Monday, March 25, 2013

Getting Back "In the Swing" at Home!

Friday was an uneventful day of driving and towing!  Hallelujah!  We were back in our driveway by 2:30.  Then  the 3 hour marathon began.  Because of the below freezing temperatures, we removed anything that could possibly freeze from Willie - toiletries, food items, cleaning supplies, batteries, etc.  Seemed like everything but the Kitchen sink!!!! 

After everything was in the house, Ken went to work winterizing Willie while I put most things in their designated place in our house.  By the time we had everything done, we were exhausted.

Jamie, our youngest daughter, had invited us for dinner, so headed there at 6:30.  It was Cali's 4th birthday today and when we called to sing to her earlier today, she said she doesn't feel any older!  Just wait!!!!!  Her almost 6 year old sister, Bria, told her she did look taller!!!!  Such cute things from the mouth of babes!  It was so good to see our daughter and her family.  We had such a nice evening, only getting home around 11:15. 

It amazing how quickly you get back into a routine and pattern.  We were at the birthday party on Sat. for both Bria and Cali, another fun time with family and friends.  At the time we also got to see our son-in-law Bob and our other 2 granddaughters, Sam and Katelyn.  So much fun for PaPa and Grandma!  Our daughter, Lanie, was in Savannah for a long weekend with Bob's sisters, aunts, and cousins, a good break for her!

We also got to visit with our camping friends, Fred and Doloris, on our way to the birthday party.  We spent about an hour having wine and snacks in their new Wildcat 5th wheel they brought home while we were in Florida.  It is a great floor plan and in perfect condition for a 2008 model.  Someone took very good care of it!  So good to see them again too!

Sunday was a church day, breakfast with Fred and Doloris, time at home, and then attending a small church group. 

There really is a period of adjustment when you return from a relatively long trip in a different climate.  We can hardly deal with the cold temperatures and then today, Monday, we had about 2" of snow!  What is that about????? 

Willie liked the palm trees better!

Already looking forward to our next camping adventure in April!  Willie doesn't like being home!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Getting Close to Home!

It is getting cold very quickly.  Not quite ready for the change!  Our bodies are used to warm temperatures and it is hard to make the adjustment!

After walking about 5,000 steps we left the CG at 9 and started heading up Interstate 95!  It! We should arrive tomorrow afternoon. We are at an RV Park just north of Richmond.  Plan to come home via Route 17, Route 15, and then 30 instead of Interstate 95 on a Friday. May take longer, but worth it.
We had one scare today. A lady in front of us really started to slow down on 95 and then decided to just stop!!!! There were cars and trucks passing on our left and we knew we could not stop in time without hitting her. Fortunately we were at a place where we could go off the road and around her on the right and it was fairly level. We probably went around her at about 50+ mph. A guardian angel must have been watching out for us. It was a scary moment! Still not sure what she was thinking. As we were going around her on the right she started to come over to the right, but must have spotted us and stayed put!!!!!!
Other than that, it was an uneventful day driving from 9 til 4:45 covering about 375 miles. It is a long haul from Florida!
Currently it is 36 degrees going down to 25, so after finishing our steps we are spending the evening inside Willie!  We will disconnect the water overnight just to be sure we have no frozen pipes. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Heading Towards PA

Ken and I were up by 6:45 and took a walk around the CG.  Needed to get a start on our steps before we began the drive home!  We hitched and then I said my good-byes to Audrey and Dale, the 2 ladies who were responsible for the success of my jewelry sales in the park.  They were incredible!  Really enjoyed getting to know and spend time with them.

We were on our way by 9.  It was in the 60's when we left.  We did get into a little rain around Jacksonville FL, but then we had lots of sunshine the rest of the way.  We decided to stop around 4:30 in a campground on Santee Lake in SC, driving about 400 miles.  Time to get off the road!!  We got a pull through site that was totally level and we were able to stay hitched.  Only hooked up to water and electric, so leaving will be quick!  Didn't even take our bikes outside! We took a walk around the park to complete our 10,000 steps and plan to spend the evening inside Willie making jewelry and relaxing!

Lovely view of Santee Lake from the back of the CG!

We will be on the road again tomorrow with a planned stop above Richmond VA, traveling another 360 miles.  The exit where we stop has a Bass Pro  Shoppe and a Winnebago RV Dealer.  Who knows what will happen????  We will need too walk around the CG in the morning if we plan to complete our 10,000 steps for the day!  This is work!!!!

Plan to be home sometime Friday afternoon if all goes well.  So far so good!!!  Ken does such a great job driving!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Our Last Full Day in Florida!

