Monday, November 30, 2015
We settled into the life in The Villages. Tom has been playing golf on Tuesday mornings. We have joined a Segway Club that has monthly Segway rides at various locations. We belong to a club for former residents in the Mid-Atlantic region of the country. The village we live in is St. Charles which has a social club that we have joined. We occasionally go to a town square in the evenings for the entertainment. And we enjoy eating out at the many restaurants in this area.
But we also soon realized that we needed to get away for a bit in the motorhome. We loaded up last Tuesday, November 24th, and drove to Palm Harbor to BayAire Campground to spend 5 days over Thanksgiving. Palm Harbor is on the Gulf coast of Florida. Tuesday (24th) we had a late lunch at Ozona Blue restaurant which served a wonderful seafood pasta dish that was loaded with shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams and grouper. Wednesday we went to Tarpon Springs and walked through many of the shops in the area of the Sponge boats. We had another good meal at Mama's restaurant of grouper prepared in a Greek style. Thursday, Thanksgiving, we drove to Clearwater and stopped at beaches along the way. Our Thanksgiving meal was at Crabby Bill's, another seafood meal. Friday we went to a park between Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs called Sunset Point which had a nice beach that we walked along and then we had a picnic lunch with sandwiches from Subway. On Saturday we again went to Tarpon Springs for an Arts and Craft show and then to the Sponge piers. We took a 2 hour dolphin boat tour that went to Anchor Island, a state park island. We did see a couple dolphins as well as birds- ospreys, bald eagles and others. We went with a Mexican lunch on this day. Sunday we left Palm Harbor driving the motorhome to Wildwood to spend the night since the storage lot that the motorhome is stored is not accessible on weekends. Monday we drove to the storage lot to park the motorhome and then returned to home.
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
Saturday morning was still a little chilly but we had breakfast outdoors. Breakfast consisted of coffee cake that I made, English muffins, boiled eggs and fruit salad. Tom and I rode into Ocean City but it was too breezy and cold to walk much further than Thrashers for French fries. For dinner we all went to Waterman's seafood restaurant.
Sunday morning was a warmer morning and we again ate outside. Breakfast on this day was pot luck, always a good variety of food. After breakfast the other campers packed up to go back home. Tom and I remained behind, we were not leaving until Tuesday. We left the campground and drove to Assateague National Seashore. A very nice day with pleasant temperatures. We did see several of the wild horses that this area is famous for.
Monday was another really nice day. We returned to Ocean City and was able to enjoy walking on the boardwalk. We drove into Berlin to have lunch at the old Berlin hotel. We ate outside on the porch and watched the traffic manipulating about the narrow streets of this old town. For lunc we both had the same- Maryland crab soup (not the best, overpowering tomato flavor, little crab) and fish tacos with grouper fish which were very good. Avocado chips were served with the tacos and were too good.
Tuesday morning we gathered up and departed for home. We got home about 1pm and after getting the motorhome in the driveway we went for a bit of lunch. Since this was May 5th, Cinco de Mayo, we went to Gettysburg to a favorite Mexican restaurant, Montezuma's. A good extended weekend.
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
Sunday morning we were underway again about 9 am. We found this route of travel had lots of truck traffic, a few congested areas around cities but not quite as the congestion that starts in Richmond, Va. and extends up through the D.C. suburbs into Md. This night we spent camped at Candy Hill Campground in Winchester, Va., 312 miles closer to home. The farther north we traveled the drearier, trees still looked dormant and grass had not gotten green. We had a back-in site but for $13.00 more we could have had a pull through with patio furniture and a grill (like in 40 degree temperatures we were going to be outside). Since we unhooked the car in order to back in we did go out to eat in a nice Mexican restaurant.
Monday morning, Tom dumped the holding tanks so we didn't leave until 9:35am. We were home by 11:15am, 84 miles more. Everything seemed in order with the house and the "For Sale" sign remains in place. Still hoping for a buyer to come along and for spring to come. This day was a little warmer getting into the 60's.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
After a night of rain showers we awoke this morning to cloudy skies but no rain as we prepared to leave Florida heading for home. As we traveled north on I-75, east on US 301 to I-10 and then picking up I-95 we had intermittent showers of rain. The traffic on I-95 was heavy but moved well until we crossed into the state of South Carolina where we had slow moving, stop and go traffic for about 20 miles. We did stop to eat lunch in the Welcome Center as we entered Georgia. We stopped for the night in Yemassee, S,C. after 306 miles. We are in another Encore park, The Oaks at Point South and what a muddy, muddy mess. Equity Life Styles is the company that owns Encore Parks and Thousand Trails membership parks. This trip has shown us that this company does nothing for these campgrounds. We encountered muddy conditions in Wildwood, Wauchula and now here. If the mud wasn’t here the numerous pot holes in the roadways would still be present. The membership, which has a yearly fee, at Thousand Trail campgrounds allows us to camp free and we are given a discount at the Encore parks. With the discount this park is costing us $25.00 plus some change- $4.00 is added for resort fee- to stay in a muddy mess!! We look forward to being able to opt out of this organization. The one positive feature at this campground was on Friday evenings Ray’s Barbecue brings dinners to the campground. We had the pulled pork with baked beans and potato salad – very good for $7.00 a plate.
