2016 – A Year in Review

January 2016

We attended the Tampa RV Super Show.  Our first big RV show!  Tyler flew down and helped in the booth.  What a busy week.  We were worn out by the end of it.   While in Tampa, we had a 3/4 Johnson brothers’ dinner.  It was great to see Steve and Shirley again, but we hate that Mike and Angie couldn’t make it. Finally, the Alabama Championship party at Jeff and Denise’s house.  Great night! Roll Tide!  After the show, we headed back to Mobile to Ally.  It’s her Senior year and it’s a busy time!

   

February 2016

We spent most of February in Alabama.  Lincoln sure does love being at Nana’s where he can enjoy his afternoon golf cart rides!  We did get a new RV this month though. We traded the Columbus 320RS fifth wheel in for a Tiffin Phaeton 40AH motorhome.  We didn’t have enough room for the tons of stuff we have to take to shows and were way over the weight limit of the Columbus.  Eric had to unload a lot of personal stuff just for the Tampa trip, and we knew that was not a viable plan.  

   

March 2016

We attended the FMCA Show in Perry, Georgia where Eric gave his first seminar.  It was packed!  We had fun and saw some familiar faces while there.  We spent the rest of the month in Mobile.  We both still work in Mobile as well as TechnoRV.  So busy!

   

April 2016

Eric retired from Comcast in April!  After 14 years, he finally said goodbye to the 9-5 work life.  Now that means he said goodbye to a salary, great benefits, and insurance too, but we feel good that TechnoRV can easily cover our travel lifestyle as it stands now.   Before we head out to spend the month in the Gatlinburg area, we spent some time with Mike and Angie at Meaher Park where we were staying.

We made a few stops on the way to Gatlinburg: the Tuscaloosa area to visit Tyler for his birthday and the Atlanta area to visit one of our distributors.  We had our first RV accident while visiting Tyler.  Not a good way to celebrate Tami’s birthday!  The RV park in Atlanta was far more relaxing, complete with a waterfront lot and kayaking.  In order to stay close to Ally while on the road, we have taken up Google Hangout video calls.  She even took kayaking trips with us via the phone!

We finally arrived in Sevierville, Tennessee for the SKP ACRE Rally.  This was another first for us, but boy did we have fun.  The people were wonderful.  Escapees is a wonderful group.  We are proud to be a part of it.  After our week at the rally, we stayed a few more weeks to spend time in the Smokey Mountain National Park – one of Eric’s favorites!  Overall, it was a great month and an even better start to our full timing RV adventures outside of Mobile.

                

 

May 2016

We left Tennessee and went to Nashville for a few days.  We were able to spend time with Uncle Geary, Melissa, and Jonathan while in the area which was a pleasant surprise!  After Tennessee, we headed to Auburn to spend time with Ryley before he graduated.  After leaving Auburn, we went back to Mobile for yet another graduation.  Ally graduated from high school!  Before taking off again, we visited some SKP ACRE friends in Summerdale, spent time celebrating Tami’s dad’s birthday and ate plenty of crawfish!

              

June 2016

A few last-minute things to do before we leave… As promised, Eric got a daddy-daughter tattoo with Ally since she turned 18.  I think Ally took it much better than Eric. The Tiffin also got some artwork; we added TechnoRV.com to the front window.  Thanks, Signarama! Now, off to Tampa to get some work done on the RV that we didn’t have time for when we picked it up.

We couldn’t miss the opportunity to spend time with Jeff and Denise while in Tampa.  We had a great beach day (Tami was the only one interested in getting actual sun), and a night out to hear Jeff play.  The Johnson boys are so talented!

From Tampa, we headed north to Goshen, Indiana for the Passport Rally, then to Ohio for some fun.  While in Ohio, a local recommended a trip to Put-in-Bay island, and boy are we glad we took his advice.  After a ferry ride to the island with our bikes, we spent the day hanging out, eating, listening to music, and relaxing.  It was a beautiful day and we plan to return the next time we are in the area.  The lobster bisque was heavenly!

