Cherohala Skyway

Cherohala Skyway

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Witness Protection Program?

Lutz, Florida (high 89, low 73)

I was doing a little research on Kissimmee Prairie State Park.  We hope to go there this week-end and stay…. until we feel like leaving.  There are no sewer hook-ups, so that will help to determine our length of stay.

Anyway, I came across some people online, who had visited all 160 Florida State parks, including Kissimmee Prairie.  They said the park is so remote they didn’t understand why they would even put a park there and the only people that would camp there are people in the witness protection program!   I thought that was kind of funny.   I guess they weren’t real fond of this particular park.

Then I started to wonder if we could have phone service, so I called the ranger to see if we could get a Verizon signal there.   Being in a remote area is fine….but not so remote we won’t get a phone signal.  She said they previously had work campers there that had Verizon and it worked for them.  We’ll see.  

Of course, we may have to go to plan B, because there is another tropical system forming south of Florida.  It’s supposed to bring rain to the south of us tomorrow.  We’ll have to wait and see what happens after that.   We can go north, south, east or west.   No sense going where there is going to be bad weather….if we can help it.   For now, we want to head over to the Atlantic Beaches after the Prairie.  Mom is aware we’re leaving and is okay with it!  We plan to leave either Saturday or Sunday.  Yea!

The following picture shows our Florida Sand Crane family during the rain the other day.  The poor guys were soaked!

Florida Sand cranes at Winter Quarters rv park

and Baxter sitting in the window watching the birds and the rain.

Baxter

Thanks for the concern about my cat bite.  My hand was sore yesterday, and a little swollen, but not red.  I kept a close watch on it and even put some antibiotic ointment on it last night and wrapped it in gauze.   You can barely see the teeth marks now and  Baxter has forgiven me for hurting him.  Smile

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Little Accident

It’s nice to look outside and see the sun shining again.  We had two days with very little sun and lots of rain.  Of course we still have the heat and humidity.

We had a little accident here last night.  I was standing by the cabinet opening a couple cans of kitty food.  Baxter was getting very excited.  I’m not sure exactly what happened.  He was standing on his back legs with his front feet resting against the cabinet.  All of a sudden he started screaming like he was in terrible pain.  I think the claw on his left front foot had gotten stuck in the opening of the cabinet door.  It happened so quick, but I remembered wondering if I had accidently shut the door on his foot…but decided I hadn’t.   I reached down to grab him and lift his foot out, but he was in panic mode and felt he needed to defend himself.

His first reaction was to bite at what he thought was hurting him.  Unfortunately, it was my hand.   He chomped down on it hard,  I released him and he ran off scared to death.  As soon as I got over to him, he  was fine.   Me, on the other hand…not so fine.  I had 4 teeth marks in my hand and it hurt like crazy….  he really chomped down.

I didn’t punish him, he was just “defending” himself.   We examined him and found no blood or damage to his foot, thankfully.    I think his nail must have gotten caught in the crack between the cabinet door and the frame.   So….after doctoring my wound with some alcohol, I decided I would live too.

After the rain stopped yesterday, we decided to disinfect the fresh water tank.  It was something we have been intending to do since we bought this coach. You should do it every few months, or when you buy a new or used rig.    When the coach was back and forth in the service bays at Lazy Days, they would fill the fresh water up with the regular hoses they had laying around in the service bays. They were not the sanitary white fresh water hoses like we use and they had nothing to keep insects from crawling into the hoses.   I kept noticing that and how nasty the hoses were.  We figured our fresh tank was crawling with germs, but we just never got around to flushing it.  Until yesterday.  It didn’t kill us though, so I guess there weren’t any real bad germs.

We are very careful with our fresh water tank and hoses.  The fresh water hose ends are kept screwed together when not in use.  I don’t want bugs, frogs or lizard's crawling into them.  On this coach we have  a fresh water fill valve right on the coach, so we don’t have to fill the water with a separate hose, but in the old coach it was always filled only with our clean white fresh water hose.  

We followed the directions and added 1/4 cup chlorine per every 15 gallons of fresh water.  Our fresh water tank holds 100 gallons.  We ran the chlorine water through all the faucets via the water pump, and let them stay overnight.  We turned the water pump off and this morning flushed the chlorine from the hoses and faucets.  We thought!   Apparently we didn’t rinse the hoses and faucets enough because that first sip of coffee was nasty!   We had to dump the entire pot of coffee and start over.

Oh well, at least our fresh water tank is finally  sanitized.  We don’t use it often, only on travel days.

The next step is to flush the water heater tank.

I think Al checked all the engine fluids yesterday, and we’ll check the tire pressures with the TST tire pressure monitoring system, before we leave.  Then we’ll be ready to head out of here!     knock on wood!  Boy are we ready to leave!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tropical Storm, Day 2

Lutz, Florida (high 89, low 73

We are still waiting for tropical storm Beryl to head get out of Florida.  I think it’s actually been downgraded to a tropical depression.

She was heading west across north Florida and southern Georgia yesterday.  Today she changed directions and is heading back towards the east and then up the east coast towards the Carolinas.

The weather today was much worse than yesterday.  We got a lot of rain today as the storm bands came through our area.  Not much wind, but we did have a little gust that caused the window awning to blow up, breaking the hook that straps it down.  That was the only real wind.  I guess we should have brought in the window awnings.  Live and learn, I guess. 

There is a “good” side and a “bad” side of a hurricane/tropical storm.  We were on the good side yesterday and bad side today. 

When we got up this morning we noticed a beautiful red sky.   “Red sky at night, sailors delight, red sky in morning, sailor take warning”   That old mariners saying seems pretty accurate today.

We did get in some quality movie time yesterday and today.   We’re enjoying the old Tv series “24.”    

We’re trying to get set up to move this week-end.   I broke the charger on Al’s Xoom tablet so we’re trying to get one delivered before we leave.  It’s dead in the water right now without a charger.

