Sunrise in the Florida Keys

Sunrise in the Florida Keys

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Changes

Wesley Chapel, Florida

Sunday was another “fun” day in the life of a full timer.

We went to pick my brother up from his two nights at the hospital.  He will not be able to drive for who knows how long. His lifestyle choices are affecting our  lifestyle now.  Not only do we have to take care of my Mother, we have to take care of him.   We are not happy campers.  These issues that we need to deal with, will for the time being, keep us pretty tied to to Tampa.   grrrrr   I guess it could be worse.  Mom could live in Nebraska.

So, on to other things.  We have decided since we’re stuck here, we’re going to join a local fitness center again.  We enjoyed it when we did it last winter, and since we’re changed our diets,  we think this is a good time to start an exercise program.   We aren’t as dedicated as Sherry to get outside in this humidity and run or even to much walking. 

We have been eating the vegetarian/vegan diet for 9  days now.  Vegetarians eat no meat, but still eat eggs and dairy.  Vegans eat no meat, dairy, or eggs.   There are some very good benefits to stay away from dairy.  There is a lot of information in the video Forks Over Knives.   I had a free link on a previous post. 

The vegan diet started as an experiment.  We decided to give it a try and see what happened, and take it one day at a time.

We discovered that with a little thought, we could eat anything we wanted, providing we modified it a little.

Tacos…yes.   Cake, yes.   Pizza, yes.   Sloppy Joes, yes.  Of course these are all modified to be made without meat, dairy or eggs.

I discovered I got an energy boost from this way of eating and lose weight in the process. 

We have been eating some really tasty foods.  Hummus and lentils might be our new best friends.

I have lost 4.0 pounds, and Al  (who didn’t get a starting weight right away) has lost at least 4.0.   We have done this by eating all we wanted and as often as we want.  We have not craved anything at all.  That was a big surprise to me because in the past when I’ve tried weight loss diets, I immediately started craving things.  I have very rarely been hungry, in fact most of the time I have a full feeling.  I get full much faster.  That’s a shock for me because I have always had a very good appetite and it took a lot of food to fill me up.  Al still seems able to put away a good amount of food, and that’s okay too because it’s all healthy food with very little fat or cholesterol.

We do not consider this a diet, but a new way of eating.  We try very hard to make sure we do not feel deprived and have all the crunchy, salty snacks we want.  Neither of has really had a craving for something sweet,  yet.

It’s been surprisingly easy.

After the first few days and we started to see that we could do it long term, we started purging some things from the refrigerator.

Yesterday, I brought my mom some “treasures” from our refrigerator.  I wasn’t sure how Al would feel about the following item.  I approached the subject very carefully….

Can you part with this ?  Should we give this to Mom?

Surprisingly, he said yes.  He even had a smile on his face.  That’s a bad picture of Al….he really looks much better.

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Stouffer’s frozen French bread pizzas were one of the staples of our diet.  We could always grab one of them when we were too tired or lazy to cook.   I was not a meal planner.   This new way of eating has forced me to plan better.  I have been afraid if Al got hungry, all hell would break loose!  Smile

In the beginning we were afraid to leave the house without a snack.  We were afraid if we did a Pizza Hut, or Zaxby’s would start calling our name.  That has not been an issue so far, but we do try to bring some nuts, dried fruit, peanut brittle, or soy nuts with us.

We’ve both agreed that we want to stick with this new way of eating, and we’re both committed to it.  Will we have turkey at Thanksgiving?   Maybe.  If we want it, we will have it.  We still have some nice fish and lobster in the freezer.   We will eat them one day.  We will have ice cream if we want it. 

I made a vegan pizza the other night and it turned out very good.    We used no peperoni or cheese.  I found a good tasting vegan mozzarella cheese substitute,  and we loaded it with veggies.

vegan pizza

We made lentil sloppy joes last night.  Al liked them, I didn’t.  I will find another way to make them in the future.

 

We got the truck topped put on the truck the other day.  We sure do like our new truck.  I believe the parts are all in for the driveshaft disconnect and the tow brackets.  No hurry to get them installed now!

2012 nissan frontier with topper

Our dry pattern of weather has ended.  We had some beautiful cloud formations the other night, so I snapped a few pictures.

clouds

clouds

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Baxter being cute.

Baxter

Catherine, JoBeth and Grace moved in one space down from us yesterday.  We got a tour of their beautiful new Tiffin.   She’s quite a beauty.

Unfortunately, because we were napping, we missed their rather eventful arrival.  Check here to read all about it.   Darn, I missed some great video for my blog.  Winking smile

Here is a sign I just had to photograph.

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The end

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Meeting New Friends

Wesley Chapel, Florida

Friday morning

The plan originally was to leave on Sunday for Vero Beach.  We never make any definite plans though because something always seems to disrupt our plans.

This time is no exception.  We had to take Mom to the Doctor on Thursday.  She was having some issues, or should I say more than normal.

She is feeling better today, but we still have the kitty we’re looking after.    Frisk’s  “Dad” Frank won’t be back until Wednesday.   Frank…Frisk is just fine.  He has been coming out and meowing at me.  He will let me pet him, but if I get too “aggressive” he’ll hiss at me to keep me in my place. I think he likes me though!   I’ve been going over twice a day….worrying about the a/c but it’s been just fine so far.   We’ll look in on him until you return, so don’t worry about him.

 

While doing our morning walk (stroll) we saw a nice looking silver truck  with kayak racks on top.  It looked very much like what ours will look like after we get it all set up.  We were staring and pointing at the truck as it drove by.

The driver stopped, and then backed up.  Uh, oh…do they think we’re stalkers?  Are they wondering why I was pointing at them?

Two people got out and walked over to us.  They are probably going to ask why we were pointing at them?  We have a good reason…honest.

Okay…I recognize them from their blog…

It was Catherine, Jo Beth and Grace

R V Crazy Travel Journal

They were bringing a surprise to Sherry.  It was nice to meet them in person!  (I hope you don’t mind I borrowed your picture from your blog) 

Sherry whizzed by a few times on her run.  Nothing can stop that woman when she is in the zone! Actually, “whizz”  may be a bit of a stretch in the heat and humidity of a Florida summer.  She did pick up the pace though, when she saw Catherine and Jo Beth.   Smile

Today is day 6 of our Vegan diet experiment.  No cravings for “regular” food and no hunger.    We haven’t felt deprived at all.

 

Saturday morning

We got a call from my Mom last night.  My brother was in a car accident and was in the hospital.  We rushed to the hospital and didn’t get home until 4am.  He is okay.  Apparently, he had some sort of seizure.  It’s a long story, but the short version is that  we will not be going to Vero Beach (or anywhere else), anytime soon.   My brother won’t be driving and my Mother is okay to drive only in her neighborhood.   We can’t leave them without the ability to get around.  

Today is day 7 of our vegan diet experiment.  We’re both holding strong.  We’re not craving any of our old foods, and we both are eating all we want, and feeling satisfied.  I rarely feel any hungry at all. 

