Our New Excursion Coach notice what they call a shade tree!

Our New Excursion Coach notice what they call a shade tree!
Excursion & HHR tow car in Tucson

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Not the same today

Blooms at FL Grande RV in Webster
When I created this blog way back then, to report on our retirement travels and stay in touch with family and friends, I never thought it would become passe so soon. Technology and social media have certainly changed my intentions and techniques as life too has, leaving huge gaps in  our family with the so few remaining.  It is an entirely other story about friends coming and going along the way, some as family dying and leaving us behind and others reconnecting after years, or coming and going fulfilling that old poem about people in our life for a reason or a season. As I have written before one changes with the times or is left behind in the dust, aging, old school and out of touch. Today, I find it so much easier with smart phone to post directly to Facebook where most of my friends hang out where in an instant no matter where we are in the world or country, we share thoughts, photos and commentary whether on travels or around home. I have neglected this blog evidenced by lack of postings on our current snowbird adventure that started December 2014, although I post to Facebook daily sometimes  multiple times a day. Where I once fancied sitting and writing here, it hasn't happened, technology has changed my intentions.  Multiple times I have thought, oh I need to blog this, but then by the time we return to our 2nd home on wheels, this motor coach, I have lost interest in getting online on the laptop and sometimes we just do not have internet access unlike our smart phones and tablet which are hotspots themselves. So it goes and so the photos do not show up here.  I could try directly posting from smartphone or tablet, but that is cumbersome.

One of the lakes here at Indian Forest RV
St Augustine, FL
Avoiding winter at our  home where it has not been nearly as vicious as in New England, we have only put 2113 miles on the coach this trip, because we have stayed put weeks at a time in spots  and explored areas. The entire country must be here in Florida this year because often RV Resorts are booked solid.  How different from  two years ago when FL was begging for travelers.  One cannot convince me that the economy is bad when I daily see the likes of us travelers here and the money we are spending which is why they welcome snowbirds, the revenue restores their economy.   

Although I am ready to go home, because I do miss my house and routine, we will remain south and await a decent break in the weather on the road home. We are currently in St. Augustine, FL watching the weather through the mid of the country and  trying to figure how long this endless winter can continue while rejoicing we are not in Boston, New England or the other polar northern regions. I have enjoyed the sunshine and even the cooler days or nights at the 40 degrees remind me that could be lots worse, could be in the frigid part of the country.   We have seen much and likely found an area in central east coast  FL for future winters that is unless next year we choose to go over to Texas where we have yet to venture snow birding.  We shall see.  One of the RV resorts cautioned me to book no later than August to assure a spot next year, similar to other traveling where one has to book a year in advance.  

For the next several days we will explore all the activities and sights of St. Augustine.  One big disappointment has been the lack of visibility and access to FL beaches on the east Atlantic coast where hotels, condos and the like occupy the space and block views, giving the impression that photo's FL beaches are a myth.  

Jerry at entrance Kennedy
Space Center
One of our favorite places has been the Kennedy Space Center where we spent two days and absorbed ourselves in the engineering and science of the skies. It is where we wondered if this country will again have leaders who seek to inspire us to achieve ala JFK.  Such a contrast from then to today when achievement is ridiculed, when striving is looked down upon, denigrated, labeled "not fair."  No that is the current excuse for leaders, not for me.  I am thankful I grew up in when achievement was the goal, when it was very different. 

Missile garden at Kennedy
My very favorite exhibit at Kennedy is the Atlantis shuttle, the story of its 12 year development, a hearkening to aspiring. Her amazing inflammable tiles resemble an old tarapunto quilt.   The NASA legacy includes the motto, "Failure is not an Option."  Hopefully that 1958 motto resonates today with  some and we can restore that sense of looking ahead instead of settling and just getting by.  Kennedy attracts international tourists; we heard so many different languages while there. 
Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center

