Tuesday

CROOKED RIVER STATE PARK (GA)

Crooked River State Park is located just 5 miles north of the Florida/Georgia state line. It's the perfect place to camp if you are planning a trip over to Cumberland Island National Seashore, which is exactly why were are here. This is our second time staying here and I must say I believe we have the best campsite in the park. We booked a site last February when Georgia State Parks weren't offering campsite specific reservations here. Sometime between then and now they decided to start offering specific sites bookings, so I called and asked which was the most sought after site in the park and the ranger didn't hesitate and said, Site #11. So I emailed the reservation agent and asked to be placed on #11 for our visit and guess what, that's the one we're on. It's a huge pull-through site and we have the best view of the river, right out our front door.



THURSDAY

TRAVEL DAY
YEAR #2 - STOP #8

With another short travel day we once again were all settled into our new site by early afternoon, plenty of time to go do something. So off we went, looking for the nearest Publix grocery store for some much needed items like milk and bread. Not very exciting but it has to be done sometime. With Tricia's work schedule beginning again in a few days we decided to get it out of the way now. I also put together a small Amazon order tonight, it should arrive sometime on Saturday, you've got to love that Amazon Prime membership with free 2-Day delivery.



FRIDAY

LAUNDRY & A MOVIE
20 MILE ROUND TRIP

With this being Tricia's last day off before work starts again there is one more chore that needs to be addressed, laundry. There is a washer/dryer set at the bath house in the campground but we have multiple loads that need washing and it would take all day doing it one load at a time. Plus no one else in the campground would be able to use the equipment if we tied it up all day. So off to the laundromat we go! I locate the Kingsbay Dry Cleaners & Laundromat just 7 miles south of here near the Historic St. Marys district. Always looking to multitask, once the laundry is into the washers and Tricia feels comfortable with her surroundings, I head off to scout out the Cumberland Island National Seashore Visitor Center which is just 3 miles down the road. Yesterday we made reservations for a Thursday ferry boat ride and tour of the island. I like to know where everything is located so I'm not running around lost at the last minute trying to make the boat. It's one way I keep my blood pressure under control!

I'm glad I scouted out the area because you have to park your car down the block from the Visitor Center. Then you have a short walk back to the second story office to pick up your boarding passes and tour tickets. After which you walk another three blocks down the road to actually get on the ferry boat to be transported over to Cumberland Island. These kind of logistics would have just drove me nuts if we were to run late getting here on Thursday morning.

On the way back I pick up lunch at Hardee's, which is at the other end of the parking lot from the laundromat. We have just enough time to finish eating lunch at a nearby outdoor picnic table, obviously placed there as an employee smoking area, before it's time to start folding clothes from the dryers.

With all the chores done it's time to relax. Watching a DVD tonight seems like a perfect idea, unfortunately I picked a not so lighthearted movie for tonight, Into the Wild (2007). It's about a young man who graduates college, then leaves town and intentionally disappears. He goes on an epic road trip and has some awesome encounters, mixed in with some less than desirable ones. His goal is to make it to Alaska, to live alone in the wild, which he succeeds in doing. Through some poor planning and improper preparations he puts himself into a perilous situation. I had never seen the movie, but knew how it ended, it was still good to watch.

The movie was awarded a pair of Oscar Nominations, but no wins, for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Hal Holbrook) and Best Achievement in Film Editing (Jay Cassidy).



SATURDAY

WORK DAY FROM THE POD
2 MILES DRIVEN TODAY

Today is the day my Amazon order is due for delivery. Just after lunch I receive the text messages that my items have been delivered. I wait 15 minutes before calling the campground office to verify they are there and drive the one mile campground road to go pick them up. I only put in one order, but received three separate shipments, and all three boxes are one quarter full of product and three quarters full of packaging material, such a waste. I'll bet you are wondering what we bought now. Nothing too exciting, but a couple of things we needed and a couple of things we didn't. We have been trying to lessen our set up and break down time when moving THE POD to a new location. There are items in the trailer that need to be packed away before we can move and by securing them in place we eliminate the need to do so. One item that currently needs to be packed away during every move is our indoor/outdoor digital weather station.

Now I don't like adding any extra holes in our trailer, especially the inside/outside aluminum walls. And I don't like or trust glue, even the 3M Command Strips, to hold anything of value that could break if it fell. So I came up with the idea of using extremely strong neodymium magnets. They have a holding force of 90 lbs! That should be enough to hold a 1 pound item secure, even on the bumpiest of roads, don't you think?

