Sunday, March 29, 2015

Snowbirds and Spring Breakers Flee Florida

I-75 Rest Area Pasco County   I-75 Rest Area Pasco County
We woke up at 6 am, got ready for church, packed the few remaining things we needed into the car, headed over to the RV storage and put those items into the motorhome, dropped Skruffy off and picked up Marcia’s brother Mike, and off to church we went.  After church we dropped Mike off and loaded up Skruffy and Bubba, went back to the motorhome and quickly drove off.  By the time we left the storage area, it was around 11:15.  The 3 1/2 hour trip to Lake Mary took, 4 hours and 45 minutes!!!!!!   GRRRRR!!!!!   Above is one of our favorite rest areas, and it was packed with RVs and Motorhomes, all with out-of-state license plates except or ours.  AND, there was another half dozen over in the truck parking area.  Time to flee Florida for some of the Snowbirds.   Leave now, and you can be home for Easter.
GPS

We had a uneventful trip over to I-75, and when we headed north there was a warning about a slow down at exit 285…no sooner had we pulled out of the rest area and passed old highway 54 exit and we hit TEN MILES of stop and go and stop and don’t go and stop and go traffic.  Probably took us close to 90 minutes to travel the ten miles…and what can one do when you are going 7 miles per hour?  Well, you play the licenses plate game!
20 Snow Bird or Spring Break License Plates from different States or Canada

Twenty out-of-state plates in 10+ miles….new record for me.  Only one from Canada, only one from an RV and that was in the Flying J.  Yes, I have made the plate numbers/letter obscure (except for the 18 wheeler) because “momma and daddy” might not have known exactly where their college student spent Spring Break….which I think was the bulk of these plates, at least 2/3rds of them in my opinion.

Idiot hidding their plate
Some fools just need to busted….so IF this was a spring breaker, and it IS your kid, tell them you can’t obscure the plates!

Flying J, exit 285    Flying J, exit 285

The Flying J was just packed….I was surprised to get right into an RV pump after an idiot in a four wheel SUV from Georgia got through at the RV pumps (no, he did not have a trailer …. it was just a SUV.)  The picture to the right is the line that formed while we pumped….two islands going and there were now backed up two deep.  I didn’t even get to go inside to get some coffee!  Oh well, Marcia’s brother took care of that hours later when we finally arrived to his house.

Fountain near Mount Dora

Although it is shorter distance to go through Tampa and Orlando, we always go through Mount Dora, the northern route.  Today I wondered if we made a mistake or not…until I heard on the radio that I-4 was packed with many slow downs.  I should have headed over to a side highway earlier than I did, but around Dade City we did…finally getting on 301 north, and everything was easy from then on.  After getting gas at Flying J the Interstate did open up…just to get all clogged up again, and the Dade City exit was there staring at my face…good choice, although it took us on some county roads for a bit.   So a 3 1/2 hour trip too us an extra 90 minutes or so.  But it is nice to be back on the road again…Tuesday we head back to the condo for one night to get the final stuff we left there, attend church Wednesday night, and then we will off and going…surely staying at that rest area the first night, or the next one down the highway. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Year Later, Remembering the FIRE

2014 Storage Fire

March 25th of last year there was a fire in the Storage Facility that our motorhome was parked in.  Of course, the section holding our Jayco Melbourne.  Of course, it was a total loss…..

Jayco before the fire

Here we are tucked ‘safely’ (or so we thought) in parking place C-1, next to this nice class C.  Sometimes I backed it in, as I did here, sometimes I parked straight in, as it was on that fateful night.

Jayco after the fire   Jayco after the fire

The picture to the left was looking through site B-1 to the front of our now demolished home on wheels.  The picture on the right is the view from outside C-1.  Remember that beautiful Class A we were parked next to?  Now it is hard to make out ours from theirs.  Frankly, there is was more of theirs left than ours….from the rear ours was nearly all ashes at this point.  I can still remember that feeling in my gut that day when I took these pictures just by looking at these pictures. 

Dynamax Isata along Arkansas River, Little Rock

Although this was a BIG setback, we replaced the Jayco with a Dynamax Isata.  Here it is back in October parked at a RV park along the Arkansas River near Little Rock.  The Dynamax is four feet shorter, so it is easier to drive and maneuver. Being smaller, we have to be smarter in what we take and how we take it.  This year we are planning to go to Alaska, which was our planned trip for 2014 until the fire.  To prepare for it, I have redone the pantry, which will be a huge improvement on how and where we can store things now.  We got rid of our short couch, and now have real nice La-Z-Boy recliners.  I have also added some small storage nets to hold some of our small items….one next to each recliner, one over the driver/passenger seats, and one next to the entry steps.  I also arranged the one storage bin which holds stuff, since the other two hold the sewer hoses while the other holds the electrical cords and hoses. 

