Week 27 – Gainesville, FL

Good day everyone, we hope this week’s blog finds you all well as we prepare for Thanksgiving next week and the explosion of Christmas immediately afterward.

As you can probably imagine, this past week has been a bit more low key than the prior week was. We won’t have as many exciting tales to tell and it’s going to be a shorter update (probably a good thing, since last week’s was 9 pages!).

Last week we left off in recovery mode after our big race. We spent last Tuesday mostly resting, doing a few chores, sending out the blog, and bumming around the Holmes’ pool. That evening we enjoyed a delish family spaghetti dinner at Jim’s folks’ house and more playtime with our stinkin adorable nieces.

IMG_20161109_202410We were beginning to prepare for our departure, as we had planned to spend a couple of weeks out exploring the Florida beaches and getting caught up on some long overdue work. We spent Wednesday doing a bunch of work around Bertha…Heather sponged bathed her on the outside (she’s huge so that’s a pretty big task!) and carefully scrubbed off months of baked in bugs from the front overhang. Meanwhile, Jim worked hard to install our new wifi repeater so that we might be able to harness wifi signals from miles away! That was also a big task as it meant wiring it across the roof so that it would seamlessly attach to the TV antenna that’s already up there. Once he put everything back together, Heather got the inside all cleaned up while Jim gave our bicycles a nice post race bath and spray painted Bertha’s wheels with a chrome spray paint that actually generatorturned out amazing! Jim and his brother Morgan (mechanical genius, extraordinaire!) had also spent some time over the past few days looking at our battery life and generator issues.

They were able to get the system up and running so we’d have power while away from shore power. We were all set to take on the world again with everything clean and in working order!

20161109_195751That evening, we put together a little impromptu birthday celebration for Morgan at the house (though is his birthday was actually the next day). When he got home from work, he expected us to be leaving, but instead we blew up some balloons, had a cake waiting, and put together a yummy lasagna dinner. The night was capped off with some photo booth fun and the grown ups staying up to watch the newest Tarzan movie.

Thursday we really did plan to hit the road! We got up and started to unplug Bertha and prepare her for some drive time. We had to get her dumped so we headed to Jim’s folks’ house for that (don’t worry, they have a septic line, we didn’t dump in their yard). While we were there, Jim Sr and Jim Jr took the opportunity to take Jim Sr’s new drone up and around the neighborhood. Sadly, while in flight, one of the propellers came off and the drone went crashing down into a neighbor’s backyard. Once we tracked it down and examined the damage to the frame, it was long past time to leave so we said our short-term good-byes and headed out of town.

Because we hit the road later than we had planned, we ended up stopping to grocery shop and sleep a mere 150 miles away. That evening, as Heather was preparing dinner, she was excited to use the generator to power the toaster oven. She flipped the power button to the generator and we saw a flash of light and heard a popping noise. Jim had warned that we needed to unplug our fancy new wifi repeater anytime we switched power sources…a lesson learned the hard way. It was too late – the circuit board was fried! It was terribly heartbreaking since Jim had spent all that time installing it and we had just finished making long to-do lists of things we needed internet to get done. We started the search to find a new one in the fastest and least expensive manner possible, and were in luck – kind of. There was a place that stocked them on ebay not too far from where we were…but they were closed Friday for Veterans Day and closed all weekend. We sadly tucked ourselves into bed that night, trying to come up with the best course of action.

USMC VetFriday morning we woke up and decided to head the 100 miles inland to Gainesville, where the wifi repeater would be on Monday when they reopened. Gainesville is a big city so we knew we’d be able to use their services in order to get things done while we waited for Monday. And since Friday was Veterans Day, Jim had the opportunity to be recognized for his service. He got a free haircut at Sports Clips (a nice change from Heather cutting his hair unevenly) and afterward, we went next door for BOGO burritos at Chipotle. From there, we walked to a little local coffee shop across the street to use their internet for a bit and once again Jim got hooked up with a free coffee. At 7:00 we headed back to Bertha to Skype with sister Jamey, before heading for the last Veteran’s Day perk – a free entree at Olive Garden. It was a really nice day and nice to see so many places honoring Veterans for their service.

IMG_20161112_174535Saturday we awoke and headed to spend the day at the library. Since we had been spending so much time having fun with family, we were falling behind on some other things that needed to be done. Jim is renewing his coaching certifications and looking to add to his list of credentials, while Heather has plenty of administrative tasks, schoolwork, and research to work on. We found a sweet parking spot next door to the library too, it was actually a credit union parking lot that was closed for the weekend. It was quiet and had a strong wifi signal from the chiropractor’s office next door – score! These are the little gems we love to find! Heather even snuck outside to get in a little workout. We didn’t stay there for the evening and instead found an incredibly quiet Walmart parking lot where we had one of the best nights of Walmart sleep we’ve ever had.

IMG_20161113_125348Sunday we started our day in said Walmart parking lot, donning our running shoes first thing in the morning to hit the pavement for the first time since our race. We had discovered that only three miles away from us was a Florida State Park with 120 foot drop down into a sinkhole. It takes 232 stairs to get up and down and the lush, tropical foliage makes for a really pretty backdrop (though the actual sinkhole looks a little like a giant snot rocket).

20161113_104514

20161114_194203The remainder of Sunday was back to the library for some more work, followed by even more work in the RV from the credit union parking lot. Exciting updates, we know.

Today, Monday, started with a visit to the laundromat (surprisingly busy on a Monday morning). Heather got the cleaning and laundry done while Jim did a webinar on swimming for his continuing education. We then scarfed down a burrito before hitting the local YMCA for a quick mile swim and the use of their unlimited water for a shower. And then, guess what, back to the library.

Sorry for the minimal photos this week; we’ll be better about it again going forward. We’re not sure if we’ll be getting down to the beaches the way we’d hoped this week. Unfortunately, our generator is out of commission and Bertha’s electrical systems are having some real issues. Our to-do list is just so crazy long that spending a week at the beach, and driving another 300+ miles to do it doesn’t seem like the best idea. So stay tuned to see where we end up this week!

As always, thanks for reading and much love to you all!

Total RV Trip Miles: 10,672

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