Jan 31, 2011

Hanging out in the Keys

Yes, we are just hanging out in the keys.  Sometimes we go to places to do things.  But in my opinion you go to the keys just to be....  Sure, we've gone to Key West, and Judy even got me to go on a four mile walk on a section of the old historic seven mile bridge the other day.

But mostly we just hang out.  We are staying in a beautiful private spot 14 miles from Key West.  We even have our own dock and cabana, so we are enjoying just being here.  We've even been out to eat a couple of times. For example the other day we went to Porky's in Marathon.  I'll show you a few pictures just so you don't think we always eat in fancy french restaurants. We discovered Porky's over twenty years ago when we kept our boat in Marathon.

Speaking about boats.  In our previous lives, we sold our home and took off with our four kids in a forty foot sailboat and headed south on the river system to Florida.  In boating you refer to such people as "live-aboards" not "full-timers".  You can add this label to full-timers, used-to-be's, and the newest one we have been reading about... any-timers.  I still think of myself as a live-aboard, just on land.  I guess it doesn't much matter what you call yourself as long as you are happy, doing what you want.

Enough editorial comments.  Since it seems most RV bloggers like to talk about what they eat, I'll finish by telling you that our best meals in the keys are the one's we fix on the grill.  If you have ever had fresh grouper or bacon wrapped pink shrimp grilled, you know what I'm talking about.

One final note.  With all this talk about food, you might be wondering about the diet.  I am happy to report that I have lost 8 pounds since the first of the year.  This means I am now down fifty pounds since starting my diet.  I missed my goal of fifty by a month, but it's not time to worry about that.  It's time to focus on the next fifty.

Until later.

Jan 27, 2011

A little Celebration

While staying in Moore Haven, we decided it was time for a little culture.  We had a birthday to celebrate, and wanted something a little more upscale than the local buffet.  So we made the drive to the Naples.  Yes I know we are in a recession and period of high unemployment, but you wouldn't know it if you were in Naples.  Lot's of traffic and crowded stores.

Judy is a fan of all things french so I  found a nice little french restaurant in the old town part of Naples.   La Lafeyette was my choice and we were not disappointed.  We sat outside on the porch, a bit cool but nice.   

We both ordered off their tasting menu which was three courses for 22.00.  

The service  and food were excellent and it was fun to enjoy a little taste of french culture.  

Until later.

Jan 19, 2011


We continued our slow journey to the Keys on Monday.  We left Port Richey and drove the coach down to Moore Haven, which is just west of Lake Okeechobee. We are staying at the M RV Resort, a very nice full hookup park.  Passport America rates as well. We found this park by reading a recent recommendation in a post from 2 taking a fifth. The downside is there really isn't much to do close by but the people here are very friendly and it will make a good base for the rest of the week.

Today we decided to take a little road trip.  We headed south to Everglades City. We have been there before both with our boat and by land.  We wanted to visit the National Park visitors center and maybe have a little lunch.  It was a beautiful day in the 80's.  Definitely shorts and t- shirt weather.

After Judy got her National Park passport book stamped it was time for lunch.  We drove on out to Chokoloskee but didn't find anything there.  On our way back through Everglades city we remembered a little fish market where you could order from the counter and sit and eat outside on picnic tables.  Since we had Mollie with us, and it was too hot to leave her in the car, this was the perfect solution.

City Seafood offers both raw seafood to take home, or they will cook it for you. We both opted for the grouper basket with sweet potato fries.

We had a front row seat on the canal that the airboats use to take tourists out for a little glimpse of the Everglades.  And Mollie even got to enjoy a little bit of grouper that Judy was willing to share.  No way she was getting any of mine!!   After our late lunch it was time to head back to Moore Haven.  As we were leaving we noticed a beautiful RV Park named Everglades Isles.  Strangely there was only one coach in the whole park.  Not sure what the story was.

On our way back we noticed that the gators were out enjoying the afternoon sun. At first we stopped to look but soon realized they were everywhere.

We gave up trying to count them and headed back to M RV Resort  arriving just in time for happy hour.

One final note.  When we got back to the coach I looked up Everglades Isle.  Daily 125.00 to 155.00, weekly 790.00 to 950.00, monthly 3,000.00 to 3,600.00.  Or if you would like to own your spot, they start at only 168,000.00.  Wonder why there was only one coach there?

Until later.

Jan 11, 2011

Quiet Time

Sometimes it seems we live an interesting life.  Other times it feels like we are going through the motions.  Right now it feels like the latter.  We left Savannah for a short trip to the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park on Monday the 3rd.  This is a nice quiet state park in northern Florida.  We had a nice, long private pull thru site.  We were there until last Friday and other than taking some walks it was a very quiet time.  We didn't even move the car.

The highlight of the week was meeting another full-timing couple, Bob and Angie.  They have been on the road for over a year.  Like us they are now residents of South Dakota, former residents of California.  Funny, we meet lots of people who are FROM California.  Wonder if taxes has anything to do with it????  We even know some people formerly from northern California who just became residents of Texas.  Next thing you know they are acting like kids, buying all kinds of things with weird names like Droids, and Wii's.  Maybe having an address on Rainbow drive does that to you!

On Friday we moved down to a Passport America Park in Port Richey.  We moved from a beautiful spot with lots of room to a 70's era park where you can reach out and touch your neighbor's unit, which in most cases is a single wide mobile home.  Nice people, clean and safe, but not our type of place.  We wanted to be near Tampa to receive some mail, do some shopping, and attend the RV show this week, so this place will do.