Monday, March 23rd was a rainy day so we decided to go to a movie. We went to the theater in the Spanish Springs Square. When we parked a car parked behind us had the motor running and wind shield wipers going but no one was in the car. When returning to the car after the movie the same car still was running with the wipers going and, by this time, the rain had stopped and sun was shining. Tom looked in the car to be sure no one was in there, tried the door which was unlocked and pushed a stop button to turn off the car. The movie we saw was a documentary film called “The Wrecking Crew” about the studio musicians that were used during the 50’s and 60’s for many of the singers of that era.
Tuesday (24th) we spent time on this day shopping in the Brownwood and Lake Sumter Landing squares. There are some neat shops in these squares, some are expensive and some more reasonable. Russell Stover candy store is close to our campground so we stopped there to pick up some candies for Easter. We were preparing for our return to Maryland.
Wednesday (25th) we drove west to Crystal River to rent kayaks and travel on the Crystal River to the Three Sisters Springs area. Manatees are real popular in this area in the winter. At this time most of the manatees have moved out in the gulf. No boats are allowed in the Three Sisters Springs until after March 30 but we could skirt along the edges of the Springs and out into Kings Bay. We saw one manatee in King’s Bay that had a tracking sensor attached. The water in the Crystal River is very clear that the river bottom is visible and a constant 72 degrees but the bay is not as clear so if there were other manatees in that area we were unable to see them. After about 1 1/2 hours we returned the kayaks. Clouds were heavy all morning and finally clearing out about mid afternoon. After kayaking we drove to Fort Island Beach to eat our picnic lunch but the bugs (no-see-ems) were so bad that we soon left and went to Hunter’s Spring Park in Crystal River (town) to eat our lunch. Hunter’s Spring Park seemed to be a popular spot for families and kids on spring break. A very pretty park that had a beach.
Thursday (26th) our last day before heading toward home. Since rain is expected tonight and tomorrow we started getting ready for leaving tomorrow. We again have been parked under trees that have dropped leaves and blossoms on the roof and awnings so Tom worked on getting this stuff cleaned off the motorhome. I did laundry and cleaning inside. At 1:30pm we drove into The Villages to have lunch with friends, Bruce and Cricket McGinnis and Anni and Jeff Albert at Toojay Deli. Sadly, we bid farewell to our friends with hopes of being able to return here permanently one day.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Saturday (21st) we went to the Farmer's Market in Brownwood Square again this week. Like last week the square had vendors around the perimeter and it was quite busy. For lunch we stopped at a barbecue restaurant, Burke's, which proved to be a good eating place. In the evening, we went back to Brownwood Square to see the evening entertainment, Scooter the DJ. Scooter is a very popular entertainer. The square was jam packed with people and the area for dancing was equally packed. Scooter is not just a DJ, he dons wigs and acts out songs, gives direction for doing various line dances and keeps the crowd moving and laughing.
Sunday (22nd) we drove south toward Clermont to Lakeridge Winery for their Seafood Festival. And this place was crowded. We did take chairs along but had a difficult time finding a place to set them up. There was a big variety of seafood available, mostly fried. We did get some fish, scallops and shrimp and then sat eating and listening to the music that was being performed. Vendors were also selling crafts and such and, of course, wine was being sold. Leaving there we headed back to the campground making a stop at Wendy's for a couple of frosties. It was a very warm, upper 80's, day.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Saturday, March 14th, we drove to the square at Brownwood in The Villages for the weekly Farmer’s Market. The entire square was lined with vendors, not all fresh produce. We had to get some of those Florida strawberries that are in season now. A Golf Fest was being held in The Villages that Tom attended while I stayed back at the campground.
Sunday, 15th, we stopped at 3 of the numerous open houses in The Villages. Everyday there are open houses of all price ranges and models in The Villages. Moving on we went to Leesburg for the Art Festival that was being held there. We received a text message from Cricket McGinnis, a friend that lives in The Villages with her husband Bruce, asking about meeting for dinner about 4pm. So we went to The Villages again to have dinner with Bruce and Cricket and other friends of theirs Pat and Bill at Sonny’s Barbecue restaurant. After dinner we all went to Sumter Landing Square for the evening entertainment.
Monday, 16th, we went to an early showing of the movie “Still Alice” and then ate a midafternoon dinner. In the evening we again went to The Villages (Brownwood Square) for the evening entertainment. A male and female singers called C 2 (C square) were performing and had been highly recommended by Bruce and Cricket. We were not disappointed, they were very good singers.
Tuesday. 17th, we drove to Spanish Springs in The Villages as there was going to be big goings on here today for St Patrick’s Day. We had lunch of corned beef and cabbage at Toojay’s Deli which was really good.
Wednesday, 18th, we went to Silver Springs State Park. We had been here several years before when this was privately operated. In 2013 this park became state operated. The glass bottomed boats remain and we took the 30 minute tour on the Silver River. The jeep tours and animals that had been here are no longer here. The state plans to keep this in a natural condition with native plants. There are kayak and canoe rentals available.
