trip. You will not regret it
I fell in love with the Dog Street Pub….this was fall number three for the year.
What was fall number one and two you ask…..? Well, I am about to tell you.
I will pick up where I left off in April:
Diane, Teddy Bear and I left Greensboro just after lunch with Savannah, Georgia as our next destination.
We hit Interstate 85 and drove through Charlotte on the way down south. Diane and I lived in Charlotte for about four years many years ago. We drove past our first apartment building complex which is visible from the interstate. It wasn’t a bad place as long as no one was shooting at us. We only lived there a year before we felt it better to move to a quieter area of Charlotte.
Our trip took us around the city, past Carowinds. I was shocked at just how big Charlotte is now.
Once leaving Charlotte, it was smooth sailing to the Oaks Campground just outside Savannah. We were fortunate to book an available spot there. Diane made a quick reservation by phone, just a few miles and a couple of I-95 exits from the site. Earlier we had discovered that all the KOAs and any other campgrounds that we knew about were all booked. It was Good Friday and the snow birds were heading north from Florida and they were packing the campgrounds.
We drove the access road to the campground. It was a winding narrow thing deep into the moss covered woods. We arrived about five, checked in and happily discovered that there was a chef there selling very good bar-b-que from a place called Jacks’s that apparently is pretty famous in the area for making excellent pulled pork. Diane bought the last two plates he had while I set up camp. It really hit the spot for us.
We had a quiet evening and left early the next morning for Jacksonville and points further south. I don’t remember anything eventful happening during our trip to Melbourne. Then again it has been three months and I am lucky to remember what happened last week.
We decided (actually Diane decided) that we should stay at a place called Wickham Park in Melbourne. I had never been there before but Diane had scouted the place during a previous trip. The park has electrical hookups, water and a dump station. The back in sites are huge and grass covered. We backed up to a large cat tailed surrounded pond. Next to us was a disc golf course. I had no equipment to play with but if I did I bet I would be better at disc golf than standard golf.
Our first view of the area around us was nice, but we didn’t spend any time sightseeing, we wanted to see our new grandson and his parents. We set up camp, settled Teddy down with a treat and headed out the door.
A few minutes later we were introduced by his proud, happy parents to Gavin Thomas, our new grandson.
I fell in love with my new grandson, just as I did with all my grandkids, but there was something very special about this occasion.
Gavin was so small and so cute. I was mostly a quiet observer of Gavin in the arms of Jeri, his mother, and in the arms of Yia-Yia Diane, his Greek Grandmother.
I grilled steaks for everyone. We had a very pleasant evening. Dylan, Gavin’s big brother, played Mario Cart with me. I also introduced him to Angry Birds on my tablet. It was Gavin, however, that was the center of attention and everyone, including Dylan, was happy with that.
About eight o’clock we headed home to the coach. We didn’t want our visit to tire the baby and his mom.
Diane and I had a great time with Tom and Jeri, Dylan and Gavin. We made it a point not to make our daily visits too long. They would have liked it if we stayed around all day, but I get tired of myself after about eight hours (and there is nothing I can do about that unless I am sleeping!) so I knew when to call it a day.
There were some special moments. Tom and I went golfing at the local city nine hole course. We played eighteen holes and had a very good time. Tom thought it was funny that I always put sunscreen on my knees first…I don’t know why I do that. We all went together for baby’s first excursion to Del’s Freeze, a great ice cream shop.
We spent five days and six nights in Melbourne and then it was time to head back north. Diane and I spent most of those five days with the family but we also spent some time (and money) on ourselves. We made a trip to the local outlet mall and filled the back of the Vue with shopping bags.
We hated to leave Melbourne. Tears were shed by all but we needed to get back on the road.
Originally Diane and I had planned on visiting Jeri and family then moseying across the state to Tampa Bay with a side trip to Tarpon Springs. We both enjoy Tarpon Springs and all the Greek folks that live and work there. We really like the restaurants and bakeries. We usually come home with a lot of pastries and cookies. This trip to Hela’s, our favorite place of all, would have to wait for another time. We lost a week on the road because of the coach breakdown so we decided to substitute a couple of days in Savannah instead.
We arrived at the somewhat crowded (snowbirds still on the move) Richmond Hill KOA about five in the afternoon on Friday. Diane fixed some frozen PF Chang’s for dinner. We watched some TV and at nine called it a day. Both of us read in bed until we could not keep our eyes open any longer.
The next morning, after a breakfast of microwaved Jimmy Dean sausage and egg biscuits, we jumped in the car and headed to the historic district of Savannah.
We pulled into the parking lot of what I think is the Railroad Museum and saw a bunch of trolley busses parked there. Diane had already informed me that we would be taking a trolley tour.
Okay, no argument here.
