November 4 to December 2, 2003 - Jacksonville, FL

November 4th we drove 171 miles to Hanna Park in Jacksonville, FL.  We got slowed by traffic on I-95 and our friends Carolle and Ken, who we met at Camp National RV in December 2002 and again March 2003 were worried about us and called.  We met them at a Wal-Mart parking lot in Jacksonville and Carolle rode in the motorhome with Diane driving while Bill rode with Ken to Hanna Park where we had a reservation, first day paid by Ken.  Here is our campsite, it was a tight fit for the awning:

We were able to get our satellite dish to work:

Here are some pictures of Hanna Park, which is a city park on the ocean.  This is the road in the campground:

This lake was just down the campground road:

More of the campground.

We ate dinner with Ken and Carolle most nights, a few at restaurants.  Ken was working most of the time in the day.

For the weekend Ken and Carolle brought their motorhome and camped next to us so we could be together.

November 8th (Saturday) Carolle drove the four of us down to St. Augustine for the day.

November 9th (Sunday) we all went up to Fernandina Beach and Fort Clinch State Park.

We ended up not taking advantage of all Hanna Park had to offer, but we made up for it in 2005 when we stayed again.

Our motorhome suspension was behaving strangely and Carolle could notice it while she rode in it to Hanna Park.  On the 10th we drove to a local RV repair place to check what it would take to fix the problem and some other issues and they said to take it to Cummins for the suspension issues.  Off we went to Cummins and here we are parked at Cummins Southeastern Power in Jacksonville, FL, 29 miles from Hanna Park on the other side of Jacksonville:

The Cummins tech, David, came out and talked to us in the morning about our "suspension" problem and after a few questions he went right to the front brakes and started looking at them with a flashlight.  He told us not to move and showed us where the sewer connection was in the back of the site, which we had thought was water and electric only.  Our brakes were cracked:

It was not a suspension problem and the crack was lined right up where it could be seen.  Someone up high was watching out for us. 

These brakes were having caliper problems with multiple chassis manufacturers and some had already recalled them.  The parts were on back order, we would be waiting an unknown amount of time for the parts, probably a couple weeks.  We had a month's stay in Bradenton on a coupon starting the 14th, we called them to say we would probably be delayed.   We had "free" camping with full hookups, but it was not the best location and was noisy with the I-295 next door and a train.

Here is Ken's business in Jacksonville:

Since we were staying for a while, we set up the satellite dish and waited and waited.

Each day we would find out if the parts were in and then we would go about our lives.   We shopped, we did laundry, we toured around the area just because.  The wait was three weeks for the parts, we really learned our way around town.   We had warm days, we had cool days, we had some rain, but we mostly we experienced sunny weather in the 60s and 70s.

Most every night we got together with Ken and Carolle for dinner and Diane often supplied the dessert.

One day we were "employees" of Ken's so we could visit the Sysco food fair, where Sysco would show off the food products a restaurant could order.  Ken had a snack bar, so he was invited. It was a revelation to find out just what was available pre-packaged for restaurants.  Free food and it was good food.   We figure 99% of the rice pilafs in restaurants are mixes, they had many. 

On November 14th we drove back to St Augustine and spent the day at the Alligator Farm (five web pages).

We still hadn't seen everything we wanted in St. Augustine, so we again went down on November 16th and toured the Castillo de San Marcos.

On November 22nd we met up with Carolle downtown with her grandkids:

Here is Grandma with the youngest, Celeste:

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving Cummins invited us to their Thanksgiving lunch and we enjoyed visiting with the techs and other employees.  

Carolle was hosting Thanksgiving for her extended family, her mother and siblings and their families.  We joined them and had a good time.

Here we are at Cummins during the Thanksgiving weekend, we had the place to ourselves:

Diane had arranged a flight from Tampa to Seattle for Monday December 1st, just after Thanksgiving weekend.  She had a doctor's appointment that could not be moved.  We had expected to be in Bradenton, which was close to Tampa, but were still in Jacksonville, so it was a longer drive.  On November 30th we dropped Evita off with Carolle and Ken and drove 200 miles to Tampa and checked into a motel close to the airport.  In the morning Bill dropped Diane off at the airport and drove back to Jacksonville and arrived about 11AM.  David, the tech, came out a couple minutes later and told Bill that two of the brakes had arrived and he expected the others later in the day or the next morning.   The brake repair would start first thing in the morning.

Bill went over to Ken and Carolle's and Evita was very happy to see him.  She thought she had lost her family and was not yet getting used to a new one.  Since the motorhome was getting repaired Bill left her another night.  Carolle said Evita was happier the next day, she seemed to know she was just visiting temporarily.  Of course Carolle was getting very attached to Evita anyway.

David took the motorhome in the morning and Bill kept himself busy all day.  About 3PM the motorhome was finished and Bill and David took it for a test drive.  David had noticed the suspension changes and had noted all the brands, he was very impressed with how the motorhome handled.  All the brake problems were fixed and the test drive was a success.

Someone had taken the spot we had parked in for three weeks so Bill had to take the next spot over.  David wanted to make sure no fluids were leaking in the morning, so we were again spending the night.  Everything was fine in the morning, Bill could move the motorhome to Bradenton, FL.  Here is the fixed motorhome on the 2nd, parked one over at Cummins

Bill went over to Carolle and Ken's for one last dinner and brought Evita home.  Evita did look for Diane, but was happy to at least have Bill back.  We would see Ken and Carolle again in January.

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