Thursday, 19th, after breakfast at Waffle’s and then to the grocery store was a stay at home day. Cleaning, laundry and cooking dinner (yes I cook now and then). The weather has been warm(80 plus degrees) all week with bright sunny skies
Friday, March 13, 2015
Sunday, March 8th, was a leisure day spent at the campground. We walk at least once a day around this campground and sometimes, like on this day, we walk the perimeter twice. We also do a lot of reading. Tom and I both have e-readers and spend time reading. We did carry books with us but find e-readers much better. There are web sites that list books for e-readers for free to $2.99 daily and I have found most are pretty good.
Monday, 9th, we went out to lunch at Tropical Pollo. I had a chicken Tropi-bowl which consisted of rice, beans, tomatoes, onions and chicken served in a bowl. Tom had a barbecued chicken meal. A variety of sauces are available to add to the food. We thought it was good. We then stopped to pick up a few items at Wal-Mart. When we returned to the campground we were given a paper at the entry gate saying that there was a problem with electric being out in the park which also caused a problem with the water. And wouldn’t you know it this was a hot, upper 80’s, day. Thankfully, we did have about 1/3 of a tank of water on board. We did run the generator for a little while but cut it off as it cooled in the evening. About 10pm the electric finally came back on but the water situation was that the water would need to be boiled until declared safe. Since we were leaving in the morning Tom disconnected the water and we just used from the tank and drank bottled water. These Thousand Trail parks are so in need of up grading but obviously like most of these membership deals money is not funded for such.
Tuesday, 10th, we moved to Tavares, 33 miles away, to Fisherman’s Cove Campground. We had wanted to go to the Thousand Trails Campground in Wildwood but could not get in until Friday. This campground was a Passport park so for $58.50 we had 3 nights of camping. This is a nice park situated on a hill. Our site was on the top of the hill, nice and level with 50 amp electric. After setting up our campsite we drove to Mt. Dora, a short distance away. We had lunch at the Bavarian House, a German restaurant, and then walked about the town stopping in the shops along the way.
Wednesday, 11th, we decided to check out the town of Tavares. Tavares is located by a lake and is called “Seaplane City of America”. There is a real nice city park along the lake that we strolled about and watched a seaplane take off. We ate at Al’s Landing along the lake on an outdoor patio. Nice 80 plus temperatures. While eating, a city policeman drove into the parking area next to the lake and took a 2-3foot alligator out of his car and put the gator in the lake. And then a seaplane pilot that landed his plane on the lake brought the plane up the boat ramp onto the parking lot.
Thursday, 12th, was another day that we stayed in the campground with nothing to write about.
Friday,13th, we moved 27 miles to Three Flags RV Resort, another Thousand Trails park that we were at 2 months ago in January. This park is close to The Villages. We plan to be here for 2 weeks and then start our travels north. When we left this park in January there were some sites that were extremely muddy and those areas are still quite muddy. Luckily, our site is not in that muddy area but, unfortunately, we are under trees that block our TV signal. We can live with that problem better than mud and being hung up when we need to leave. We did go into Wildwood for lunch at Beef O’Brady’s, a popular sports bar here in Florida- good burgers and such. I had fish tacos that were very good and Tom had a burger. In the evening we had a shower of rain which this campground certainly does not need.
Saturday, March 07, 2015
Monday, March 2, we drove south to Lake Wales. When we moved from Wauchula last week we passed through this area and saw “Florida Naturals” orange juice packaging plant and a bill board advertising a visitor’s center. So we decided to go back there to the visitor’s center. We had hoped to have a factory tour but that was not the case. There was a 15 or 20 minute movie shown every half hour. Disappointingly, only a very short segment showed the processing and packaging of orange juice. Most of the film dealt with the growing and picking of the oranges. Leaving this visitor’s center we drove to Chalet Suzanne located along the Lake Wales. Presently, this old restaurant/inn is closed and is being sold. We did drive around the town of Lake Wales and then had lunch at Chili’s.
Tuesday (3/3) we did not do much except go to Bahama Breeze in Kissimmee for lunch. It was such a beautiful day that we were able to eat on the outside patio.
Wednesday (3/4) we went to the Sanford Orlando Kennel Club for greyhound dog races. We opted to go to the clubhouse where we were able to have lunch and watch the races. We had a fun day placing bets not really knowing what we were doing. Of course, we did not make any big bets and we lost some and won less but it was a good time.
Thursday (3/5) Tom took the Jeep out to a lube place to have it serviced while I stayed back at the campground. The day was warm in the 80’s here in Florida as we were hearing about a major snow storm hitting Maryland (about 10 inches of snow).