It never fails.  We sit still for weeks, but at the last minute, we’re busting our tails trying to get everything done that we should have gotten done weeks ago.  Our excuse this time was that Al was sick.  Smile

Monday, May 28, 2012

Tropical Storm

Lutz, Florida  (high 87, low 73)

Hurricane season officially starts June 1st and goes through the end of November.

However, nobody told tropical storm Beryl and north Florida is currently  experiencing the  second storm of the season.  We are expecting to experience some heavy rain from some of the “feeder bands.”  We could use the rain.

Sunday A.M.  Beryl Update   View photo   Yahoo  News

So far, we haven’t had much rain.  We plan to stay home and have a movie day.

Yesterday, we went to the Memorial Day party and horseshoe tournament.  Jeff and Terra have a horse farm less than 2 miles from our campground.  They board horses there.  Al sprays their house, so he’s been there many times, but it was my first time.

Being a horse lover, I was anxious to go and see the horses.  They have two large barns with stalls for all the horses. 

Terras barn

Most of the horses were already in their stalls when we got there at 4pm.  We got a guided tour through the barns and met about 25 horses.  My favorite belongs to Terra. 

Meet Houston.

Houston the horse

He was my favorite because he had such a nice personality.  Apparently, Terra spends a lot of time with him and he was a “people person.”   Houston and I bonded.

Houston the horse

Everyone brought a side dish and they had smoked pork and chickens.  All the food was delicious, especially the collard greens that someone brought.

It was a bit warm in the beginning, but the tropical storm brought some clouds and it cooled down quite nicely.  It never did rain, thankfully.

They have a corral where they have horse shows and that’s where they set up the horseshoe tournament.    There were probably 40-50 people playing in the tournament.  $10 per person and the winner got all the money.  This was a “horsey” crowd and horseshoes was pretty popular.  They drew names to determine who was on what team.

It went on forever.   Al was glad he decided not to play.  His shoulder would have been killing him and I would have been bored to death.  It was still going on when we left.  We just visited with some old friends we knew from our Dive Club.  It was good seeing them after many years.

I didn’t bring my camera and had to rely on my phone.   It has a nice camera, but I don’t understand how so many people can use a camera without a viewfinder.  Trying to take a decent picture by using the screen……hate it!   So the only pictures I got was of the one horse.

I wanted to post a picture (also taken from camera phone) so it’s not a great shot.  It’s hard to locate the subject in the sun.  This car had a beautiful orange paint job and check out that orange window tint and those orange rims!

orange pimpmobile

Very unusual to say the least!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Horse Kisses

Lutz, Florida   ( hot and muggy)

We stayed home yesterday and tended to a few projects.  I finally got the outside windows cleaned.  They were getting pretty nasty and hadn’t been cleaned since before we went to the Keys the last time.

I decided to try The Solution  for the windows.  It’s supposed to also be good for windows as well as the motorhome paint.  I decided to give it a try, and I have to say, I was pleased.  I just sprayed the windows with the Solution,  and then wiped if off with a micro-fiber towel.  It did a great job and was very easy.  No streaks, no rubbing.   (of course when the sun shines just right into the windows today, I might not think so)

The Solution is a great waterless rv and car wash.  It’s clear coat safe.  We also use it for the cars.  Its very easy to clean and shine the motorhome and really takes very little time…..even on a large rv.  I can do the lower half (the parts I can reach without a ladder) in no time at all.  It takes Al longer for the upper parts because he has to get up and down the ladder.  I’m not a ladder person.

 

Al worked on his little pvc shelf that he made for the storage area.  He decided he didn’t like the size he made it originally,  and cut it down a little.   I think he wanted some room on the side of it.  It works great for increasing valuable storage space.

 

We are hoping to be able to leave here a week from today, so we’re trying to get all the little projects done that we’ve procrastinated  on so nicely the past month!    Flush water heater, finish the Eternabond on the roof, sanitize the fresh water tank, check the batteries, fluids, etc.  

The park we’re planning (at least at the moment) is very remote and the nearest town is 30 miles away.  It’s in the middle of a 56,000 acre prairie.   So…..need to make sure we have plenty of beer, tomato juice, toilet paper, kitty litter, cat food, tonic, vodka, tonic and limes!   You know….the necessities.   We’re not good at planning meals ahead of time, but I guess we’re going to have to plan a few for this trip.

Today, we’re going to a party.  They are having a big horseshoe tournament and a cook out.  They have some acreage and they board horses.   I love horses, so I expect I will be able to get some nice horse kisses while I’m there.    The place belongs to the son of our friend that owns the nudie campsite.   No, they are not nudists.  Hopefully, I’ll have some pictures tomorrow. 

In the meantime, what’s cuter than a Baxter in a bowl?

IMG_9709

He was in trouble for this one….and he knew it!

bad Baxter in crock pot

He’s outgrowing this bowl, don’t you think?

Baxter in Bowl

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dumb Move

Lutz, Florida

We were sitting inside last night watching the first episode of the tv series, 24.   Being nosy rv’ers, like we are, we happened to notice a motorhome  trying to back into a campsite.  There were no cars in the road and there were 4-5 empty sites.  It should have been an easy site to settle into.

As we were watching him back up, it seemed that he was going about it all wrong and was going to have difficulty.  We continued to watch, wondering if he had some secret way to flawlessly back into a campsite.  If so, we were watching and learning.

We thought it was odd that his wife stayed inside and didn’t get out to help guide him.  Wow, he must really be good, so we definitely needed to watch and learn.

Soon, it started to become apparent, that maybe he wasn’t an expert after all.   He backed up to the site all wrong, and ended up very cockeyed in the site.   I wondered how he would even be able to get out without taking something with him.  About this time, his wife finally came outside, but before we knew it, they had pulled out of the site and were gone.

Now…Al and I being the nosy ones we are, decided to take a walk and see if they needed help.

We found them tucked nicely into another campsite.  Okay, maybe that one was easier to back into.  They appeared to be just fine.  I don’t know how they could so easily have gotten into this site when the first one was such a disaster.

