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


 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


 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....