Cherohala Skyway

Cherohala Skyway

Friday, September 30, 2011

Poor Baxter

Crystal River,  Florida   - Crystal Isles Rv Resort

This morning around 6 am, Baxter was laying next to me being calm (rare) and sweet.  I was getting some loving from him when all of a sudden I heard a horrible cat fight going on.  Al and I flew out of bed stumbling to try to find a light.  Two kitties were up front by the drivers floor with a lot of yowling going on.  It sounded like someone was getting hurt.

I noticed Baxter was behind the drivers seat checking out the action.  We got the fight broken up and were checking to see if anybody was bleeding.  We didn’t see any blood, but when we went to look for Baxter we couldn’t find him.

We looked and looked and I was getting worried.  I didn’t think he was involved in the cat fight but since we couldn’t find him, we were starting to panic.

We’ve had cats long enough to know they can find the smallest and most unusual places to hide and we had the motorhome cat proofed before he arrived and once Baxter arrived we “kitten proofed”  it.      We thought.

Finally after 10-15 minutes I heard a noise and saw a paw sticking out from under a drawer by Al’s side of the bed.  No way he could have gotten in there at that spot.   We looked and looked for a hole large enough for a small kitten.  There didn’t seem to be any place for him to get out.  Al finally found a small opening beside my side of the bed and we coaxed him over to that side.  He wouldn’t come out though.  The poor little guy was terrified from all the commotion. I got out my best choices of roast beef, grouper and kitten food. He grabbed at the food with his paw, but wouldn’t come out….the little stinker!  We worked on him for another few minutes before Al finally coaxed him out.  We immediately stuffed towels into the opening.   He was still very afraid and didn’t want to come out of his safe spot.

The following picture is shows the tiny hole he got into. 

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He is still scared to death, so we  put him in his little kitty condo to calm down. We don’t think he was involved in the fight and he doesn’t appear to be hurt, but he’s still scared. 

Our cats normally get along fine, but once in a while there is a tiff.  This one was worse than normal.   So far I don’t see any wounds or blood.  Most of the time the noise is much worse than the actual fight.

We arrived at our new campground yesterday afternoon.

It was a beautiful sunny day and a good day to travel.

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We settled into our very nice upgraded site on the water.  There is a lot to do up here and we’re anxiously waiting the first cold front of the season! 

It’s supposed to get down to 62 degrees tonight and Saturday only get up to 78!  Boy does that sound nice!

More later.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Weighed the Coach

Seffner, Florida

It’s been a very busy week so far.  Monday morning started very early because we had to be at the hospital one day surgery center with Mom.   She had an appointment at 7:00 am for an EGD (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy).    We didn’t get out of there until well after noon. 

The next stop was to settle up our bill at Lazy Days and move the motor home from the free delivery site over to the campground.

We were pleasantly surprised that our bill for the chassis lube and Transynd service was $200 less than we expected.  They gave us a nice discount.  I think Jason knew he messed up and didn’t want us to leave a bad review!  No charge for the s-cams or the few other things we had them check out.  We feel good to have gotten two important maintenance items done.

We decided to just go over to the Lazy Days campground for a few days, since it’s just right across the street from the service and sales area.  We still had some things to do before we could leave Tampa. It’s very nice campground, with all the amenities, nice level sites.  It’s a little pricey  at $33 a night, but you do get free breakfast and lunch, and a free newspaper delivered to your site,  so I guess it evens out.  The main reason for staying there was it is so close and we were both exhausted by that time we got the motor home ready to be moved.

Before we went to the campground we decided to fuel up and get the motor home weighed.

There is a Flying J and a T/A truck stop right across the street, along with a Cat Scale truck weighing station.    We had never weighed  this motor home fully loaded,  and we needed this information to determine correct tire inflation pressures.  It cost $9.50 to get weighed and we were in and out in just minutes. 

Underinflated tires are the major cause of blowouts!  

We weren’t worried we would be overloaded since we have over 6,000 pounds of carrying capacity, but it’s important to know the weight of each axle to determine the correct tire pressure for your tires.  A four corner weight is even better but they don’t have that option many places.