Now I know magnets don't stick to aluminum, so I bought some that have holes through the center that can be attached with a screw. Our upper windows have a frame around them that is screwed in, so I removed one and put a magnet in place and screwed in back in. Then I attached one to the back of the weather station in the appropriate place and now we don't have to pack away the weather station when we move. Best of all, no new holes were put in THE POD, one less thing to worry about! A simple solution to make life easier.



SUNDAY

SUPER BOWL SUNDAY


70 MILES DRIVEN TODAY

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS LOS ANGELES RAMS

We've been invited to a Super Bowl Party! Our friends down in Jacksonville invited us to a BBQ and to stick around and watch the big game. Heather and Tricia worked together after high school up in Cape Cod, MA so we knew who they were rooting for. Mike and I didn't have a favorite team in the game, so we decided to root for New England also, smart move for us don't you think! Several hours before kickoff we arrived at their home and immediately get some snacks prepared. Some Rotel Tomatoes mixed with melted Velveeta Cheese, paired with some good Tostito Chips, an onion dip with light flavored crackers, some chicken wings with 4Rivers BBQ sauce (my personal favorite) and we were all set to watch the Pregame Show. About an hour and a half before kickoff Mike fired up the BBQ and out came the hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages and brats. Heather had made some delicious potato salad and coleslaw to go with the BBQ and we all ate like kings. All this before the game even started.

Once they game started the girls opened a bottle of wine and made some homemade Sangria by adding lemon, lime and orange juices plus a little brandy to give it a kick. I realized on their second round of drinks that I was to become the designated driver for the 35 mile trip back to THE POD after the game, a role in which I'm comfortable.

Good times, good BBQ and good friends! To bad we didn't have an exciting game to go with it. As you all know by now the Patriots won the game and all kinds of Super Bowl records were either set or tied.

Here are just a few of the new records:

Most games by a player: 9 - Tom Brady
Most games by a head coach: 9 - Bill Belichick
Most games on the winning team: 6 - Tom Brady
Most wins by a head coach: 6 - Bill Belichick
Oldest winning starting quarterback: 41 - Tom Brady
Oldest winning head coach: 66 - Bill Belichick
Most appearances by a team: 11 - New England
Fewest points to win the game: 13 - New England
Fewest total points scored in the game: 16 - Pats 13/Rams 3

There were many more records set that I haven't listed here, but these are the ones I felt needed to be mentioned.



MONDAY

WORK DAY FROM THE POD
0 MILES DRIVEN TODAY



TUESDAY

WORK DAY FROM THE POD
14 MILES DRIVEN TODAY

My plan for today is to once and for all figure out what is wrong with the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) I purchased before we even left on this journey. ROVER came from the factory with a TPMS that works quite well. It has readouts for each individual tire's pressure while we are traveling down the road. THE POD does not have such a feature so I purchased a product that will not only give me pressure readings from all eight tires, it also reports tire temperatures which is important information to have. You can set high and low alarms on the device so if a tire gets too low on air or the temperature gets too high an audible alarm will go off. Not long after we took delivery on THE POD I installed the sensors on all eight tires and only the four on ROVER and one on THE POD would send reports to the monitor. I read through the troubleshooting section of the manual and nothing I tried seemed to improve the situation. So I did what I always do, put it off until another day to figure out what's wrong.

Well six months later we woke up one morning on a moving day and one of THE POD's tires was obviously very low on air. You may remember we picked up a very long screw in one of the tires and had to get it repaired. This is the exact situation we need to avoid, driving on a improperly inflated trailer tires. Once again I tried to figure out what was the problem with the tire sensors not reporting, but had no luck.

Today the first thing I did was to call the manufacturer's helpline and with their help we diagnosed the problem within ten minutes. The sensors batteries were weak, not dead, which the monitor would have also notified me, but weak enough not to report all the way from the rear of the trailer to the front of the truck. They do make an amplifier, for additional money, which would help to boost the Bluetooth signal over that distance. He also said that those were meant for longer trailers like you would find on an 18 wheeler.

I told him the I just installed the sensors six months ago and he said the batteries typically last several years. He offered to sent me brand new ones if I would mail back the old ones. The batteries are a little difficult to replace, the sensor has to be disassembled to access them, and the screws are very tiny and could easily be lost. The cost of the eight tiny circular batteries would nearly be the same as the postage required to send back my bad ones, so I hesitated to agree. He then said that the sensors I have, the flow-through kind, which don't require removal to put air in the tire, were also meant for larger truck tires with metal valve stems, which I don't have.