A while later,  we noticed staff from the campground walking around the first campsite.  Lots of people, lots of golf carts. We figured they had either hit the water or sewer and a check of our water faucet,  revealed the water had been turned off.  Yep, the guy had hit something and that’s why he took off so fast!

It took 5-6 guys over 3 hours to get it fixed and the water restored.  I wonder if they are going to charge him for his carelessness.   I understand accidents happen, but to not have a spotter out when one was available, is just plain dumb.

So….this just reaffirmed to us to always keep some water in the fresh water tank.  You just never know when something like this is going to happen.  We didn’t know how long it was going to take before we would have water again.

 

We’re planning on leaving the Tampa area a week from tomorrow.  I even broke the news to Mom!  I have been getting a bad case of hitch itch. We’re planning on a being gone a couple weeks, barring any issues with Mom.  

We had thought about going  to Wekiva River State Park, until we realized they only have 30 amp sites.  That just won’t do right now, because it’s hot enough that we need both air’s available.       We wanted to go somewhere we hadn’t been before and we plan to stay in Florida since we won’t have too much time.   Now, I know some of you could travel clear across country and back in two weeks (Paul and Marti)Smile……but not us!

For us, we need something fairly close.   Al remembered a newer state park called Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park.  They have equestrian sites that have 50 amp hook-ups, but the regular campsites only have 30 amps.   I don’t understand that one.  It is south of us, and towards the east coast of Florida.  It’s far enough inland that it’s going to be really hot.    It’s not the best time of the year to go there, but it’s in the middle of a huge wilderness area and we really need to see some nature and wildlife.   It might just be a good place to spend a few days.  We will then head over towards the beach.   Of course our plans are written in jello and we won’t know until we get there! 

Since I didn’t take any pictures of the parking fiasco, I’ll have to post a picture from the past….and what’s cuter than a baby kitten?  

IMG_5362_thumb

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Razr Maxx and a New Rv Park

DROID RAZR   Android Smartphone   Ultra Thin   KEVLAR Strong   Now in Blue   Overview   Motorola Mobility  Inc. USA

As much as I hated to spend the money.….I bit the bullet and bought the Android Razr Maxx phone.  It’s the phone they advertise all the time  that has a very long battery life. 

I probably would have waited for the price to come down, but since Verizon is planning on eliminating the unlimited data plans on upgrades, I figured this might be a good time to upgrade.  It was $199 plus Verizon’s new $30 upgrade fee.  Stinks, but what can you do!

This will lock in our unlimited data plan until we need to upgrade phones again.  Now we’ll have a back up smart phone should something happen to the Razr.

The unlimited data is important to us, because we get much of our internet access the phone.  We find the smart phone to be invaluable for our travels and we use it all the time.

So….what do I think of the new phone?   Well, looking and handling them in the store is not like actually using one. 

When I got it paid for,  and out of the box, my first thought, was  that I wanted my old  Droid X back. 

The Razr didn’t feel as good in my hand.  It was too thin and it felt slippery.  I was afraid I was going to drop it.

The Razr Maxx is much thinner than the Droid X and of course it came “naked” from the factory. The first thing I did was get a very expensive Otter Box cover for it. It gives the phone  a little more substance and makes it easier to hold. On the last phone I bought 2 cheap covers for it that held up about as long as it took to get them out of the box. I decided to bite the bullet and go ahead and get a good case right from the the start.  Of course this case doesn’t quite “feel” as good as my old one either. Smile  I guess I just really liked my Droid X, huh?

It has a beautiful large 4.3 inch screen, which is the same size as the Droid X.  I understand iPhone is going to a larger screen now too.  I predict it will be a huge hit.  The screen is large enough that I frequently use it for internet functions….like reading blogs.

So….I spent yesterday customizing it.   I had to add back all my apps,   and  tweak it to make it similar to what I am used to.   Now I like it.   It still doesn’t feel as good in my hand as the old one did, but I’m adjusting.   The battery life is definitely much better. 

I understand this phone is “Ice Cream Sandwich” upgradable!!!   Wow…that’s a great thing! (If I only knew exactly what that meant)

 

Yesterday, Al came home with an offer from a customer/friend  for a really good deal on a rv site.  This guy owns two sites in a very nice Rv Resort nearby.

Skip was given two sites when he did some work for someone who went bankrupt.  They ended up paying him by giving him two rv lots.  He  doesn’t have an rv and just rents the sites out. 

We decided to take a drive out there and see what the Rv park  looked like.

 

The good:

Nice gated community.  Nice pool and hot tub.  All the lots are paved, and many have nice pavers.  Some have tiki huts and outdoor kitchens.

It’s very new and clean looking.  One of the sites he owns butts (no pun intended) up to a fence with some nice shade trees.  The other lot is huge but out in the full sun.    There are not many people actually there right now, but quite a few rv’s that have been left for the summer.

 

The bad:

There are nekkid people!  

Yes, butt naked! 

We tried not to look, honestly! 

We did see a man/woman standing behind a fence.  This person was large with a big belly, but with a real nice tan, and no tan lines!

I thought it was a man with big boobs, but Al thought it was a woman with normal boobs.  Since he/she was standing behind a fence, we never were sure if it was male or female…..it could have gone either way.  Scary, huh?

Normally you have to be a nudist if you stay longer than 7 days.  Skip told Al there was a way around that rule.    It doesn’t really matter though because Al and I both decided we would not feel comfortable there.  We would feel odd wearing clothes  (and we would  be wearing clothes). 

The good thing is, you wouldn’t have to worry about closing your shades at night before you changed clothes!   No one would care!

It really is a nice rv resort and we would have stayed there if it hadn’t been a nudist colony!

To each his own!

 

okay Roxanne, hit me with your best shot….I just know you have something to say Smile

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Little Exploring

Lutz, Florida (high 88, low 71)

We took a drive to downtown Tampa on Sunday.  We were looking for a place to launch the kayaks where we could paddle and have the Tampa skyline in the background.   I thought that I remembered such a place.  We did NOT find it, however this morning I found this  picture on the internet  which is what I wanted to get.

