During world war II, when warships would be damaged in combat, they would return to there home port for a retrofit or Refit. This is what we are doing. Returning to our home base for a damage refit. We will be here for a few months anyway. The last few days here have been a little nerving. We both have been a little on edge and eating way too much. We need to just settle in and make the most of it. Seeing familial things around here has been good and bad. Comforting to see them but knowing we should be in Arizona right now. In any event we have been busy, we have caught up a little with family and a few friends. Melissa has seen both of her old employers, and WILL be going back to work for both of them on and off here for a while. She wants to keep busy. For me I have enough to do soon. Both the truck and the 5er have been into the shops( more damage to both than we thought) and we are now just waiting for the estimates. Once they are in and we get things set up, I think we both will feel more at ease, and settle in for the time we will be here. The weather has been a big difference from what we are used to, so, that’s a bummer for now. Other than that just waiting to see the cost of things. For now operation refit has commenced.


We are now back at our home base in Newfane NY, not by choice however. We arrived Friday late afternoon after driving about eight hours from Gettysburg. That completes our almost two week journey (un expected) to get back here. Checking things out more closely reveals, we have more damage to the Rv and truck than i thought, so it will be very interesting to see how the damage estimates go. I have an appointment Tuesday for the Rv to get looked at, and maybe the end of the week for the truck. For now we are just ajjusting to being back here. For now that’s it and that’s enough.


In one fell swoop last night of a half hour. Life has changed. 2:30 am, Saturday night it hit, we got a huge hail storm come in. At first it didn’t seem bad, then it started to get a little scary, sounded like artillery shells hitting the Rv roof, then one crashed through the bathroom vent, landing on the floor. It only lasted not even five minutes, but seemed like a lifetime. The hail stones were baseball size, not little marbles like usual, these were big suckers. When it was over and the rain stopped, i went outside like any other idiot would, and of course went on the RV roof. It was not good, both air conditioner covers had holes in them, the bathroom vent and sky light has holes in them. The worst however was while i was walking on the roof, in places it felt soft, not good. Looking further there were impact craters in the rubber roof. The hail had punched into the plywood decking, but did not put holes in the rubber roof, not any i found yet however. I got a number of towels from Melissa and began stuffing all the holes. More rain coming, two more storm fronts came through with a lot, lot of wind and rain. By eight in the morning it was mostly over.

I once again got on the Rv roof. I counted at least 100 impacts of hail on the roof, most over an inch deep, as i looked out over at the truck, my heart sank, the back tonauer cover was full of holes and the hoods of the truck looked like a cratered moon scene. The truck is a mess at least 38 impacts on the hood, not dings but dents. Even the driver side got hit hard, dents all over. By this time people were out, not many of the 400 plus Rv here excaped damage, some cars had to be towed away .

I have taped and patched up all the holes, i can and hope there is no punctures through the roof. Both insurance companies have been called ,and now we will see.


We have decided to go back to our home base at my brothers in Lockport, NY. There is just to much damage to deal with being on the go, and we both decided we would most not really enjoy ourselves, while dealing with all this. We leave here Tuesday and will most likely be back home by the 21st, 22nd of May. No fanfare , visiting, sightseeing or anything like that for now.

As you may think, Yes, we both are pretty distraught, but we are SAFE, no one got hurt that i know of. We are trying to take it in stride, and most the most out of it, thinking we will be able to visit family, friends during the summer, get all back in order, and head back out in Fall.

For now Dave, out.

Already has melted some
My finger is pretty deep into the roof


There wasn’t a lot going on in Gulf Shores until the completion of the Intracoastal Waterway in 1937, and the opening of the Gulf State Park in 1939, were both crucial factors in attracting people to the Gulf Shores area.

One of the first modern condos was built shortly after Hurricane Frederic in 1979. This made way for today’s landscape of beachfront high rises, beachfront communities, and tourist destinations.

