Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 in review

 We started 2010 by going to the Keys, our first stop was Jolly Rogers on Marathon Key. This is a Pass Port America park that allows 2 five night stays per year. Then it was on to Key West, where we enjoyed the coldest Jan in years. We watched the tropical fish die because it was so cold, but it was better than most of the United States.

 On the 19th of Jan we took the Santara to Lazy Dayz to have the third roof put on it. While it was in the shop we spent 10 days in motels before we closed the deal on the Kountry Star. We were very excited with our new to us rig, and I know it was a bitter sweet deal for Heinze and Ann-Lise because they were giving up the Kountry Star, but they were getting a new to them park model that they didn't have to drive back and forth to Canada.

 We then made another trip to Key West were we found perfect weather. It was really nice being warm again. We spent a couple weeks enjoying the tropical weather of KW before heading back to the Tampa area to pick up the Santara. I tried everything I could to get the insurance company to total the Santara and give me check, but they insisted on paying out a lot more $$ to get it repaired.

 Having two RV's we had to figure out what to do with the Santara before we could head north. We found several places to store it for the summer, but then we decided to leave it on a consignment lot and let them sell it for us. With everything worked out we were able to head to Kentucky for our annual grand baby fix and my annual doctors appointments.

 Hanging around some place waiting on doctors appointments isn't fun at all, especially when the temps are in the mid to upper 90's. We sat through most of the worst summer I can remember, but having the kids and grand kids close by made waiting on the doctors worth waiting for. The end of July we were able to leave KY, and the heat. It was so hot in KY that corn was popping in the husk while still on the stalk, but by the time we heard that we were enjoying the beautiful Upper Peninsula of MI.

 The U P was perfect, there were plenty of casinos that had free or low cost camping, there was plenty of trails for us to explore in the jeep, and the weather was almost perfect. Toward the end of Aug a cold front came through the U P and run us off. With the lows dipping into the 40's we decided to head south.

 WI was the 46th state that we were able to put on our map. While in WI we got to visit Fran and Sharon, a couple we had met at Sumter Oaks. A little further south in WI we were able to spend a couple days with Greg and Jean at Greg's moms place. It was great visiting with class of 2007 mates, even though the mosquitoes were so bad that we couldn't get out of the rig unless we were going somewhere.

 Then we attended the Gypsy Journal Rally in Goshen IN where we had plenty of class of 2007 mates to visit with. At the rally we had a great time with all the skp's, and bought a few things for the Kountry Star. After the rally we headed to Lima where we picked dad up, and after spending a couple days in Lima we headed to Piqua to visit dad's newest great grand son, and our great nephews. we did visit with Cody and Nicole too, but the kids was the reason we stopped.

 We dropped dad off in KY, spent a few days saying our good-byes, and got our last grand baby fix for the year. We had reservations booked for a cruise to Cozumel leaving on the 20th of Sept so we rushed back to FL. We had a terrific cruise, the weather was great, the people we went with were great, the food was fabulous.

 Back in Jan when we were in KW we were told about Fantasy Fest, a big party that goes on in KW every year during the last week of Oct so after the cruise we headed to KW. Fantasy Fest was AWESOME, and after four weeks in KW I needed to get an x-ray my doctor had ordered so we slowly headed back to the Tampa area.

 We spent a week in the Big Cypress National Preserve before we found a great deal on a park to stay in for the month of December. The first cold spell that came through was really early for FL, so Marcia booked us another 5 day cruise back to Cozumel. We avoided a week of cold, but it didn't warm up like I thought it would and we wound up in freezing temps for most of the month of December.

 Today was one of a few days that the temps rose to the 70's here during the entire month of December. We left Glen Haven RV Park today and drove to Sumter Oaks where we will spend New Years Eve. There are plenty of people here that we know, and we know we will have a good time closing out 2010 right here.

 I really hope 2011 brings us warmer winters and cooler summers, and many more blessing to share with everyone......

Monday, December 20, 2010

Update

 Not much going on down here in FL, the weather has really sucked! I remember warmer days in Jan in KY than we have had here in FL this Dec. Sunday I had planned on going to the flea market just north of Dade City, but when I first woke up it looked really foggy outside, so I just rolled over and drifted back into a deep sleep.

The next time I woke up it was after 11 AM, so thinking Flea-market I jumped up and got dressed, walked into the living room to see the front windshield all wet. Oh yea, it does rain here in FL and the flea-market was a wash out. So we had to come up with a plan B for the day.

The girls waited until I was up and ready before they did their thing, I guess they know me well enough to know if its raining I'm more apt to stay in bed than anything else. After everyone was dressed to wander around, (mainly them wandering if I was going to get out of bed) we took off headed toward Tampa. I wasn't sure where we were going but I knew we were going somewhere.

 Hard Rock Casino was on my mind and since we were close I decided to take Jenelle to her first ever trip to a casino. I was feeling really lucky when we found a parking place right near the door, well at least as close to the door as you can get without using valet parking. Jenelle was impressed with all the glitter, and I was really impressed when we walked out with more $$ than we walked in with.

 It was a good thing that we had won a few $$ because when I tried to start the jeep there was NOTHING. I had left the lights on, I'm not one to drive at night, and the tracker had automatic lights, so I'm not used to having to turn lights on or off, but with the rain I had turned them on, but I didn't turn them off. It was no big deal, Marcia called the roadside service and they sent someone out to jump us off.

 Back on the road we toured McDill AFB, Jenelle had never been there, and we wanted to get a few things from the commissary. We did a late lunch in the base exchange fast food Court, shopped around in the base exchange before driving to the CG to look around and stopping at the commissary on the way out. I saved myself several dollars by using the bar code scanner I have on my phone, I was going to buy a mount for the TV in the bedroom, but after scanning it with my phone I saw I could buy it for about half price online. So today I ordered it and I'll have to wait a few days before I get it.

 Today was a trip to the Webster Flea-Market. I found a case for my new phone, and a car charger. We also stocked up on oranges and some veggies. Tomorrow will be another day, and I'm sure we will find something to get into............

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Daughter visiting.

 Monday Marcia picked Jenelle up at the Orlando Airport, she will be visiting for a week or two. I was really hoping we would have better weather while she was visiting but we get what we get. She figured out that she could get more financial aid by not working than she could make working 5 hours a day. Plus she wouldn't have to drive 40 miles a day.With her not working she will have more time for her studies at school, and have time to visit us.

 Tuesday we drove to Dickey's BBQ where we enjoyed a $5 BBQ sandwich, fries, pickle, drink and ice-cream. $5.99 without our coupon. After filling up on BBQ we headed to a Verizon store. On the way I happened to see an Army Recruiting Center, and since I lost my sticker saying "My son is Serving in the U S Army" I decided to stop in and see if they had one.

 After a short discussion with the Sargent First Class about Good Morning, another SFC went to the back room. He returned with a very nice Army Sweatshirt, A hat, a window cling, and a bumper sticker. I was really impressed! The sweatshirt came in real handy the past couple of days, and I will donate the hat to an Army fan somewhere down the line.

 We did make it to the Verizon store where I haggled with everyone there. A quick trip to Best Buy to compare prices we returned to the Verizon Store. The end results are I have a new Droid Incredible, dad will be getting a new "old folks" phone with bigger numbers, a 911 button, and an ICE button. (in case of emergency), Scott will get a new texting type phone, and Marcia got a new texting type phone. We won't be rolling the wheels any because we will need the diesel fuel $$ to pay the phone bill.

