Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 The year in Review

      Wow almost at the end of 2010, seams like we were just in Pasadena CA for the Rose Parade.  Boy how time flies.  Where do we begin.  First let us say we are very very thankful for our wonderful family.  We are thankful for fairly good health.  After starting our 6th year as full time rv'ers our family  has accepted the fact that we may be house less, but not homeless and enjoying our life together(45 years) travelling this great country of ours in our RV, our home.  I know it may be hard at times for our kids to tell their  friends that we are not the normal type of retired parents. We are a cut across the grain, not with it, not your average old folks.  Each year on the road gets better.  We are now in our grove. We only hope we can continue for many more years.
With the close of this year we have stayed in 41 states. We don't count a state unless we spend at least one night in that state.
       Lets start with the sad news first. We lost our wonderful fur family member Lilly. She was our 15 + year old black lab companion. She traveled with us to 41 states. She is dearly missed. We can't say any more about her without tearing up.
      Now to the year in review. We started the year out in Pasadena CA and the Rose Parade. We did it with the Escapees club. Friends of ours, Victor and Taree, who had done it before,  were going again, and talked us into it. Well it didn't take much for Linda to say "let's go", but I needed a little more convincing. Boy am I glad we did. We had a great time. We also met friends Penne and Dave at the parade, who we first met in OH, in 2007, then TX, then Alaska, then OR.. What a small world. They were at the parade with another group. We left CA on the 2nd of Jan and went to Pahrump NV. Spent about 2 weeks there and visited with friends Betty and Shorty. We then went to Las Vegas NV for two weeks. The highlight of this stop was our oldest son Cy flew out to visit with us for five days. What a great visit.
        Next we spent time in different parts of AZ, visiting places we didn't see before. We wound up in Benson AZ where friends Mike and Jan visited with us for two weeks. Another great time.
       We then traveled to TX. We met up with friends from our Escapees chapter 36,    We are not listing  names here for fear of skipping someone.  We did  meet about 10 couples. We also made a few new friends.                                
          We then went to Lake Conroe in TX were we order our new RV.  We went to Livingston TX, home of the Escapees.  We volunteered for two months at the Escapees CARE center. . We made many new friends while there. The Escapees are great people. We also took delivery of our new home. We had a super time there.
       We then went to LA with new friends Donna and Barry.  We spent a month with them at CARE and another 3 weeks touring LA, MS ,TN.  Again a great time.
       Next we headed to PA, what we call home. We spent two wonderful month's there visiting with family and friends. We also got to meet several new grand puppies. One of the highlights was our middle sons 40th birthday party. Everybody there had a good time, especially Mark. I'll leave it at that.  We also did the doctor thing.  Had a lot of appointments since it was two years since we were back home. No bad news to report. We also attended an Escapees rally with friends Tom and Paula who we volunteered with  at the CARE center in TX. We ran into friends there that we worked with at Walt Disney World. We also had a camp out with our PA camping club, again seeing more friends. A sad note here, our club disbanded and that was our last camp out together as a club.
    Off to FL. We took about two weeks to get there and met friends Donna and Barry(CARE Volunteers we met in May) in NC on our way down. We went to Anastasia State Park were we volunteered for two months. We enjoyed the beach almost every day. We spent more time on the beach there then we did all told the rest of our lives.  Our son Cy and daughter in law Dawn came to visit us for five days. We did the touristy thing in the ST Augustine area. We had a super visit. We also made some new friends there. This is a great life.
     Next we moved to the Orlando area were we reconnected with many many friends we made while working at Disney.  We will be here in this area till the end of the year. We are anxiously waiting a visit  of our son Mark and daughter in law Tracey. This will be the first Christmas we spent with family in six years. Our youngest son Erik and daughter in law Lori won't fly, so we have to get somewhere close that they can come and visit. UPDATE, Mark And Tracey are here. We wanted to post this earlier, but we ran out of time. Being retired is very time consuming. You other retirees know what I mean.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Thousand Trails RV Resort-Clermont FL !2/13-12/21/10