          

July 2016

While in Ohio, we had to visit Cedar Point.  If you love roller coasters like we do, then it’s a must visit! We also got new electric bikes from a great little store in Ohio called Orbit City Bikes.  We spent days testing them and finally decided on the emotion bikes.  If you’ve never ridden an electric bike, you have to try it.  We can now ride for 20+ miles in one day exploring without dripping in sweat.  We love them!

During one of our bike rides, we explored the Ohio State University campus.  We were allowed to go on the field, which Eric was more than happy to see.  Roll Tide!

Tami’s favorite part of our time in Ohio was when we went to the Dave Matthews concert!  We took the kids to see him twice last year, and they were incredible as always. It was their 25th anniversary of touring.   If Tami had her way, we would follow them around as groupies.

Next stop was Amana, Iowa for the FMCA Midwest Rally.  We found a cool little brewery in the Amana Colonies while there we enjoyed.  We left immediately after the rally and headed to Essex Junction, Vermont for Escapade.  What a beautiful trip!  Upstate New York is incredible and we hope to spend some more time there this year.  Even the rest areas were beautiful.  We stopped and just hung out there for a break a couple of times.

Vermont was a lot of fun.  Escapees are our favorite group and we have a lot of friends there we were able to hang out with when we weren’t working.  There was a cool street called Church Street which reminded us of New Orleans, except clean.  There were street performers and great places to eat.  We enjoyed exploring that area on bikes before we left to head back to Indiana.

We try to eat local while we travel and rarely visit a chain restaurant.  The only exception to this rule is Buffalo Wild Wings.  It’s our guilty pleasure and a great place to watch sports.  Yes, we are also chicken wing addicts.

              

August 2016

August was an incredible month!  We went to Shipshewana, Indiana for the Redwood Rally and got our first taste of Yoder’s.  We stocked up on the farm fresh cheese and meats.  I can’t wait to go back and stock up again.  I will have an empty freezer this time before I go, that’s for sure.

Next stop was the FROG Rally in Goshen, Indiana.  We had such a blast!  We met so many new people in the evenings when we weren’t working and made great friends. We also found a great brewery called the Goshen Brewing Company and rode our bikes to eat there a couple of times.  At the end of the week, 2 couples invited us to do the Kentucky Bourbon Trail with them, and thankfully we took them up on it because the week in Kentucky with Diane and Gayle, and Wayne and Molly was beyond fun.

We visited 9 distilleries in 4 days and got the shirts to prove it!  We had cornhole championships during the evening and Diane and Eric played guitar every chance they got.  It’s the only place we’ve ever stayed where someone reported us for being too loud after quiet hours.  I don’t blame them.  We were having way too much fun!  The week ended with a Donkey Championship ceremony where Diane took the grand prize home to hold until we meet again: the Maker’s Mark dipped donkey.  Don’t ask.

We cannot wait to meet up with everyone again and are already planning next year’s post-FROG trip.  Whatever we do will be a blast as usual.  We love these guys so much!

              

September 2016

After the Bourbon Trail, we set off for New York again.  This time to see Niagara Falls before we had to be in Hershey, Pennsylvania for another show.  We stayed at several parks along the way, and even stayed at our first rest area overnight.  Considering we do not plan ahead, we found some really great sites.

While in Buffalo, we lucked up and it was the weekend of the Buffalo Wing Festival which was right up our alley.  Wings and beer. Music and games.  Not a bad day!  On Labor Day, we visited Niagara Falls.  You would think it would be busy, but it was dead.  Guess people had to start heading back home to be at work the next day.  Regardless, we had a great time and no wait to go on the Hurricane Bridge.  The attendant said people waited for hours the previous day.  Eric was overwhelmed with Niagara Falls and fell in love immediately.  We both didn’t have our passport with us so we weren’t able to see it from the Canadian side as everyone suggested, but that will be on next year’s plans, for sure.

While in New York, we met some fun people who gave us some good food recommendations, namely the Beef of Weck sandwich which we fell in love with.  You can’t go wrong with roast beef, horseradish, au jus and a salted onion bun!

After Labor Day, we headed to Hershey for the show.  The days were long (9am – 8pm) and we were wiped out at the end of the week.  We found the best chicken wings we had ever eaten in Hershey at the Penn Hotel and ate take out wings about 4 times that week.  They were that good!  We were looking forward to returning next year the day we pulled out of Hershey.