 Yesterday was one of those days where I should have stayed in bed. After breakfast I did go back to bed, but after lunch I attempted a trip to the dollar store to get a new case for my phone. With no case at the dollar store we tried Big Lots, and half way through I got to feeling bad so I went back to the jeep while Jenelle and Marcia looked for the case and car charger. Then it was back to the rig and back in bed for me while the girls made a trip to Wal-Mart.

 Today was a much better day for me, and for the weather here in Zephyrhills. I think the official high was 69, but in the sunshine it was almost perfect. After a couple nights of freezing weather we really are welcoming the warm up. Tomorrow should be in the mid 70's so I am a Happy Camper, and the lows won't be where I like them but there will be no freeze warnings either.

 The last time Jenelle came to visit we went kayaking with the manatees, so I'm trying how to top that with something she will remember. We had thought about her and Marcia going on a cruise, but the cheap cruises were already booked. I guess all the snowbirds here in FL read my blog and decided to head south to avoid the cold like we did last week. OH Well I will think of something, after all we are in FL...........

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Back in the USA

  As most of you know I don't like cold weather, and Friday Dec 3rd I looked at the extended forecast for the Tampa area and didn't like it at all. It showed a cold front coming to the area bringing too much cold for me, so I ask my loving wife to book us on a cruise headed to Mexico.

  She found us a great deal on an inside stateroom, so I ask her to check on a suite with a balcony, and for the same money we paid for the cruise we took in Sept we got a 5 day cruise to Costa Maya and Cozumel in a Junior Suite with a balcony. Naturally I told her to book it and we would Chase the 70's to Mexico since FL was going to be well below that.

 Monday AM we took off to the Port of Tampa where we boarded the Radiance of the Sea. The ship left Tampa with us on it and the temperature was a whopping 50 degrees as we departed Tampa. Well below the 70's that we sold our house and moved into the motor home for. By Tuesday the temps were climbing as we sailed south. Wednesday Am the LOW was 70 when I walked out onto the balcony to watch the sunrise.

 As on every cruise I've been on the cruise line tries to take every penny you have in different ways. This cruise was no different, we attended an infomercial about the spa services offered on the ship. They always give a free whatever to entice more people to come to hear their spills, and I just happened to be the lucky winner of  $195 seaweed detoxification treatment and massage. I was a real happy sailor because we had not beat the cold front out of FL and the cold was working double time on my body.

 The massage was scheduled for Wednesday at 8 am so after watching the ship dock in Costa Maya and the sunrise from the balcony I was pumped for the detox and massage. A very petite English girl was the lucky lady that would be putting the seaweed on me, and giving me the massage. She explained everything as I sat on the table with the foil wrap as a sheet.

 The scalp, feet and ankle massage felt relaxing and rejuvenating, but the back and neck part of the massage was a disappointment. The seaweed slime I was covered in didn't have the effects on me as they described in the infomercial, but then I didn't have to fork over $195 for it. I did enjoy it, but I enjoyed the $45 massage I got from Jean Damon at the rally put on by Nick and Terry a lot more.

 I enjoyed the weather while we were away most of all, but I did also enjoy walking around in Costa Maya, riding the scooter around Cozumel, and all the fantastic food. I really didn't think the old saying, "the sea-salt in the air will cause all your clothes to shrink a size or two" was true, but after two cruises this year I can tell you it is TRUE.

 Saturday Am as we were sailing through Tampa Bay I was very sad to see the TV showing 43 as the current air temperature. And then seeing the extended forecast for the Tampa area I think I will start looking for a condo somewhere in Costa Maya.....................

Friday, December 3, 2010

Beating the COLD

Everyone knows I do not like cold. Cold is good for drinks, ice-cream, and things like that, but not for me to be in. Everyone knows I watch the weather too, and we try to avoid any cold, and for me below 70 is cold. I can deal with the highs getting into the 70's but prefer the 80's. Well looking at the 10 day forecast I see this cold snap isn't lasting long, but there is another one right behind it.

 Temps should be in the low to mid 70's this weekend, but drop back down into the 60's Monday, and won't get back to the 70's until the last of next week. SO.....Being this close to Tampa makes going on a cruise easy, the rig is parked in a park with full hook ups, the site is paid for, and we are only 30 min from the port.


 I ask my loving wife to get online and book us a cruise for next week so we wouldn't be sitting around in the cold. She got us a pretty good deal leaving Monday and returning Saturday. When she said we could get an inside room for $169 PP I said check on a suite. She booked us a JR Suite Balcony Room for about the same $$ as we paid for the cruise we went on back in September with Wanda and Wallace.
 
 We will leave just as it gets cold again, and we will return just after it warms up again. You can really get a good deal if you are flexible in when you want to cruise, and when you consider we have our room, and food for 5 days it is hard to beat. Add in we will be WARM and it is a no brainer.............
 
Cozumel and Costa Maya Mexico here we come........

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

C O L D

 The cold front has left the western states, but has FL and the east coast dead in it's sights.  Here in the Tampa area we could drop into the low 30's tonight and tomorrow night. The bright side is the highs will rebound and by Sunday we should be back up to the mid 70's. So I will be spending a lot of time inside, or in the direct sunlight.

 When ever I can I park the rig with the front windshield pointing northeast. The reason for this is to get the early morning sunshine on our patio. While at Sumter Oaks in Dec of 08 and Jan of 09 we had site #40, it was good because we had the morning sun, but the trees blocked part of it so when site #41 became available we moved. We had plenty company come to sit on the patio to enjoy the morning sunshine.

 Here at Glen Haven we didn't get the rig parked the way I like it because the sites aren't laid out in a way that I could get the AM sun, but we are parked close to the clubhouse and the hot tub. We chose this park over several others because it has a hot tub, and I was disappointed when I found out it wasn't open, but the price was right and I wasn't in the mood for complaining.

 Today after a week here I was surprised to find the hot tub OPEN, and Marcia and I didn't waste any time taking advantage of it. It is a small hot tub with a max of 4 people so I figure we will have a lot of waiting to use it, but we are just across the street so it won't be too bad.

 Last night was bingo night at the clubhouse, and I won! Yes it was a shocker for me too, and the $26 I won will not be spent all in one place. Tonight was euchre night, and there were 39 people playing. Here they play 8 hands, and then the two winners move to the next table, with one of the winners from the last table sitting out a round. After 8 games the scores are tallied up and the top three men and top three women win the $. Marcia won 75 cents last week.

 I am looking for a used 4X4 truck, not sure what yet, I guess that depends on what I find. We spend a month or two around the old hometown during the summer visiting friends and family, and I fly back to KY every winter for my doctor appointment. So rather than trying to borrow a car or renting one while we are there I decided to buy one and leave it at our son's house while we are traveling. He can use it while we are gone, and it will be there for me or dad if he needs a truck to haul something.

 Tomorrow we will drive the jeep up to Clermont to have lunch with the SKP chapter 27. Some of our "class of 07" mates will be there, so I know we will have a good time and get a lot of the SKP hugs........

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Enjoy it while you can.

 We came to FL back in September so we could go on the cruise Wanda and Wallace were going on. We had a good time, and the weather wasn't too hot during the days and was really nice during the nights. After the cruise we slowly made our way to Key West so we could experience Fantasy Fest, and that was a blast.

After spending four weeks in the Keys we came back to the Tampa area, stopping in the Big Cypress National Preserve for a few days on the way. We saw lots of gators along the Tamiami Trail, which is hwy 41 that runs from Naples to Miami. Finding a great deal on the net for a site at Glen Haven RV Resort we parked the rig in Zephyrhills.

 October and November gave us some beautiful weather to enjoy, Tampa even had a record high for the last day of November, which was a perfect day for me. Now a cold front that has most of the US suffering colder than normal temperatures is due to come through FL tonight and tomorrow. The news headlines are saying the cold front could bring record lows to the Tampa area.