Today was another busy day!  Ken spent a lot of the morning organizing our "stuff" outside for our trip back to PA.  He loaded things in Diesel and under Willie!  I had some ladies from the CG stop by to buy more jewelry - it continues to amaze me how supportive this CG has been and how much jewelry I have been able to sell just from inside Willie!  After they left, we ate lunch and decided to go to Mt. Dora, a cute little village town nearby and see if we could meet with Stacey, the gal who runs the Gatehouse Gift Shoppe in that area.  

The Gatehouse is located in one of the cottage type houses on the Lakeside Inn grounds in Mt. Dora.  It is a beautiful old inn that was built in 1883 sits on a lake and offers lawn bowling, croquet, Bocce, etc.  You can also swim in the pool right at the edge of the lake and take boat and seaplane rides.  Sort of reminds me of the grounds of the movie "Dirty Dancing"!  Everyone in her shoppe is handmade and taken on consignment.  She took 9 of my jewelry sets and 21 separate pendants and pairs of earrings!  I was thrilled!  She will try to sell them for 3 months and order more if it goes well.   Time will tell!

These 2 photos are the Gatehouse Gift Shoppe!
You can sit out front - they even have a chimanea
for the cooler evenings! 

The lake view and the pool area as seen from the porch of
the Lakeside Inn!  What a setting!

This is the 1882 Lakeside Inn.  All the buildings are
yellow and in excellent repair!

Downtown Mt. Dora!

We walked around the town and got back to Willie around 4:45.  After some more clean-up we took a walk around the CG and played some shuffleboard.  Stopped playing after about 20 minutes - just too tired and it was already 6:30.  Finished our 10,000 steps, made supper, cleaned up and we are about ready for "take-off" tomorrow morning, hoping to be back home by Friday afternoon.  It was 85 degrees here today, so we are not too excited about the cold temperature on our way home and in PA!

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Countdown for Home has Begun!!!

.....and my whining has started!  It is too cold in PA right now to want to head back.  After all, it was 83 degrees here today!!!!

We had some light rain during the night and again early this morning.  After some debate, we decided to get ready and drive about 1 1/2 hours to Daytona Beach.  We knew this would be our last chance to go to the beach in the winter of 2013.  By the time we got there, the sun had come out and it was so warm!  We spent about 2 hours on the beach looking for shells and reading.  Amazing how there were  so few "jewelry" shells on this beach.  I think I only got about 4 the whole time we walked, and we went about 3 miles!  Disappointing.

Nice day on Daytona Beach!

No Shells to be found!!!

You can drive, bike swim, and walk on the beach!

We walked out on the dock!  Quite a fish!!!

We stopped at Aunt Catfish for a delicious 3:00 meal.   (Thanks Chuck and Melissa for the recommendation!)   They have a great salad bar and serve you their famous cinnamon roll and hush puppies with it.  We were able to sit outside and enjoy the water view!  Made one more stop at a Michael's Craft Store for more beads and wires!

Back to Willie by 5:30 and Ken started packing up for our trip home.  That was an important decision we made earlier today.  We are going to start for home on Wednesday, instead of the planned Thursday.  We hope to be home by Friday afternoon, but only drive about 6 hours per day, stopping 2 nights.  That will be so much better than leaving Thurs. and driving about 9 or 10 hours 2 days in a row. 

I spent the evening working on jewelry.  Had a nice conversation with our close friend and one of our PA camping partners, Doloris.  Also with my mother and our daughter, Lanie and Jamie.  We look forward to being with all of them when we return to PA!

Chuck and Melissa - we got it done today!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Our Last Full Day with Chuck and Melissa!

Can't believe a week has passed since Chuck and Melissa arrived at Southern Palms.  Our time together has been way too short!  We all enjoy bike riding, kayaking (but not in that Port a Boat!), outdoor games, card playing, etc.  We have kept extremely busy, but it has been great!

Today was a gorgeous day with total sun and 80+ degrees.  I got a slow start this morning since I only fell asleep around 3 AM.  We headed out to walk around 9:30 and Chuck and Melissa were almost finished with their "steps". 

After we returned, 2 more ladies from the CG stopped by to check out the jewelry, which we still have set-up on our couch.  Then the 4 of us played 3 games of Kubb and Melissa and I lost everyone.  Not sure what happened, but it wasn't pretty!!!!  Then we drove to the waterfront area of Tavares to see the speedboats and classic car show.  The speedboat races seemed very disorganized and rather disappointing.  So we left and stopped at Sonny's for our last pulled pork sandwich before we head back to PA.  It was as good as always!