Rate is $0. for TT members.  We recommend this park.  We stayed here twice before, 11/1-/15 and 11/22/12/6, We are here now 12/13-12/21/10.  The weather has turned from very cold, to highs in the 70's.  We have a back in full hook up with 30 amp electric.  Very friendly staff.  There is a small wooded area with a lot of shade, more like a state park,  maybe about 100 sites.  The main part of the park dose not have much shade.  There is a small lake with a boat/kayak launch.  Our site was paved .  Roads are all paved.  Both Pool's had a super make over.  They were planting about a dozen very large palms around the pool.  Club house and ballroom are super.  Many activities.  There are some unpaved sites.  Verizon air card and cell had 3-4 bars.  TV off our antenna was good, we got all major networks and about 20 other channels.  There is a laundry in all the restroom buildings. Never a problem using it.  It is dog friendly with miles of roads to walk your dog.  There is no off leash fenced in area in this park. Very low lights at night. Biking is good in the park.  A very small book exchange for a park this size.  About 3 miles from a super Wal Mart and Sweetbay.  About 12 miles from Walt Disney World.  Many many restaurants  about 6 miles. Very quiet for this large a park.  It is about 2/3rds full.  We will stay here again.  This is the nicest TT. we ever stayed in to date.  I agree with others concerns about opening the parks to the public. TT is a members only group, or is it.  I can see renting unused sites at a high fee, but with no reservations more them 48 hours.  This way the empty sites will help the corporations bottom line, and help with improvements. Just good business, but no reservation more them 48 hours in advance.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

9/30/10 A list of our Stats from our 4 month Alaska trip

We received several PM's(private messages) asking for some other information. Here is the stats on our travel.
We left Flordia on the 1st of Feb. We left Texas on the 3rd of May, we consider this our starting point. We traveled 11564 miles from Texas back to The state of Washington. Towing for 7840 miles. From Sweetgrass Mt. to WA. (border to border) we traveled 9319 miles towing 6044 miles.
Some of the drives with the best scenery(our opinion)are ,kinda in the order we did them
Icefield Parkway
AK Hwy from FT Nelson to Watson Lake
Klondike Hwy from Carcross to Skagway
Klondike Hwy from north of Whitehorse to Dawson City
Top of The World Hwy from Dawson City to Chicken AK(about 40 miles of ruff gravel road)
Roads in Denali Nat PK, some by bus only
Seward Hwy from below Anchorage to Seward
Portage road to Whitter
Sterling Hwy from Cooper Landing to Homer
Road to Hatcher Pass Summit outside of Palmer(last 2 miles gravel)
Richardson Hwy from GlenAllen to Valdez
Haines Hwy from just below Haines Junction to Haines(about 10 miles of construction,very muddy)
Cassair Hwy from Juntion of AK Hwy to Stewart/Hyder cutoff(37a)
Stewart/Hyder Hwy(37a)
Road to Salmon glacier from the town of Hyder to the top(20 miles of gravel white knuckle driving)but worth it
In lower BC route 8 from Spences Bridge to Merritt
I sure we forgot some other. As you can see, there isn't to much we didn't like.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hudson FL 12/6-12/13/10