All I can say is bring it on, and I'm happy to know we have plenty heaters in the Kountry Star. Two heat pumps on the roof, a furnace that I hope I never have to use, and two small space heaters, and if I have to I can always dig into the bays and find the Mr Buddy Propane heater. The deal we found requires us to pay for the electric, but since they don't have meters installed we paid a flat rate, so you all know we will be warm and toasty in the rig.

All our plans for the next few days will be dictated by how cold it does get hear in Zephyrhills. And for all of you that are in the colder weather I feel for you, but avoiding the cold was one of the main reasons we sold our house and live in a motor home. Remember, "CHASING THE 70s"..............we won't catch them for a few days.................

The picture shows the current temps at 10:45 PM EASTERN Time November 30 2010.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Carefree Resorts

 In Arcadia we were parked in a Carefree Resort because I read about Carefree Resorts on the Escapees forum. They offer a 50% discount to veterans, and I support almost everyone that does something special for a veteran. Tuesday we drove up to Zephyrhills to another Carefree Resort. This one is called Glen Haven, and it is a nice park with many park models and a few RV sites.

We were greeted by Inga, a super lady, she told us to pick a site out of the three or four she had open. We walked around looking at them and decided on site #29. It is across the street from the mail room, and real close to the clubhouse. When we told Inga which site we wanted she said do what we had to do to get set up and then come back tomorrow and she would take our money.

It was around 2:30 once we had the rig leveled and the slides out so I ask Marcia if she wanted to run up to Sumter Oaks and see who all was there. She wanted to see Wanda and Wallace who are the current managers there, so we quickly took the top off the jeep and took off to Bushnell. We made it just in time for the social hour, and it was good seeing many of the friends we had met there. We managed to stop by and see a few that didn't make it to the social hour.

 Wednesday was an interesting day, after settling up with Inga, I needed to go to the VA to see a doctor about the pains I'm having in my chest when I cough, or lay down on my back. When I checked in at the urgent care the first question they ask (after seeing my ID) was why was I there. When I explained I was having pains in my chest they went into Heart Attack mode. I explained to them I thought it was a pulled muscle or something along those lines, but the magic words had already been spoken, "chest pains".

 Everyone was so professional and helpful, the nurses were terrific, and the doctor that saw me was very pleasant. After ex-rays, and blood tests they agreed with me that it was a pulled muscle or cartilage in my chest and my ticker was fine. They found some infection in the blood work so I'm back on the antibiotics, along with cough syrup to clear everything up.

 The doctor was also kind enough to order the tests my doctor in Lexington wants, he even put in an order for me to get another mask for my c-pap. We walked all over the hospital trying to get the mask, one place would say I needed to go to another place and the other place said I needed to go somewhere else. Then we wound up at the desk of a retired Col. I didn't know he was a retired Col until he had already went way above and beyond he duties at the VA. He was able to get me an appointment with the c-pap people so I will be able to get all the supplies there, or in Lexington. I can't say enough about how helpful he was.

 Today we drove back to Sumter Oaks to spend Thanksgiving with our Escapee friends. Our friends Nick and Terry Russell are at Sumter Oaks, but they are fighting colds so we visited them from a distance. Nick and Terry run the Gypsy Journal as well as hosting the Gypsy Journal Rallies east and west. Nick and Terry were the first full timing couple we met back in 2007 when we sold our house and moved into a motor home. We have ran into them all over the USA and enjoy spending time with them each time we do. I hope they get over their illness really soon.

 With 10 tables full of food and people we shared Thanksgiving dinner with Wanda and Wallace, Fran and Sharon, Bennett and Bee, Elaine and her grandson, and a couple other people I can't recall their names right now. (remember the doctors said I have CRS) As I do every year I ate way too much, but this year I can blame it on the plate. I just put a little of each thing on my plate and only had one serving, but the plate was so big I struggled to finish everything I had dipped out.

 I really hope everyone that reads this blog had a terrific Thanksgiving Day, just stop and thank the man upstairs for the things you have to be thankful for, and add a special thanks for the soldiers that are away from their families this Thanksgiving day protecting us so we are able to enjoy the day in peace..

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Arcadia and Big Tree RV Resort




We arrived here at Big Tree RV Resort Saturday around noon, got signed in and parked the rig. This park is part of the Carefree RV Resorts System and they offer veterans 50% off the daily rate. I really enjoy supporting anyone that helps the veterans out, so we will be staying in their parks as often as we can. The  50%  off discounts sure help out too.

Tonight as I walked back from the hot tub I noticed the full moon rising over the Kountry Star so I just had to get a picture of it. Sorry it isn't the best picture, but you can see the moon just off to the left rear corner of the rig.
 We are parked at the end of the small lake that is in front of the office and clubhouse. It is a great view.
Today we took a ride in the jeep to Sebring FL. to have lunch with Heinz and Anne-Lise. They were the couple we bought the Kountry Star from and I had told Heinz I had something for him back in Feb, but never got back with them to give it to him. So while we were doing the Kentucky Bourbon Trail we had a bottle of Wild Turkey 101 made for him.


                                                          
                                You may need to enlarge the picture to make out the words.

It was really great to see them again, they are "good people" in my book. They showed us their new home away from home. A really nice park model, and Marcia really liked the decor because it has sea shells every where. After a filling lunch at Homers and visiting for a while we had to make the trip back to Arcadia where we will be for another day or two waiting on a reply from the Big Cypress National Preserve.

 Reply from the preserve you ask? Yes Marcia filled out an app to be a camp host down there. Staying at Midway we found out they may be in need of a host until Jan 6th, and that kind of fit into our plans so we figured what the heck, a free site in southern FL for the month of Dec would be good. They should let us know Monday, so if she gets it we will be headed back to Big Cypress, and if not we will be headed to Zepherhills later in the week.

 We will let you know as soon as we know...............

Saturday, November 20, 2010

T S A

 The Transportation Security Administration and their new screening process is about all I see on the news these days. Do you agree or disagree? I'm all for keeping the planes safe, and if it takes see through your clothes screeners, so what.
 As I understand the process, someone in another area, that can't see the person being screened is the one looking. Now if you choose to avoid the ex-ray, (or if the airport doesn't have them) you are required to have someone pat you down, feeling your most protected parts. I really don't want some guy feeling me up, but if that is what it takes to keep terrorists from smuggling explosives on the plane I'm ready to let them do it.
 I'm at the age, and with my previous medical problems, I have a prostate exam every year. No I really don't like what my doctor does, but it is something I tolerate because it helps keep me safe. I know most women don't like the mammograms, but they do them when the doctors say they need to be done.
 The people working for TSA aren't doctors, they probably don't even have any medical training other than the basic first aid stuff, yet they are the ones doing the pat downs and looking at the screens. Should they have a MD doing this?  Does that training and diploma make them more suitable to pat you down? Does the guy we all seen on the news telling the examiner "if you touch my junk I'm having you arrested for sexual harassment" have special junk?
 I'm pretty sure that the TSA officer isn't thrilled about having to feel in those places, but the terrorists have proven they will hide stuff there, so it has to be done. The human body is just what it is, either male or female, (although in KW some you couldn't tell the Male from the Female) the shapes are different, but the basics are the same. If you don't want to be examined the way they do it, don't fly!
 Or maybe we should just forget all the security and just go on the honor system asking everyone if they are going to harm anyone, or cause destruction in some way. My thoughts are to let them do what they need to do to keep us safe, and let the news media find something else to fill their air time.
 Please remember, the bad guys that have all the rights are the ones that has caused all the need for such security. Maybe if we took away some of the "rights" of the bad guys, the good guys wouldn't be so inconvenienced.........