The places we found to launch were too far away.

Home Page

There is a rowing club nearby and this picture is from their website.  We saw some people rowing their skulls.  Check out this short video.  They  moved so darn fast, I could barely keep up with them.   The girls were in a smaller boat could not keep up with the guys, who were in a larger boat.

Skulls on the Hillsborough River

There was a small motor boat guiding them, training them, or something??  You could hear the person in the background.

After we watched the rowing a while, we took a drive over the bridge to Davis Island.  The baseball player, Derek Jeter recently built a huge mansion there.  It’s over 30,000 square feet and valued at nearly 8 million dollars. It took up two waterfront lots.

It was easy enough to find.  Here is a picture I took, which really doesn’t show the size well.

Derek Jeter's house on Davis Island

The following are pictures I got on the internet.

Derek Jeter’s  7.7 Million Tampa Mansion Completed  Photos    Photo 11 of 20   NESN.com

The photo below shows the mansion towards the bottom right.  How about the view he has from his backyard?   Do you think he’d mind if we launched the kayaks from his place?

Derek Jeter’s  7.7 Million Tampa Mansion Completed  Photos    Photo 14 of 20   NESN.com

I think some people earn way too much money.  Why does a single guy need that much space?   

 

Yesterday, Monday we made a trip up to Homosassa River State Park.  We got in free using our Florida Parks pass.  We’ve been there many times so I didn’t bother to take many pictures.

Here is Lucifer the hippo.  He is the only remaining non-native animal at the park.   He is an old man at 52 years old.

Lucifer the Hippo

I think this is the first time I’ve seen him out of the water.  It was dinner time.

A male Wood Duck.

Wood Duck male

A Pileated Woodpecker.

IMG_2663

And for those who asked…..a picture of Al pushing a baby (kitty) stroller.    You can also see Baxter looking out.

IMG_2617

 

the end

(I hope this isn’t too gross for any of you!)

Lucifer the Hippo

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Thanks for the Comments

Lutz, Florida  (high 88, low 70)

Al made it home yesterday with a full load of our “treasures.”  He got the Georgia storage building completely emptied.   We have officially cut our ties to Georgia!  We will work on getting it all put into the storage building here in Tampa later today.  He was too tired when he got home yesterday.   I wish we didn’t have to have a storage building.  It is a monthly expense we could live without.  However, we have too many toys and not a big enough motorhome.  Smile  It’s nice to be able to store things like scuba gear in the shed and only pull it out when we’re somewhere we will need it.  We still have too many tools and some home maintenance items that we want to keep since we still do actually have a house here in Tampa.

 

This morning we are going to take a drive to downtown Tampa.  Kevin and Ruth posted some pictures recently of a kayak trip with the Chicago skyline in the background.   It reminded me that I have always wanted to do the same in Tampa.  The Hillsborough River runs right through downtown Tampa and I should be able to get some nice shots of the Tampa skyline in the background behind the river.  It would be lovely at sunset.  We’re going there today and scout out the area  for a future trip and see where we could launch the Sea Eagles.

So…..thanks everyone for taking the time to comment on my blog changes yesterday.  I didn’t realize the background for the comments was the darker green.  Evidently that’s the background on the template I chose and there is no changing just the comment section,  unless you change the main background.  I’ll work on it later. 

I could not change the font to white unless I did the same on the posting part.  That would have left the main blog with light font on a light background.  That would also  be hard to read.    I need to work on it and will do so when I get a chance.  In the meantime….sorry.

Now, as far as the large header picture.  I didn’t realize my header pictures loaded slowly.  They don’t on my system.    I don’t want to eliminate that photo.  I like having a “showcase” photo.   I guess I could try resizing the photo to help make it load quicker??   I’ll let you know when I make those changes and you can tell me how it works out.

My thinking about the weather widget is:

1.   I don’t always think to check for one when I’m reading a certain blog.   Also, I often go back on old posts on blogs that have particularly good info and photos.  Unfortunately that weather widget is where they are now and what their current temperature is.   I might want to check out how their weather was last winter when they were in Arizona, and all I get is their current location and weather.    It’s just my preference, and certainly everyone can make their blogs the way the want to.  I just find it helpful to have a location and temperature.  After all, I am always scouting good places to go!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

How to Get More Blog Readers

Lutz, Florida  (high 88,  low 70)

I have been writing my blog for a few years now.  I remember how excited I was when I got my first comment and follower.  Wow…someone actually read my blog?

That was the beginning of my journey in blog land.  Since then, I have learned a lot from fellow bloggers, and made some friends as well.  Sometimes, just knowing someone out there cares about you is a really big help. 

I read some other blogs, and I  and notice they don’t get many comments.

 

Well, here are two reasons that come to mind right away.

1.  Do you leave comments on other blogs? 

Most of us enjoy comments left on our blogs.  If you read blogs and never comment on them, no one is going to comment on yours!

Remember the saying…how to make a friend is be a friend. Well I think the same holds true for blogging.  How to get a comment, is to leave a comment. 

 

2.  Do you have “word verification” ?

Rick   Paulette s RV Travels

If I see one of these damn things,  I rarely  leave a comment.   No, I do not want to prove I am not a robot.

I will make an exception for new blogs, or people who are having medical problems.  So, if you’re not ill, or a new blogger, and don’t get many comments, this may be the reason!

This word verification step has been discussed and discussed on blogs recently.  As a result of the most recent discussion, most (but not all)  have removed the word verification step. 

If you want to read more about it, please check out Rick's post. 

I have gained so much from blogging.  I’ve made a lot of friends, learned so much, gotten freebies, gotten camping offers,  and so much more.   Blogging has certainly enhanced our rv’ing experience.