Friday (3/6) the weather had changed during the night as we woke to cooler temperatures and clouds. The temperature did not reach 60 degrees today. We went to the movies to see “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”. A real enjoyable movie with characters of our age group. On the first Friday of the month the town of Clermont has “First Friday Truck Food” that we thought we would check out. A variety of restaurants park their kitchen equipped “trucks” along blocked off streets and sell food. (The variety of food changes each month) Music is also performed in the area along with vendors selling crafts and such. On this evening there were Venezuelan, Portuguese, Hawaiian hot dogs, cupcakes, gelato and other foods offered. We had a Venezuelan dish of rice, black beans, pulled beef topped with cheese and cilantro. We attempted to eat at outside picnic tables but it became windy and began to sprinkle rain so we retreated to the Jeep where it was warmer and dryer. Returning to the campground we stopped at the activities center for the entertainment of “Then and Now”, a couple that performed a variety of music. A full and fun day!
Saturday (3/7) we drove north to Leesburg to go to a “New Home and Remodeling Show” at the armory. It was a small show. Nearby there was a farmer’s market in the downtown that we walked about. Like lots of downtowns there were quite a few vacant stores. Driving back to the campground we ate lunch in Clermont at “Ay Jalisco”, Mexican, of course.
Sunday, March 01, 2015
Friday, February 27th, was a cold, cloudy day for Florida. Temperatures did not get out of the 50’s and it was breezy. We started to walk and needed to come back to the motorhome to get warmer clothes before continuing with the walk.
Saturday was another day of miserable weather. We woke up to rain and the rain continued all day, although it was warmer than the previous day (60’s). We had purchased tickets for the Kevin Costner and Modern West concert at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City that was scheduled for 7:30pm. Since Plant City is west of our location we were hoping that the rain would be stopping in that area in time for the concert. We left the motorhome about 3pm. We went to a restaurant in Kissimmee, Chuy’s, for an early dinner before heading to Plant City. The rain continued through our travels but after getting to Plant City and parking the rain slacked off. We walked about the grounds in rain coats checking our the numerous vendors. A must do at this festival is to get strawberry shortcake. After paying $4.00 each we went through a line getting a dish with a choice of cake or biscuit (we choose the biscuit) and continuing huge bowls of sliced strawberries and whipped cream are set out for everyone to serve themselves and then a whole strawberry is plopped on the top. The concert stadium was totally outdoors. As we entered the stadium we were given some paper towels to dry off the seats. We had also brought seat cushions along. The concert started with clips of Kevin Costner’s movies shown on jumbotron screens. Kevin Costner and Modern West performed for about an hour and half with Costner singing and playing the guitar. All songs were originals except for the last one. He is not the best singer but he is a good entertainer. The rain held off until near the end when there were some sprinkles. All in all it was a good concert. Driving back to the campground we encountered rain most of the way back.
Sunday, March 1, stared out being another cloudy day but became clearer during the afternoon. It was also much warmer with temperatures reaching the 80’s. We spent most of the day in the campground. We did go out for lunch at the Crooked Spoon which calls itself a “gastropub”- fare was salads, sandwiches and limited entrees. Food was good but we thought expensive – $12.00 for burger served with chips.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
On Sunday, February 22nd, we drove eastward to Okeechobee. Years ago when we first started traveling in a motorhome we had met Ray and Agnes Elderd at a Newmar rally. Over the years we have other memorable encounters with this couple. Ray and Agnes live in West Palm Beach when not on the road so Okeechobee was a halfway point for a meeting and lunch.
Monday morning we struck out toward the west coast to the town of Anna Maria. This is a resort town on the Gulf. We parked along the beach and walked around the area going on the pier and then visiting shops. Surprising, the weather in Wauchula was warm and sunny but along the Gulf there were low hanging clouds keeping the air cool. We ate lunch at a restaurant, Sandbar, which was quite busy and, apparently, very popular. After returning to the campground in the evening we went to the campground office building that has a nice porch where we visited with Buddy and Joan Redman, friends from Maryland. Buddy and Joan overlapped a few days with us while we were in Orlando Thousand Trails and now our paths were crossing once again. We had all been so busy that this was the first opportunity to get together. We did have to call it a night when Joan and I started feeling that we were being eaten up by mosquitos.
Tuesday morning was moving day for us as our 2 weeks at Peace River Thousand Trails was up. We moved back to the Orlando area but since we were unable to get into the Thousand Trails park until Wednesday we had reserved a site for 1 night at Lake Magic Encore park. We got to the park about noon and with a pull through site we did not disconnect the Jeep from the motorhome. It was warm but cloudy with a few showers.
Wednesday morning we left Lake Magic to travel a short 5 miles to Orlando Thousand Trails and got there before 9am. We were told that this park was booked full for the month of March so we wanted to be early to get a good site. There is an area in particular in this park that has RVs packed together which we hoped to avoid if possible. Tom checked in and was told to drive around to find a site and then return to inform the office of the site. The last time we had been assigned a site. Tom decided to get our propane topped off before seeking a site so while he was doing that I walked up to the entry gate to see if I could get a list of the sites that had been vacated this morning. The person in the gatehouse had left but a motorhome was leaving and I asked them where their site had been. It was I-52. So looking on the map we saw where it was located and it was one of the limited 50 amp sites. We made our way to the area and got our motorhome parked. We had not eaten breakfast so we drove back to the office to report on our site choice and then on to Denny’s. (Now this park is a membership park which we pay yearly fees and are then to be able to camp in these parks without any costs. When Tom informed the office that we were in site I-52 he was told that there was a charge of $3.00 per day for 50 amp service in this area but the office staff said they didn’t know why. There is 50 amp service in other locations in the park but no fee is charged there. Of course, we could move after being set-up on this site, if we wanted, but again we would need to drive around to find something. The fee was paid and we will remain on this site. Later in the evening Tom was told by some other residents here that this area is a newer section and this fee is charged to recover the cost of the 50 amp service. What a crock!! We are so looking forward to getting out of this membership which is another story.) Oh my, those mosquito bites from Monday evening have been driving me wild with the itching. I have more than 20 welts on one leg. Tom has a couple but nothing like what I have. I also found a “Great Clips” to get a well needed haircut.
