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This home of ours is buzzing with anticipation for an annual event that is just around the corner. Now I am certainly not one to rushtime’s passing, but let’s face it…with the hectic schedules of today’s families, time flies. Our departure will be here sooner than later. The calendar with the proposed daily events is hanging in the kitchen as inspiration to make good choices with our expenses until we go. Caitlyn already has an envelope with her savings stored safely away.

We are excited about a million things regarding this trip. We have done some improvements to our motorhome inside and out for starters. One weekend was spent on a growing checklist of items that needed our attention or we felt would be a benefit for future trips. The outer compartments got a nice fresh coat of paint and some aluminum trim along the bottom to help with road salt and rust. All of the compartments also got emptied, vacuumed and reorganized. My handy husband Jerry made some great dividers for those little things that can get lost in such a large area. Some 2 x 4’s, a chop saw and a screw gun can certainly make organization a bit easier. In our golf cart trailer he utilized some nice handles and cable cuffs for securing a variety of camping paraphernalia to the walls. Jerry also constructed and welded a bike rack to mount to the beams in the trailer. Yes I am so darn blessed to have a handy husband! And even more blessed to have a husband that understands my compulsion for organization. (I hear your chuckle now Grandma Tag-Along)

We have begun our tradition of revisiting some moments whereby a situation could have gone better if we’d only done this or that. I think it’s great that we are all open and honest and share our feelings, not only of the great moments but also of the annoying or frustrating times. This really clears the air for a better vacation. We came up with a great shower system since there will be 5 of us on this trip and using a motorhome shower is by far a different experience than being at home with as much water as you need  coming out of the showerhead at a constant rate – not on and off to conserve as in the RV. So, depending on the upcoming days plan, some may shower at night and some in the morning, maybe in the motorhome or perhaps at the lovely Fort Wilderness showers. Hey, if it works out or not, it’s an attempt to rectify at least. If at first you don’t succeed, try try again, right?!

Something I definately recommend is a tentative plotting of the parks and attractions you’d like to see and do. Having this to refer to is helpful for the planning process and can save you some money. This trip we almost purchased more park passes than we could use in the amount of spare days we had (after all the other things we want to squeeze in). It is so very tempting though, to add on Disney Park days as they are so much less expensive the more you add. Again, because I am obsessive, I made that calendar I told you about and used images for the potential plan of the day. Here’s a mock one because anyone will tell you that you should not post vacation information ;-)

Well Disney friends. That’s all for now. Until next time….

While pool hopping is generally not allowed at Disney Resorts, I can tell you for a fact it happens on a regular basis. In speaking with fellow Disney Resort guests I have heard both ends of the spectrum on this topic. Personally, I say what the heck, let them swim. Each time we stay at a Disney resort it is typically for an extended period of time which usually results in a few days staying put at the Resort. This is where the real vacation time happens. Many of us adults like to enjoy a pool with a nearby bar for the consumption of a nice frozen rum drink while the kids enjoy the water slides and splash pools. Others just want a quiet relaxing waterside sun tanning area where they can read and adjust the melanin levels in their skin tone with the Florida rays.

The problem being is that you can’t always fulfill everyone’s needs at any one specific pool. Also, some resorts cater to a certain demographic. Now I’m not implying anything, but I have gotten cold stares while walking near the pool at the Grand Floridian in my Wal-Mart sandals and “Git ‘er Done” sleeveless shirt. So I can see where Disney is trying to keep each resort experience in tune with the daily room rate. I can also see where guests at a resort with an extravagant pool environment would be quite perturbed to see their pool overrun by immigrants from other resorts. Oh the humanity of it all.

The reality is that if, for example, you’re staying at any one of the Bay Lake area resorts you’re just a short boat ride from several fantastic but different pool environments. The pool at The Wilderness Lodge is an absolute work of art where the parents can sit bar side while the kids play and swim at a masterful creation of Disney water fun. The pool at Fort Wilderness Campground is also fantastic but lacks in sun tanning space and while it offers a game room and snack bar, there is no Bar. Across the water at the Contemporary Resort you have plenty of sun drenched native white sand for tanning, several pool and splash options, and Snack Bar/Drink Bar areas. The Grand Floridian was covered above. As you can see, there’s no easy answer – but there’s definitely a difficult question……. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

See ya real soon, Jerry

 

Well after searching high and low we finally found the Cart of our dreams. A 2010 EZGO SPORT 2+2 in the sandstone color (A perfect match to the RV). We chose not to go with the six seat-er due to the 26′ turning radius it required that would restrict us from many areas of Fort Wilderness Cart Parking. We began the transformation by removing the huge and ugly EZGO sticker from the side of the Cart for beginners, and then after a pretty sizeable order from BUGGIES UNLIMITED, we started to make this cart our own.

You see, many Dad friends of mine have Harley’s and although I love a nice bike too, I can bring my family along on my special toy all gussied up with chrome and stainless. And better yet, they get to help. Jake and Cait love to use the air tools and turn the ratchets while understanding that safety is not a joke when in Dad’s garage. Jake took a try at the uneasy task of cutting in the tail lights into the fender. A  job that made Dad very nervous that he would make a mistake, but the trust I put in him had a great effect on his self confidence.