Monday, January 12, 2015

Remiss posting

Pensicola RV Park
We have been at the Pensicola RV Park since January 2, working our way down the state to Tampa.  What a delightful RV park we have discovered thanks to Good Sam, very clean, quiet, spacious and level spaces, wonderful areas to walk within the area. Much improved from our stay at Bay Hideaway RV Park in Bay St Louis, MS a place where we stayed in 2013 but a place that has gone to the dogs since then.  Here dog owners are in control of their animals and are not leaving dog  droppings all over, opposite at Bay MS.  Here folks are friendly and take pride in their surroundings, a contrast to MS where the place has become junky, decrepit as what appears to be a lower level of snowbirds, most decidedly older and feebler have taken over.  I sound snobbish, but just because a person has a camping trailer to  set up for the winter, well, that does not excuse clutter and junk. It will be the last time we stay there, besides their prices are not worth the area.  Maybe that's the way those people live, but we do not and I do not want to be in such surroundings.  If that's snobbish, then I am.  Take pride, clean up after yourself, and  pick up after your dogs.  Sheesh nearly everyone there had an animal or two and  let them run and dump on the grassy areas. I wonder how their RV's must smell with one or two wet dogs from the rain that happens in winter along the Gulf Shores.    I love animals but do not have any at this time of our lives with traveling so I do not want to see dog poop nor to be accosted with another's pet.  Here in Pensacola the owners set the tone and  expectations of behavior, they are friendly, helpful but insist on cleanliness.  Suffice that it was a good thing we were unable to remain in MS longer because sites were filled, good riddance. If we chose to stop in Bay St Louis in the future we will stay at the casino RV sites which are concrete and cleaner.  Here it is less expensive, a better buy for the buck, far better accommodations and a new area to explore.  The proverbial "better ahead" when plans are not actualized.  It was nice to see our friends from North Carolina in MS though.  

Pensacola RV Park trails and walking path
We have been so routinely busy that I have not had time to blog.  The mornings are  consumed with my walks followed by yoga stretches back at the coach, I sure do miss my zumba classes though. I hit a bit of a slump when it was colder than what I wanted, the winter weather that swept down the country from the arctic reached these shores too making outside unpleasant.  I cannot believe it after subzero MN temps that the 30's would dissuade me.  Fortunately I packed plenty of winter wear, I know the south can be darned cold.  My packable down jacket has had plenty of use as have my fleece lined tights and riding high boots.      

I have had bouts of "I want to go home and why are we doing this...."  This is nothing new because once I am away from my comfy home and routine for a few weeks I am done.  I feel that way in this motor home, where life is lived on a reduced scale, things have to be kept tidy or I would burst, laundry is done in small batches in our coach washer dryer combo or in the case of sheets, walked to the RV laundromat, if it is cold and I am kind of stuck, to me it is boring to sit and I do not do so for any long time. Jerry on the other hand can sit back in his recliner and is perfectly content, watching the boob tube.  Not me.   Blah, I think of all I could be doing at home including all the mail that is piling up.  A friend forwarded some to us but of course I wonder what more sits?  Once we get to our destination in Tampa I will ask her to send another batch.  

We have enjoyed the shore, the Naval Air Museum, the very old forts such as Ft. Barrancas founded by the early Spanish settlers in the 1600's and  the Pensacola lighthouse, where we climbed 177 steps up to the top, 150 feet to overlook the gulf.
Yes we did climb all the way
up to the top of the lighthouse behind me
 I have posted numerous photos to Facebook but have not yet transferred those to this laptop.  After looking around at the area, we would never want to live in this area of Florida.  There are many ghetto like areas and some of the population is questionable.  Not sure if this is a result of the military left behinds or what but the hills of Appalachia have a higher more appealing culture than some of what we have seen here.  The area and neighborhood around this RV Park which is off I 10, are decent but so many other areas of Pensacola are not.  We ventured off to a highly advertised flea market one day, but when I saw the people slumped around I said, "dive on by."  I got the impression there were far more fleas there than anything desirable.     

Hearty meatball soup with spinach & canneli beans
On the plus side, I have found a wonderful grocery store, Publix Market where they offer menu suggestions along with samples of the suggested dishes.  In addition right alongside the sample counter they have all the fixings for the entire meal for purchase.  This makes it most convenient for us in the coach.  I have adapted a  European lifestyle of going to the grocery store almost daily & purchasing just what we need for the day's meals, fresh food daily.  I have purchased fresh shrimp right off the boat, delivered to the door or our coach.  The market had wonderful small scallops and the teriyaki sauce to sir fy them for another meal.  Yesterday was a wonderful Hearty meatball with spinach soup that Publix sampled and provided recipe and all ingredients for purchase, it was delicious. Fresh bread and fruits daily.  This takes time but being snowbirds what else is there to do?  Yes we eat out some, but truthfully I do prefer my own cooking, and the quiet of our own place and well now I know I am older, I like my own cooking and healthier choices.

Tomorrow we go another 300 some miles to Lake City for  two nights before we drive southward to Tampa, the Fleetwood RV rally and warmer  temperatures.  Hope to keep my sandals and shorts ready to wear.  And I will try to post more, I get ideas but don't get the laptop set up and write.  Perhaps I should hook my blog up to my Google talk, hmm, suggestion?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

No partridge but other birds, Merry Christmas from Dixie

Annual posting of Christmas tidings and best to all....for those who do not celebrate Christmas, season's best as well....