Last night I experimented with vegan tacos.  I cooked a pot of lentils in the slow cooker.  I drained them, sprinkled dry taco seasoning on them and then put them in a corn taco shell with chopped spinach (could have used lettuce but spinach is more nutritious) and some hot and spicy hummus (as a cheese substitute)  When I was preparing them, I thought to myself  “this is a bad idea.”   I didn’t think they would be any good. I warned Al  ahead of time, that I was unsure how they would taste.   He was  still open to giving them a try. To my surprise he said they were very good.   How about that?  The old Al would never have tried anything remotely like a lentil taco!   After his endorsement, I decided to try one myself, and had to agree with Al.  They were good!  They didn’t taste much different than beef tacos.   I had made up some fresh salsa to put on top of them, but ended up forgetting all about it. 

I am still feeling energetic.  Revved up might be a better description.  I’m wondering if my metabolism has sped up and this is what I’m feeling?   I got a little lazy yesterday afternoon and took a short nap.  I was worried my newfound energy was about to leave me, but again this morning I feel “revved.”   I wish Al would get this good feeling, but he hasn’t.  I’m hoping after a few days on his antibiotics he will start to get over his sinus infection.  His back is better.

I am down 4 pounds after only 6 days.  I’m sure the weight loss will slow, but for now I’m loving it.  Al is only down 1 1/2 pounds, but I think that’s because he didn’t weigh himself for a few days after we started.  I know he’ll lose weight faster than I will…..men always do, don’t they?

We got the new topper for our truck yesterday afternoon.  It looks pretty good.  The other parts are in, so we may get them installed next week. I don’t know why we’re bothering though…I see no trip on the horizon anytime soon!   We’re okay with that though, it could be worse.  We could be in David and Sherry’s shoes!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day Five

Wesley Chapel, Florida

Poor Al, not only does he have a sinus infection but now he’s hurt his back and is suffering from that.  We are doctoring the back with a moist heating pad and some pain meds.

We’re kitty sitting for a neighbor starting today.  We just have to go over to their motor home and check on their kitty Frisk.   They’re going to be away for a week,  and asked if we would look in on  Frisk.  Unfortunately, we are leaving Sunday and they won’t be back until the next Wednesday.  Frisk will be on his own 3 days.   (well maybe we’ll be leaving on Sunday…maybe not)

They think Frisk will be fine on his own,  but I worry if the air conditioning goes off poor Frisk would die in the heat.   I asked Frank if it was okay if I could find someone else to check on Frisk after Sunday.  He was okay with that, so that’s my project for the next few days.   I am just not comfortable with that kitty being on his own for a few days.

 

Some of your comments have convinced me that it’s okay to keep posting my thoughts from our vegan diet experiment here on this Rv  blog.  I was surprised how many of you find it interesting.  I promise to try not to bore you too much.  I just want to document a little about how we’re feeling and what we’re eating.  

I still hope to convince some of you to watch this great video Forks over Knives.  It’s free (for now) here .

Today is the day 5 of our vegan diet experiment.  We are still taking it one day at a time,  but now we’re  starting to think that maybe we want it to be a permanent change.    I don’t know what the future will bring, and we could end up slipping back into our old eating habits. 

I hope not.  Our old eating habits have made us fat, tired and unhealthy.

We didn’t seem to have the energy we did even 10-15 years ago.  Is this a normal part of the aging process, or is it due to our poor nutrition?

I’m starting to feel it was poor nutrition since I’m already feeling a lot more energetic after only four days.

Finding foods that we can eat is a challenge, but we’re learning and discovering all sorts of new foods and ways of preparing them.  There are lots of things to eat, we just have to find a new way to look for our foods.  No, we don’t have to eat tofu and lettuce every day.

The fact that Al is open to this is a shock to me.  If his Mother could see him now!   I have heard him say many times over the years that he could never be a Vegan!   He likes his beef, cheese, and junk food.   He has never been open to any type of new or different foods.  He hated anything mixed together, and wasn’t a vegetable eater.

Last night I fixed a pot of Lentil’s with onion and garlic.  He had some corn chips dipped in hot and spicy hummus, a kale salad and he was happy.  Shocked me!   The dinner was darned good too.  I had forgotten how good lentil beans were.

Al came home yesterday with three Vegan cook books from our friend Terry.  She and Skip tried the vegan diet, but couldn’t do it and gave up.  One of the books had some wonderful recipes in it.  It was written by the personal chef of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi.  He was a chef, who learned vegan cooking when he became their chef.  It gave me some ideas for meals.

We are becoming more and more accustomed to the new way of eating.   We haven’t been hungry, and we haven’t felt at all deprived.  We are eating as much as we want.  We leave the table satisfied and full.  I have lost two three pounds. 

Here is what I’ve discovered so far.

The extra energy I’ve been feeling hasn’t gone away.   I kind of feel like I’m revved up.   It’s a good feeling. 

Al hasn’t experienced any of this extra energy.  I believe he will once he gets over his sinus infection. 

Breakfast is easy.  We bought a powered protein mix that we have been drinking every morning.  It’s a little expensive, but no more than breakfast at McDonalds.   We supplement the shake with nuts, fruit, or toast, or all of the above.   Our goal is never to be hungry!

MyVega.com   Vegan nutrition for a whole food plant based diet

Al worked all day yesterday so I made him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and gave him some nuts to munch on.  I’ll have to do better, but that was all I could think of.   He didn’t starve but it wasn’t the greatest packed lunch.

Al came home yesterday with a present for himself.  I couldn’t believe it.

We are trying to only bring things into the motorhome that are useful and don’t take up too much space.

So what does he bring home??

IMG_3992

Inside that big old box is a french fry cutter.  Okay Al…we had one of those that we got rid of because we decided it was just as easy to use a knife to cut potatoes….and it takes up too much room.

I could cut up a few potatoes before I could even pull this thing out of some unknown cabinet,  and put it together.

Men….

I told him, he was going to be on the blog today for sure!   Needless to say this big old thing is going right back today!!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Vegan Experiment

Wesley Chapel, Florida

Yesterday, I went with Al to his appointment with the ENT doctor.   I wanted to make sure they didn’t start talking sinus surgery!  

The doctor put a scope up his nose and confirmed he has a lot of  “stuff”  clogging his sinuses.  He gave him a prescription for prednisone,  and an antibiotic.  He wants him to have a sinus CT scan done in 3-4 weeks (after he completes the drugs) and see how the sinuses look.

I hate for Al to take either of these drugs, but he’s feeling so bad, that we need to get him feeling better as soon as possible.   He has tried treating it on his own , but it’s been going on too long.  I have heard that dairy products can cause some of these problems. Maybe our new diet will help also.

After we got home with the prescriptions, Al read the warnings on the antibiotic and realized the antibiotic  will cause a sensitivity to the sun.  He’s taken those before and knows that he will really be bothered by the heat and sun.  It’s beyond a minor sensitivity.  He feels miserable when he’s in the heat or sun. 

That’s not good news considering we’re planning to leave for Vero Beach on Sunday.  We have beach and kayaking plans.  He decided to call the doctor and see if he can prescribe anything else.

Last night we got a comment from the Good Luck Ducks with a link for a way to massage your head and neck to help get the sinuses to drain.

Some people have had good luck with this.  

Here it is for anybody who might be interested.