The Cat scale only weighs each axle.  You  divide that weight by the number of tires on that axle to get a good guess on the weight on each tire.  There is a chart in our manual, and on many tire websites that tell you what psi to inflate the tires to depending on the weight on that tire.   A four corner weight is the best so that you can know for sure how much weight is on each tire.   There are places where you can get a 4 corner weight and many rallies have someone that can do it for you. I think it’s about $60.  Money well spent in my opinion. 

  Check out  this link to Howard and Linda’s website for some very good information on tire pressure and weights.   We hope to get ours weighed correctly sometime this winter at one of the local rally’s, but for now, this is the best we can do.

So after we got fuel and weighed, we settled in our campsite….loving our full hook-ups and the fact that no one was needing to do something to our home!

We have finally decided on a name for the new kitty.  His name is Baxter Fuzz-Butt.  We call him Baxter.  He has gotten to be a holy terror!  When we first got him I was a little worried  because he slept so much.  Now I wish he would sleep more.  He has discovered every square inch of the motor home, including the dash.  He now thinks he can sleep up on the dash like the big guys and he’s pretty proud of himself.  He attacks your ankles every time you take a step, or even if you’re just sitting down.  We have a fully loaded pistil grip water sprayer ready and he gets spritzed pretty regularly.  He’s learning though.  We had forgotten how energetic (and cute) a kitten could be. 

We’re leaving Tampa today,  but our plans have changed…again!  More on that later. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Seffner, Florida

Saturday was day four of our “quick” service at Lazy Days.

We had taken the cats and a few essentials and moved into Mom’s house on Thursday afternoon.    We expected it to be for one night.

On Friday night, it still wasn’t ready, but we didn’t know what had and hadn’t been completed.

Our service advisor  Jason, is supposed to be our “go to” person.  Every time we called him, he said he would check and get back to us.  He never did.  He just kept saying they were working on it, but never could say what had or hadn’t been done or when we could expect to get it back.  Very frustrating.

On Saturday, we called Jason for a status.  He said he would check and get back to us.  He never did call us back (as usual).  We finally decided to take a drive to Lazy Days and see for ourselves what was going on.  It was a good thing we did.

When we got there it was sitting outside in front of the chassis service bays.  We were hoping it was a good sign and that it was done.  It wasn’t.

We spoke to Mark Fox who was in charge of the chassis service area that day. We discovered somehow our request for the transmission fluid change and lube did not get on the service ticket.  The repair on the fuel gauge was not done either…but that was a whole other issue.

What that meant for us, was that on Saturday noonish, the s-cams were done…but nothing else.   Grrrr…   It had been in chassis for 2 days at that point!

Mark apologized and promised to do his best to get everything done by the end of the day.  Of course, they needed to make sure the had all the parts and the Transynd  transmission fluid.  He made a few calls and found that they had everything they needed and providing the fuel gauge repair didn’t require dropping the fuel tank, they should be able to get it done by the end of the day.  

We were hopeful and happy that things were moving…no thanks to Jason.  The mechanic that was working on it was the one that diagnosed the s-cam issue and we felt comfortable with him.

We were pretty certain that if we hadn’t made a special trip there, that nothing would have been done.  Jason assured us that he would have caught the problem, but we’re not so sure. Why didn’t he catch it the day before when I asked him what had and hadn’t been completed?  If he would have checked then, he would have known there was a problem.  In our opinion he dropped the ball.

Anyway….

A few hours later, we got a call from Mark saying the coach was ready and we could either spend the night in a service bay or a delivery site or take it away.    We opted for a delivery site….after all that was free!   He said they would set it up, plug it in, turn on the a/c,  and lock it up for us.  Now that’s what I call great service!  Mark was our hero!

We decided to stay at Moms last night,  but  bright and early this morning we moved back into our home!

It sure feels good to be home.  The kitten must have been happy too….he was crazy, crazy, crazy.

We are planning on leaving Tampa (should I jinx us?) Wednesday for Fort Myers.  It’s about 120 miles straight south and an easy drive down interstate 75.  There are some beautiful beaches and state parks there.  Sanibel beach is know for excellent shelling….not that we need anymore shells!

Of course, you know how our plans usually work!

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Waiting for Service

Tampa, Florida

On Wednesday, we got up early and had the coach at Lazy Days in time for our 10:00 am appointment….then sat in the parking lot until 2:00 pm when they finally put us in a service bay.  Grrrr.