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Marco Island Visit

 Wednesday we took a trip to Marco Island with the jet skis. We had planned on going to a Passport America park before taking the skis to Marco Island but after doing a Google Map Search I thought it would be quicker to get there from Midway Campground here in the Big Cypress Preserve.

 We put the skis in the water at Caxambas Boat Park, and started the short trip to the sandbar a few hundred yards off shore. I had took the carbs off the one ski and cleaned them again in hopes that would solve the problem of it not running right in the water, but that didn't help much, but it really didn't matter because 90% of our ride was in a no wake zone.

We had looked to see when low tide would be, that is when I found out there are two low tides, and the depths are not always the same. In fact the low tide at 3AM would be a lot lower than the low tide at 3PM, but the skis don't have lights, and I am not getting up that early to look for sea shells. Today was going to be the best low tide for the next several days in the afternoons as shown in the tide chart below.



 The Island Chuck and Terry took us to last year was almost under water because the tide wasn't very low, so we went to the south to another Island. This was the island they took Marcia to, and the island the Eagles nest is on. We did run the skis over a few really shallow places getting to the island, and if the tide would have been lower these places would have been ideal for shelling. In a couple of these places we had to stop the skis and get off and pull the skis.

 Being on the island while the water was so high had its advantages, we were the only ones there. So with the entire island to ourselves we were able to pick up all the shells we wanted or could find, the down side was most of the island was under water so finding the shells wasn't an easy task.

 We did find 14 sand dollars, and a bunch of other shells. Marcia has been around Chuck and Terry enough to know the names of most of the shells, and I even know a couple. Marcia found a HUGE whelk, probably the biggest I have ever seen, but it was still occupied so she had to leave it there.

 As we walked towards the south end of the island we were warned by an Eagle that was sitting in one of the trees. Marcia spotted two Eagles that day, and several ospreys. We gathered enough shells to make the trip a success, and seeing the Eagles just put the icing on the cake for the entire day.
We won't make another trip to Marco Island until the tide is at the lowest point somewhere between 10AM and 3 PM. And as the chart shows it will be the lowest tide.

 We will hang out here at Midway CG until Saturday when we plan on heading north. We want to stop by Chuck and Terry's for a visit, but since there are very few Campgrounds near their house we may just have to do a lunch somewhere and plan on a day trip from where ever we do park the rig. Tomorrow we are going to Shark Valley where we want to do the 15 mile tram ride, and see the true everglades from the Shark Tower..............so stay tuned................

Monday, November 15, 2010

Big Cypress National Preserve

 We decided on heading WEST this AM, something about a saying, "go west young man, go west". We left the casino after running a few errands. I needed to get my fix at Harbor Freights, and a trip to the Post Office to return the ski doo covers that didn't fit.

 Once we got rolling it wasn't long before we rolled up on mile marker 52 on hwy 41, or the Tammiami Trail, where we found the Midway Campground almost empty. We parked the rig on site 13, the site on the south west corner of the lake. After Marcia spotted a gator sunning on the bank, and we paid our fees, we took off to check out the visitors center.

 The visitors center had some neat stuffed animals on display, a panther that had been hit on the road, a few birds, and some snakes. I never knew there was a pigmy rattlesnake, but they had one on display. Marcia took some pictures of several gators that were sunning, and we watched a funny bird that swims underwater like a fish, pops its head out of the water like a snake, flies, and spreads its wings and holds them out to dry off.

 Next stop was the Monument Lake CG, there are no hookups there, but there is also no fee this time of year. It looked like a nice place to hang out a few days, but we plan on staying where we are for a couple more days. Then we took the "Loop Road" which is a scenic route through the Big Cypress Preserve. The loop road is about 20 miles of ROUGH dirt road, and 8 miles of blacktop. The view is blocked by trees most of the way, but there are a few places to view the swamps.

 We had a cooler in the back seat of the jeep that had a lot of melted ice and when we hit the rough road it started sloshing out onto the seat. Marcia ask me to stop so she could empty the water so like a good husband I did. The problem was, when she opened the jeep door to get out, she looked down and there was a gator laying on the side of the road. She ask if I would pull up some before she got out to empty the cooler.

 We made it back to the CG just after dark, it was a good ride, but I wouldn't do it again unless we took all day to do it.
We didn't have any cell service where we parked until I hooked up the Wilson Amp with the external antenna, and the inside antenna. I have to put the aircard right on the inside antenna to get internet, and the AT&T phones work in the rig, but the Verizon phone has to be right next to the inside antenna to pick up even two bars. So pictures will have to wait.

 Tomorrow will bring another adventure if I'm able to get out of bed.............

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Leaving Paradise

The police cars here on Key West have "Protecting Paradise" written on them, so I guess this has to be Paradise, and we are leaving. After spending 4 weeks here enjoying the almost perfect weather hitch itch has set in.
 More and more are making their way here, and about Jan 1 there will be about 400 rigs here. I think there is 91 full hook up sites, and the rest will be in dry camping. They do rotate, so you will be in full hook ups for two weeks, and then dry camping until your number comes up again.
 We still don't know where we are going, except we did make reservations for December at a park in Zepherhills.(Glenn Haven RV Resort) That will have us close enough to the VA in Tampa for me to see some doctors, and close enough to visit the SKP park in Bushnell. And the BEST part is the park that we will be staying at has a HOT TUB.
 So tomorrow sometime we will say goodbye to the Keys and meander north.......but we will return when the cold starts drifting south, unless it turns out to be a winter like last winter, and then we will head west....

Monday, November 8, 2010

GO FAST BOATS

 Sunday we had nothing planned, I thought it was going to be one of those do nothing days, until we heard about the Super Boat Races going on here in KW this week. The trucks were rolling in today with the boats so everyone could get them ready for the races.

We drove down to Truman Annex Sunday afternoon to look at the boats that had arrived early. The "parade of boats" down Duval Street wasn't until 4PM, but was were there by noon. These are some of the boats we saw.

 The super boat championship for this year will be decided here at KW. Thursday, and Friday they race, and the championship will be Sunday the 14th. This is just an added bonus for us because we are here and knew nothing about the races until Sunday.

 Most everyone that reads my blog knows I don't follow any professional sports, and that includes boat racing, but I do enjoy seeing new things. If you are into Super Boat Racing, or just enjoy seeing new things, you may enjoy these pictures I took.

                             The owner of this rig also owns the Super Boat Racing Tour. I don't know how                                            that  works, but I guess he is the main man over the show.

                                    

                                      They have to tilt this one so they can haul it down the road.


                                                                      Another one.













I see the super Boat Races are like what I would expect the NASCAR to be. Each boat traveling with a lot of support vehicles. One we saw had about 8 custom choppers with them, and that group looked like they could party with the best of them. I talked to one of the guys to caution them about the side mounted licence plates on the choppers, (a big fine here in FL) and he quickly responded,"the tags aren't the only thing illegal about them, and the load of bikes on the way down were really illegal." So I took it that they really didn't care, so we just moved on to the next boat.

 We will go down town Thursday to see how much of the races we can see, I'm sure it will be exciting just watching the GO FAST BOATS skimming across the water....

Friday, November 5, 2010

Not ready for the COLD

 This past Jan we came to Key West to escape the cold weather, and we did not see freezing temperatures, but it did get cold enough to kill some of the fish. 42 degrees is very uncommon for KW. This year we came early to experience Fantasy Fest. One week later I see the weather forecast for KW, and I am happy that we decided to stick around.