He will give it a try, but at this point I think he needs drugs!

I apologize to my rv blog readers out there that are getting bored with our new vegan diet experiment.   I promise, I’ll have something more exciting to write about soon.  (I hope)

I think I’m going to start another blog where I can detail our experience with this vegan thing.  I want to keep track of things for my own personal use. 

So……today is day 4  of our Vegan diet experiment.

I got a milder energy boost yesterday.  It wasn’t like the first day where I couldn’t stop talking…Al was probably glad for that.

This morning for breakfast I drank another Vegan protein shake, and ate some fresh blueberries and cherries.

I am now getting that little burst of energy again.  No humus this time, so I guess that’s not where the energy boost was coming from.

So far, none of these energy boosts for Al.  It could be because of his sinus infection.  I hope he will get the energy boost too because it’s making me really like this new way of eating.

We ate all we wanted yesterday….and then some.  By the time dinner time arrived,  I was not hungry, but I figured I’d better fix Al something good for dinner.  He’s doing so well with this new style of eating,  that I don’t want him to revolt and head   to Outback for a big fat steak!

For dinner,  I fixed spaghetti with garlic bread.  I used my favorite Prego Tomato, garlic and onion spaghetti sauce.  No meat.   The margarine for the garlic toast is not completely vegan, but we compromised on that.   I made a salad with Kale, pumpkin nuts and baby spinach. It was actually pretty good.  We went to bed satisfied and full.

When we were out at the doctors office and shopping yesterday I was concerned we’d get hungry and go looking for a McDonalds or Pizza Hut.   We decided to bring along a little baggie filled with salted almonds, (no, I am not giving up salt), walnuts and salted pumpkin seeds.  We didn’t get hungry so we didn’t need them but it was best to be prepared.

So far, it’s been a breeze except for a few minutes in the grocery store yesterday.  I went to look for some hummus, and ended up in the cheese and dairy aisle, which was right next to the meat display.  I never found the hummus.  I felt kind of lost and a little sad,  realizing there was nothing there for me at all.   It was an odd feeling.    Wow…it was an eye opener. 

However, I recovered and  the next aisle I found had a lot of stuff we could eat….rice, beans, and the like.  I felt much better!

It’s currently 4:30 pm.  My burst of energy has continued.   I have been doing some house cleaning and laundry.  I finally got hungry about 3pm and fixed a vegan sandwich that I had to invent.  I was surprised how good it was.

I had a flour tortilla that I spread a thick layer of hot spicy hummus on.  I spread some uncooked baby spinach then some partially cooked lentils.  The lentils were in a pot with onions and chopped garlic, but they hadn’t gotten done yet so they were a bit crunchy.

I rolled the tortilla up and cooked it in the Nu-wave for 4 minutes.  I expected it to be bland and dry, but it was spicy and good. 

I took a picture before I rolled and cooked it.  I looked pretty good to me.

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So far, this vegan experiment is going well.  I have energy, have eaten all that I wanted, and have been satisfied.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

In the meantime….any of you vegans out there can feel free to share some tips or recipes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Forks Over Knives

Wesley Chapel, Florida

I am intrigued by the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.  I am doing more reading.  What exactly do they eat and what do they not eat?  How could you possibly live without animal protein?

The China Study is an  interesting book,  but I knew Al would never read it.   I also know that I would have a very difficult time changing my eating habits if Al isn’t willing to make some changes as well.

After a few chapters of the The China Study, I try to relay some of the information to Al.   He listens, but always seems to have a comeback, like  “I’m not giving up meat”, or  “I’m not giving up beer.”

 

The Good Luck Ducks turned me on to a movie called,  Forks Over Knives.  

You can watch it Here.

It is very interesting,  and I encourage everyone to at least give it 5-10 minutes.  I don’t think you’ll find it boring.  You may not choose to make any changes to your diet, but at least you may get a better understanding of the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. 

We both found it extremely interesting.  

I have always admired people where food was not such an important part of their life.  People that “ate to live,”  instead of “lived to eat”  like we do!

That’s not to say that I don’t want to enjoy good food.  I just would like food to not be so all consuming.   I’d like to have more control over what and how much I eat.   I’d like to be healthier and have more energy.  I’d like to lose some weight.  Boy, would I like to lose some weight.

Al takes a daily blood pressure pill, and a Lipitor for his cholesterol. 

I currently take no medications but I imagine my time is coming….unless of course I make some changes.

I am starting to see some benefits from a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.

Do I think we could do it? 

I don’t know.

It would be a lot more difficult for Al, I think.  He has always been a meat and potatoes kind of guy.  He never wanted any of his foods mixed together (like casserole) and he ate very few vegetables.  He wouldn’t try anything new and on the rare occasion I could get him to try something new, he “hated”  it before it ever got in his mouth.  He was determined he wouldn’t like anything new, and he didn’t.

When we moved to Georgia and started to grow our own vegetables, he decided to give them an honest try.  He discovered he liked a lot of the things he would never eat before.  He started to listen to me if I said something was good, he’d try it.

It was a “new”  Al and sometimes I am still shocked by the things he now eats and likes.  A common phrase around here, is  “boy, if your Mother could see you now.”   All of his life, she cooked an entirely separate meal for Al. 

Never in a million years would I have thought Al would even consider being a vegetarian, let alone a vegan. 

He has not committed to it and neither have I, but we do find it interesting.

We have committed to trying it for a few days.

Could we actually find enough food that we like without meat and dairy?  Would we be able to find delicious foods that we love?  How much trouble would it be?  I am not a cook and have no desire to learn now!

He will not give up beer.  Some other things may be negotiable, but beer is not!   Hey isn’t beer vegan?

Steaks?   Hamburgers?      Well…..we just don’t know.   One step at a time.

Today is  the beginning of day three of our trial.

We have had plenty to eat, munched off and on all day,  and were never hungry.  I have no idea how many calories we had.

Yesterday,  something unusual happened.  I don’t know if it’s related to what we are eating (or not eating) or not.

Yesterday (day 2) I woke up before 6 am and felt pretty energetic.  It was probably more because we went to bed earlier than we had been.  Now that we finished watching 24, we didn’t stay up so late!

We went for a walk,  came home,  drank some coffee, got on the computers,  and ate breakfast.  I had a hand full of almonds and some fresh blueberries.   Al had the same, but added a yogurt (dairy) with his breakfast.  It was in the refrigerator and we didn’t want to waste it. 

A couple hours later, I got hungry so I put some Hummus (ground chick peas with lots of spices) on some corn chips.  It was actually very good and filling.

I started noticing I felt kind of antsy.  A good antsy, not like if you get jittery from not eating, but like I had energy. What was this unusual feeling???   I felt like doing something constructive like cleaning house.  (I resisted)

Al was out and when he came home we went grocery shopping at the local Whole Foods Store that Sherry and David love so much.

I was still feeling this energy.  It kind of reminded me of how I felt when I used to take diet pills.  I was extremely chatty!   Motor mouth might be a  better word! 

Al wasn’t feeling this same burst of energy.   Was that what gave me this sudden energy?   I felt very energetic all day, but Al didn’t notice anything different. He had dairy and I didn’t.  I had hummus and he didn’t.   Later on, he ate some hummus to see if gave him a burst of energy.  It didn’t.