I was getting a little frustrated sitting in the parking lot with the generator running, but I was trying to be patient.  Smile   We understand how things work and that sometimes repairs take longer then they expect, or an emergency comes in…like no a/c, or a leak. 

Wednesday they checked a few things for us and everything checked out okay.  The new Norcold refrigerator tested out okay.  I guess sitting in direct sun in 90+ degree weather isn’t the best thing.

The main issue we had was the loud clunk we heard when we braked moderately hard.  Our generator is in a slide out, and they had previously done some work on it because it was loose in the cradle. We had them check to make sure it was secure.  It was.

I went on the Rv-Net Forum to get some suggestions on what the noise was.  From my description several people thought it could be the “s-cams.”   That is an invaluable tool to have and I use them frequently.  You get a lot of opinions…. but you know what they say about opinions, though!

On Thursday they took it over to the chassis area and the  tech took it on a test drive with us.  He was able to replicate the noise we had been hearing.  The first thing he said was that the “s-cams” were sticking and needed lubricating. 

We felt pretty confident that we found the problem.  I’m not exactly sure what s-cams are, but they are related to the air brakes in the front.  Apparently, it’s quite a big job and the entire brake assembly has to be pulled.  It’s a $750+ job!  It is normally not covered under the 30 day warranty because it’s considered a maintenance item.  However, we felt it should be covered since when we first drove the coach we noticed a clunking noise.  They thought they had solved the problem, since the noise didn’t happen on a normal test drive.  You had to brake fairly hard to get the sound.  Anyway, Lazy Days stepped up and agreed to cover the s-cams at no charge to us.  Yea!  I must say, I am pretty happy with their customer service, even though things seem to move at a snails pace.  Some jobs are done by the regular technicians, and some have to go to the chassis area.  Of course moving from one area to the other always causes additional delay.

Since the s-cams weren’t going to cost us anything, we   decided to have them do a full chassis lube and change the transmission fluid.  We aren’t sure when it was last done and these are two very important maintenance items.  We currently have Transynd  transmission fluid in it now, and we will put the same in.  It’s very expensive synthetic fluid, but recommended by Allison.  One thing we have learned with diesel motorhomes is that you don’t buy oil or transmission fluid by the quart.  You buy it by the gallon.

Once the motorhome went to chassis, we got booted out and weren’t being allowed back in since it was going to have to be raised up.  There was no way for us to get inside to check on the cats, so we grabbed a few things and the kitties and invaded Mom’s house.  We thought it was just going to be for one night.  Yeah right!

So it’s now Saturday and we still haven’t gotten back into the motorhome.  The joys of full time living in an rv, I guess.  At least we’re not sitting in a parking lot like Judy and Emma. 

We are hoping it will be finished today and we can go back home!  I miss my own bed!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Troublemaker

Lutz, Florida

Boy, is this baby kitten wearing me out!  We haven’t had a kitten for 14 years.  I had forgotten how energetic they are,  how much trouble they can get into,  how fragile they are,  and how fast you can fall in love with them.

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Little “no name”  is so small, but he’s starting to climb like he’s a big boy.  I have to constantly worry that he isn’t up somewhere high, where he can fall off and get hurt. He gets into everything.

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I have soup cans under my rocker/recliner to keep it from rocking and injuring him.  He likes to get under the chair, and any movement from us would squash him.   We have been avoiding that chair as much as possible for fear of hurting him.

We had a pretty quiet week-end.  On Saturday, we did a little laptop shopping.  Best Buy will look at my laptop for $180….just to look at it!  If any parts are needed, they would be extra.

So far my laptop monitor is still working, but I know it’s just a matter of time.

Sunday was football  day for Al.  He was happy that the Tampa Bay Bucs won. I’m not a football fan so I stayed out of his way and watched movies in the bedroom.

Monday night before bed we took a walk and then decided to go sit in the hot tub for a while.  It sure felt nice!  We were going to do it again last night, but there was some pretty ugly lightning in the sky.  Tampa is the lightning capitol of the world!

We leave here on Wednesday for Lazy Days, but haven’t decided yet on where our next stop is.  I’m still hesitant on making firm decisions because they always get messed up.  Al is still voting to go back to Vero Beach.  I think we have ruled the Florida Keys out for now.  The nice thing about being full-timers is that we can go where the weather is the best!