Thursday morning about 6am we heard a loud crack of thunder and then a heavy downpour of rain for a few minutes. A cold front had moved through with the temperatures only getting up to the high 60’s- still better than the snow falling north of here. I received a message from Joan that she also is suffering from the mosquito bites. We went to the movies in the middle of the day and saw “McFarland, USA” with Kevin Costner, a real heartwarming movie. We then went to our favorite barbecue restaurant in this area, Oakwood Smokehouse, for a late lunch.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
The temperature really dropped during the night and Friday morning we had a showing of 29 degrees. Still not as bad as what the weather is in Maryland with temperatures near 0 degrees along with wind. Again the sun was shining brightly and the temperature did get close to 70 degrees. The cold period was said to be over for this time and we are hoping for this winter. We went to Solomon's Castle about 20 miles away near Ona, Florida. Solomon is the creator of this castle structure.
When we arrived back to the motor home a notice had been taped to our door about a water break in the campground that had been repaired but we were advised not to drink the water or wash dishes and such for several days. So we made a run to the store to obtain a few gallons of water and some additional bottles of water. Returning to the campground we saw a notice reminding us of a program on this evening with the "Old Pro", a magician. So we went to see this show. It was something to do and the kids really got a kick out of the show.
Saturday (21st) was a much warmer day but not as sunny, thick clouds covered the sky much of the day. We drove to Winter Haven stopping at "Tijuana Flats" for a late lunch. Cypress Gardens, a popular attraction, was at one time in this area. It has since been replaced by an amusement park, Legoland. We did not go to Legoland- that will be saved for sometime when we have grandkids. It is nice to drive around to see changes but I must say I feel some sadness that Cypress Gardens are no longer.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
The warm temperatures continued through Monday. We visited friends in Live Oak campground south of Arcadia in the afternoon. There are 3 couples that we know from our Maryland camping club, Traveling Americans, that spend their winters in this park- John and Judy Rush, Buck and Pat Miles and Bob and Dottie Daniels. We all congregated by the Rush's campsite and had an enjoyable afternoon catching up on our lives. John and Judy have adopted a new dog since being down here so we got to meet "Prince Charles". Tom won second place at Texas Hold'em.
Tuesday we drove east to the town of Sebring. We stopped at the Road Course track and watched as several sports cars were racing about the track. A little noisy but those cars were really speeding through the track.
The rain continued during the night but by Wednesday morning the sun was shining. A cold front is again moving down into the area keeping the temperatures in the low 60's. Don't know what happened to us but we did not get up until almost 10am. We have never stayed in bed that late but then we hadn't planned on doing much today. Tonight it is predicted to be cold for this area. We are not complaining as the weather at home has been really cold (low digit temperatures).
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Sunday was spent at the campground not doing anything exciting. Monday we again went to the Webster Flea Market buying some fresh produce including strawberries. Before returning to the campground we stopped in Clermont for lunch at a Mexican restaurant which we thought was very good. The clouds were heavy in the morning and then in the afternoon and through the night the rain poured.
Tuesday morning the rain had stopped and we were making a move a little further to the south to Zolfo Springs, Thousand Trails Peace River Park, about 70 miles. We had been to this park years ago but at that time it was not a Thousand Trails park. This park operates what they refer to as a "sewer lottery". Part of the park lays so low that it is often flooded so sewer cannot be installed in this area. As one comes into the park you have to park in an non-sewer site, your name is then placed on a list, at 12 noon daily a list of available sewer sites is displayed, you then need to check out these sites to see if the site can accommodate your rig and then at 1pm names are called in order of the listing and sites are selected. First off we needed to find an non-sewer site which was not an easy task due to the previous rains making the area of most of these sites super saturated and not a place we wanted to park the motorhome. Luckily, a park employee directed Tom to higher ground and a make-sift site in a roadway with water and electric. We quickly parked and then checked out the available sites for the day. Tom was at the drawings for the day and surprising there were still sites available when his name was called but not satisfactory for our motorhome (too much slope). So we remained parked in the roadway for at least one night. Tom played Texas Hold 'em in the evening winning $18.00.
Wednesday we were hanging out waiting to get a permanent site going through the same procedure as on Tuesday. There were more sites available today. We both went to the calling out of the names for the sites and when we were called there was still many good sites available. So we now had a site which we relocated to that had sewer in addition to water and 50 amp electric on dry ground. We were relieved because we felt we could not plan to do anything until we were situated in a permanent site. I made a crock pot of vegetable soup. Tom again played poker on this evening winning $10.00.