So….I don’t know what that’s all about but I’d like that energy boost to come back today.

Was it the food I’m eating?   Was it the food I’m not eating?  Was it a fluke?

Today for breakfast I had almonds, walnuts and a vegan protein shake.  It’s green in color but actually very tasty with a nutmeg flavor.

I’m not even going to tell you what Al ate for dinner last night!

                                       

 

This picture is our neighbor across the street.  This nice lady picked up this dog wandering around on a busy highway.   He is a white Boxer.  She is fostering him until the local Boxer rescue can find him a home. He has sure bonded with her.  He sits in the window and waits patiently for her to come back.   Isn’t he cute?

 

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The next picture is of crazy little Baxter when we came home from the store with a batch of fresh kale.  He loved the smell of it.

baxter eating kale

There isn’t much he doesn’t like.  He even ate some of the hot and spicy hummus I gave him.  I never thought he’d eat that, but he did.   Notice the size of his feet?  

Al has a doctors appointment today. I don’t guess we’ll stop off at the local fast food for lunch.   Smile

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mourning and Diet Changes?

Wesley Chapel, Florida

It was another hot, muggy Florida day.   The past two days we’ve been getting some strong afternoon storms passing through, but so far the worst of them have gone around us. Living in a motor home can be a scary place for some one who is afraid of storms!

After the storms passed,  we went over to the office and extended our stay here another 6 days.  We had been scheduled to leave today, but Al has a few more pest control accounts to do and an appointment with an ENT tomorrow.  He’s been dealing with a sinus infection for quite a while and he can’t seem to shake it.  Getting the new truck set us back a little.

We now plan on leaving this coming Sunday.  The new truck will stay here at a friends house and the old truck will be come with us. Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about the Honda anymore!   When we get back, we should have be able to get the new Nissan Frontier set up as our toad, and we can sell the old Nissan Frontier.

Today, we are in a bit of withdrawal/mourning.  We finished up the tv series “24” yesterday.

Yes, we watched all 8 seasons!   Yes, I know we could be considered  “couch potatoes.”   But it was so darn good!   We are really going to miss the excitement of watching Jack Bauer get in and out of trouble.  What an exciting show.  If you’re looking for something fun to watch, this is the show.  It was nonstop excitement , but not all shoot-em-up, and car crashes though.  There was plenty of love and romance to keep the ladies interested.  It was definitely the best  series we’ve ever seen.  Much better than Dexter, Friday Night Lights,  and even better than Breaking Bad.

 

Like most of  our readers out there, we have  been following along on David and Sherry's journey through his stem cell transplant.

Most of you know David and Sherry are vegans, and follow a healthy life style.  David seems to be doing quite well so far with his transplant.  Could his healthy eating have made a difference?   Possibly, but I don’t want to jinx him.  Smile

 

A while back Sherry mentioned a book called  The China StudyShe recommended it and I was interested, but never quite got around to getting the book.  Click on the link and it will tell you a little about the jest of the book.  I think it’s well worth reading.

The other day I read a guest post that The Good Luck Ducks  posted on another blog.

They detailed their “10 day juice re-boot” diet.   The China Study was mentioned again, so I went to Amazon and downloaded the book for $8.98.

I have just started the book and so far,  I’ve found it interesting,  and very thought provoking.  It has already gotten me to consider making some much needed changes in our diets.  Convincing Al to make these changes could be a bit tricky though!

His first reaction was what I expected, but I think I convinced him of the wisdom of eating less animal based protein, and more plant based foods.   He agrees that we need to change our diets.  We eat out too often and at home tend to rely on quick ready to eat foods like frozen pizzas.  I do not like to cook and am not a good cook.

Roxanne recommended a few other things on the post.  One of them is a free video called Forks over Knives.  I haven’t watched it yet, but I’ll give it a go. 

So…..I have some watching and reading to do.  I’ll let you know if I find out anything interesting!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Honda Cr-V - Sold

Wesley Chapel, Florida

2001 Honda Crv

We had two people scheduled to look at our Honda yesterday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Before noon a very nice young Vietnamese man and his adorable 2 year old daughter came to look at the car.  He and Al took the car for a test drive while I babysat the little girl.  We sat on the patio in the lawn chairs and waited for the guys. 

He was very interested in the car but wanted us to drop or price.   He “left” but never quite got out of the parking lot.  When he came back he was still negotiating and we did agree to another $100 drop in price.  Sold.

He left us a deposit and promised to come back Monday with the rest of the cash.   I guess he couldn’t wait, because later that afternoon he was back to pick up the car.   I sure hope the money wasn’t counterfeit!

So….one down, and one to go.

Thanks to those of you who offered some suggestions on selling the Nissan truck.  I don’t think we would have any problem selling it as it is, but I’d sure like for someone to have the opportunity to buy a ready made toad.   Having recently gone through the expense and hassle setting up the new truck, I know there are buyers out there that would like to have a vehicle all set up for towing behind a motor home.

As soon as we get all the parts in for the new truck, we will put the old one up for sale.

Annie and Roxie expressed an interest in it, but unfortunately they are on the other side of the country.

kayaks on top of truck

We haven’t decided on a price yet.  Further research is needed.  We’ve had several Nissan Frontiers over the years and they have always sold easily.   It has a 5 speed manual transmission, 140k miles.  The Roadmaster tow bar is on the front of the truck, so all you do is hook it the motorhome and go.  There is a truck bed topped which allows you to put lots of “stuff.”   The kayak racks on the top of the truck will go with us, but the bars that hold them on will stay on the truck.

We felt good that we accomplished something yesterday.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hostage to Craig’s List

Wesley Chapel, Florida

We have our Honda Crv listed on Craig’s  List.  We have only had one person come out to look at the car so far,  and they didn’t offer us enough money.

I think people are more into vacation mode this time of year, but hopefully soon there will be some people buying cars for their school bound kids.

Today, we have two different people coming to look at it.  We’re being held hostage waiting for them to get here and can’t do anything but wait.  This is not how I wanted to spend my day

Does anybody have any good suggestions on where to list the Nissan that is fully set up for towing behind a motorhome?   I would think there would be a market for people who want a toad all set up for towing?

Wish us luck with the Honda…..we’re running out of parking spaces!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cost of Setting up a New Toad (tow vehicle)

Wesley Chapel, Florida  (high 92, low 74)

This blog is mostly for future reference for us, so it will be a little dull.  Sorry…   I just might post a tubby kitty picture at the end though!

Al has been doing the research and  making the necessary calls to find the best place to get the new truck set up to tow behind the motor home.  He’s ran into some obstacles, but finally made some decisions.

Changing toads is not an easy or cheap task. 

Certain vehicles can be towed 4 wheels down with no modifications.  Our old Nissan Frontier truck that had a manual 5 speed transmission was one of those vehicles.

Our new Nissan Frontier truck with an automatic transmission, will need some modifications.  We knew this going in, but we decided we wanted an automatic transmission this time.

The other costs would be the same and not avoidable unless we would have just kept the old truck.