 Snowing in Middlesboro, and cold temperatures plunging all the way to KW. Tonight the temperature is forecast to drop down to 64 degrees, and tomorrow night 62 degrees. Our first thoughts about coming to KW was in the summer of 2007 when we met Ron and Elaine in Lexington. They come every year, and told us the low for the winter of 06-07 was 62 degrees. Now we are supposed to hit 62 on the 6th of November. I guess I will have to take the advice of  Norah and buy myself some gloves and a warm coat.

 As many of you know we are blessed with three kids. Our daughter is a full time student at the University of Tennessee. She had a house built in 09 while going to school full time and working at a day care. She has really made us proud of her.

Next is our son Corey, he is a nurse at Pineville Community Hospital. He married his high school sweetheart, even though the went to different high schools. They met while working at Dairy Queen. They are blessed with a beautiful little girl that I call sweet cheeks because of her Rosie cheeks at the end of her captivating smile.

 Our oldest son is serving in the United States Army. He is stationed in Korea where he will be for the next year or two. Although I am proud of him for serving, I hate that he doesn't get to spend any time with his three boys. Jonathan David, Justin Nicolas, and Joshua Stephen. The boys live with their mother in Middlesboro.

 In 2007 we had a rare opportunity to have us all together. Jonathan was stationed at Fort Huachuca AZ, we were spending the winter out there, Corey and Jenelle flew into Phoenix. So we had a great time together. The picture opening the blog shows us all together back in 07.

 With the weather cool and windy here in KW we have plenty time to sit around and reminisce about past times, and I thought I would just share some of them with you. I hope you enjoyed listening or reading about some of my thoughts for the day. Maybe the next blog post will have something more interesting....

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fantasy Fest in Key West

 Some time in late Oct. in the mid to early 80's one guy ask another to meet him down on Duval Street. when they met the one ask the other what he saw, and his answer was: nothing. Few tourists walking around, many of the shops closed. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, and the sun shining. The two men agreed they needed something to draw the tourists to KW in late Oct. There was very little going on in KW back then, most, or a lot of the shop owners closed their doors and took their vacations at this time because business was so slow.

 Thus Fantasy Fest was started, and today it is a 10 day event that has transformed into one of the busiest time of the year for everyone around KW. It starts off with Goombay, and ends up with the fat lady singing, and the parade on Saturday being the highlight. The party bounces from one business to another from day to day, each one hosting some kind of event, and the people dress for the event.

 Fantasy Fest is geared for adults, with a lot of people walking the streets going from one party to another, or one bar to another, dressed for the theme, or maybe a theme from past events. Many artists set up paint booths to paint themes using people as their canvas. Although it is illegal for people to walk around with paint being the only thing covering their bodies, it is accepted.

 If you happen to be lucky enough to be in KW the last week in Oct. don't be surprised if you happen to see a woman walking the sidewalks with her skin being the canvas for an elaborate painting. Some even get enough liquid courage to forget about getting the paint applied. The guys also get bold during the festivities, but something about men showing their genitals doesn't go over too well with the police, so the men have to cover that area.

 The parade we saw last night took about three hours from the time the first police escort passed us until the last entree walked by. This years theme was Habitat for Insanity, which opened the doors for a wide variety of floats. I am not one to stand three hours to watch a parade, but this one was interesting enough for me to withstand the pain of standing for such a long time, and I sure was glad that trash container was there for me to lean on.

 After the parade Duval Street turns into a big street party, but since we are not into bar hopping or getting drunk down town, we walked to Mallory Square and rested quietly watching the water. If you are interested in seeing pictures I'm sure a search on the net will show all you want to see. (Our cameras were in the rig.)

 Us having all our plans written on the "etch-a-sketch" I don't know if we will return for next years Fantasy Fest, but it is written on there right now.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Where does the time go?

 A week has passed since I last posted to the blog, I had big intentions of taking lots of pictures and posting everyday about the happenings here on KW. So Saturday I armed myself with fully charged batteries and my 4 gig memory card and headed for the heart of the action, Goomsbay!

 I was snapping pictures right and left, even over the top of the windshield of the jeep. We parked the jeep right on Duval Street and walked into the crowds of people and food. Lots and lots of food, all Escapees would be proud to see so much food. My problem was I think some of the piles of food were the same piles we saw Friday night. Although I never heard of anyone getting sick, never saw anyone barfing, or saw anyone that even looked like they weren't enjoying the food, I could see a pile of burnt sausages. I really think it was the same pile of burnt sausages I saw Friday night except today they had some cabbage grated on them.

 So here are some of the pictures, I will put captions on some and the rest will need none.

Here is Bahama Village where the music and festivities are for GOOMSBAY.



                                                                  FOOD ANYONE

  Bobbie has threatened me with Better Than Sex Cake, and has mentioned a few things better than sex, so when we saw the Better Than Sex Desert Restaurant I had to get a picture to post for her to see.
                              People walking down the streets of vendors on their way to GOOMSBAY.




 This building has three bars, The BULL, on the first floor,The WHISTLE STOP,on the second floor, and THE GARDEN of EDEN on the roof. The Garden of Eden is the clothing OPTIONAL bar where you don't have to hide behind the leaves.
                                                             HARD ROCK CAFE
                                               Key West's only "HIGH RISE" motel.
                                                        More of DUVAL STREET


                                THE SOUTHERN MOST POINT IN THE UNITED STATES
                                                           that is not on a military base
 You wouldn't think of a school being on KW, but they do have their very own High School on the island.
 
I hope you enjoyed the pictures because I quit taking my camera into town. When I have a camera strapped over my shoulder, or in my hands everyone treats me like every other tourist, but without the camera I kind of fit in and we get the "locals" discounts on almost everything. The mosquito pest control even gave us a couple cans of off because we were almost locals, even though I haven't seen a mosquito since we left Naples.

 Some time after the excitement of Fantasy Fest I will continue the blog, but for now this is it. I will need to spend every free minute resting for our next trip to Duval Street. There is so much to see and so much going on. The people in their costumes, or lack of a costume, or the paint job on the ones brave enough to walk around with just paint covering them. I spend way too much time and energy enjoying Fantasy Fest to let it be interrupted by sitting at the lap top.

 I will do a blog on Fantasy Fest, but it will be later, after I have recovered from the 10 day festival....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Life on the Island of KW

We have been on Key West for 4 days, we have drove up and down Duval Street top-less in the jeep several times, We even walked it a couple times. You can see some really strange people walking Duval. We have also rode around the base, and have enjoyed the perfect weather. Today the high was 83, and the low tonight will be 76, so I am a HAPPY CAMPER.

 The cold I picked up a few weeks ago hasn't gotten any better so yesterday I went to see a doctor. I tried Monday but here you have to call at 7:15 to get an appointment to see a doctor, and I just drove over to their office. That is when they informed me about needing to call first, so yesterday I called and saw the doctor at 10 AM.

 He gave me several perscriptions to take, a Z pac, prednisone, mucinex, and a jell cap for the cough, so maybe the meds will kick in and I will be able to enjoy KW even more.

 The skis are still down, I am going to change all the fuel lines, the filters, and the gas. I got on a ski-doo forum asking for instructions and they gave me several things I need to do to get them running right. The bad part is here on the base you can't work on anything, so I will have to take them to the auto hobby shop on the next island up to do the things I need to do.

I guess that isn't too bad, at least the weather is good, no it is GR8................

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Key West Revisited

 After the comical day in Marco Island we left the west side of FL. We wound up at the casino on the corner of hwy 997 and US 41. ( I won't attempt to spell the name). Our day in the casino was as bad as our day on Marco Island, and wasn't near as funny, so we thought it best to get away from the casino.

