Saturday, November 24, 2012

Headed to the Mouse's House

We finished a month in Key West and started our   s l o w   journey to visit Mickey Mouse. Our first stop was at the Biscanyne National Park near Homestead FL. Marcia got her National Park Stamp and we filled out applications to volunteer there in the future.

Our next stop was at the casino at the junction of 41 and 997 just outside of Miami where we planned on spending a couple nights. We went inside where Marcia got our pass to spend the night and I started making my donation to the slot machines. It was turning out to be a pretty good night as I was up several hundred dollars.

 We then took advantage of their 24/7 steak and lobster for $9.95, one of the best deals you can find without having the discount coupons the casino mails out. After eating we went back to the slots, Marcia was still just making a donation and I was up and down, so we decided to call it a night and I was up about $400. Marcia wasn't telling how much she had donated.

 The next morning it was a little cool and the wind was kicking up some but I wanted to see South Beach. South Beach was listed in the top ten beaches of the world and I wanted to see it so we made the drive. Because of the weather there wasn't very many people on the beach but I got to see why it is in the top ten beaches of the world.

 The road running along the coast in that area is lined with condos and hotel high-rises. With all the buildings comes all the people that dwell in them so needless to say it wasn't for me. Each of the condos and hotels on the beach side had a little shack on the beach where people staying there could get cabanas or lounge chairs. Some even had small bunker like areas carved out in the sand for the little kids to play in. I guess it is a good way to keep the kids in an area so someone could keep an eye on them.

 Back at the casino we went back inside. I had already put most of my winnings up in the rig so I wouldn't donate it all back to the casino. I was a bit shocked when I found myself up about $200, and then the real shocker came. Marcia found me sitting at a slot machine, she came running up hitting me in the shoulder screaming, "I just won $1200" "I just won $1200". She was so excited! That was enough of a win that the attendant had to come and get all her information so they could send her a 1099 for taxes. I was happy that they didn't take the taxes out on the spot.

 The next day we continued our trip north, ( I know, wrong direction) we made it to Immokalee FL where we spent the night at another casino. This casino wasn't as giving as the one we had just left so we made it an early night. At 8 am they were knocking on our door telling us we had to leave because they were having some hog fest going on over the weekend. Charlie Daniels was playing Sunday and they had others for Friday and Saturday.

 We were gone from the casino by 10 am, long before the noon deadline they had given us. We drove to the Peace River Thousand Trails Preserve near Wauchula FL. We are trying to use the membership we purchased a couple years ago, so we plan on spending two weeks here. The sites are plenty big enough, the hot tub works, and we have 50 amps so L I G. (life is good)

 Heinze and Anne-Lise came over this week and spent part of the day with us. It was really good seeing them again, and we had already washed all the salt off the Kountry Star so it was looking pretty good when they came. Heinze and Anne-Lise is the couple we bought the Kountry Star from almost three years ago, and we try to visit them every time we get close to Sebring where they bought a park model.

 The weather is not as good as I would like it, and I told Corey tonight not to plan another trip to FL in Dec and expect us to meet him. He is bringing Jennifer and Jaelynn down to Clermont in Dec and Marcia is going with them to Disney World, ( or Land which ever one is in FL ). I will guard the rig while they go stand in the lines.

 We did have an excellent dinner Thanksgiving day, the park provided the ham and turkey and everyone brought a side. It really didn't look like there were as many sides as there were people, (not even half allowing for couples) but there was plenty food for everyone. We got really tickled at one guy that had a serving platter for his plate, and after his third trip Marcia said she was glad she didn't have to cook for him. There was enough left that they told everyone to take some ham and turkey home with them, so all was good.

 We have another week here before we inch a little closer to the Mouse's House, we have reservations (oh how I dislike reservations) for the 14th of Dec at the Thousand Trails Preserve in Clermont FL which is really close to the Mouse's House so we won't be until the next time.........

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fantasy Fest in Key West FL

Fantasy Fest is one of the largest gatherings in Key West, it started out when some of the local business men got together and decided the weather was too nice to have so many empty shops. They needed an attraction to draw tourists into KW at the end of Oct.

So Fantasy Fest was started and has turned out to be one of the busiest times in KW. How it evolved into what it is today is a mystery to me, but the shops and streets are full. Many of the bars and resorts have their own parties during that week, one has a plaid night where everyone dresses up in plaid, another one has the leather and lace, and then there is the toga party, the Irish has their party with a lot of green, there are almost always pirates running around, the pool party with the wet tee shirt contest but most forgot the tees, and then there are the ones that just dress up.

Or the ones that just get painted for their costume, and by the end of the week some don't even bother with the paint and just walk around with only bikini bottoms on. A lot of drinking goes on, Duval street is blocked off because there are so many people the sidewalks can't accommodate them all. Saturday brings the largest crowd for the parade that takes almost 2 and 1/2 hours to pass by you.
FF starts off with Goombay, which celebrates the Afrikaans's that first inhabited KW. They have all kinds of food vendors lining the street leading to Bahama Village Park where they have several bands playing. We don't eat any of the food because I have a problem with food being served where there is no running water for the vendors to wash, but I guess they sell enough that the few $$ we would spend doesn't effect them.

This year our daughter was able to come and spend a few days with us during Goombay. We showed her around and she even got to see a few "painted People", but being with dad I don't think she enjoyed it as much as if she had been with her friends. So she left Monday am and Marcia and I enjoyed a few days alone during the first part of FF.

Thursday Marcia drove to Fl Lauderdale to pick up two of her friends from KY, Beth and Kristie. With a three hour plane delay, and another couple hours delay by the police writing up a fender bender the girls didn't get back to KW until 1:30 am Friday morning.
Friday evening the four of us went down to Duval to see all the excitement, and excitement we saw. The crowd was huge, the people were dressed in all kinds of costumes. Some were painted showing off their assets, and the creativity of the artists painting them. We walked up and down Duval street enjoying the festivities.

Saturday brought the excitement of the parade, and Marcia had signed us all up to be ambassadors to the parade, which turned out to be front row seats to the parade. Yes, we were inside the barricades as the parade passed by. Our duties were to keep the parade moving at an even pace, and to keep the drunks on the other side of the barricades. Marcia and I kept picking up the beads that didn't make it across the barricades and passing them out to the crowds. You would be surprised at what some people will do for a cheap bead necklace. ( I was ). It was a fun but exhausting day for all of us.
 Sunday the "fat lady" sang at the closing ceremonies and Fantasy Fest 2012 was put into the history books. The girls did a lot of running around while I spent most of the day resting.

 Here are a few of the pictures I took during Fantasy Fest 2012. Some pictures may just show painted people so you might want to preview them before showing children.















Not everyone was dressed in a costume and there were plenty of people there only to take pictures, but almost everyone there was just there to have a good time.... I think we will see what Fantasy fest 2013 looks like next year......