Monday, December 26, 2011

Florida-ST Augustine

          The pictures of the boat parade. It was a very cold and windy night, but there were still 100' and 100' of viewers. We had a great place to watch the parade. We were right aside of the judges stand. After the parade we had a late night smack at the White Lion.
       We had another great campfire with all the volunteers. Dogs on the grill, it doesn't get much better.

       Christmas Eve we attended church service at The Cathedral Basilica of ST Augustine. Its is America's first Parish, founded Sept 8 1565. This is were the first mass was celebrated in America. The area of the first mass and altar is several blocks from were the church was built. It is a beautiful church. See more at  Below is a picture of the manger display

        Christmas day we had dinner outside our RV with fellow volunteers Rodger and Sue. It was a nice 74 degrees.

      We visited a Hydroponic pick your own produce garden. It is located at the ST Johns flea market. According to the folks running it they can grow the same amount of produce on 1/5 the amount of land it usually takes. The strawberries were delicious. We first saw this type of farming at Disney Epcot in the "Lands tour". Disney's supplies some  of the produce they use in their restaurants from their exhibit.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011, the year in review

Linda asked me what I'm doing, I said "nothing", she said "that's what you did all day yesterday", I said "I wasn't finish". Oh well-- that's how the year went.
       Another year coming to an end. The older we are the faster the years go by. We need to slow this down and enjoy everyday. We need to be thankful for each and every day. So remember when you wake up to a cool rainy day, be thankful you woke up. That's enough wisdom for now. On with the review of 2011.
      We started the year with a visit from our son Mark and his wife Tracey for Christmas and New years. It was the first holiday season in 6 years we spent with family. It was wonderful, both Linda and Tracy had colds, and Bob got a very bad cold and had to go to the doctor. He only sat out a day. While they were here we met Bob's Cousin Jane and her husband Nick, who have a winter home in Cocoa.  We spent Jan thru most of Mar in Florida. We reconnected with many friends. We did meet many friends we worked with at Walt Disney World.
     After we took Mark and Tracy to the airport we left the Orlando area. We went to the Thousand Trails Peace River Resort in Zolfo Springs. We pull in and Linda spots friends Tom and Paula who we volunteered with at the Escapees CARE center in Texas the previous year. We spent 2 weeks there visiting the area.
      Next we move to Arcadia for about 3 weeks. We visited  Linda's cousin Carl and his wife Dot. We hadn't seen them for about 10 years and  had a great visit. We toured Mayakka State Park and had a few great hikes and some bike rides. We saw many gators birds and turtles. We went to Punta Gorda and Lake Placid to see all the murals. Next was the Ringling museum, The Edison and Ford estates in Sarasota.  Friends Dave and Liz came for a visit from their winter home in Largo. We visited our long time friends  Diane and her husband Marvin (Linda's girlfriend from elementary school day) in Cape Coral. We met friends Dave and Penne who read our blog and saw they were close by. So we got together for lunch half way between.  I had some great fishing at Toby's RV park in Arcadia. We also had a great private tour of the "Clown Museum" in Lake Placid from Toby the Clown. We toured "Solomons Castle" and saw  the "Lipizzon Stallion" show at their winter training grounds.
      Wow. We need a brake. That was all in about 3 weeks. From Acardia we traveled further south to The Glades RV Park to visit friends Ed and Vivian and new friends Lon and Betty for some fishing at the Big"O', Lake Okeechobee. While here we did a tour of a sugar cane factory  and an orange juice  plant. Next we move to LaBelle where we almost bought a RV lot. While there they were having their "Swamp cabbage" festival. We had a good time with friends Dianne and Marvin from Cape Coral who came to visit.
    While in Arcadia Linda got her new ride, a 2011 HHR. We needed some more economical  transportation to tour around in. We were wearing out our truck. This  proved to be a very good move for us. We already have over 22,000 miles on it.
       We them started to head north. We made planes to meet friends Barry and Donna from Georgia that we volunteered with in Texas.  They live in GA and we met in Tifton   GA. We had dinner and swapped stories of the passed year. That's when we got a call about Linda's brother and Sister in law. They were both in the hospital. The next morning we said good bye to our friends and hit the road for a fast trip back to PA.
    The next six months were very tough for us.  While there we found out Linda had melanoma. Thank God that worked out ok after two operations. The same week we found out about Linda's cancer we also found out Blazer has bone cancer. The same week our sister in law went back into the hospital. A short time later we lost our sister in law after she was making a great recovery. We did get Linda's brother placed in assistance living were he is doing well. Even though this was a very tough time for us, we were grateful we were able to help. We know as time goes on we will look back at this time and be thankful we could help. We had more family time this year with sons and their wives Cy and Dawn, Mark and Tracey and Erik and Lori .We also thank them for all their help and being there when we needed them. We did make some wonderful friends while there, Abbie, Nancy, Teddie, Helen, Ester, Carolin, Char and Don, that all pitched in and helped, many thanks to them also.
       While at the Thousand Trails park in Hershey we had friends Ed and Cathy from Florida pull in aside of us. There are over 300 sites and they pick one aside of us. We weren't there at the time. They called us and said we think we just pulled in aside of you. We later had a great visit, and of course we went out to dinner.  We also got a call from friends Dave and Penne we met in FL this winter. They were in the area, so we got together for dinner. We met them at one of our favorite restaurants, Shady Maple. I'll bet they are still talking about it. They really enjoyed the food. I got Penne to try apple butter and cottage cheese. She really like it.
      September had a bright spot for us, we started our 7th year on the road as modern day Gypsies. We were looking forward to October as we had to be in Fort Lauderdale Fl for a cruise with our son Cyril and his wife Dawn.
     October 1st we hit the road like the devil himself was chasing us.  We didn't slow down till South Carolina. We had a super cruise with our son and his wife for their 20th anniversary. After the cruise we finally had a chance to relax for a few days.
      While resting at the Thousand Trails park in Orlando we did get to go to Walt Disney World two times with friends Jim and Linda who still work there. Then it was off to ST Augustine. We will be  in ST Augustine till the end of the year. You can read more about our passed year in the archives  on the right side of our blog page.
     We tried to limit this year end review, but it did get longer then expected. Even though we had some tough times this year we are thankful for another year. We look at the year, the whole is better then the parts.