We bought tickets for the Old Town Trolley tours and got in the boarding line for our seats. Once on board, we sat there for a while and our tour guide provided us with info about the tour. We were on a hop on, hop off, tour. There were a lot of stops and we could get off and on whenever we wanted to. There might be a short wait for the trolley to come by and of course we could end up with a different driver, but that is okay.
We finally took off and started seeing the city with all its squares. We heard about the history of the district and about the movies made there, including one of my favorites, Forest Gump. I am crazy about that movie and I do a pretty good Forest impression. We found out that the park bus bench that Forest sat on is in a city museum now, which we did not visit, but we did visit Chippiwa square under the church spire where the movie was filmed. That reminds me. I found a white feather stuck in the door of our coach a couple of days earlier. How is that for a coincidence?
We really enjoyed the tour. At lunch time we visited the Six Pence Pub. I picked that place because I wanted to sample their pub food. I suppose that the DoG Street Pub was on my mind. The Six Pence Pub was a location for the movie Something to Talk About starring Julia Roberts. We were invited to share an outside table with a couple from New York City.
We ordered lunch. Diane had a thick corned beef sandwich and a glass of wine. I had Beef and Guinness stew served in a bread bowl with potato salad. I also had a tall glass of Strongbow Cider. Not bad.
The conversation with our dining companions was fun. We talked about where we all were from, where we were going. They found it interesting that we were traveling in a motorcoach.
We all admitted that we found Savannah fascinating. I told them one of my nephews was attending the Savannah Creative Arts Institute which had a large presence in the historic district.
We talked about Forest Gump (how could we not?) and the significance of the film. I switched on my Forest Gump accent and impressed them as well as our server and she has heard a lot of people try to talk like him. She said I was channeling Forest Gump.
We finished lunch, said goodbye and happy travels. Diane and I hopped back on a trolley and continued our tour.
We visited a lot of places and were so smitten that we decided to come back the next day and just walk around on our own.
I shot many pictures with my old but still good Alpha 100 dslr and then the unthinkable happened. I dropped my camera on the trolley deck. I have never dropped one like that before. It was on my lap without the strap around my neck. I stood up and it slid off and landed hard. That was it. It would not record any more images.
I was heartbroken but we continued on with our tour for another hour and then we returned to the car and headed home.
Back in the coach I tried to reboot my camera. No luck. Sony Tech support was helpful, but my camera was DOA.
I had fallen in love with this wonderful city with its moss covered live oaks and its very friendly people and wonderful architecture. I was not going to miss this picture taking opportunity.
I logged onto the KOA very slow wireless and did a bit of online research. I found a new camera at the Savannah Best Buy and then made a quick drive to purchase it before the store closed.
I had no idea that I would be buying a brand new model Sony that had limited availability. The camera was not even officially available from Sony’s web store.
I successfully bought the camera (the sales person had to get it out of the warehouse) drove home and spent the next few hours learning how to use it.
Morning found us back in town, but not where we wanted to be. Somehow our old Garmin took us to the wrong end of Henry Street and we got stuck on small one way streets. Thank goodness we were not in the coach. Actually the houses we were driving by were quite beautiful
After about an hour we finally made it to the place we wanted to be and parked the car in a garage. From there we just started walking towards the river.
What a wonderful place Savannah is. I really had no idea. I had visited River Street over twenty years earlier but I did not remember it being so charming. The place was packed with people visiting shops, and eating in one of the many great restaurants. We roamed around, I took pictures and shot a couple of movies (my new camera also shoots video) and then we decided to look for a place to have lunch.
We found a small take out place almost at the end of River Street called the Olympic Café. I walked in and heard the people in the kitchen and behind the counter speaking Greek. I looked at the food being served and knew we had come to the right place.
"Kalispera" I said.
The cooks all looked at me and answered
"How may we serve you!"
I ordered Greek Fried Calamari and Tiropitas, enough for two. I also ordered a bottle of good Greek Beer. There were tables inside, but Teddy Bear was with us so I carried our plates to a small table just outside the door.
Man, it was all good. Diane stepped inside and I could hear her chatting with the owners, using a few words of Greek.
She came out with two fat pieces of Baklava. We devoured them.
She said it was the best she had ever eaten. I went in and bought four more pieces. So much for missing Tarpon Springs.
We spent a few more hours on River Street and then made our way back to the car.
We drove home. We were all tired out but we had a wonderful day. It was one of the best we have ever had on the road. We knew we would be coming back to this place one day soon.
We had a small dinner, watched a bit more TV, and took a short stroll around the campground. We hit the sack early.
The next morning we took off for the Smithfield, North Carolina KOA. We would spend one night there and after free waffles the next morning we would be four hours from home.
I love Gavin.
I am smitten by Savannah.
It will be awhile before I see my grandson again and who knows when Diane and I can visit Savannah once more.
In the meantime the DoG Street Pub is not far away.
Posted from Deer Creek Motorcoach Resort.