     We left Thousand Trails Orlando(address is in Clermont) on 12/6/10 and went to Hudson Fl along the Gulf coast, called the Sun Coast by FL tourism.  It was about 80 miles from Clermont.  We wanted to visit friends Dave and Liz in Largo. We also wanted to visit Tarpon Springs and Homosassa Springs, and tour the area.  This area is kinda midway between these places.   The weather was unseasonably cold.  Lows down to 31, hights in the low 50's. There was a difference of 45 degrees between the high and the low the next day.
      Before we left Thousand Trails Nick and Terry Russell, publishers of The Gypsy Journal ,stop by.  They saw our Sea Eagle kayak on the back of our truck and had a few questions.  Nick just got a similar Sea Eagle product and wanted to know how we liked ours.  We had a nice half hour chat, and then they were off.  The following day we, Linda and I, were featured in his daily blog.  You can see it at  go to Nick's blog 11/30/10. We were told about our 15 minutes of fame by 2 different rv'ing friends.
      We did visit with Dave and Liz in their new house in Largo.  We went to Crabby Bills restaurant, in Indian Rocks Beach,  and had a great fish dinner. Then we went to a mobile home park were Dave plays in a band. We had a good time listing to Dave and his band, and so did the rest of the people judging by the applause.  The next day we met them at Tarpon Springs.  Tarpon Springs is a Greek settled community.  Had a great day touring the very touristy town and dock area.  Too cold to go out on a sponge boat.  We did get to see how the sponges are harvested, via a movie that is about 30-40 years old.  Of course we did get some sponges.  We had a the BEST Gyro we ever ate.  We ate at the Hellas Restaurant and Bakery.  If time permits, we may go back just to get another Gyro.
       The following day we went to  St.Petersburg with Dave and Liz. We toured the "Pier" and took the Trolley around the downtown district.  See  The next day we had a great dinner at Dave and Liz's then toured the Christmas light display at the local park. We then toured the lights At Lake Park that benefits the Suncoast Hospice.
      On Friday we went to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.  What a thrill to see 40+ Manatees.  The water temperature in the Gulf is dropping and the manatees are seeking warmer water.   The springs are a constant 72 degrees and attract the  manatees. We also saw alligators, otters, Florida Bobcats, Florida black bears and other wildlife. That's right FL black bears. Do they hibernated? We did see signs warning of bears crossing the road. Never expected bears in FL.
       Saturday we went to Dave and Liz's and met friends Art and Jan, also from our camping club from PA. We then went to St. Petersburg to see the Christmas Boat Parade. Very neat to see so many decorated boats. We got there about 3 hours early and enjoyed just sitting around and catching  up on travel and old times. It was cold. Not at all like the FL we came for.
       Sunday was a day of rest. It rained and the winds blew all day, felling like 30 degree. We left Mon to go back to Thousand Trails Orlando. It was very windy and we would have stayed another day but had to get back to Orlando. Blazer is set up  for minor surgery Tues. morning.  He has a tumor and they need to do a biopsy. The vet is about 80% sure it is a fatty tumor, but the biopsy will tell us for sure. We will keep you posted.  We are at site A37. We will upload pictures shortly, check back. See RV Parks on right for our review of Barrington Hill RV Resort.


Barrington Hills RV Resort Hudson FL 12/6-12/13/10

Our rate was $17.15 per night, Thousand Trails special-$120. week.  Our opinion is neutral, we would most likely pass this park in the future.  It is a very well kept park, made up of mostly park models.  There are 399 sites, about 30-40 transient sites. The transient Rver's are mixed in between the permanent or seasonal park residents.  We welcome the camaraderie  of  traveling Rver's, and can't find much in this type park.  The weather was unseasonably cold during our stay, lows in the 30's, high in the low to mid 50's.  A few days warmer.  Our site was a tight back in  perpendicular to the road.  If it were more slanted it would have been easier to get into.  There was a slight angle but not enough to make it easier to back into.  It was packed sand with very little gravel.  We had full hook ups w/50amp electric.  A small cement patio about 8 X 10 . No table or fire ring.  Sites are small with absolutely no privacy between sites.  And you back up to within a few feet of the RV  behind you.  Our connections were on the wrong side and in the back.  We needed an extra hose to connect.  Water pressure was low.  Our sewer connection was on the correct side in the middle of the site.  There is a very nice and very clean laundry with about 10 washers and dryers, $1.50 each.  The laundry is connected to the bathrooms and showers. If you need these they can be very far from your site. These are the only bathrooms in the park. We do no use the bathroom, so can only guess they are as clean as the rest of the park. Our Verizon cell phone and air card had 2 bars, using our Wilson antenna and amplifier gave us 5 bars . There is wifi thru Tango, 1st 4 hours free, then there is a charge, not sure of the rate .  TV off our antenna was good for 4 networks and a few odd channels.    It is dog friendly, in that they have 2 small dog walking areas, a far distance from our site.  No area to run dogs off leash, or trails.  Not to much in the way of landscaping, but as said very well kept and clean. At night there is good lighting.  There is some road noise.  We were near the front of the park.  There is not anything in the way of hiking or kayaking in the immediate area of the park.  All roads are paved and it is easy biking in the park.  There is a heated pool.  They do have a busy activities schedule.  There is a small book exchange in the clubhouse. The reason we choose this park, other them the special price is it location.  Its is between Tarpon Springs and Homosessa Springs which we want to visit.  Also Close to friends we wanted to visit.  It is right off busy RT 19.  There is a super Wal Mart about 5 miles, and many other stores in the area.  Many many restaurant also.  Some residents are workers, and 2 of our neighbors left at 6AM 7 days a week,, waking us with doors slamming etc.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010