The picture below is another one of the little trouble maker. I can’t leave a cord around for fear of him wrapping it around his neck, or chewing on it.  I think his name might be “Fuzz Butt.”  It was one of the first things we started calling him and it seems to be sticking.  Fuzzy for short.  It fits, doesn’t it?

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We’ve been going through all of our owners manuals on the motorhome  (again), trying to sort through all the things that need regular maintenance.  Boy, is there a lot on a diesel pusher!  We’re just learning about air brakes, air bags, ride height, slack adjusters, air canister, s-cams…..whew! 

What do you all do,  or have done regularly?  Of course we know about tire pressure, oil and air filters, but what about all the other stuff?  Have any of you replaced your original shocks?  Just how many are there?   Have you checked and adjusted your ride height? 

We just learned something on our refrigerator.  First, thing is we’re not big fans of Norcold.  Our Dometic in the other motorhome ran just fine.  Of course it was a much smaller unit, so I guess there was less to cool.

Lazy Days put in a brand new Norcold in our motor home and it’s been running fine….until we got back to Tampa.  We defrosted it thinking that was causing the problem.  We’ve kept our thermometer in the unit and have had temps in the 40’s.  Before we had low 30’s.  After we defrosted it, it seemed to take forever to cool back down, but we’re still in the low 40’s.  We decided to put it on LP and see if that helped, but it wouldn’t light on LP.  I finally read the Monaco manual (the Norcold manual didn’t tell me this).  It said if it didn’t light on LP, to turn the unit off and then on and try again.  I did that and the first time it light right up.  Before we just kept hitting the LP mode.  I don’t know if turning off the power resets something, but it appears to be running on LP now.  We’ll see if it cools any better.  Margie calls them , Notcolds!   I think she might be right!  Of course we are parked right out in the sun and it’s been in the 90’s every day.  The refrigerator side gets full afternoon sun.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Laptop?

Lutz, Florida

A little while back, I was getting up from my chair with my laptop in my arms.  It was sitting on a laptop lap pad.  I tripped and both the laptop and pad fell flat to the floor.  I didn’t see any damage on the laptop and it was still working…thank goodness.   There are a  few black scuffs on the laptop pad, from the laptop, I guess.  It hit pretty hard but was sitting on the pad which has a thick pad. 

Lately, when I start up the laptop, the monitor won’t light up.  I can hear Windows opening up, so I know it’s just the monitor.  I have had to tap on the cover, open and close it a few times,  and mess with it a while before I can get the monitor to light up.

The good news is that I do have a Personal Articles Policy on the laptop and my camera.  Since my camera goes kayaking with me, I felt it was a good idea.  It’s very cheap, so I went ahead and bought the policy a couple years ago.    It would be covered if  the damage was caused by me dropping it.  I just don’t know how to know, or prove it.

So, my questions to you guys is:

Do you have any ideas on why the monitor doesn’t light up?  I have so far always gotten it to work, but it seems to be getting harder and harder.  Could it be any kind of driver?  Is there a way to check where it connects to the computer?

Do you think it could be the drop, even though there is no visible damage to the laptop?  It did land pretty hard, but was cushioned by the laptop pad.

Would a repair shop be able to determine the cause? 

Any ideas of where to take it?

I assume I will be buying a new laptop one way of the other, since  I cannot be without a laptop.

I would prefer the old style monitor.  The one with the matte screen verses the shiny new kind.  I love to sit outside and use the laptop and these new style screens just have too much glare.  I hate them.

Any suggestions for brands?  Processors?

I saw one online, with the icore processer 2nd generation, I think it was called.  What should I look for….specifically.  I know to get as much memory and hard drive as I can find.  Of course I want to keep the price down.  I prefer a 15 inch monitor.  I had one of the larger 17 inch screens (Toshiba) and hated it.  I always have the laptop in my lap and the extra weight made it very uncomfortable.  I want the numeric keypad and a cd/dvd burner.  I don’t care about anything else.  Or do I?   Smile

I’m hoping for some suggestions, so I don’t have to spend a lot of time looking.

I have another question.  This time is about our Norcold refrigerator.

When we were traveling Wednesday, we kept the refrig on electric since we were using the generator for the air conditioning.