 New Years Eve of 09 we spent in a Wal-Mart Parking Lot; trying to avoid being associated with the several other RV'ers that were there having a party. This Wal-Mart is on hwy 997 in Homestead FL just before you get to the Keys, and a great place to grab all the things you want or need from Wal-Mart before you go down into the Keys.

 Our plan on the "etch-a-sketch" was to stop there and spend the night, but (I'm glad our plans are written on the etch-a-sketch) as we pulled into the parking lot I see some new signs saying  "NO OVERNIGHT PARKING for TRUCKS AND RV'S."

 We had blown a fuse to the brake lights on the jeep so I needed to fix that, and I wanted to pull the skis with the RV and not the jeep any way so we switched things around, and I wired the lights on the ski trailer to fit the MH. By this time it was getting late so I ask Marcia to ask the manager about the signs. When she returned she had bad news The city / town / or what ever Homestead is has passed a law stopping any overnight parking in the town.

 With that news we had to choose between driving back 25 miles to the casino, finding an RV park there, or heading on down to the Keys. Charleen (our GPS) said we could get there by 7:30 PM which would be OK except the KENTUCKY WILDCATS was going to be on ESPN at 6PM. We decided to head to the Keys and stop at 6 (where ever we were) to watch the game.

 We was about 50 miles from KW when I stopped, Marcia went to get us a pizza while I got the TV set up to watch the game. The track-vision really made my job easy as I only had to hit the button once before it locked onto the satellite. Marcia returned with the pizza and we watched the first half while we ate. At half time I was thinking I should have kept on driving because South Carolina was running all over KY. SC had us 28 to 10, and we shouldn't have had the 10 except SC had three turn overs.

 I thought long and hard about forgetting the second half and driving on, but the BLUE BLOOD running in my veins told me to wait it out. After watching the CATS "come-back and take the lead with less than 2 minuets left in the game I was really glad we stayed and watched the rest of the game, and when KY intercepted a pass in the end zone with 4 seconds left I was flabbergasted.

 The 50 miles to KW from there was a breeze even after dark. Now we are sitting in the late arrival area on the base on KW. Tomorrow we will get signed in and set up for the next two-three weeks.

                                                                             GO CATS GO

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jet Skis, OH what a pain.....

 We picked up the jet skis Tuesday, drove down to Naples Wednesday, and met Wanda and Wallace on Marco Island today. They drove down from Bushnell so we could all go shelling today. We got there before they did so we unloaded the skis, parked the jeep, and while we were waiting I thought it might be a good ideal to try them out.

 Getting on one I started it and took off, just putting because of the no wake zone. I get about 200 yards out and it dies, so I run the battery down trying to get it started again. After a few minuets I got Marcia's attention and motioned for her to bring the other ski out to pull me back in. After several minuets I see she is still hanging out near the dock.

 About 15 minuets later the wind and current has taken me out of sight of the dock, and using my sandals as paddles wasn't getting the ski any closer to shore. I guess boaters are like bikers and RVers, because a hero pulled up and ask me if I wanted a pull back to the dock.

 Back at the dock Wanda and Wallace had arrived, and Marcia told me the battery was dead on her ski, and that is why she didn't come to get me. Oh well life goes on and we just take the bumps in stride. We loaded the skis back onto the trailer and took them to a repair shop.

 At the repair shop the guy caught one on fire, which was a good thing because the fire extinguisher on the ski didn't work, and he had one that did so he was able to get the fire out before is caused any damage to the ski. After two hours of working on them we know they need fresh gas. The 6 gallons each that we put in this AM was enough to revive the old gas that was in them, but we figured they would be OK and we would clean the filter bowl again tonight.

 With both skis running at the shop we decided to try it again, after all it was only 2PM and we had already paid the launch fee. So we drove back to the dock and put the skis back in the water. Marcia and Wallace attempted to get on one ski. When I saw how deep the ski went in when Wallace got on I knew we were in trouble. Marcia was leaning one way and when Wallace started to lean that way too the ski decided to let them both off as it rolled over.

 I knew I should have been passing the hat around because you couldn't have planned any better entertainment for all the spectators watching, but I was laughing too hard. With Marcia back on the ski and Wallace standing on the dock I had the bright idea of Me taking Wanda the 500 yards to the island, and Marcia could ride over and I would pull Marcia's ski back to the dock so Wallace could ride it over.

 It was a good plan, except when Wanda got on the ski behind me she didn't want to let go of the dock. By the time Wallace and I has convinced her to let go it was too late, and I went off one side and she went off the other side. Again nobody was there passing the hat.

 Now the thing that makes it really interesting is Wanda can't swim, or at least that is what she said. We had no worries because we all had on life jackets, and there was no way Wanda was letting go of that jacket. With her holding on to the jacket for dear life her feet naturally came to the top too. After we managed to get to to loading ramp she still could not get her feet to go down so she could stand up.

 She is 15 feet between me and the shore on the ramp, and I am standing in water about 3 feet deep. Wallace is telling Wanda to stand up, and Wanda is saying my feet won't touch the bottom. She was not letting go of the life jacket enough to help herself stand up until I got to her and helped her up. The crowd was really getting their moneys worth, and we were all laughing too, except Marcia because she had cut off her ski about 200 yards out and it now wouldn't start.

 I attempted to start my ski to go pull Marcia in, but my ski wouldn't start. We watched Marcia dig into the skis hull and emerge with a paddle. We had seen them while the guy was working on the skis. She didn't paddle too much before a boater pulled close to her and offered to tow her in.

 I am really glad that I have no pictures to share with you all, and after next week I will delete this blog and say it never happened. I am convinced that it is not the destination, but the journey that makes the stories.

Maybe I will do like the mechanic said and drain the gas tank............

Monday, October 11, 2010

Too long

 The title says it all, it has been too long since my last post, too long since I put any pictures up, too long since seeing friends and family, and too long feeling under the weather. The last one is the one that has caused some of the others.
 The doctors warned me when I was doing the radiation treatments that I would catch bugs easier, and keep them longer. Up until the past couple of weeks I haven''t been bothered too much by this, but this one has me thinking I need to see my doctor again. So I will have to decide if I want to hang around the Tampa area, or if I want to get enrolled in the Miami V A system, since we want to spend time in Key West and the East coast of FL. It isn't like I've been bed ridden, its more of a nagging cough and sinus problems.
 We took 8 days, staying at a couple different parks to get from Bushnell to McDill AFB in Tampa. A whopping 65 miles, but then it isn't as much the destination, as it is the journey. We have been enjoying the weather, and the area. FL has a lot to offer in things to do and places to see, and Oct is a good time to do it if you aren't disturbed by hurricanes, because there isn't many snow birds down this far yet.
 Monday we will be picking up two older jet skis that we found on Craig's List. The price was right and the skis are in really good condition for their age, (1996's).  We will see if the skis will fill the desire to have something to do keeping us from spending fortunes on the tourist trap excursions here in FL as well as down in the Keys. After all there is A LOT of water down there in the Keys.
We will be hanging out here on the Air Base for a couple extra days getting the skis ready before heading to Naples area for a couple days of shelling before we make it down to the Keys. I will try to do better on keeping up with the blog, and I'll try to put up more pictures, but then I have said that before and it hasn't worked out very well, so I guess I'll do what ever I do....................

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sumter Oaks

We have been here at Sumter Oaks for two weeks now and it is time to roll the wheels. After the cruise we spent the remainder of Saturday washing one half of the RV. The washing happened after the several naps we took to catch up on the sleep, and we were only able to get half of it washed.