 

Since we are stuck here in Florida, we are reading about all the places we want to visit someday.  One thing, I  like to see is on each blog posts is the location   of where you are, and the temperature.  The location was probably mentioned 3-4 posts ago, but I just can’t remember, or I never read that particular post. 

Why the temperature?  Because I want to know what season to go there!   If your having 105 degree temperatures, I may want to go a different month.

Why the location?   Because I read a lot of blogs and can’t always remember where you are.  Yes, Ocean View State Park looks beautiful, but what ocean, what state, what city, what country? 

Even if I follow your blog regularly, if you’re moving a lot, I can’t keep up with you.  Where, oh where are you?   I want to go there, but I don’t know where it is.  Smile

How about you.  Is there anything you like to see on blogs?   I know, we all write our own blogs the way we  want to, and we can write them however we like, but let’s face it, we all like people to read our blogs.  These are just a few of my suggestions and things I like to see on blogs. 

 

p.s.  I am making some changes to my blog.  Please excuse the work in progress.  If you see anything funky, please let me know.  

 

male bluebird feeding baby_thumb[1]

Friday, May 18, 2012

Changes to Verizon Wireless

Lutz, Florida  (high 88, low 71)

I stayed home yesterday while Al made a return trip to the beach house.  We are starting to realize there is something wrong with his phone.  Apparently messages and texts don’t always show up right away, but will pop up days later.  That little glitch caused him to have to make an extra 92 mile round trip. 

I got some bad news yesterday from Verizon.  Sometime this summer they are going to stop grandfathering in the unlimited data plans for people who upgrade their phones.  I depend on my Droid phone for everything, and I do not want to have to worry about going over my data limit, like we have to do with the Mifi. 

I use my Droid X all the time, and it’s always with me.  I use it to check the weather, monitor my emails, and blogs, navigation, maps and in fact anything my laptop does, my Droid does, just on a little smaller scale.  The screen is large enough that it works just fine as a browser when I am not near my laptop.  It’s especially good for travel when you’re in an unfamiliar place. 

I have been thinking about upgrading it because of the short battery life, which has always been extremely short.  It’s  getting worse and worse.  

They have been advertising a new Motorola Razr Maxx that is supposed to have a long lasting battery.  The only problem is, it’s $199, plus tax and a $30 upgrade fee.  

Amazon.com  Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX 4G Android Phone  Black 32GB  Verizon Wireless   Cell Phones   Accessories

The upgrade fee is just another of Verizon’s new money making tricks.  Anytime you change phones, they tack on the additional $30 for the privilege.   Unfortunately, I think I am going to have to bite the bullet.  We prefer Verizon due to the good coverage. I prefer the Android operating system and I love the big beautiful large screen of the my Droid X.  The Razr Maxx has the same big screen.

So…..do I keep my old Droid X and hope nothing goes wrong with it?   I could get a new battery, but that phone is such a battery hog, it won’t make that big of a difference.  Do I bite the bullet and pay $230 to upgrade to the phone I really want?   They also have a Razr (not Maxx) for $99, but it doesn’t have the long life battery.  If I don’t upgrade  before they change the unlimited data, I’ll be paying for data on a tiered plan.  (read…more money)

Decisions, decisions.  

Anybody know where I can go other than Verizon to get that phone cheaper? 

I found the phone on Amazon Wireless for $169.  I am a bit leery of getting it through them though, because I’ll need to do some finagling to switch one eligible phone to my phone.  Also, I don’t even see where the phone is a new phone…although I assume it is.

More research, I guess……

 

Al is on his way to Georgia.  Hopefully he can clean out the storage shed and this will be his last trip.  I wish I could have gone with him, but I didn’t want to leave the kitties to fend for themselves.  God knows how much trouble Baxter would have gotten into!

Baxter

Baxter

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Trip to Beach, and Rain

Lutz, Florida (high 88, low 66)

I rode along with Al to Indian Rocks Beach yesterday.  We thought he could spray the account and then we could find something interesting to do.

When we pulled up to the beach house, it was raining so hard we couldn’t even get out of the truck.   It usually doesn’t rain too long in Florida, so we just decided to wait it out.  Sure enough in about 15 minutes the storm had passed by.

Indian rocks beach, Andrews house

How about this amazing view the owners have from their beach house?

Indian rocks beach, Andrews house

More rain was coming, and   Al had another account he needed to do, so we headed back inland, and didn’t get to enjoy the beach.

On the way home we spotted this lone Roseatte Spoonbill.    This guy was a good distance away so I had to zoom way in.   I was surprised to see the gator right in front of him when I downloaded the photo.

gator and spoonbill

It looks like the Spoonbill may have been a bit surprised about the gator as well.

IMG_2558

As we headed back home, we got caught in another heavy rainstorm.  I think we just kept driving right into the moving storm.

It ended up raining off and on most of the day and night.   We sure need the rain, so it was a good thing. 

Last night Al noticed  a text from the customer with the beach house.  It says…”we found ants up in the attic on the cottage and please check them out.”  Al rarely gets texts and didn’t even know he got it until last night.  It was sent yesterday morning.   So poor Al is heading all the way back there today…..he was NOT a happy camper when he got the message, but it was our fault for not noticing the text.  Neither of us text and we prefer not getting any texts.  

I think I will call Verizon and see if I can have texts blocked from our phones.   I have the Droid smartphone, so if I need to contact someone I usually send emails.  Al has a regular “dumb” phone, but is usually with me and my Droid. 

So, since I’m “home alone”, it might be a good day to do some house cleaning….or call my friend in Arkansas.  Smile

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cutting the Ties

Lutz, Florida  (high 87, low 71)

We are planning a trip to the beach today.  Not a fun beach trip, but a working trip.  Al has to do pest control for a customers beach house, so  I’m going along for the ride.  Maybe we can find something interesting to do or see. 

