Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Hi to all and have a very Merry  Christmas, and Happy New Year and if celebrating Hanukkah or Kwanzaa happy holiday to you.   I'm a little late with getting out this Christmas wish but it seems we have something going on that keeps us busy.  We did just return from a great cruise and need a day to just relax and unpack etc.  We also have to look into soon dieting, especially Bob. Bob, me, returned home off the crutches. Foot is doing much better. So happy holidays to one all. Safe travels to all in the new year.
    Bob and Linda

Sunday, December 7, 2014

This can't be Florida

                          Still in Florida, or are we
Bob scrapping snow, what's with that?  Borrowed a scrapper from son Mark.  This was just a minor snow storm while we were in PA

     The picture certainly doesn’t look like Florida.  Well it happens to be Pennsylvania. This blog is coming to you after all these events took place, including our time in Florida and PA. We had to make an emergency trip back to Pennsylvania   because Linda’s brother was in the hospital and having some major problems. We took the auto-train from Sanford FL  to Lorton VA. We will get back to the train trip later. Linda’s brother was released from the hospital and back at his assisted living facility. We got him settled and made plans to head back to Florida. We had the car packed and were ready to leave the following morning  when we got a call at 5:30 AM that he was back in the hospital.  He got back out of the hospital and settled in his assisted living facility.  We left the following morning to beat the snow storm that was heading for PA.   We were in PA about 3 weeks.

      It has been quite a while since our last blog. We have been busy doing things around our new home making it own. The house was move in ready but we wanted to do some painting and planting.  But in the mean time we have been busy. One day we took a 45 minute ride to Daytona race track to donate blood. We were given a meal, a tee shirt and a ticket for a tour of the race track.

Thru the tunnel under the tract

 There were about 10 Red Buses there taking blood from donors.
 There were a lot of people there, but it went fast with all the buses ready to collect blood.

     On the way home we took a detour. We went to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. We stopped at the Haulover Canal area to a viewing area to look some manatees. There were about 6 or 7 in the canal.


     Next we took the Black Point Wildlife Drive, a gravel road looking for some wildlife. It was too early in the year to see migrating birds and ducks. We did see a few different type birds and ducks. All mostly off in a distance. It is amazing that just a few miles from this tranquil place is the Kennedy Space Center were so many rocket launch have taken place.

     We also viewed two rocket launches from our deck. Sorry no pictures  

     One day we were watching Animal Planet channel on TV. Dirty Jobs was on and they were at Rocky Reach dam in Wenatchee Washington. We had toured this dam in 2009. It is neat seeing some of the things not so common that we toured.

     One day we traveled to Kissimmee, about a 45 minute drive to attend the Statewide Ranch Rodeo and Cowboy Heritage Festival.  There were about 15 different heritage displays and demonstrations. One of the big events was whip cracking.  The original Florida cattlemen were called “crackers”. They got this name from cracking their whip above the heads of their cattle to get them moving.  There were cooking, weaving and basket making demonstrations. There was also a BBQ cook off. There were 16 stations where for just $6 you could sample of beef brisket, then vote for the one you liked the best. They were also cooking up samples of “swamp cabbage”. We passed on this as we had tasted this in the past and didn’t like it. Linda did try a swamp cabbage fritter and just manage to swallow it.
     Then it was inside for the ranch rodeo.  This is a non professional rodeo. It is a rodeo pitting cowboys and cowgirls from 16 ranches in Florida. The stadium is called the Silvers Spurs Arena.  It is a super venue for watching a rodeo. It was about 90 outside so the air conditioning was  very welcoming.   The rodeo consisted of bronc riding, calf branding, stampede race, team doctoring, double mugging, colt riding and wild cow milking.  These are all things that are common to regular ranch work. These events were all explained to us by a rancher sitting behind us.   
All the range teams. Sorry for the bleary pictures

I'm no expert on rodeo events, but I don't think this is how it suppose to be done
What the heck is going on here
I got his tail
The dogs doing a good job of keeping the cattle  in a circle

We also saw a couple of good movies, “Gone Girl” and “The Judge”.
I'm going to have to write another blog, as this one is getting a little long. Thanks for following along.

Monday, December 1, 2014

What happened here

     Hi, hope all is well. Check out the attached photo. Lucky nothing is broken. The most injured thing was pride. Happened on Saturday at Daytona  Speedway.Just before I went down I felt a hand on my back. The only one behind me was Linda, just saying. Then while I was sleeping in the recliner she dropped a book with a very very loud resounding boom that almost gave me a heart attack. I had a full glass of wine, for medicinal purposes, and it went flying over our new recliners. Luckily it blotted up without staining anything. In the near future we are going on a cruise and if you hear man over board and I turn up missing these are strange coincident, just so you know. But all joking aside I fell in the bleachers. Went down so fast I don't know what happened. I fell on my left side. I bruised my face and hit on my shoulder I am having rehab on. I badly bruise my shin bone and twisted my ankle. Had x-rays and cat scans to make sure I didn't brake anything. Cat scan to make sure I didn't have any brain bleed since I am on blood thinner. Just sore today 