When the generator went off, I turned off the Norcold to stop it from beeping.  It beeps when it gets no LP or power.  I forgot to turn it back on for a few hours, and it might have been off 4-6 hours.  It wasn’t getting real cool, so we decided to defrost it, since it was pretty frosted up.  We thought maybe that was keeping it from cooling properly.  We did one side of the freezer at a time and turned it off when we did.  It seemed to take forever to get cool and is only now back in the upper 30’s.  I checked our Norcold manual and noted a step in the defrosting process that I hadn’t done.  It said to take the hose out of the little overflow cup in the back of the refrigerator and put it in a gallon bucket while defrosting it.  We didn’t do that, but we did put towels in the bottom to absorb the water.   Remember this is a brand new refrigerator.  We had a Dometic before and if this is normal for a Norcold, then I’m not impressed.  I know they take a long time to cool, but it was 48 hours!  Did the fact that we didn’t pull the drain hose cause this problem?  Al checked it last night and there wasn’t any water in the little cup behind the refrigerator.

 

Little no name kitten is doing just fine.  He seems to be getting more playful every day, which is not always good.  Last night he didn’t want to go to bed when we were ready, so he spent most of the night in the living room.  I worried about what kind of trouble he was getting into, but I think I have the place pretty well kitten proofed.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Arrived Back in Tampa

Lutz, Florida

(warning…kitten pictures)

We left Vero Beach around noon yesterday for our 136 mile trip to Tampa.

We found a truck stop Highway 60 that had easy access in and out, and intended to fuel up.

When we got there, the pumps had what appeared to be 2 different types of diesel.  One said ultra low sulphur and the other said low sulphur.  One said for 2007 engines and later, and the other said good for all engines.  The problem was, those warnings were on both pumps so we didn’t know which was which, or which to use.  When Al saw that the third pump said unleaded, we just decided to drive on without re-fueling.  Better to be safe.  We knew we had plenty of fuel but weren’t sure exactly how much because our fuel gauge quit working.  It reads full all the time!  When we left Lazy Days, when they filled up the diesel and propane they noticed the fuel gauge wouldn’t go past 3/4.  They took it back in and fixed it and it had been working fine until we left for Vero Beach. 

We have been running the generator and both a/c’s while traveling and part way back Al had to brake kind of hard.  We heard a clunk and a while later noticed the generator wasn’t running.  We started it back up but it kept quitting on us.

We had to drive right by Lazy Days,  so we decided to pull in and see if they could fix it right then.  (yeah right).  The guy who handles the 30 day warranty stuff asked if we had low fuel.  We knew the generator wouldn’t run if the fuel was at 1/4 tank, but we felt sure we had more fuel than that.  He said the manuals say 1/4 tank is the cut off, but in his 20 years there, he had seen it cut off between 1/4 and 1/2 tank.  We went next door and filled the tank.  It took over 50 gallons, which means we were slightly below 1/2 tank.  The generator kept running after that, so I guess that was the problem.  It never occurred to me and we thought we had more fuel than that.  Yikes.  Our mileage isn’t as good as we hoped.  The previous owners told us they got about 10 miles per gallon when running 65 mph.  We think got about 6.5.  Of course ours was with the generator running the whole time.  Not great, but what can you do.

We made an appointment for next week to get the fuel gauge fixed and a few other things checked.  Al has been hearing a noise from the left front end.  I haven’t heard it.  Yesterday he thought something felt funny.  I guess we’d better get them checked out.  We’re trying to decide what is normal noises for this motorhome and engine and what could be problems.  It’s not quiet like a well sealed car and it does have some noise when driving.  I hate like hell to have to go back to Lazy Days, but I guess we will do it.

We haven’t decided where to go next.  It’s probably between Vero Beach, Fort Myers, or St Augustine.  We have Thousand Trails memberships in all three places.  Al wants to go back to Vero.  This is my choice this time though since Al got his choice last time! 

I have had a couple questions on our Thousand Trails membership.  The regular regional membership that we bought at the Rv show cost us $199.  It included the southeast states and had about 26 campgrounds.  Only three were in Florida.  We also purchased the “Max your Pass” membership for an additional $199.  That gives you  6 additional  Florida campgrounds.  We get 30 days free and after the 30 days, we have to pay $3.00  a night.  We can stay up to two weeks at a time, then we have to be out of the system for 7 days.  Since we knew we would be mostly staying in Florida, we thought it was a good idea.  One of those campgrounds is in the Florida Keys, near Marathon.  We are trying to plan a trip there.