This Rolls Royce was incredible!

What a fun interactive waterpark for kids in the waterfront
park at Tavares!  It includes a sea plane!

These little speed boats can really move!

All the boats were placed in the water with a crane!

A series of pictures showing the take-off of a seaplane!

There is also a restored steam engine and train that will take
you on a ride on a short track right at the waterfront park!

Back to Willie by 5 and the games begun again.  This time Ken and Melissa won the Bocce game but Chuck and I were the champs of shuffleboard.  Back to our RV's and Chuck and Melissa spent some time getting organized for their departure tomorrow.  They have a 60 mile drive to their next CG at Crystal River where they will be for 5 days.  Then they will spend another week or so in the FL area before going to Atlanta to see their 2 daughters and their families.  After 1 week there they will go back to their home area of Nashville to spend time with her mother and do their Dr. and dental appts. before beginning their trip west.  They plan to spend about a year doing that trip, flying home several times to see their children and Melissa's mother.  They had sold their house in Jan. of 2012 and began fulltiming in their motorhome at that time.  They love what they are doing.

It was good that we shared the victories on our final
day together at the campground!

A Work Day!

Ken and I were up around 7:45 and after getting ready for the day, we saw Chuck and Melissa leaving there motorhome to go for a walk.  We joined them and had a good time reflecting on our week together and getting in over half of our steps for the day. 

By 11:15 we had said our good-byes to Chuck and Melissa knowing that we will spend time together again, but we didn't like to see them leave.  Game playing just won't be the same!  Ken did take a picture of their Port a Boat on the top of their car for we are almost certain we won't see it there again! 

They have a beautiful motorhome!  The "flat thing" on the
top of their car is the folded Port a Boat.  It maybe on
Craigslist in the near future.  Would make a great
Dingy or a fishing boat in a lake, but not good for any water
with a strong current.  We all think it is better for rowing,
not paddling!

It's goodbye for now, but hopefully not for long!
We had a wonderful time together!  Such happy, positive people
who are "game" to do anything!  So easy going.  It's
We decided not to leave the CG today but get some necessary things done!  I set-up to spend time jewelry making to fill the orders I had from my "show" on Thursday.  After doing some of the pieces, we headed to the CG laundromat.  While our clothes were washing we played some shuffleboard.  Ken won easily - I probably played my worst game ever!  While I oversaw the drying process, Ken went to a nearby grocery store for a few needed items. 

After lunch, the jewelry making continued.  Ken read and took a short nap.  I met with Dale, and very nice fellow camper and showed her how to wrap a pendant in exchange for her teaching me how to make earring wraps.  We had fun helping each other. 

Ken cooked dinner while I kept "creating".  He said he was happy to do that since I am the money maker while we are in Florida.  So, it is a win/win for both of us!

Tomorrow we plan to drive to Daytona Beach for our last time on a beach before heading back to PA.  Not sure I am ready to face the colder weather!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Another Gorgeous, Fun Day!

Friday was a sunny, mild day in the 70's, but it has been rather cool at night.  After breakfast Ken and I went for a walk and completed about half of our steps.  We put all 4 bikes on Chuck and Melissa's CRV and drove about 45 minutes to The Villages, the 55+ community that is its own city here in central Florida!  None of us had been there before so we were excited to "check it out".  It is an amazing place.  We went to the Spanish Springs Square, but I believe there are 2 or 3 other "squares" in The Villages.  It covers 50 square miles, has 95,000 residents and 80% of them live there year round.  You pay $145.00 monthly fee to help maintain the areas and it allows you to do all the amenities for free.  There are many golf courses throughout The Villages and they are free if you walk and only $4.00 if you ride you golf cart.  They offer almost any activity and support group you can imagine.  We got all this information from a lady at the Sales Center.

While there, we rode about 10 miles on our bikes, toured an Open House, and watched them play pickle ball.  We ate lunch at a delicious Mexican Restaurant and had a very inexpensive meal.  Most of the residents ride around the area in their golf carts.  The whole concept of this "city" is impressive and it is amazing how it flourishes. 

The Fitness Center in the Town Square!

Golf Carts can cross over the highway via this bridge!

The Happy Campers!

More Happy Campers!

Golf Carts are everywhere!

The water in the fountain is green for St. Patrick's Day!
We were back to Willie by 4:00 and after spending sometime sitting and chatting, the games began.  We played Bocce and Shuffleboard with Chuck and I winning (Again).  Had dinner in our own RV and then got together with them for more game playing - Skip-Bo and a new one for us, Quirkle.  Both are a lot of fun.  Only back to Willie by 11:30 after another wonderful day!  We will be sad to see them leave on Sunday!

