Our annual prime rib dinner was held New Year's Day, as is tradition. Our friends John and Carol Herr drove up from Sanibel Island to join us for the weekend.
The 7-rib cut of beef...the star of the show.
The table was ready for some serious eating.
Christmas cookies for dessert.
Not only was the food excellent as always, but it was a wonderful time as well. Our entire Florida family had gathered, and welcomed John and Carol into the fold.
The following week we gathered for another dinner with our friends Pat and Diana Brown, Bonnie and Richard Waltman (both RV couples we've met on the road) and old friends from New York, Alan and Sharon Babula. The stories flowed and we had a great time again. I apologize for the fuzzy pictures :-).
In between socializing, we worked on getting some of our problems resolved. Al ordered a new converter and two new 6-volt AGM batteries for the trailer, and spent a day getting those replaced. While he was working on that, he discovered a small leak on our "Kantleak" valves, and got that fixed as well. After doing some research on tires, we decided to replace our Westlakes with 16" Goodyear G614's, which have a higher load rating than the OEM tires we had. We checked around a few places in the area, and after getting a recommendation from a local RV dealer, we had Homosassa Tire do the work. They were competitively priced, and their location was very easy for us to get in and out with the rig. Being as big as we are, that was an important consideration :-). The last item at the moment was getting an estimate for the repair of the siding that the blowout damaged, and we took the rig down to Register RV in Brooksville, FL. The estimate came in just under $2,000.00, so we have put a claim in through our insurance and are currently awaiting for that to be finalized.
Up next on our agenda was a 6-night stay at Fort Wilderness. My sister and her family were down for a vacation, so we headed on over to spend some time with them. We haven't seen our niece and nephew in well over a year, so we were very appreciative of having some down time to spend with them. Fort Wilderness has to be our very favorite campground of all time. I sure wish we could afford to spend the winter here :-)!!
My sister Amy, husband Mike, Mother-in-law Nina, and Sammie and Johnathan.
We had a lot of fun meeting characters, Baloo and King Louie were great fun.
Of course, we had to go on all the rides!
Mike ran the half and full marathons, and has the Goofy medal to prove it :-)!
We met the big star himself one night at dinner,
while the chipmunks kept busy harassing Mike after he told them he was "allergic to rodents".
We went to see some shows, and really enjoyed the "Flights of Wonder" show. Hope, an American Bald Eagle, is always a favorite.
We also went on safari! This is one of my favorite attractions, and I found the hippos particularly amusing this time.
All too soon, it was time to say farewell. It won't be quite as long between visits to my family this year, as we will be returning to Long Island in October to help celebrate my brother Bill's wedding. It will be so nice to be back in our home town for a few days, and at the best time of year for visiting the area.
Back home for a week, and we both had dentist appointments (I just needed a cleaning, Al has to have a wisdom tooth extracted), Al had his annual cardiologist appointment (he's doing great), and I started working on our end of year paperwork and setting up the budget for this year. Am I the only one that always goes over budget?? I sure hope not :-). Al's sister Susie from Texas arrived, and we started getting prepared for our next round at Disney with Al's family. We also found time to go over to Chassa Oaks (an RV community about ten minutes away) where our friends Bonnie and Richard own a lot, and take a peek at their new Classy Chassis truck hauler....it's really nice :-). We had our friends Sue and Larry Hatton over one night for dinner, and spent the customary five hours plus with them catching up.
So, last Sunday we headed back south for another stay at Fort Wilderness, this time for 12 nights, for the annual cousins' reunion. This is a much more laid-back vacation at Disney, as we are all (ahem) older adults and the emphasis is more on just spending time together and catching up than on the rides and attractions. I feel truly blessed to have married into such a warm and caring family. The time we spend together is great fun and we look forward to it every year.
That's all for now. I will get some pictures up of our stay here and the fun times we are having, and then it's on to another month!