Thursday, December 29, 2016


Well, here we are about to welcome the third year, (not full year, but date year), of our RV travels. We return tomorrow from Raleigh to Kissimmee, FL to rejoin our rig from temporary storage and continue the adventure. We have been taking a Christmas break from the road to spend time with our daughter's family in Raleigh, NC, where we will settle in Autumn of 2017 after we complete our RV time. It has been quite a time in Raleigh. Number one grand daughter announced upon our arrival that "this will be the best Christmas ever!" It proved to be that. Wonderful family time. We celebrated amidst cartons as they were able to secure and move into a new home just prior to our arrival. The house is darling and perfect for them and we and they are so happy. We decided to take a day to look at available houses in our target area of Fearrington, NC. This  about 45 minutes from Raleigh and it is a steadily growing, yet contained development within the Pittsboro, NC area targeting folks in our age group and is so well done. We hit that danger zone of "just looking" and found our ideal home and, well, we bought it. We must be nuts to buy a home and then leave it vacant for some months, but the market is hot there and this is the place we want. We will still winter in Florida, spend some time in Spring at our new place as we work northward, summer in Maine then work back to Fearrington in early Autumn 2017 to take full occupancy. So, the Vilia Adventures continue! Once back to Kissimmee we will work our way to the mid section of the Keys to Marathon Key, FL to hopefully fool Mom Nature about winter and enjoy some warmth. Will wander other parts of south FL after our two weeks there.
More to come as we continue.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Grand Floridian Oak.

Here we are for a stopover at Big Oak RV Park in Tallahassee. Easily named for this big ole buck of a tree, set right center in this campground.

We Have Survived The Onslaught

Camping close to the beach at Destin, FL. Heavy weather incoming. Tornado watch in effect. 3 AM Dec 6th  I am awakened by the wail of the banshees. Howling winds, large Florida raindrops slapping against the side of our RV. It is raining vertically. My guess, 50 MPH gusts. Kudos to the design of Keystone RV, nary a drop of water made its way indoors. But, we had a few moments of wondering if we would be blown over. It could have been that strong.

This is the most intense weather we have experienced in our 17 months of our road travel. Grateful to have made it through. Now hoping all the fine grit sand that came with the winds and rain does not cause issues with moving RV parts down the road…

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

We Have Made It To Florida

Destin, FL. "The Redneck Riviera" it is nicknamed. It is a vacation mecca for "locals". Lots of folks from nearby states have long chosen this part of the state for their beach time. Something like 80 percent of the housing is absentee owners. We are in the panhandle. Our Campground is 50 yards from the beach and this amazing sugar like sand on the Gulf of Mexico. Woke up to 76 degrees early this morning. Ahhhhhh.....Amazing humidity compared to what we have experienced out West. That led to some heavy rain this evening  as a serious front moved through which has brought some severe weather to parts of the South. Behind it is cooler weather. 40's by tomorrow morning, 60's for the high. Much more seasonal. We will be here for a few more nights then will move eastward and southbound. Our schedule has us in Florida for the winter. First thing I did once we had arrived and set up was to go to a local fish market. Bought some fresh local red snapper. Broiled it simply with butter. It was divine. We have been craving fresh seafood after being landlocked for so long in our journey around the West and through the lower Midwest and upper Southeast. So look forward to more of that.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Don McCall in Atlanta

Musical evening with Don McCall, Bob's roommate in college!! Thanks Don!!!

Peter and family in Atlanta

And we were able to visit with nephew Peter & Stacy....and their adorable kiddos!!!

Bill and Cinnie in Atlanta

Bill and Cinnie (Bob's sister) visited us on the way to Peter's in Atlanta!!!!! Always fun!!! Can't wait for this summer in Maine

Atlanta Aquarium

Atlanta Aquarium is fabulous....THe whale sharks are huge....I swam with a whaleshark when on the Big Island of Hawaii on a scuba dive....fabulous animals!!

Jan and Greg Atlanta

Wonderful night out with these nice people in Atlanta...Neighbors in Barrington IL for only a year but we sure had lots of memories to reminisce about.....Thanks Jan and Greg for Mary Macs and the lights at the Botanical Gardens!!! And we will be southerns too next year!!!

Atlanta...Joe and Sylvia

Super time in Atlanta with Joe and Sylvia Aiello.....friends since the early Beringer days...Great Italian food and wine...Thank you both for a wonderful evening!

University of Alabama

This nice woman told us about many of the UA traditions.....She has gone to games her whole life...last year she met man at the next door tent....and married him!!! gave us a Yellow Hammer" drink...the drink of the UA football tailgaters! FUN!!!

