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Got on the road, it is always a sad time to say goodbye. Drove over the Bay Bridge Tunnel to Virginia Beach, 26 bucks toll!! As we drove into the home stretch for Glou’ster and started to smell something burning, first thought was, “oh no, here we go again”. It seems that from all of the stop and go traffic that the brakes have over heated. As I let them cool I noticed that all the bearing grease had melted from the heat and run out of the wheel. So time for some more on-the-road repairs. I let the wheel cool with some help from the last of our bottled water and took it off. I re-packed the bearings with grease and we were on our way. The Thousand Trails Park was a nice surprise. It is very well-kept and on the Piankatank River. We just feel a tad out of place since we do not own a golf cart with over sized off road tires. Seems no one walks here, they all ride carts and everyone knows everyone. Quite a community. One that we are now going to be here for the full two weeks allowed due to needing to special order new brake pads online. As always we made the best of it. We are near alot of cool historic areas. We also found a mountain bike trail that we went and rode. Harwoods MTB Trail. Good trail, no hills, but fun. Just watch out for girls running x-country. They are quick little girls who seem to never stop (we got passed by several :) After the ride we headed to Yorktown to cool down with some local brew and grub. The Yorktown Pub seemed like a cool place to go, several locals told it was where they hang out. It was a quaint one room pub with above average bar food and a good waitress. It would have been a nicer evening except for the fact that the coast guard and local fire dept. were searching the water for a 20 year old young man who had gone missing after crashing into the pier in his boat just minutes before we parked! Nothing like a water view of that scene. Poor kid, apparently he and his buddies had been in the pub getting drunk just a bit before we arrived, left and got into their boat to cruise around, and… Somehow a drowning outside the window of the pub seemed to dampen a good day :( God rest his soul. Decided to try and paint again. I did a skipjack impressionistic piece. At first I did not like it much, but kept working it, and began to really like what was going on in it. Well we are starting to feel out of place here, mainly because we do not have a golf cart. This TT park has some many golf carts running around this place it is hard to eve walk the dogs. It seems everyone is either too old or too lazy to walk anywhere in the park. And these are not just regular golf carts, but pimped out and souped up carts with big knobby tires and crazy paint jobs. I did learn a good tip. Use dog food in my minnow trap, works like a champ. Finally got out and went to an RV rally, the Winnebago rally over at BethPage RV resort. Prob the nicest resort we have been to. Well it was as we expected, we were out of place, too young plus we did not have matching shirts from an RV club. However we might do a rally as a vendor doing photos of people by their rigs and create postcards for them. Set out on mission to go se the Point Comfort lighthouse, had lunch in Urbanna at Shucker’s, really good steak sandwich and fish chowder. Took a while to find the lighthouse and to our disappointment, we could only view the lighthouse from a far distance :( The chili cookoff took place and we attended, met some nice people from Jersey, did a beer tasting also, who would have thought. Sampled San Miguel dark, awesome beer (visit our lists for our top ten beers) Drove to Colonial Williamsburg to find a dog park and a brewpub, how predictable huh? We found a great dog park (visit dog park top 5 list). Waller Mill dog park. They were very strict with rabies and the fee to use the park ($2 daily), But we stick to rules so we like it :) It was a nice mulched park and the owners took alot of pride in their park and it was quite a community. Jack got humped alot by little dogs but had a great time in between. We did encounter another, slightly taller but cute puggle named guiness (great name!) After the park we went into the colonial area and had a great lunch at Aromas (good portabello wraps), dogs were allowed on the sidewalk tables. We walked for a long time looking for the brewpub to no avail :( But we did find a place we could build our own six packs, cool. We tried the Spaten Optimator first, and made the list it was so good. The Dominian Octoberfest was second and it was alright, just not list worthy. The sun is actually shining for the second straight day. We went kayak fishing, caught a nice rockfish and perch while trolling with a silver spoon off the back of the kayak. Had two more of our beers in our varied six pack, Anchor Porter was really good, Ohara’s Irish stout tasted like it