Monday, February 4, 2008 FMCA South East Rally
February 4th through February 10th we were dry camped on an airport
runway in Brooksville, FL., with 1700 other motorhomes
from all over the USA. We
attended seminars, walked by vendors selling everything from
micro-cleaning cloths to fine jewelry! Walked through the new 2008 model
coaches and ate curly fries and hot dogs.
We attended nightly
entertainment in a tent as big as a city block! And most important of
all we met so many wonderful people we can now call our friends.
found she could drive all sorts of vehicles.
Monday, February 11, 2008 – Silver Springs/Ocala Area
now camping in Silver River State Park campground. The sites are huge
and spacious. We can only have an open fire burning from 6 pm. to 8 am.
of low humidity.
now have water and electric hookups but no sewer. A couple of nights it
got down to 35 degrees! Brrr! The bath houses have fans that run
constantly, creating a wind chill of 29 degrees! Try taking a shower on
those cold mornings!
While here, we hooked up with some of our camping friends that live in
Florida. Rick and Becky; Sandra and Joey; and Tommy and Julia. Went
over to Dunnellon to visit Mom Talento, a dear friend from Pittsburgh.
From here we will be heading to Ft. Desoto, where we'll catch up with
some more friends.
Monday, February 18, 2008
today we have made it to our favorite place in all of Florida. We were
not able to get our usual site of 176 and had to move up to 180, but we
are still on the water so we will be happy for the next two weeks. Each
side has it’s own unique qualities.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
couple of days were kinda' cool. But it warmed up quickly.
Thursday night, we had the telescope out and we were watching the last
total lunar eclipse until 2010. By Friday, the breeze had died down
enough to have our first fire here. Boy, it doesn't get any better than
that. Bob got our boat inflated and took it out for a shake down cruise,
There is a lot of wildlife here.
all, it is a bird sanctuary. Great Blue Herons, Great White Egrets and
Snowy Egrets walk by and stop to say hello. The laughing gulls are still
as pesky as ever, as well as the raccoons. The squirrels greet us every
morning wanting their morning breakfast of peanuts.
We are running into people who have been here with us in years past,
starting to feel like old home
Sunday, February 24, 2008
went over to Ft. DeSoto to check out
Civil War Re-enactment, with troops and camp followers dressed in period
costume. We then headed back to have a wonderful hamburger cook-out
reunion with our friends
the FMCA rally who came
over for the day. John and Tillie have been here with us and we have
good evenings together.
have been able to get my "Mended Hearts" quilt finished while I am here.
Tuesday, February 26,2008
over to the beach with John and Tillie for a picnic lunch and spent some
time walking the shoreline. Bob and John ended up wading thru a back bay
after walking around the tip of the beach. The water was a toasty 71
Our time here is winding down but we have Larry and Cathy coming in to
spend the weekend here. Another cook out this weekend. Yoo hoo!!
February 27, 2008 – Happy Birthday
February 28, 2008
have been here about 10 days and we still don't want to leave.
February 29, 2008 – Happy Leap Year
March 3, 2008
moving day. We are moving from the West Coast to the East Coast of
Florida. When you don't take the Interstate Highways, you are traveling
through orange groves, cattle fields and more orange groves. We were
traveling across Florida Hwy 70 when we finally pulled into WalMart in
Arcadia. This place is in the middle of nowhere. Bob decided that
diesel fuel was less expensive here than at the Flying J on I-95. While
Bob was filling the motorhome, this man kept staring at him.
driving around, looking at our license plate and getting out of the car
he asked Bob what part of North Carolina he was from….it was a friend
that moved to Florida seven years ago and we hadn’t seen since! Bob,
Bill…….WOW! What are the chances of running into someone in the middle
of nowhere. We must have talked for over an hour before we were forced
to move on in order to reach our campground before dark.
checking into the campground we find we are camped in a war zone. The
hurricanes of 2004 really devastated this campground. All the trees are
gone! It is also very WINDY! We cannot put our awnings out on the
motorhome. But the campground is just base camp as we go out to tour the
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
36th Wedding Anniversary
is our 36th wedding anniversary.