We are trying to embrace slowing down and moving less often.  We are on our way to the Keys and we have a reservation in a park close to Key West.  We are both looking forward to being down there and hope the weather cooperates.  It has been rainy and cool here, but it beats being in an RV this time of year in the Midwest.  Sunday afternoon we took a drive south to Clearwater Beach and Tarpon Springs.  We were familiar with both of these area from our boating days. The last few years have been rough for these tourist areas.  Things look run down with lots of empty buildings.  I wonder what will happen to these areas as the baby boomers get older.  Will their kids want to come to these same areas?  I know our kids don't.

If I sound somber, it's because that's what I'm feeling right now.  How can you not, if you watch the news at all.  To me the real tragedy of Saturday in Tucson is how quick we are to place the blame on one another.  Whether you are on the Right or the Left it seemed more important to blame the other side than to admit that sometimes we as human beings do some pretty bad things.  What did inspire me were the accounts of how some very normal people acted with bravery during this horrific time.  Once again I am reminded of how fragile and precious life is, so we better make the most of each day because you never know.

What I do know is that there are lots of things in life that are out of our control. But the things I put in my mouth, and the words I let come out of my mouth, those I can control.  So that's what I'm working on.  Weight loss update.  Down 2 pounds since first of the year.

Until later.

Jan 1, 2011

A New Year

Well, it's a new year and it is time to get back to blogging.  The last month and a half have been a blur.  We finished up the Christmas season by staying a week at Camp Lord Willing RV Park in Monroe, the only campground open year round in Southeast Michigan.  With temps hovering in the low teens it was a battle to stay warm.  We spent the week driving back and forth to St. Clair Shores where daughter Melissa and family live.  Although it was a 50 minute drive to their house, we had dry roads and light traffic during our visit.

We did the usual last minute shopping, going out to eat a couple of times, seeing a movie, and even had Emma and Ella spend an overnight on the RV.  We had fun on Christmas day watching the kids open presents and Christmas afternoon we were joined by our son Jonathan, his wife Laura, and our newest grandson Harrison. We had our Christmas feast and watched a movie on tv before heading back to the motorhome.  

On Tuesday the 28th it was time to begin our trip south to warmer weather.  After weeks of not being able to leave water and sewer hoses hooked up we were looking forward to warmer weather.  It was 17 degrees outside when we hit the road that morning.  When it is that cold, the leveling jacks don't want to retract all the way up. They were up far enough to travel, but we had to listen to the alarm for the first couple of hours until everything warmed up.  While we were at Spartan Chassis recently we asked them about this, and they assured us everything was okay, just too cold.  Tuesday night we stayed at Willow Meadow RV Park in Berea, Ky. At the Passport America rate of $12, it was a good deal but still too cold to keep the hoses hooked up over night.

Wednesday morning we hit the road again and almost made it to Savannah.  I say almost because when we joined the mass exodus on I-95 everything came to a crawl.  Most of the license plates were from New York or Ontario and I can't say I blame them. Since it was getting dark we stopped for the night in Walterboro, S.C. and were finally able to leave the sewer and water hoses hooked up.  Judy even got a couple of loads of laundry done.  Thursday morning we didn't pull out of the park until almost noon since we only had 50 miles to go to our destination for New Years weekend.  Traffic was still very heavy and it took us almost 2 hours to get to our campground.  We are staying at the Hardeeville RV Park in Hardeeville, SC, another Passport America park about 10 miles north of Savannah.  It seems that most of our neighbors here are from Canada.  

Yesterday it was sunny and 70 degrees outside.  Judy thought this was an excellent time to get all the salt and grime off the motorhome and the Explorer.  So we got out the hoses and brushes and washed the motorhome and I took the car to a carwash. I think Judy has spring fever since she also did some cleaning and vacuuming inside as well. It's nice to be able to have the windows open and air things out. It's hard to believe that just 4 days ago we were in snow, ice, and 17 degrees.  We plan to stay here until Monday when we will move on to a state park in Northern Florida.  

I also want to write about a few personal things.  The passing of our dear friend Teresa affected us more than we would have imagined.  This is not the first time we have been through this, but somehow it seemed different.  In fact several years ago we lost 3 of our parents within a 3 month span.  But seeing someone still in their 40's taken, leaving behind a husband and young daughter, was very painful. Maybe it was the reminder that our time here is limited, and we don't make the rules.  I don't think we will ever be able to visit the central coast of California again without thinking of her.  

We also experienced the difficult task of trying to fit in to our "other" life.  We still own a business, and we were back there during it's busy season.  But it's hard to plug in when you are only back for a short time. For the first time I don't know everyone who works there.  I'm sure there were some new employees that wondered who that old man with the white beard was, and why he was wandering around.  We are so blessed to have Stan and Kathleen who are managing the business for us. I started the business 30 years ago but now have no day to day responsibilities, yet we need to stay involved because it is our nest egg and retirement annuity.  We plan to be back in the spring to keep an eye on things while Stan and Kathleen take a long overdue and much deserved vacation.  

I am going to wind up with a report on weight loss.  I wish I could tell you that I exceeded my goal.  But the truth is, I fell short.   By eight pounds. So I can only report that I lost 42 pounds for the year. I started the year at 305 pounds and ended at 263.   I failed for one simple reason.  I lost focus.  I could make all kinds of excuses about being with family, friends, stress, etc.  But the fact is I lost my focus.  So, not one to give up, I start a new year.  In addition to our normal daily activities, I have only two objectives for this year.  To work on my photography and enter a photograph in an upcoming competition, and to lose another 50 pounds.  I will keep you posted on my progress.  In fact charting my loss and reporting it was a real motivation for me.  It was when I quit charting and blogging that I struggled the most.  Thank you for all your kind comments and words of encouragement. In the business world we say that it's hard to change what you don't measure.  So back to charting and blogging.   It worked before, and it will work again.  

Until later.