Well, here I am – at the tail end of my summer hiatus. To say the past four months have gone by quickly would be the ultimate understatement. But alas it is time to return to the Florida Home Base. Aug was a somewhat quiet month, due largely in part to the lack of primary transportation for half the month (more on that below). But, there was certainly some great times with the daughters and grands, visits with friends, and pretty much wrapping things up for this summertime visit. It’s been a glorious stay, loved spending time with family and friends, and hope to be back in the area in the not too distant future.
So, when we last left this issue, the engine was being taken apart to identify cause of failure, and hopes that Ford might contribute towards the ultimate repairs. Well, no such luck on the Ford end. Turns out, for out of warranty vehicles, they only consider getting involved if it is both under 150K miles (check) and less than 7 years old (oops – mine is 9 years old). Even if I would have met the mileage and age criteria, what was discovered during teardown was contamination – e.g. water or other substance in the fuel. When that is discovered, I was told Ford would not get involved ever. So, I was on my own for the repairs either way. Originally, before the teardown, they suggested just putting in a rebuilt engine – to the tune of $18k. Ouch! The teardown, estimated to be around $3k, and was a risk in that if the damage was extensive, I’d still need to fork over the $18k for the engine, in addition to the teardown cost. But at this point, it was worth the gamble. In the end, I got a new fuel pump and tubing, two new injectors, a new inner cooler, and a handful of other misc stuff. Total bill – just over $9k. Still putting a huge dent in my budget, but certainly better than it could have been. So, between the tire/rim issue I had back in June, and this, I’ve certainly had my share of maintenance costs. I didn’t get the truck back until the 16th, and relied solely on the Honda Scooter to get around – which turned out to be just fine for local errands and such. Now I’ve had the truck back for two weeks, and it’s been running just fine. I’m certainly hopeful it stays that way, and gets me back to FL without incident. We’ll see!
Friends & Family
Aug was another glorious month to connect, and in some cases, reconnect with family and friends. One such reconnect was with Randy and his wife Angie. Randy was an old Air Force buddy back in the day, and though neither of us could remember the last time we’d been together, it’s probably been upwards of 20 or so years. They are avid boaters, and offered to take me out on their new to them beautiful 42 foot Sun Ray cruiser. So, I met them at the marina on a sunny Saturday, and sadly, the right (starboard?) engine would not turn over to start. Randy crawled into the engine compartment to do some diagnosing, but as is seemingly often the case with boats, this one needs to go back into the shop for some additional repairs. So, instead we ventured off to a local seafood restaurant and had a wonderful lunch together. It was great seeing them again, and I’ll have to take a raincheck on that boat ride.
I also caught up with my former workmate Nilou for a Sushi dinner in VA. It’s been a couple of years since I’d last seen her, so it was certainly nice catching up with her. As always, the Sushi was fantastic, as was the company.
I was fortunate that Ashley, being a bartender, has free time during the week. So, I enlisted her to do a road trip with me to go to Delaware to pick up my truck. While in the area, I treated her to an afternoon in Lewes – one of my favorite little DE towns. We wandered through town visiting the shops on 2nd street, had a wonderful charcuterie lunch at an amazing Italian place, and took a drive by the quiet local beach. It was a wonderful dad/daughter day, and I appreciate her driving me to DE, and spending the day.
Lastly, I had a get together dinner with some other Air Force buddies, but sadly totally forgot to get a picture. My old friends Doug and Al, and Al’s wife Debbie, all met up at a new restaurant in Arundel Mills. I had visited with Doug about 2 years ago when I was last in the area, but Al and Debbie I’ve not seen in probably 25 or more years. It was great seeing them and catching up with all their escapades over the years. Sorry I didn’t get a picture – but will do better next time!
I had the pleasure of spending some more time with the grand kids. My granddaughter Raelynn had her 4th birthday in Aug, so I watched the little one while she and mom and dad spent the day at Six Flags amusement park. Savannah and I had a great day together, and I have a greater appreciation for the energy that is required to entertain an almost two year old. Before they left for six flags, we had a mini birthday celebration where Raelynn opened a few gifts from me. I also got to see the really cool special birthday dress that Samantha made for her. She’s definitely got the craft skills. Later in the week, I watched both girls so that Samantha and Ryan could have a date night. I’m not sure their adventure to Walter Reed Medical and later shopping qualified as a date, but I’m sure they enjoyed the kid free time together none the less.
I also spent an entire day at Ashley’s house, enjoying a variety of games and activities with grandson AJ and her. We played N-64 Mario Kart, which I used to play with Ashley when she was AJs age. As was the case back then, AJ and/or Ashley whopped my butt each time. We also worked on one of AJs Christmas presents from me – which was a model car. He painted up the main part of the car, then we took several sessions removing, trimming, and glueing many of the parts together. We didn’t get it finished, so he’ll have to do that on his own, or wait until I’m in town next. Lastly we played a really cool board game that had elements of D&D and Robo Rally. AJ (through my play) was the victor in that game. All in all, it was a wonderful day that I truly enjoyed. Sadly, I was having so much fun, I once again neglected to snap any photos. I really need to do better on that task! But here are some pics from his first day of school that I hijacked from Ashley’s FB.
A Resort? – I Think NOT!
Lastly, I wanted to share a bit about the campground I just spent the last four months residing in. The place is called Adventure Bound RV Resort. But in fact, it is far from a resort. Perhaps it would be better recognized as a “Last Resort”. The fact is, I camped here over 20 years ago in my pop-up camper with the kids, my brother-in-law, and his kids. Since we had basic camping gear at the time, we did rely on the bath house and showers of the campground to meet our basic hygiene needs. These days, I bring my own bathroom, shower, and even washer/dryer with me, so I’m not dependent on the campground for that anymore. I remember 20 years ago that the place was kinda dumpy, old, and in need of serious updating. With all this time past, and even under new ownership, not much has changed. While I was here, I had to relocate my RV with no notice for a few days so they could cut down a dead tree that was hanging over my RV. The sites are very small, not level, and unkept with regard to mowing, and the pool remained green and unopened the entire summer! Sadly, my choices for an extended stay campground in the MD area are very limited – in fact there is only one other campground in the area that offers month-to-month stays and they were booked solid. So, hence my considering this place as a last resort. It’s a good thing that I’m really only here to live day-to-day, and sleep. I was not in need or interested in any amenities such as a pool, playground, Sunday pancake breakfast, or the like. And as it turns out, those were not offered anyway. Perhaps I’ve become jaded having been to some truly amazing campgrounds, and also having an exceptional RV lot as a home base in FL. But then again, you’d think that for $1k a month in rent, there would at least be a working swimming pool! Oh well!
So, as I prepare to head back to the deep south, or as it appears to have become known as ground zero for the latest Covid outbreaks, I’m hopeful for a few things. I’m hopeful that Covid has spiked and we begin the downward trend, hopeful that hurricane season has ended, and hopeful that the weeds have not gotten totally out of control in my yard after having been neglected for the past 5-6 months. I’m looking forward to returning to my FL home, and enjoying all that it and Lake Wales has to offer over the winter. In fact I just read today that the annual Lake Wales Mardi Gras event is on and scheduled for Feb 2022. This is supposed to be a really big event and I look forward to my first attendance to it over the winter. I’ll be making three one-week stops on my way back, and hope to do a bit of local sightseeing while I’m there – covid virus permitting. So till next time, stay safe and safe travels.