The saga of the Florida Sand Cranes is continuing.  Yesterday morning, the parents were here and doting on the colts again.  When they are around, they all stick pretty close together.  Sometime during the day, the adults disappeared again, and were gone most of the day.  When the parents are gone, the youngsters don’t stay together all the time.  This morning, Mom and Dad are back and the family is back together again.   Could they be working on another nest somewhere close by?   Are they trying to slowly wean the youngsters?   I’ve seen lots of Sand Crane families and they seem to stay with the parents until they are a lot older then these two.  It’s strange, but at least all appear to be okay.

Al is making a trip to Georgia on Friday.  The plan is to clean out the rest of the stuff from the storage building in Georgia, and cut our ties to Georgia!  That’s the plan anyway.  He’s not exactly sure what is left in that shed, so hopefully he won’t be shocked when he opens the door!

The sunset was pretty last night with a pink sky.

IMG_2543

We’re still hoping/planning our escape for June 3rd.  We are planning a trip to the east coast towards Flagler Beach, but we found another campground to stay when we get back.  It’s about 10 miles north of us.  They are pretty expensive in the winter at $800 a month, but have a special $320 summer rate.   It’s not a destination type park, but since we have to be in the Tampa area, it’s at least a change of scenery.  They have  a new section that has double concrete pads so you park on concrete and also have a large concrete patio.  It’s certainly not where we want to be……but it’s probably where we will be for July.

So….until we get at a more exciting location, I’ll just have to keep reading with jealousy about all the fun places all our blogger friends are visiting.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Stroller and Sand Cranes

Lutz, Florida  (high 87, low 71)

Al was feeling a little better yesterday, so we decided to go look at a dog/kitty stroller we had found on Craig’s List.  Margie and Roger have one for Annie and Buddy, and dogs really seemed to enjoy riding around.

Annie and Buddy

We feel kind of sorry for Baxter.  He’s a kitten living in a small space.  He is not allowed outside, and every time he starts acting like a kitten, he gets in trouble.  (scratching, climbing, attacking) There is not much room for him to chase around and the other cats aren’t interested in playing with him.  To them, he is a big pest.

Al thought if we could take him outside in a little stroller, it would give him some stimulation and help to entertain him.  We had priced them at pet stores for $150.   Out of our budget.

We found one on Craig’s list for $45.  It’s a heavy duty model (good for fat Bax) and was like brand new. 

I am the worrying type, so he also has to have on a harness with a leash….just in case he were to accidently escape.

Here is his new stroller.   There are drink holders (good for happy hour strolls), and a compartment underneath.

 

Baxters new stroller

Here he is investigating it for the first time.  Doesn’t he look cute in his new red harness?

IMG_25391

 

Baxter in his stroller  9 1/2 months old

That harness needed to come with a video to figure out how to get it on him the first time.  Between a squirming kitten and too many straps…we had a little trouble getting it on him correctly.  Smile

We took him for a ride around the park last night.  He behaved himself and really seemed to enjoy it.  Of course he got lots of attention.

I never thought I would see Al pushing a baby stroller….   We never had any kids, so no baby strollers in our past (or future).

 

Good News!

I mentioned on my last post that the parents of the Sandhill Cranes left their  two babies (colts per Judy).    I had thought they were too young to be left alone,  and Judy confirmed it.  So we have been worrying about them for the past few days. We’ve wandered around the park looking for them.  I even looked into some finding a wild bird rescue group, wondering if the colts were going to be okay without their parents.

This morning while drinking our coffee, we heard some cranes flying over.  They have a very distinctive call.  The two colts were right here.  We ran outside,  and found one adult had come back.  One of the colts was a bit agitated and had his feathers all up as the adult walked up to him.    A few minutes the other adult came over, to the same reaction.   I think the youngsters were mad for being left!  We fed them a few peanuts and pieces of bread, they ate and then wandered off.

So, Judy, is this normal behavior?  We are sure the adults were gone, because we looked all over for them.  Where did they go, and why did they leave their babies?

juvinile sand cranes

Monday, May 14, 2012

Nature’s Way

Lutz, Florida   (high 85, low 71)

We spent Mothers Day at Mom’s house.  Al was still feeling pretty rotten, so we decided to take her out another day.  She understood.  We had a nice visit and then went back home.  We plan to take her to Homosassa Springs, but not until Al is feeling better.

Our Florida Sandhill Crane family is smaller today.  Yesterday, apparently,  Mom and Dad flew the coop and left the youngsters to fend for themselves.  At least that’s what we think happened.  The poor babies seem lost.  On Saturday, Mom and Dad were doting on them, finding them bugs and standing guard while they napped.  On Sunday, they were left by themselves.   They appear lost.  I guess it’s natures way, but it’s kind of sad. 

After a dreary, cloudy day yesterday, the sun is finally back out.  It sure helps the mood when it’s sunny outside.   The predicted heavy rain never got here.  We could have used some rain.

I got an email today, with a tip on tick removal.  I don’t know if it works or not, but I thought I’d post it here.  It’s coming into tick season, so I’m sure someone will find a tick on themselves or their dogs.

 

Tick Removal

Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick  with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few  seconds (15-20); the tick will come out on its own and  be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lazy Day and Flesh Eating Bacteria Warning

Lutz, Florida

Al is still feeling pretty miserable from his sinus infection and the antibiotics make him sensitive to the sun and heat.  So…..he’s not much fun!

We stayed home and “doctored”  him yesterday.  Lots of TLC and an afternoon nap seemed to help.

I made some ribs, fresh asparagus, and au gratin potatoes for dinner.   We buy the asparagus from Sam’s club and they seem to have the best asparagus.    I drizzled on some olive oil,  added some salt, pepper and a little garlic, and then cooked it for 5 minutes in our Nu-Wave oven.  I think it was the best asparagus I ever had.  Al normally isn’t a big fan, so I made him some broccoli.  He  kept  helping  himself to  more  of   “my”   asparagus.  It’s a good thing I made a lot!   