Thursday we were free to do as we wished so we took off. We drove south to Arcadia and then northwest to Bradenton then down to Sarasota. We then drove along Gulf Drive, a beautiful drive with the bay on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other side. The water was the beautiful turquoise blue that the Gulf is known for. We drove south to north on a very busy drive and very congested touristy areas up to Bradenton. We did grab lunch at Five Guys before leaving Bradenton.
Friday we did not do much today but go into Wauchula to the grocery store and CVS. We have been hearing all week about a cold front coming through that would bring the coldest temperatures since January 2014. In the evening, the temperatures dropped into the 40's before we went to bed. Up north temperatures in the 40's in the daytime would have been welcomed as the front was causing low temperatures down to 0. We did attend a program in the evening in the campground with the Weaver family. This family group of 4 brothers, 2 sisters and a brother-in-law aged 13 to late 20's performed bluegrass style music of mostly gospel. Entertaining.
Saturday, the 14th, Valentine's Day, started with going out for breakfast at a local diner, Pioneer Restaurant. We then drove south again to Punta Gorda, a very pretty city. We walked about an area called Fisherman's Village that had small interesting shops and a free military museum the was small but had some nice displays and docents that liked to talk about their experiences in the military. Ponce Beach is a beach on the Peace River, the water here was not the pretty color of the Gulf. In Port Charlotte, the Greek Orthodox Church was having a Greek Festival that we stopped at. We did split an order of Greek fried cheese and bought a few of those delicious Greek pastries to take with us. Before leaving Port Charlotte we stopped for a late lunch at Dean's South of the Border Restaurant (Tex-Mex food) that we thought had great food. This morning started out with temperatures in the high 30's but the bright sunshine brought the temperatures up to the low 60's. A nice day to be out and about.
Friday, February 06, 2015
Saturday we went west to Dade City for the annual Kumquat Festival and what a crowd of people. Buddy Redman went along with us as his wife was off on an excursion with her daughter and granddaughter. The streets were lined with vendors on both sides and stuffed with lookers between. A car show was taking place on one of the large parking lots which Tom and Buddy took a gander at. Kumquat pies, made in the fashion of Key Lime pies, were being sold for $20.00 a pie, pricey I thought. Some vendors had sprigs of Kumquats as decoration on their stands but we didn't see any place selling kumquats. On our return we did stop at a barbeque place for lunch rather than eating at the festival while walking around.
Sunday was spent quietly in the campground.
Monday, Disney Village was our destination. Surprise the Village is undergoing some changes mainly with the parking areas. Huge parking garages are being built and parking next to the Village is gone. There is parking across the main street from the Village, also. There is a distance to walk either place of parking. We parked in the garage and had to walk through Pleasure Island to get to the Village. Lego had some new to us Lego sculptures outside. Some of the stores have been made over but otherwise much the same. There were some real heavy clouds and as we made our way toward the parking garage to leave the skies opened up. As the first drops hit us we headed for the first store we came to, to get out of the rain, which was a sunglass store in Pleasure Island. In no time the place was packed with folks seeking refuge. After several minutes of heavy downpouring the rain let up and we made our way to the car. Don Pablo's, a Mexican restaurant, was our next stop for lunch. This restaurant is on International Drive and has been a favorite of ours in this area.
Tuesday we went to a nearby Wendy's for lunch and then to the movies. "Black or White" was the movie that we saw for $6.00 a person, a special Tuesday price. We noticed today that gas prices are jumping up. No longer are the prices below $2.00 as the jump is 10 to 15 cents more per gallon. We knew it wouldn't last.
Wednesday, February 4th, a special day for Tom and I as we celebrated 48 years of marriage. We started the day by going to Bob Evans for breakfast. For dinner we went to a favorite Disney restaurant, Boma, at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We had a little mix up getting to the restaurant as a second lodge is now in that area and the roads have been reconfigured. We did finally get where we wanted to be and had a very nice dinner.
Thursday we spent in the campground. We did receive our medicines that were wrongly routed to our home address, then to Todd and Beth's who had to forward them down here. And Tom finally, we hope, has got my account with OptumRX straightened out so it can be activated with the computer. He has dealt with many techs on their end for the best part of a month. It would appear that the problem was solved but the next time logging in would not allow us to get in and we'd start over with a new tech (reaching the same tech was impossible and apparently, they were not in the same area as they did not know one another). But yesterday, a tech Cindy, made a call to us and finally got the problem solved.
