Bill and Cathy McArthur on the Road 2008: 10  

  Saturday, March 1, was sunny, warm, and humid, a good start for the month. Bill went for a 3.2 mile run while Cathy did some laundry. We went over to Juanita and Rollie's park model to look at some of Juanita's quilts. After lunch, Cathy took a nap while Bill went out to get a print of a detailed map through Virginia Beach and to try to get a mesh bag for fishing. Bill couldn't get the mesh bag at Sports Authority. We talked with Alex when Bill got back to the RV. We went out to a Wal-Mart Supercenter and found a mesh bag for Bill to use when he fishes from the kayak. We topped off the afternoon with a 3.2 mile walk. We had a good pasta dinner and viewed the strange "Naked Lunch" during and after dinner.

  Sunday started a bit warmer. Bill went out for a 3.2 mile speed walk while Cathy showered. Then, we both walked 3.2 miles. We met Cathy's cousin Richard at his condo and went to lunch at a tiki bar at Harold's Restaurant. We enjoyed Grouper sandwiches and conversation. Later, Bill went out for a 3 hour paddle down Naples Bay. He had intended to mostly fish, but ended up mostly paddling. He had a couple of dolphins near him at one point. We went to dinner at Carabba's Restaurant, where we sat at the "high seats" and enjoyed hearty Italian fare.

  Monday's temperature went all the way to 92 degrees. Bill started the day with a 2.5 hour fishing paddle to Gordon River. At one point, Bill had a big fish on, but somehow it got away. He caught a throwback 16" Redfish later in the trip. After lunch, we drove to the town dock for some shopping in the nearby shops. We continued shopping at Starbucks and Publix. When we got back, we went for a bike ride on the airport path. We showed up at Happy Hour in the Gazebo before a grilled burger dinner.

  Tuesday was warm and very humid. Bill did a 3 hour fishing paddle to wrap up for this season. He only caught a short Redfish, but enjoyed the windy outing nonetheless. After lunch, we drove to West Marine to pick up our RV antifreeze. Then we went to the produce store to do some shopping. We stopped for gas on the way to stops at Starbucks and Publix for a few items. When we returned back to the campground, we walked around to find campsites we would like to have for next year. Then we walked over to the office and signed up for next season from November 1 to April 30. We passed through Happy Hour on the way back to the RV and told a number of people that we would be seasonal campers next year. We expected some rain overnight, so we put away a number of our outdoor things that we didn't want to pack wet later. We had our last dinner in the RV at this campground for this year - a good pasta dinner.

  Wednesday started with a slight bit of rain. Bill went for a 3.2 mile run and then joined Cathy in the finish of her walk. After lunch, we drove to South Naples to the Botanical Garden. We enjoyed walking around the various areas with their flowers, butterflies, birds, and nature walk. After a leisurely visit, we drove to the beach near the Naples Fishing Pier. Bill saw a thong on the beach, indicating that Spring Break had started. Cathy lay on a beach towel while Bill walked over to the Fishing Pier. He got in a conversation with a guy fishing who recommended the book, "An Island to Oneself." After the beach, we went to Publix for some shopping. After returning to the campground and cleaning up, we went out to dinner at the Boathouse. We ate a good seafood dinner at an outside table near the water.

  Thursday was very hot and humid. Cathy had a 9:30 AM doctor appointment and came back with a clean bill of health. We walked for 3.2 miles and then visited a unit in Waterfront, a condo complex down North Road. It was a very nice unit, lived in by Ron and Edith Hurst, from Michigan. After lunch, Cathy did some laundry while Bill worked on putting the kayaks and bikes on the XTerra and packing up the "basement" storage in the RV. Bill took a shower and finished up packing the various water and sewer hoses. We had a great meal at the Bonita Springs Bone Fish Grill on our way to pick up our driver Gregg at SW Florida International Airport. We arrived back at our campsite at 10:00 PM and Gregg left to drive our car to NJ.