was burnt. You knew it was only a matter of time until we sought out a Thai restaurant. We located one about an hour from the RV park in Hampton. Erowan Thai. It was nice atmosphere, and food was satisfactory but did not make top 5, but we would return. Next morning on the regular walk with the dogs we came across a couple outside their coach. He was a typical older male who has put on a few pounds, mainly in the belly, had a short white beard and glasses. He came up to us to say hi to Jack and Jinjer. “So are those the infamous puggles?” he asked. And so it started. We started to speak with him about various things and he introduced us to his wife who was another stereotypical senior RV’er. She was sitting at her picnic table a few yards away grooming a little white bijon dog. (A very anti-social little creature we came to find out). Anyway the funniest thing, that seemed almost too scripted to be real, was the interaction of him and his wife, much like the Costanza’s on Seinfeld. It went a little like this… *Names have been changed to maintain anonymity* Bob: …Yeah we were up at an RV park somewhere in Oregon. [shouts] Hey Mildred where did we stay in oregon last month? [louder] MILDRED! Mildred: [stops grooming and turns off clippers and shouts] WHAT?! Bob: [barks out] Where did we stay in oregon last month? Mildred: [grouchy yell] At Forest River! [turns back on clippers and resumes grooming] Bob: [turns back to us] That’s right forest river. Well it was such a nice campground. I can’t remember the town it was by, Mildred’s sister lives there. hmmmm [scratches head and then turns toward mildred again and shouts] Hey Mildred what town is it your sister Ida lives in? [louder] MILDRED! Mildred: [stops grooming and turns off clippers and shouts] WHAT?! Bob: [barks again] What town is it your sister Ida lives in? Mildred: Lake Willowbird [turns back on clippers and resumes grooming] Bob: Yeah, Lake Willowbird, I can never remember that place, anyway where was I? Oh yeah so we went into town and found a great buffet there. [scratches head and then turns toward mildred again and shouts] Hey Mildred what was the name of that buffet in Willowbird? [louder] Hey MILDRED! Mildred: [does not hear him and keeps grooming, but I think she is more ignoring him at this point] Bob: [shouts] MILDRED! Mildred: [once again stops grooming turns off clippers and shouts] WHAT?! Bob: What was the name…. And I swear to you this went on for fifteen minutes. I had no idea what the point of his story was, but that didn’t matter. It was so entertaining. I just stood there like a member of a studio audience at the taping of a sitcom mesmerized. Good stuff. Well we did it again. We went to a timeshare presentation. Under the promise of $50 in gas and $50 shopping gift card we were once again lured in :) I now find them highly entertaining. Well if you have never been to one, here is how they go… [We must note, our theory is that all timeshares share the same operating manual and never stray from it] CHAPTER 1: The Introduction You are first greeted by a receptionist and you wait for a salesperson to come pick you out. [Chapter 1: Introduction; Cue the salesperson]“Mr and Mrs Hamilton?” he calls out to the lobby. And for a second you feel lucky, like you just got your name called for a door prize. Well you get a prize actually, but you will work for it. And believe me, it is never just a 90 minute presentation. They escort you to a small round table in a large meeting room with a dozen or so other small round tables [I believe in the manual it states to have small round tables], where many other “victims” are seated speaking with their salesperson. With looks on their facers varying from excitement to boredom to irritated. You are then directed to the buffet to get a rock hard muffin, chewy bagel or stale donuts, and ALWAYS coffee, they like you to be all hyped up on caffeine that way you do not fall asleep and may be more vulnerable to do an impulse buy. You are told to take your time and load up and meet back at the table, which will be your prison without walls for the next hour. CHAPTER 2: Information Gathering Here is when the salesperson has been trained to gather as much about you as possible. Where do you live? What do you do for a living, do you like travel, how often do you travel, do you have trust fund or are you building ones for your kids? They actually go so far as to have a questionnaire they read off and fill in. They ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS ask you these following questions. 1. Do you think vacations are important? 2. Would you like to take more vacations? 3. On average how much do you spend a night on a hotel room? 4. How much then in the next 10 years will you spend on just hotel rooms [this is where they show you a figure and point out “and that is before inflation”.] 