Welcome to our Adventure!

Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Another Two Weeks Gone?

Time is flying by down here where it is warm. I am so glad I'm down here, and not up north where the temperatures are freezing and the windchills obscene!

We finished up our few days At Disney, and I'm happy to report my sister finished her first half marathon, and her husband obtained his "Goofy" medal for doing both the half marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday...Goofy, indeed, but I digress.....:-). Congrats to both of them on a job well done!

Upon our return to Homosassa, we had a family day planned at Crystal River Preserve State Park. We decided to take one of their Ranger-escorted boat trips down the Crystal River to King's Bay. It was very nice!

Up to 24 people are taken on each trip, and they run twice a day on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

This is a "midden", or platform mound found in the Archaeological Park, part of the preserve. 

The area is popular with Bald Eagles, and we saw this huge nest with the presumed occupant watching over it from above.

Ospreys were also hanging around, along with many of the regular shorebirds and wading birds.

Unfortunately it wasn't a bright sunny day, but the scenery is still quite pretty.

We then had lunch at Charlie's Fish House, which was very good and we can give a definite "yes" to anyone in the area who is looking for some good seafood :-).

We also spent a day at the Tampa RV Supershow. Unfortunately, we went on the coldest, wettest day it was running :-(, but still had a good time. We met some blogging friends there, Neil and NancyTom, Marcie Nicholas and Bryce, and met Jim and Dee for the first time. Its so much fun to catch up with folks. We didn't make any purchases, no new trailer, although it wasn't the fault of the salesmen, they tried REALLY hard :-). We did have a long discussion with the Mor-Ryde representative, and depending upon how the repair work goes at Keystone, we are debating an upgrade to the IS suspension and disc brakes. The IS suspension seems like it will be a definite boost in the life expectancy of the trailer,  the disc brakes a definite safety factor. We will keep you all posted on that decision as time goes by.

We were both back at our posts at the  Wildlife Park on Saturday. It was a nice day and we were pretty busy. I'm finding out I really need to learn about all the animals in the park, as folks don't just ask me questions about the panthers :-). I try to remember the questions, and look them up when I get home so I will no if anyone asks me again! One I haven't been able to answer, though, is people ask me if the invasive snakes in The Everglades are a problem to the panthers. I shouldn't think so, except that maybe they are taking away some of their food sources? I'll keep looking. In the meantime, the Caribbean flamingos are right across from the panther exhibit, and boy, those silly birds are very noisy! I'll have to bring my Flip and make a video as it is quite amusing when they all get going.


Flamingos in the park


Some pelicans also flew in to keep me company as well.

The other Karen asked about volunteering at the Wildlife Park, and if they provide RV sites: no they do not have any arrangements for that. As a volunteer, you are able to come into the park anytime you wish for free, and after 100 hours accumulated time you can have a Florida State parks annual pass, enabling you to visit any state park for free. We are strictly volunteering there because we enjoy the park, and feel we are helping out our new "homebase" community. Chassahowitzka Wildlife Refuge, which is also here, does use RV volunteers and has a small area set aside for sites. last year I counted 6 RVs there, but only see three so far this year.

Gail, its a date...hopefully we'll have many games of hand-and-foot together this summer. And we'll teach you marbles and cards, you'll be hooked on that as well :-).

Unfortunately, the last few days we are both in the grips of some kind of cold, coughy crud. Its been very annoying, and I hope it goes away soon! This week we banged out some dental work for Al, a doctor's appointment for me, a vet appointment for Chelsea (she's fine, just a little gimpy from arthritis, but she's going on a management plan for that so she can keep up with us on the hiking trails!) and normal errands. Then tomorrow Al's sister flies in from Texas, and Sunday we're all heading back to Disney World...this time for two full weeks of fun and family time with Al's sisters, mom, several cousins, aunts and uncles....we're going to have a great time! So the next postings will be coming to you from Fort Wilderness :-).

Saturday, January 12, 2013

New Year, New Post!

It's already two weeks into the New Year, and what have we been up to??

Well, the priorities were to get back on a normal day/night schedule, get settled into the winter residence, start taking care of "business" (doctor and other appointments), and getting the crack in our trailer fixed. I', happy to report we are now out of "vampire" mode and back to a normal eating/sleeping schedule :-). It took longer to revert back to normal this year than it did to get into the night time schedule...strange.

Sunday 12/30 we took a ride over to the Cracker Barrel restaurant in Clermont to have breakfast with Steve and Joan, bloggers at FOSJ. They are taking the job at Chalk Creek that we vacated, and I was happy to report to Tamara that they are great folks, lively and entertaining, and will fit right in at Chalk Creek. We had not remembered that they had attended the same RV-Dreams rally that we had in April 2011 in Tennessee, but there were so many people there that we were meeting for the first time! Its really neat how this network of folks are out there that have all met through Linda and Howard Payne of RV-Dreams. We ended up taking up space at the restaurant for over two hours chatting about this and that. We're hoping they enjoy working at Chalk Creek Campground as much as we did.