The other kind of sensor they offer has a locking cap over it, which makes them a little more theft proof, but inhibits your ability to put air in the tire without removing the locking cap with a special key. He told me most people doen't use the locking cap because theft of these sensors are rare. He also said that they weigh much less than the flow-through sensors I now have and they are better suited for the rubber valve stems found on most all cars and pickup trucks sold today.

After a brief discussion with Tricia we decided to mail back our bad ones, instead of trying to replace the batteries ourselves, and change over to the locking ones (we won't use the caps) with brand new batteries that he is offering to send us free of charge. In order to not delay receiving the new ones ASAP I took off all the sensors and went immediately down the road to the U.S. Post Office. I'll have to have them shipped to our mailing address in Pensacola and then get them forwarded to us when we are in a position to receive packages.

I hope this will finally solve our TPMS woes!



WEDNESDAY

WORK DAY FROM THE POD
0 MILES DRIVEN TODAY



THURSDAY

A NATIONAL PARK VISIT
CUMBERLAND ISLAND
NATIONAL SEASHORE

Today we are going to visit Cumberland Island National Seashore, our 5th National Seashore, there are only ten, so we are half done. Long before we hit the road I planned twice to visit this seashore and both times something came up to change my plans. This time would be different! We had 9:00am ferry reservations and also booked the 5-6 hour long Lands and Legacies Tour. The tour has you arriving back at the dock just in time to catch the last ferry back to the mainland. I'm not going to go into details on this post, but instead will soon blog a separate post complete with photos and comments on our visit, promise!



FRIDAY

WORK DAY FROM THE POD
0 MILES DRIVEN TODAY



SATURDAY

SIGHTSEEING & A BBQ
20 MILES DRIVEN TODAY

Today our good friends Heather and Mike made the drive up from Jacksonville to spend the day with us, it will be the last time we see them for quite a while. We loosely planned a day of sightseeing and a simple BBQ for dinner. They arrived shortly after 8:00am and we decided to first visit the small submarine museum we saw across the street from the NPS visitor center when we were here on Thursday. It's a very small two story tall museum, but is packed with all things related to submarines, books, models, historic pieces and information, even about enemy subs.

The first floor is all about the early U.S. subs, there is even a functioning periscope you can look through. The scope goes from the first floor, up through the second floor and then through the roof and high above of the building. You get a 360 degree view of the entire downtown Historic St. Marys seaport district through the scope. It was my favorite thing about the museum and I believe that also goes for the other three people in our party.

The second floor is filled will information and artifacts from enemy subs and also about the newer nuclear subs that we use today. There are also all kinds of photographs and paper archives in file cabinets that stretched down one entire wall. There were a few people sitting at a large table sorting through the files, a few of them were in uniform and the others appeared to retired military. I got the impression the files contained declassified information from the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, which is located next door to Crooked River State Park were we are camped this week. I'm also not sure if they are available to the general public for viewing and I didn't ask because their was so much else to see.

After the Submarine Museum we went to a flea market we saw advertised on the side of the road. It wasn't much of a flea market, more like one man's junk collection he had spread out into a half dozen storage units that he owned. It was still fun looking through his stuff and Mike did end up purchasing an old 78-speed record album of Glenn Miller music for $1.00, at least we came away with something.

On the way back into town we saw a very small 5 station craft fair going on in the local newspaper building's parking lot. There were handmade table placemats, hats and dolls. There was an artist selling her hand painted watercolor postcards. There was someone selling local honey and a hand cream that uses beeswax as the main ingredient. Someone was selling Valentine's flowers and baskets. And my favorite was the lady selling home baked goods. Mike purchased a large 5x5 inch chunk of Cheesecake Brownie and I purchases a plain Chocolate Brownie, each was only $2.50! They were meant to be saved for after lunch, that didn't exactly happen though.

Next up, lunch at St. Marys Riverside Cafe. They feature Greek food here, but my seaside Crabcake Burger was delicious and so were the fries. Right after lunch we did a quick walk through of the displays in the National Seashore office across the street. Next we drove just around the corner in time for the National Park's Cumberland Island Seashore Museum to open. They are only open between 1-4pm, I guess to cater to the people returning on the early afternoon ferry boat from the island. It's a nice museum and we spent a little more than an hour looking around.

Next up was a visit to the tabby ruins of the McIntosh Sugarworks. The word tabby refers to a type of concrete made with oyster shells, sand and water. It is very strong and long lasting, a lot of the early forts in the area of the coastal southeast were made using this type of construction.