We skiped a few things. First we met our friends Ed and Johanne in Orlando in March. Also in Nov we net our friends Barb and Jack in ST Augustine. Sorry if skiped anybody else.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Florida-ST Augustine update and photo's

     Future plans. Leave ST Augustine on the 1st of Jan. Go to Wildwood FL till the 6th. Then to Bushnell FL for a Carriage Rally. Then to the Tampa RV show for a rally till the 15th of Jan. These plans have been made.  We are working on the rest of Jan. Some time soon after that we are heading further south to the Everglades. We are planning several stops along the way.
      As the year comes to an end we are looking back at some of our stats. We have traveled to and spent at least one night in 42 states. Since 2008 we have stayed at 138 different RV parks or overnight stops. About 18 of those stops were in repeat places. We hope to fill in a few of those missing states in 2012.
     Our blog had over 7900 previews or "hits".We made over 290 post to our blog. We enjoy writing about our travels and your comments and email about our post.
      Monday was a beautiful beach day. High near 80 with very light wind. we spent about four hours on the beach. Some of "us" volunteers got to go on a horse and buggy ride through the Winter Wonderland at the Amphitheater. see . It was ok, glad we didn't have to pay for it.
       On Tuesday we went to the Limelight Theatre. We saw a funny play called "Duck Hunter Shoots Angel". We had quite a few good laughs. see  We got in on their special "Terrific Tuesday" which was two tickets for $25. A great deal as senior tickets are usually $22. each. Don't you just hate that word "seniors". Why not "Classic", like a car, or a bottle of wine.  "How about a classic discount? Sounds much better then senior.
       On Wednesday we went to see Luminary Night At The ST Augustine Lighthouse". We got to see the glow of 100's of luminaries. I (Bob) climb to the top of the lighthouse, all 219 steps. What a super view of ST Augustine at night. see  .
          Blazer is having some more problems. He had several bad coughing spells, and coughed up some blood. We took him to a great Vet and he did start him on some different meds. He is also checking with Florida U. oncology department. We will update you. He was very firm in saying he is not ready to be put to sleep. WOW, as long as he remains ok, and himself. He said you will know when. We will keep you posted.
The Lightner Museum.
Sand painting, super detail in colored sand in bottle
Super porcelain items