Today, Friday, we are meeting an old friend, George Callender, for lunch. George and his wife, Pat, were camping friends of ours from our days of Newmar Kountry Klub and the Maryland Newmar Club. Sadly, Pat, died a couple years ago after they had moved to Florida. George continues to live down here and we try to see him when in the area.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Wednesday (28th) we walked about the campground trying to figure out the maze. It is really a confusing campground layout with campsites of a multitude of sizes. We do have a very spacious site. Joan and Buddy are squeezed between 2 other RVs. In the evening as I was drawing water from the kitchen faucet the water stopped. Tom went out to check and found that our water pressure regulator was the problem and needed to be replaced. So off to Walmart we went and were able to get a new regulator. Problem solved. Another cool day much like Tuesday. The motorhome warms up well during the day with the bright sun. We leave the heat off all night but by morning it is right chilly (50's) inside so we then turn on our furnaces, jump back in bed and wait for the motorhome to warm up.
Thursday (29th) I did a couple loads of wash this morning and then we went out for lunch at Oakwood Smokehouse in Clermont. We had gone to an Oakwood in Wildwood a couple weeks ago. Oakwood is a favorite barbecue restaurant of ours in Florida. Today we had ribs- good, fall off the bone ribs. Another stop at Walmart for some cleaning supplies and washers for water hoses. And then the last stop at a car wash to get the road dirt off the Jeep. Much warmer day today that we were able to sit outside late this afternoon until about 5pm when it began to cool down. And we are hearing that it is snowing again at home.
Monday, January 26, 2015
Today, Monday, our last day in Wildwood as we will be leaving tomorrow morning for the Orlando area. I did cook dinner today. We had gotten a spaghetti squash at the Farmer's Market on Saturday so I made an spaghetti using the squash. In the afternoon we drove in The Villages to go to the movies to see "American Sniper", a good movie. It has gotten colder (low 60s during the day dropping to 50s at night) here and windy. Not complaining as there is a snow storm hitting home.
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Wednesday, January 14, we awoke to gray skies and the gray cool weather lasted all day. We took off for Tampa to go to the Tampa Super RV Show. The traffic became heavier the closer we got to the fair grounds where the show was being held. The last 5 miles took us nearly an hour. When we did finally get on the grounds we again were held up from getting parked as a motorhome making a right hand turn cut too sharp causing the the back end to go into a ditch. What a sickening sight- 2 tow trucks had arrived to handle the problem. Finally we got into the show which was crowded. There were 2 buildings of vendors along with dealer displays outside. We looked but didn’t buy anything except for hot dogs for lunch.
Thursday was a rainy day. Just what this over saturated campground needed was more rain, right? In the evening we went to The Villages to friends, Bruce and Cricket McGinnis for dinner. Jeff and Anni Alberts were also there. These are friends we have known through our Traveling Americans camping club and through the McGinnis’ we have become interested in the lifestyle at The Villages and our desire to relocate here when we are able to get our house sold. Jeff and Anni have just moved down here as of September but they still have their Maryland house and hoping for a sale on that. We had a nice evening catching up with all and enjoying a wonderful meal.
Friday Tom and I drove about the area. It was a much nicer day with some sunshine but the temperature did not get much above 60 degrees. In the evening we drove into Brownwood Square, a town square in The Villages, where there is entertainment from 5 to 9pm. Rocky and the Rollers were the group performing and they do bring out a crowd. We met up with Jeff and Anni and then somewhat later Bruce and Cricket showed up. Another fun but chilly evening.
Today Saturday, Tom was up early and went to play nine holes of golf with Bruce, Jeff and David Snell, another relocated Marylander. After Tom returned to the motorhome, we drove into The Villages to have lunch at Cody’s, a barbeque type restaurant. We then walked about Sumter Landing town square where the stores were having sidewalk sales. We did purchase some clothing items. It was sunny much of the day with temperatures getting up to the low 70’s
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Today, Tuesday, we were surprised to see some sun shining this morning. We thought according to the weather reports that we may have to pack up in the rain. We were not in a big hurry to move on as we only had a short 24 mile drive to the next campground in Wildwood, Fl. Tom cautiously drove the motorhome out between the 2 trees we were parked behind. It proved much easier going out than backing in. Within a half hour we were at Three Flags Thousand Trails RV Resort and again have been placed in a campsite under trees. So much for satellite TV for the next 2 weeks. After setting up we needed to run to the grocery store for a few items but while we are out we had to get lunch. Oakwood Smokehouse Barbecue Restaurant is a favorite of ours in this area so that is where we stopped first. There are several of these restaurants in this area but today we went to the one in Lady Lakes. The sausage is a favorite of ours so that was our lunch today. Then returning to the campground we stopped for our milk and orange juice at a grocery store in Wildwood. Temperatures have been in low 70's with no rain so far. This campground apparently got saturated yesterday. People pulling out today have left some muddy campsites behind. Fortunately for us, our site is comparatively drier on sandy ground as opposed to grass and mud.
Monday, January 12, 2015
Sumter Oaks Campground is a friendly, neat campground but it lacks some things that we do not like not having. Because of the beautiful southern oak trees our television connection is poor- satellite is impossible and the antenna only picks up a few local channels of which only one is a major network (ABC). Wifi is available but seems to cut off frequently which is one reason the posting of this blog has not been as regular as I usually try to do. We will be moving from here on Tuesday to a campground that is improved in these areas.