The final stop was at the Nature Center inside the state park. There they have a few live examples of the wildlife found in the park. A 3-foot alligator they take for walks on a dog leash, several different turtles in aquariums and of course everybody's favorite, snakes! We just missed the ranger's program where they let people pet all the animals, except the snakes of course! They were just beginning a presentation geared towards children to encourage them to draw and then color a picture of a turtle, while he modeled for them from an aquarium in the middle of the table they were at. It's nice to see the state park rangers getting the young children interested in activities other than video games.

Back at the campsite we snacked on a leftover vegetable tray from the Super Bowl Party and around 6:00pm got ready to BBQ. Now normally I wouldn't consider simple hamburgers and hot dogs a BBQ, but when you share it with good friends, it elevates a dinner cooked on the grill, up to an event worthy of BBQ status. By 7:00 it was getting dark and our friends still had to make the drive back home across the border, the Florida/Georgia border, so we said our goodbyes and called it a day.

I little bit of cleanup and a little bit of reading and I was asleep before 8:00pm!



SUNDAY

WORK DAY FROM THE POD
12 MILES DRIVEN TODAY



MONDAY

WORK DAY FROM THE POD
12 MILES DRIVEN TODAY

Today was supposed to be our travel day but sh*t happens! Last night I was out picking up dinner when I noticed the built in TPMS on ROVER was reporting low pressure on the right rear tire. By the time I drove the 6 miles back home in had gone from 35psi down to 20psi, that's a pretty fast leak. It was around six o'clock and everywhere I called was closing. The leak was so bad that I could hear the air escaping from the tire. Too late to do anything about it today, so I did something I rarely do, I set the alarm clock on my phone, for 6:30am! I got up, got dressed, got out the portable air pump we carry and began inflating the now completely flat tire.

You may recall we visited this very same campground back in early December and when it was time to leave a tire on THE POD was nearly flat and wouldn't hold air. We took it straight to Tire Kingdom just down the road and they found a 4-inch long screw in the tire. It was very inexpensive to plug the tire so I figured I would return this morning with ROVER to get our new problem resolved. They immediately found the problem, a 1/2-inch wide piece of metal was sticking out of the first row of tread on the tire, very close to the outside sidewall. They advised that the location of the puncture was not a good candidate for a plug and suggested replacing the tire with a new one.

When we purchased ROVER I opted to take out an extended warranty along with road hazard coverage on the tires. Fortunately there is a Ford dealership just around the corner from Tire Kingdom store, so I quickly drove over there to have them replace my tire. They verified my coverage and took the truck into the service department immediately. I thought, this was going to be easy! They already had the tire off the truck before they realized they don't have the correct tire in stock.

You see I purchased the optional Chrome Package when I ordered ROVER and that includes 18-inch wheels and tires instead of the standard 15 or 16 inch ones that most other F150's come with. They said they could order the tire and have it there very late this afternoon or first thing tomorrow morning. Fine, but I have to move THE POD off my campsite before noon today. I thought about having them install the full size spare, but that would only be a temporary fix to my situation. It's now 8:30am and I still don't have a permanent solution to my once again nearly flat tire.

They put the tire back on the truck with a temporary plug in the leak and told me about a Goodyear Tire store on the other side of town who may have the tire in stock. Problem is they don't open until 9:00am, but I figured maybe someone is there early and could check for my tire. They didn't have it in stock either! I passed a Tires Plus store on the way home and they said the same thing as everyone else, I can have the tire for you tomorrow.

I returned back to our campsite and briefly thought about towing the trailer 120 miles to the next location with the temporary plug in it, after all it now seemed to be holding air at least. Instead I got online and found there were two campsites available for tonight, but not the one we were currently on, so we would have to move the trailer to a different site. I called the Ford dealer, told him no one else in town had the tire either, could he please order me one for delivery, hopefully this afternoon or first thing in the morning. By getting the tire from the Ford dealer I won't have to pay out over $200.00 for the tire and then have the hassle of getting reimbursed from the warranty people.

I booked one of the two available sites for tonight, they are sold out for tomorrow, and got a surprise when they asked me if I wanted to use my Georgia State Park Rewards Points to pay for it. They have a program in Georgia where every $300.00 (approximately 10 nights) you spend on camping, you get 1 free night. I happily accepted the free night, at least some thing went right today!

UPDATE: The tire came in this afternoon and I went right over and had it installed. We are good to go in the morning!



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