Bill and Cathy McArthur on the Road 2008: 1

  This is the first report of our winter travels for 2008. January 1 found us driving our RV from the Georgia/Florida state border to Hollywood, FL. See "Happy Holidays 2007" to see what events preceded this trip. We arose at 5:45 AM in the Lake Park (GA) KOA and headed south on I75. We had an easy, high-speed drive, in which we used our new Sun Pass on the Florida Turnpike. We had the usual oatmeal breakfast in a Cracker Barrel. Cathy wasn't feeling well and slept for a good part of the journey. We stopped at a service plaza about 45 miles from Hollywood to get some gas, grab a light lunch and to talk with Tom to see how they were doing on the road. Their ETA was 5:00 PM. We found Grice's RV Park without problem, got checked in, and got set up in our campsite. We didn't have TV cable, but found a great HDTV channel with the Gator Bowl on it. It rained off and on all afternoon. It was 81 degrees and humid and felt good. Katie, Tom, and Rachel arrived at 5:30 PM. Bill went out to the highway to show them the way in with our XTerra. We all got settled into the RV and then headed into downtown Hollywood. We found the Virginia Tech headquarters hotel and used valet parking with a kayak on top of the car. We walked around the hotel and ended up eating pizza across the street. The wind picked up as the evening went on and the temperature went down. We all got to bed a bit on the late side.

  Wednesday morning was a chilly 50 degrees and very windy. We visited South Beach for part of the morning and the early afternoon. We ate lunch at Fox Cafe on Ocean Drive. After lunch, we walked on the very windy beach for a short time. We walked around for a couple of hours and then drove to the Margaret Pace Park in downtown Miami for the FanFest. The chilly wind was howling off of the back bay, making it very uncomfortable. Cathy wasn't feeling well, so she stayed in the XTerra and tried to nap. The other three of us decided to go to a hotel coffee shop to get out of the wind until the Hokie band was to appear around 5:00 PM. We went back into FanFest and were able to get up close and personal with the Hokie Bird and the band. The pep rally with the band was very spirited, but most people couldn't stand to be out in the cold and the wind. We shopped at a Publix in downtown Hollywood that had the feel of a city store. We managed to buy what we needed for tailgating and dinner. We ate tortellini in the RV for dinner. We went to bed a bit late again.

  Thursday morning was a cold 39 degrees and very windy again. We woke up early and set about getting the RV and us ready for the drive over to Dolphin Stadium for tailgating and the Orange Bowl. We arrived at lot 8 at 10:30 AM. There were already a few RVs on hand. In addition, there was an amazing, customized, $300 old school bus filled with people and beer. The bus became quit a hub for tailgating. There were far more VT fans than KU fans for RV tailgating. Tom, Rachel, and Bill walked to a nearby Wal-Mart for some supplies. It remained cloudy, chilly, and windy but we enjoyed the tailgating nonetheless. Tom became the tailgating chef and prepared game day subs for lunch and 4-way Cincinnati Chili for dinner. We kept our generator running for over 12 hours so that we could run the TV. Katie, Tom, and Bill left for the game at about 6:40 PM. They had Club Level seats which provided a beautiful inside area which was a combination of a food court and a museum. In addition, the club level seats were under an overhang which protected them from the periodic rain during the game. The Orange Bowl game was quite a spectacle. Kansas won in a close game. Bill thought that the Kansas quarterback and offensive scheme were the difference. When they got back to the RV, we woke Rachel, readied the RV, and headed back to the campground, 6 miles away. Tom's navigating got us there very easily. We found that a parked pickup truck was preventing us from backing into our site, so we headed in and just hooked up the electricity overnight. We all got to bed after 1:00 AM.

  Friday morning was a chilly 55 degrees and very windy again. We slept in until 8:00 AM and then took the time to put the RV into the site in the proper orientation. We started to cook breakfast, but tripped the circuit breaker and had to rig up the orange cord solution in order to make breakfast. After breakfast, we packed Katie, Tom, and Rachel's luggage into the XTerra. We drove along the coast from Hollywood to the north. We found the beautiful, wild area called Dania Beach between Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale. We found the Beach Watch restaurant on a pier on the beach for lunch. We had a good meal and had a good time watching skim boarders and kite boarders having fun in the windy surf and showing off for a couple of beach bunnies. We continued our drive into Fort Lauderdale. We drove up along the beach for a while and then drove to River Walk to see the canals and boats. We walked for a while and then stopped for coffee and ice cream (for Rachel). At 4:30 PM, we drove in rush hour traffic to the West Palm Beach airport. We arrived at the airport at 5:30 PM and unloaded the luggage on a skycap's cart. We said our goodbyes and drove south back to Hollywood. We stopped in a nice area of shops and restaurants in Hollywood and ate a hearty meal at the Piazza Pasta Cafe. We got gas in the XTerra on the way back to the campground. We got to bed early for a change. It rained overnight, hard at times.

        Bill and Cathy