 

Here is what we will need:

1.  new base plates that will fit the new truck.  Unfortunately they don’t make a one size fits all base plate.

2.   a driveshaft disconnect, so that we can tow four wheels down.

3. transfer our toad braking system (we have the Air Force One system) from the old truck to the new one.   Never did we dream this would be so expensive.

A few other items not related to towing,  are a  new “topper”  new floor mats,  and mud flaps.  We ordered some of the Weather Tech rubber mats that we’d seen advertised on TV.  They are very nice and should keep most of the sand, mud and dry grass off the carpeting.   I hate when I remove the floor mats and there is a ton of grass and sand underneath them.  These mats should prevent that from happening.

I like the fact that the mat goes underneath the foot pedals and up against the side, as well as over the side where your feet come and go.

weather tech floor mats

weather tech floor mats

 

I wanted to document all these costs and aggravations, should  “anyone” decide he wants a new truck any time soon.  Smile with tongue out

 

Our decision to get the new truck was made due to the high mileage on the old one and the fact that we want to go from two vehicles to only one.  Until we discovered that Nissan made a Frontier with a Crew Cab (larger one than the old one)  and a 6 foot bed, we thought our only option was a full size truck.

We didn’t want a full size truck because, they are too tall and would make it difficult to put the kayaks on top, and they are just so honking big for maneuvering around parking lots and such.

 

The new Nissan Frontier Crew cab will allow adults to sit in the back seat and the 6 foot bed will give us lots of storage.   We love the new truck.

However…..the costs to change toads are pretty high.

Besides the actual cost of the new truck, here are the extras:

1.  Weather Tech floor mats.  We love them.   $189

2.  Truck topper  $1344

3.  driveshaft disconnect parts and labor  $1435

4.  Blue Ox baseplate, $430, labor $285,  hardwire $155,  adapter to make Blue Ox base plate fit our hitch, $80

5.  remove Air Force One braking system from old truck and reinstall on new one  (this cost is ridiculous in our opinion, but this was the best price we could find.)  $570  (6 hours @ $95 per)

6.  tax $206.85

7.  mudflaps  $120

So, the cost of the transformation is around $4600. 

This was not totally a surprise to us, other than the cost to change out the Air Force One.  Of course the labor rates were higher than the last  time we set up a toad in 2005.

We drove the truck/boat  over to Clearwater to have the driveshaft measured.   They wanted to actually look at our truck and take measurements before they ordered the driveshaft disconnect part.

The parts are ordered.  The driveshaft disconnect has to be specially made for our vehicle, so it will take the longest.

Once the parts are in, we will have to drop the truck off for a few days of labor.   Winking smile

We’re having it done at Rentz Trailer Hitches in Clearwater, Florida.  We spoke to both the owner, his son and the mechanic.  They all seemed very knowledgeable and we’re comfortable with them doing the work.

I guess this is just another cost of being full time rv’ers. 

 

Baxter got weighed yesterday and he is now 13 pounds.   He will turn one year old next month.

He had to have an “attitude adjustment” yesterday.  I was trying to clip his nails and he hissed at me and tried to bite me.  I smacked him and “hissed” back at him!  He was a little startled by that, to say the least.

Here our Big ole Boy (bob)

Baxter, 11 months

He is definitely chubby, but he is also definitely extremely furry.  Not all the roundness is fat!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

So Far, So Good

Wesley Chapel, Florida (high 93, low 73)

I’m almost afraid to say it out loud, but so far we haven’t had any more A/C  leaks.

We got a lot of rain the past few days, so the gasket appears to be snug enough.  No leaks from the condenser either…..so far anyway. 

I try to read the RV-Net forum regularly, and this morning there was another thread about how to handle a front blowout on an Rv. 

Having a blowout while driving, or towing a large Rv is a scary thought.

Despite how careful we are to keep our tires properly inflated, it is something that can still happen.

We have a TST Tire Pressure Monitoring system, which tells us not only tire pressure, but also the temperature of each tire.   I keep an eye on the monitor, (along with the GPS and Silverleaf engine monitor)  while Al is driving.   Underinflated and overloaded tires can damage the tires and make you much more likely to have a blowout.  However, despite doing every thing right, it can still happen.

I believe I posted this video before, but it never hurts to look at it again.

Here is what to do if you have a sudden loss of pressure while driving your Rv.  I encourage everyone to watch this video.

Blowout

Hitch Itch is setting in, and we’re planning on getting out of town soon. 

Of course now, we have the added burden of  an extra vehicle.   We’ve ordered have a truck bed topper that won’t arrive until late next week, so we have to wait for that.   Al is trying to decide where he wants the driveshaft disconnect installed. Once he makes the decision,   he has to then take the truck to them for measurements.   We aren’t expecting our new truck to be ready to be a toad for a few months.    grrrrr.  It was much easier with our old Nissan 5 speed. 

We were hoping to have sold the Honda quickly, but haven’t had a lot of response.  We may have it priced too high, but would rather go down in price than sell it too cheap, especially after just putting $1100 in a new AC system.

So……it’s likely we won’t be leave for a while longer. 

Here is my attempt at making a collage.  Baxter’s baby pictures.  I need to make one of his “bowl” pictures!

Baxter kitten collage

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Drip, Drip, Drip

Wesley Chapel, Florida  (high 91, low 74)

We’ve been getting lots of rain this past week.  Fortunately, for us we haven’t had any severe weather or strong winds. 

Between all the rain, we’ve been dealing with a water leak from the front a/c unit.

The front A/C unit started to drip water inside the coach, both when it was raining, and when it wasn’t.    That led us to the conclusion that we had a two issues going on.

Before we left Lazy Days last year when we bought the coach, we had the same issue.  Mike, our technician removed both a/c units and replaced the gaskets. 

Apparently, due to the design of our units, we have two stacking gaskets on each unit.  This is unusual.

There is some duct work visible from the inside that directs the cool air into the vents.   It’s a rectangular silver box that covers up about half the “innards” on the a/c unit.  It makes it very difficult to see what is going on inside the unit, and it also covers 2 of the 4 bolts that are used to tighten the gaskets.

IMG_3966

Al managed to tighten the front two bolts, but we couldn’t figure out how to get to the rear ones without removing that silver box.   After he snugged the front bolts, we seemed to be getting more water than we had before.

The picture below is one of the front bolts.  Easy to find and easy to access.

IMG_3964

This next picture is where the rear bolts are.  A little difficult to get to, huh?

IMG_3965

You are not supposed to over tighten them, and  make sure the gasket is at least 1/2 inch thick so that it does it’s job.  The problem with our unit, is that having two gaskets, you couldn’t tell how thick it was after tightening, and the silver box blocked our view of most of the gaskets.

After tightening the gasket, we were hoping the problem was solved, but then we started having a condensation problem.  A big condensation problem!    Drip, drip, drip.

IMG_3962

We have been reading Rv-Net Forum for guidance and most said if you have a condensation leak, it is because:  

1.  clogged drainage tubes.

2.  cracked pan

We have had to try to live with just running the rear a/c unit.  It works well, but just couldn’t keep up with the heat and humidity of Florida.