Look for upcoming blog. Been to busy to write, but an getting caught up.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Still in Florida

     Hi, hope you had a great summer. Its been a while. A few medical issues are keeping us close to home here in FL. Home use to be wherever we parked our RV. After being on the road for almost 10 years it is strange for us to get used to a permanent address.  We will get back to blogging when we get back on the road. We are planning at least a six month trip in 2015.  A question for all our RV friends, any of you going to either the Escapees Escapade in Tucson in March? Or anyone going to the Good Sam Rally in Phoenix about 10 days after the Escapade? We do have reservations for the Good Sam Rally and are considering the Escapade. Keep in touch
Bob and Linda   

Monday, August 25, 2014

Our take on tke Florida Keys

     After spending three + weeks in the Keys, this is our take on the Florida Keys, known as the “Keys”. First Key West is a young person’s destination. The bar scene is very big with over 150 bars on about 2 miles of one road.  We are  not into the bar scene. Every bar we went into we felt like we were the parents or grandparents of the are not the bar scene. Every bar we went into we felt like we were the parents or grandparents of the folks in the bar. It was all very civilized but loud with younger folks having a great time.  We did find a few quieter places for lunch and dinner. The city itself has some interesting history.   We did tour most of the historic places in Key West when we were here in 2013. See our blog February 2013 for more information, listed under the label Florida at the right.  We just wanted to spend some unhurried time walking around seeing the “sights” again.  One interesting thing we discovered at least for Linda was scrapple sliders in one of Pat Croce’s places. Pat has six bar and grill’s in Key West and a museum in ST Augustine.   I know a lot of you may be saying who is Pat Croce and what is scrapple.  Just a short bit of an explanation, Pat was the Philly 76’s president, writer, physical therapist and the brother of Jim, the singer. Scrapple is a pig byproduct, found mostly in Pennsylvania Dutch country. A lot more information can be found on the internet about scrapple.

    The Key’s are a very big destination for fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving.  Cannot believe how many boats we had seen. Even in the RV parks there are many boats. Swimming beaches are a lot less available then we expected. With water on both sides we expected miles and mile of beaches. Not so. Much of the shoreline is private with no public beaches. Public beaches we found were small. Some you could walk out several hundred yards in knee deep water. Many had large amounts of seaweed on them that you had to walk through to get to the water.

The people way out are only in knee deep water.


   Most of the RV parks are expensive, and very tight.  We didn’t try any of the State Parks. They wanted $9.00 just to drive through and check them out.  The parks we stayed in were affiliated with clubs we belong to, cutting the coast considerably. For us the sites were to close and two crowed with “stuff”. An RV, boat on trailer, an easy up, etc.  Some were well kept, but just crowed.  

    All the above being said, would we return?  Well we have a lot more places we want to visit and revisit. The Keys would be down on our list. This is not to say we would never return, just that like I said there are other places further up on our list. If we were with a group doing the “bar scene” and finding places to dine, or do some fishing we might have a better time. We did meet friends from the park we own a home in for about a week and things got a little better. There are a lot of good eating places featuring seafood which we both enjoy. But many were just so so.I love fishing, but that is freshwater fishing.  This is the place you need a boat or a friend with a boat.  Summers are very hot here. I expected a good breeze all the time. Didn’t happen. If we had a light breeze it was a very hot tropical breeze. When we had a good breeze it was accompany by a storm. All this being said I know some RVer’s that love this place. Evident by all the seasonal or permanent RVs.  But remember this is “our take on the Keys”.
     More on the keys to follow. Thanks for following along.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Turtle Hospital

The turtle Hospital
     On Marathon Key we visited a turtle hospital. The hospital is for the rescue of sea turtles.  There are five types of sea turtles found in the Florida Keys. Four are on the endangered list and one is on the threatened list.  It is a very popular tour. If you want to go on the educational tour, make a reservation. The day we went all tours filled. They offer seven tours a day.  You can see a lot more at their web site, , this way  I won’t bore you with a lot of details some of which I probably will miss.  This is the second turtle hospital we had visited. The other was in South Carolina.  Hopefully they are making a good impact to help the turtles survive for future generations.
Some missing flippers, etc. Some will be released, other that can't be released go to a zoo.

Hatchlings about a week old.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sunshine Key

      Down route US 1 to Ohio Key which is a Encore park called Sunshine Key. I believe Encore owns the whole key which is about 70 acres. At least this is what we were told.  It is very full and a lot tighter then we like. Although we had a good size corner lot,  the park is way to crowded.   The park is made up of about 90% Cuban's . They are mostly from the Miami area. At least this is what one person that talked to us, told us. The cooking aroma all day long is enough to wet the appetite  of even those on a  strict  diet. I talked to a few of our neighbors hoping for a invite to lunch or dinner, either one would do. But sadly failed. We arrived on a Saturday, which is usually a no-no for seasoned RVer's like ourselves. We wanted to get on the road, and it just worked out that way. 90% of the RV sites are yearly's or seasonal.   Most sites were well maintained. Many had one or two easy-ups and outdoor kitchens. Many sites had either a large boat on a trailer or a empty trailer meaning they had a slip at the marina. The RV park also has a marina. The park is just over crowed with "stuff"
      To many kids for our liking. Unattended at the pool. Kids, young kids wildly driving golf carts. The park staff does nothing about them. Dog walking is very very  limited. Load music till midnight. People talking out side till 2-3 in the morning. We were at the pool one da\, before the crowd, and one woman took off her bathing suit top to sun bathe. She was very discrete about it. But come on, this is not a nudist park.

