Today was our Saturday, so of course Ted woke up not long after 6am, and I wasn’t far behind him. We read then, and the boys were asleep, so that was good. And then at 7am they played reveille! Heh. Why do I always forget they do this on bases? I guess because after a few days it really isn’t a big deal.

When the boys got up I made chocolate chip pancakes for them and then we watched some Ninjago. That movie has some really good parts. Jack and I walked around the campground while we waited for Ted to finish his phone call and to get ready. I stopped and talked to Betsy as she cleaned the spot a camper had just left. I asked for restaurant recommendations and she gave me a few. After we got back to our spot she brought a balsa airplane for Jack. So sweet! Jack and I put our new hammock together today, though I had to get Max to help stretch it out enough to hook on.

Ted, Jack and I went shopping and out to eat for lunch. We bought a water regulator (Camping World has them for $12 cheaper online, but they matched the online price, thankfully), a sewer elbow and 2 more light switches for when we need to change them out. It’s crazy how hard they’ve been to find in camping stores, so since this place had 2 I bought them both.

Then we went to eat some soul food at Nigel’s. I had fried chicken, rice and gravy and yams. Ted had shrimp and grits (with lots of dark brown gravy), and Jack had a (type of buffalo sauced) chicken sandwich with mac and cheese for his side. I really liked what we had, but Ted said he didn’t see the need to go back. It was good but not awesome. I’d be happy to go back, but I see what he’s saying.

When we got back home Ted put the regulator on the pump and I think it’s gonna work! The sewer elbow makes a real difference; I guess our old one just wore out. We sent the boys to the playground while Ted made Alton Browns broccoli sandwiches again for supper. They were a great hit again. I can’t believe how good they taste!

Before they went to the playground I saw that Jack’s new airplane is basically shot…he threw that thing a million times and had such fun with it, but it’s not meant to last long. It was so sweet that Betsy gave it to him; I already wanted to take her some of the Hello Dolly I made the other day but this cements it.

We left just before 10 this morning! Woot! Ted didn’t even hook up the sewer last night after the oil change so we just didn’t make the boys shower and we should be fine till we get to the new place tonight.

Max finished his school before 11! It took him just under an hour to finish a full day’s worth of school, and he got 3 A’s and did a day’s worth of the 2 projects he was assigned. Crazy! We did school today so that when we don’t have to drive tomorrow it can be our Saturday.

According to Google we got to the base around 3pm. Not long before we got here it was funny to see the hand lettered signage on the road stating ‘road ends 1000ft’.

When Betsy came over to check us in it took us a few minutes to straighten out how long we were staying and to get payed up. It’s a beautiful place! Trees are everywhere; our bus is completely in the shade. Every site is completely concrete, and it’s pretty level, too. No sinking into the ground like we did in Kissimmee.

The only negative so far is the super low water pressure; hopefully getting a new regulator will help out. The boys went to the playground while Ted and I set up the bus and then we headed out to eat. Ted found Istanbul Shish Kabob Buffet. We’re usually hesitant about buffets, but this one was great! Each adult got 2 kabobs and each kid 1, and we all got access to the buffet. We picked 4 of the 5 kinds of kebabs to try out, chicken, steak, ground beef and shrimp; the steak was the best and the chicken was super good too, the beef and shrimp were good. The buffet was really nice, too; lots of salads but several main dishes as well, and a pita toaster that they kept up with ok.

We started our day like a school day, and after Bible reading we moved a lot of stuff so Ted could drive less than a mile away to change the oil. I realized that we could set the boys up with toys in the truck right where we were and they could play while we changed the oil, so that’s what we did. That way I was able to help Ted, and hopefully the change went faster.

By 9:30 we were in the parking lot with everything out and the boys playing. By 11:20 it was all cleaned up! It took longer to change the generator oil than the bus oil, which was crazy. Draining the bus oil was easy since Ted put in the switch for the oil last time. He got it set up with the oil bucket underneath, flipped the switch, and then we sat in the truck for 5 minutes while it drained. Then we got busy! Ted changed the filter on the bus too; that’s the trickiest part. I hold the oil pan under the filter but over the axle while Ted unscrews the old filter and puts in the new one. Putting oil into the bus was the second trickiest part; the height of the funnel competes with the height of the cavity I had to work in, so I ended up spilling some oil there. Oh yeah, checking the oil is also tricky. It’s so hard to see exactly where the line of oil is on that stupid dipstick.

I think the hardest part of changing the generator oil was getting the filter off. The wrench kept opening up and not gripping the old filter. But Ted finally got it. Then it took longer to drain that than the bus. But we finally got it all, and all cleaned up. Then Ted took the old oil stuff inside to dispose of correctly, and that took longer than changing the generator stuff. Heh. He dripped oil inside and they made him mop, and then they told him to mop again cause they didn’t like how he did it. Base life.

We finally made it back home, set up enough, took showers and headed out to lunch. I found Maple Street Biscuit Company that looked good so we tried it out. Everything was served on their homemade biscuits. Ted had fried chicken, fried egg, bacon, cheese and sausage gravy on a biscuit. I had fried chicken, goat cheese and a ton of pepper jelly on a biscuit! Max had fried chicken, bacon and syrup on a biscuit. I also got fried green tomatoes (I think I’ve finally decided I like those, but don’t love them), and Jack had the mac and cheese with 5 kinds of cheeses. It was all so delicious; we’d all be happy to go back there again! I’d seen on Yelp that they had a blueberry goat cheese hand pie and I really wanted one of those, but they don’t serve them anymore. Boo!