New Year's Eve we had a nice family dinner, and Al roasted us a beautiful standing rib roast...can't do that in an RV oven! It was delicious and we had a wonderful time with our moms, family and friends. Life on the road is great, but its even better to spend the holidays with your family.

We've both started our volunteer work at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, so if anyone is in the area, stop by! Its a wonderful park, very interesting and beautiful, and we may be at our respective posts...Al driving the boats and I'm at the panther exhibit!

The news on the trailer front: well, its not fixed yet. After the first repair place we investigated said they couldn't do it, we had left a message with Keystone, and also investigated another place nearby that handles collision repairs...even though it wasn't a collision, we figured that kind of repair facility would be better equipped to handle this issue. Actually, I don't think I ever posted pictures of it, so here goes:
Crack on the outside, runs from the top of the main slide towards the roof

When the slide is pulled in you can see this crack on the inside wall

Thursday 1/3 we took it over to Como RV in Inverness, and had a long discussion with the tech there. He was very nice and thorough in his examination, such as he could be, but he also felt that it may be too big of a job for them. He felt the slide would probably have to be pulled out, and they didn't have the equipment to handle that big of a slide.But he took a lot of pictures, and said he would get in touch with Keystone as well...they are a dealer for Keystone, whereas the other place we had gone was not.
In the meantime, and since then, we have had quite a bit of back and forth with Keystone. The good news ends up being, that Keystone will cover all the necessary repairs under their warranty department, something that we had hoped for but didn't really expect :-). The bad news is that we need to take it up to the factory in Goshen IN to have the work done. And we need to leave it for several weeks as they are anticipating having to replace the entire wall. The other good news is that they have really been accommodating in working around our schedule, so that we can still attend our family reunion at Disney, then take it immediately up to Indiana, and then we can pick it up in April for our trip north to Bar Harbor by May 1. The customer service representative we have been dealing with at Keystone has been terrific, and I really have to give Keystone a "THUMBS UP" so far for their willingness to help us out on this major issue. 

On Wednesday 1/9, we met with RV-Dreamer friends Bill and Nancy, and Gin and Syl at Silver River State Park to do some kayaking. It was a beautiful day, mostly sunny and warm, a great day for being on the river. We have been to this park before, but never kayaked on the river and we've heard it was beautiful..and it is! the important thing to remember at this park, though, is that it is 6/10's of a mile walk to get from the parking area to the put-in area for the boats. It is best to have wheels for your kayak. If you remember from last year, we had bought our 12-foot manta ray kayaks used from Nick Russell over at Gypsy Journal. They are really nice, but are heavy :-). He gave us wheels for each one that he had made, but we never needed to use them last year as we only went out once and were able to drive right up to the launch area. And, unfortunately, the wheels just did not work very well, one set even broke off at the connection point. So we did what any determined kayaker would do...started carrying/dragging them down to the launch! Al got his all the way down, I was a bit behind and was SO happy to see Bill headed back my way with his wheels :-).
I see a pair of wheeleez in our future!

It was a great day on the river!
Bill and Nancy ahead of us in their SeaEagle

Turtles everywhere

Night Heron posing nicely

I love seeing wood ducks with their brilliant colors

Monkeys....yes, monkeys. There used to be a jungle boat cruise in the attraction Silver Springs at the headsprings, and these monkeys were let go into the wild when they ride was abandoned.

Little Blue Heron (Nancy, please correct me if I get anyone wrong!)

Female Anhinga

Male Anhinga

Tri-Colored Heron

Cormorant

Of course, no trip would be complete without these toothy critters :-).

You can hide but we still see you!

Floating back down river, Gin and Syl in their double-hull kayak and Nancy and Bill in their single.

Back on land, Bill was my hero, using his set of wheels to take our kayaks back to the parking area one at a time. He wouldn't let me help at all! Bill, I really owe you one ;-). Back at their campsite, it was time for a cold drink before bidding our friends a fond farewell and thanks for a great day...we hope to see you again soon!!

Thursday afternoon was game day with our family...we taught Al's Aunt Doris and cousin Bruce the Marbles Cards and Jokers game (I will take a picture of it so you can see what I'm talking about) and then they taught us Hand and Foot card game. We have a lot of fun playing games :-).

As I write this, we are in Site 551 at Fort Wilderness for the weekend. My sister Amy and her husband Mike are running in the marathon here, and we came down to visit them for a little while since they are so close :-). Its a beautiful day here, going into the low 80's...perfect flip-flop weather ;-). We have week day annual passes, so we can't visit the parks on Saturday and Sunday. We are spending the day here at the campground, and are cleaning and purging the cabinets. Its time, and so long as we have to clean everything out before we take it in for the repairs, it seems like a good time to assess the value of everything we carry and whether its needed or not. Its way too easy to accumulate excess weight, and we need to stay on top of it. 

Oh, and thanks to Sherry and David who just stopped by to say HI! So nice to chat with you again, and hope we can meet up with you again this winter. Isn't this roamers life wonderful...friends everywhere :-).