Tiffany items
The Ballroom

Looking down at was the largest indoor pool, now with the Alcazar Cafe
At pool level

At night
Our ride

Palm trees with Christmas lights, just not right
The light and  luminaries
Looking down inside the lighthouse.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Florida-ST Augustine

     We had our first chimichanga at the Beachcomber in ST Augustine Beach. Wow was it good and big. Linda and I split one. It's  their Tuesday special. We will be back next week. After leaving the restaurant our "low tire pressure warning light" came on. It said our right front tire pressure was down to 19 psi. We kept an eye on it till we got back to our RV. Checked the tire and it was ok. Checked the other tires and saw a screw sticking out of our right back tire sidewall. It was at 19psi. So I filled it to 30psi and headed to the GM dealer since the display gave the warning for the wrong location. Well I knew a hole in the sidewall meant a new tire,ok, but what about the wrong read out on the dash. Well "did you have the tires rotated"?, yes I did. The sensor is in the tire valve. Dummy, I should have know this. So while getting a new tire, oil change, etc, they  reprogrammed the tire sensors.
          The next day we went to the Lightner Museum. What a fantastic museum. For more info see their web site  It is a museum that highlights many items from the splendor of the gilded age. We did get in on the musical demonstration of many of the old musical self play instruments.  Super is all we can say. We did try to have lunch at the Cafe Alcazar, but they were closing in about 5 minutes after we go there. We may try another day, just to say we ate at the famous hotel Alcazar. The cafe is located in what was the largest indoor swimming pool of its time. see We looked it up on and it has an 88% approval rating.
      Friday night a group of us volunteers went to the San Sebastian winery. On Friday and Saturday nights they have entertainment "up on the roof". The roof is the outside third floor on the  roof. They had a great band playing, and of course serve their wine by the glass or bottle. We all had a good time.
   Saturday we went to see "The Grande Illumination Parade". It was a march by reenactors in customs of the British troop and peasants etc. through the streets of St Augustine. Fife and drums and bagpipes(1). see more at It was really nice to see. Then we have a late night dinner/snack at the White Lion. Good food at a reasonable price.
      See Bob and Linda's holiday dance. Click on it and let it play out. It starts like a add for office Max, but let it play.  see here
       Remember this season it is better to give then receive, that's why I'm giving Linda a new fishing rod and reel.

Monday, November 28, 2011

ST Augustine FL

      Hi, just a short update. Not to much going on for us. We had some beach time since Thanksgiving. Friends Paul and Sandy who volunteered with us last year stoped by several days for a visit. They will be back on the 28th of Dec to volunteer here in Jan and Feb. Of course we had to go out to eat a few times. We went to Sunset grill and Woody's Bar B Que.
      On Saturaday we went to the  46th Fall Art and Craft Festival. There were over a 150 juried artist. There were many many beautiful items for sale.  Wish we had room for some of them.
       Across the parking lot from us is the "Winter Wonderland At St Augustine Amphitheater". They have a real ice skating rink, ice slide and it snows every hour. There is a elf village and horse drawn buggy rides.
                                               Guess what blazer is watching.
     He's watching them unload the horses.
In this picture you can see the swelling on his face (left side of picture, his right side) and how its affecting his eye. He still has not slowed down. He is still being "Blazer" wanting to play all the time.
Our site at Anastasia State Park, we are in the middle.

How to haul a christmas tree in Florida. It was 80 degrees this day. Being from the north it just dosen't seem right shopping for a tree in this weather.
A storm moving in. Going over the bridge of Lions and at the bay here in the park. Over the sand dunes in the background is the ocean.

