Bill and Cathy McArthur on the Road 2010: 19

  Monday, October 18, we saw Katie, Tom, and kids off to work, daycare, and school. We took our time getting organized. Bill caught up on his journal. We repacked the Gearcar and headed south on I40. We reached Southport in time to eat a good lunch in The Pharmacy Restaurant. Afterward, Bill got a cappuccino at Larry's Beans and then we strolled around town for a while. We headed over to Chris and Jim Devine's house in St. James Plantation in mid-afternoon. Chris was feeling under the weather, but still able to be a good hostess. We settled into the guest room and chatted for a while. Bill had a shower and then we drove to St. James Marina to meet with Jack and Sue Beatty and Marge Keeley for drinks and dinner. We enjoyed the meal. Jim and Chris had only stayed for a drink before heading home so Chris could rest. Marge dropped us off at around 8:00 PM. We watched some TV with Jim before heading to bed.

  Tuesday morning, Bill arose at 5:30 AM and spent an hour on his laptop, using the Sprint mobile hotspot to access the Internet. Jim got the coffee going and Bill had his usual oatmeal breakfast. Later, as the rest of the household was finishing breakfast, Bill headed out on a 15 mile run, segmented into 3 five milers with a pit stop back at the house (Clif Bar, G2, bathroom). The run went very well, although it was a bit warm:

A guy on a bike accompanied Bill for a mile or so, talking about bike routes and kayaking. When Bill returned to the house, the other three occupants were leaving to go to Jay and Marge Keeley's home. After Bill got a shower, he called Cathy, who told him to get ready for a trip to the beach. Bill got out the beach towels and put on some sunscreen. Jim, Chris, and Cathy picked him up in the Devine's mini-van. We stopped at a deli on Oak Island to get sandwiches for lunch. Bill got a veggie sub. We joined the Keeleys and Beattys at the deli. All of us went to the St. James beach house and ate up on a covered deck in a howling wind. We decided that it was too windy for the beach and headed back to the Keeley's house after lunch. We reconvened later at Chris and Jim's for a dinner of spinach lasagne, chicken devon, and salad. There were a couple of choices of pies for dessert, but Bill opted for fruit and yoghurt. Chris wasn't feeling well by the time that dinner was over, so Bill and Cathy pitched in on the cleanup chores.

  Wednesday was a partly cloudy day. Chris was still not feeling very well. The Devines and McArthurs went to the Keeley's home for a 10:45 AM breakfast. Bill only ate fruit. Afterward, Chris and Jim went home, so that Chris could go to her doctor in the early afternoon. The McArthurs, Keeleys, and Beattys piled into the Devine's mini-van and drove to the ferry to Fort Fisher. The ferry ride on the Cape Fear River was fun and Fort Fisher was very interesting. We saw a short film, had a good orientation talk inside the museum, and then enjoyed a thorough tour through the ruins of the fort. Afterward, we drove into Wilmington and parked near Fat Tony's, where we were meeting people for dinner. We spent an hour walking near the river. Bill managed to drink two Cappuccinos at Java Dog before we met six more people, friends of the Devines, for dinner. The dinner was good solid Italian fare. We found out that Chris had a bad infection and was being treated with an anti-biotic. We met our guide for a haunted pub crawl. He started out pretty drunk, but sobered up a bit after a couple of glasses of wine and beer. He told random stories about Wilmington, a few of which were about ghosts. We figured he was just pulled out of a bar for the night's tour. As we got to know him and he became more lucid, we found him to be an interesting guy with a theater background. We walked to several bars and found some of them closed. We finally got back to the Devines a bit after 11:00 PM. Cathy and Bill entered the house quietly so as to not wake Chris and Jim.