My good friend Carol, from junior high days called yesterday to tell me that she and her husband bought their first Rv.  They bought an 18 foot toy hauler trailer.  They have a Harley motorcycle (trike), and decided to give rv’ing a try.  We’re hoping to be able to meet them somewhere between here and Arkansas (where they live) and
“go camping,”  later in the fall.    I think I am more excited than she is!

Carol is a nurse and she mentioned the girl who had a zip-lining accident, and is now in danger of losing all of her limbs.  Carol reminded us to be very careful when we’re in the woods, lakes, rivers to watch even small cuts very carefully.

This young 24 year old woman was zip-lining in Georgia when the line broke.  She fell and got a bad cut on her leg which required a trip to the Er and 24 staples.

6  Believe and pray for a miracle to happen for Aimee Copeland

A few days later she was back in the hospital on life support.  Her left leg was  amputated to the hip.  The latest news is that the tissue on  her hands and other foot have  died and will likely have to be amputated as well.

Here is a link to the Facebook page her father put up.  It gives updates on her condition.  I’m sure any and all prayers would be appreciated.

Anyway, it’s a good reminder to take those little cuts and scraps seriously when we’re out traipsing through the woods and rivers.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

So Far, So Good

Lutz, Florida  (high 87, low 70)

We got out of the cardiologists office about 10:30 yesterday morning.  I was pleased at how fast it all went.  The preliminary results were good.

Al had a nuclear stress test and an echocardiogram  (sonogram). 

The nuclear  stress test involves the injection of a radioactive substance, which  mixes in with your blood that flows to your heart.

He laid under a scanner for 13 minutes before they injected him with the radioactive material.  He was told to keep still while they took pictures of his heart.  He fell asleep and must have woke himself up snoring because he said he jerked his arm and hit the scanner.  (you are supposed to stay still)

The radioactive substance, in essences helps the heart “glow” for the camera. So that the camera or scanner can take pictures of your heart as it pumps and pushes the blood in and out.

They hooked up  monitors to his chest and put him on  a treadmill.  After a few minutes of monitoring his EKG readings, they injected the substance.  

The doctor and I were there at the time and the doctor didn’t see any issues with his EKG.  He had no trouble on the treadmill, and no chest pain.

After the treadmill, they took him back for 11 more  minutes of pictures to show his heart and arteries with the substance inside of him.

In talking to the cardiologist, we figure out that Al’s primary doctor  misunderstood what Al told him.   They were under the impression that Al was having severe chest pains.  He wasn’t.  So, I think that’s why is all happened with such urgency.  It was a good thing though, as we got all this done within 24 hours!

The cardiologist didn’t review all the tests before we left yesterday,  but he did look at the EKG’s and didn’t think Al had any problems.  They will call us in a few days.  This may have all been a misunderstanding, but I feel it was a good thing.  A man Al’s age should get this done regularly in my opinion.  We’re hoping all is well.

Al is still not feeling up to par due to the sinus infection, so I think we’ll stay out of the sun today and hang around the house.

We do have some new friends though.

Mr and Mrs Florida Sandhill Crane, and their babies.

Florida Sandhill Crane

Little Noogie was very interested in watching them.

Little Noogie watching the Florida Sandhill Cranes

This little guy was cleaning himself.  He’s still a bit scruffy.

Florida Sandhill Crane

Friday, May 11, 2012

Back at Doctor’s Office

One of my favorite things is sitting and waiting at a doctors office or hospital…..so you can guess how much fun I’m having now!

Al got in to see the cardiologist office yesterday. The nurse compared his EKG to an old one.  She didn’t think there was anything to worry about, but thought it would be a good idea to get a  nuclear stress test,  just to be on the safe side.  I was going to suggest it, if she didn’t, so I was happy.

They scheduled the test for this morning at 7 am, so here I sit……waiting.  The good news, is they have free wifi and I brought my laptop, knowing I’d be waiting a few hours.

We were very pleased that we:

1. got a cardiologist appointment so quickly. 

2.  got the nuclear stress test so quickly.

No sense messing around with the heart.  We should have the results before we leave the office. 

Hopefully, we’ll get good news and he can  go home and start treating his sinus infection. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Change of Plans

Well, here we are sitting in a cardiologist office.

Al went to his new doctor today thinking he had a sinus infection (he does).

Apparently he had an abnormal EKG, and his doctor sent him to a cardiologist.

So....here we sit, and I am trying not to panic.

Wish us luck.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Passing the Time

Lutz, Florida  (high 88, low 71)

The humidity is high.  The temperatures are in the upper 80’s.   It’s too hot to get motivated to doing anything outdoors that doesn’t involve water.   

We are both a bit down in the dumps.  This is not where we want to be right now but we have to keep reminding ourselves that there are certainly worse places to be than Florida.

We are hoping to go on “vacation” for 2 weeks the first part of June.  (sounds like Sherry and David, huh?) We need to be nearby to help with Mom and to take her to doctor appointments.  My brother is now working again, so it puts more of the pressure on me.

If we get to go, we’ll stay in Florida.  No sense going too far for a two week trip.  We will probably head to the east coast of Florida, either north towards Flagler Beach, or south towards Vero Beach.  Either way, it would be nice to get out of Tampa.  It’s nice to be able to make some plans.

We’re trying to get some things done while we’re here, including my annual doctor appointments.  I still need to have the laser procedure on my left eye, but after what I went through on the right eye, I’m not too anxious!

We (Al) still has to finish putting the Eternabond on the roof of the motorhome.  Rainy season is coming and I don’t want to have to worry about any leaks.   Once he gets it all done, we won’t have to be worrying about re-sealing every 6 months.

Speaking of leaks…..I had been noticing a faint mildew odor in the motor home.  We hadn’t had any rain, so I didn’t think it was a leak.   I checked out some rv forums, and someone suggested cleaning the coils on the roof  a/c unit.  Al did that, and the odor appears to be gone. 

I highly recommend using these forums for any problems you have with your rv’s.  You usually get a lot of info, and it’s up to you to sort out the good info from the bad info.