Wind swept trees in the park
We toured the Villa Zorayda Museum. A small super museum modeled after the Alhambra Palace in Spain. We couldn't take any pictures inside. Check out their web site. . The website dosen't show the most famous piece in the museum, the Cat Rug over 2400 years old.
History of the Villa Zorayda
Closed for the past eight years the Villa Zorayda Museum has undergone an extensive renovation and is once again open to the public as a museum. On the National Register of Historic Places it was built in 1883 as the winter residence of Franklin Smith utilizing his method of construction of poured concrete and crushed coquina shell. It is built 1/10th the scale of a section of the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. This building set a precedence for St. Augustine and began the Moorish Spanish revival of architecture that is seen throughout the city today. In 1904 it became the Zorayda Club. On display for the first time ever is the custom made bone china made exclusively for the Zorayda Club. In 1913 it was purchased by Abraham S. Mussallem, an authority on Oriental rugs, fine arts and Egyptian artifacts. In 1922 it became one of the most fashionable places for casino gambling. In the mid 1930's it was opened as a museum featuring the priceless antique collections of both Franklin Smith and A.S. Mussallem which are still on display today. The 45-60 minute tour gives an in depth look at the historical significance of the building to the City of St. Augustine, the magnificent architecture as well as descriptions of the many exquisite pieces you will see. On display is the "Sacred Cat Rug" over 2400 years old and made from the hairs of ancient cats that roamed the Nile River. Taken from a pyramid in Egypt it is said to possess a curse for anyone that walks on it! Washington Irving wrote of the original Alhambra in Spain in his famous "Tales of the Alhambra".
If you are interested in more information on the most interesting Franklin W. Smith you can read more here

Villa Zorayda Time Line
1883-Franklin Smith builds his winter home, Villa Zorayda, the first poured concrete and crushed coquina building in St. Augustine
1903-Franklin Smith leases the Villa Zorayda. It soon becomes the "Zorayda Club"
1913-Abraham S. Mussallem purchases the Villa Zorayda
1922-Gambling becomes fashionable at the Zorayda Club
1930s-Villa Zorayda becomes private residence of Mr. and Mrs. A.S.Mussallem and family and a show case of oriental rugs, furniture and fine arts.
1934-Opens to the public as Villa Zorayda Museum
1941-October 21, 1941 death of Abraham S. Mussallem
1942-Museum closes during World War II
1940s (late)-Villa Zorayda reopens as a museum
1954-With the death of Mrs. Olga Mussallem, museum closes
1964-Eddy and Wally Mussallem reopen the museum, rename it Zorayda Castle
1965-Wally Mussallem oversees daily operations of Zorayda Castle
2000-Zorayda Castle closes
2003-Major renovations begin and continue through present time
2005-Eddy Mussallem's daughter Marcia, and son-in-law, James Byles take over overseeing of renovations and the future operations of the museum
2007-December 15th Grand Reopening Celebration
2008-Villa Zorayda Museum reopens to the public.
2009-Villa Zorayda introduces audio tours and opens for wedding ceremonies.

File:St. Augustine, Florida 4.JPG

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving on the beach

    Hi,hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  Here is were we had our Thanksgiving dinner.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Florida-ST Augustine

     Hi, just another week in at Anastasia State Park. We had free passes for the Ripely Museum, so we did a tour. I'ts just ok, but glad we didn't have to pay for the visit. After that we had a great lunch at Aunt Kate's. Aunt Kate's sits on the intercostal waterway about 3 miles north of downtown ST Augustine and had some great food. The best coleslaw we ever had. Linda ask the waitress what the secret ingredient was. She check with the chef and told us it was pineapple and lime juice. It was super. They have a nice deck overlooking the river as well as inside setting.
     We went to camping world to get a new water filter system. We have a built in filter by 3M, but we always have a very hard time finding the replacement cartridges. So we set up a new system with easy to find cartridges.
    We went to the turning on of the Christmas lights in town, called the "Nights of Lights". According to the newspaper the event was named by AAA as one of the "12 Favorit Places to Catch the Holiday Spirit in the US and Canada". Also named on the top 100 list by the American Bus Association list.      
     We went with fellow camp host to an early lunch to Woody's B-B-Q. Then  into town to see the festival lighting. About an hour before the lighting it started to rain. The rain lasted through the countdown and stoped raining about 5 minutes after the lighting. But there were still crowns of  1000's of on lookers.
     We were on ther beach several times this passed week. The water is in the low 60's to cold for us. But the beach is great.
     Blazer is still holding his own. No changes. His is eating great since we changed his food. He still wants to play.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Connecting with friends in FL 11/2011