Thursday the 8th was a windy cold day. Temps did not get above 50 degrees (still warmer than up north). We did go to the dog show in the morning but did not stay very long. The show was outdoors and with the wind and chill factor not the most pleasant. Most dogs we saw that day were the big breed dogs. Leaving the show we drove into the town of Brooksville looking for a place to get lunch. We saw a restaurant with a full parking lot and thought that was probably a good place for lunch. Florida Cracker Kitchen was not a fancy place but the food was very good. We had burgers which were served with sweet potato chips. Breakfast was also being served during this time and those dishes looked wonderful too.
Friday we returned to Brooksville again for lunch. This time we were disappointed in our meal at a Mexican restaurant called Enchiladas. The food for Mexican was just too bland. After lunch we went to the movies to see "Into The Woods" making for an enjoyable afternoon.
Saturday we stayed in the campground all day. I'm working on a quilt project so I was busy with that along with doing some reading as Tom was doing. In the evening we went to a lounge in the campground rec room to watch the Ravens/Patriots football game. Unfortunately, the Ravens were defeated.
Today, Sunday, we returned to the Florida Cracker Kitchen for breakfast which was every bit as good as we thought it would be. We both had omelets that were served with real fried potatoes. We then drove to Homosassas State Park, a park we had been at several years ago. A boat from a visitor center transports people back to the park. The park cares for Florida native animals that have been injured. There is a hippo, non-native to Florida, that resides in the park. This hippo was here when previous owners had a wild animal park and were unable to find another home for him. Some animals are able to be rehabilitated and released but others are not able to be released so remain for the duration of their lives. There are 4 manatees that will remain here in a secluded area within the Homosassas Spring because of injuries. Because of the recent cold, wild manatees have moved into the spring because of the warmer water temperature. There were estimated to be 70-80 manatees in this area at this time.
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Tuesday, another pretty day in Florida while it was snowing in Maryland, we drove into the town of Bushnell. We needed a couple things from WalMart and the car needed a washing. We also got lunch at the Rojo Coyote Restaurant.
Today, Wednesday (7th), we spent the day in the campground. Our prescription insurance plan changed with the new year so Tom has been on the computer and phone most of the day trying to get everything in line so we are able to order our medications. Some problems still exist but it looks like he is getting closer to getting things lined up. There is a 5th wheel across the road from us that have Westie dogs in a pen. This morning 2 ladies have been out grooming these little dogs. I walked over and talked with them. Both ladies have their own RV and are getting the dogs ready for a dog show nearby that runs Thursday to Sunday this week and the next. One lady has 6 dogs and the other has 7. Perhaps we will have to go to the dog show while we are here. It has been another nice day but is predicted that a change is on the way with colder temperatures by nighttime.
Sunday, January 04, 2015
Christmas has been celebrated with family and friends and now we are heading for warmer winter weather. Friday, January 2, 2015 after loading up the motorhome with the items that we were afraid of freezing and then getting the motorhome out of the driveway we were ready to hit the roads at 9:30am. Our travels to Frederick, Md. and then down toward Virginia where we picked up I-95, the route that we would be traveling to Florida. It was a cold overcast morning. Traffic was lighter and moving well most of the way. A fender-bender accident slowed the traffic at one point but otherwise we moved well through the northern Virginia area above Richmond where traffic can be a nightmare at times. We continued on through Virginia and into North Carolina stopping for the night in Selma, N.C. at 4pm after 339 miles. We spent the night at RVacation RV Park, a park we have been to on other trips.
Saturday morning we were on the road at 8:35am to continue our travels down I-95. As we were traveling south it was evident that we were in a migration of other snowbirds heading for warmer weather. Not only Rv's but cars with licenses from northern states were sharing our route of travel. Traffic moved well through North Carolina. It was in southern South Carolina that we experienced several miles of slow moving traffic. Then in Georgia we moved along well. After 387 miles we stopped for the night in Brunswick, Ga. at 3:45pm. Golden Isle RV Park is just off I-95 and a Passport America park. Reviews on this park were mixed but we decided that for one night we would bite the bullet. We had stayed here years ago but we also know that things change. Actually, we were pleased with this park as it cost $18.90 for the night with P.A. discount and just appears to be an old KOA. And we were pleased that we had gotten to warm weather, in fact, it was very humid making the upper 70 degrees to feel a little uncomfortable especially with our long sleeved shirts and blue jeans. We did go out to a Sonny's barbeque restaurant for dinner. Since our reservations in Florida do not start until Monday we decided to stay here for a second night.
Today, Sunday, we drove to Jekyll Island. This island was first inhabited by an Englishman in the 1700's. There are still remains of this family's house as well as houses of a French family that lived here in the 1800's. This is a beautiful area with southern oak trees covered with Spanish moss and ferns covering the grounds. There is a campground on this island that seemed to be at high occupancy. From Jekyll Island we drove to St. Simon's Island where we had lunch. St. Simon's is a commercialized area unlike the state park that Jekyll Island is. It was warm today although the islands had a rather cool breeze. Clouds covered the sky all day but it wasn't until we returned to the campground this afternoon that the skies opened up for a spell with a shower. Tomorrow we will move on to our destination in Florida. We hear cold temperatures are on their way.