Park is located just north of Jupiter with the Loxahatchee River running
through it. We took a river boat cruise.
is NOT the Jungle Cruise at Disney, this is a real live alligator
sliding into the river and heading for our boat! Zillions of Air plants
are growing on the trees in the river and the blooms are just
beautiful. There were gorgeous ferns also.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
drove into Jupiter to take a tour of the Jupiter Lighthouse. It is
located on an active Coast Guard Station and therefore we had to be
accompanied by a tour guide. (Active: 11 base houses and a commissary/PX.)
Yes, we were able to climb to the top of the lighthouse, all 106 steps!
March 6-10, 2008
March 8 - Tricia's Birthday
down time for us. Carol works on cutting out a new quilt and Bob works
on some of his computer tasks.
March 11 - Betsy's Birthday
friends, Rick and Becky invited us to Titusville to see a night time
launch of the space shuttle, Endeavor. BLAST OFF IS 2:28 AM !!! We got
some sleep afterwards, but we are so tired.
Tomorrow we take off for out next date at the Ortona Locks, just west of
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
are leaving Jonathan Dickinson State Park after a weeks stay. The
ravages from hurricanes in 2004 have really laid waste to this park, but
it will recover.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
is Ortona South. A campground run by the Corp. of Engineers. WOW !!
What a difference a day makes. Our camp site is beautiful; paved drive
thru, fire ring, grill, covered picnic table and shade in the afternoon
Ortona South Campground
the Ortona Locks on the Okeechobee Waterway System in Southern Florida.
It allows boats to travel from the East Coast at Port St. Lucie to the
West Coast at Fort Myers. We are able to walk across the locks so
we can view it from both sides. This is the first year people have been
able to do this since 9/11.
lock and tieing off. Leaving the lock after the water dropped.
Friday, March 14,2008
is the living room/library in the main house (which was called Seminole
Lodge) of Thomas Edison’s house in Fort Myers. (That’s Bob on the other
side.) Henry Ford’s House built a house next door (The Mangoes), but he
only came a couple of weeks in February for Edison’s birthday.
This is 50,000 watt light bulb made by General
Electric in 1929 for the 50th anniversary of the invention
of the light bulb. And the one in the background to the right was for
75,000 watts. Guess why?
Sandy could have
spent all day in the museum where most of his inventions were displayed
in several varieties. Also cars from Henry Ford were displayed
is a very fragrant flower from South America.
The White Bird of Paradise. Found in Mina Edison’s
Moonlight Garden. Both she and Thomas Edison were interested in flowers
and collected specimens of every kind and variety.
taking pictures of flowers.
Edison’s lab is pretty well in the same state as he left it back in
1931. Much research was done on producing rubber from the goldenrod
plant in this lab. They managed to make a tire from that rubber that
would last for 50 years, but said it was not financially feasible to
Edison was profoundly hard of hearing and all workers in the lab carried
pads and pencils so they could write responses to his questions.
Monday, March 17, 2008 – St. Patrick’s Day.
to a spur of the moment potluck dinner put together by a family from
Pennsylvania. Looked like about 40+ people showed up. I took my
Mexican Casserole and there was nothing left. (I know, but I didn’t
have any cabbage. Besides, I thought someone else would be bringing
it.) There are no pictures as we just wanted to be able to enjoy
This is Lake Okeechobee! Carol is standing on top of
the Herbert Hoover Levee that surrounds the lake. This is the Southwest
corner of the lake; it’s pretty empty except for the canal that goes all
around, which is the water that you see.
we head for Lake Manatee State Park in Myakka, Fl.
Wednesday, March 19,2008
getting closer to our final destination (Ft. DeSoto Park), but here we
are at Lake Manatee State Park; about 50 miles south of St. Petersburg.
