Roads and bridges and tunnels – Oh my!

I live in the arid country of southern Arizona. We have bridges, but the go over washes, which are dry river beds that only have water during monsoon season. They are boring flat bridges, grey-brown in color to match the desert.

But…then…in Florida… Yeah we were crossing a bridge through an amazing preserve and low and behold there was water under that bridge. Lots of water, for miles and miles.

I got a view of this bridge as we were coming up to it.

Seriously,how cool is this!?!? Ok, there are no cool bridges like this anywhere in Arizona.

Official bridge geek here.

I believe bridges are forms of art.

So amazing, and thrilling to drive over and through.

The geek in me wonders how engineers design these so they will continue to stand during hurricane winds. It’s math – physics, yes but it is fascinating.

Some are so elegant and graceful you feel grateful to have the opportunity to use them.

Some we drove on really looked as if they might need a bit of reinforcement or elevating.

 

 

When we were crossing the Mississippi River into Memphis on a rainy night it was pretty spectacular and bumpy. 

You can see the rain drops on the windshield and the Tennessee sign on the cool bridge spanning the river, and the lights of the city in the distance.

Big  river,  pretty  lights.

And then, in Mississippi (the state) we ran into this awesomeness.

A freaking tunnel that took us through the bay and under downtown Biloxi!!

Fabulous.

 

 

 

 

Yep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very cool at night too.

 

Cheers!

-N

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Coast to coast-almost part 2

I have an amazing son.

Saturday, after we got the RV all set, hooked up and running, we took Chuck to the airport.He had to be at work the next day so he had to escape back home. My sister, Lisa, picked him up at the Tucson airport, and Aaron and I settled into getting his house in order.

A big thing we discovered was a seal at the base of the toilet had somehow got twisted and was across the opening!

Nasty. The toilet paper was getting caught on it keeping it from draining-ok TMI.

When we bought the RV we purchased extended warranty insurance which covers a lot. It does cover the bathroom thing, but only the connections. Really?! Seals wear out and are not covered! Suffice it to say we were majorly bummed. The repair guy I talked to who does warranty covered repairs suspected this and instead of us paying out of pocket for him to come repair it he said, “If your son is good with tools he can do this himself and will save you some money.” Needless to say Aaron is just like his dad about fixing things. So Aaron took off the bolts, tilted the toilet on its side, (I cleaned it up-no need to have my repair man gagging) and we found the seal was fine just twisted. He replaced it and taa daa! It worked perfectly.

Across the street from the RV park is a huge RV sales, service, and supply store. We headed over to get a look at it. He can get his propane there, discounted because of where he is staying, we got some black water tank deodorizer, a new sliding piece for the front door, and a new sprayer for the toilet (it was leaking.) Aaron met the lady who works in the store, and when we got back he got to work doing more stuff.

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Another problem we found was the nut that connected the gas to the pilot lite on the stove was loose. So he took it apart, tightened the nut and the pilot lite worked perfect

After all that it was time to set up his PO Box, and have a bit of fun. I will say this, Winter Garden, Florida is beautiful. The streets are clean and the trees and shrubs groomed, the buildings well tended and Jill at the Post Office is a very cool woman.

Aaron and I decided to head to the Atlantic on my last day in Florida. We planned to stop in at Kennedy Space Visitor Center and then head down to Cocoa Beach for some ocean time. The Space Center was very interesting, very interactive and a bit pricey. Still as space geeks we dug it. My late uncle Jimmie Forehand was truly a rocket scientist!

It was a great time and I would love to go back and spend the whole day exploring.

Cocoa Beach was special because it was clean, beautiful, not too crowded, and it was my son’s first visit to the Atlantic Ocean. The waves were great, at least 3-4 feet, and a nice breeze was blowing in.

I’m pretty sure I’ve been there to introduce Aaron to every ocean he has seen. As an ocean lover it is my pleasure. This day finished with a drive back through Orlando at rush hour but we had enjoyed such a relaxing, cool day we handled it with the help of Sirius radio comedy shows and classic vinyl rock music!

Part three is my drive back to Arizona, by myself, all the way from Florida with a special side trip in Mississippi.

Cheers!

-N

Coast to Coast-almost, part 1

I have been out of communication for two weeks while I help my son make a move from Texas to Florida. It was a huge thing for him and hubby and I had the honor of helping him accomplish it. He was hired as a stage technician at DisneyWorld.

You see, Aaron and Chelsea will be living in it until they find a place to move into, probably an apartment or rental house.

First step was in Catalina and getting our 5th wheel ready for the move.  Got it cleaned up, stocked up, and made sure everything was set. Then we took the truck in for service. It’s a 2004 F250 diesel, a real workhorse, and it was time for the checkup. We were told it needed a new serpentine belt and rear pinion seal!! Only about $600-700. Color me dumbfounded. The service guy said these had to be done before we pulled the RV all the way to Florida. Chuck decided to look on you tube for videos – maybe he could do it himself since the seal only costs $15! After his research he figured he could do it, he needed two new tools. The belt actually cost more, but didn’t require taking apart the drive train. The plan was to leave at 1am on Wednesday morning after Chuck got off work Tuesday at 11pm. But…the truck needed these two things done before we left.  So the rush was on!

Monday morning we bought parts and Chuck started working. The pinion seal was the worry since it required disconnecting the rear drive train, pulling the seal, filling the diferential fluid, and putting it all back together. He got it half done, stopped to go to work then picked it up Tuesday morning. It was a relatively easy job and he felt confident. It worked like a charm. But then the belt came next and it was a freakin’ nightmare. We finally got on the road Wednesday morning at 4:30am! We had both be up since 7am Tuesday morning but we headed out for Lewisville, Texas. After eighteen hours of driving we arrived at the parking lot of the First Baptist Church in Lewisville. The facilities manager, Jeff Hobson, gave us permission to park for the night. He was amazing!!

We slept for about four hours, solid hard sleeping, and got up to meet up with Aaron so he could store his stuff in the trailer. He was driving one of their cars out with us, so we filled up and headed out I-20 toward Shreveport. About an hour out of Lafayette it starting raining. An annoying hard rain, especially in the evening, at rush hour, on the highway, towing a 5th wheel. We made it to an amazing rest area just inside Mississippi and spent the night. We started out and managed to arrive in the Orlando area Friday night around 8pm Florida EST. We bunked again at a rest stop and the next morning we cut out at 7:30 am, grabbed some coffee and donuts at the Dunkin Donuts and were at Winter Garden RV park by 9am.

The rush was on again to get the trailer set up, plugged in, and turned on before we had to get Chuck to the Orlando Airport by 1:30pm for a 3:00pm flight. I was staying for a few days to drive the truck back to Tucson.

But we did it!!

Chuck did go coast to coast thanks to Southwest. He flew from Orlando to San Diego to Tucson!

More to come. Cheers!

-N