 Rv Net Forum is the one I use most often, but occasionally, I go to IRV2 Forum.  Just remember, not all the information is correct, and it is up to you to root out the best information.    I’ve learned so much about the rv’s and the lifestyle from these forums.  I learned so many things that I would have never thought to ask.  I used to read all the new posts every day.  Now, I only go there occasionally…and I still learn a lot.

We  both gained some weight in the Keys.  I don’t know how, because we were pretty active.   It might have had something to do with our nightly happy hours or all the food we gobbled down.  Smile

So….I decided to do the Atkins diet (no carbs) for a few days to get me started.  It works well for me because I think I am a carb addict and it seems to help break that cycle.  You also can drop a few pounds quickly, and without starving.   I have good intentions on dieting….until I get hungry.

I’ve been living on hamburger patties and Wendy's salads for the past few days.  I’m not sick of either….yet.  Al is eating less just because I’m eating less, but he’s definitely not following a no carb diet.   That would exclude beer!

So, that’s our life for the time being.  Not too exciting.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Beach and Squirrel Proof Birdfeeder

Lutz, Florida

Saturday night, we got this bright idea to get up early and head to the beach to watch the sunrise.

We decided to go to Fort Desoto Park, which is one of the few places on the Gulf coast where you can actually watch the sunrise over the water.  It’s about a 70 minute drive, so in order for us to get up, get ready and get there, we set the alarm for 4am. 

Well, someone (me) kept hitting the snooze button for an hour, so of course we missed the sunrise.  over.   Oh well, better luck next time! 

We went over to the north beach area, which has always been our favorite part of the beach.  Fort Desoto Park is a huge park with 1136 acres,  and there are lots of places to go. 

Map picture

There is a very nice (and pricey) campground that we’ve stayed at before with smaller rigs.

We wanted to double check and see if we could get our current motorhome into any of the sites.  I was concerned more about the campground roads, more  than the actual sites.    I think we could easily get around the roads and we found quite a few sites we could get in.

The following site 185 has a coach like ours.  They seemed to fit fine. It’s a waterfront site.

Fort Desoto campsites, site 185

The next is site 188, and appears to be plenty large.

Fort Desoto campsites, site 188

A squirrel peeking out of the wildlife proof trash cans.

squirrell in dumpster

Hibiscus.

IMG_2354

We headed to the north beach area which has always been our favorite because it is remote and most people don’t go there.

However, someone had the bright idea to add a lifeguard stand there and make it more public.

How ugly is this?

Fort Desoto North Beach area

Part of the problem is serious beach erosion and a lot of the beautiful white sand has washed away.  Beaches come and go naturally and a beach that is beautiful today might not look so pretty in a few months.   The state of Florida constantly spends millions of taxpayer dollars   “renourishing” beaches.

So our favorite beach had really changed since we were last there.  You could really see the erosion of the beautiful sugar white sand.

As we walked around towards the inlet, it started to look more like we had remembered.

They had planted hundreds of Sea Oaks to try to re-establish the sand dunes.  Unfortunately, we saw a lot of them laying on top of the sand.  We re-planted a few.

sea oats plugs

This part of the beach is a favorite for photographers and you can usually see Roseatte Spoonbills there.  (none yesterday)

Fort Desoto North Beach area

There are lots of birds.

A Ruddy Turnstone, I think.

Ruddy Turnstone

A common Snipe?

Common Snipe

Dowitcher snipe family

 

sugar white sand is very fine and soft.

Fort Desoto north Beach

 

shells at fort desoto beach

We brought our chairs, books and new beach umbrella, but there was no breeze at all and no way were we going to sit there with no breeze.  The afternoon seabreeze usually picks up, but it was still and hot without it.

We left that area and went over to the fishing pier. 

fishing pier at fort desoto

We were treated to a mother and baby dolphin putting on a great show.   A couple of times they jumped straight up, but my trigger finger was too slow to get a good picture.

At first they were right under the pier, but then swam a little further out.  That is the Sunshine Skyway bridge in the background.

mama and baby dolphin at skyway

This is a ferry boat that will take you over to Egmont Key (island).  I think it’s a bit pricey at $20 per person for a 5 minute ride.

IMG_2449

Am I just getting cheap, or are prices going insane? 

They now charge $5 to get into Fort Desoto park, which had always been free until the last year or two.  I don’t really mind that though.  The local zoo is $24, which I think is crazy!

From the pier, we could see the dog beach and it looked like a fun place to visit.  Most of the dogs were not swimming, but just playing in the sand with the other dogs.  They were having a great time.

dog beach

Was this dog spoiled, or what?  He was floating and his owner was walking!

dog beach

It was starting to get too hot out and the sea breeze hadn’t kicked in, so we decided to leave and drive over the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

IMG_2459

This is the second Sunshine Skyway bridge. The first was destroyed on May 9, 1980 when it was hit and knocked down by a large ship during a blinding rain storm.    It was during rush hour traffic and 35 people plunged do their deaths when the span of the bridge collapsed.  One man survived the fall when his car went over and landed on the ship.

You can read more about it here.  They built a new bridge after the disaster and much of the old bridge remains as a fishing pier and recreation area.  It was a sad day in Tampa, I can tell you and I remember it well.

Here are a few pics going over the bridge yesterday.  The old bridge was scary when you drove over it.  This one isn’t.

IMG_2465

The new, larger cruise ships won’t fit underneath it, but its pretty high.

IMG_2478

It was a night day, but would have been much nicer if it had been 10 degrees cooler!

 

Baxter is now 9 months old.  He weighed in at 12 pounds yesterday. 

Shoe comparison, after

Baxter at 9 months and 12 pounds

Shoe comparison, before

kitten with shoe

For my bird watching friends, here is a squirrel proof bird feeder.  

birdfeeder

The baffle will absolutely keep the squirrels from getting into the feeder….as long as the feeder is far enough away from any trees where they can jump from. It can be disassembled for travel.

They will climb the pole, but can’t get past the baffle.  Trust me.  It works!