After the tail lights, came the custom dash kit. Woodgrain was ordered but Melissa was pleasantly surprised to see the carbon fiber dash be unveiled from the plastic as this was her choice from the beginning. This way not at all my doing. I think her wishful thinking caused the order to be changed through suggestive thought without either of us knowing. Sometimes we get lucky and a manufacturer mis- labels a box in our favor. The dash was probably the easiest accessory to put on . The hard part was installing the cd player into it. This was not easy as one false move with the cutter and Melissa could kiss that carbon fiber dash goodbye.  The stereo came out perfect if I do say so for myself.

The weekend came and operation Golf Cart was on full effect. That is intil Grandma-tag-along arrived and said “let me take that sucker out for a spin”. How could I resist. The term “break in period” might not have been understood by my mother too well because she was flying on that thing. She cleverly tried to justify her top fuel dragster take off with “I had to see how it handles before I take your children for a nice gentleride”. Yeah right, I thought, she is a golf cart junkie just like the rest of us. When we finally released her death grip from the steering wheel we were able to get back to work. We had lots of parts at the ready and our precoius weekend was fading fast.

Our next step, after switching out our custom wheels off the old cart, was to cut in the speaker holes into the under-seat area and wire them to the stereo. You gotta have tunes when your carting at Fort Wilderness. We then moved on to the stainless steel running boards and the custom Cadillac Escalade side vents. For the hood, we added chrome plated hood scoops (all of my trucks have hood scoops ugh ugh ugh) to give it that aggressive look in the front complimented by our GOINCMPN (going camping) NY licence plate saved for posterity from our first ever RV. Now the cart is finally worthy of the stainless steel Limited Edition emblems I affixed to the front quarter panels.

Now it was time for my test ride. I gathered up my ipod and plugged into the stereo so I could crank up the Irish Music my family so kindly tolerates from me, although I never have anyone want to stay behind when we go to the Irish Festival each September. And I was off to explore a nice solo ride around the “Haley Compound”( as our friends affectionately call it) in the warm splendor of a early spring weekend. at least that’s what I hoped. Not so FAST!!. I forgot to mention the biggest Golf Cart junkie of them all in our family. Willy, our the Australian Shepherd (named after Willy Wonka to coincide with our cat Charlie Bucket). All willy has to hear is the beep of the Cart backing out of the garage and his stub starts a waggin. How could I resist?! It is the “Haley Fun Buggie” after all.

Well the test ride was awesome, the stereo was great, and the roof  and windsheild had finally been delivered. It was time to put the final peices of the new Hybrid Gas/Electric powered Fun Buggie together. We switched out the roof  which was already retrofitted for Grandma’s custom embroidered Disney Charcter Banner, and swapped our old tinted windsheild for the plain clear windsheils that came standard. This was the most fun we had working toghether in quite some time. We all love to work together on projects, and the kids learn so much crucial information they will need when they grow up. It’s definately a win win for all of us. Well, gotta go, I hear the back up alarm on the Cart and I don’t see Grandma or the kids anywhere. Here we go again…..

The Haley Fun Buggie

If you have a Custom Cart send us the pick and we’ll put it up in the Readers Rides section of  our site. Happy Carting!!

As many of you already know my family loves to to go RV’ing. We ecpecially love it when the weather allows for cooking outside. While my favorite cooking method remains to be by charcoal, I have struggled to find a camp stove that would fit my boiling and grilling needs. There is nothing like the smell of bacon and eggs on a seasoned griddle in the morning. Or the smell and sizzle of sausage, peppers and onions wafting throught the air on your camping loop encourage your fellow campers to make new friends. How about my ever famous Low Country Boil, always a camp favorite on a dready day with the thick odor of  garlic, keilbasa, crab and bay seasoning misting among the damp dew of a chilly evening.  Well my friends I have finally found the perfect Camp Stove. The Camp Chef Expedition 3X Click here to buy one

So let me just tell you how awesome this stove is. First off, it is very well made. It is completely portable and folds up like a suitcase with removable legs and wind screen. The griddle is heavy cast iron and comes pre- seasoned. All you need is a 30# propane tank (no more of those expensive little green bottles on the little red Coleman). Let me tell you this thing has POWER. On high it sounds like an afterburner on a F-14 fighter jet. You can boil 30 quarts of water in under 10 minutes (insert Tim Allen grunting sound for chipandco.). Below are some of our test photos and my Low Country Boil recipe. Please enjoy..

Low Country Boil Ingredients

Sausage Peppers and Onions

Bacon Eggs and Toast

 And here’s the Low Country Boil Recipe:

4 pounds small red bliss potatoes, 1 pound of boiler onions, 1 pound of baby carrots, 2 bulbs of garlic,
3 pounds kielbasa or hot smoked link sausage, cut into 1½-inch pieces, 8 ears of corn, halved,
4 pounds large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined optional, 6 fresh small crabs or 2 packages of imitation crab meat(I know, I know but sometimes fresh crab are hard to get) ,Cocktail sauce, Sour cream

Bring 5 Quarts of water to a boil, add old bay seasoning, peppercorns, garlic powder, onion powder salt(healthy dash of each).

Add potatoes and garlic bulbs(peeled) to large pot. Cover pot and heat to a rolling boil; cook 5 minutes. Add sausage, onions and corn, and return to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Add shrimp ans crab to the pot, cook 3 to 4 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Drain. Serve with cocktail sauce.And your favorite Beer

Jerry's Low Country Boil