  Friday was a short travel day. We left our campsite around 7:30 AM. We stopped for gas and then headed north on I75. We stopped at Cracker Barrel for our usual road oatmeal breakfast. We talked with Katie before starting back on the interstate. We had a couple of long conversations with our weatherman, Jim Sosna, who updated us on the big storm not too far to our north. We agreed the we shouldn't go any further than Orlando today. Jim suggested staying in Orlando for another day in order to miss the heavy wind behind the storm front, but Cathy wasn't interested in skipping the wind. We ate lunch at a pizzeria in a small community called "Championsgate." After lunch, we went into a UPS store and got on the Internet to see the radar in North Florida. We decided to quit driving and found a KOA in Kissimmee/St. Cloud to spend the night. We took a long walk along the dying strip of Kissimmee and then ate dinner in the RV. The front started to come through about 10:00 PM and continued much of the night with heavy rain and thunderstorms.

  Saturday was a clear, brisk, and very windy day. We got going around 7:15 AM and stopped at a nearby Cracker Barrel or breakfast. The wind made for some tough driving as we proceeded on I-4 and then on I-95. Bill adapted to dealing with the heavy crosswind and managed to make good time on the highways. We stopped for lunch at a Subway. We heard from Gregg that a geezer, driving a Class A RV too big for him to handle, ran into the front of the XTerra in a gas station. He said that the damage was "minimal", but took down all the information and would leave a packet in our car explaining everything. We made about 600 miles or the day and stopped at a KOA in Wade, NC for the night. We ate in the RV and watched "Lost", downloaded from iTunes.

  Sunday, March 9, was our last day on the road. We had 500 miles left to do and decided to try to make it home. We changed our clocks for DST and got started at daybreak. We stopped at a Cracker Barrel for breakfast. They had a fire going due to the temperature in the 30s. The wind had lessened overnight and it was sunny and clear, perfect for some high-speed driving. We went through Washington and Baltimore for the first time in years. It was grueling driving, well-navigated by Cathy. We stopped for a late lunch snack at Starbucks at Maryland House once we cleared the big cities. Traffic continued to be heavy until we got to the Delaware Memorial Bridge. The rest of the way was easy driving. We returned home at 5:00 PM, welcomed by high winds and cold temperatures. We unloaded most of the stuff from the RV before calling it a day. Bill also drained the water, hooked up to electric, and turned on the RV furnace. We finally ate dinner in front of the fireplace at around 9:00 PM. We had noted that the "minimal damage" to the XTerra looked like a $1000 repair bill.

  Monday was a sunny, clear, chilly day with less wind. Bill called Nationwide Insurance several times trying to get fast action on the XTerra damage. He talked to 4 different people and got an appointment at Rio Auto Body for Tuesday at 8:30 AM. Bill unloaded everything from the XTerra so Cathy could go to the store. Bill dumped the RV tanks and winterized the RV. He also continued to unload things from the RV. We took a 6 mile walk (Cathy 4) along an increasingly windier Bay. Everything looked very bleak compared to Naples. Bill took the trash out and quit work for the day. We had a good quiche meal in front of the fire while we viewed "The Jacket", a very good film with an interesting plot and great acting.

  Tuesday morning, Bill dropped the XTerra at Rio Auto Body. The manager decided that the car was unsafe to drive and made arrangements for us to have a Jeep Compass rental from Enterprise. Bill was back home by 9:30 AM after a stop at Ace Hardware to get some mousetraps. We don't know if we have mice, but the traps will find out. We finished unloading the RV and took it to storage. Bill got a cappuccino at Starbucks on the way back home. After lunch, Bill fixed the "No Trespassing" signs on the path to the beach. Our painter, Bill Addesso, came over at 2:00 PM to talk about his painting the house while we are on cruise. During late afternoon, we walked on the beach. Cathy went as far as Harpoon Henry's on the beach and then returned home via the roads. Bill walked to the Canal and back via the beach. We went to dinner at Alfe's in Wildwood. Later, we viewed "Pure", a tough movie with a semi-happy ending.

  Wednesday was chilly and windy. Bill temporarily fixed 3 of our lattice panels that had blown down during our absence. Then he went out on the dune and trimmed foliage. After lunch, we both worked on clearing the walls for the painter. We didn't walk because of the cold wind. During a good tortellini dinner, we viewed "Across the Universe", which was a very good movie with lots of great music and a good story line.

