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Summer Tour 2015; A Noisy Fish Clock? Bon Voyage from Alabama; New Friends

As I pen today’s blog, the sun isn’t even up. The pre-departure excitement is building to a crescendo. Our 2015 Summer Tour starts in about 4 hours, and Suzanne (AKA to regular readers as My Lovely Bride, or MLB), is trying to get some much-needed sleep after a restless night. Fortunately, I slept like a log; must be my sailor background, when sleep came in 2-3 hour batches at best. Even our faithful canine companions, Rudy and Gretchen, know something big is about to happen. Both were pressed up tightly against Your Faithful Correspondent all night, not wanting to be left behind.

We will be traveling about 12,000 miles again this summer, from Florida to California to Boston and back home, so please come out and see us if we’re passing through your area. Suzanne’s events are shown on the map at the right and listed on her web site at  You will also get to meet Rudy and Gretchen, who are always hits at Suzanne’s events.

For the past two days we have loaded our Itasca Ellipse 42QD motor coach with books, DVDs, projector, screen, speaker system, clothes, food, bike gear, tools, backpacks, hiking boots, fishing gear and even dumbbells (no, Bob, I’m not referring to myself). It’s amazing how much the coach holds. This image shows the 800 lb capacity slideout cargo tray in the coach’s belly that holds Suzanne’s books and presentation equipment.

Oh, and this was a thoughtful addition by the manufacturer, an outside fridge for adult beverages; for many, this is primarily for cooling beer, readily accessible for those RV’ers who like to watch sports events on the outside flat screen TV. Since (1) we don’t watch television, indoors or out, and (2) I would be violating several long-held principles by adding to the unnecessary noise pollution of the wilderness (or even state park) campsites which we prefer, we have modified the use of this equipment to provide cave-like temperatures for wine….

… in this case a particularly nice Petite Syrah/Petit Verdot by Michael David. The label is even very cool, and may even have a subliminal reference to my choice in the next election. This varietal was recommended by our good friends Bill and Gayle Hancock, wine connoisseurs of the first order. 

For those interested in electrical power required to chill that wine and cook our meals, the green box holds our 10kW Onan diesel generator, which sits on a sliding rail gizmo at the front of the coach. It can power all three air conditioners, fridges, electric stove and even Gretchen’s hair dryer.

Last night we had a delightful dinner with Suzanne’s Lovely Mom Ruthie at Sumter Grand, where she has made many new friends. The chef did an exceptional job with our filets and crab cakes, and the raspberry pie a la mode wasn’t too shabby either. Suzanne will be flying back to visit Ruthie for their shared birthday on August 1st, and Ruthie has an iPad to keep up with our travels and Suzanne’s events, which will be chronicled on this blog per usual.  

Our good friends Sharon and Joyce gave us a send-off goody package with Hershey’s Kisses, Manchego cheese, cookies, olives and wine, but my favorite gift was this fishing clock… well, it was my favorite until it awoke me at midnight with sounds of fish splashing and slurping. I’m hoping it will serve as a good luck charm and help my fishing success, which has been less than stellar on past summer tours. (You know, because of the heat, humidity, drought conditions, fish being on vacation, etc…) By the way, the tiny fishing rod and fishy hot pad were gifts from our good friends and neighbors Jan and Bob; something about “Ty, here’s the biggest fish you’ll catch all year…”

We also received Bon Voyage wishes and some great family photos from our new friends Judson and Donna Jo Emens, in Tuscumbia, Alabama, whom Suzanne had met by email. Their two adopted daughters, Haylee and Nadia, are charming and lovely girls, as this photo proves. It’s nice to know that families like the Emens can set the standard for a loving, caring environment and spread that joy and happiness around for the rest of us to appreciate. 

I’ll wrap up now, because the sun is coming up and we need to finish packing and grab a quick brekkie before hitting the road. We’re heading across Florida today, and should wind up in the panhandle, somewhere near Eglin Air Force Base. We’re really looking forward to meeting new friends at each of Suzanne’s events and at our campgrounds. It’s one of the best parts of our summer tour. Why, just last week in Sanibel, I made a new friend while we were out biking. He wasn’t very talkative, but that’s okay, because he didn’t criticize my fishing prowess like My Good Friend Bob often does…

1 Comment

  • Anonymous
    Posted March 26, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Bon Voyage Ty and Suzanne,
    I really enjoy your blog and look forward to reading more of your adventures!


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