This year we tried to do something different, be on the road south before Christmas heading for the sunnier south; we  barely did so.  I was too busy with too many activities yet again including a hair appointment December 16th which I could not miss.  Well, so then we could leave the 17th?  Nope, again, I was too hectic.  I thought not decorating  our home  as we would not be there would add all sorts of time, but not so.  I tried to set up small decor to travel along, such as our small tinsel tree, but left hose behind in my skeltered readying. I did miss getting out some decor that I only see once a year, a and although I do far less than the displays I used to put out in the past. If the  2nd market ever returns I have a massive collection of exquisite and pricey decor to sell, but for now  they reside in the closet until this time of year.  I found that the limited shopping I do, gift wrapping, mailing with all those 80 some Christmas cards we send consumes lots of time and continuing my physical activities all morning at the Y consumes hours in  my day. 

Cardinal in a pear tree this morning  a red
splash on  my walk  toward the beach. 
   Nevertheless we got on the road on December 20 and send this from  Bay St Louis, where we will stay until January 2 then proceed on to Florida. We'd have liked to stay 3 weeks, but in the holiday tradition there is no room at Bay Hideaway,  this RV inn.  Fortunately I am neither pregnant nor riding on a donkey and so we will go to Pensacola where we will spend a week  before moving on to Tallahassee, then to Tampa for the Fleetwood RV Rally.  At least we have a home over holidays.  We arrived here on Monday, December 22 ahead of the torrential rains that swept across the Gulf. There was another tornado near Hattiesburg devastating the holiday for  many. 

This holiday on the road enhances my independent perspective, and gratitude for what we do have, health and comfort to travel and reason to do so--curiosity. So far, we have driven 1209 miles in 19 hours and 45 minutes driving time, spent $627.26 for diesel fuel.  

The local Christmas stork at the conservancy marsh

Our  coach tree and reindeer
Thanks to good friend Carlie
I left the tinsel tree and intended
decorations at home.  Proves good friends
come through and sense what's
needed, they care and are aware. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sepia Saturday December 6 Horse rides

This weeks theme evoked many possibilities, but truth be told, where ever else can I share a photo of my first horse rides and where else would people would look at the photos?

So here I am with my first horsey rides; my grandpap, Teofil was not a woodworker but somehow somewhere with help from his friends he made this rocking horse for me.  It doesn't look like much  today but it was really all I needed to keep myself entertained and then some.   My Uncle Carl who was the artist of the family painted it.  

In this first photo I am on my premier ride, the year is early 1946, flowers  in bloom  to the side in this very Sepia small  print that  my grandparents and later my aunt kept framed over the years, though much is faded on it. They said I had just begun walking all about and this was my next challenge.  They said I had a grand time but they had to put the horse away into a corral else I would climb on it when someone wasn't around and they did not want me to hurt myself.    I was about 16-17 months old in this first photo.  It must have been a cool spring day because I was dressed in bonnet and coat. 

Funny thing is I remember having this wooden rocking horse, I wonder what  ever became of it?    It was quite rudimentary but no one could have convinced me of that.  
Me about 2 1/2 years old...1947, same horse
This  girl loved the ride  There were no
fancy get ups yet, no hats, no chaps.

1947 same as above, better view of the horse
Happy to have Sepia for my  own Sepian memories.  To see what others  have taken to theme from this weeks's prompt, go here to the primary site.  

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sepia Saturday 256 A parade from 1975

Prompt of a parade drew me  back to last week's album of our 1975 trip to the Calgary Alberta Stampede, Canada. 

 These photos are fading taken pre-digital era. While  there are no Swans dancing, there are plenty of horses, clowns, Scots,buckskin riders  and others of the wild west  parade shots we took from our bleacher seats.  I found the old program too and a poster. Sadly the list of parade participants is faded and did not scan  but I notice it was the centennial celebration for Calgary that year.
Stampede program

 I share some of our July 7, 1975 Calgary Stampede parade as we watched from our bleacher seats across the street from a multi story parking garage where folks  hung from the sides to watch.   I noticed I did not caption the photos, so now 39 years later, I try. 

Unidentified tribe Indian Buckskin rider, notice the parking garage observers across the street
more unidentified natives

Well it was a western days event, this bull float was a hit
Calgary Stampede poster of the event
Horsewomen with flags
Cowgirls  on the hood
Horse drawn wagon with dignitary

Scots bagpipers
This giant size clown shows the stories of folks across the street
in the parking  structure and those on the rooftop

This was my Sepia Saturday contribution to see others go to this link  there are sure to be many surprises and stunning photos from the international community

Sunday, November 23, 2014

First smattering of the voyage

While I promised further October cruise postings on the marvelous voayge we had with Celebrity Lines, two weeks North Atlantic sailing from Bayonne, New Jersey to mostly Canadian ports, I have been neglectful on posting, so finally have downloaded photos from phone and tablet and here we go for a few,,,many more to come...