After lunch we headed to St. Augustine, the US’s oldest city. Ted saw that Jack’s pass would get us a discount at the Castillo de San Marcos; it got us in free! Go Jack! We got there just in time for the cannon firing.

We looked all around the castle, though it drizzled off and on the whole time we were there. It’s pretty cool to see how they did things so long ago. We got to read about how so many other fortresses were wooden and therefore relatively easily beaten, but this stone fortress has stood for over 300 years. It was crazy to us to see that the bunk beds there for the soldiers held 2 men per upper bunk and lower bunk! No thanks! I guess there was no rolling to the middle though, with the wooden bed and the puny mattresses they had. What hardships people back then had, and how easy we have it now!

After we were through exploring we walked through the little downtown there and stopped at lots of shops: candy shops (where a lady put some quarters in the machines for Jack, so he could watch the gumballs go through the mazes, and then gave both boys free slurpees when they got the right colored gumballs, so we bought a potato chip chocolate bar and Turkish peanut butter taffy), pepper shops (where we bought buffalo wing sauce and pepper jelly), oil shops (where we bought blackberry and ginger white balsamic vinegar), ceramic shops (where I drooled over all the Mexican pottery), etc etc etc. We also bought a black tea pineapple with milk bubble tea. The tapioca bubbles are kinda weird, but I do like them. Oh yeah, and I went into a clothing store where the woman tickled Jack a couple of times and then gave him a big American flag. That boy! He makes friends wherever he goes. On our walking ‘tour’ in the still drizzling weather we also saw the oldest wooden schoolhouse in the US.

We left St. Augustine around 5:30 and headed home. We’d planned to go out to eat again but none of us was really hungry then, so I made us ham egg and cheese muffins after we’d been home a while. I washed our 2 big blankets and our dirty clothes from working this morning in the free laundry there on base, and my blanket only took 30 minutes to dry! I also saw some clothes on the free rack so I scored a ‘Buy me tacos and tell me I’m beautiful’ shirt. Heh. After the boys were in bed Ted and I watched the British Baking Show before we went to bed.

We just had a normal start to our day today. The boys put up their dishes and made their breakfast, and after we read the Bible we started packing in ernest. We pulled out at 10:30. I stopped by the office and checked out with Mr. Rifle; he always has such a super attitude.

Thank the Lord our drive was smooth, and our first fill-up of the new year was too. We stopped at a place with a Denny’s so we ate lunch there. The worst thing about the whole day was that the waitresses were snippy with each other; at least they weren’t snippy with us!

We pulled into our spot around 3:30 and that’s when Ted realized he left our water regulator there! Doh! He keeps kicking himself, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Ted shopped online for stuff to change the oil in the bus tomorrow while I unpacked and set up. We asked at check-in if changing the oil there would be possible and the guy gave us the go-ahead, so if we get everything we need tonight I’ll take the boys somewhere while Ted moves the bus and changes it himself.

He found the things at various stores so we left the boys and shopped around for what we needed. Nobody had an adjustable regulator, nor a light switch like we need for a back-up. We got home and I made dumplings (meh) and salad with ginger dressing (meh). Ted thought there wasn’t enough sweet in the dressing, and I thought there was too much. Huh.

Max has taught Jack to say he’s the cutest when Max asks him.

Jack is starting to take deep breaths when he’s getting upset. I don’t know that he does it most of the time he’s winding up, but he does it some of the time even when I haven’t told him too. I hope this can turn into a wonderful habit to help him remain calm when things don’t go his way. I hope I get into this habit. Hello, watch breath!

Ted left for the dentist at 11:20. He’ll come back to pick us up for lunch after he’s through and hopefully we’ll be done with school by then.

We were all finished and waiting outside for him. We went to Q’kanen again, and it was just as good. This time we got 2 meat plates, one mixed and one pork, and all split them. Ted also ordered the ham and cheese empanada. Yum! Since we weren’t entirely stuffed we went to Abracadabra again for our REAL last time there. Ted let me get Jack the Almond Joy so I could directly compare it to the Coquito. Almond Joy was the first one I ever had there and it was wonderful, but I love Coquito, and direct comparison proves I never need to order Almond Joy again. Boy am I going to miss that place!

We went to Amscot to have some papers notarized. Then to Aldi for some french bread and turkey sticks; Mom put me on to those and they’re great! I don’t know if we’ll have Aldi where we’re going so we wanted to stock up. We went to the wizard gift shop for a geocache Ted and Max found. Next was New Balance to get Jack 2 more pair of shoes since they’re having such a great sale now. Hopefully he won’t have a great big growth spurt and grow out of all these shoes!

When we got to the park Ted dropped me off to mail our notarized papers and trade a book. I found a tapas cookbook and a recipe for patatas bravas I want to try. What a great last day here! Now that it’s finally here I see all the things we’ll miss, but I’m eager to see new places. I’m so thankful we’re so blessed to be able to travel as much as we do! We’ve seen 25 States so far, 23 left to go!