Happy last day of November to you all! We’ve made it through three states today (Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi) and are currently parked in Biloxi, MS, the Las Vegas of the South! It was an impromptu decision to stop here en route to New Orleans, but when in Mississippi, right?? We plan to eat a quick dinner in Bertha and then check out a couple of the local floating casinos, just to see what it’s all about.
We’ve just come off another week of making memories with all the Florida family and celebrating Thanksgiving in a big way. We had last left you still parked in The Holmes’ driveway with more family coming in to celebrate Turkey Day. Wednesday, the ladies started the day at the local park, pushing the little ones on the swing until we were all ready for a nap. The rest of the day was spent preparing for Thanksgiving, from preparatory cooking, practicing for the annual family game of yard golf, and more playing with the adorable little ones while we waited for cousins to arrive from Tampa.
Thursday was the big day of eating and giving thanks! This was the first year that Erica had the pleasure of hosting at her house; typically, Thanksgiving was hosted at Jim and Sheila’s with the two houses next door being used as backup storage and baking areas. But since Sheila’s sister and best friend had moved away last year, everyone put together their dishes and brought them to Erica and Morgan’s instead. It was a big success! Thanks to Aunt Sionna, Sheila, Sandy, and Erica, we had enough food to feed 25 people for two whole days! Prior to the feasting, the men (10 of them) started their yard golf tourney at 10:30 that morning. Morgan, Jim, Mike and Brandon had set up an 18 hole course that runs from the front of the house to the back and around both sides. It took about three hours to play all 18 holes and Mikey Barber took home the coveted green jacket. Once the tourney was over, the eating commenced – two whole turkeys, a ham, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, pumpkin cheesecake…and SO MUCH MORE! Once everyone was grossly full, the remainder of the evening mainly consisted of football and squeezing as many people as possible onto the couch.
Friday was a beautiful, warm, sunny Florida day so what’s an entire family to do together…go to the beach, of course! Uncle Allen and Aunt Sionna have a temporary beach condo where they hosted the whole family with yummy snacks and wonderful water views, and Aunt Sandy ordered pizza for the group. More food! We spent the day between the beach, the pool, and the condo playing and building sandcastles. Heather got to chase birds with baby Elliot while Jim left a little early to go fly his dad’s new drone (a replacement to the one that was crashed two weeks ago). We ended the night at Jim and Sheila’s house with more football and more playtime with the nieces…and more leftovers!
Saturday morning bid farewell to Farren, Wolfgang, and Elliot as they headed back home to Connecticut. The boys then decided that they wanted to head out to do some shooting while the girls decided to go get pedicures (traditional gender roles anyone?). Seven of us filled the salon, getting pampered and girl-talking. The boys, meanwhile, set up some slo-mo videos of the various items they were able to blow up with their guns. Boys will be boys. The girls then went to lunch and a few split off to see a movie afterward, with all of us meeting up again that evening at the Holmes’ house for the big Florida State vs Florida football game, a big deal down in these parts! Once the football game was over, we somehow got on the topic of the mannequin challenge – a silly internet sensation in which everyone freezes in a particular position while the camera pans around, the same theme music is used in all the videos as well. So of course, we had to make our own…you can see our version here: https://youtu.be/ojcbsgTgC7g
Sunday was a mostly relaxed day, though Jim and his bro and dad did have to spend some time working on our generator/battery issues again. Jim’s brother and expert mechanic was able to troubleshoot it down to what ended up being just old batteries (poor Bertha! It’s always the little things with her age). New batteries were able to wait until today, where Jim pulled into the Batteries Plus in Pensacola, ripped out the 6 and 7 year old house batteries, and replaced them with new ones. Success, it seems! Anyway, back to Sunday, we had some time around the house with the girls, more playtime and shenanigans. Erica took the girls for some mini-motorcycle cruises around the yard, she’s such an awesome mom!
Monday, it was back to school and work for the Holmes’, so we spent the day getting some laundry, chores, and work done ourselves in preparation for our departure the next day. Part of that included Heather finishing the last assignment in her 10-week grant writing course, that means she’s done and can start doing some volunteer work in order to gain some real world experience in the non-profit and grant writing realm. That evening, Heather and Myleigh snuck in some yoga time in their matching outfits before Jim’s folks came by for dinner and good-byes.
Waking up yesterday, Tuesday, we sadly detached from the Holmes’ house and hit the road around noon. We’re really going to miss everyone out here! We took the long way out of town, driving through Destin and into Pensacola – Destin was a beautiful drive! We spent the night in a glamorous Walmart, missing the quiet of the Holmes’ yard.
Today, we continued west from Pensacola, managing to have a fairly productive day of to-do list item slashing while making our way across the southern states. This week we’ll continue to head west, keeping the adventure going with stops in New Orleans, Houston and Austin en route to our next major stop, Phoenix, where the rest of our year-end holiday festivities will commence.
Total RV Trip Miles: 11,242.5