  Thursday started at 5:00 AM. We dressed quietly and packed the car. We managed to slip out of the house at 5:40 AM, without disturbing Chris and Jim, and headed south. We began on US 17 and ate breakfast at a Cracker Barrel south of Myrtle Beach after 7:00 AM. We soon tired of the traffic and lights and turned southwest on 17A at Georgetown. We finally tired of that route and bailed out on I26 to get to I95 as soon as possible. We made good progress and ate lunch at a Ruby Tuesday in southern Georgia. We decided to stick with interstates and took I295, then I10, and finally I75 to reach Ocala, FL at about 4:30 PM. We settled into our room at Country Inns. Bill took a shower and then we drove to Carrabbas for a good dinner. We also stopped at Publix for snacks, which we ate back in the room.

  Friday was the last leg of the journey. We got up at 5:30 AM, ate breakfast in the hotel, and were on the road by 6:40 AM. We had an easy drive down I75 and arrived at Rock Creek at about 10:30 AM. Shirley, from the park, was there to finish up cleaning. Judy McCormick accompanied us into our new unit. There were a few issues with the trailer for Chariot and the park and with the Florida Room for Kevin, but we liked our new southern home. It took a while to figure out how to get hot water. Bill took the bikes off of the back of the Gearcar and unloaded a few bags. Then we drove to Riverwalk for our traditional first lunch on the water. We enjoyed grouper as usual. We headed to Starbucks and Publix for some initial shopping and then headed back to the campground. Bill concentrated on getting all of our stuff out of the Gearcar and off of the roof. Cathy concentrated on organizing the inside of the unit. By 5:00 PM, the car was clear of all stuff and the unit was pretty well organized. We went out for a walk/run along the airport. Bill ran for 5 miles:

After Bill's first shower in the new home, we headed to Bonefish Grill for a wonderful meal at the bar. We felt like we had never left Naples. When we returned home, we headed to bed pretty early. At one point during the night, Bill was awakened by a strange sound. After he investigated, he found it was the ice maker dumping ice.

  Saturday, Bill got up at 5:00 AM and picked up the paper out front of our unit. We finished unpacking after breakfast. We headed out to Best Buy at mid-morning and bought two TVs and a Blu-Ray home entertainment system. We bought a 22" Samsung for the living room/kitchen and a 40" Samsung for the Florida room. We also picked up an entertainment center. After lunch we headed to Starbucks/Publix for some items. Then we went to the Walmart Supercenter on Route 951 for a massive, two cart, shopping expedition. When we got home, Bill set up the system in the living room and discovered that we don't have cable. He called Jan Nebus and told her of the situation. She notified Tom, a worker at the campground, who took a look and decided to call Comcast to do the cable connection. Our friends Tom and Jean Reilly came over to look at our new unit. We four went to the bridge for Happy Hour and chatted with various community members. We drove to downtown Naples and had dinner at Bert's. We took advantage of the $35 per couple 3 course dinner with a bottle of wine. Bill had a good shrimp and penne dish. Cathy had a good sole dish. After dinner, we visited the Reilly's new house in Marbella Lakes. It is a beautiful, open architecture house, which Tom and Jean have furnished in a fitting style. Tom and Jean dropped us off around 9:00 PM. We both took showers before turning in for the night.

  Sunday, Bill got up at 5:00 AM, ate breakfast, and read the paper. He went out at dawn and ran for 15 miles with stops back at the house after each 5 mile segment:

After Bill took a shower, we drove to Home Depot for some cleaning supplies. After lunch, we assembled our new TV stand. Then we drove to Rooms To Go and City Furniture, both north on Tamiami Trail. Rooms To Go didn't have much of interest and no sales people talked to us, so we left there rather quickly. At City Furniture, we saw a lot more interesting items and also had an interested sales staff. We saw a love seat and sleeper sofa that seemed to be a good solution for the Florida room. We took down all of the measurements and drove home to see if the layout would work. We figured out a viable scheme and returned to purchase the two items. We continued shopping in the attached Ashley Furniture and found two ottomans for the new couches. We also found a small round table and bar stools for our kitchen. We scheduled all of it to be delivered on Monday afternoon. Next, we drove to Starbucks/Publix for some shopping. We had a good pasta meal as we viewed the first half of "Leaves of Grass" on our living room home theater. Son Bill and Katie called after dinner.

  This was quite an eventful week.


        Bill and Cathy