The little no-name kitten made a trip to the vet in Vero Beach yesterday.  I wanted to confirm it was a female,  like Judy thought.  Well “she” turned out to be a “he.” I guess we would have figured that out shortly, but when they are very young, it’s hard to tell. We had wanted a female, but there’s no exchanging him now because  we already love him!  He weighed a whopping 1.9 pounds.  They gave us a free sample of Science Diet kitten food and we bought him some vitamins.  They are chewable and supposed to be tasty, but he doesn’t like them.  I want to start him off right and keep him healthy!

The kitties travel in their kitty cages.  The little one did just fine.  I was worried he would get car sick.  Thankfully he didn’t, and he was as good as gold.  I let him out to get a snack and go to the kitty pan when we stopped for fuel.

He meowed a time or two, but for the most part he just slept.

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Thanks to everyone that sent in name suggestions.  We’re still trying to find a name that sticks.  One of the first things I started calling him was Fuzz butt.  Al thought of Ozzie.  We normally just wait and see what sticks.  A good suggestion was Little Bit, but we used to have a kitty named Little Bitty Kitty and he went by LB. I knew Little Bit would end up being LB.   Keep those suggestions coming!

He was full of the devil last night after his busy travel day yesterday.  I was worried that he wouldn’t be ready for bed.

When it was bed time, I put him down beside my pillow on the nightstand beside the bed.  He immediately plopped down and went right to sleep.  Of course Miss Kitty had a snit fit because she thinks that is now her spot and she hates the little guy.  The baby slept while Miss Kitty was hissing, growling and spitting!

I worry he will wake up in the middle of the night and fall off the bed.  It’s along way down for a little guy and one side of the bed is on a tile floor.  I kind of slept with one eye open, but he didn’t stayed put.  Sometime in the middle of the night we got up and he had a snack and a kitty pan trip.  He played a while before he was ready to sleep again.  When I woke up this morning he was sleeping on Al’s night stand.   I don’t mind that once in a while, but he belongs beside me.  Smile

When we first got him I showed him where the kitty pan was.  The entrance is higher than his head.  I thought of getting him a shallower pan until he grows up a bit, but I hadn’t gotten around to it yet.    The first day, he found it again on his own and was using it.  What a good little boy!  I guess he won’t need a special kitty pan after all!

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kitten butt

The end.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Went Kayaking and Look What We Found…

Vero Beach, Florida – Sunshine Travel Rv Resort

We got  up at 5:00 am, and out the door at 6:20.  We got to the park at 7:00, used our gate code and got right in.

By the time we inflated the kayaks and got on the water it was 8:00.  It was another beautiful day and there was a nice breeze blowing.  We paddled around the bend into the Indian River area.  The water was glass calm.  The incoming tide made paddling very easy.

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We saw several turtles come up for air and a few manatee, but never got up close to any of them…so no pictures.

Al did some fishing but didn’t catch anything.  He saw a large Snook.  We saw lots of activity underwater.  Apparently something was feeding on the small fish and they were flying out of the water all over the place.

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We walked the beach for a while.  It was high tide with a full moon, so there was a lot of sea grass on the beach. 

shells

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I guess we’re getting older, because after getting up earlier than normal the past two days, and kayaking two days in a row,  we were both dragging.  We had lunch under the picnic shelter, hoping to get a second wind.  We never did, so we decided to pack it in and head back home.

We have been very sad ever since we lost Squeaky 2 weeks ago.  We’ve thought about getting a kitten.    There is a hole in my heart, and from past experience I know that only a new kitty will help. I was having one of my teary days and Al decided maybe it was time to look for a kitten.  I think he was tired of seeing me cry all the time.   He stopped at a veterinarian to see if they had any kittens, and they gave us the name and phone number of a lady who had 2 litters of kittens.  She rescued them and their mothers.  She (Judy) was a very nice lady who had  lost her husband last year to lung cancer.  She said during the time he was ill, her 2 cats stayed at his bedside with him.  A month after he died, one cat died and a few weeks after that the other one died.  What a horrible year she has had.  I think the kittens have helped her. 