Taken by ship photographer as we boarded
Our ports are listed and we are ready

October 5, 2014 we set sail and say adieu to New York Skyline,
Lady Liberty and World Trade Center

Under the NY Verrazono Bridge  
This was our welcome aboard , lovely
Notice the bottle of Champagne,... well
 see the last photo of this post where Jerry
rescues me he claims to save me from myself.

And here he is... imbibing on the champagne...he is a dedicated beer drinker.
He cannot abide the bubbly so I was surprised when he poured a glass.
He claimed to be saving me from myself first day out, o I would NOT drink the entire bottle alone...
Our veranda was lovely, two chairs and table and a respite from crowds.
Our cruise had the best venue a day in port a day at sea....

Our sailing found me deck top with the band...there were no photos but the ship videod me  and there after showed me enjoying....I am a dancer and saw no reason why I could not get out there on deck and dance to the beat....at first it was only me and the band a few a of the ship crew, but soon, I coaxed others, all women onto the floor and we had a blast.  I believe we need to celebrate and dance all the time and this was my time to cut loose and I did.  Jerry is an observer  but he did not have the phone to photo his wife in action and so no photos to share of  my premiere.  For the next two weeks  many would stop me and  comment on , "oh you were the dancer..."  "Oh you looked like you were having fun," I was folks and you should have joined me.  Some said they could never, well if not now when??
Life gives us little enough music take it and shake it while it lasts...tomorrow is too late.   

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sepia Saturday 254 Wading the waters 1975

Back after a long absence with a couple 1975 photos, from which  color is fading.  We took many camping trips over the years, especially while Steve was growing up because we wanted him to see a lot of the country.  In 1975, living in California,  we were on our way to the Calgary Stampede in Canada to meet friends who had gone a week ahead of us.  One of our stops was at Flathead Lake Montana where there had been overly abundant rain and lots of flooding.  However, this made for good swimming weather and as I recall it was mighty hot so we welcomed the chance to dip in and cool off. 

 I must have been quenching my thirst as well because you will see, I merely stepped in with glass in hand, ice clinking.  Steve was all of 11 years old at the time and  helped me wade out before he swam off.  Not sure where Jerry was while this happened, likely he was taking the photos from back onshore.  I don't know whose dog observed nor who the tube floater in the upper left corner was...nor what Steve found to  maneuver with later in the water after helping Mom

OK Mom, I've got ya

One of my chubbier times, drink in hand

Now what's this?
This is my  return to Sepia where we can share our photos to match the prompt or not.  I will enjoy reconnecting with everyone...it's been awhile but we have been travelling. To see what others have matched or not to this week's prompt, go here

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Different days different views and first snowfall

Dinah Washington sang it 

I just learned while googling that this was originally a Mexican folk song,  Who knew that?  The most successful early recording with English lyrics was in 1934 by the Dorsey BrothersDinah Washington won a Grammy Award in 1959 for Best Rhythm and Blues Performance with this song. Her version was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998 and earned her first top ten Pop hit, reaching #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Just yesterday a rose in bloom faded but still blooming
This morning from the front window
What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours....you may know the song that suits  today..because yesterday while grey and cold at 44 some degrees I was outside shivering while pruning and pulling out geraniums and marigolds...today, I have stayed in mostly because overnight Mama Nature, that elusive old bag who rejoices when she rolls up her sleeves and releases various tricks onto the likes of us, dusted our area with white, about an inch or so of the stuff, just as we had been warned. Just what I did not want and I know sure it could'a been worse and more of it, but this is just too darned early for snow for me!  It's not yet my birthday and even growing up in Pennsylvania I never remember snow before my annual celebration. This is just why I was hesitant to move to Minnesota although I thank our lucky stars and  saints daily that we escaped from California, where we always thought we would stay the rest of our days. Not to be as with so many plans we thought we had made, but then there have been many mighty better turns too.  

Jerry grinding leaves to mulch rosebeds

I've spent today  on domestic chores and at the computer catching up on lots of information and financial work instead of my Y yoga class and the body building strength weight class I had planned to add today.. more weight bearing interval training...But no kidding, yesterday Jerry was grinding leaves to mulch the rose garden.  I said not to bother surely the weather prediction would be wrong!  Bah!  I was wrong and it is a good thing he persisted.  So the rose bed went from a coating of brown leaf mulch to a bed of white blanket overnight...with the pink ballerina bush protesting, "hey, what's with the mulch, can't you see I've still got my blooms going here?" 

Rose garden mulching
Rose garden view from our front window about 7:30 this AM

Some day soon I will share here some photos from our two week cruise to the North Atlantic Canadian ports, most of which  has already been on Facebook in real time.  It was a great trip, gorgeous weather, beautiful fall colors and more.  But for nowa big pot of chili is calling to  have cornbread accompany it and so off the keyboard again after a long absence.