We’ve been working on this issue for days, trying everything we could think of to do.   Drip, drip, drip.

We finally decided we needed professional help.

We called a highly recommended mobile rv tech Friday afternoon.   He told Al they were closed for the week-end and to call Monday morning.

Monday morning we called, got his voice mail, left a message,  and are still waiting for a call back.

Al did some checking and got the name of another local guy who does nothing but rv air conditioning.  They rebuild units.  Al called and spoke to Greg Bedard.  Al got a good vibe from him, so we asked him to come out. The service call was going to be $75.

Greg came out, listened carefully to the things we had tried, what worked, and what didn’t work.  He got up on the roof to check everything out.  He thought everything looked good. 

He ended up tightening the gaskets a little more, and then totally re-taping up the little silver box.

The cold air comes from unit down to this little silver box.  Then it’s diverted into the vents of the motorhome.   If any of that cold air leaks out, it can cause condensation outside the box which has no where else to go but down and onto the living room floor.

In our uneducated attempts of solving the leaking problem, we damaged the seal on the silver box and probably made the situation worse.

Greg was here a couple hours.  He worked hard, but we also did quite a bit of gabbing.  Smile   I was wondering if we were going to be charged his hourly rate for all the gabbing.

I prepared myself for a bill of a few hundred dollars and was pleasantly surprised when he only charged us $75!

Yea…..

So…..the a/c unit ran all night.  It was plenty cool and so far, no leaks!!!!    It rained pretty hard overnight too and we should have had plenty of humidity.

Fingers crossed, we have solved the issue.

We can recommend this company. 

DICK BURGSTROM A.C.  (813-783-7823)

Greg Bedard was our tech. (813-363-8377)

They do nothing but Rv,  a/c work.  If you need a new unit, they can get you a new one, or install one of their rebuilt units.  I think I would trust their rebuilds.

So…..that’s what we’ve been up to.  So far, so good, but the heat of the day will let us know if our problems are fixed or not.

At least we haven’t been dealing with the issues Sherry and David have, or Howard and Linda who need a new engine on their diesel truck, to the tune of $18,500!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Al’s New Boat

Wesley Chapel, Florida

Another warm, muggy Tampa Day.  Afternoon rains have been pretty consistent, starting mid to late afternoon.  We got a few thunderboomers and some heavy rain again today, but thankfully  it passed by quickly.   I don’t know when I became such a wienie about the weather.   (it may have started about the time I moved into a motorhome)

We got to spend a little time with David and Sherry this morning.  David didn’t have to be at the hospital until 1pm and he was enjoying his last few hours of freedom.  He and Al went for a walk and Sherry and I went to check their mail.   The lady at the office handed her the package and said, “the good luck duck???”    Yep….I knew immediately who sent that package!  

I  mentioned in previous post that Al has been whining about getting a boat.  Actually, he had been whining about a boat and a new truck.   It all started in the Keys and it didn’t help when we got to go out on Skip and Terry’s boat for the scalloping trip.

Al and I have pretty much always had a boat, getting our first one before we even got married. In fact, I was the one that turned Al onto boating in the first place.

When we lived here, we kept our boat in a high and dry marina in Tarpon Springs.  The marina was about 20 miles from our house.  We’d drive over there and as soon as they would see us drive up they would use the fork lift to  get the boat down from the covered storage building, and put it in the water.  What a great way to own a boat.  When we would come in, they would get the fork lift out and put it on a rack so that we could get our stuff out and clean it.  We always rinsed the engine with fresh water, but if we didn’t have the time, they would do it for us.  It was a great way to own a boat.

When we talked about full-timing, we both understood that a boat would not be feasible for our new life style. 

I would love to have a boat as much as Al, but the logistics of hauling a boat is too much to deal with.

We really missed having a boat while in the Keys.  Yes, we could rent one, but not only are they very expensive, but it’s just not the same.

S0…. I finally got tired of him whining for a new boat…and I let him get one.

 

 

It’s 18 feet long.

It has a 260 horse power engine.

Some people name their motor homes, some people name their cars, so we decided we should name our boat.

Meet “Boat”

 

Nissan FrontierHe He..

Here is his new “boat.”

 

He didn’t see the humor in this,  Winking smile  but I thought it was pretty funny!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Storm Clean up and Towing

Wesley Chapel, Florida

The maintenance people here at Quail Ridge were busy all day, cleaning up after the storm.  We were impressed at how much they got accomplished.

The old man who had a tree fall on his 5th wheel seemed to get priority.  I was happy to see them taking care of his property. They went to check on him right after the storm and had to strongly  “encourage” him to leave his trailer.  

If you looked carefully at my picture yesterday, you can see a very large tree branch ready to fall on his trailer.  I didn’t see how they were going to be able to remove that large tree branch without having it come crashing down on the trailer.

They used a front loader and in no time they had the tree down and the mess cleaned up. Unfortunately, we didn’t notice the process until they finished.   Darn….I wanted to see how they did it.

Apparently, there are some leaks from the tree damage because there is now a pretty blue tarp over the top.  I hope he has insurance for the damage.

They worked around the park all day but there is still work to be done. 

We were out yesterday and saw some ominous looking clouds forming.  We got back home and prepared to ride out another storm.  I was pretty nervous.   We got some hard rain, but no wind and very little thunder and lightning. Just a normal Florida storm, thank goodness.

Sherry and David missed all the excitement again, as they spent another long day at the hospital.  I feel so sorry for them.  They are going to be completely worn out before the transplant even begins.  I’m sure they would appreciate hearing from all of their friends out there.

We’ve been trying to get the new truck set up for towing behind the motorhome, and we’ve ran into a glitch.

With our older Nissan Frontier, it could be flat towed behind the motorhome with no modifications, because it is a manual transmission. 

We decided we wanted an automatic transmission this time, and you have to modify it to be able to flat tow.  We need a  drive-shaft disconnect installed on the truck.    No, it does not invalidate the warranty.  Apparently, there is only  one company in the entire world that makes this part, and they are behind and we won’t be able to get one for 8-12 weeks.  It seems they need a machinist to make the parts, and they can’t get the parts made fast enough.   We just saw a tv program recently that there was a shortage of machinists.  This just might be a good career choice for young people.

The next step is to get the tow brackets to fit the new truck.  They are about $400 for the brackets, plus labor to mount them.    There is no hurry to get them,because we won’t be able to tow it until we get the drive-shaft disconnect.  It gives us time to get the best price.

These were all things we knew we would have to do, however we didn’t realize there would be a delay getting the drive-shaft disconnect. 

So….we won’t be able to tow the new truck until we get this all done.  I’m glad we didn’t trade in the old truck!  We’re going with the flow though, and not getting stressed about it all.  At least we still have something we can tow behind the motor home.   We’ll just have to leave the new truck and tow the old one.

Today’s project is to pick up the Honda, get is spiffed up and put on Craig’s List for sale.  We certainly don’t need three vehicles.

We originally planned to leave here on the 23rd.  We’re now thinking about heading east to Vero Beach.    We’ll see. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tornado?

Wesley Chapel, Florida

We spent most of yesterday trying to get the new truck set up.  We ordered  Weather Tech custom floor mats.  Those are the ones you see advertised on tv and they appear to be very nice. 