We wanted a very young kitten that was still in the “baby” stage.  They seem to bond with their new owners better than ones that are a little older.  Once they are older, they are so darn full of the devil, it’s hard to get them sit still long enough to bond with you.  I also wanted a furry kitten and one that was loveable.

All of her kittens were adorable and we spent quite a bit of time there holding them all.  Al got kind of attached to a little furry gray and white one, but we already have 2 like that.  I wanted something different.

Here is what we found.  She is very tiny and very furry and soft.  I can hold her in one hand.

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She had been to the vet yesterday and got a distemper shot and a worming. I don’t think she was feeling up to par yesterday. 

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kitten

I am determined that she will bond with me and love me the best.  I don’t want her bonding with one of the cats, or even Al.  Smile  I don’t think her bonding with the other cats will be a problem…they hate her!  She needs to love me the best and I am determined to make that happen.

Last night, I put her in bed and she snuggled down  on a soft blanket on the nightstand by my side of the bed. That was where Squeaky always slept.   She is such a baby, that she wakes up a while, plays and then goes back to sleep.  I was worried she would fall off the bed, so I kept a pretty close eye on her all night.  (another night sleep down the drain).  I fed her during the night (you know babies have to eat often) and we had some play time. I think she might have started bonding with me.  She kept rubbing up to my face and purring.   I’m  going to stay in her face as much as possible the next few days until she thinks of me as her mother and bonds with me.  I need another “special” kitty and she has to do her job!

We haven’t named her yet.  Usually a name just comes to us, and usually it’s a stupid name, like Little Bitty Kitty, Shorty, Miss Kitty, Gone, Fugly, Large, Medium, Small, Mama kitty, Dolly Partin, or some other crazy name.  Anybody have any ideas of a name for her?  Maybe she should have a proper name instead of one that comes to me!

Today is moving day.  We have been here in Vero Beach 13 nights and we have to head back to Tampa tomorrow.  We both hate moving day.  We’ve really enjoyed our stay here and are trying to decide where to go next.  Isn’t that a wonderful thing?  Al wants to come back here and I haven’t decided yet.  This is my turn to pick our destination, since Al made the last choice!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Great Day of Kayaking

Vero Beach, Florida

Some days are just special.   This was one of those days.

Yesterday we did a little exploring and discovered Fort Pierce Inlet State Park.  It’s about 30 miles south from our campground.  It’s a day use park but we did discover they have 3 campsites for volunteers.  Smile

Yesterday when we went to the park we discovered a large Gopher Tortoise by the picnic area.  He was munching on the berries from the sea grapes. 

Gopher Tortoise

They are normally shy, but this one must have been used to being around people and he came right up to me.  It brought back memories of the sea turtle who thought I was a girl sea turtle. Smile

We walked down to the beach and found a smaller Gopher Tortoise who decided to take a swim in the ocean. He was at the point where the inlet goes into the Indian River Lagoon.  We couldn’t believe this land tortoise would go swimming.  We just stood there watching him, thinking he was just going in to cool off and would come right back out.  He didn’t, and unfortunately,  quickly got caught in the currents and was being swept out to sea.  We didn’t know what to do, but soon a good Samaritan in a boat went by him (we were afraid he would run over him), but he didn’t and stopped and brought him back to us on the shore.  Al grabbed him from the guy and we took him back to the area where we found the other one.  We are hoping the big one would teach this little one the facts of life on living at the beach.  You are not  a sea turtle, you are a land  tortoise!

Gopher Tortoise in ocean

This is the guy and his daughter, who were our hero’s yesterday.

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Al with Gopher Tortoise after rescue

When we walked him back over by the picnic area I told Al to rinse him off under the fresh water.  You know how yucky you can feel after a swim in the ocean.    Well…here is where Al washed him off and gave him a drink of fresh water.

Al giving drink of water to gopher tortoise

Yes, that is a drinking fountain.  I’m not sure that would have been appreciated by some people.

We turned him loose and introduced him to the elder tortoise.  Hopefully he learned a valuable lesson.

Fort Pierce Inlet State Park is a beautiful park.  I sure wish they had a campground.  It’s right on the beach at the inlet. The water is pretty and clear.  We decided to go back today.

So this morning,  we set the alarm for 4:30…got up around 5 am and left the house at 6:20. A record for us.  We wanted to get to the park at 7:00 when they opened….or when Al said they opened.