Dynamax Isata north of Albuquerque

Above we were parked just north of Albuquerque where we enjoyed the opening day of the annual Balloon Festival.  So far our little Dynamax has been in 16 states, and we have really enjoyed it.  This year’s trip to Alaska is our ultimate trip…but we have enjoyed each of the three years we have traveled already. 

Portland Rose Garden, 2012

In Portland back in 2012 we visited the Rose Garden.  We knew that along with the roses, comes thorns….

Portland Rose Garden, 2012

….and sometimes bees.  Roses are pretty, the smell is beyond words, but what comes with them are thorns and stingers.   You just got to take the bad with the good sometimes…..and how you handle the bad many times determines just how much you appreciate the good.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Madness, Nearly Sadness, Surely Insaneness

MarchMadness

Yes, it is “that time” again….March Madness.  This year, as we have for many of the past ten years, my kids and I fill out our “brackets” at cbssports.com, and then we follow, the best our busy lives can, the results of the games.  However, there is one thing we all try to do….and that is to watch Arkansas Razorbacks “if” they make it to the big dance….and this year they were second in the SEC, and they played last night.

qualls

Although it was not a “good game”, in fact it was a pretty ugly game which included a shoe being tossed out on the court, it is ALWAYS GREAT when Arkansas wins…and they did pull out the big “W”….but it could have gone the other way, which would have made this a much sadder blog.  Above is on of their players, Michael Qualls, who had a few good dunks.  (Picture was cropped from a “gettyimages” and is shown here purely for educational purposes.)  I am hoping that they have one more good game left in them….one or two of the kids hope they have a few more good games in them.  The way they looked last night, I think we will all be wrong unless they get a fire lite under their feet.


cbs

Above is the current “score card” as of 4 pm eastern time Friday.  I am highlighted in orange.  We have a complicated scoring system which rewards one for picking a underdog team.  As is typical at this stage of the game, I have the lead….but by Sunday I expect the lead will have changed hands….because my picks tend to be fairly conservative.  One thing three of us have is Kentucky as the overall winner, while my youngest son Ryan thinks it will be Wisconsin.  Always a good time.

White Heron, Crystal Beach, Fl

On Monday while Marcia was at Bible Study, I got a few more pictures down at Crystal Beach.  This White Heron was just walking along looking for a good place to rest.

Kayakers, Crystal Beach, Fl    Kayakers, Crystal Beach, Fl

I saw these folks come out from the other side of the small wharf (shown in previous blogs), and wondered if they were headed o the other side…about twenty minutes later I took the second shot and they were getting close to the beach on Honeymoon Island. 

Osprey, near Holiday, Florida

This time of year the Osprey are watching over their nests, and if you look, you can see these nest scattered all over the place.  Seen some Bald Eagles too, but not while the camera was handy…

HHR full trunk

Next week the “packing up” will be in full force mode.  So far this week I have finished up a few small items with the motorhome, including getting the oil changed, and the back of the HHR is ready to go with the GoGO, hand cleaning gel (orange bottle), ladder (under the checkered blanket to keep the rattles down) the HHR – RV lights (box just beyond the GoGo seat) and the air compressor for emergency tire refilling (you can just see the blue hose beyond the checkered blanket).  That’s a lot to take in the HHR, and no mention about the storage area under the platform that the GoGo and everything is sitting on….under there we have our two Safety Lighted Collapsible Traffic Cones, an atlas, and a few other odds and ends.  Amazingly insane how much you can get into such a small space.

Sewer Project = Sink Holes, Holiday Florida

Speaking of “insane”, I have not given an update to the sewer project along the street in front of our Condo Community lately…..this is the project which has caused, un-officially of course, around four sink holes in the area, but none in our Condo Community.  Above is what it looks like just outside the driveway entrance to the Condo Community.  When we first got here in October, the work was to the right of the entrance….they have progressed to the entrance and to the left of the entrance.

Sewer Project = Sink Holes, Holiday Florida

Here is the road to the right, our main road to the rest of “humanity”….it is bumpy, dirty, dusty, but finally open.  When we were forced to turn left, that added a good 5-10 minutes to anywhere we were going.

Sewer Project = Sink Holes, Holiday Florida

This is the main sewer pump station, the one which, when they were digging the hole to place the pump station down into, they found lots of water, and in pumping out that water with a four inch (perhaps five) hose, it pumped a bunch of water out, leaving underground holes which caved in…hence, sink holes.  They seem to have most of the pump station ready, and are putting up the brick wall to “hide” from everyone’s eyes…. also covering up a portion of the Condo’s pretty wall.
The insanity of this “might” be done when we get back in December…..Marcia thinks not….I just don’t know.  Perhaps the entire road will get swallowed up by another giant sink hole…..