 Sunday we got up early and finished the washing, and it was now ready for the wax. As luck would have it Valentine, a local guy that washes RV's here at the park and other Parks in the area, drove up just as we were finishing. After the bartering ended he started waxing, with the help of his lady friend. We had to  point out a few missed areas that he quickly went over, but two hours later they were packing things up to move on to the next rig in line for a cleaning.

 Most of the time when Valentine comes into a park and gets to wash, or wax in our case, one rig, there are others that decide to let him save them the trouble of washing theirs. I'm only guessing but I would say he makes $300 to $700 on a good day, but then there are the days that he can't get the first one to wash.

 Monday we went to Webster where they have a huge flea market on Mondays. I was surprised to see so many vendors setting up this time of year. Even though there were only about 1/2 to 1/3 of the vendors set up compared to what you would see in Dec or Jan. The produce isle had only about 1/3 of the vendors that we are used to seeing, but we were still able to get some good buys on tomatoes, and plums. Others from the park bought grapes and pineapples too.

 Tuesday evening 8 of us rode over to "wherda-hecamiat", this is an outstanding eating place where the food is good, the portions are large, and the price is decent. It is a fish camp with several small RV sites, a bait shop, boat launch, boat dock, and restaurant. It is about 20 miles from Sumter Oaks and well worth the drive.

 Today we spent cleaning the rig and getting everything ready to roll. I still have a few things to store away in the bays, and we have to make our rounds saying the "see you down the road somewhere" to the few that are here. We need to get an early start in the AM because the lovebugs are out in force and I don't want to spend another day washing them off the rig. From what I have read they don't come out until around 10 AM, so I really want to be where we are going by then, so that calls for the early start..............

Sunday, September 26, 2010

We are back


We have returned from our cruise, we had a terrific time, ate way too much, and we returned exhausted.

Here is a picture of the ships pool deck, we are in Tampa waiting to set sail.

One of the reasons for taking this cruise was Marcia's Birthday. We boarded the ship on 9-20-2010 which is a few years after Marcia was born. I won't say how many because I know how women are about telling their age.
Wallace and Wanda surprised us by having a cake delivered to our dinning table that night. Yes it was GOOD. Here is the piece I got.


We departed Tampa around 4 PM, spent that night and the next day at sea. They have a lot of things going on to keep you busy on the cruises, and we took advantage of a lot of them. I needed to take a nap but was like a kid, afraid I would miss something if I slept so I pushed myself until I just had to sleep.

 Wednesday AM we arrived at Grand Cayman Island. I had thought about staying on the ship, but the kid in me took over because I just had to be able to say I was there. Here is the island from the ship as we were arriving.


This pirate ship was taking some passengers on a day trip. They were from another ship because had not yet docked. The pirate ship did fire their canons at us, and warned us that we were sinking and that we should surrender to them. I hated telling them they were firing blanks, but then you know me.

 Driving in Grand Cayman is like driving in Europe, you drive on the left side of the road, and because our son is such a fanatic about cars I thought he would get a kick out of seeing a right hand steer BMW. So this one is for you Corey.



We found in very interesting to see a sign advertising an "ALL YOU CAN EAT' """sandwich"""""?


 We also found it interesting to see a Yield sign that says, GIVE WAY!


And who would have thought that we would see a KFC in the Grand Caymans? We were raised less than 50 miles from where Col Sanders opened his first KFC.


One of the most interesting sights was the blue water. It really amazes me at how clear and blue the water is. On the ferry boat ride to the Island I ask the operator how deep the water was there, I thought maybe 20-25 feet because we could see the rocks on the bottom, but he said it was about 80 feet deep where we were. Now that has to be some clear water to see rocks on the bottom 80 feet below us.


 We left the Cayman Islands and went to Cozumel Mexico. I'm sorry I don't have pictures of Cozumel but because we were going snorkeling I decided to leave the camera in the room on the ship. We snorkeled for an hour or so, and I quickly realized that kicking those fins caused great pains in my knees. When the current shifted we all just went with the flow to another area where we could get out of the gulf.

 After we did the snorkeling I was too give out to catch a taxi to the main city, so we just walked around the tourist trap around the Pier before we got back on the ship. We did buy a couple jackets, and some Coke Light. On the ship the bartenders pour our cokes, and then always hold the can way above the glass and the coke is flat by the time you get to drink it, so we now had a couple we could ice down and get the full fizz out of.

 Thursday night was the Mexican night, but I had to pass because I had over did it all day. Marcia came back to the room around midnight feeling the effects of the high winds we were in. The ship did its share of rocking from side to side and a lot of people were looking for more Dramamine.

 All in all we had a great time, and Wallace had warned us that the sea salt air would cause all our clothes to shrink, and he was right. Now we will be starting a diet of some kind so we won't have to buy all new clothes...........

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Last night in the USA.

 Tomorrow we board the ship and set sail for, where ever it is we are going. We have been busy the past couple day getting things ready for the cruise. I installed the motion lights we bought in Elkhart while Marcia packed for the trip.

 We met several of Wanda's cousins that will be on the cruise also. I think the last count was 18 that Wanda had convinced to go on this cruise, and I am just happy that we are two of them. After talking to Wanda's cousins I think we may be related in some way. Bennett Mason was raised in Scott County TN, and he says he is related to several of the Masons from the Middlesboro area, so the chances are pretty good that we are related in some way.

 Sumter Oaks is like a lot of the small towns we went through, a modern day ghost town. Several towns in GA that we drove through were all but ghost towns. I imagine us seeing them today was like what people saw of the towns that disappeared back in the early 1900's and late 1800's, the towns we search out as ghost towns. I wander what people will will see when they drive through these towns 100 years from now?

 This will be my last post for several days, it will be interesting to see how I do without a PC or Internet for a week. I know I could take my PC and stay connected but what fun would that be? I really think we all spend too much time surfing the world wide web, but we adapted to the times, and the times now almost require being connected. So check back next week to see if I survived....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Back in the Sunshine State

 Today we rolled the wheels long enough to make it to Sumter Oaks R V Park near Bushnell FL. I have figured out that we can make better time in the Kountry Star with its 330 Cummings Diesel motor than we did in the Santara with its big V-10 gas motor. I am enjoying passing other RV's and sometimes even the big rigs, but I really need to plan for the quicker times.

 We said our good-byes Monday night at Raccoon Valley RV Park to dad, and the kids. Our plan was to slowly meander to Bushnell. I had figured we would stop just north of Atlanta for a night leaving early to avoid the Atlanta traffic, but leaving Knoxville around 9Am put us rolling through Atlanta around 1 PM which was a really good time to go through Atlanta. We had some traffic, but nothing like the Atlanta traffic I remember, so we was able to make it all the way to Twin Oaks R V Park.

 Arriving around 4 PM at Twin Oaks gave us ample time to rest Tuesday evening, and we took Wednesday as a "just hang out and relax" day. We took full advantage of the hot tub, (nothing better than an evening in a hot tub with the love of your life). Thursday AM we had to roll the wheels, figuring on stopping around Gainsville for an overnight stop.

 We stopped in Valdosta GA to fill up with diesel and clean the "love bugs" off the windshield. Love bugs are very acidic and will ruin a paint job in a couple days. When we arrived in Gainsville the front of the Kountry Star was covered again with the love bugs so I decided to keep the wheels rolling so I would only have to clean them off one more time.

 When we pulled into Sumter Oaks we were greeted by Jim his wife. (her name slips my mind right now) Jim filled our propane take as requested, and we picked a site to park the rig on. Our last stay here was on a site that our AT&T phones would not work inside the rig, so we wanted to make sure they worked on the site we picked this time.