We find regular floor mats don’t work well for our life style. We are in too many dirty, sandy areas and always make a mess on the carpet floor mats.

These rubber mats extend every where your feet go, including getting in and out of the vehicle, and behind and beside the pedals.  They are digitally measured to fit your particular vehicle.  The cost was $169 for both front and back. 

floor mats

They have a lip around the sides to keep sand  and dirt from spilling off the mat onto the carpeting.

FloorLiner DigitalFit Product Education Center   WeatherTech.com

Next stop was a topper for the truck bed.  We have one on the old truck, but of course it won’t fit and is the wrong color.   More $$$$$   Steaming mad

We also are internet shopping for a baseplate for the truck to be able to tow, and a drive shaft disconnect.   Yikes…this is getting expensive.  We also have to pay to have our Air Force One braking system moved over to the new truck.  We knew how much all the other items would cost, but this one was a bit of a surprise and is not going to be cheap.

These extra expenses, and hassles are why I had fought to NOT buy a new vehicle.  Al finally won the battle though.   Smile  I am glad to have the larger new truck and driving an automatic is nice, but it’s getting expensive.

The Honda will be ready this morning, and we’ll get it listed on Craig's List.  It should sell easily. 

After running around most of the day, we came home and had a nap until the storm started.

Wow….what a storm.  I got up and told Al we were going to get a bad storm.  He responded that this is just the normal afternoon thunderstorms.

No…it wasn’t.

It got real windy, with a lot of rain and thunder and lightning.  I was getting pretty nervous.

We watched the storm on the radar on my Droid, and we could tell it wouldn’t last too long.   The weather radio went off but there were no tornado warnings.

Our front window sunscreen was blown completely off.  It  is held on with extremely strong heavy duty magnets.  It has never blown off before.   The tire covers blew off, but we expected that.

This is one time, I am glad to be in the newer, un-shaded  section of the campground.  We have young trees that are maybe 20 feet tall, but have small trunks.  If one of them went down, it wouldn’t crush the coach.  The older section has huge beautiful oak trees.

Right across the street from us to the right a large tree branch came down on the park owners fence.  Yesterday morning his new 5th wheel was parked there.  He headed west earlier in the day.

IMG_3931

Right behind that fence, a 91 year old man lived.  A huge tree branch came down on his 5th wheel.  He was uninjured, but pretty shaken up according to his daughter.

IMG_3938

There was no visible damage to the rv, but there were a lot of tree branches covering up the side.

IMG_3939

I don’t know how they are going to get the trailer out of there.  If it’s moved, the branch will probably fall all the way.  His daughter was inside trying to get his insulin and a few personal items.  I was leery about going inside to try to help her. 

Here is David and Sherry’s motor home.  We went over to check on it as soon as we could.   We didn’t see any damage, thankfully.  They sure don’t need any more problems at this time.

IMG_3934

They had been at the hospital all day and were unaware of the storm.  I warned Sherry a few days ago about leaving the awning out when they were gone.  She listened to me and her awning was not damaged.   A lot of others were not so fortunate.

They had a long, hard day at the hospital yesterday and had to find an alternate way home, because of a huge tree that was downed over the road leading to the campground. 

There were small branches all over the place.

IMG_3935

IMG_3940

There were a few smaller trees, and a few Palm trees down in the newer section of the campground.   Nothing like the older section with all the large trees.

We didn’t think there was a tornado.  We only saw some pretty strong winds.  Denis Phillips (our favorite weatherman) said there was 70 mph winds in some areas, but they are saying there were no tornados.

One of the guys we talked to that was in one of the harder hit areas, swears he saw a tornado.  He said the trees were swirling around and he was sure it was a small tornado.

I don’t know, but it was definitely much worse than Florida’s normal summertime afternoon storms.

We’re expecting the same thing today once the afternoon sea breezes start to kick in.  I hope it won’t be so bad.

Another day in paradise??

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

That New Car Smell

Wesley Chapel, Florida

We dropped the Honda CR-V off at a local auto repair shop.  We were 99.9% sure the problem was a bad compressor, but wanted the mechanic to check it out, just in case it was something cheaper.  (wishful thinking)

The mechanic started the car,  turned on the a/c and it immediately made an awful noise.  Yep…it’s the compressor.   He said the noise was caused by metal shavings inside.

Estimated cost to replace compressor, dryer, condenser, and to clean out the lines:  $1100

This comes with  “lifetime” guarantee through NAPA.

It appears many readers also have Honda CR-V’s and are concerned about this.

Here    is a forum link I found discussing this well known problem.

Here is another.

and another

We are having it repaired at a local shop that was recommended to us.  The price is much lower than the dealer.  I hope they will do a good job and it will last.  They are buying the parts from Napa and supposedly it will come with a lifetime warranty.

The lady in the mechanic’s office confirmed they do a lot of repairs on CR-V compressors.  Other Hondas do not appear to have the same problems.    She said we were lucky to have gotten 70,000 miles!  

When it happened, it happened quick!  We heard a tapping noise that stopped when we turned off the compressor.  In just minutes the noise got worse and we had no cool air.  Gone…just like that.  It had been cooling just fine before that.

I don’t know if there is anything that can be done to prevent a problem…but maybe there is some info in some of the forum links I provided.

 

We made a decision to sell the Honda and our 2004 Nissan truck.   Mr. Al can finally quit whining. He got his new truck!

Both the Honda and the old Nissan truck will be sold and we will be a one vehicle family.

We bought a Nissan Frontier Crew Cab.   We prefer a truck for our lifestyle.  We will put a topper on the bed, whick will give us lots of closed storage.  We will put our kayak racks on the topper and then when we are at a place where we kayak a lot, we keep the kayaks inflated and transport them on top of the truck.   Just like we do now.

A truck allows us to put wet kayak and scuba gear in the back, as well as transport trash. 

We decided against a full size truck, like a Titan, or Tundra because they are just too big.  They are also way too tall for me to reach up to help Al put the kayaks on top.   I think this is our 5th Nissan Frontier truck and we’ve had great luck with them.

We did not know until Saturday, that Nissan made a Crew cab (the larger one) with a full size truck bed.   They do not make many and we had never seen one.  Evidently most people are satisfied with that puny little truck bed.

Our old truck has a “back seat”, but only a 4 year old would fit.   We got around the back seat problem because we will had the Honda.

We’re glad we learned they made a crew cab with a 6 foot bed.  Those small truck beds are just not large enough for all of our stuff!

Here it is:

Our new Nissan Frontier Crew Cab

Nissan Frontier

No….it does NOT match the motor home.  Nissan has very few color options.   There were very few Crew cabs with a 6 foot bed in the south east,  so this is what we got.  It was our first choice for color with their limited selection.  We don’t like dark colors.  Al isn’t concerned that it doesn’t match, but it bothers me.   I’m going to get over it though!

Here is a bad picture of the back seat.  An actual adult could sit back there.   It might not be the most comfy, but it’s do-able.

Nissan Frontier

I drove it home from Clearwater last night during rush hour.  It drove so much nicer than the old truck.  It is our first automatic Nissan.