An Unexpected Happening!!!!

Around 9, I called Sue, the lady I had met at the craft show on Saturday who wanted to bring some friends to the CG to buy some of my jewelry.  After talking with her, they decided to come around 11 on Thursday instead of the afternoon.  So, Ken and I got busy organizing, cleaning and setting up the jewelry inside Willie!  It sure would have helped if the slide was working and could have been out for the "show", but it looked and functioned better than anticipated.  By 10:45 we were ready and I had talked to Audrey and Dale in the CG whom I had met at the Craft Class and told them I would have the jewelry set-up for the day and they should feel free to invite their friends!  Well, they did quite a job of spreading the word.  Dale announced it at line dancing and to the ladies at the Bocce Court.

It worked out well to have a jewelry "show" in Willie!

Sue and friends came at 11 and then the "flow" of ladies from the CG began.  Till the"show" ended around 4 there must have been around 35 ladies in and out of Willie!  It was amazing.  Ken sat outside most of the time and was joined by Chuck and Melissa.  They just laughed as more and more ladies came by and they entertained some of the husbands.  I was exhausted and hungry by 4:00 but so excited.  It was the best show I had while here in Florida.  Who would have thought it?????  I also have a few pieces to make that were ordered.  Incredible!

After cleaning up, the 4 of us played a game of Bocce and Shuffleboard - Chuck and I were victorious in both.  Then we spent the evening in Chuck and Melissa's RV and they made chili and homemade orange sherbet for all of us for dinner.  Then Ken and I learned how to play Skip-Bo.  We had so much fun and all of us agreed that we can't remember when we laughed so much and so hard.  We had tears off and on all evening! 

The happy Shuffleboard Winners!!!

We were on a "roll"!

Called it a day around 11:15.  This was the 1st day for about 2 weeks that we didn't get our 10,000 steps.  We would have had to do all of them after the show and I was just too tired.  Tomorrow is another day!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Several Firsts Today!

After packing our lunch and making a cooked breakfast, Ken loaded the truck for our kayaking trip.  Before we left we did take a walk to get a start on our steps.  We followed Chuck and Melissa and drove for about 50 minutes to Silver River State Park.  From there we launched our kayak and they launched their new port a boat with oars and a trolling motor.  What a beautiful area to paddle.  This was the 1st time we were on the Silver River plus we paddled with alligators and saw lots of wild monkeys.  What a day!  The water was so clear and there were so many water lilies.  Unfortunately they were not open - it would have been so beautiful!  We paddled about 3 miles up stream and then stopped at a cove area to eat our lunch.

Chuck and Melissa in their new port a boat.  The verdict is
still out on whether they are totally happy with it.  They have
to work hard to get it to go if only paddling.

Relatively small alligator!

Beautiful male wood duck!

A much larger alligator!

A tri-colored heron!

Another fairly large alligator!

Having lunch in a quiet little cove area!

Lots of turtles getting sun and resting on the logs!

Floating back was so relaxing and that is when we saw many more monkeys than on the paddle upstream.  There were dozens and dozens of monkeys playing, jumping from palm leaf to palm leaf (very noisy) and even climbing high up into the trees and diving into the water.  It was unbelievable.  On the way up I asked the group if they thought monkeys could swim.  None of us were sure, but that was quickly answered on the way.  Some people say the monkeys came when they were filming Tarzen movies in this area years ago.  Another theory is that a man brought the monkeys to an island nearby thinking they couldn't swim - wrong!!!!  Who knows how they really got here?  We also saw many turtles and about 4 alligators.  Ken and I always said we would be afraid to paddle our inflatable kayak in water with alligators, but it wasn't a big deal.  Of course, we didn't see many along the edge.  That might have made a difference!

Here are lots of monkey pictures for you to enjoy!  You can't begin to imagine how many Ken got rid of to narrow it down to these "few"!  Ken thought is was nice we had a chance to visit my relatives!!!  What a guy!!!  It really was an incredible sight!!

The canal back to the launching area was lined with
water lilies!  Wish they would have been blooming!

Chuck disassembling his new boat!

Back to Willie by 5.  The 4 of us played 2 games of shuffleboard with each team winning a game.  Then we enjoyed supper together in Willie.  Planned to get together to play cards after we cleaned up and Ken and I completed our 10,000 steps.  When we returned from our walk it was almost 9, so we decided to call it a day!  We will continue the game playing tomorrow.

It was a very nice sunny, mild day with temperatures in the mid 70's.  Great day for kayaking!