Crimson Tide

“If anything goes wrong, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it.” Coach Bear Bryant.
The University of Alabama football program, “The Crimson Tide”, is legendary. They have been at the game since 1892. They have more “Best of This and Most of That” than any other college team. I had been pulled into the Tide due to the great Bear Bryant who coached them from 1958 to 1982, 24 years of my life. He was a wonderful sideline presence and gave memorable press conferences after games with his quotable comments delivered in a wonderfully rich southern drawl. He also could win. His lifetime record is 323 wines, 85 losses, and 17 ties. Today’s program is as, if not even more, phenomenal under coach Nick Saban who has gone 99 wins and 12 losses over the last eight years.
We thought it would be fun, since we were going to be so close at the right time of year, to get tickets to a home game in their 110,000 capacity stadium. Big. 
Last Saturday, November 12th, we did that. It was so enjoyable. The game was at 11 AM, unusual for this prime time team. We arrived in Tuscaloosa, about an hour from where we camped south of Birmingham, at about 8 AM. The activity was already ramping up. We saw a few tailgating trailers rigged up like food trucks with crowds of family and friends. There was an RV dedicated parking lot we walked through to see folks making gameday camp ready. There were vendors aplenty with the school’s logo seen everywhere. The entire scene bled of crimson colored everything. We then went over to the Quad, the main green of the campus. The University has installed electric outlets in a grid around the Quad and folks have set ups of canopy tents with chairs tables, and satellite TV plugged in to their electric outlet. They come for the pre and post game on site activity but do not attend the game. They watch it on TV. Alabama’s “Million Dollar Band”, as it is known, comes over to The Quad before the game and entertains. Alabama’s mascot is an elephant, “Big Al”. We watched Al dance to a concert by the remarkable tuba section of the large and exceptional college band. A tuba concert. About 18 of them. Wonderful. The game was monumental. Pretty much sold out and 110,000 people yelling “Roll Tide”, a huge and loud PA system playing thumping music, bellowing elephant trumpeting and a trolling death bell whenever the opponent had third and long. Which they did often. Bama won handily over Mississippi State who managed to score one field goal. We had a great time with the experience. Also, we learned how an elephant became the mascot. It seems years ago, an elephant wandered into town in great pain asking for a dentist. He was sent to the dental school at the University. His problem was he had a Tusk a loosa.


Pack up the bikes to enjoy Oak Mountain State the low autumnal sun.....just di another great bike ride in Stone Mountain Park, Atlanta.....

Paces in Birmingham

One of our favorite parts of the RV journey around the country is reconnecting with old friends and family......Here is the Pace family....probably haven't seen them since the early 1980s.....Kevin was my youngest cousin....I am jealous that he got our Pop's hair color....We had a group of 8 cousins all within about 8 years of each other in age....we had lots of fun! Others in pictures....Kathy, Kevin's wife...Kelly, Kevin's daughter...and Mallory, Kelly's daughter, an adorable 8 year old...was a fun time


Went to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute....the first pic reminded me of a pivotal childhood 1957 we went to Florida for the first time....I saw the water fountains in the grocery store like this.....I excitedly yelled to my mom...Wow they have colored water here...I wonder what color it is!....We have come a long way....and don't respond that we have farther to go....We know that!

Gardens in Alabama

Lovely gardens close to where we are staying in Montgomery AL....Used to be a private home...they wanted to celebrate the ancient Greek culture.....Love the Three Graces...they were (and still are) on Clos du Val wines, one of Bob's favorite employers.

Selma Alabama

Went to many sites along the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights Trail...It actually made me feel like we have come a long way since the 60s. Always good to look back....

Wine in Alabama!!!

Someone posted about his wine that was made by Tyler Wolf...a friend of Jeff's from St. Helena....then Bob saw it in Alabama....Had to buy it!!! It was delicious!!!!

Wall in Alabama

Also went to stone wall built by grandson of Te-lah-nay...she was a Indian woman who was to Oklahoma on Trail of tears and took 5 years to get herself back to Alabama...Tom went thru 2700 pairs of gloves making this wall as a tribute to his great great grandmother....very inspiring...He was there and is 87 years old....looks like 70 years old!!

Relaxing in Mississippi

Nice vegging time and enjoying warm fall days at Joe Wheeler Campground in Northern Mississippi.....Muscle Shoals area...

Cynthia Brown This park was named after my grandmother's great uncle on my mother's side. He was a confederate general. It is Alexis' middle name.
Cathy Hess Janis WOW...what a coimcidence!!! have you guys been there???? We even ate at Daniella's..,,a restaurnt in the park.named after his wife! Hope you are enjoying your new home!!!