After Hershey, we decided to head down the east coast and hit as many states as we could.  We stopped in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware to visit Tami’s cousin, Gordon.  Catching up with him and Robert was very enjoyable.  He is the General Counsel for the U.S. Department of the Air Force and had some cool stories about his time in Washington.

We ended the month in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, but there was a storm in the Atlantic that has us wondering what the week would hold.

             

October 2016

Once we left Myrtle Beach, we headed to Charleston.  Because of the hurricane, we were only able to stay a couple of days.  We were evacuated early on the morning of the 5th and headed west to get off the coast. We had to stay at a couple of sketchy places since everyone was headed west, but after the storm passed we headed south again.  Our next stop was Bradenton, Florida for the Living the RV Dream rally.  This would be our second time to visit this rally, and it is a relaxing enjoyable one.

After the Florida rally, we had one more rally to attend before the end of the year, and it was in Heber Springs, Arkansas.  We were going to head straight that way, but decided to stop in Mobile to surprise Ally since we had not seen her since June, then we were off to Heber Springs for the Workamper Rendezvous. While we were there, we were able to meet Luke and Jody from Workamper and hit it off instantly.  We rented a boat and took a trip to Sugar Loaf Mountain to hike.  After spending just one day with them, we knew it would not be our last adventure together.

After extending our stay in Heber Springs in order to hang out more with Luke and Jody, we headed to Memphis for a few days before we had to be in Tuscaloosa for a Bama game.

 

          

November 2016

We stayed in Mississippi just south of Memphis in a nice park and drove into the city when we wanted to play.  We ate some great food and listened to some great music on Beale Street.  We also took a tour of the Southern Thunder Harley Davidson store, which was incredible!    Overall, the Memphis trip was a nice addition to our plans.

Now, off to Tuscaloosa!  Roll Tide!  Angie and Mike met us there and spent the weekend.  We attended the Mississippi State game, and of course, won!  (It’s hard to be humble when you are a Bama fan.)  We were able to spend a lot of time with Tyler and Ryley as they were both attending Alabama at the time.

After the game, we headed back to Mobile for Thanksgiving with Tami’s family.  We skipped out on Black Friday and headed to Pensacola to spend the weekend with Gayle and Diane and some of their friends.  We stayed at the Pensacola RV Resort, and it was spectacular.  We were right on the water and had a great view.  Watching the Iron Bowl game with Diane and Gayle was fun, even though they are Auburn fans.  It was just great to hang out with them again as we hadn’t seen them since Kentucky….or their 3 precious Golden Retrievers.  Our own sweet Lincoln had a rough month as he had to stay overnight for some heart tests.  Luckily, all we had to do different is put him on some heart meds for now.  He’s such a sweetheart.

 

                  

December 2016

We started December in Gulf Shores, Alabama at Bella Terra RV Resort.  Super nice place!  Ally and Josie stayed with us some and as usual, we laughed a lot.  We returned to Mobile for Christmas and stayed at Meaher Park for the holidays.  We had the 1st annual TechnoRV Christmas party at Ruth’s Chris and the food was delicious.  If you haven’t eaten there, I’d highly recommend it.  Such a nice treat.

We celebrated Christmas with family at Tami’s parents’ house and hung out that night with the kids playing games.  Tyler’s Virtual Reality game was quite a hit.  It’s hard to get Tami off of it when she starts playing.  We rented a cabin on site for the kids which worked well.

While in Mobile, we were able to catch up with friends, eat some Foosackly’s (best chicken ever) and of course sushi.  Some of our favorite sushi ever is right in our home town at Wasabi’s.  Overall we had an awesome month.  We rarely have all three kids together anymore, so it was nice to spend time as a family.

        

So 2016 was a wild one for us.  We visited about 20 states and saw more things in one year than we have seen in a lifetime of vacations. We can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring.  Next year’s goal: National Park visits.  We will be headed out west in the beginning of the year and will travel from California to Washington then all the way to Maine later in the year.  Happy New Year!

 

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