We cannot flat tow it behind the motor home without a drive shaft disconnect.  Our five speed old Nissan was able to just hitch and

So….we’re now trying to get everything we need to tow.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Truck Shopping

Wesley Chapel, Florida

It’s hot here in Florida and we’re dreaming of heading up to Oregon or Canada…..of course we’re just dreaming.  We’re not going anywhere too far from Tampa for a while.

We went over to visit Mom on Saturday and on the way home the a/c in our Honda CRV started making a loud noise, and then quit blowing cold air.  Al thinks the compressor is shot.  

After checking around on the internet, I found this is a known problem with this vehicle.  Apparently, metal shavings get into the entire system and the evaporator and dryer all have to be replaced as well as the compressor.

Any input from others who have had this same issue, will be appreciated.

Boy, I wish we had sold the Honda before this happened. 

Now, we have started to re-think our vehicle situation.  The Honda is just our “around town” car when we are in Tampa.  It’s been nice on occasion to have two vehicles.  We leave it here when we leave and that presents problems though.  We have a Nissan truck that is our toad, but we can’t take passengers in it.

We prefer a truck  for our toad.   It works best for us for our wet kayak and scuba gear.  Hauling trash bags in the truck is better than trying to put it inside our car.

Al has been wanting a new truck for a while now, and  now I’m starting to agree.  Nothing like a car repair to make you want a new vehicle!  Our Nissan truck has 140,000 miles and we don’t need any expensive repair on it.

So…yesterday was spent checking out new trucks.  We’ve about narrowed it down to a Nissan Frontier Crew cab with a long bed.  We didn’t know before yesterday, that they even made the long bed with the crew cab.  This truck has the extended crew cab where two adults can actually sit in the back seat.  That would solve our problems of being able to take passengers with us.

We’re trying to find a less expensive and reliable place to repair the a/c on the Honda.  You can’t sell a car here without air.

So……that’s what we’ve been up to.  

Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

The Hunt for Scallops

Wesley Chapel, Florida

We got up about 5:30 am, had a few cups of coffee, and were out the door by 7:30. 

It was already 80 degrees when we left the house, so we knew it was going to be a hot day….for everyone else, but us.  We were going to be out on the water! 

We stopped by and reminded the campground office that we were going to be gone all day and were concerned about another power outage.  They assured us that someone would check the coach several times.  I gave them my phone number….just in case.  I reminded them we had kitties inside.

We had about an hour drive north to Homosassa, Florida.  Our friends, Skip and Terry have a beautiful vacation house right on the Homosassa River.  They aren’t far from the head springs where the crystal clear water flows into the river at the rate of 64 million gallons per day.

They have two boats that the are kept up, and out of the water on davits inside the boat house.  When they want to use the boat, they just push a button to lower it into the water.  What a great system.

Here is the boat we used today.  I think it was about a 22 footer.  Plenty roomy enough for the four of us and all our stuff.

Skips boat all put away

They also have a pontoon boat that is better for river travels.  We had hoped to get a chance to cruise the river, but there was so much boat traffic on the river, that it wasn’t a great time for a pontoon boat.  It’s also kept high and dry on davits.

Skips pontoon boat

We loaded all of our stuff into the boat and headed down the river.  It was a about a 3-4 mile trip from their house to the Gulf of Mexico, and then another 6-8 miles north in the Gulf,  up to Crystal River.

They had been very successful in this area the past few days.

IMG_3892

Terry and I sat up front in the shade from the bimini top.  There were a lot of boats on the water and it was choppy at times, but Skips boat went right over those waves and it was a pretty smooth ride.  Al’s getting boat fever again, I’m afraid!  I am too, actually.

We went by this interesting house right at the end of the river, facing the gulf.  They rent it out by the week.  I’m sure It’s very expensive.

rental house on island

It had a wonderful huge weather vane.

interesting weather vane

We couldn’t believe how many boats there were.  They were everywhere!

We finally got in the vicinity we wanted.  We could tell it was a good spot because there were hundreds of boats in the area.  I’m not exaggerating.

That is Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant in the background. 

Crystal River Nuclear power plant and lots of scallop boats

Lots of boats.

IMG_3906

Scallops are found in grassy areas.  We were in about 3-4 feet of water, with a very grassy bottom.  I wished I could have taken some underwater pictures, but I didn’t bring my underwater camera with me.  

This is a picture that I borrowed from the internet.  It clearly shows the little blue eyes.   I felt kind of bad grabbing them with those blue eyes looking at me.

Fullscreen capture 772012 82621 AM.bmp

The scallops are just laying in the grass part way open like in the picture above.  You just reach down and get them.  They will try to get out of your ditty bag if you’re not careful. They move by just flapping around.   All you need are a mask, fins, and snorkel and you’re in business.

Here is a very wet Al posing with some of our catch.

Al's scallops

Al's scallops

Apparently, Skip picked a good spot because the scallops were plentiful and we had our two gallons per person limit in about an  hour and a half.

al holding a scallop

Terry lost her $40 snorkel, so we all went in and searched (unsuccessfully) for it.  That’s the price of scuba and snorkeling.  The ocean seems to claim a lot of gear.

We headed back towards their house for the unpleasant part of scalloping…….the cleaning process.

Terry pulled out the awning on their dock so we were in the shade. She made us margaritas and then set up cleaning stations for the three of us .  Skips job was to clean the boat.  I would have much rather cleaned the boat, let me tell you!

 

The dock where we cleaned our scallops

I didn’t ever quite get around to taking pictures of the cleaning process.  I had gooey fingers, most of the time.  Sick smile

Terry showed us how to do it.  Those scallops are pretty yucky inside.  It looks kind of like a combination of guts and thick snot.  After I sort of gagged a big, Terry took pity on me and said she would remove the guts and then I could finish the cleaning of the scallop.  Okay….I can do this.  Now, how do I do it without touching the stuff?

She gave Al instructions on how to clean a scallop but after he murdered about a dozen, she fired him and he and Skip went to the dive shop to pick up a new snorkel for Terry.

Hey, don’t fire Al…he can learn….don’t leave me….

It was a slow process.  I guess you can’t say it was slow.  Terry was very fast, we just had a LOT of scallops….hundreds…I guess.    My back was hurting sitting there on a cooler cleaning.  Terry was a real trooper.  She was sitting on the dock on a towel, going to town and never complained once! 

Finally, Skip and Al got back and with Skips expert help we got to the end of the scallops.  yea…

We started with  two five gallon buckets almost full.

bucket of scallops

 

Here is what we ended up with.

scallops after cleaning...result of 8 gallons of scallops

We had such a wonderful day.   The weather was perfect.  The water was crystal clear and warm.  The scallops were plentiful.  Our hosts were wonderful and we were back on the water!  We left their place about 6:30 pm and got home about 12 hours after we left.   It was a long day.

We came home (carryout pizza in hand), tired and happy.  The a/c was running and the house was nice and cool.  We were both very tired and were in bed shortly.

Thank you Skip and Terry.  We had such a wonderful time!!!!!   I neglected to take a picture of our hosts.   I actually took a few of Terry but they weren’t flattering and I didn’t dare use them.