It’s Gulf Shores State park that brings us back to AL.  The state park’s 6,500 acres mostly encompass the land behind the Gulf Shores beach community.  The Park features 28 miles of paved trails or boardwalks, two miles of beaches, a huge campground,  Lodge and conference center, nature center, restaurant, cabins, heated swimming pool, kayak, canoeing tennis & pickle ball courts, etc. I sound like I’m doing a commercial for the park, but we do like it here.

May you always have a shell in your pocket and sand in your shoes.”


Our good friends Sandy & Bill, aka Our Pickleball Partners, were going to join us for our stay at Gulf Shores State Park, but as we all know covid changes everthing.

Me & my partner Bill
Dave & his partner Sandy

Dave & I played but we kept looking for our partners for help.  They were helping us mentally, but boy did we need them here physically as well!   Hopefully we’ll meet up on the road sometime soon!

The heated pool at the campground. We didn’t go in the water was only 72 degrees, We’re sissies we’re use to the warm ocean water of Key Biscayne.


One of our walks we was the Pavilion, Butterfly Garden and Boulder Park on Catman Trail in the park.

On another path we found Ron’s FIX it STATION, What a great idea! Instead of a bench, which is nice,

Ron donated an air pump and tools to get your bike back in business. 😊

We found a slide on the side of a trail

A bench at Gulf Shores for Campground Volunteers for 2020 & 2021. I think that all campgrounds should have a bench like this !

Back again to Gulf Shores State Park in Sweet Home Alabama

When we arrived in Gulf Shores on Thursday April 1st, we didn’t know what to expect.  We knew they had a really bad hurricane season last year.    The Gulf Coast was especially hard-hit, with nine landfalls in 2020.   The two biggest hits Alabama took this season were from Sally and Zeta.  Hurricane Sally, took aim at Alabama and made landfall on Gulf Shores as a strengthening Category 2 storm. Another storm, Hurricane Zeta, made landfall in hard-hit Louisiana but raced inland and caused hurricane damage across parts of Alabama.

Dave when we were here last year
Damage from hurricane Sally Sept 2020

We asked a Ranger at Gulf Shores and he said they had lots of damage at the park and in town. Tons of debris to get rid of and lots to repair. The park and all the businesses did a great job as you can hardly see any damage at all.

How the Gulf Shore State Park Pier looked when we were here last year

The Pier now

Gulf State Park Pier reopens to the public this morning, Jan. 30, 2021. Hurricane Sally hit Gulf Shores Sept. 16 and caused widespread destruction, including damage to the pier. Since the storm, contractors and staff members have worked to reopen the pier. About 725 feet of the pier has been repaired and will be accessible for anglers on both sides beginning at 6 a.m. today, according to a statement from Gulf State Park. The remaining southern portion of the structure, which sustained significantly greater damage, will remain closed.

The pier, before the damage was, 2,448 long which is close to half a mile. It is one of the longest piers in the Gulf of Mexico and it is twenty feet wide. Everyone wants the pier to be finished soon.


One of our first hikes in the park is Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

Al’s Parkour Challenge is on the trail, not your regular playground

Fixing a cabin damaged by Hurricane Sally

We Facetimed with family, talk with friends and had a great Easter dinner outisde!


We are now in Gulf state park here in Gulf Shores Alabama. We were here last year for a few weeks. This time it is our stepping off point to Arizona.

We got here Yesterday (Thursday)leaving Stephen Foster state park in Florida about 10 and getting here about four but really three as there is a one hour differance. Drove 365 miles, without any issues. Wednesday however was a different matter, we left Ortano Park about ten and things were good till we got to Tampa, then all lanes of the interstate were closed due to an accident. Everyone was getting off the same exit. A twenty mile detour lasted almost five hours of frustration, and after we got back on the interstate it was four hours of more driving to get to Stephen Foster yet. Drove 356 miles all together that day .Need less to say I was beat and not in a good mood, but we were safe and made it OK.

We will be here at Gulf Shores till the tenth then onward we go. Temps are cooler here than Florida by about twenty degrees or more and we are freezing, no more 80’s for a while.