1929 - 2009
We lost my Father Saturday morning just before 9am. My brother and sister in law had spent the night at the hospice so he would not be alone and I got a call about 8:45 from my brother giving me an update. He said it was just a matter of hours and doubted he would live through the day. While we were talking he was called back into the room and told me the end was near. I asked Jon to tell my Dad that I loved him and it was OK to go and we would take care of things here. He disconnected and then called me back about 5 minutes later and told me he had a died very peacefully a few minutes after he gave him my message.
My Dad had just turned 80 years old. I remember he was surprised that he lived so long since his father died fairly young. He was not with out medical problems though, he had to take dialysis 3 times a week, was on insulin for diabetes and had open heart surgery a few years ago to repair blocked arteries and put in a new valve. The last year he has steadily declined and so his passing is sad but also a blessing.
He was a Christian man but not outwardly religious. He and my Mom met in High School and were married on her 18th birthday in 1949. They enjoyed a long and happy life together. He worked and retired from AT&T spending 35 years repairing telephone lines. He was a volunteer fireman for most of his adult life, first in Plainfield In. and then in Lebanon In.
He and my Mom loved camping and had some type of RV until buying their retirement home in Florida. I guess he passed his love for the RV world on to me. His goal was to retire and live in Florida. They snow birded for several years until they found a nice double wide in a park they liked which they purchased and soon fulfilled his dream and moved to Florida permanently. They were very happy. We will miss him. He was a good Father.
We were up early Saturday morning and I was able to post the prior blog and have coffee before the sun ever peeked out. Rudee made us a quick breakfast of French Toast and we headed out. I was picking up the hose and cord when I a neighbor came over and wanted to take my picture. I thought it was because I was so handsome then I realized he didn't want a picture of me, just one of the truck and 5th wheel :-). The big rig sure does get a lot of attention.
We traveled hard today, covering over 600 miles. I usually avoid taking I-24 to I-75 since you have to go over Mt. Eagle and then either through or around Atlanta. Our "normal" route is I-65 to Montgomery Al. then US 231 into Florida. This time we decided to give I-75 another try and I was anxious to see how the truck would do on a serious climb and descent. Mt. Eagle in Tennessee is a 6% grade for about 6 miles. We started up and I was pleased with the power our old truck has. We climbed the hill in 9th gear and never dropped under 45 MPH (I could have gone faster but Rudee wouldn't let me, LOL). I had the Jake brake on while descending and it kept our speed at 45 MPH all the way down. Piece of cake !!
We went around Atlanta and had no problems, in fact the traffic in Indianapolis was worse then here. Rudee had packed us a lunch and snacks so we could eat on the road so we kept pushing on. We did stop once before the mountain climb and another time at a rest park south of Atlanta for bathroom breaks.
We crossed into Florida at 4:30 and headed toward our nights "lodging" , another Passport America Park. Pines and Oaks Campground in Lake City Fl. is right off I-10 about 5 miles from it's intersection with I-75. We had called ahead and they had room for us in a nice long pull through site. We always call first just to make sure that they not only have a site available but to also check that their site is big enough for us. We are 65' long and I would rather not unhook the truck for just an overnight stay so we look for "big rig friendly" campgrounds.
The park is nice with full hook up sites including cable TV and wifi for $19 per night (Passport America rate). The owners were very friendly and take pride in their park. The roads and site pads are gravel but each site has a large cement patio. The sites are a little close together, reminds me of typical KOA type sites, but our's is on the end of the row so we have a larger front yard :-). We only have about 160 miles left to travel so we can take our time this morning. We will be staying at Grove Ridge RV park in Dade City for at least the next week. I'll keep you posted.