Unfortunately we got there a little before 7 am and found they didn’t open until 8 am!    Darn it…the first time we actually get there early and they aren’t open!

We drove over to the beach and took a few early morning pictures while waiting for the park to open.

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It was a beautiful morning and worth the wait.

At at Fort Pierce beach at sunrise

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sunrise at Fort Pierce Beach

sunrise at Fort Pierce Beach

We headed back to the park at 8am and we were lucky enough to talk to one of the park rangers by the name of Cass Meadows.  She told us that with our annual Florida state Park pass, we could get the code to enter the gate after hours.  Yea…  We got to talking and I asked her if they have any volunteer positions.  She said they are booked this winter and next but they do have some openings in the  spring and summer.  Well, this would definitely not be a bad place to volunteer…any time of the year.  They have 3 sites.  She gave me her business card and told me to send her an email so she could keep us on file.  I told her we were close by and if any of the volunteers had to cancel to let me know! 

We went over to the campsite they  have for the volunteers.  There are 2 spots here and one by the maintenance building.

It was plenty large enough for us to fit into and it had a sewer hook-up! 

volunteer campsite at fort Pierce inlet state park...one to the left and to the right

Al thinks we could get our satellite to work there too, so another bonus. 

Cass told us they have 7 miles of beach and during the last two summers they had over 1000 sea turtle nests.    They require 32 hours a week for their volunteers.  You would spend some of that time in the office collecting fees and the other time they want you picking up trash.  They monitor the turtle nests on their 4 wheelers.  I didn’t  get the sense they wanted the volunteers to help with that, but I’ll bet if they got to know you they would let you do it!  It looks like a wonderful place to volunteer and I’m going to definitely stay in touch with her.

We finally got our kayaks into the water about 9 :00 am,  just about high tide.  We put them at the inlet that leads out to the Atlantic.  This is what it looks like.  Pretty huh?  There was a picnic pavilion that gave us some shade while inflating the kayaks…and a bathroom and shower nearby.

Fort Pierce Inlet

We headed inland towards the Indian River  and just drifted along with the tide.

kayaking from  Fort Pierce Inlet SP

The water was pretty, the paddling easy and there was a slight breeze.

al relaxing

We saw an Osprey in a nest.

osprey

and another one with a fish

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Our kayaks have a hard floor and you can actually stand up and paddle.  Al decided to give it a shot.

Al standing and paddling in Sea Eagle

clear shallow water

We parked at a beach and got out to stretch our legs.  There was a family there from a pontoon boat that was doing a little beach clean up.  We helped too.

clear water kayaks on beach fort pierce inlet sp

I took a couple of shots for my new header picture.  I needed to update the picture to show our current kayaks.

kayaks on the beach fort pierce inlet

I took all the junk out so they looked pretty. Smile

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pretty clouds beach at fort pierce inlet

We found a feather from a Roseatte Spoonbill, but unfortunately didn’t see any birds.

feather from rosette spoonbill

We headed back towards the beach at the inlet and met a nice couple from the area.  They said they usually see a family of manatee swimming back and forth in the inlet.  Soon, we saw them too.  We jumped back in our kayaks for a closer look.  Al was lucky enough to have one come up for air right beside of his kayak.  He stuck his hand in the water and said the manatee was about 2 inches from his hand!  You can see the dark shadow in the water but that is the best shot of the manatee I could get.  Notice the grin on Al’s face?

al kayaking fort pierce inlet manatee right by his hand

There was a family there from Canadian (French) and he saw the dark shadow in the water.  He immediately jumped in the water to see what it was.  He came out and we asked him if he saw a manatee?  He didn’t know what it was, until we described what a manatee looked like.  I don’t think I would have jumped into the water unless I knew what big dark creature was actually swimming by!

We talked to the other couple for quite a while then decided to call it a day. By this time we were starved.  We decided to come back tomorrow.  We’ll try to get there at 7 am again and this time with our gate code, we’ll be able to get in. 

It was a great, great day.

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We also saw two sea turtles, but no pictures.

These are the rocks at the inlet.

Fort Pierce inlet  rocks at inlet

Beach flowers.

beach flowers

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We grabbed some lunch and came back home and had a swim in the pool.  It’s the first time we’ve been in the pool all summer!  We had it to ourselves….such is the life of Florida visitors in the summer!