Our site

Looking down the front and back of or site

A very nice site, but crowed

Nice pool, but small for the size of the park. Weekends its hard to see the water.

A great sunset from the Rv park
Never say never, but I doubt we would ever come back to this park.

    Part two  one of the neighbors gave us some fish and  also ceviche. She enjoyed talking to us gringo's, was her comment. Talked to us for about an hour. She kept referring to her husband as a "rafter". At first we didn't know what she meant, thinking it was some political party, but then she said her husband escaped Cuba via a raft in the 60's. That is what she meant by "rafter".
     Would we stay here again. NEVER, but I learned to never say never.

Thanks for following along, more blogs about the Keys coming soon.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Visit to historic Pigeon Key

On Marathon Key we took a boat trip to Historic Pigeon Key. The trip was a short 15 minute boat ride. 
Our boat, going under the new and old bridge.

We didn’t have a reservation and didn’t need one. There was only another couple the tour guide and crew. 
Make reservation here

The other couple were from Texas. They were from the Hill country, our favorite part of Texas. Turns out they were married at a small chapel about one mile from our favorite RV Park, at least in Texas. Talk about a small world.

Back to Pigeon Key. The Key is historic in that it was a place that housed up  to 4,000 workers building the overseas highway and seven mile bride.  You can see more here  
Some of the original buildings. The long building was a dormitory for the workers 

Of special interest to Bob were the old cachet stamp covers .

 This coconut fell while we were wanting for the boat for our return trip

This is a very interesting bit of history.

Thanks for following along.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Key Deer

We went in  search of the Endangered Key Deer on Pine Key.  We found them on both Big Pine Key and No Name Key.  The Key Deer is a smaller sub species of the white tail deer.  Since being put on the endangered list their totals have increase. In the 50’s there were an estimated  25 deer. Now there is a estimate of between 6 and 700.  See 

Hey, were you going

I'm out of here

Mom and baby

Nice rack

This guy was not afraid of cars or people. Rack still in velvet

This is why they are not afraid. Signs all over saying "do feed the deer". I pulled up aside of them and told them it was a $1000. fine for feeding the deer and you should have seen them take off. Deer are wild, keep them wild.

The end to a perfect day. We got to see many key deer, including many fawns.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Foodie stops along the Keys

      We did find a couple of different foodie places here on the Keys. One was on Non Name Key. It was the Non Name Pub.  An interesting name. We found it while seeking some endangered Key Deer. We had a pizza which on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best, we gave it a 1. We don’t usually rate things by numbers, just good or bad etc. But this time we use a number to show our disapproval of the meal. This is our opinion. We sure disagree with the Zagat rating, wonder when that was done. It was not at all to our liking.  Other things may have been a better choice. Interesting history of No Name. At one time it was a brothel, then general store. See their web site  The positive thing about the place was we “found it”, see the picture of the sign.
Inside, every spot on the walls and ceiling  are covered with dollar bills


     Our next foodie place was Key Fisheries, Market and Marina. Linda wanted to try the lobster Reuben. Saw it advertised on a billboard claiming they sold over 200,000. Linda really liked it, for me it was just ok. I had Conch chowder and fried Conch. Both were very good. All the tables are water front. We will be back to try a few other items on the menu.  While there we saw a number of great catches  from sport fishermen come into the marina. See more at their web site  Disappointed in the fact that no conch is harvested in the Florida Keys. Told by the owner it is illegal to harvest conch in the Keys. So much for the Conch Republic. He said most  the conch comes from the Caribbean  area. So why do we not see conch all over the US.? I can't confirm this. I checked the internet and found varying stories.  

The lobster Reuben

the restaurant

Now that's horsepower

a lot of fish, back of truck is full of large cans of fish going to a restaurant

       We also learned  about  lobster fishing here in the Keys.  Next to the restaurant was a commercial lobster business. We talked to several of the lobstermen and the owner of the restaurant about all the lobster traps we saw.  They have 10,000 traps. This is just one of many lobster businesses. They pay a state fee of $135. per tag for each trap. That’s a whooping sum of money. I didn’t do the math. According to the owner of the restaurant  they did over a billion dollars of business last year. They have an assembly line each day to pack “live” lobsters for shipment to China. They load them into tractor trailers that go to Detroit and are flown to Beijing China.  Don’t know why Detroit, but that’s what I was told. They use to get 5 to 7 dollars a pound but are now getting 24-25 dollars a pound. Wonder why the price of lobster is getting so high.

Making lobster traps, buoys, part of the fleet, piles of traps with buoys inside each one.