     Wow its almost 2 weeks we have been in St. Augustine.  Friends Barb and Jack, and readers of our blog saw they were only 20 miles from us and gave us a call. We got together for a great visit. They are fellow Escapee members and our parents in our Escapees chapter 36.  We toured some of St. Augustine and had a great dinner. Hopefully we will catch up with them this winter as they are spending the winter in FL.    While here at the park we also ran into Art and Beth, friends from Disney. He heads up the "Friends Of Mickey" BOF, and Escapees get together held once a month. It is great how our life style lets us meet up with friends.
    Last Saturday we went to the Palm Coast Seafood festival with fellow camp host Rodger and Sue. It was a short 20 mile trip, that took us 60 miles to get there via a short cut. Don't say anything, we have all been on these short cuts.
    This passed week the weather has been on a roller coaster ride. We had a record low on Thursday and now we are expecting a record high. The beach has been great, but the water is getting cold. The water temperature is down into the 60's.
   Welcome new blog followers Mark and Chris.
     We are back into the routine here at Anastasia State Park, our camp hosting job till the end of the year. There are a total of 10 host couples. We are on 3 days then off 3 days. We are suppose to work 20 hours a week for our full hook up site. That's 10 hours each. Not a bad deal.  A weeks stay here coast $196. plus tax. And that's not for a full hook up site. Its water and electric only. The bonus is the 4 miles of beach and St Augustine. Also we are across the parking lot from the Anastasia Amphitheater. Last night we got to listen to John Fogerty the lead singer from CCR. Its was a great concert with the highlight being his "Proud Mary. All the other host meet here by our site for a get together and campfire to listen to the concert.
    Blazer has been having some eating problems. We switch him to a can dog food and he seems to be eating better. He still wants to play and run as if nothing is wrong. We are keeping a close watch on him and enjoying his loving friendship.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A couple of week in FL

       Wow, hard to believe its been two  week since our cruise ended. We rested a few days and are getting back to our normal RV life. Through the generosity of friends Jim and Linda we went to Walt Disney World on their guest pass. Once we went on our own and once we went with them. We did get to see many friends we worked with at Disney. It is great reconnecting with friends. We did get to go "Sourin" twice, one of our favorite things at Epcot. We ate at the German buffet, Linda's favorite. We got to try some of the foods from around the world, as it is the "Food and Wine Festival"  Even though we were at WDW 100's of times, we still enjoy walking around.
    We arrived at Anastasia State Park on Nov. 1st. We are looking forward to our two months at Anastasia State Park. We are Volunteer campground host. The St. Augustine area is a great area to spend some time at. We had a great time here last year and hope this year is as much fun.
      Blazer is beginning to show signs that he may be having some pain and or swolling problems. We did get him started on a pain regiment program. We will watch him closely.  
     A couple of photo's from our Cukka Dune Buggy ride, one of the tours we did on our cruise.  First is our son Cy and wife Dawn. See the smile on Linda's face and you can guess what see is saying.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Photo's of Cruise 10-2011

First look at the ship, Oasis of the Sea, and we said"holy ship" look at the size of that ship.
Docked in Labadee, a private island  on the north coast of Haiti..
Docked in Cozumel Mexico, our ship in the middle. Note how it dwarfts the other cruise ship.
Looking at our ship docked in Falmonth Jamaica. Looking at it from the outback on our way back to the ship after our dune buggy tour.
A picture of our room looking out at the balcony.
Looking down at Central Park in the middle of the ship.

Looking at fountain on the Royal Promenade
Looking down at the boardwalk deck with the Aqua theater in the back.
Looking at the Entertainment deck.
Looking at the Aqua Theater
Looking at The rock climbing walls.
That's our daughter in law Dawn climbing the wall.
Looking at Royal Promenade deck with the bar on the left that  raisers and lowers between 3 decks.
This is the ice skateing rink, also used for the ice show and a club.
Our ship docked in Labadee, and the beach on the island.
A history of the ruins at Tulum in Mexico
Some of the many ruins. The heat index the day we toured was 105.
Tourist, our son Cyril with Linda and his wife Dawn. That's a radio around their necks to listen to the tour guide.
More tourist, or who is that good looking couple.

Same couple on the ship before we left port in FL.
Bob and Dawn are always trying to make new friends.
After our dune buggy ride, waiting for the bus. some had to eat.
A sun rise at Labradee.
What is this cute little animal? We saw him in Cosmel Mexico.
One of many, many iguanas.
Yucatan Jays, behind a fence.
Three eager tourist getting ready for their dune buggy ride.

Glad Cyril and Dawn got together and signed us up for all tours and shows on line. There were only about 20 couples got to do the dune buggy  tour. Thats a few out of 5,400 passengers.