 After setting the jacks, rolling out the slides, and hooking up to water, electric, and sewer I started working on getting the love bugs off the front of the rig. I scrubbed for almost an hour getting the nasty bugs off the windshield and front cap. Over the next two weeks I hope to wash the entire rig, and get a good coat of wax on it. Those two weeks will also include the time we are away on our cruise to Cancun.

 So while relaxing in the FL Sunshine I will have plenty of things to keep me occupied......

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Moving on

The tri-state area (KY TN VA) really has a lot to see, and us having been here most of our lives about all we want to see are friends and family. We park the rig at the CGNP about 6 miles from US 25 E on hwy 58 in VA. It is a nice GC with 50 amp electric, a dump station, a place to take on water, and PLENTY OF TREES.

 I was shocked when I hit the button for the satellite and it found our direct TV satellite. It could only tune in at 40-50 %, but that is enough for us to watch TV. The track vision we have on the Kountry Star has found the satellite a few times when I would have bet there would be no way it could, so I am VERY PLEASED with it.

 We got to visit family, Marcia got her bingo fix, I watched Miss Jordyn cheer at the high school football game. Saturday we drove to Corbin to, ran all over the town looking for where the soccer game was going to be played. Miss Jordyn cheers for the high school, and plays soccer. Once we found the "NEW" school we spent a couple hours waiting with the team before they called the game due to the thunder storms rolling through the area. That gave us plenty of time to visit with Ruby and Miss Jordyn.

Jordyn is the second girl from the left in the bottom row.

 Sunday we will pull up the jacks, and roll the wheels about 60 miles to the Escapee's Raccoon Valley RV Park. We will be taking dad with us so we can take him to his doctor in Knoxville Monday. Tuesday, or maybe Wednesday we will head to FL so we can get everything ready for our cruise to Cancun.

 We will have to wait to see what happens when we return from the cruise. It will be a little early to be in FL for the winter, but it is also a long way back out of FL, so we will cross that bridge when we get there.....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Happy Birthday DAD

Dad turned 74 today, we were able to take him to the steak house for dinner, followed by cake and a Happy Birthday Song.

 We picked him up in Lima this past weekend, and he spent a few days with us in the RV. The first night we boondocked while we visited Cody and his family.

 Once we left Troy Ohio we drove to Ft Boonsboro State Park where we spent a couple nights. I got a new C-Pap and a new mask. I'll have to set up a folow up appointment when I set up my next doctors appointment which should be in Jan 2011. That will be another fly in for the doctor and fly back to FL.

 Yesterday we arrived in Middlesboro where we were greeted by Corey, Jaelynn, and Jenelle. I took dad home so he could catch up on his rest in his favorite chair, and then we all went for Mexican. After the mexican feast we went back to the city parking lot where the rig was and played the balls on the string game.

 Today we moved the rig to the Cumberland Gap National Park before we started doing all our running before we leave for FL next week. Dad watched me make a remote holder to go in the rig before we went to eat, and after the cake I came back to the rig while Marcia and Scott went to play B I N G O. I hope she hits that $1000.00 game so we will have some extra spending $$ on the cruise, or maybe to help buy the six new tires the rig needs.

 Tomorrow will be more running and visiting with friends and family before the big half time show at the football game. Jordyn, (our niece) will be cheering the team on.......

Monday, September 6, 2010

Enjoy them while you can.

Golden years are to be ENJOYED.

But what are Golden Years? Some say the time after your retirement, or your last few years on this earth, and I'm sure others define it in their own ways. Since the doctors told me I couldn't work to earn a living any more I figure my Golden Years started then.

 Mine started back in 2002, so I had to find something to fill in my days so I wouldn't be board to death. I bought a motorcycle! I spent a lot of time riding and working on the bike while Marcia worked. When the cold weather moved into KY I found myself sitting in the house way too much.

 In Jan of 2007 we decided to sell off most of our stuff, buy a motor home, and CHASE THE 70's. By June of 07 we had gotten rid of almost everything, bought a motor home, and was starting to travel to U S A. We have seen more places than most people, we have slept in the motor home in 46 different states, and met many friends along the way.

 Friday we arrived in Beaverdam Ohio, where my dad was visiting my cousins Andrea and Danny Mason. They allowed us to park the Kountry Star in their large back yard, they watched as Marcia and I parked the rig, dumped the air, lowered the jacks, and extended the slides. We were "home" ! Andrea was impressed at the room we had after the slides were extended.

 We had a good time visiting, we ate at "Happy Days" (best tenderloin sandwich for $1.50), and a new BBQ joint that replaced the original Happy Days. Andrea, Marcia and myself even made biscuits, gravy, and sausage Saturday.

 Sunday morning we rolled in the slides, raised the jacks and rolled away from "Camp Mason". We have dad with us for a few days, and I hope we help him enjoy these few days. He liked riding in the rig, he says you can see a lot out of the big windshield, and sitting up high gives a better view too.

 Our first stop was Cody and Nicole's where we just had to see them babies. Jacob 2 years old and Caleb 4 weeks old. I just love holding the little ones while they are sleeping, but when they star crying it is time to give them back to mommy or daddy. I renamed Jacob to Sam in an attempt to gain his trust, and it really worked. By the end of the night Sam had me so worn out I could hardly move. I found it hard telling him dad was his dad's dads dad.

 Marcia and I were really impressed with Cody and Nicole's new home, they have a large back yard for them boys to run in, and plenty room inside for them on the cold days they have here in Troy Ohio. Cody has a love for guns, so I took advantage of him by talking him into cleaning my  guns. THANK YOU CODY,

 Today we will head on to "The Kentucky Horse Park" so I can get my last doctors appointment in before we head south for the winter. With the temperature getting into the 90's in KY this week it is hard to say heading south for the winter, but after seeing the 40's in the U P, and waking up yesterday to 57 degrees inside the rig I have decided I would rather run the AC over the heat pump ANY DAY..........especially in my GOLDEN YEARS..............

Friday, September 3, 2010

We left Elkhart this AM headed to Focal Wood Products to get our new desk installed. Once we arrive Carlyle started working. Our dining area was like this before he started.


He took the table out and into his shop where he did some major changes to it. One leg was removed, the table was dis-assembled, a few holes were made, and he put most of it back together with a few modifications.

Then he started bringing in the pieces to the desk, he aligned everything and started screwing thins to this and that.


Then he put the modified table in place.


And in no time at all he had a finished product, and I had a happy wife.

Here is the desk with the table in place.

This show the window treatment as he called it, I say the vallance.


We have not get the laptops put where they go, and have not started filling the cabinets either. Once we arrived here in Beaverdam we took the Jeep to check out the CG Paul had told us about. The name is on the tip of my tounge but I can't say it, or type it, so maybe the next time. It is 1.5 miles esat of I-75 on hwy 81, which is exit 127. A VERY nice park with water and electric, it has 1 dump station, and 2 dump stations for grey water only. Never seen a dump station for grey water only, but it has two. It is first come, but people often come on Thursday and pay for three nights, but not show up until Friday or Saturday, so it had a no vacancy sign out front when we arrived today.

 When I down loaded my camera tonight to get the pics of the desk I noticed I went the entire rally without taking one picture. Shame on me, but we all know how expensive the digital film is!

 We will be taking dad with us when we leave here headed south, plan on a stop around Dayton to see my nephew and his family. The one month old baby boy, and the two year old boy is what we really are stopping to see, but I will include the Cody and Nicole so they won't have anything to complain about.

Then on to the Doctor in Lexington Tuesday....................