  Thursday started with a calm wind. Bill Addesso and his assistant, Dennis, came over at 8:00 AM and worked the morning repairing tape, cracks, and holes. We spent the morning packing for the cruise. After lunch, we went to Peebles to replace a pair of Bill's slacks that were eaten by moths. We also stopped by a drug store for some items. We went to Cape May Point State Park to walk on the beach, but the cold wind forced us to take a short walk on the nature trails in the meadow. Bill talked with Lou at Rio Auto Body, who said he was waiting for parts for the XTerra. We finished packing for the cruise and viewed "2 Days in Paris" during dinner - very edgy, funny movie which makes one think differently about balloons. We watched "Lost" using our DVR.

  Friday we had a number of issues to deal with before we left for Alex and Phil's house in Glen Mills. The most important one was getting our car back from Rio Auto Body. Bill called Lou early in the morning and got a promise that the XTerra would be ready at 12:45 PM. The painters were in the house for most of the morning, making it difficult to get things done around the house. Bill jumped on the computer at 9:55 AM and got an error on the US AIR website when trying to check-in for our flight. He called technical support for the website and got 2 seats checked-in. Then he called Customer Service and found out that we would have to wrestle for boarding passes at the gate on Saturday. Next, Bill called our travel agent at Cruise and Vacation Travel and explained our problem. Our agent said that Carnival booked the flights, so she would call them. Later, the agent called back and said that, after talking to 3 levels of employees at Carnival, she found that they had no interest in the situation. Bill realized that two of us had been bumped from the flight and that trying to get back on during Spring Break with two small kids would be frustrating at best. He knew that the only solution was to find someone with some pull at US AIR to get us all on the plane. We didn't know anyone, but Bill thought that our son-in-law Phil might have a connection. Bill called Alex and explained the situation and asked if Phil had some connection at US AIR. It turned out that Phil did have an indirect connection, a friend of a friend, who would work on the problem. Meanwhile, we were hustling to get our stuff and our house ready. Bill drove the rental car to Rio Auto Body and picked up the XTerra. Back at home, we packed the car and were on the road by 1:30 PM. We got caught in some Friday afternoon traffic in the Philadelphia area, but made it to Alex and Phil's by late afternoon. Phil said that his connection would get us boarding passes at the gate. We had a good meal out at Carrabba's on Route 1 and everybody got to bed fairly early.

  Saturday, we all got an early, sixish start. Phil got in contact with his connection who said that we'd get our seats at 8:15 AM at the gate for our 9:55 AM flight. Phil dropped us off at airport departures, parked, and met us in the long check-in line in the terminal. We saw a lot of college students mixed in with the families, so we knew that there would be a lot of beer and milk drunk on the ship, if we made the cruise. When we make it to the counter, we got 4 boarding passes. Bridget and Bill were together in the last row of the plane. Cathy and Erin were in the same row in the middle of the plane, but separated. Good enough, we figured. Phil said his goodbyes and left us to proceed to security. It was funny going through the security procedures with two kids, but we made it. We ate breakfast a bit after 7:30 AM. Our report on the cruise with Erin and Bridget can be found here.

  Saturday, March 22, at 6:00 PM, we were back at Alex and Phil's house. We had a good time recounting our adventures. Bill started downloading about 8,000 emails on his laptop. Bill's cold, which was a slight bother all week on the cruise, now threatened to be a heavier chest and sinus malady. We felt the cold climate after our week in the tropics. 

  Easter Sunday started at 28 degrees. Bill decided to keep his cold home instead of infecting the congregation at Alex and Phil's church. The rest of the crew went to church. Rocky slept while Bill deleted SPAM emails,  finished up the cruise report, and uploaded photos to Snapfish. Phil's parents and Katie, Tom, and Rachel arrived just before the rest came back from church. We had  a good Easter brunch. Around 3:00 PM, we left for Cape May Beach. We arrived home at about 5:30 PM to a house filled with white dust, newly painted, and with bare walls where various items had been hung. We had tried to stop at ACME, but it was closed, so we made do with food on hand for dinner. We viewed "The Brave One", which was a good action picture. Our adventures continue here.

        Bill and Cathy