Lake Manatee is the water reservoir for the cities of Bradenton and
Sarasota. Our campsite is in the sun with no shade. It is not very
Thursday, March 20, 2008
the first day of Spring! There is also a full moon. Tomorrow is Good
how time is flying. The sky is not very pretty today, lots of cloud
cover. We went to
Herrmann’s Royal Lipizzan Stallions. Their winter home is down in
Myakka, about 15 miles south of here. The show is free and lasted for
about 1 ½ hours. They did ask for a donation, which we were going to
do, but the bucket never got passed by us so we left a donation at the
exit gate. The show is run by Herrmann’s daughter, Gabriella, and all
the riders are five generations of Herrmann women, the youngest being
about 3 years old! The horses were beautiful. They are not put under
saddle until they are five years old and not ridden until they are about
7 years old. They are born black or brown and can take up to seven
years for their coats to change to white. We were able to walk thru the
stables after the show and we were also able to see a 5 week old foal.
Friday, March 21,
We rode over to the TECO (Tampa Electric Co.) Big
Station in Apollo Beach on the East shore of Tampa
Bay. There we were able to see one of the winter feeding grounds of the
Florida Manatee. It was just about the end of the winter season so
there were only about a dozen manatees there. You could see a cut on
the body of one that looks like it has been sliced by a boat’s engine.
There is also a museum about the manatee as well as a gift shop.
there we decided to splurge and we GPS’ed our way to AppleBee’s
restaurant for a lunch/dinner. From there we drove thru Bradenton and
up to Anna Maria and found a park where we were able to look across the
Tampa Bay and see the water tower in Ft. DeSoto Park; so close and yet
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Today is the day! ! ! We’re finally back at Fort
DeSoto Campground! Yeah !!!! We are located on the west side this time,
site 229, only 4 sites down from John and Tillie Blackmore, who are back
here for two weeks also. This time we pulled INTO our site;
so our front window
looks out over the water, what a view!
said to be here by 12 noon, we were going to have a belated St. Paddy’s
Day party. Wayne and Judy Clark were coming back over from Lakeland
again. There was only one little problem. Luckily we were able to get
set up before it started raining, which it did for the next six hours.
We were all sitting under John and Tillie’s awning, but the rain was
coming thru the awning, we were all getting wet, so we had to eat
inside. But we had a great time. The menu was corn beef and cabbage,
yum! They also had invited some other friends who were staying over in
the pet section, Ron and Gene.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
is the earliest Easter has been since 1913. It will not be this early
again for another 228 years. There was a sunrise Easter service over on
the East Beach at 7:00 am, that would have been amazing if I had
set the alarm, but I just couldn’t manage to wake enough to make it,
sorry. The day was absolutely beautiful. Today we had dinner over at
Gene and Ron’s motorhome. Ham, corn chowder (casserole), mashed
potatoes, sweet potatoes, deviled eggs and a pineapple angel food cake
for dessert. By 4 pm I was so tired I had to go back home for a nap.
My arm has been acting up with pain shooting up my elbow and shoulder.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Today we took John and Tillie and we drove up to Sam’s Club. From there
we drove over to The Pie Factory. Someday we are going to learn that
The Pie Factory is CLOSED ON MONDAYS, STUPID! After dinner, we ended up
at Tillie’s to play cards.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Went to Wal-Mart with Tillie. Picked up a birthday card for Mom.
Before going out Sandy dropped the card in the mailbox at the campground
office. We went to Hooter’s for dinner with Cathy and Larry. We had a
package (sensor’s for waste water tanks) mailed to Larry’s house and we
were able to pick them up.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
started working on my quilt again. Hoping to get it done so I can get
it on the frame that Bob has made for me, He has done such a wonderful
job. I just felt I needed some quiet time. The quilting helps me to
relax. We went out to dinner at Hardee’s and stopped by, where else,
Saturday, March 29, 2008 -
Today is Mom’s birthday. We also took our boat out with John and Tillie
in tow in their inflatable. Loaded with margaritas we trolled over to
see Ron and Gene. On the way back we spotted a couple of dolphins
swimming around and catching fish. This place is so inspirational. The
wildlife is amazing.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Working hard to get the quilt finished before Larry and Cathy get here
for dinner. We originally invited them over so Larry could talk to John
about his BMW motorcycle, but John and Tillie went up to Tarpon
Springs. I felt bad about that, but we had a good time at dinner
anyways, Stew beef and rice, steamed veggies, bread, and Dutch oven
Monday, March 31, 2008
This time we took the boats and headed over to Shell Key with John
and Tillie. This time the women sat in the tow boat and let the boys
stay in the head boat. We had such fun. Sandy and John like to do a
lot of walking and Tillie and I just sauntered down the beach looking
for shells. Since they are leaving tomorrow we had them over to dinner
so they didn’t have to worry about cooking. We did the pork tenderloin
on the grill, and I made the microwave cake. (white cake, chocolate
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
April Fool’s Day
Today is John’s birthday, they had to leave today and we were sorry to
see them go.