5. If you could choose between a small hotel room with just a bed, a bathroom, and tv with nothing to show for your money -or- would you like to stay in a 2 bedroom luxury condo with separate living room, a kitchens and two bathrooms in a resort setting with on-site recreation included. And all the while building deeded equity that you can sell, will or give away? Chapter 3: Convincing the Victims The next thing the salesperson does now is try to connect with you and talk about traveling, they now use the information from earlier. They make you feel like you are part of the enlightened crowd who travel and do vacations. They try to make you convinced that the timeshare world is where you need to be. It provides freedom to live your life like you always wanted to. And blah blah blah. Using the earlier information again they go through “the book”, AKA the RCI Destinations Guide, and show you all the cool places you can go to if you buy. And somewhere the will say to you along these lines,[because they all go from the same manual remember] “If I did not think you were right for this lifestyle I would tell you, I sell so many of these promotions that I do not need to sell you something you would not use, plus that is not how I like to do business. If this is something for you, you will buy it, if not there will be no hard feelings, we are just trying help you enjoy life instead of always working, after all noone ever says they wish they would have worked more.” Chapter 4: Getting the Tour Now it is time for show and tell. The salesperson now leads you out to show you a tour of the property on a golf cart. Here is where you get a lot of the travel stories, of how last week they were in snorkeling in Bermuda, and the week before that they were riding horseback in Australia, the week before that they spent a month in France exploring the Riveria and Alps, and the week before that…and so on. One thing I think is soo funny is when they get you into the model unit. They is alot of times someone in there cooking something, like brownies or cookies. And invariably [because of course it is in the manual to do this] they will take you into one of the bedrooms and close the door, and ask “Now looking around, what does this feel and look like to you?” The answer being a hotel room. Now they add [as they open the door so you can see the living room, the kitchen and balcony]”which would you rather stay in when you are away form home?” [this may vary to just being a floorplan if the property is a pre-construction, either way they compare the condos to small hotel rooms where you just throw your money away instead of building deeded equity] They proceed to show you where the clubhouse is, where the waterpark is or will go and finally they take you back to your “prison” Chapter 5: How it all works By this time you are curious to find out how you this new lifestyle they are speaking of works. [This is where the manual goes into two different sections, one for the points structure, the other for the weeks structure] Either way, what ever structure they are selling, it is the best plan on the market and there has never been one so flexible, convenient and easy to afford. I am not going to bore you with the details on how it works, you need to go to one to understand it all, but never really get any of the pitfalls that are involved. Chapter 6: How much can we get from you? Finally, the cost. Once again they show you how much you will spend over a lifetime staying at hotel rooms, with nothing to show for it. We now finally see what we are being offered. For 28,000 [These numbers are fictional and are not real in any way and available only during today’s presentation as if we were to offer this to you at a later date we would be shut down and sued for fraud] with yearly dues $500 [which of course will be waived if you con, I mean invite, a new member to a presentation and they join into the vacation anytime anywhere lifestyle] They will offer you so many different packages. For 14,000 and $2000 down you can get 2 weeks every other year, or for 25¢ down and 50¢ per month you can share a one-bedroom with two other couples for 2 days every ten years. They will try everything they can do to get you to buy. If you can make it through all that they then get a manager to ask if you were pressured and what you thought of the presentation and property. Here they try one final offer by giving you a 3 night free stay just to try out a property “no-strings attached”, except a short 90 minute presentation. SAY NO!!! Chapter 7: Escape from Prison The reward at last! FREEDOM and gifts! Not once have I been stiffed, but I always opt for in-hand gifts, and ask ahead of time if gifts will be vouchers mailed to you as they most likely will never get to you. Again, DO NOT leave without your gifts! After replacing the brakes pads, calipers and repacking the bearings we headed off for North Carolina