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sometimes it only takes ONE

Skruffy at Crystal Beach

On Monday Skruffy and I went t Crystal Beach, which is between where our church is (we had dropped Marcia off for her weekly woman’s bible study) and our motorhome where I was doing another battery check-up.  With the mild weather we had over the weekend, the battery was fine because I had everything turned off.  After Skruffy’s little run around, we got in the car, sat back listening to the radio, and after awhile I spotted a pelican out in the water that I just had to get a shot of.  See in the picture above that white truck?  All I had to do was pull in right along those logs, roll down the passenger window, and I had a clear shot of him.  So that’s just what I did……Got out the car camera (old camera), lined up the shot, got zoomed in all the way on him, and OH NO!  He is going to fly away!!!!   SHOOT!!!    So that’s what I did….

Pelican at Crystal Beach

I only got ONE SHOT, and that is all it took.   Sometimes, it only takes one…..

chores

The rest of the week was filled with getting a few chores done, a visit from Marcia’s brother Dean and his wife Caryl, and a trip to Momma Marias for lunch, and after agonizing for years…..I finally bit the bullet and made my deal with the devil …. better known as….
Facebook

Yep, FACEBOOK….

I have resisted and resisted publicly getting on Facebook, using Facebook, trying to like Facebook.  I just find it so intrusive in a way, yet so useful in another way.  I like being able to communicate easily with the many relatives and old friends who are on and use Facebook.  I hate it when I get a notice that says, “so and so ‘liked’ this posting they saw….and it is about, well, if you are on Facebook, you know the many things that it might be about.  I don’t mind getting the posts that my “friends” share, but I don’t need to see all or any of the things they “like”.  Yes, I know, the more I tell Facebook that I don’t want to see these things, the fewer they will happen…except I find that Facebook just moves to another person and tries to shove their “likes” down my throat. 

facebook1

So I decided that setting up a Facebook page would be a good way to remind people of our blog, especially since we are headed to Alaska this year….we will have lots to share.

facebook2

And in order to set up a GoingRvWay facebook page, you have to be a individual user of Facebook.  Above are shot of my Facebook page, and our GoingRvWay Facebook page.  Clicking on each picture will take you to the corresponding page.   “IF” I set this up right, when I post to our blog, it will automatically post a small blurb to the GoingRvWay Facebook page.  If one follows that page, the blurb will show up on that users Facebook ‘Home Page’, where you see all the stuff people you follow post.  

twitter

I also set up a Twitter Page, where a blurb of a blog post will “tweet away” so that those who set up their twitter page correctly, will get a “tweet” about us posting on our blog.  Again, click on the twitter picture above and it will take you to the twitter page.

time

Time is clicking away….we leave in 18 days.  We are pondering loading up and heading over to Dean and Caryl’s after church on Sunday, coming back Tuesday and getting anything we forgot, do some last loads of laundry, and head out for good after church on Wednesday.  The only thing that is concrete is the leaving on Wednesday after church…if we can wait that long.  Winking smile

Saturday, March 7, 2015

25 Days, Less an Hour, to Alaska Trip

Clock

You either Love it, or Hate it…..I hate it.  I would like the time to just stay on one or the other, this twice a year change is really, uhhhh, (watch how you put this Dave), uhhh, ok, revert to Greek,  SKATA!

motorhome
I’ll just have to keep focused on our Trip to Alaska…..leaving these lower 48 states, 47 of which I have been to before, and head up through two Canadian Provinces (neither of which either of us have been to before), and into Alaska which will be my 48th state.
grad 
But first we need to get out to California for my son’s graduation from Cal where he will have earned a Masters in Public Policy, and, crossing our fingers, he might have a job lined up with the City of San Francisco, AND, we will get to meet his girl friend….another first because I have not met her before.
mexicanglasses
Before that we will be going through Yuma because I need new glasses, and we have a few people to visit along the way too.  By May 20th, give or take a few days, we will leave the Sacramento area and head up I-5.

Storage Bin, Dynamax Isata     Storage Bin, Dynamax Isata 

Storage Bin, Dynamax Isata

It took me a year to decide how I wanted to store things in the one storage space we have underneath that isn’t dedicated to sewer or to utilities hookups.  I got these blue sorting boxes in a few weeks ago and sorted nearly everything out.  In that green/black bag is my tools, so I still am looking for a tool bag (not box).

Skruffy

Skruffy was looking, how do you say it, oh ya….looking Scruffy.

Skruffy

Now that’s better….but I don’t know why I got that giraffe in such a position, it was not planned that way…..

Skruffy   Skruffy At Computer

Above left is how she looked when I first got her in 2009, and above right is how she looked when we left Pine Bluff back in 2012.

Skruffy
Much, much better…..but it doesn’t last long, so I guess keeping the name the guys at the construction company gave her when she was “rescued” so many years ago hasn’t been so bad after all.
FixIt
So besides doing a few other fixes, and buying essentials from Amazon (Wounded Warrior must love us since they benefit from our purchases), we have another 25 days before we leave our Condo.  Marcia wanted to pack last week, but I have put that off until we are within two weeks of leaving.  So far, so Good.  Winking smile

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