have been so tired today. I am not sleeping very well, my arm is giving
me a lot of problems, and I didn’t wake up until 9:38 am. I also ended
up taking a nap this afternoon. Basically we rested today.
This afternoon we received a real treat. The St. Pete parakeets took a
liking to our bird feeder.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
This afternoon, we took our boat out for an afternoon ride. We rode
over in the kayak rental area. On the way back, two dolphins surfaced
about 12 feet from our boat. Wow!
The fish were jumping everywhere trying to keep from being dolphin
dinner. When we came back we found the parakeets were back again.
are getting much bolder.
Eating off of the front windshield feeder and walking up and down the
windshield wipers! If they get any closer they are going to be flying
into our motorhome. Maybe I should set up a cage.
While finishing up dinner, I looked up and told Sandy to look out the
sky was black! It looked like a tornado was rolling in on it’s side.
We put the awning down and hoped for the best. Thirty minutes later,
while the clouds are still there, there has been no rain and the air is
so still you can hear the crickets chirping.
Only two days left. While we want to see everyone at home, we sure don’t
want to leave here; this is paradise.
Wednesday, April 3, 2008
The day dawned bright, sunny and warm. Our morning rituals have
consisted of filling the bird bath and the bird feeders, eating
breakfast, going out to feed the squirrels and then deciding what we’ll
do the rest of the day.
is tough but we somehow manage to get through the day (smile). We
updated our websites today and downloaded pictures from the cameras.
Digital cameras are great for trips like this; you can just shoot away
and still get the cream of the crop. I am just about finished sewing
the appliqué portions of my quilt and then I will be able to get on to
the actual quilting of the piece.
went geocaching here in the park this afternoon. What fun. All you
need is a GPS
system and coordinates of different caches that you get off the
found all three that we went looking for. This is something I see us
getting into big time.
The parakeets (they are really parrots) have become steady customers to
our feeders now and they will eat you out of house and home. But they
give us such great photo ops it’s hard not to feed them.
The sunset this evening was just gorgeous.
said our goodbyes to Rick and his wife who have been the campground
hosts here for the last three months. They leave tomorrow for home in
Maine. Bob decided this was our last chance for a fire even if it was
Friday, April 4, 2008
Our last day! (sigh) We planned this all wrong. Instead of spending it
at Ft. DeSoto, we went off for the day. First we went over to the
Skyway Bridge Fishing Pier.
gosh, it was so windy and the waves and white caps were so big! But the
pelicans weren’t haven’t any problem diving for fish. We were able to
look back at Ft. DeSoto and see about 10 kite surfers sailing/surfing
(?) off East Beach. From there we headed to WalMart, Sam’s Club and
finally The Pie Factory. I can’t believe we have been in Florida almost
two months and this is our first trip here. But I promised the gang at
church a Key Lime Pie
while we were there….we also picked up a Deluxe Sampler Pie for us.
Yum! When we returned back to Ft. DeSoto, it was time to start breaking
camp. It was not a lot of fun (where did all this extra stuff come
from?) and we did so with heavy hearts. No fire tonight, Sandy had to
pack the firepit. But I did make one of our favorite meals, potatoes,
onions and hotdogs. It smells so goooooood when it is cooking.
Needless to say, there we NO leftovers.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
We left the campground about 10:00 am., leaving with heavy hearts,
were going home to see family and friends again. The cost of diesel was
$3.90 in Brunswick, GA., and only $3.79 in Latta, SC. We consider
ourselves lucky. In many places diesel was over $4.00/gallon. This year
we made it home in one day, pulling into the driveway about 11:20 pm.
The boys (all our cats) were there at the door waiting to greet us.